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1  CLOTHING / Clothing: Discussion and Questions / What could I do with this vintage dress? on: January 31, 2014 09:43:49 AM
A while ago, a woman who works in my office gave me a bag of clothes to cut up and use for sewing projects. Amongst the standard men's shirts and wool sweaters, there was this vintage dress.

Its THIN, like cheesecloth, but in excellent condition. It isn't yellowed at all, and there are no holes. Putting it in the costume box is out of the question, because its tiny in the waist and ample in the bust. I'm really small, but can't get the eye hooks in the back to close over my waist.

Any ideas on how I could refashion it? What to cut up and save? Ideas on how to use the lace or bust embroidery? My sewing skills are intermediate. Any ideas are most appreciated! Or, any idea on what decade this is from?
2  NEWS AND DISCUSSION ABOUT CRAFTSTER / Craftster Itself / off topic forum? on: October 25, 2012 03:42:41 PM
There used to be an off topic forum, but now I can't find it....

Did this go away or can I just not see it?
3  Halloween / Halloween Costumes / ideas on how to make seaweed?, & mermaid costume so far on: October 15, 2012 05:37:23 PM
I need your help, fellow crafty people!

I'm going to be a mermaid for halloween, and going to be "topless", and wanted the illusion that I was "covered up" by seaweed. I'm really wanting to make a "seaweed" shawl, scarf, necklace thing. But I have no ideas on what to do.

I was thinking of a green boa, but they are too bright and are obviously not seaweed. I examined the plastic fake seaweed at a fish store, but wasn't sure what to do with it.  Undecided Does anyone have any ideas? Low budget is key!

This is what I have for my costume so far.

Every year we go to a potluck party, with a DJ, so I wanted to make sure I could dance. I made a pencil skirt out of cheap, shiny blue fabric (although its so crappy it really shouldn't be called that!), and sewed a few layers of gathered tulle to the bottom. The hall they rent for the party is cold, so I wanted long sleeves, so I made a nude-colored long sleeve top that I tacked to the skirt. I have a longish wig, that I'm going to string shells & rocks into, and I made a giant sea star from Fimo to clip over my ear.

I'd appreciate feedback and seaweed suggestions!
4  FIBER ARTS / Felting: Discussion and Questions / raw wool: where do I start? on: September 14, 2012 08:01:14 PM
On a random impulse purchase this afternoon, I got two bags of local, unwashed raw Shetland wool. My idea is to make lots of little felted 1 inch or so balls, then string together and coil to make a rug.

But I don't know where to start. I've never felted before, but I have carded and have the paddles.

Do I need to wash it first? Do I just start carding away?

Once its carded, what do I do?

Thanks so much, I appreciate any feedback, advice or insight!!!!
5  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Weddings and Bridal Showers / HELP: polyester napkin ideas on: February 24, 2012 09:01:58 AM
Greetings fellow crafters! I need your help.

I am getting married in August and doing a complete DIY wedding (as many of you already saw the saga of my dress from an earlier post) but now I need napkin help.

I was going to sew my napkins, because normally they are 75 cents a piece to rent, but when I was at the rental company to pick up stuff for Christmas dinner, they had a bunch of polyester napkins on sale for only 25 cents.

Knowing that I couldn't buy fabric cheaper, I bought all my dinner napkins. They are polyester, white and boring. Pretty much like your standard napkin you would go out to dinner and have.

I know that polyester won't dye, but any other ideas to "jazz them up"? I don't have specific wedding colors. If I had to pick a "theme" for my wedding, it would be "summer farmers market".

I would appreciate any ideas!

6  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Weddings and Bridal Showers / the Saga of Making my Dress (novel length post & img OBESE) on: February 04, 2012 10:03:30 AM
So I'm getting married in August. I live in wine country in Northern CA, which is a "destination wedding location" so it automatically makes anything wedding related AT LEAST 30% more expensive. Our wedding budget is $4000, practically impossible in this region when photographers START at $4000 (and don't even get me started on the venues....). Regardless, we are making it work. We reserved a picnic area at a public park for $98, found a photographer who would do small packages for around a $1000, I'm going to grow most of the flowers... I never "set out" to make my dress, but after going to stores to try them on, I figured I could do it: For one, I know how to sew, and two, there was no way in HELL I was going to spend $1000 on something made in China, from POLYESTER!

I still have to hem it and put in a zipper, but I'm super excited and pleased with what I was able to make! Normally I show my partner what I've sewn, but I'm trying to stay traditional and not have him see me until the wedding day, so I can't show him! The next best thing: posting it here!

Read on if you would like to know all the drama I went through to make it (damn you Joannes, damn you!), how I achieved the rouching, and some cute kitty pictures.  Grin

This is the dress I was trying to replicate. I REALLY wanted a lace covered dress, with a key hole back, but decent lace is expensive, so I went with the 2nd best choice. Here I have on the WToo gown. Excuse the fuzzy picture. Pretty basic, sweetheart neckline, rouched bodice, gathered skirt, pleaded front. Even if I were to have the money (or the desire to buy polyester), I would have had to "de-poof" the skirt and shorten the train. It did have pockets (super cool) that I didn't replicate, and a row of buttons down the back seam (I hate sewing on buttons).

After searching online and all the pattern books, I couldn't find anything that was exactly the same, so I pieced together a bunch of different pattens. One was for the neckline, one was for the waste line, and one was for the skirt hem.
Here 3-legged Gaia hides under the patterns that I have draped on my dress form. She think's its her life mission to chew and destroy everything. I throw her out of the craft room, but some how she still gets back in.  

Because I have NO boobs, even the smallest pattern size doesn't fit me on top, so there was lots of muslin and sheet trial runs. I knew the top was going to be my problem area, so after doing just one waistline mock, I focused on getting the cup size right.

I also made a petticoat from broadcloth, and then an additional layer from petticoat netting. OMG that stuff is a pain in the ass to work with! Once I figure out the hem length, I want to add lace at the bottom.

Here my kitty Gale watches me curse at the damn stuff.

After finally getting the top fit right, I decided to do a full length skirt trial. Don't you just love the mis-matched sheets! (yeah for $1.00 sheets at thrift stores!) They are awesome because you can make notes and mark possible alterations right on them!

Now it was time to figure out the rouching on the bodice. I went back to a different store (because I didn't want to be the obnoxious girl who didn't buy anything) and looked at the dress again. It clearly was not pleated, but gathered. Let me tell you, there is not a single pattern in existence that explains how to get the gathering to come out of the boobs at an angle. After searching craftster, I came across Lisa's post http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=270998.0, and she was trying to do a similar top. She ended up pleating and tacking hers, but I really wanted to figure out how to gather mine. After many failed attempts, it was like a lightbulb went off: just gather a super big square, then put the boob piece on top at an angle, and baste together. These are bad pictures, but I really want to show you how I did it incase your trying to do the same.
front side:

back side:

Then cut the gathered piece to be the same size as the lining piece, and your good to go!

This is 2 times the height of the original piece. I used 3 times the height on the final dress.

After I found the WToo dress, I had stopped by Joannes to see what types of fabric they had that would be suitable. The had the duponi silk (regularly $24 a yard) onsale for 50% off. I ALSO happened to have one of those "20% off everything, even SALE items" coupons that they occasionally put out. I quickly bought up 7 yards of the white silk, figuring it would be enough. It came out to be around $10 a yard, not bad, still in my budget.

Then I cut out the silk, carefully with my pinking shears to reduce fraying. Here you can see I literally have 3 different patterns taped together for one of the skirt sections.

After cutting out ALL the skirt pieces, I cut out the top. I gathered up one boob and one side piece, just to confirm my method would still work, then went to work on the skirt.

Then the drama started. After I sewed all the pieces together,  I realized the back section had weird grease-spot like stains on it that I didn't notice until I held it up in the light. AHHHHHH, I had been so careful with it! I almost cried. BUT, I had enough silk left to re-cut the back piece, so I ripped the skirt apart and sewed it back together with the new piece. Problem solved. But then I realized that I didn't have enough silk to do the rouching for the other bodice pieces. So I went BACK to Joannes (which of course was way later and the silk wasn't on sale, but at least I still had a coupon) and got another yard to finish the top. I mentioned the stains to the girl, and she said "Oh yeah, that happens all the time. Stuff comes off the truck dirty". WTF!!!! If she knew that, shouldn't they have checked my first cut for stains? Shouldn't she have given me this new yard for even cheaper, if not free??? UGGGGGGG I was really angry. Oh, but it gets worse....

So I brought my new silk home, finished the top, and then tried it on. THE SILKS WERE A DIFFERENT SHADE OF WHITE. I hadn't noticed. One boob was white, and the other boob was a slightly different white. They must have been from a different dye batch, even thought I checked the brand & bolt barcode.

So I had to rip apart the whole bodice, REDO the original two pieces, and then sew everything back together. Here's a bad "in the mirror" picture to make sure it fits. So my bodice is a different shade than the skirt, but its hard to tell, and you can really only tell under florescent light. At least its better than different color boobs!

Then I lined the skirt with broadcloth, then gathered them both together as one. Here I'm gathering the skirt up on my dress form to match the bodice.

Then I sewed the two together. There were a couple of spots I had to rip out and do over, but overall it wasn't too bad. I'm always so proud of my machine for going through so many layers of fabric!
Gaia investigates what I'm doing:

Then I sewed a garment bag to store my dress in and protect from Gaia's chews.

And that was the saga of making my own wedding gown!

If you are still with me, thanks for looking! Comments and other Joanne's rants welcome!
7  Halloween / Halloween Decor and Parties / gnome potluck ideas? on: October 11, 2011 09:49:23 AM
Every year my boyfriend and I go to a potluck halloween party and I like to bring something that correlates with our costume.

One year we were GreeK gods, so we brought grapes. Year before that we were Homer and Marge, so we brought donuts and canned beer. This year, we are going to be gnomes. 

Stuffed mushrooms are the obvious thing I can think of, but the bf HATES mushrooms. Any suggestions for something else? 
8  CLOTHING / Costumes: Completed Projects / steampunk goodness on: November 05, 2010 10:22:16 PM
Back in September, my town had its annual Handcar Regatta, where people build handcars and all kinds of crazy mechanical workings, and race them down the abandoned railroad tracks. Most of the people dress up, and its a fairly big event. Unfortunately, it was over 100 degrees, so we didn't stay long.
I was, however, very proud of the costumes I pulled together for myself and my boyfriend.

There was a guy from the local paper taking pictures of couples and he posed us all silly.

I made my bustle skirt from this hideous 80's prom dress, complete with the butt bow (seriously, how were those every cool???) that I got at the Goodwill for $7.

The before...

I bought a corset, which was super tight and didn't really fit me, but it worked for the short amount of time i wore it. I made a little top hat from extra dress material, cardboard, and some scrap leather i had cut from (another 80's) Goodwill dress. I hot glued it onto a headband. The favorite thing I made, and got the most complements on, was a necklace of antique bobbins. I hot glued them to a sheet of paperboard in a random arrangement, and then tied it on with a ribbon. I also found a bird cage on super sale, and stuck a crow from a past Halloween costume in it. I hooked it onto a metal belt, and I called myself a steampunked ornithologist.

For the boyfriend, we got a top hat at a costume store, and I made the goggles from spice jar lids and an old belt. I found the vest at the Goodwill, and was too lazy to sew on fancier buttons, so I just hot glued them over the originals.

thanks for looking!

9  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / New Swap Theme Ideas / New Years Resolution Swap? on: December 05, 2009 12:09:22 PM
I am one of those people that always make a big list of resolutions and never actually keep them (at least, not all of them). I've seen some swaps that were specific, like "help me be organized" or "help me lose weight". I thought it would be fun if we had a swap that could help keep resolutions in general. For example, if you wanted to be more organized, your partner could craft needle rolls, or a receipt wallet. If you wanted to eat healthier, you could compile a recipe book.

What do you think? Anyone interested? I've never organized before, and not sure if I would be comfortable, but wanted to put the idea out there!
10  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Capri-Sun bag on: July 05, 2009 10:22:17 PM

I know using Capri Sun pouches is not original, but I love my new bag.

Some background: I work as a recycling coordinator for the garbage company, which means I go to schools and businesses and teach them how to recycle. I needed a bag to carry my paperwork, stickers, other outreach supplies, and I wanted something that was all recycled material.

And for the record, I hate capri-suns and their fake juice and the non-recyclable mylar packaging. But apparently kids love them, and I used to work at an environmental school. The kids would always bring them in their lunches, so I rescued them from the landfill, knowing that one day I would use them.

The straps are bright blue suede from the thrift store. Its amazing what some people will give away! I got almost a yard for only $1.50! I had to refrain from buying the bright green...

The white is linen from a tablecloth (also thrift store).

The pockets are constructed from fabric from an old dog bed cover. I used to work at a dog boutique store and a customer brought it in to get a replacement because their dog chewed the zipper. It was going to get thrown away, but I saved it, washed it, and used it!

For the interfacing, I used an old navajo kitchen rug that was in my house when I moved in over a year ago. It sat in a corner where I kept meaning to take it to Goodwill. But yes, I found a use for it!

The only new things are the snap, and the thread.

Thanks for looking!
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