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1  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Smallish man's button-down to upsized blouse on: October 15, 2012 03:51:16 PM
I haven't sewn for myself for a long time - I got pretty down about my weight gain and felt like it (I) wasn't worth the effort... but this challenge got me thinking and I even decided it would be nice to have something 'new'. I don't take a very good photo, but here's the finished product. Hopefully my description of the process will be useful.

I made this with the impending Australian Summer in mind, and also since gaining weight I prefer looser clothing.
I started with a shirt from the thrift shop that cost $4.00.

 I could do up the button under the bust but tummy and hip areas were not accommodated.
I decided to set my own parameters for the challenge - I wanted to do it all with the one shirt, no extra fabric. This is because all the beautiful projects featuring men's button-down shirts usually begin with shirts that are big and the project is all about shrinking it down, and while I do love those, I wanted to try something that would be helpful to those of us who hardly ever find shirts in attractive fabrics that are so much bigger than we are to start with.
By the way, here's my attractive fabric:

 (100% cotton, so ironing would have been good, but I only realized this challenge was on yesterday so I've been rushed).
First step: Admire the shirt you are starting with, knowing that you will make it into something you can wear:

2nd step: Chop, chop sideseams and sleeves:
 
3rd step: I took the cuffs off the sleeves:

4th step: Try on your chopped shirt to get an idea of what you will need to insert/modify:
  (sorry for hopeless self-photography)
5th step: These are my two sleeves. I have chopped them to make two parts - the top part will go back onto the blouse as the final-product-sleeves, the bottom part will be modified and inserted in the side to increase the girth of the blouse:
 
6th step: I got those bottom sleeve pieces and halved them downways, then put the two pieces together to make the strip to insert in the side of my blouse.

7th step: I hemmed the ends while I was at it. These hemmed ends will become part of the existing hem on the blouse. Notice the plackets from the cuffs... these make a cute hem-edge detail on the finished blouse.

8th step: I trimmed those strips I made so that they'll insert nicely into the side-seams of the blouse.

9th step: Pin strips in and try it on. The dangly bit will get cut off and used in the sleeve.

10th step: Testing out the sleeve - this would fit but I'm making mine a little looser with the dangly bit I mentioned before.
 
11th step: Here's the bit that previously dangled being inserted into the sleeve.
 
12th step: With more time I'd do something fancier with the sleeves - cap sleeves or puff sleeves - but ever-mindful of how little time I have handy I am just doing boring sleeves. For all practical purposes you could stick the sleeves in and just stop here... but I am going to alter the neckline to make it look less masculine.
So that was 12 steps to something wearable - and it didn't need any extra fabric!
 But then I went and cut the collar out.
13th step:
 
14th step: So here I am, unironed and trying to photograph myself - but you'll see the neckline has changed. I can now leave the shirt buttoned up as the neckline fits over my head. I might even stitch the front down so that the buttonholes won't get spoiled in the wash.

Collar detail: The collar is made from the original collar plus the two cuffs. I just let them overlap and I'm really pleased with the final effect.


I had been feeling down and had not sewn myself anything for so long and this challenge really cheered me. I'm thinking of looking in the thrift store for another shirt and I won't be sad about all the shirts being too small for me - I'll find the one made of the nicest fabric and bring it home and make it fit!

I also thought of trying a version using a Winter shirt that would turn into something like a short-sleeved jumper to wear over a long-sleeved skivvy... but that will be a project for the Australian Winter - right now I'm thinking of the sleeve and collar variations I might deploy on another Summer version.

 Smiley
2  COOKING / Dessert / Monster Fruit Platter on: January 20, 2012 07:11:28 PM
I've forgotten to photograph most of what I made over the festive season, but I did make a couple of these for a couple of parties... a nice way to serve fruit, inspired by a photo in a book called "Every day's a holiday : year-round crafting with kids"
3  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / Zippered pouches as gifts x 3 on: December 26, 2010 07:37:27 PM
I referenced both the tutorial on Craftster and one at http://flossieteacakes.blogspot.com/2009/05/lined-zippered-pouch-make-up-bag.html to make these pouches.  One I made for a friend for shampoos, etc.  It is tall enough to throw in the regular supermarket-size shampoo bottles rather than mini-bottles.

The lovely fabric suits my lovely friend perfectly:


I made my oldest daughter a pouch and matching edged cloth strips for her home-leg-waxing (nice to make an inelegant procedure a little 'prettier'):

Finally, a pencil case for another friend:


I enjoyed making these.
4  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Attempted pony, dog, chooks for Christmas gifts on: December 26, 2010 07:13:38 PM
Pony for a pony-loving daughter:

I had a photocopied page from a vintage pattern book and there's a lot I don't know about sewing toys... evidently.  I had a lot of trouble from the start because instead of choosing a woven fabric I wanted to use some black, slightly stretchy velvet - which proceeded to warp and slither as I sewed.  Consequently this pony has the worst hip displacia ever - but it does stand up, because a pony that can't stand would be lame... give it a minute...

The vintage pattern just had button eyes, but I figured it wouldn't be hard to use toy eyeballs and make some fabric eyelids and thankfully this is the only part of the project that didn't have me grinding my teeth.  If you are wondering how I got this legendary curly hair effect... I simply forgot to buy the yarn that the pattern required for mane and tail and in desperation I unravelled a piece of practice crochet I'd done months ago... curly hair!

Next up, a dog, wisely executed in a sturdy woven fabric (my son had once told me he like this remnant when he was searching through my stash - and the dog was for him):

On the side you can't see is a little bell I attached to the neckchain - very cute.  I got the free pattern for this at http://allsorts.typepad.com/allsorts/2006/05/softie_scotty_d.html

Finally, I saw this photo (http://www.flickr.com/photos/swirlyarts/4387202672/in/photostream/) on Flickr and got inspired to make a mini-flock for a friend who keeps chooks (and often gives me eggs).

I thought they could actually double as a juggling kit and might attempt something along those lines in the future.

5  IMAGE REPRODUCTION TECHNIQUES / Stenciling: Discussion and Questions / Cute stencil ideas for fundraiser shopping bags... suggestions? on: December 09, 2008 02:55:35 PM
Our school is holding a fair next year to raise money for classroom equipment.  One of our stalls will be crafts, including sewn goods.  I thought I could use some of my stash fabric to make some shopping bags (Craftster = awesome source of tutorials) and I wondered if anyone has seen anything witty that could be stencilled onto plain ones about shopping.  I don't want to pinch anyone's original idea unless they are happy to share it in this context, but I am sure that Craftsters will have better ideas than me.  I've looked at stencilry, but apart from the warning not to make anything for sale using their stencils, I actually didn't find the shopping-related witticisms I was hoping for.

By the way, I've done some stencilling using the techniques discussed here and been sooooo happy with how they've worked out.  Thanks to everyone who has built up such a great store of stencilling information.
6  CITY GUIDES FOR CRAFTSTERS / AUSTRALIA / Formalwear design/sew competition through Spotlight on: June 13, 2008 03:16:48 AM
http://www.spotlight.com.au/vip/current_promos/formal_wear_competition
Much as I dislike helping large companies with their advertising, I still thought it would be great to let Aussie Craftsters know about this.  Naturally spotlight expects you to purchase the fabric for your creation from their stores - fair enough.

I noticed in the terms and conditions (Number 6) it says "For the purpose of this competition, a quilt is defined as clothing designed for or customarily worn on formal occasions, such as tuxedos and evening gowns."  Looks like somebody forgot to proof-read, eh?  Worn a quilt to your formal recently... anyone?

Good luck to anyone entering.
7  CLOTHING / Clothing for Kids: Completed Projects / 9th Birthday Party Dresses x 6 on: February 05, 2008 12:50:18 AM
or 7, if you count the one I made for my youngest who wanted a dress just like her big sister.

Basically, with reference to the Quickie (Infinity) dress thread (http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=104089.0) I let my daughter have a fashion themed 9th birthday party where each guest was given one of these dresses.

I guesstimated the girls sizes based on how they appeared to measure up compared to my own daughter and got things mostly right.  I made the dresses out of stretch panne velvet, so it is sort of like dancewear.  I wish I had more photos, but I was the only adult at this sleepover party and cooking, hairstyling, manicuring and leading them in games, jewellery-making and other crafts meant that I was flat out. Tongue  Here's one that shows the dress style and colour:


Here's a shot showing how the scraps got utilised during the hairstyling sessions:


Here's a shot of the six dresses bundled up together with booklets I made explaining different tying styles (so when they get home their mothers can help them try more styles):


Finally, I admire my little girl so much, who wanted a party where every one of her special friends got a great gift - and she agreed we would do this instead of getting her an extravagant gift (she chose a $10 school backpack as a gift from the family in addition to the new dress).

It was a great party theme and I bought a jar of beads in a complementing colour so they all made jewellery to go with their new dresses as well.
8  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Misc. Gift Idea Brain Blockage / Little token gift to put with a card - for children exchanging cards at school on: October 05, 2007 06:05:37 PM
I was really surprised when I found out that so many of the kids at my children's school exchange Christmas cards.  It is charming, because even at 5 y.o. my son was determined to write them all himself.  The kids generally tape a candy cane or lolly to the envelope.  Last year we taped little "Mondo figurines" on because I don't like adding to the sugar overflow at this time of year.  (If you are curious here's a link to Mondo Figurines: http://www.megacom.net/~arkones/mondo.html)

I was thinking today that we had better come up with another non-sugar idea before it gets too close to December, just in case it is something I need to craft (2 kids with 24 in each of their classes = 48 of whatever little gift we decide upon and it really can't be too expensive).

Any ideas?  So far all I've come up with is felt Christmas ornaments.

Good grief... I've just realised that in 2008 the 3rd child will be at school... and 3 x 24 = 72!!!!  Clearly, in 2008 the oldest child will have to cut down on the number of cards she gives and make the little tokens herself!
9  CLOTHING / Clothing for Curvaceous Craftsters: Discussion and Questions / Pattern Selection Advice - Your fresh ideas might help my jaded sewing outlook. on: September 10, 2007 11:38:47 PM
I'm having a hard time visualising a good style of pattern to buy.  Primarily I wear pants and tops but I'd love to find a flattering dress pattern if possible.  I am tallish, plus-sized, muscular legs but have just your standard, cleavage-free b-cup bustline (except for the memorable few weeks early in my breastfeeding career where they painfully exploded up to an e-cup)... so I am apple/pear shaped I suppose.

It is hard to visualise something built for this shape, as patterns are either depicted on slim models or on bountiful plus-size girls who have the hourglass thing happening.  I don't want to invest time and money into a garment which will end up emphasising my stomach!  (I just finished sewing a skirt which does exactly that and which I will never wear unless I can think of a clever rescue).

I'd love some pattern suggestions because I find I am just looking at the same patterns over and over without feeling any inspiration.
10  CLOTHING / Clothing for Kids: Completed Projects / Tartan skirt for my twirling girl on: August 20, 2007 05:44:22 PM
Our family is invited to a Scottish themed party for which we are requested to wear some tartan.  None of us had any such clothing, so I have to make it.  First item was a tartan skirt for my 8 year old daughter.  I was originally going to make a mini but the Australian Winter has decided to have one last shot at being believable and the weather is a bit cold and wet for a mini considering the party is to be outdoors.

I didn't have a pattern but I had a good general idea of what I wanted to make.  Here it is:


I just used her waist measurement to create the yoke.  It has a lapped (right word?) zipper (ie you can't see the zip because it is under a flap) and a snap fastener on the waistband.  The rest was just lots of pleating, pleating, pleating and being very careful to make sure that the tartan matches up all the way around.  There was loads of ironing to finish it off properly (the most boring bit, but my tip to anyone doing this is to use clothes pegs to keep your freshly ironed pleats 'closed' so that they cool off and 'set' in position).  Here's the twirl shot:

The preview is showing my pics as huge but I've already shrunk them to 45%, so hopefully they will post okay.
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