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1  QUILTING / Quilting: Completed Projects / Not your average t-shirt quilt on: March 22, 2015 09:09:43 PM




I'm really excited to finally share this! It's my own version of the Anthropologie rosette quilt, made from old t-shirts!

It's gloriously soft and dangerously cozy. I used only the softest old tees from my stash. Remember back when those slinky "tissue tees" were really trendy, even though they were awkwardly somewhat see-through and lost their shape after a month? There's also a dress and a skirt in the mix too. (Nothing like a colorful quilt to justify my hoarding issues! Wink )

Each patch is sewn on top of a square of woven cotton (cut from old button-down shirts), which stabilizes the jersey so it doesn't get stretched out along the seams. The backing and binding are super-soft jersey fabric from Mood. It makes the quilt a little heavy, but I love how it's all drapey and decadent. It won't lose its shape though thanks to the stabilizing squares inside, which also allowed me to skip the batting.



Okay so, confession time... It's not exactly a legit "quilt" because it's tied (with multicolored ties!). But if we're going to be technical, the binding at least is "quilted" through all the layers, so that means I can call it a quilt if want. Right? Right? Wink

Confession #2: I actually finished the quilt about a year ago, all except for the binding. Now I know most quilters tend to put their projects aside for a while before finishing (I like to call it "aging" the quilt, like a fine wine). However, with this quilt, during that year without binding, I... uhhhh... still used the quilt once in a while, even with safety pins all over the sides. Not my proudest moment, haha. But now I'm very proud to finally show off the finished product! And use it without guilt! Wink

Confession #3: I'm already dreaming up the next one! It seems like this design could work with any light-weight fabric, so I'm thinking I might try a full-size version in mixed satin prints... Smiley



Thanks for looking! Smiley
2  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Wall hanging made from fabric scraps on: March 14, 2015 03:16:22 PM




A little textile experiment! It was originally supposed to be a small rug, but it turned out a little too small (the woven part is about 11" x 19"). I'm still really pleased with it though. I seriously can't stop staring at it. Smiley

3  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Pin-up girl peplum top on: July 09, 2014 04:35:12 PM


I wore this sundress for my college graduation (4 years ago now, yikes!). I was really thrilled to find out it fits me again, but I was not thrilled with how short it was in back... so now it's a top!

Just a simple cut and hem situation. It tapers to be slightly lower in the back (mullet/hi-lo hem?). I made straps out of the leftovers to give it a fun retro pin-up girl kind of look.

Now I just need to find a boy to buy me an ice-cream soda down at the drugstore...



4  CLOTHING / Clothing: Discussion and Questions / side pockets on overlay skirt? Can it be done? on: April 22, 2014 05:10:25 AM
I'm looking to make something similar to this dress---

http://mevoque.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/alexa-chung_kang-z-feng_net-a-porter-magazine-spring-summer-ss-2011_mevoque.jpg

I just bought some lovely red stretch lace and a light pink lightweight synthetic knit for the lining (not sure what it's called, it's sporty). It's going to just pull over my head, no zippers. And I've already made a pink tulle petticoat, which I can wear under the dress for that poufy look! I'm super excited to dive in, but one thing is bothering me... How can I make this with pockets?

In my quest to put pockets on everything, I've always been stumped by the overlay skirt. How can make this with side pockets and still have the lace lay nicely over the lining? Has anyone done this before? Or seen it done on a garment? Let me know if you have any answers or ideas! Thanks!
5  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / A dash of NEON hat on: January 30, 2014 08:18:57 PM


The photo doesn't quite do it justice. This pom pom is SO BRIGHT. I almost chickened out and took it off. But fortune favors the brave! I've received many a compliment on the color combo, and it is quite the conversation starter. Also it's wonderfully warm and soft (alpaca-merino blend!).

I made it during the first "polar vortex" that hit NYC. I had a snow day from work, and I just huddled under some quilts next to the heater knitting away like a total Brooklyn cliche. It was lovely. I made up the pattern myself, and it was my first time doing seed stitch!  The whole thing makes me so happy- the colors, the warmth, the perfect fit, and just the thrill of making. Smiley

6  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Dowdy pantsuit to dapper wool coat! on: December 02, 2013 04:15:13 PM


I'm so proud of this coat! Ahhhhh! I want to wear it EVERY DAY! And I CAN! Because it's a coat, and that's socially acceptable!

BUT... all great things come at a price. There is a darker side to my story. For in order to bring this beautiful coat to life, I had to commit a murder... I had to hunt down and slay this wild beast of a thrifted pantsuit --- http://i55.photobucket.com/albums/g157/lancaster5/Photoon2012-10-08at21224.jpg

It was a gorgeous gray tweed in 100% virgin wool. That's right! No slutty sheep in THIS coat!

So after the virgin suit sacrifice, it was simply a matter of cutting off the jacket at the waist, turning the pants into the skirt part, and adding more buttons. Oh yeah, and overcoming my enormous fear of failure EVERY STEP OF THE WAY. And perfectionisting all over the place - taking in the sleeves & waist to fit better, hand sewing keyhole-button-holes, making welt pockets for the first time, and ironing EVERY seam. But it was worth it. Cause see how dapper I look! Smiley





Mirror shot to show the length:


And another flirty over the shoulder shot... I feel so flirty in this coat!
7  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Plastic bags basket on: November 16, 2013 07:45:45 AM


I made this little basket out of nothing but plastic bags! It's about nine inches wide. I don't know if I'll use it for anything, but it's looking cute on an end table in our living room right now.

Now I'm itching to make a big storage basket. I still have TONS more bags...
8  QUILTING / Quilting: Discussion and Questions / silk and polyester on a mostly cotton quilt? (updated w/ pics!) on: February 19, 2013 06:25:19 PM
---UPDATED---

I finished sewing the quilt top!!!! Behold!!!



I actually love how the silk turned out! I like that little shine it adds. It was a pain to work with though... I ended up backing all the silk pieces with an extra triangle of cotton for stability (and sanity). Maybe I should have done the same with the polyester... too late now, CAUSE I'M NOT TURNING BACK!!

But now I understand why most quilters stick to 100% cotton. I used to think it was just a pretentious hobbyist sort of thing... but no. Out of all the fibers in this mess of a first quilt (top), the cotton was the kindest to me. Two of the poly blends were okay, but most of them were finicky, and one of them will never relinquish its wrinkles, even though I steam-ironed it! (Though I guess that's why I decided it deserved to be a blanket rather than clothing...)

So now my plan is to quilt "in the ditch" by machine. I think it's small enough and thin enough for that. Though I really have no idea. And binding? I'll figure it out.

But first I must acquire more ivory thread. Quilts use SO MUCH thread.


---OLD POST---

I'm a long time sew-er, first time quilter. I'm making a quilt out of scrap fabric and a few old clothes (something that will hopefully look similar to this-- http://www.flickr.com/photos/ohsohappytogether/7441739272/, but probably smaller.)

Most of the stuff I'm planning to use is cotton/poly blend. A few are 100% cotton. The problem is, there are two colors that I REALLY want to have in there, and one is 100% polyester and the other is 100% silk. It's all machine washable, so I'm not worried about that. And they both have a matte finish. But they have a different thickness, drape, and feel than the other fabrics, so I'm worried it might look silly. But I CAN'T sacrifice my beautiful color scheme!

It's just a "scrap quilt" so it doesn't have to be heirloom quality, right? And I'm probably going to love it no matter what, right?

Has anyone ever mixed fibers like that before? Any regrets? Should I just go for it?
9  QUILTING / Quilting: Discussion and Questions / Wool blanket as batting? on: September 12, 2012 05:08:58 AM
This is not exactly about quilting, but I was wondering if it would be a good idea to open up an old comforter and stick an old wool blanket inside. Then sew it back up and get cozy. Does this sound feasible for a novice?

It was unseasonably cold last night and my landlord hasn't turned on the heat yet, so I found myself freezing even under two (polyfill) comforters. I tossed and turned for hours, trying to warm up and fall asleep, until I had the brilliant idea to throw my vintage 100% wool coat over the comforters and curl up under it. Bam! Instantly warm and cozy! I fell asleep within minutes.

Then this morning I looked online for a wool blanket, but they're expensive! There are some cheaper blends, but 100% wool did the trick, so 100% wool is what I want. I found some on ebay for quite cheap, but I feel weird using someone else's old blanket on my bed. Blankets can be kind of personal, and wool absorbs stuff in a way I don't want to think about when I'm trying to sleep...

SO, my plan is to buy a cheap ugly warm cozy 100% wool blanket, open up the elder of my two comforters, and sew it in (along with the polyester batting) The only "quilting" on the comforter is 7 or eight vertical lines of machine stitching, which would probably be easy to take out to get the blanket in, and then redo to keep it in place, right? I've never made a quilt or blanket before, and I don't have much experience working with wool, but I'm good at sewing. Does this sound do-able? Are there any giant flaws in my brilliant plan? I would really appreciate some input from experienced quilters and blanket-makers! Thanks!
10  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / thrifted leather jacket to hobo bag! on: July 18, 2012 02:22:54 PM


I made this bag out of a thrifted leather jacket 2 years ago (and didn't think to post it till now!) I won't show you the lining because after two years of carrying it every day, it has taken quite a beating... Seriously, every day. It fits my laptop so I used it as a bookbag in grad school.

I didn't get a great picture of the strap, but it's braided and very cute. The pockets are from the original jacket, and they're quite useful for holding all the doodads I carry around. The leather is so buttery soft and rich. All for under $10! Yay for up-cycling!







Thanks for looking!

------------------------------TIPS------------------------------
So a lot of people were asking for tips to make their own, so I thought I'd add them here. Also, I've replaced the lining since I posted this, so basically I'll be using this bag forever...

I sewed it on a regular machine with heavy duty thread. I used a regular needle for this one, but I recommend a needle specifically made for leather because the stitching looks nicer and it's healthier for your sewing machine.

The way a regular needle works on fabric is it pushes fibers aside to pull the thread into the weave, and then the weave holds the thread in place. Leather isn't made up of fibers, it's all one mass, so the needle needs extra pressure to bore through and make a hole in the leather. Needles made for leather have a little blade at the tip, which cuts a tiny slit in the leather so that the needle doesn't have to bore through. It makes the stitches look more even and nice too.

Whatever needle you're using, remember to use a longer stitch length. When you sew on fabric, you can take out stitches if you make a mistake and the weave smoothes out over the "holes," right? But with leather, once the needle goes through, that hole is permanent. Now, if your stitches are close together, the seam is going to be weak because as soon as you have something heavy in your bag, that seam is going to rip from hole to hole like toilet paper. If the holes are farther apart, the seam is stronger.

If you want to try making one, but you don't want to buy a leather needle, just make your design so that it doesn't have any top-stitching (so all of the seams would be right sides together and hidden inside). Top stitching looks awful if you don't have a leather needle and heavy duty thread. Also, if you're using a regular needle, don't try to go through too many layers at once (you'll break the needle, or worse, your machine). On this bag, I hand sewed the part where the strap connects to the bag because there were so many layers of leather, lining, interfacing, and zipper, I wouldn't have been able to do it on the machine.

Another tip: Iron your seams! It looks so much more professional. Of course, this applies to all sewing! Just be careful with your iron settings so you don't damage the finish on the leather. Test on scraps first, and maybe iron through a cotton cloth to be safe.
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