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1  Smallish man's button-down to upsized blouse in Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed by j_en 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.

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2  Monster Fruit Platter in Dessert by j_en 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"
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3  Zippered pouches as gifts x 3 in Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General by j_en 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.
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4  Attempted pony, dog, chooks for Christmas gifts in Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects by j_en 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.

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5  Re: Gingerbread house ideas - only without the gingerbread in Dessert by j_en on: November 17, 2010 05:39:26 AM
A couple of years ago I made individual gift size (ie. miniature) gingerbread houses using this chocolate biscuit recipe: http://smittenkitchen.com/2008/04/brownie-roll-out-cookies/  They held up really well.

Last year (and admittedly I was using gingerbread, but the chocolate biscuit would work just as well) I made mini gingerbread pyramids for a few children and gave them out with a small ziplock of royal icing and a bag of sweets so that it was an edible craft activity they could enjoy themselves.  The gingerbread was more of a 'carrier' for sweets than anything else - that's why triangular pyramids were sufficient (plus my improvised assembly line meant I could make loads at once). Not glamorous but the kids loved it. Here's one my daughter decorated (I think she ate a few lollies before they found their way onto the gingerbread!)

I remember years ago a friend had a recipe for something called "log cabin" and it was sturdy - a kind of layering of chocolate icing with plain biscuits (something like Arnotts Morning Coffee biscuits I think) and they were made into stacks and then cut so that the biscuit/icing stripe looked like log cabin walls.  Not sure how huge you could go with this though.

What about sheets of toffee or that toffee-with-popcorn-and-nuts-in-it stuff?

Good luck with the project!
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6  Re: Awesome fabric, and no clue what to do with it. in What the heck can I do with THIS? by j_en on: July 08, 2008 05:56:35 PM
I once made a shrug from a scarf and the pattern worked to advantage - I just made sure I got it bang in the middle.

I'm on the lookout for another similar one so I can make this again.

Good luck with your scarf - it really is so lovely that it is worth using in a way that will be seen.
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7  Re: quickie dress that anybody can make in Clothing Sewalongs by j_en on: May 16, 2008 04:18:19 AM
I keep seeing questions about how much fabric to use and I know this isn't explicitly dealt with in the tute.  I'm not very confident about my math but I'll have a go at explaining how I worked it out.  I'm more than happy for someone more mathematically minded to improve on my advice - won't be offended at all!  Cheesy

Here's a diagram to help with my explanation:

So lets say we are making a dress for someone who is 58 (173cm) tall with a waist measurement of 32 (81cm) and a middle-boob to armpit measurement of 9 (23cm).  They want the dress to fall mid-calf, which on them is 31 (78cm) below their waist.

To cut the skirt in one piece they would need fabric of a width equivalent to 2 x drop of 31 plus the diameter of the circle for their waist measurement but this would be 31+31+11=73 (185cm) very wide fabric!  You will probably have to count on cutting 2 pieces instead.  Each of these would need fabric wide enough to accommodate the waist to hem drop plus the radius of your waist measurement.  In our example thats 31+5.5=36.5 (92.5cm).  Its usually easy to find stretch fabric in this measurement.  I lay my fabric out carefully and chalk all my cutting lines on.  I use a measuring tape pivoting from the centre of my circle to measure out my outer circle (for the bottom hem) and then again for the waistline.  This creates two parallel arcs.  The length of the fabric used is the original 73 (185cm) for the half circle, so for a full circle skirt you will two lengths like this, ie. 146 (370cm).  If you are not making a full circle skirt I cant help with the maths maths is not my forte.  I have made a   circle one of these and the important thing to remember is that it isnt just of a circle skirt you would end up with only of your waist measurement if you did that you can still do it but you have to remember that the circle must still accommodate 100% of your waist.  Ultimately I managed it but I did have to chalk it out twice because my first lot of chalking was wrong and I only just managed to realise it before I cut!
If you are really lucky your fabric will be wide enough to accommodate the straps along one edge beside where you cut your circle, but if not allow for the length of these.  They look better without a seam in the middle (which might land right on your boobs when you are tying certain styles), so I wouldn't be tempted to piece them just to save on fabric purchase.  Remember leftover stretch fabric is always useful, and it might encourage you to make the matching boob tube to wear underneath and expand the range of styles you can manage.  I actually made matching underpants for one version.  Ive made 9 of these for children and one for an adult.  It is not hard if I can do it!  Hope this helps.
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8  9th Birthday Party Dresses x 6 in Clothing for Kids: Completed Projects by j_en 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 (https://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.
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9  Re: Post your photography in here :D in More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works by j_en on: October 09, 2007 03:53:35 AM
I've always got datestamp turned on on my camera because otherwise I just can't remember where/when I've taken the kids  Cheesy  Anyway, we recently had a wonderful time at Taronga Zoo.

This big guy was surprisingly agile when fish were in the offing.  His name is James. 

We had great seats for the seal show and I've finally overcome 'digital-lag' - that delay between pressing the button and the camera getting the shot...

Finally, my youngest daughter spotted a bearded dragon which was just wandering around - not caged.  She had hopes of catching it, but it was too fast for her

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10  Re: Patterns in Clothing for Curvaceous Craftsters: Discussion and Questions by j_en on: September 26, 2007 06:22:51 PM
Mim, I agree that M4510 has really intriguing lines.  They lend themselves really well to same colour/different texture fabrics - I'm imagining a fabric which has a slightly different front/back texture working well for this.  I notice it's an out-of-print pattern, but I've decided to set up an eBay search for it in case I strike it lucky - I think I'd sew this one even though I don't have much of a figure for dresses.  For me it might even work cropped and flared as a tunic top.

I also really liked the jacket you chose - it's got a touch of glamour and could be worn on so many occasions dressed up or down.

In keeping with the spirit of this thread let me show you my latest pattern purchase... an out of print Vogue via eBay which I hope to sew up as soon as it arrives:

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