Pleated Sleeve Blouse Refasion

I bought a few items from Goodwill last weekend to modify as wardrobe additions. At this point, I've only managed to do one of them.

I went from this:

Basic, black, long-sleeved button down. Nothing really wrong with it, but it's just dull.
 To this:

Those are chemical structures embroidered on the tie. Awesome, I know.

Basically, all I did was cut off the sleeves with about a 1" seam allowance. I then took the remaining portions of the sleeves and cut them into 2" wide strips. I folded them in half and then pleated them to fit the circumference of the sleeve hole. From there I sewed them on and added some topstitching for a decorative and functional effect.

I'm not a long-sleeved person, so I was very happy with how this turned out. A lovely new shirt for only $3.50!

Do you do any Goodwill modifications to clothes to make them more "you"?


So close! (birthday dress that wasn't)

I've been making good progress on Butterick 5029. I even managed to put in the invisible zipper rather well (I cannot stress how much better it was to baste the zipper instead of pinning it and then directly sewing.
It's not hemmed yet. Even if I had been able to finish, I'd still need a good 24 hours for the dress to hang before I could hem it.
I was even hoping to wear it for my birthday today (woohoo! I'm 24). But when I tried it on Sunday evening, it felt a little loose. And it was very very loose. Not in the hips. Nor the midsection. Not even the main part of the bust.

Doesn't look to bad from the front, but it just didn't feel right.
 Instead, I got this.

The hot mess unpinned, as is.
Pinned with 1.5" taken in at each side, but not starting until halfway up the bust section (where the split appears)

And now I'm at a loss on how to fix it without causing major pulling or other issues. I've got a few hours worth of internet research to figure it out. Oh well.

This really has been a setback type of project? Anyone else working on a project like this right now?


Fabric Decisions

I have some fabric decisions to make. I am currently working on a shirt for my friend's birthday. I am basing the shirt off of one that I already own.

Okay, so I gravitate to a certain style and fit for RTW. Don't judge me! =P

This should be easy in terms of  construction: another raglan-sleeved top with shirring detail (there is a side tie bow at the bottom that got cut off a little bit).

I picked out the fabric below for the top. Unfortunately, I am in love with both sides equally. The lighter side is supposed to be the "right" side, but you really can't tell that the darker side is the "wrong side". I do not want to do something where both sides are visible. My boyfriend suggested making it reversible, but that's far too much work for a shirt that needs to be finished in about a week.
I can't decide!
Help me out by taking the poll below!



Remake of a favorite shirt

I regret my closet purge. I mean, I wouldn't regret it so much if I had restocked my closet since then. But with the exception of a few items, I fell like I am lacking some items--basic staples, cardigans {I'm hoping to snag one or two at Goodwill and spruce them up them using Grosgrain as inspiration, and a few other work-home double pieces.

I have this one shirt (really a dressy T-shirt/peasant blouse hybrid) from Old Navy that I love. In purple. But, like many of my well-loved garments, it's got some wear and tear issues. I can totally fix it, but I am waiting on purple thread I know I have in my stash at my brother's house.

The original Old Navy top. From this picture you can't tell, but the bottom band is split along one seam and elasticity has been lost around the bottom band and a little on the neckline.
Yesterday, I went to JoAnn to get some more thread for my Butterick dress. And while I was there, I saw this adorable fabric that I felt compelled to buy. When I got home, I decided to remake my Old Navy shirt.

In terms of construction, this garment is pretty simple. It's a raglan-style T with a shirred band at the bottom. I simply traced around the shirt (stretching where appropriate) and gave myself about 1/2" seam allowance. I overcast all of the seams on the inside to prevent fraying and overcast the edges around the neckline as in the original.

Some alterations I made were to add shirring on the sleeves (just one row) and overcast the sleeve edges instead of hemming them. I also added two non-functional buttons to the front.

Normally I would model my clothes, but I am still sporting a black eye and a swollen face from the surgery, so my dress form will have to do.

I love the shirt, but I don't know if I am 100% sold on the buttons. I can't decide if I should add 1-2 more, or if I should remove them both. Any suggestions?


Shirt Saved with Shirring

Like the alliteration?

I've had this one tank top for about goodness, 6(?) years or so now, since high school. And sadly, it lost all of the elasticity in the straps, which made it unwearable for the past year or so.

However, with my new understanding of shirring, I was able to fix this in about 10 minutes. Hooray for a new lease on a favorite item!
Tank top in progress of repair. The difference between the fixed strap(right) and "loose" one (left) is pretty obvious.
Detail of the shirred strap. Ignore the threads I haven't cut
This is one of my favorite things about learning how to sew--I can hang onto a garment after it is starting to get old, I can recreate favorite looks from old clothes or things that I can't afford, and I can make (well, almost) anything I can imagine!


Taco Soup

Hell TSKB Readers!

I'd be lying if I said that I was trying to post regularly this week; the whole surgery thing kinda kicked my butt. To top it off, I had an orthodontist appointment yesterday, and he ended up re-opening most of the surgical sites, so I'm back in pain.

Because I knew I would not have any desire to cook, and because I knew I can't eat solid foods for a while, I decided to pull out the crockpot and try something different.

I found this recipe online for Taco soup on Our Best Bites. Easy to follow directions that include a stovetop version and a slow cooker one. I chose the latter.

This makes a LOT of soup. I couldn't even fit in the second can of diced tomatoes or the second can of kidney beans, and mine came out more stew-y and less soup-y.

It was good, but I think next time I'll cut down on the garlic (4 cloves is a lot!) and probably throw some black beans in instead of the corn. However, this soup is great because I made it Wednesday and there's enough to get me through lunches and dinners until Monday.

What things are you looking forward to making in your slow cooker this fall/winter?


Sewing gods aren't smiling

I am currently taking two sick days to recover from some -lovely- oral surgery where the last of my baby teeth (yes, at the age of 23, I still had 4 baby teeth: my canines) were yanked out, my gums were cut into, my jaw was drilled a bit, and the new teeth have brackets and chains just waiting to be attached. Mentally, I'm good, But I can't really talk without pain. And as a teacher, I kinda have to talk. I hope I'll be up to going to work tomorrow. Grad school tonight will be my test.

But enough about life's unpleasantries, let's talk about sewing unpleasantries. I had ONE goal this weekend: to finish up the green dress (Butterick 5029) that I've mentioned here and here. All was going well.
The back

Cute strap detail

I thought to myself Wow, I'm actually going to make this arbitrary sewing deadline I set for myself. How cool!
The front, which looks awesome1

...and then I ran out of thread gathering the skirt portion. At this point it was close to 5pm on a Sunday afternoon. Yes, I could have gone to JoAnn and gotten more thread (the Boy even volunteered to go with me/do it for me!), but I decided to throw in the towel for the night.

In other news, I went to JoAnn with my sister-in-law and did find fabric for my dress pants. It was a tad more than I wanted to pay, but I managed to get that lovely camel color. It's been prewashed; now I just need time to actually lay out the pattern pieces and cut! I'm nervous!


Not a winner, but...

So Shabby Apple posted the winner of their Dare to Design Contest on Thursday.

Unfortunately, I was not the winner of the contest. I did post a picture of the winning design below.

Little Season is the designer of the winning creation.

I think it's great that Shabby Apple is expanding their line into separates, and a separates item won the contest.

Although I am disappointed that I didn't win, I really don't consider myself a loser. For one thing, this was the first time I entered the contest, and I made it into the top 15 finalists! This was also the first creation I ever made without a pattern, so that was exciting. This contest helped increase traffic to my blog (albeit temporarily), and I got to see a great outpouring of support from family, friends, and coworkers.

If they offer the contest again next year, you can bet that I'll be trying again.


The sucessful fabric

I did mention that I did not have the best of luck at JoAnn fabrics recently, but I am pushing forward with the one dress. And boy, is it taking a while to drape the front! I want it to be as symmetrical and even as possible, so I have pinned this thing far beyond excess. I think I am going to do all of the gathering on the top pieces before I baste them and then sew them together. I feel that if I were to do it one after the other, as the directions state, that the pieces might look too different (or I am probably just being paranoid).

I did remember to prewash this fabric (I forget that a lot. Or, if I do remember, I hand wash it because spending $1.75 to wash and $1.75 to dry one piece of fabric seems far too expensive), so hopefully it will fit after the first was or two!

The pictures I have aren't fabulous, but they show enough detail for you to see my pinning obsession. =D

Are there any time-consuming techniques that you feel have to be "just right" and are worth an extra hour of fussing until you find it perfect?


Settling in to the September Routine

So the beginning of this school year has been interesting to say the least. The first day of school was cancelled due to power losses and road closures from Hurricane Irene. Then, on Thursday we had a two hour delay that turned into a cancellation at 7:30 (I was already at school because I missed the initial phone call *sob*).

On September 6th, my grad school class started up again. It's going to be a lot of work seeing as it's a laboratory class. I really want to keep taking this class, but I don't know if I can work and do the workload that the class requires.

So, with all of that hubbub going on, I haven't posted in a while. I'm going to try to get back on a more regular schedule, even if it means posting an entire week's worth of entries on the weekends.

On Labor Day I went over to my older brother's house. He and his wife hosted a cookout; I was informed to either bring a veggie tray or a cheese and crackers platter. I knew I didn't want to do something conventional since my last cookout item was such a hit, so I searched through my bookmarks to find something suitable.
Are those....mice?

 Yes, itsy bitsy mice. I found this adorable idea on the blog Cute Food For Kids (click here for the how-to). I would check out this blog anytime you want some cute food inspiration! The stuff is awesome!

I did not have sesame seeds, so I used poppy seeds. And instead of a hotdog I used the little mini pepperoni guys. My tails didn't turn out as well as the ones on the how-to, but I still like them!

Have you made any cute food creations lately?


Not a lotta luck at JoAnn

I went into JoAnn Fabrics yesterday with a pretty solid list of things I was looking for. However, I think the budget gods (money's a teensy bit tight at the moment) were trying to help me out because after an hour and a half in the store, I nearly walked out empty handed.

My goal was to obtain the following:
  • Fabric for my pants. Preferably in a brown solid, or at least something in the brown family
  • Lining for my dress. I would have used the original fabric I bought, but I wanted the lining to be a teensy bit stiffer, and that fabric is back up to $12.99 a yard.
  • Fabric for a pencil skirt. I was hoping for a lovely purple shade.
So I go into the store. First off, it is -packed-. It's a Friday afternoon, but I have never seen so many people in the store. It turns out there is a 50% sale on all red-tag items. There are far too many children running around without supervision and crying. There's a reason I teach high school and not elementary school.

I start with the pants. Now, I guess either a) I really know nothing about fabric, or b)JoAnn just wanted to mess with me. On the back of all the pattern envelopes, they give fabric recommendations, and because I have invested so much time in these pants, I thought I'd listen to them instead of just pick what I want.

JoAnn Fabrics does not use words like "garbadine" and "tricot". They just say "suiting fabrics", and for me, there was a hug variety in the drape and weight of the fabrics in that section. And forget the tricot. I had no idea where to look for that. If it weren't so busy, I'd play stupid customer, but there I was. (In hindsight, I should have taken all those notes about fabric types I wanted to from that lovely library book)

Feeling frustrated, I went to the back, the clearance section. I find this awesome corduroy-esque material that would be awesome for pants (maybe it's not garbadine, but I just want something at this point).
After searching online, this is the closest visual I could find. However, the cord part was almost patterned
So I take my victorious fabric up to the counter. However, the top two yards are a separate piece, and the actual bolt is a slightly different dye lot. It was more of a peachy tan than a mustard one, so I didn't buy it.

What did I end up purchasing, you may be wondering at this point.

A zipper (that doesn't really match) for the Butterick 5029 dress I was deliberating on, notions for said dress, interfacing for the pants (it was already cut before the corduroy failure), and the lining for the dress. At least I have some complete project to work on, yes?

I don't want to be mean to JoAnns. There were a lot of things I wanted to buy for future projects, I just had no look for what I wanted at the present moment. Oh well!