Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Blue Summer Dress

I don't know about you, but I love dresses and skirts. Especially light and airy Summer dresses made out of cotton. I found this blue cotton fabric a few years ago for really cheap (I believe it was around $3 a yard) with the intention of sewing a Summer dress and I finally did it. I guess the hardest part for me is finding a pattern that I love.

I looked through my pattern bins and nothing caught my attention for this particular fabric. I started going through my old sewing pattern books I brought from Japan. If I remember correctly I bought the book 20+ years ago. Does that qualify for being called "Vintage"? Anyways, I found a dress made out of small floral prints in the book. I loved the shape of the dress, the pleated skirt, lots of buttons from top to bottom in the back, and the manipulated pleated front!

Measuring and creating the pleats was definitely more work than I normally do with other clothes making, but it was fun. I couldn't be happier with the results. I know I am going to wear this dress a lot this Summer.

Whatever you are working on right now, happy sewing everyone!

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Refashion~ Long Skirt to Scalloped Edge Skirt

It is challenging to find a skirt for my daughter because if I go with the age on the tag most skirts are too big around the waist and too short in length. There are many times I look at a skirt made out of cute fabric at the store and wish that it was a few more inches longer. It is kinda nice that I can sew simple clothing or refashion for that matter. This post is one of my refashion examples.

I found a skirt at a thrift shop. It is XS and has a draw string to adjust the waist. I don't have to do anything there. Also, the fabric is cut in diagonally; the skirt will fall nicely around her. I just need to cut the maxi length shorter, but wait... I wanted to do something fun.

1. Cut the skirt to the desired length. Also, cut a 2 1/2" strip right down to use it as a bottom facing. The rest? You can throw it out.

2. Trim off some fabric from one side of the strip so that it will fit nicely with the bottom edge of the skirt when you use it as facing. Sew the ends together to create a big loop and take care of the edge to prevent fraying. Also, Use a serger or zigzag stitch to take care the edge one long side of the facing before you attach it to the skirt.

3. With right sides together, pin the facing to the bottom edge of the skirt. Measure the bottom edge of the skirt to figure out how many and how big the scallops you want for the edge. Because the skirt you are going to work with will most likely be a different size than mine, so I won't specify a numbers, but an easier way to do this after you know the length of the bottom edge is to divide the length with the number of the scallops you want to use. Now, use that number as a diameter to create the circle. use this circle as a template and draw a line around the bottom of the skirt.

4. Sew 1/4" inside of the line.

5. Trim. It is kind of a tedious step, but this will help create a nice smooth edge on the scallops.

6. Turn the facing inside out. Press with iron.

7. It is totally up to you to end the process here to keep it simple. If so, you will want to finish off with the blind stitch on the hem. Having fun didn't end here for me, I decided to add some embellishments on the skirt with skinny string and some simple applique. For the string, I tied a bow and sewed that on to the peak. Then, I eyeballed it and stitched it along the scalloped edge.

8. For the applique part, I ironed the double sided fusible web on one side of the fabric. Traced the design I decided to use and cut them out. Then I peeled off the paper to stick it to the skirt with an iron. Follow the manufacture instruction for this part. Used zigzag stitches to go around the edge.

That is is! The skirt fits perfectly on my daughter and she loves this easy going one of a kind skirt! It is so nice to see that she loves the skirt as much as I enjoyed creating it.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Faux Wrap Skirt with Denim

I have several Japanese sewing pattern books that I adore. When I have down time, I look at them... I mean turning pages back and forth, marked with skinny sticky tags and dreaming about what fabrics I should use and such. Well, it is about time to start making them! I went shopping in my fabric closet last week and sure enough, I had this light weight dark denim waiting for me.

Japanese sewing patters are kind of a pain to use. Unlike the patterns you buy at the local stores here in United States, I need to add seam allowance on the cutting stage and use chalk paper to mark the fabric as well. My first dress I made after moving to the United States came out a little baggy for me because I added seam allowance without knowing that It was already included.

I love how this skirt turned out! It is pretty much how I imagined.

I love the look of the wrap skirt, but I never loved wearing one. I get so self conscious while I am walking or when a strong wind blows... I don't want an "Oops, hello world" accident and flash everybody.

This skirt looks like a wrap skirt, but it is actually a tube and you can tie the string at your waist to fit you. No unwanted flashing! I made this skirt with light weight denim, but I love it so much so that I want to make another one with linen for summer. White with black pin strip is calling my name.

What are the things on your list to sew? Blouse? clothes for the kids? Or perhaps a skirt like I did. Whatever it is, have fun sewing! :)

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Jacket + Linen Skirt Refashion

What would you do if you come across a jacket and skirt that were from different companies but almost exactly the same color at a thrift store? This happened to me one day and I loved the texture of both. The Jacket is made out of a soft Chenille fabric and the skirt is made out of Linen. They are both one of my favorite materials to work with. What are the odds of finding something like these at a thrift shop in one day? I took this as a sign and decided to come up with a new refashion project.

I think this is kind of a unique refashion situation and not many people have exactly the same types of items to work on. I wrote a simple and brief tutorial for you to get an idea of what I have done and hopefully you can apply it to your own projects.

* How to

1. Cut 5 1/2" wide bias strips to create two rows of ruffles for the jacket.

2. Once you know the exact length of the strip, sew both ends of the strips.

3. Pin the strip to the bottom of the jacket and sew it on with zigzag stitch. Pin the second row where you think looks good and sew with zigzag stitch.

4. When I was trying the jacket on, I felt that it was a bit too boxy. I created four darts two in front and two in the back. With this I felt that the shape of the jacket was perfect.

5. Next it was time for embellishing the jacket! In my opinion, this is the most fun part. I found a floral fabric in my stash and the color and the style looked like a great match with the jacket. To start the applique, fuse the fabric to double sided adhesive (follow the manufacture's instructions) and cut out the flowers with the other side of the paper still on. Lay the flower pieces onto the jacket finding the best layout, then peel the paper and iron them onto the jacket. I used zigzag stitch to stitch around the shape and used the free motion setting to stitch the designs inside of the flowers and leaves.

6.Once I was happy with the result, I added a strip of lace combined with velvet ribbon to blend the top portion and the bottom portion of the jacket.

7. I also appliqued a small flower in front to carry what I did on the back of the jacket.

Spring is near but not quite. I feel like I finished making this jacket with perfect timing to enjoy it.

I wore a skirt in the photo, but I bet it would be fun to wear it with jeans to dress down. :) I hope you enjoyed the tutorial and are able to create your own unique piece!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Tutorial ~ Book Lady's Library Bag

There are many things I love to do. Besides spending my time with my family, I love to design, sew, cook, create and read. I always liked to read while growing up and read several books every day to my children. I know many people love their books in digital form now a days, but I still love the actual books on my shelf.

I love the soft muted color of the new fabric line "Once Upon A Rhyme" from Riley Blake designs. Then, when I saw the book shelf fabric I immediately fell in love with it! There are a couple other color themes I had hard time choosing from, but I decided to go with blue. I thought it would be so fun and fitting to make a library bag with this fabric for my daughter.

*Material and cutting

1/2 yard of Once Upon A Rhyme Books Blue fabric --- Cut 2 pieces of 14"x 16" for the outer bag, 2 pieces of 3"x 20" for the handles, 1 piece of 6"x 9" for the pocket

1/2 yard of Once Upon A Rhyme Toss Blue --- Cut 2 pieces of 14"x 16" for the inner bag

1/2 yard of Pellon fusible interfacing (Heavy weight)--- Cut 2 pieces of 14"x 16", 2 pieces of 1"x 20" strips

1 1/2" x 8" of thin fusible interfacing

7" zipper

Matching thread>

*How to
1.Fuse the thin interfacing to the back of the pocket, 1/2" from the edge of the top of the pocket piece. Draw a 7" line in the middle of the interfacing and from the tip of the line draw short (a little shy of 1/4") diagonal lines to the left and right.

2. Cut on the lines. Then, fold the edges about 1/4" and press with the iron. Be careful not to melt the interfacing.

3. Pin the zipper, switch the presser foot on your machine and sew it on. Trim the excess material from the zipper on the sides and press 1/4" around the edges on the pocket. Set aside.

4. Follow the manufacturer's instructions and fuse the interfacing on the wrong side of the 14"x 16" fabrics to make the inner bag.

5. Sew the pocket piece from step 3 onto one of the inner fabric from step 4. Make sure that the center of the pocket and the center of the fabric matches and place the top edge of the pocket 3" from the edge of the inner bag fabric.

6. Put together the inner fabrics right sides together and sew.

7. To make the boxed bottom, pinch the bottom and side seam together. Make sure the seams line up perfectly. Pin and measure 3" (1 1/2" from each side of the center line) and draw a line and sew. Cut off the excess. Do the same to the other side.

8. Sew the outer bag in the same manner as steps 6 and 7.

9. Make handles. Fold the 3" x 20" strips in half horizontally and fuse the interfacing along the folded line. Sew and turn it inside out. It will make the job easier to use a tube turner. Press with the iron and sew both sides with 1/8" seam.

10. Put together the outer bag and inner bag right sides together. Insert the handles between both layers where the picture is showing, and pin. I left 1/2" out from the edge, so when you turn the fabric inside out and do the top stitches, you will go over the handles again. This way, the handles are more securely sewn.

11. Leaving a few inches for opening, sew the top edge.

12. Turn it inside out. Press the opening, pin and do the top stitches around the edge. Then, sew another top stitch 1/2" from the first top stitches.

I am pretty happy with how the inner pocket turned out. This will be convenient for a library card and some cash.

It is finished! I added tassels I made last week to add a touch of detail. If you are interested in how to make them, you can find the tutorial here.

This book shelf fabric is such a brilliant design. You can make so many fun things (skirt, pouch, book cover, pillows for your reading nook and more!) for yourself or your book lover friends. Can you imagine making some Christmas gifts for your book group friends? My daughter, who finally got into reading last year, loves her new library bag and this was a perfect gift for her!

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