Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Re-purpose Tutorial~ Mexican Dress to Tote Bag

Several months ago, I found this beautiful Mexican dress at a thrift store (It was one of the items I was looking out for). I was so excited and started to examine it, then I found some ripped seams and stains that may not come off. Here was the moment of truth... Should I buy it or not... the embroidery was too beautiful to pass up, so I decided to get it. The wheels in my head were already turning and last week I finally made it happen.

I cut the dress in half... There was no turning back at this point! Because of how your dress might be a different size than mine and also Mexican dresses are not made too precisely (the seams are raw and often times uneven in many areas), I am not going to give you exact measurements in this tutorial. I will give some numbers for you to have an idea and you can use that to apply to your re-purpose project.

Ok, let me go over the list of things you will need for this project.

{You will need}

Mexican dress
Lining fabric
Fusible interfacing (medium to thick, according to your preference)
Matching thread
Magnetic closure

{How to}

1. Just as we started before the material list, cut the dress in half(set the bottom half aside) and unpick the sleeves. Decide on where to cut the dress in half; this depends on how deep/shallow you want to make the bag and the embroidery design.

2. Cut the shoulders and trim the sides. The goal for these steps are to make the front/back and left/right unevenness as even as possible.

3. Lay the dress piece on the large piece of paper and trace to create a pattern for the lining. If you want to trace it directly onto the lining fabric, that is fine too.

4. Fuse the lining piece onto the fusible interfacing according to the manufacturer's instruction. To add magnet closure, fold the lined fabric in half vertically to find the center. Then measure 1 1/4" from the top seam. Mark with pencil or erasable marker. Follow the instruction of the package to add the magnet.

5. Put together the main fabrics right sides together. Measure 3 1/2" from what used to be the shoulder line and mark with pencil on both sides; That is the starting/stopping point when you are sewing to make the bag. This way your bag will have bigger opening and it will be easier to find things. Sew. Also, sew the bottom corners to create the boxed bottom. You can find how to make the boxed bottom on the post I did in the past.

6. Sew the lining piece same as in step 5.

7. Make handles. Cut 2 - 4" x 15" strips off the bottom half of the dress. Also cut 2 - 1/2"x 15" of fusible interfacing. Fold the fabric strips in half right sides together and fuse the interfacing as pictured. Sew on the side, turn the tube inside out and press with an iron. Sew Both sides with 1/8" seam and two more lines in between.

8.Put together the outer bag and lining right sides together, then place the handles in the middle of those two layers and pin. Leaving 4" of opening, sew all around it. Turn the bag inside out and press the opening with the iron and pin. Top stitch to finish it off.

Now, it is ready to enjoy!

Oh! You might be wondering what happen to the rest of the dress... I made that into a pillow with some pom-poms. It is sitting pretty in my house. :)

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Yummy Shrimp Alfredo

I love to cook, but do I "LOVE" cooking enough that I will still enjoy it if that is my job? Probably not.

That being said, I love trying out new recipes, but it is so frustrating and discouraging if it seems like a good recipe turns out not so good. That is a waste of time and money.

There is one time I tried a casserole recipe and it was so bad that we were slowly and quietly eating. I guess we were processing in our minds if we were imagining it was bad or it was bad for real... then I had to put the fork down and told everyone to stop eating. They had this look of relief and gladly stopped eating. I think we went out to get something afterwards. That has never happened to us. That is why we refer to that as the "bad dinner incident" and laugh.

This recipe on the other hand... it. was. so YUMMY!

It was easy, tasted great, and not too pricey to make. What more can you ask for?

I knew it was going to be good when I tasted the sauce, but my family... once they had their first bite, their eyes got wide and they said, "Mmm!"

Now, that is a good sign.

It is exciting to find a good new recipe. I added it to my binder right away!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Tutorial: Half Hexie ~ Fly Away

I had a chance to work with Amanda Herring's new beautiful line of Desert Bloom a while ago and designed this quilt "Fly Away". It is a simple quilt to make with half hexagons, but the way of putting the fabrics together make butterfly looking shapes instead of hexagons. The finished quilt is 38"x 56", it is perfect as a baby quilt. I am posting the full tutorial on my blog today, in case you missed it.

Here is how I made this:

1. Print out the PDF I created and trace it onto either thin cardboard (like a cereal box) or clear plastic to create the template.

2. I had a 7" x width of the fabric strips in 21 different fabric designs from her line. Choose three fabrics from them to make the binding tape later.

3. Lay one of the fabric strips flat on the cutting mat. Cut off the selvage and cut the strip to 6 sections of 3 1/8" x 7" rectangles. Now you have 12 (because they were folded in half) rectangles. Do the same with the other 17 strips. Depending on how you want to lay the fabrics out, you might need one fabric more than the other. With this cutting instruction, you will have quite a bit of leftover half hexies to give you that flexibility. You can make pillows or bags with the leftovers later.

4. Use the template you have created on step 1 and cut half hexies.

5. Lay them out to see the color balance. Don't they kind of look like butterflies?

6. Sew them together. There are a couple tips: Sew the pieces vertically first then sew the strips side by side. Also, when you are piecing the half hexies together, you want to lay them out right sides together and the little triangle is sticking out on the both ends as the picture is showing.

7. I decided to do straight stitches on the quilt and I like how it turned out.

Thank you for stopping by. Happy sewing! :)

Friday, June 10, 2016

30 Days of Sundress ~ Effortless Trixie Dress

I am participating in 30 Days of Sundresses blog hop which Melly Sews is hosting right now.

Then get this... not only do you get to see all the fun dress tutorials, there are fun giveaways through out the event at her blog!

I was going through my stash to see what I could make and found some charcoal fabric with a light shimmer. It is rayon blend and very soft... an idea came to my mind right away! I sketched up a pattern and stated to sew. It all happened in an afternoon. Why I named the dress "Effortless Trixie Dress"? Because this dress is super simple to make and so comfortable to wear. You don't need to fuss with zippers, interfacing, button holes... none of that! Did you know the name Trixie means "Bring joy" or "Happy"? This dress certainly does that for me. The dress is a little roomy when it's finished, but the ribbon you can tie in front and the asymmetrical hem line gives a dressed up look to this comfortable dress.

I created a PDF pattern for you to download and use; it is XS/S. If you know how to alter patterns, you can create a larger dress too. I know Melissa has a wonderful post she did in the past, you can check it out here.

{You will need}

Fabric 52" to 54" width x 2 3/4 yards; if you are tall you might need 3 yards.
Matching thread

Other sewing necessities

{How to}

1. Print out the PDF pattern, assemble them together according to the number on each paper.

2. Fold the fabric vertically, right sides together, in half. Then, lay the pattern on top of it. Make sure that the straight line of the pattern says "Center Front/Back on fold" line up perfectly with the folded line on the fabric. Pin, trace and cut all necessary parts, which is: one front, one back, 4 ribbon pieces and 1 3/4" wide fabric strips to make bias tape for the neckline.

3. Treat the edges of the shoulders with zig-zag stitch or with serger to prevent fraying. With right sides together, sew the front and back shoulders together on both sides. Open the seam and press with iron.

4. Start the process to create the arm hole. Fold the fabric twice (1/4", 1/4") from one mark to the other. Press with iron and sew.

5. Fold the four straight edges after the curved line to the bottom seam twice (1/4", 1/4") and sew. This will create simple, yet interesting asymmetrical hem line on this dress.

6. Make two ribbons. Take one set of ribbon fabric and sew all around it except the straight part of the ribbon; leave that part open for turning. Snip the tip off then trim the seam to 1/4" for clean finish.

Turn the fabric inside out and press with iron.

Fold the open seam twice to create pleats. Using the largest stitch on your machine, stitch them down. In same manner, make the other ribbon.

7. Pin the ribbons you have made in between the front and back dress piece. The curved line on the ribbon is suppose to be on the bottom. I have a short torso and I put the ribbon slightly higher than my natural waist line. You can move them up or down based on your body type. Pin both sides all the way down (from arm pit to the end of the curved line) and sew. Once you are done with the dress, it will look like this...

8. Sew bias tape around the neckline to finish it off. You can see the tutorial how to make bias tape on my blog, but bias tape doesn't have to be cut perfectly at 45 degree. Also, here is the link to how to attach the bias tape on the post I did last year.

9. Fold the bottom seam twice (1/2", 1/2"), press with iron and sew. You, just finished the dress!

Since I made this dress I have worn it many times already. It is the perfect summer dress because it is comfortable to wear around the house, but at the same time I can just grab a purse and head out the door to go to lunch with friends.

I love how the asymmetrical hem makes this dress more fun to wear.

Thank you for stopping by today. I hope you enjoyed my tutorial!

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