Friday, March 10, 2017

Fun Funky Garments

This post is about two dresses that I just finished and I am very excited about. Both used t-shirts that I got at the thrift store. My go to fabric store. I often purchase garments there more for the fabric than I do to actually wear.
 A friend of mine was visiting and we were thrifting. She happened to find this wonderful two piece outfit. I was so excited I didn't even think to check the size but decided this MUST go home with me. When I got home, I discovered that this was a size 4 petite. Now I could fit in this but I felt like a stuffed sausage in a bun. That was not going to discourage me. I knew I had some altering to do over and above what I had wanted to do just to make it fit.
 First I cut off a portion of the bottom dress because I was going to add a altered bottom. I then cut apart the side seams and used a similar red t-shirt to sew in the sides to make the dress bigger.
 This might be hard to see, but I don't often make drawings of what my ideas are for my garments. Usually those ideas just stay in my brain since those ideas often change but this time I did make a drawing. I am trying to improve my drawing skills.
 For the bottom, I cut off under the arms of a EX large men's red t-shirt for the base of the peplum.
 I decided what size I wanted my striped panels to be which were different red and white t-shirts. Don't ask me how I determined this since I often do fuzzy math.
 I decided the first bottom had too much red in it. I decided to split the red sections with another stripped panel, which of course make the bottom peplum fuller but I had no problem with that. The panels were also different sizes but they were similar.
 As often happens with I do an size adjustment on the side seams, the garment is sometimes too large in one or two body areas. On this piece it was the waist. So I added some elastic in the back to make me have a slightly more waistline. Of course that is not in these pictures.
 Now I had to work with the overdress. I cut off a section of the bottom and also split is down the front. I also had to split down the side seams to add red t-shirt fabric to make it sorta fit me. One problem that I discovered was (and you can see this in this picture) was that this overdress was not cut on the grainline and didn't hang right. It twisted. Now others might not have noticed this but it bugged me. I added a two inch band to each front side of the overdress and did buttons and button holes and wore it once. I decided that the overdress covered up too much of the dress, which I loved the most of the two pieces. So I went home and cut off most of the overdress and made a short top.


I have received so many compliments when I am in this dress and feel very sassy. I know that no one would guess that I altered this dress so much and totally changed it. I am guessing most people wouldn't even know that I made it.


This dress is my very latest creation, and absolutely love this. This dress and the red outfit above, may become my new two favorite looks. They are definitely going to be my Red Carpet International Quilt Festival looks this year.

Sharon Richards from the Quiltart list and I attended a fashion exhibit two years ago in Chandler Arizona. One of the young designers had made a strapless dress out of the graphics of recycled t-shirts. I decided right then and there that I wanted to make my own version and while I have often used saying from t-shirts, I had never used them quite like this. So I collected t-shirts from the thrift store with funky sayings on them.
 This is what I came up with. It is so much fun.
 In these pictures I didn't have any sleeves in the dress but is over a black undershirt. I decided to put short sleeves in so I can wear it in warmer weather and then wear it with an undershirt like in these pictures when the weather is colder.

My plan is to make a jacket to wear with this and make it with more colored t-shirt graphics than the mostly red and white ones I used in this dress. My Mr. Partner In Crime LOVED this dress. In fact he liked it so much, he wanted me to make him a matching shirt. So we just went to the thrift store and picked out some manly t-shirt graphics to use in his shirt. How cool is that  !!!!! More on his outfit when I get it done.

Decorated Luggage Travel Not Boring

I have been painting luggage for a few years now and of course I must say that I love my luggage to be as funky as I am. A couple of years ago, I was at the airport baggage claim standing by a woman waiting to get our luggage. As the bags began to arrive, she looked at the luggage coming out and as my piece appeared, she said, "I bet I know which piece is yours". Just thinking about this story makes me smile. Two years ago I got a lighter piece of luggage right before a trip to the International Quilt Festival in Houston Texas. I quickly painted it with just black and white checks and the finished product just never seemed right to me. Recently, I bought a Loralie Ladies panel that had larger designs on the fabric. I got a idea that I could use the designs on the luggage and here is what I created.
 All of this is fabric. I applied the fabric with Liquitex Mat Medium just like I do my furniture. I was trying to figure out how to protect the surface design from the severe wear and tear at the airport. I decided that I would try covering the front of the suitcase with several coat of Varathane clear coat glossy (which I had on hand) after thinking about what my friend, Pamela Allen said about covering placemats with Varathane which she still used. On my furniture that glossy Varathane doesn't look quite so shiny as it did on my suitcase. I just flew with this altered piece of luggage and it went through the whole airport/flying/luggage arrival process with flying colors.

I have a friend and we plan a yearly trip to LA on Mother's Day weekend. I fondly call this trip our Thelma and Louise Road Trip. Now I have never seen the movie Thelma and Louise and after referring to our trip by this name, my Mr. Partner In Crime told me that did I know that Thelma and Louise robbed a bank, killed Brad Pit and drove off  cliff? So I now refer to our trip as our Thelma and Louise Road Trip sans robbing a bank, sans Brad Pit and sans driving off a cliff. The only part I am sad about is the sans Brad Pit part. While we are in LA we go to the Fashion District and then we go to the Rose Bowl Flea Market. On our last trip she had this great little rolling tote that she used at the flea market. It was black with white polka dots and was just fabulous. I asked her if she would pick me up one the next time she went back to the store and I would reimburse her for the cost. When I saw her a few weeks ago, she presented me with the old black and white polka dot one from our last trip and the one below. She told me she thought I might like the one below and that I would enjoy making it my own.
 Well, I had just finished up the above piece of luggage and still had several of the Loralie Ladies. I decided to do the same technique on this piece.
 I painted the white polka dots on the black fabric and the black polka dots on the grey fabric with fabric paint


 I then painted on several coats of Varathane clear coat semi-gloss.  I forgot to say that I use the clean up with soap and water Varathane. I did not think the Varathane changed the hand of the fabric very much. It is still pretty soft and the semi-gloss is not so shiny. I am very happy with how these pieces turned out and I am excited to use my cute rolling tote  at the Rose Bowl Flea Market our next Thelma and Louise Road Trip.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Men's Ties

I am going to start off saying that I have been collecting men's ties for many years from the thrift store and garage sales. I refuse to pay more than $2 for a tie. I have collected these ties with the idea of making garments, but instead of cutting the ties up, interfacing them and using them as fabric, I wanted to use them in the original tie shape. These have been largely unsuccessful. A couple of years ago, I had a men's tie garment challenge. I went on YouTube and from the video I saw, I created this skirt.
 This skirt is cute, but there were two problems with it. One it is shorter than I would like ( my fault of course) and second the wool interfacing in the ties make the skirt heavy and pretty stiff. So I wanted to come up with a solution that left the ties intact, but softer and more flexible. Also, I want to say upfront that another problem using the men's ties for me is that because they are all different sizes, width wise and length wise, it is difficult to piece them together without getting a curved look, which I do not care for.
 I started out with a skirt that I bought at the thrift store that fit me. I measured how long I wanted the ties to be for the length of my skirt and then I cut off the part of the skirt that I didn't need.
 Now for what I figured out on the ties. After I cut the length of the ties, I realized that I could turn them inside out and expose the wool interfacing. Now you can do that with the whole tie, but it is more difficult. Not impossible but more work. Anyway, what I found was that when I turned the tie, I could machine stitch along the hand stitching row of thread holding the tie together.
 After that you can cut away the interfacing on both sides leaving just a thin line of interfacing under the machine stitching. The nice thing about this is that the thin line of interfacing left, along with the line of machine stitching will keep the tie in it's tie shape with minimum distortion. To be honest, I thought I was totally brilliant when I came up with this procedure.

This shows the narrow end of the tie, turned, stitched and trimmed.After trimming, turn the tie back to the right side. Also let me say, that I have a Fast-turn tool that I used to do this. Now you can do it without the Fast-turn but I love how easy my Fast-turn makes it..
 Now I started to lay and pin my ties together to make the skirt. I pinned them until they started to curve. You can see from the above pictures the gaps in the ties that vary in size.
 I then added a gusset, I guess you would call it, to keep the skirt waist even. The brown in the above picture shows this. I used the narrow ends of the leftover ties for this.This is the front of the skirt.
 This is the back of the skirt and the purple are the gussets. I stitched them in the shape of a V. As you can see it is hard to see the gussets in the top of the skirt unless you really look for them.
 I measured the skirt bottom and made the ties the same size and stitched the two pieces together. To help tie the black of the top skirt to the tie bottom, I used the narrow ends of the leftover ties in sections to applique down on the black top skirt. It might be hard to see, but I tired to match up the narrow end of the tie with the same tie in the bottom of the skirt. I used 19 ties for the bottom of this skirt.
 This is my new tie skirt with a vest that I made several years ago, but only wore once or twice. It was too boring for me. I had only put the ties on the vest back seen below. And prairie points along the lapel edge. This time I put bright ties all down the front, mirroring the back of the vest.
 I am now not bored. I love how it turned out. BTW the original vest came from the thrift store.
 Now here is my skirt with a tie jacket (the jacket came from the thrift store) that I made to go with the first skirt, but I didn't wear it much either. I am very happy with how my skirt goes together with all my other pieces. Now that's my men's tie story and I'm sticking to it.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Halloween Fashion Fun

 Halloween happens to be one of my favorite times of the year for fashion fun. October has 31 days and I enjoy dressing for almost every single day. Some of the things I have made in the last couple of weeks are these bags that started out as  three separate bags (above) that I bought on sale before Halloween last fall for one dollar each.
 These are the nylon mesh type bags like animal food bags material. The bags had the picture of Frankenstein on one side and the Bride of Frankenstein on the other side. I took the binding off one side of two bags. Sewed the two bags together so the different pictures were on each side. I used the straps on the two bags to make straps for the one big bag. I really love how it turned out and this bag will be super fun to take shopping .
 Several years ago, when my husband I were traveling we saw a woman who had a fabulous purse with I believe Frankenstein or Dracula on the bag. I believe that she said she got it at Universal Studios. Anyway we really like it. So with this third bag I decided to make a purse. I took all the bindings off and cut it down. Sewed it back together.
 I added a purple nylon rip-stock quilted lining for more stability. I also added a zipper for a closure and now I have a fabulous purse that only cost me a dollar. I had the rest of the supplies in my stash. Of course the Bride of  Frankenstein is on the other side.
 Now for some Halloween clothing. Here in Phoenix, October still has temperatures in the 90's and shorts are still a definite part of my wardrobe. I took a pair of plain black shorts and cut out these appliques and did a loose zig zag stitch. I prefer that more relaxed look over a regular dense applique zig zag stitch. I used treat bags that I got at the Dollar store last year for my simple applique patterns.
 I always feel people see you coming and going, so you should give them something to look at from the back. Here is the back of my shorts.
 I made this Halloween hat earlier this week. With my shorts, I will be totally styling in my Halloween fashion.
 My Mr. Partner in Crime also likes to have fun with me. I bought two of these shirts for him last year and used reverse applique to put the second shirt on the back. When we were in Disneyland last October, some man came over and was talking to Mr. Partner in Crime about his shirt. He said that his friend had the same shirt, but his friend's did not have anything on the back. Mr. Partner In Crime told him the back of his shirt was courtesy of his wife. And of course we love our bat hats. We wear these all month.
Finally here is my Halloween Day fashion. I love wearing this ensemble. The skirt was made with my t-shirt applique technique which is very easy to do. As you can see, I have fun during October.

Friday, June 10, 2016

BRAS- WHO KNEW ?

 Lets start with the bras we all have and that are readily available at the thrift store. Not this cute Minnie Mouse bra that I got at the Fashion Institute Scholarship store in the LA Garment District but just regular bras. I am still trying to figure out how to make this bra smaller so I can wear it. Minnie Mouse and her fabulous use of polka dots is my role model of polka dot fashion.
 Anyway, I sew across the bottom of the bras and then cut them out. The thicker ones work the best for these covers for hangers. I fold them in half and stitch them to fit the hangers. I usually do a double line of stitching and then cut off the extra pieces. Snug them on your plastic hangers and then hang your sweaters or any item that has a tendency to get hanger marks on the shoulders.

Now originally these were supposed to be made with shoulder pads, but when I moved, I gave away most of the shoulder pads that I had so using bras was the idea I came up with. Another fun thing is that bras come in a lot more fun fabrics and colors than shoulder pads, which is a plus for my closet and I !!!
 Now for the second thing you can do with bras. The shoulder elastic makes great watch bands. I started with a watch that had a similar watch band as the above band.
 It is hard to see with this picture, but after the band was removed, there is no outside opening to attach a watch band. It is a solid piece.
 Mr. Partner in Crime was able to cut a opening in the solid piece so I was able to run the bra elastic through the opening. So if you had a regular watch, you can just use the watchband openings to run the elastic through.
 With this band, I decided to run two pieces of bra elastic through the openings. I like the thicker feel of the two pieces but that is a personal choice. The bottom was a smaller piece than the top elastic. Both were from bras. I stitched the two elastics together.
 I was able to fit the watch band perfectly and since all watch band are too big for me that is a great plus. I am also able to get any color band I can imagine. As long as I can find that bra. I finished the watch band off with a large snap.
The nice thing about this watch band is that it was cheap. I could make it fit my wrist just as I wanted and I can change it out as I want. Just remove the snap and replace the elastic.

One other thing you can use bras for is use the back closure of the bras with the hooks as a closure on a journal or fabric book. Bras have lots of uses besides the normal one of intimate apparel.