Sunday, September 8, 2013

New Use For T-Shirts

 Well I haven't blogged in more than two months.  Summer was busy with traveling to see our children and grandchildren in Denver and Sheridan, Wyoming.  While I was gone I did a lot of knitting and crocheting along with attending Quilt Wyoming, which was held in Casper this year.  While at Quilt Wyoming I worked on the knit jacket below.  In an earlier post I talked about using tee shirts as applique for knit garments and non wool sweaters.  This technique works great for those garments (knits/stretch garments, non-wool sweaters and loose weave sweaters).  I first start out with a selection of t-shirts I have purchased at thrift stores.  You need solids.  Men's t-shirts work great for this.  I also looks for stripes, polka dots and graphics.  Some stripes can be found in the men's t-shirts.  Usually you find a bigger selection in the women's shirts and I also check out the kids sections.

 I really like how this jacket turned out.  With this technique, I hand stitch the appliques down.  The knit was probably study enough to do a wide spaced zig-zag stitch, but when you machine stitch on a knit, I feel you risk distorting your fabric, and if you do a regular machine applique stitch it won't stretch with the garment.  I did this once on a knit top and the results were very disappointing.  Besides, I guess, it is not the look I am looking to achieve.

I found the sweater below at the thrift store and I feel in love with the black and white stripes and checks it has.  I knew right away I wanted to do something with it for embellishment.

The picture of the back shows knit fringe that I have already put on one sleeve

This was the first front I did.  I either draw out the flower pattern on paper and then cut out the t-shirt fabrics or I free form cut the flowers out of the t-shirt fabric.  I then pin them on the garment and after I have the design pinned on, I try the garment on to see if I like it. If I have placed the flowers where I want them or if I need more or less designs on the garment.  When I feel the design is like I want it, I then use #8 pearl cotton and do a medium running stitch to hand stitch the designs down. I liked this design but decided that the front flowers were too similar in shape, size and color, because white with black polka dots was the only fabric I had that showed up on the busy sweater. Course I didn't decide this until I had everything sewed down.  I could of lived with it though.
                                                          I love how the back turned out.
  After ripping out the first design, I ended up replacing the top left flower with a different design and fabric.  I like this change much better.
 This was a very stretchy, polyester velvet short swing jacket, which I loved, but knew if I did any regular machine applique on this jacket it would distort big time.  Also if you do regular machine applique it will not stretch on any knit or stretch garments or sweaters.  Again it poses a problem, so these t-shirts appliques are hand stitched down.  I also like how the t-shirts don't add a lot of weight to the knits, stretch garments and sweaters, which is important for the way your garment will hang. Also, if you are very warm natured or live in a very warm climate you probably don't wanted the added weight. 

    Again, I am very happy with the completed jacket.This last garment is a very, very loose weave sweater from the thrift store.
                                                           I really love how this turned out.
                 The picture below is a close up of the hand stitching I used to applique the t-shirts down.
I like the fact that I have figured out a way for me to embellish my knit items and sweaters.  It means I can have embellished garments for this very warm climate.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Summer Travel Altered Suitcases

Today I want to talk about summer travel or any travel for that matter either flying or road trips. Most of us remember when flying used to be fun. Oh the days, when we had leg room, food and drinks on flights. No hassle with security. I loved to fly. It was so exciting. Not so much now, although I still love road trips. Most of us travel with suitcases. Even those are a hassle since as far as I know only Southwest and maybe Jet Blue don't charge for luggage. So I say how about bringing a little sunshine back into your air travel with altered suitcases. You could have a NAKED suitcase shown above.  Now what fun would that be ????  You can never find your suitcase. Most everyone's looks the same except perhaps for the color.  Oh, I know you tie scarves and strange neckties on them, but still you have to LOOK for those items.

These flowers are fabric and were modge-podged on the suitcase, and I painted black and white checks on it.  A better floral fabric would be more exciting, but I did this probably 5 years ago and I have learned alot since then.

What about fun luggage tags. I made these about two years ago.  Family members, friends and grandbabies got these for Christmas presents. They measure about 4"x6" and have traveled well.  They definitely help identify your luggage.

How about painted luggage.  I painted this with fabric paints about three years ago.  I have flown with this piece and taken it on road trips and it has done very well. A little worn  on the sides where the black and white checks are. But other than that, it still looks great.  Even with the rough treatment they get on airlines and in our car.

Now for the very latest of my altered suitcases. 

I had so much fun with this suitcase.  We have had this piece for about three years, and I just never got around to painting it.  After a flight on a plane recently with my husband, and we had trouble identifing this piece of luggage, I decided I needed to alter this piece so we could identify it easily.  Now I know you will laugh, but my darling hubby, who is often my partner in crime will be using this piece of luggage.  I asked him if he minded what I was going to paint on the luggage, and he said no, as long as he could tell it was ours'.  I don't think he will have a problem identifing this piece from a long distance away.

I drew the flowers and face on with a chalk pencil.  I did two coats of white fabric paint as a base and then painted the black and white checks, the face and the flowers with fabric paints.  To finish up I painted several coats of Delta Ceramcoat Exterior/Interior Varnish over the painted areas.  I actually wasn't going to paint anything on the sides but the black and white checks, but once I got started painting I had trouble stopping.  Now how much fun are these?  I have received many compliments on my painted luggage from the airline check in people and the passengers that I fly with and I NEVER have trouble locating my luggage.   

Monday, June 3, 2013

Altered Knit Top

This design started out as this top I purchased at the thrift store with the idea in mind to use it for the top of a jacket.  I have tried before to make a jacket/coat using sweater and t-shirts for gores for the bottom of the jacket.  I didn't think the end product was very flattering for me.  Too full of a skirt.  So this time I was going to try a different technique. Something I should add is that this top has hook and eyes down the center front as the top closure.  A huge pain.  I could of taken it out and put a zipper in, but I was too lazy.  I will probably wish I had taken the time to do this though.

This top was a little too large so I started by first putting darts in the back of the top to help shape the top.

I pieced the bottom of the jacket using t-shirts from the thrift store in a gore shape.  The first gore I designed was too full.  Would of made the bottom way to full I thought so I kept cuting the shape of the bottom part of the gore so the bottom would not be so full. 

I put four different color threads on my serger and used serged seams on the piecing on the right side of the fabric patchwork and then I did the serged seams on the back or wrong side of the bottom for piecing the side seams of the gores together. I liked the look of this. I also thought at this time I might of made the bottom of the gores a little too small.  Perhaps just a not quite as much ease as it needed.  I can fix that if I think that is going to be a problem.

This is what I ended up with.  Ok but it needed something else. Some PUNCH ! 

For decorating the top of the jacket I again used t-shirts from the thrift store for the appliques.  The nice thing about t-shirt knits is that they don't ravel.  I free form cut the flowers and stitched them on with #5 pearl cotton and a sharp needle with a big eye for the heavier thread.

After I got the appliqued flowers done, I pinned the skirt back on the top and tired it on to see what I thought.  Frankly, I liked the oufit both ways.  One just as a top and the other as a jacket.  I was torn.  I sent the pictures out to several friends to let them vote which design they liked the best.  I thought there would be a clear winner, but there wasn't.  Actually I thought that the design with just the top would be the big winner, but it wasn't. 

What I decided to do right now is just save the shirt bottom, and use the top just as a top.  Here in Arizona this summer, I can use the top for going into air conditioned places where it is too cold for me.  Also I will be able to wear it in Colorado and Wyoming when we visit my kids later this summer.  I can always attach the skirt this winter or put the skirt on another top if I decide I want to keep the top as a top. 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Cute Summer Clothing

Today we hit our first 100 degree temperature of the year.  As I said everyone here is looking for their summer clothing.  I started this item with a plain pair of stretch white shorts I got at the thrift store.

I have been practicing my doodles for a year or so, and the girl on the yellow piece of paper is my latest doodle.  I really liked how she turned out.  I hate to admit that I did her in a meeting I was attending. In case you can't see, she has create art in her hair and a list of things I need to do on the paper.

 So I took some of these doodles and transferred them to the white shorts.  I drew the face and the flowers on a piece of tissue paper.  Pinned the paper to the shorts where I wanted my designs. Then I dropped my feed dogs. Put black thread in my machine. Set my machine on a very small zig-zag and using the pattern on the tissue paper, stitched around and put the outline of the design on my shorts.  After I completed that part, I tore off the tissue paper leaving the black outline on the shorts. Then I went back in and did a heavier zig-zag over the black outline.  To complete the design, I went back in and filled in the spaces, some of which I drew in with a chalk pencil.  Even though the shorts were denim, because of the denseness of some of my stitching, I needed to use a stableizer on the back side of my design.  I used a wash away type that feels like fabric.  I perfer that to the wash away stableizer that feels like plastic.  After finishing the project, I threw the shorts into the washer and here is what I ended up with.

Doodling does not come easy to me, but with practice I feel I am getting better.  Both my husband and I like the way these shorts turned out. Something interesting to wear in the ever hotter, spring temperatures of the desert Southwest.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Decorative Metal Tin Purses

Today I am going to tell you about my journey in decorative metal tin purses.  The first one was created because I found a wonderful metal tin at the thrift store in the shape of a Coke Cola bottle, cira 1998.  My youngest daughter loves all things Coke Cola and I thought it would make a great purse for her even though I had never made a purse from a decorative tin before.  My husband, who is often my partner in crime, was unsure if it could be done.  I just knew it was possible.  Often I am more optimistic than he is when I think WE can do something. 

 This Coke Cola tin already had hinges, which take it from me, is the kind you want to work with. My son has since learned and taught my husband how to make metal hinges for decorative metal tins that don't have hinges, but there can be alot of problems going down that road. We purchased a metal clasp for the purse closure from Home Depot in the department that has hinges. My husband drilled holes where we wanted the metal clasp closure to be. We used the double sided rivits that we got from Tandy Leather. The rivits are easy to install and are finished on both sides. The rivits come in different sizes and there is a tool that installs them. All you need are the rivits, tool and a rubber mallet and anvil.

I purchased the purse handles at JoAnn's.  We installed them with leather strips that I had and used the double sided rivits.  I loved how the purse turned out and wanted to make one for myself.  I have been on a thrift store seach for a perfect tin for my purse. 

Finally I found a red polka dot dog bone tin.  Of course what's not to like with polka dots, so that was the purse I wanted.  Well one of a couple of cute tins I found.  This dog bone tin did not have hinges, which my husband installed for me.  One of the more difficult problems we ran into was that the purse clasp was on a inside curve.  That was hard to install and we did alot of jury rigging, but it was worth the effort. I loved how it turned out and have already used it.  You might look at decorative metal tins in a new way from now on.     

Friday, April 12, 2013

Polka Dot Dress

Well I love all things polka dot.  Especially black and white, white and black, red and white, white and red polka dots.  How can a woman go wrong?  My husband and I were visiting Yuma, Arizona and were hitting the thrift stores. At one of the Goodwill's I found a white with black polka dot dress, which I didn't get because it wasn't very flattering.  As we were leaving the store we found this black and white, size child's 16, polka dot dress. 

It looked big and I thought it might be labeled wrong, so I tried it on.  My husband could zip it up but while the dress fit me in the waist, it was way too tight in the bust.  Both my husband and I liked the dress.  Sometimes I buy things and I don't know what I am going to do with them right away, but with this dress, I knew I could make it into a skirt very easily and that is what I did.  I took the back zipper out and then took dress apart at the bodice seam after removing the ribbon.  I cut two inches off the bodice bottom and interfaced that piece.  Then put that piece back on the skirt as the waistband.  It fit almost perfectly because it had been joined to the now skirt area to make the dress.  If it didn't, you could made it work or use a different fabric to make a waistband.  I stitched the waistband on and then just turned it to the back and topstitched the waistband in the seams of the skirt to hold the waistband down.  Now I have a cute little skirt to wear.  This was a really easy redo, and I loved the way it turned out. I feel a dance coming on.   

Friday, April 5, 2013

Altered Summer Clothes

Well here it is the first weekend in April and I am on a quest for some cute summer clothes.  Now I know there are parts of the country that is still in the middle of winter and some in spring, but here in the Phoenix area we are heading into the low to middle 90's for our daytime highs.  When I lived in the Denver area most of my wardrobe was for winter.  Here is how I look at the weather here in the Phoenix area.
January COLD
February COLD
June HOT
September HOT
October HOT
December COLD

I will also add that I probably wouldn't turn on the air-conditioner untill it was 100 degrees, but that is just me.

Since we moved here, I have had to create cuter transition and summer clothes, and have been successful I think.  I have painted shorts.  I have done raw edge applique on shorts.  I have also taken to cutting tank tops off and layer them on top of other tank tops.  Anyway, here is my latest adventure in cute transition clothing. 

I started with a red tshirt from the thrift store. 

Disney shirt

 This shirt on the right is the shirt from Disneyland that is the inspiration for my redu.

 The pattern I used is on the left.  Of course I had to tweak the pattern to make it fit the t-shirt . I sewed the polka dot fabric to the wrong side of the t-shirt and then cut out the top fabric (red) exposing the polka dot fabric underneath.This is reverse applique

Here I am in my finished t-shirt NOT !
Peplums are very popular right now.  They have been long time favorites of mine.  In fact I have several patterns from the 80's I believe, that have peplums.  I decided to make a peplum to fit the t-shirt. I purchased another t-shirt from the thrift store trying to match the red color as best as possible.  Try to get the biggest shirt you can.  That will give you the most fabric to work with. 
I bought one of the new pattens now available that featured a peplum and tweaked the pattern to make it fit. To keep the peplum from stretching when I was sewing it on, I used tissue paper in my seam when sewing and then gently ripped it out afterwards.  My husband has recently told me that he likes me in red and I have forgotten how much I like wearing the color.  I really enjoy the look of the peplum, and I love the collar. Gives the beginning red t-shirt a total new look. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Metal tin post cards

At the International Quilt Festival in November of 2012, post cards were sold to support an animal shelter.  The fundraiser was fabulously successful and is going to be carried over to the 2013 Festival. 

Back in 2012, I donated 6 postcards I think.  Right before Festival, I read an article in one of my magazines on making cute necklaces out of denim and decorative metal tins.  I thought that technique might work for making postcards.  Previously I had found a metal tin in the shape of a dog bone that had cute dogs on it.  I bought it with the idea in mind of making necklaces.

I started the three postcards with the larger dogs before the Festival but didn't get them finished.  If I knew then what I know now, I would of made the decorative metal tin into a purse, but they sure make cute postcards for a fundraiser for an animal shelter.

The smaller dogs were on the sides of the metal tins.  I just couldn't throw them away, so I cut and straightened out the pieces.  For all the postcards, I punched holes in the tins with a 1.25mm metal hole puncher.  I just saw a 1.8mm metal hole puncher at JoAnn's in the jewelry section.  The hole puncher makes a smooth hole on both the front and back of the metal. 

The stitching on one of the postcards was made with heaiver thread and stitched on the sewing machine.  The other cards were hand stitched with #8 pearl cotton.  I can't wait for them to fly off to Houston