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.