Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Altering Store Bought Clothes

I feel like I'm back in the game! Last week was rough and I can't even put my finger on why but after a relaxing day off on Monday with Reid and a few finished projects yesterday I feel like I'm back on track. In my previous post I wrapped up the baby leg warmers and euro shams that had gone unfinished for a few months.

I was worried that my good fortune with my sewing machine was going to run out so I moved to the kitchen where I had some bananas a little past their prime. Rather than the usual banana bread or smoothie I decided to break out the dehydrator and make some banana chips! It's been a couple of years since I used this contraption but luckily I found the instruction booklet inside and went about slicing the bananas and laying them on the trays. I had a little room and noticed that peaches take about the same amount of time so I sliced up one of those also. It's peach season here in the South so I thought I'd see what a dried peach tastes like since I can get a big basket from the farmer's market for $3 or so. Update: They're delish! The bananas are chewy and not crispy like what you buy from the store (the ones from the store are usually fried) but the peaches turned out great so I'll definitely be drying some more of those.

Still feeling pretty good I decided to go back to my stack of sewing projects and pull out a dress I've been meaning to work on. I got it at Old Navy when I went back to work after Sam was born. I thought it had a lot of potential and after wearing it a few times I've decided it's time for a little changeroo. I'm swapping the standard white shirt button for a small buffalo nickel button. I've also removed the tie from the back at Reid's suggestion. He thought it would look more polished and probably fit better if I did the same elastic treatment from the upcycled shirt project.

So here are some in process pics of the dress alterations. The buttons had to be sewn on by hand which was a pain for this little my-sewing-machine-sews-my-buttons-on-for-me princess. And while I don't think the elastic really lends anything to the fit of the dress I do think it makes it less bulky in the event that I want to wear a cardigan or something lightweight over it.

Before. It mostly fit like a sack, which right after having a baby is all you really want to wear anyway.

Buffalo Nickel Buttons give just enough texture to not be completely boring. You can see the original tie in the background there.

Remove the tie from both side seams with a seam ripper or snippers. 
Stitch openings in side seams left from tie removal. 

Here I'll stop and tell you how I came up with the amount of elastic to use. (Here's a quick tutorial on stitching it on if you have questions about that.) I measured across the back of the dress and got 21" from side seam to side seam. I didn't want the elastic to pull the side seams too much towards the back of the dress and put stress on the front buttons so I decided to leave 3.5" ungathered (I just did spell check and 'ungathered' is apparently not a real word. Hmmm.) on each side of the elastic. That left me with 14" of fabric to gather so I divided that in half and cut a piece of elastic that was 7" long. I stretched it to the 14" length I wanted to gather and stitched with a zigzag stitch making sure to keep the fabric tight as I went.

Finished elastic.

I was babysitting for a friend and he slept while I worked. Sweet, huh?
Back of the finished dress. Sorry it's so dark but a storm was coming in and it really doesn't look much different than before.

Now here's my question for you. I also have this sheer shirt from Old Navy that I bought on clearance the same time as the dress but never wore because it's clearly wayyyyyy too big for me. I was thinking of removing the sleeves to make it a tank but I don't know what else to do from there. I don't want to overload on the elastic waistband gathers. Any other suggestions?

I had to hold the buttons closed to keep from flashing the whole world wide interweb. Just trying to keep it PG up in here.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Baby Leg Warmers & Euro Shams

I just completed two projects. Yippee!

First up was the baby leg warmers. Sheila posted a link for these ages ago on Facebook and because it was mid-winter and I had a newborn I thought it was a great idea. (Once he starts crawling it will protect his little knees and I've also heard they come in handy for midnight diaper changes as well as easy access while potty training.) So while at Target I picked up two pairs of women's knee-high socks in the most masculine patterns they had and then proceeded to let them sit on the kitchen counter for a month. From the kitchen they moved on to the butler's pantry where they sat for a few more months. And here they are finally completed.

You know there are tons of babies who need leg warmers in July in Alabama. Oh, you didn't know that? Well there are. Let me just tell you....

It's a pretty simple tutorial really. I made two pairs in about ten minutes total. If you need more detailed instructions you can find them all over the internet.

1. Cut out heel and toe. Discard. This should leave you with a long tube with a cuff on one end and a short tube with no finished edges. The beauty of working with knits is that they don't fray. The pain of working with knits is that they like to roll at the cut edges. 

2. Fold short tube in half and insert unfinished edge of long tube through the short tube. Pin all three layers together. The pinning is necessary to keep the layers from rolling. I did one out of the four without pins and it was a pain. 

3. Stitch with approximately 1/4" seam allowance. You want to make sure you have all three layers. You can always trim it after sewing if the seam is too bulky. And then TA-DA..... 10 minutes later (or less possibly) and you have two pairs of leg warmers.

Now on to the next project which is something you've seen before. I finally got around to completing the second pillow sham for Sam's room. Here is a pic of them on the daybed. Overall I'm pretty happy with the fit.

I know, I know. Holy window treatment overload, Batman! And no, I'm not hiding any mini-blinds behind the roller blinds/sheer/valance combo. Let's just focus on the pillows, shall we?

This is a close up of the quilt and shams with the Walter Anderson print that helped encourage the color scheme. It was a gift from my brother and sister-in-law for Christmas and was the first thing we hung on the walls in this house. It was sort of a happy accident that the colors in the fabric matched the colors in the print so while it was originally intended for the living room I thought it looked great in Sam's room.

It's only lunch time and I've already finished two projects?! I wonder what else I can get done today...

~Flippy Flops~

Yesterday I FINALLY got around to mowing my yard (I'm sure my neighbors were stoked).  And while I was at it, my flip flop broke..(i know you're not supposed to wear flip flops when you mow, but I wear flip flops to do everything).  If you're friends with me on fb I posted this link a while back and have even had the shoes to do it but haven't gotten around to it.

Well here it is!
This is the tutorial I found to make the flip flops.  I found mine at Old Navy for $.99 and Ollie is dying for me to make her some so I'm sure that is right around the corner.

So instead of writing a a tute on making the flip flops when you can find it here. I thought I'd write one and making the rosettes I used to know I love the embellishment!  So here we go!
First off you need to dig through your scraps.  I save EVERYTHING for this project exactly.  Ollie loves the scrap bin.  Make sure to get your glue gun out as well.

  It doesn't take much to do this and the pieces you tear off your cotton to make it on grain are perfect (I always save those scraps)  These are the kinds of scraps you are looking for.  The bigger the scrap the larger the flower.  You can use rough edges which I like, or cut them for a cleaner edge.  These are some scraps I found that would work for the project.
Now if we're going to do this together you're going to have to promise me one thing...DO NOT LOOK AT MY TERRIBLE FINGERNAILS.  It may be time for a manicure and a good paint job, but with all the painting going on around this house, painting my nails doesn't really seem like a good idea. 
Okay now, take the scrap you are going to use and tie a knot at one end and leave a bit of a tail.
Don't worry about the tail, you can trim it later if need be.  Now you are going to hold the knot in one and and twist the remaining fabric with the other.  Remember the tighter you wrap it the closer the layers of your flower.  It all depends on preference and that is why I love these flowers, no two are the same.
Now you're going to put a dot of glue on the knot so you can begin wrapping your twisted portion around the knot.
Now just keep adding a dog of glue every couple of centimeters and twisting the end of your fabric.

Now for the back, just take the end and trim it to a length that can easily be tucked under.  Put a dot of glue on the bottom and tuck the tail under. 
You can put these flowers on literally everything under the sun!  So fun!  Dresses, shoes, name it!  Happy Flowering!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Did You Say Painted Wallpaper?

First and foremost, I love your tutorial on freezer paper stencils.  I have read on it many times but have never done it myself.  I will have to try now.  Ollie is definitely going to need something with that technique.  AND it might look awesome on the new chair.  I am going to live with it a while and see where it takes me.  As for painting the legs...among all my other CRAZIES...I find it very hard to paint bare wood.  I know, I's weird.  Call it Frank Lloyd Wright Syndrome, but I can't bring myself to do it.  After being painted it can never be brought back to it's true original form.  I know, I'm crazy.  I could never bring myself to say..paint wood floors or even paint trim that was stained, especially if it was old, even if I didn't like it.  I just couldn't be the person to do

What's going on at the Bakers you ask? 
Well we (as in me and Ollie) are painting...yes...AGAIN!  My philosophy since we moved into this house a year ago was to tackle the ugliest room and move on from there.  Back at the beginning of this year, the ugliest room in my house was a little extra room right off the front entry of the house.  This house was originally built in the 1930's by an Indiana Senator and this little room was his office.  It really doesn't work for much else and I don't think it had been touched since the beginning of time.  I don't have before picks but it had ugly 80's wallpaper and matching...YES I SAID MATCHING...ugly valance.  They had painted all the trim in the house at one time green and this room still remained in this room.  Needless to say many hours of work later and I got it whipped into shape.

Now this little room is turning into a sewing room and I'm so excited!  Okay okay back on subject.  While getting ready to paint this room I searched my little tail off for the PERFECT grey and this is it.  It is from Olympic and it is called Antique Silver and it is absolutely the perfect color of grey.  Well it only took 1/2 a gallon so the other half has been burning a hole in my pocket as they say.  I loved the color so much that I decided to paint the largest public space in my house that color so I could enjoy it everyday and everyone else could too...that my hallway. 

 I knew I wasn't going to be able to finish and to be honest, this hallway goes all the way up the stairs and all through the upstairs and I will get to it all eventually, but you have to start somewhere.
But this wall here is the one I HAD to get done or I'd die...just die.  What do I plan to do with this wall you may ask?  Well here ya go.  I am just a sucker for punishment.

Today I worked on the pattern I plan to use which is very similar to the one used.  First I made it out of newspaper because it can be easily folded and cut symmetrically.  I then transferred it to cardboard for a more rigid pattern.
So my next step is to draw each of these on the wall and SLOWLY and CAREFULLY paint the outline with a craft brush...and ya know what...I am going to love every minute of it...SAD I KNOW!  I have done similar projects in my children's bedrooms.  Both wave motifs started as cardboard stencils just like this one and the outline was painted with a small craft brush.  The one below is Ollie's room.

This is Revel's room.  This one was done with chalkboard paint.  Emily I know a while back you asked about the chalkboard paint and how I liked it and I have to admit I love it...BUT...we have all hardwood floors.  If you have carpet I would have to say no way.  It does put off quite a bit of dust that could stain carpet if wet or ground in.  But on wood it just sweeps or wipes right up with a damp cloth.  And you know who loves it the best....OLLIE!  It's in Revel's room, but she adores it.  Great way to learn letters and numbers and shapes.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Freezer Paper Stencil: A Semi-Pictorial Tutorial

So first off, congrats on completing the slipcover! It looks great. (And Ollie's pretty darn cute, too!) I love the contrasting piping. You're so brave for attempting cording (in a different color, no less) on your first slipcover. Wouldn't it be fun to paint the legs a bright color? I would probably paint them gold but only because I'm painting everything gold these days. I walked into the shed yesterday and saw that we have no fewer than 5 different cans of gold spray paint. Seriously.

Here comes my only successful project of the week.

Freezer Paper Stenciling

Assemble your supplies: freezer paper, fabric paint, pencil, x-acto knife, design for tracing, and item to stencil onto. Not pictured is the iron. It's actually just out of the frame to the right of the onesie. What can I say, maybe the iron was having a bad hair day and didn't want her picture taken?

Freezer paper should be at your local grocery store with the plastic wrap and aluminum foil. It's basically a roll of butcher paper with a plastic coating on one side. Would you believe I've owned that roll of freezer paper for probably 5 years? That should give you a clue as to how quickly I am generally able to complete projects. My original intention for that roll of paper was to use it for stenciling and here I am finally getting around to it. This is why I'm so amazed that you have sewn a slipcover, painted your foyer and are now on to painting your hallway, all in one week.

You can see that I skipped a step or two or ten with the photo taking. Basically what you need to do is take a piece of your freezer paper and lay it on top of your design with the plastic side down. Then use your pencil to trace around the design as neatly as possible. The thicker the lines and darker the design the easier the tracing will be. Next I used my x-acto knife to cut out my image. Turn your iron to high and position your stencil where you would like it. Be sure you have it in just the right place because once you start ironing there isn't much opportunity for shifting. I also ironed a solid piece of freezer paper to the inside of the onesie to protect the paint from bleeding through but that was probably unnecessary and I probably could have gotten away with just sliding a piece of cardboard up there. But it's your call. For the letters with an opening (a, r, o, d, p) I left them whole until after I ironed my stencil on and then went back and cut out the small center piece and ironed them onto my onesie one by one.

Once I was sure all my edges were well sealed from the heat of the iron I used a soft brush to dab the paint on. Like most painting projects, multiple thin coats are always better than one gloppy thick one. Here is where I would recommend doing it differently than I did it. I couldn't locate my stiff bristled brush so I resorted to a Q-tip for my second coat. I could have continued with the brush and probably gotten a distressed look but I wanted the color to be as solid as I could get it and the Q-tip was all I could find. I would recommend a foam brush or a stenciling brush if you want to be extra thorough.

The letters got a little distorted from peeling the stencil off but here is the final product. I should have done one more coat but I thought Sam was going to wear it Friday night and there just wasn't time. I'm most proud of the boy/cow on the top right corner. Getting that show stick in there was no small feat. (The logo is for the Alabama Junior Cattlemen's Association annual summer event which is called Round Up.)

 I tried to get my model to lay still so I could get a picture of his awesome new onesie but you can see from the blurriness of the first two that I was unsuccessful. I finally got one down at the bottom.

So what do you think? You could use this method to make a stencil for the back of your slipcover. I've got a few ideas up my sleeve that I'd like to try. Hopefully it won't take me another 5 years to get around to it...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

My New BFF's New Outfit: Part 2

Wanna read Part 1?

Isn't she cute?  I mean the chair of  ALL FINISHED!  Can you believe it?  And you know what the hardest part was...the cushion.  I couldn't get the top and bottom to match up correctly.  I originally put cording in the bottom seam of the cushion but after taking it apart twice I decided I could fix it alot easier without it.  AND I WAS OVER IT!  But here it is and I'm in love with it even more than before.  I feel like it is one of the best pieces of furniture I own...FOR A TOTAL OF
Can you believe it? 
Now I know you're disappointed that there isn't any grommets or ruffles, but I just couldn't cover up the legs with the ruffle and the back was a nightmare to get straight so velcro it is.  Obviously all of the pieces are washable (even the cushion, the cover can be removed) 
This was a SUPER fun project and I learned alot but now I'm glad it's over.  It's always fun to have a piece that you basically created...there's alot of pride in it.

I should be doing something else

Isn't that always the case? When you're doing something you enjoy (sewing, cooking, etc.) do you ever feel like you should be doing something else? That's where I am today. I tried mowing the yard yesterday after letting it go for way too long but the lawnmower pooped out on me and then it started raining.

So I came inside and studied instead. Have I told you that I'm taking the Praxis this weekend? It's the test that you have to pass in order to get a teaching certificate. I'm taking the English Language Arts Content Knowledge test and to be honest I'm about to pee myself with nervousness. So needless to say, I'm having a hard time focusing on a project worthy of posting about.

After a couple of hours of studying I took a break to do some sewing. I took the top of Sam's romper-turned-diaper-cover and one of Reid's old fraternity t-shirts that was headed to Goodwill and started trying to make it into a dress/tunic of sorts. I don't have any little girls to try it on so I'm just sort of winging it. I have no idea what size it'll actually turn out to be but here's where I am up to this point. I need to reattach the buttons and I have plans to dye the whole thing navy blue. I'm hoping it'll make the t-shirt part look less faded and will tone down the plaid so that it's a little more monochromatic. I'll see how it looks after dying before deciding what kind of buttons to put on it.

I took some process photos which I'll go ahead and post also but to be honest my heart just wasn't really in it so I'm not sure how much sense it will all make.

What I started with: top of romper-turned-diaper-cover and old t-shirt.

Cut t-shirt below printing. I also cut off the sleeves and collar but didn't wind up using the top portion of the t-shirt at all. Pardon the large white spot in the middle. It was light from the window and NOT a bleach stain.

Now fold the large rectangle in half and cut leaving you with two strips that are the same width. You will gather and stitch these together to create a tiered skirt.

You want to use the bottom of the t-shirt because it already has a finished hem so leave that strip how it is. (I realize I'm saying "strip" when it's actually a continuous circle.) Now you're going to take the other strip you created and cut it down so it is 3/4 the length of the bottom. I folded the entire thing in half and then just cut out one of the four sections that was created by the fold which made my continuous circle not so continuous any longer. So now it is actually a strip and a circle. I'll give you a minute to take it all in. So complex.

Here is where I stitched the strip to make it into a circle again. Seriously, is anyone still reading this? 

I gathered the smaller circle and stitched it onto my romper top.

Then I did the same with the bottom circle and attached it to the middle circle. I tried to hide some poor construction with some decorative stitching. I'm hoping the whole thing will look a little better once it gets dropped in some dye along with some other onesies and such.

And now I'm off to fix the lawnmower. Yes, I'm going to take apart our lawnmower. And yes, Reid knows about it. And yes, he is the most trusting husband in the world.