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Tee shirt Makeover

28 Mar

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I’ve been dressing up some tee shirts. It’s a simple wardrobe makeover: find some lace, insert it into a tee shirt, and voila, a dressier, more fashionable casual wardrobe.

But in case anyone wants a “how to”, I took some pictures along the way.

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Crafting with kids

27 Aug

Even vacations are not entirely craft-free.  One of the projects I did this summer was a fun fashion design project with a young friend. It’s fun to see the “do it yourself” bug catch early, and creativity naturally expressed.
My crafty friend had cut off a pair of jeans into shorts, but the removed pant legs had embroidered gold stars, which she felt (and I agreed) were too fun to simply throw away. Her quest: to make a handbag or tote bag, out of the leftovers from her previous project.

The fabric, typical of re-purposed scraps, showed some wear, and required us to design around the frayed cuffs. So I trimmed off the most  worn pieces to see what size and shape this bag might want to be.  The following photo shows the embroidered star detail  that my young fashion designer friend wanted to preserve, in her design:

Then, we set about making all the choices inherent in up-cycled sewing designs: what  shape should the bag be? What kind of strap should it have? One strap or two? How long should it be, where do you want the bag to hang, on your body, as you carry it? What kind of closure: velcro, snap, or zipper? What fabric to use for the lining?

Of course, as with most projects, we were limited in the amount and styles of supplies we had on hand. But we went through the process step by step, and ended up with a bag.

Click to see how it turned out!

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Handmade Travel Outfit 2 1/2

14 Apr

The  same slacks, without the jacket, later the same day, makes a more casual outfit.

The shirt is one I re-fashioned from a men’s button shirt. I can’t find the original blog post I first saw this on, but another blogger inspired the “wear it backwards” detail–I cut off the sleeves, put darts in the (old) back of the shirt, now the front, cut out a new neckline, and turned a stuffy shirt into a fun summery top.

This is before:

This is now:

Tee Shirt Upgrade

2 Apr

This isn’t really so much a “makeover” as an “upgrade.” It started out a humble tee-shirt, and it ends up…

…a humble tee-shirt, with frills.

I got this idea while browsing a clothing mail-order catalogue over breakfast. I saw a crocheted-edged tee in the catalogue, and realized that somewhere in my stash I probably had some yarn that matched some tee-shirt in my collection, and indeed, there was.)
How-to:

1) Cut off whatever parts of the tee you want. (I cut out the neckline, cut off the sleeves, and cut off the bottom 6″ of the hem.

2) At each cut edge, fold under 1/4″ of fabric and, with a fat, sharp metal sewing needle, hand-stitch the edge through both layers in blanket stitch. This gives you a neat line of loops along the edge of the fabric, in which to crochet. (at left, below)

3) With a crochet hook to match the weight of your yarn, at a side seam, attach a new end of yarn to your blanket stitching with a slip-stitch. Single crochet one row of stitches all the way around. (at right, above)

Now, what you do after this, exactly, depends on how much you cut off, and how much you need to build back up again. You could build a whole bodice in crochet to go on a tee shirt base. I was thinking for my next one I’ll do a more elaborate lace collar, and then cut away a tee shirt to match it. But for this one, I stayed simple since it’s my first. For the frothy sleeves on mine I used a lace pattern from a book of vintage patterns in my collection.

But around the neck and hem, I made up a simple scallop stitch. It goes something like this:

Row 1: Single crochet all the way around (same as step 3, above).

Row 2: *Ch 6, skip the next 3 sc stitches, sc in following (4th) sc stitch.  Repeat from * until the end, fudging the count a little bit at the end if you don’t have a perfect multiple of 4 stitches in your row.

Row 3: (sc, 6 dc, sc) in each Ch 6.  Anchor your last stitch with a slip stitch, cut yarn, weave in end.

That’s it!

(My original inspiration is online, here. It shows how conceivably, one could cut off quite a bit and crochet it right back on again.)

Life’s too short for “hum-drum”

19 Feb

This is my new kimono-styled jacket, made of fabric recycled from other garments I owned, and then chopped up into pieces:

I finished it yesterday, after a week of sewing, and today I wore it out and about into the world. A woman commented “You clearly have a very unique taste.” I laughed. “Unique”, along with its partner “interesting”, is one of those words non-crafters often use to politely say “Good god, what are you wearing?”
But this time, the compliment was sincere. The woman continued “You don’t see things like that, very often. Mostly you see the same old hum-drum grey and tan and black, over and over again.  It’s so nice to see a departure, for a change.”
My jacket is certainly a departure from the “hum-drum”, and making it has been a delightful, although sometimes trying, process.

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Wardrobe Hacking

12 Feb

Not purchasing any new clothes has given me the excuse to be ruthless in my own closet. I have too much clothing I’ve been holding on to that I no longer wear, but that I find it hard to part with just the same.  Looking at these items as fabric–just piling it up, looking at it as material rather than finished garments, has completely changed my perspective. I realize that most pieces have great color or texture, some element that I really do like, even if the fit or the style is no longer relevant to my wardrobe.

Sometimes, the “makeover” can be accomplished as simply as taking out a scissors.  I had this stretchy, textured orange Spandex-y maxi dress. (Yes, I know: that description alone should have easily qualified said garment for the donation heap, right there.) But it kept surviving the closet purges. I held onto it, although I know I will never need a bright orange disco-dancing stretch dress, ever in my life (if indeed I ever did.)  But today, with scissors in hands, I was rummaging about looking for garments that might lend scraps of bright color to another project underway.  My hands landed on this dress. And I realized that I kept this dress for many genuine reasons: I love orange, it’s a hard color to find in the right tones, and I love texture–and this fabric offers both of those. I may not want a whole entire head-to-toe arrangement in orange, but it sure does make a good base of color for an outfit.

 


So with a few snips of my scissors, the transformation was complete.