Monday, October 31, 2011

Project Runway Season 9 (spoiler alert!)

If you haven't watched the finale of Project Runway, you may want to stop reading now :)  

Okay...everyone ready to continue?  So, what did you think of the finale?  I have to say, I was a little surprised that they let all of the final four contestants show during fashion week, especially since Anya's 3 piece mini collection was a bit of a mess.


The judges liked the dress on the left, but that bathing suit and cover up?  Seriously amateur hour stuff.  I didn't think the gown was quite as bad as the judges did, but it definitely needed help.  I swear the girl doesn't even know how to hem.  Anyway, she made it fashion week along with Kimberly, Viktor and Joshua.  

The final fashion show was pretty fun to watch!  I can't imagine how I would feel watching an entire collection of my designs go down the runway at Fashion Week!  The designers must have been freaking out!  Here were a few of my favorite looks:

The first dress Anya sent down the runway was probably one of my favorites.  I don't know that it's super wearable by the everyday girl with that plunging neckline, but the fabric is gorgeous and it makes me want to be dancing on a beach somewhere!



The other dress I liked by Anya is this pretty black and white number.  This one had a different neckline that I really liked (that was actually one of the judges' "issues" with her collection...too many similar silhouettes), and this one was quite pretty.


Also?  Her model is gorgeous.

I can't say I've been a huge fan of Joshua M during the season.  He's just a little brash for me and I usually hate his color palette.  I did think this dress was pretty and simple, although pretty much a copy of the orange one he did a few weeks ago, minus the huge corsage.



Kimberly did some nice work this season, and while I wasn't super in love with her final collection, this pant and blouse combo knocked me out.  I would wear this any day!


And finally, Viktor.  Wow.  This entire collection of prints that he made from his own photographs...wow.  So gorgeous.  And can you imagine how long that leather jacket on the far right took to make?  I definitely think Viktor was probably the strongest in the entire competition when it came to garment construction.



The judges complained that the other 5 pieces in his collection seemed a bit removed from these 5, so I think they had a problem with his cohesiveness.  The other pieces were a bit sheer for my taste, but these 5 were awesome.

In the end, Anya was declared the winner.  I think Josh M was pretty mad, but he was fairly graceful about it.  I felt Viktor had done the most during the season to be the winner, but the judges liked Anya's point of view and her sense of style.  

Overall, an enjoyable season to watch.  Can't wait until the next one!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Handmade Christmas!

I know, I know...it's a little early to be thinking about Christmas!  But this year, I'd like to encourage you to make it a handmade Christmas!  That means you might need some extra time to get yourself organized, especially once the hustle and bustle of the holiday season really hits!  It can be hard to carve out a few extra minutes for anything, let alone crafting!  

This year, let's pledge to support local crafters and artisans by purchasing their unique handmade items.  And to save even more money, let's make some things ourselves!  Over the next few weeks, I will share a few fun tutorials for inexpensive gifts you can make at home.  To help your creativity along, here are some previously compiled lists with lots of free tutorials and ideas!

Disney has some great ideas here, including gifts kids can make and ideas for creative wrapping!  Check it out - http://familyfun.go.com/christmas/homemade-christmas-gifts/

Of course the queen herself, Martha Stewart, has a wonderful list with gifts to make for "her" here - http://www.marthastewart.com/307035/santas-workshop

This site has compiled a list of 101 handmade gift tutorials - http://www.everythingetsy.com/2011/08/101-simple-handmade-gift-tutorials/

If 101 ideas weren't enough, here are 137 more!  The post is in several parts so you'll have to keep clicking through.  Part 1 is here - http://www.craftynest.com/2010/08/inexpensive-handmade-holiday-gift-ideas-part-1/

Hope that gets you started with some fun ideas!  I know I have a lot of planning to do and several of these caught my eye!  Shameless plug - you can always check out my etsy shop (and lots of other amazing and wonderful etsy shops!) if you aren't the crafty type and just want to purchase a handmade gift :)  Visit me here - www.etsy.com/shop/cablesandbows

Merry Handmade Christmas!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Jacket Refashion!

I bought this jacket a few years ago at Eddie Bauer.  


It's a nice jacket and I liked it when I bought it.  Over the years, though, there are some things about it that I've come to dislike.  It's gotten to the point where I honestly don't wear it much anymore.  I like the water resistant fabric and it has these cute slant pockets.  

 
Okay, great pro list...haha.  As for the cons...first of all, the color is not my favorite.  I like beige.  I'm pro beige.  However, I always felt like this jacket just didn't look quite right when I wore it.  It looks terrible over black pants on the way to church, worse over khaki, and even with jeans it just never felt right.  Also, it doesn't have much shape.  It's pretty much straight down the back, sides and front.  So, I decided to do some refashioning to see if I could make it better.  Enter our good friend, Rit Dye :)


I often feel like dyeing fabric can be a bit of a crap shoot (just ask the Project Runway contestants), so I wasn't sure exactly what color this jacket would end up.  I was assuming it would be in the blue family, since the dye I had was "Denim Blue."  I had originally bought the dye to dye a pair of denim capris that were too light, but I've never gotten around to it.  Once I finished dyeing the jacket and pulled it out of the dryer...it was lavender!  Not exactly what I expected, but honestly, I really like it!  Here is the final product!


After dyeing it, I knew I had to try to fix the shape.  The first thing I did was to add a couple of darts in the back to bring it in a bit.  Sorry, this isn't the greatest pic, but you get the idea.


Then I made a quick belt/sash by folding a long strip of fabric right sides together, stitching it up the side and then turning it right side out.  I made two belt loops the same way, then serged the ends of the belt loops and stitched them on.




Finally, just to give it a little extra flair, I made a quick flower clip and just safety pinned it on, in case I want to change it or to keep it nice when I wash the jacket.





So here I am in my "new" jacket!  Again, terrible pic, sorry.  Yes, that's my bathroom and yes, I'm wearing sweats, LOL.


What's old in your closet that you can make new again?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Rain, rain, go away...

It's a gloomy Tuesday here in the midwest, so I'm conjuring up balmy, sunny days in my mind by looking at these pretty pictures of my pillowcase dresses (taken by my very talented photographer friend, Shannon Miller.  You should check out her work here).  

Can't you just feel the sun's warmth as it filters through the leaves?


Pretty ribbon (and gorgeous photography) makes me happy.


This fabric makes me happy.


And so does this one.




Ahh...there.  Don't you feel better?  The sun will return!  Happy Tuesday!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

KCWC Day 6: I fixed it

For the majority of my sewing hour today, I ended up ripping out the neckline from the knit dresses and fixing them.  I told you I wasn't happy with them.  Apparently I was unhappy enough to take the time to rip it all out and do it again.  The good news is, it was worth it.  I'm quite happy with the neckline now and no longer embarrassed to have anyone look closely at my stitching.  


When I put the dresses on the girls yesterday, I could tell neck fit a little large, so I solved that problem by doing a small gather, which brought it all in just enough for a much better fit.  I cut my "bias strip" of knit fabric a bit larger this time which made it easier to work with.  I was a good girl and didn't use the cheater method of putting the bias strip in...I did it the right way.  For some great info on that, check out Dana's tutorial.  Also, I busted out the twin needle again.  It gave it a good stretch stitch and just looks nicer, I think.  So yay, even though it was a pain, I'm glad I did it.

I also whipped up these matching headbands for the girls!  


They are so cute and super easy to do.  There are about a million and a half tutorials online for how to make the poufy little flower...KoJo Designs has a great one here.  For the headbands, I simply cut two strips of the knit fabric and tapered the ends so the part on top of their heads is about 2" wide and the part at the back, at the neckline, is about 1" wide.  I stitched them wrong sides together, turned them right side out, turned the ends under and stitched them together.  Nothing fancy!  I hot glued the poufy flower on because I'm feeling lazy today and it was easier than sewing it on.  Now we're all ready for church tomorrow!  Sorry, no pics of the girls in the headbands...they are supposed to be napping now! 

So, what will tomorrow bring for the closing day of the challenge?  I have no idea.  It's football day, so there might just be some sewing planning going on as we watch the games :) 

Friday, October 14, 2011

KCWC Day 5: Knit Dress with Ruffled Skirt (finished!)

Yay!  The knit dress is done!


I have to say, this was one of the more time consuming projects I have sewn for my girlies, for a few reasons.  First of all, I just didn't have a ton of sewing time over the past few days, so getting my hour in was already a challenge.  Secondly, the jersey knit was something I have not worked with too often, so I was more careful than usual.  Plus, I really just wanted to get this one right, so I actually took my time, sewing slowly, pinning a lot, etc.  


I have to say, I am very pleased with how this dress turned out!  I am especially thrilled with the skirt.  It came out exactly how I had envisioned it!  In the end, it was worth all the time it took to cut and ruffle all those strips, measure and place and pin them carefully, and then sew them down.  


The bodice is fine, nothing fancy there.  I'm not incredibly thrilled with the neckline and I'm still entertaining thoughts of ripping it out and doing it again, but for now I'm sticking with it :)  After doing two of them, I'm kind of over it at the moment.  The fit is fine, it's just that my stitches got a little wonky trying to catch both sides of the "bias tape" and that's mostly because I'm lazy and can't possibly sew it in the correct way :)


I busted out the twin needle and used that to hem the sleeves and the bottom of the skirt.  You can't see the skirt hem because of the ruffles, but I know it's there and it makes me happy that I did it well.


Two more days left of the challenge and I am not 100% sure what I'll be making.  I might start planning some spring outfits, because let's face it...once the holidays hit, life will be chaos (more than normal!) and there will not be as much sewing going on around here as usual!  For now we're just going to enjoy the fact that it's Friday!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

KCWC Day 4: Knit Dress with Ruffled Skirt (in progress)

Nothing exciting to share in the photo department today.  I'm busily working on my 3rd project of the KCWC!  This one is a bit more involved than my first two, plus it's made out of knit jersey, so I'm definitely taking my time!  

Clockwise from top left, we have the skirt pieces, cut and hemmed, two half finished bodices, all the ruffle strips for the skirts (that's a lot of ruffles, but it has to cover two skirts!) and the hemmed sleeves.


I actually took this picture at the end of the day yesterday, and since then I have finished both bodices, stitched up the sides of the skirt, and placed two ruffles on one skirt.  If the girls will nap nicely for me tomorrow, I hope to complete it!  Stick with it ladies!  Tomorrow is Friday!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

KCWC Day 3: Charm Square Skirt Tutorial

Are you participating in Elsie Marley's Kids Clothes Week Challenge?  You should!  It's been good for me.  It's making me take time to sew for the girls every day and also blog about it!  We're members of the local twins club and I scored big time at their fall clothing resale this year.  For less than $100, I pretty much got the girls outfitted for winter, and it all matches!  (I may or may not have a minor obsession with matching their clothing).  Despite their already large wardrobe, there is something so rewarding in seeing your kids in an item of clothing that YOU created! 

I had some cute fall scraps just sitting around and I thought how fun would it be to make a little patchwork skirt for fall??  Plus with an elastic waist, hopefully they can even wear it next fall (fingers crossed!).  Want to make one?  Let's get started!

Monday, October 10, 2011

KCWC Day 1: Lovebird Tunic (finished!)

I ended up finishing the tunics while the girls were playing nicely together (ahhhhhh...).  There is still a bit of hand tacking I'd like to do, just for that touch of niceness, but they are complete and wearable. 


As I mentioned in my previous post, I used the Lovebird tunic tutorial generously given by the super talented Jess at Craftiness is Not Optional.  This was a simple tunic to make, especially if you already have a basic bodice pattern drafted in your child's size.  I made it using a vintage sheet as my fabric!  I love using vintage sheets.  Have I mentioned that?  I'm sure I have (in about every post...).  The front of the tunic has a fun inverted pleat detail and the neck is finished with handmade bias tape.


The back has what Jess calls the "easy peasy" button closure.  She's totally right.  It's easy.  And it's peasy.  I don't really mind doing buttonholes, but this is so fast, I love it!



 Getting a pic of two 18 month old girls next to each other is nearly impossible, and this is mostly what I get...bye kiddo!


The original tunic in Jess' tutorial had some pretty lace trim near the shoulders and at the hemline of the sleeves, but I opted not to add any trim for two reasons.  First, I didn't have anything on hand that even remotely matched!  Secondly, I liked the fabric well enough without any trim.  Plus the top edge of the sheet, which is the bottom band of the tunic, had some piping on it and I was fine with that.  Overall, I love the way it turned out!  They're a little big, but I'm really hoping they'll fit next spring.  I think the girls like them too!


Tomorrow I hope to cut fabric for a knit dress with a ruffled skirt and maybe start assembling it.  Have fun working on your projects!

KCWC Day 1: Lovebird Tunic (in progress)

Soooo...for day 1 of the KCWC I have been working on a super cute Lovebird tunic based on the tutorial from the amazing Jess of Craftiness is Not Optional.  I'm working with a vintage sheet as my fabric and it's going pretty well.  I've had some issues with the sleeves, which I'm pretty sure I cut out backward, but I'm persevering and it's going to get done!  Pictures will in all likelihood be tomorrow, since the girlies are up from their nap, so sewing time is basically over for the day for me.  How's it going for you?  Getting anything done?  I can't wait to check out the flickr group and see what everyone has made!

Friday, October 7, 2011

KCWC

Who's excited about Elsie Marley's Kids Clothes Week Challenge????  I hope you are all geared up and ready to make some fun clothes for your littles!  I have a few projects planned.  I definitely know I'm going to use at least one tutorial from the awesome Jess at CINO and I have a tutorial planned for a cute little patchwork skirt.  My girls don't need too much more for winter, but seriously...it's always fun to make them something new!  Hope to see everyone there!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Raspberry Fluff Skirt

Do you pick fabric with a specific project in mind or does fabric call your name although you have no idea what you're going to make with it?  I think I fit both descriptions at times, which probably leads me to have way more fabric than one person needs :)  This skirt was definitely inspired by the fabric.  I was browsing through JoAnn's one day and boy did it ever call my name!  So girly!  So covered in pre-sewn ric rac and ribbon!  I was in love! 





I saw a fun tutorial for a twirly skirt at All About Mommies and I followed her basic tutorial for the main skirt.  You can find that tutorial here.  I had to adjust the dimensions a bit to fit my girlies, but the basic tute will yield one cute skirt!  The fabric I had was a bit sheer, though, so I wanted to line it.  What goes better with a super girly fabric than some beautiful eyelet lace?  I bought some eyelet trim and stitched it to some plain white broadcloth.  I then stitched the lining to the main skirt piece, flipped it inside out, and there ya go!  One fluffy, girly, twirly skirt!  Or two, in my case :)



My petite princesses love them and so do I!  Now go make a twirly skirt for your cutie pie!