Adding a Side Slit to Shorts–3 Methods

Thanks to the good weather, I recently pulled my shorts out of their winter exile.  I have three pairs I bought several years ago that are all pretty much the same, and longer - more skimmer than shorts.  They’ve been around long enough they aren’t really something I wear out of the house, but I decided to give them a little update by shortening them to above my knee. 

Adding a Side Slit to Shorts - Crafty Staci 1

Adding a Side Slit to Shorts - Crafty Staci 1

Since I couldn’t really ruin these I decided to play around a little while I did all that hemming.  As a result, I’m here to share three different methods of adding a side slit, or vent, while hemming.

Wide Cut-Out Slit

Cut the legs the length you ultimately want them to be, plus 2 1/2”.  Turn the edge under 1/2” and press.  Turn to the outside 2” and pin at the outer leg seam.

Adding a Side Slit to Shorts - Crafty Staci 2

Adding a Side Slit to Shorts - Crafty Staci 2

Measure 1/4” from the seam on each side and draw a line.  Draw across the top at the turned under edge to form a rectangle.  Stitch along the line.

Adding a Side Slit to Shorts - Crafty Staci 3

Adding a Side Slit to Shorts - Crafty Staci 3

Cut the center of the rectangle, stopping about 1/4” from the top.  Cut out the seam.  Clip from the cut to each corner.

Adding a Side Slit to Shorts - Crafty Staci 4

Adding a Side Slit to Shorts - Crafty Staci 4

Turn the seam right side out, pushing out the corners.  Press well.

Adding a Side Slit to Shorts - Crafty Staci 5

Adding a Side Slit to Shorts - Crafty Staci 5

Press the remainder of the seam up.  Stitch close to the fold.

Adding a Side Slit to Shorts - Crafty Staci 6

Adding a Side Slit to Shorts - Crafty Staci 6

Pointed Slit

Repeat the same as above, except instead of drawing a rectangle, draw angles.  Measure 1/4” from each side of the seam, then draw the line up to meet the seam just below the turned-under edge.  Cut straight up the center.

Adding a Side Slit to Shorts - Crafty Staci 7

Adding a Side Slit to Shorts - Crafty Staci 7

Turn, press and stitch near fold.

Adding a Side Slit to Shorts - Crafty Staci 8

Adding a Side Slit to Shorts - Crafty Staci 8

Lapped Slit

Cut off the length plus 1 1/2”.  Measure up 3” on the side seam and make a mark.  Stitch over the mark, perpendicular to the seam, which is known as a bar tack.  Using a seam ripper, open the seam below the stitching.

Adding a Side Slit to Shorts - Crafty Staci 9

Adding a Side Slit to Shorts - Crafty Staci 9

Turn the edge of the bottom side under and stitch as close to the bar tack as possible.  Stitch along the removed stitching line on the upper side.

Adding a Side Slit to Shorts - Crafty Staci 10

Adding a Side Slit to Shorts - Crafty Staci 10

Turn the bottom edge up 1 1/2”, then turn 1/2” to the inside.  Stitch near the fold.  I added a second row of stitching near the first.

Adding a Side Slit to Shorts - Crafty Staci 11

Adding a Side Slit to Shorts - Crafty Staci 11

I’m pretty happy with all of these, but my favorite is the triangle shape on the grey shorts.

Adding a Side Slit to Shorts - Crafty Staci 12

Adding a Side Slit to Shorts - Crafty Staci 12

These just might see the other side of my front door now!

Red Leather Coat, Round Two

About a year and a half ago, I cut into a long red leather coat that I’d had for almost two decades but had never worn.  I ended up with a shortened jacket, a purse, a phone case, a loyalty card holder and, of course, a coffee cup sleeve

Red Leather Coat Refashion - Crafty Staci 1
Red Leather Coat Refashion - Crafty Staci 1

My friend Patty, whose office I volunteer for at my son’s high school, saw all of the transformed items first hand.  It got her thinking about a red leather coat that had been passed on to her from another friend.  That coat turned up at school one day a few months ago in a plastic bag with my name on it. 

Red Leather Coat Refashion - Crafty Staci 2
Red Leather Coat Refashion - Crafty Staci 2

I decided two things when I saw this coat.  The first was that whatever I made from it was going right back to Patty.  The second was that I was going to try to keep those slash pockets.  The logical choice to reform the coat was a into bag, but rather than draw up a pattern, I decided to let the coat’s shape speak to me as I went.  Very Zen.  I started out by removing the lining and interfacing.  If you ever want to learn a thing or two about clothing construction, try some deconstruction.

Red Leather Coat Refashion - Crafty Staci 3
Red Leather Coat Refashion - Crafty Staci 3

After I’d gutted it, I started cutting.  I originally thought I would keep the button placket but noticed there was some damage around the buttons, so I cut it off.  I also cut across just below the arm holes and just above the fold for the bottom seam.  At that point I was just aiming for the largest piece of leather I could get, but I liked the shape of it, so I stitched the middle together to create the basic bag shape.

Red Leather Coat Refashion - Crafty Staci 4
Red Leather Coat Refashion - Crafty Staci 4

The next step was to cut out the lining, so I used the leather piece as a guide and added a seam allowance.

Red Leather Coat Refashion - Crafty Staci 5
Red Leather Coat Refashion - Crafty Staci 5

I sewed patch pockets onto one side of the lining and added a zipped pocket to the other.  I wanted some reinforcement for the magnetic closure, so I also added an extra strip of fabric to the area where they would be applied.  It also gave the top of the purse a little more body.

Red Leather Coat Refashion - Crafty Staci 6
Red Leather Coat Refashion - Crafty Staci 6

I realized my purse still had a waist, so I gave it some belt loops.  This would also solve the problem of my seams not matching up perfectly in the front because I could cover the area with a belt.  I considered using the original collar as an accent at the top of the bag, but decided even my beast of a sewing machine wouldn’t survive that many layers of leather.

Red Leather Coat Refashion - Crafty Staci 7
Red Leather Coat Refashion - Crafty Staci 7

I finished stitching up the lining and added it to the inside of the bag.

Red Leather Coat Refashion - Crafty Staci 8
Red Leather Coat Refashion - Crafty Staci 8

Rather than make the strap entirely from leather, I used one of the lining fabrics instead and added a strip of leather down the middle as an accent.

Red Leather Coat Refashion - Crafty Staci 9
Red Leather Coat Refashion - Crafty Staci 9

I couldn’t have been happier with the way this bag turned out.

Red Leather Coat Refashion - Crafty Staci 10
Red Leather Coat Refashion - Crafty Staci 10

Of course, I added a couple of little accessories for the inside.  All that remains of the coat at this point is one sleeve.

Red Leather Coat Refashion - Crafty Staci 11
Red Leather Coat Refashion - Crafty Staci 11

This is Patty.  Does this photo give you some idea of how she felt about it?

Red Leather Coat Refashion - Crafty Staci 12
Red Leather Coat Refashion - Crafty Staci 12

Pillows A-La-Mode and my Going Away Dress

You know that feeling when you receive a package in the mail, but don’t know exactly what’s in it?  Not the is-that-ticking? kind, but the happy kind.  That happened to me last week.  The only thing I knew for sure is that it contained the remains of my going-away dress from my wedding 22 years ago. Going Away Dress 1991 - Crafty Staci

That’s the dress, with me in it, next to my handsome groom back in 1991.  It was a more casual version of my bridesmaids’ dresses, trimmed with the same lace that was on my wedding dress.  I loved it, but after the wedding was over, it went into a box under my bed, where it remained until last month.

Going Away Dress - Crafty Staci

Why was it coming back to me by mail in pieces?  Well, let me tell you about that.  Last month a favorite sewing blogger of mine, Katherine from Pillows A-La-Mode, was celebrating her second blog anniversary in the sweetest and most generous way possible.  She asked her readers to nominate other craft blogs they enjoy for her Good Neighbor Award.  After reading a list full of other blogs I follow and love, I was more than a little surprised to find my name at the bottom as the winner.  That alone would have been enough for me to float on for a very long time.  But there was also a prize.  The winner could send a formerly loved garment to Katherine and she would transform it into new things to admire and use.

I went through my closet several times.  I had plenty of things I was willing to give up, but none of them had much meaning to me.  I really wanted to choose something special.  Then it hit me.  That dress that was still under my bed would be perfect.  It’s not doing anything for me under there, but I still love it and being able to see even a part of it every day makes a lot more sense than continuing to store it.

You might think it was kind of brave to send this important dress off to someone else to cut up.  But I’ve seen Katherine’s work and wasn’t the least bit worried.  Whatever she did would be beautiful.

When Katherine let me know the box was on its way to me, I watched the mail like a hawk.  I did take a peek when she revealed what she had made on her blog, but that only made me more excited to receive it.  I was out running errands when it arrived, so my daughter took a photo with her phone and texted it to me.  I’ll admit, I might have stepped up the pace after that.

Going Away Dress - Crafty Staci 3

Even the way it was all laid out in the box was pretty.  Of course, the first thing that caught my eye was that pillow, but I made myself carefully remove each item before stopping to admire it all.

Going Away Dress - Crafty Staci 4

So many amazing things – where to start?  I think it has to be the pillow.  She kept the bodice of my dress intact, complete with the zipper on the back, then embroidered my logo on the front.  Love, love, love.

Going Away Dress - Crafty Staci 5

She used a piece of the skirt to make this adorable apron.

Going Away Dress - Crafty Staci 6

My daughter loves this, so I might have to hide it so it doesn’t “accidentally” get packed up with her stuff.

Going Away Dress - Crafty Staci 7

I bought a pair of Betsy Johnson sky-high red pumps with a bow on the back last year.  This clutch will go perfectly with them.  Even better is the fact that she kept the original shape of the sleeve from the dress.

Going Away Dress - Crafty Staci 8

I have some bare wall space in my craft room, and this frame and wreath have already found perfect places where I can look at them every day.

Going Away Dress - Crafty Staci 9

As if that wasn’t enough, because I mentioned how much I like red, Katherine included a red jewel magnet, a button with elastic that will be perfect for my long ponytail, a red notebook, some adorable measuring tape ribbon and a package of red rick rack from back when you could still buy it for 75 cents.

Going Away Dress - Crafty Staci 10

I’d like to send out one last, huge THANK YOU to Katherine at Pillows A-La-Mode and whoever nominated me for this amazing adventure.  I’m so thrilled to be able to enjoy my red dress every day.  Without this, it would still be sitting in that box.  Isn’t this so much better?

Going Away Dress - Crafty Staci 11

Adding Sides to a Skinny T-Shirt

To be honest, this is a t-shirt expansion, but who wants to write that in a title? 

Wonder Woman Shirt Remodel - Crafty Staci 1

Wonder Woman Shirt Remodel - Crafty Staci 1

I bought this shirt a few years ago and wore it once.  Typically, the problem I have with t-shirts is that they shrink in length, even washing in cold and drying on low.  I’m long-waisted, so that really doesn’t work for me.  However, this particular shirt kept its length, but shrunk around, and it wasn’t particularly stretchy to begin with.  I could get it on, but breathing was an issue.  I’m not even going to talk about those arm holes.

Wonder Woman Shirt Remodel - Crafty Staci 2

Wonder Woman Shirt Remodel - Crafty Staci 2

In order to add more space, I decided to add a knit panel to each side.  I happened to have a black t-shirt that someone had clearly worn in the kitchen and splattered something oily across the entire front of it, so I cut up the undamaged back.  The good news is, now I have an apron.  If you don’t have a throwaway shirt to cut up, a piece of knit fabric will work as well.

Lay the shirt out flat with the side seam up.  Measure the underarm seam from the edge of the sleeve to the bottom of the shirt.  Make a note of the measurement.

Wonder Woman Shirt Remodel - Crafty Staci 3

Wonder Woman Shirt Remodel - Crafty Staci 3

Remove the seam by cutting close to it on both sides.  You’re welcome to use a seam ripper and unstitch it instead, but I figured since I was adding fabric anyway it was not worth the extra time.

Wonder Woman Shirt Remodel - Crafty Staci 4

Wonder Woman Shirt Remodel - Crafty Staci 4

You should be able to open out the shirt like this.

Wonder Woman Shirt Remodel - Crafty Staci 5

Wonder Woman Shirt Remodel - Crafty Staci 5

Cut two pieces of knit the width you want to add (remember you’re adding it to both sides) plus one inch.  Cut the length the measurement of the side seam plus 2 inches.  I reused the existing hem on the t-shirt I cut up, so I only added one inch.

Wonder Woman Shirt Remodel - Crafty Staci 6

Wonder Woman Shirt Remodel - Crafty Staci 6

Hem the top and bottom edges by folding under 1 inch, pressing and sewing.  I used a narrow zig-zag stitch.

Wonder Woman Shirt Remodel - Crafty Staci 7

Wonder Woman Shirt Remodel - Crafty Staci 7

Lay the panel face down on the side of the shirt.  Match the ends to the sleeve and bottom hem and line up the edges.  Pin generously.  Repeat with the other side.

Wonder Woman Shirt Remodel - Crafty Staci 8

Wonder Woman Shirt Remodel - Crafty Staci 8

Stitch with a 1/2” seam.  Again, I used a narrow zig-zag, then went over the edges again with a wider zig-zag stitch to finish.  Fold the panels out.

Wonder Woman Shirt Remodel - Crafty Staci 9

Wonder Woman Shirt Remodel - Crafty Staci 9

Bring the back of the shirt down over the top, so the right sides of the shirt and panels are facing each other.  Pin in place and stitch, just like you did with the front of the shirt.

Wonder Woman Shirt Remodel - Crafty Staci 10

Wonder Woman Shirt Remodel - Crafty Staci 10

Turn it right side out, and…it looks really weird, right?  I was a little worried at this point, but it’s really cute once it’s on a body.

Wonder Woman Shirt Remodel - Crafty Staci 11

Wonder Woman Shirt Remodel - Crafty Staci 11

See?

Wonder Woman Shirt Remodel - Crafty Staci 12

Wonder Woman Shirt Remodel - Crafty Staci 12

The inserted panel looks like it belongs there.  T-shirt saved!

Wonder Woman Shirt Remodel - Crafty Staci 13

Wonder Woman Shirt Remodel - Crafty Staci 13

It’s Awards Season!

I didn’t win and Emmy last night, but I feel like I did.  I’m not going to say things always go the way I’d like, and I’ve had my share of challenges, but when life is good, it’s really good.  My husband and I are blessed beyond measure with amazing kids, great friends and family and a long, happy relationship with each other.

My blog and Etsy store are more recent additions to my string of good luck.  I’ve found such a great community through both and I’m thankful to be a part of it.  Today, I’m feeling humbled, grateful and nearly speechless.  Nearly.

I’ve mentioned Pillows A La Mode before.  She is an amazing seamstress, and her blog often focuses on refashioning articles of clothing.  Check out her “What Can You Make With A…” section for some amazing before-and-afters.

To celebrate her second blog anniversary, Katherine (the voice behind the blog) requested nominations for her Good Neighbor Award.  From her blog:

AWARD: Simply put, the Good Neighbor Award is for someone you’ve met in the blogging world you wish could be your real-life neighbor.  To nominate a blogger, simply email me (to keep it a surprise!), including a link to the blog and why you’d like this blogger to live next door. Is it to cook, sew, craft, shop, or write together? To learn to do something new? To be inspired? To visit over a cup of tea?

Thanks to the abrupt computer death I had to deal with last week, I’m behind on my blog reading, so I just discovered this was happening yesterday.  I missed the chance to nominate anyone, but I was reading through to see who was on the list.  A little catch formed in my throat when I spotted my own name among so many other blogs I admire and follow.  But when I made it to the bottom where Katherine announced the blog with the most nominations and found my own name again, I was stunned.

good-neighbor-award
good-neighbor-award

If you’re reading this right now and you nominated me, thank you from the bottom of my heart.  It was an amazing surprise and I’m very grateful.  I’d love to be your neighbor too.  Anyone else have the Mr. Roger’s song floating through their head now? 

Here’s the section that explains what I’ve won:

GIVEAWAY: The person with the MOST nominations will be invited to send me a formerly-loved garment that I’ll make into some fun treasures and return. (Click here and here to read about last year’s winner!) Thank YOU for being MY good neighbors the past two years, and I hope to hear from you soon! ♥

I don’t know how many times I went into my bedroom and flipped through my closet on Sunday.  Finally, it hit me - the perfect article of clothing for this was in a bag under my bed.  I’m not going to reveal what it is just yet, but it’s my favorite color, very special to me, and I’m so excited to see what Katherine makes from it. 

I’d also like to thank three other blogs who nominated me for awards recently. 

Garden2Day was nice enough to nominate me for the Sunshine Award.  I learned we share the law enforcement family bond and a weakness for an occasional Kahlua and cream.

Little Fingers Big Art is so full of great ideas, it just makes me want to find a kidlet to craft with.  My thanks to them for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award.

Last but not least, Book Chat nominated me for the Shine On Award, for which I’m very grateful.  I love reading, so book talk is always welcome.  I also share her love of strawberry shortcake.

My appreciation goes out to all these bloggers and to everyone who comes here to read and create.  I love writing, and knowing others are enjoying it is the icing on the cupcake.  My heart is full.

Refashion Runway

Monday again.  It’s the last week of school for my kids and I just booked our first camping trip for the summer.  We’re going to move my daughter back home on Friday, where she’ll be staying and attending college locally next year while we prepare for the wedding.  It’s already shaping up to be a pretty good week.

I wanted to share an event with you that’s going on over at The Renegade Seamstress.  If you’ve never visited before, she is a refashion queen.  Beth can take just about any piece of clothing and turn it into something better.  She also holds a special place in my heart as a fellow Oregonian and recent mother of the bride.  Starting last week, she’s also the hostess of Refashion Runway.

refashion-runway1

Beth has gathered eight talented refashion artists to compete in weekly challenges.  This week’s topic is stripes, and the ladies did not disappoint.  I’ve already voted, but I don’t want to influence anyone by sharing my favorite here.  I’d encourage you to go check them out and vote yourself.  Good luck – it’s a tough decision.

In other news, I was recently chosen to receive a packet of fat quarters from Clothworks Textiles as part of the Tutorial Exchange Program at Totally Tutorials.  This lovely little bundle arrived on my doorstep last week.

sophie-1

Now my job is to make something pretty from them and share it with all of you.  The wheels are turning, but suggestions are welcome!

Too-Short Shirt Refashion

I had two long-sleeved t-shirts in my closet that I hated because they were both too short.  I have a long torso, and like my shirts long besides, so it’s a constant problem for me.  The thing is, I kept forgetting that I hated these shirts so I’d pull one of them out, put it on, remember the problem, and decide to just wear it anyway.  I thought I’d grab them from the clean laundry and not stick them back in the closet.  As you can imagine, I’d forget (again!) and hang them right back up. 

I broke the cycle!  I have hooks on the back of my sewing room door where the future project clothes hang, and I finally managed to move them there.  Sometimes things live there for a long time, but I just kept looking at those two shirts thinking they might work if they were combined into one.

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 1

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 1

The first decision I had to make was which shirt to keep as the main color.  I went with the green because it was in a little better condition than the blue. 

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 2

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 2

I very lazily held the shirt up to myself and estimated how much longer I’d like it to be.  I highly recommend actually trying it on for this step.  Fortunately, I guessed too long which is much easier to fix than too short. 

I cut off the amount of length I wanted to add to the green shirt from the blue shirt, plus one inch, which was 6 1/2” total.  Since the sleeves weren’t too short, I just wanted to add a little of the blue, so I cut 2” from the bottom of each sleeve.

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 3

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 3

Since the fabric didn’t unravel when I cut it, I didn’t finish any of the edges.  I marked 1” from the edge on the blue so I would know where to overlap the green to.

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 4

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 4

I overlapped and generously pinned all the way around the bottom and both sleeves.

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 5

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 5

I used a narrow zigzag stitch to sew them together so it would still stretch.

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 6

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 6

You might be thinking this looks a little weird.  Well, it did.  I tried it on and it was twice as long as it should be, so I folded the blue in half and stitched again. 

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 7

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 7

I could have stopped there, but that blue t-shirt carcass was laying on my table just begging to not get thrown in the trash.  Starting from the bottom of the shirt, I cut off four 1” strips.  I then cut off the side seams, so I was left with eight strips.

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 8

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 8

I lined up a strip about 1/8” away from the top edge of the neckline and sewed a zigzag stitch down the middle, overlapping the strip back on top of itself about 1/2” as I went.  When each strip ran out, I just started the next one where it left off.

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 9

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 9

I was a little concerned this was going to make the neck too heavy and it would hang too low, but I tried it on and it fit just like before.

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 10

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 10

You know I still have blue shirt pieces left, right?  At this point, I cut everything up that I had left into equal width pieces…

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 11

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 11

…and sewed them together by overlapping them slightly and zigzagging.

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 12

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 12

I wrapped the remaining strip I had around one section, tied it and tucked the tail under the knot.  Infinity scarf!

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 13

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 13

I have to admit, I was a little hesitant about mixing these two colors, but I’m happy with the result.  Two shirts I couldn’t stand wearing turned into one I love with a bonus infinity scarf?  Today was a win.

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 14

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 14

My Red Leather Coat

As I promised a couple of days ago, I’m here to tell you the story of my red leather coat.  It’s a tale of love, disappointment and rebirth.  You’ll love the ending – it’s a happy one.

Years ago, I was a loan officer at a credit union.  Those were my skirts and heels days.  At the time, there was a clothing chain called Lerner’s.  This was also before the internet, so I used to get their catalogs in the mail.  One day, one of those catalogs landed at my house with a long, red leather coat inside.  I was in love. 

leather coat 1
leather coat 1

I ordered the coat and waited anxiously for it to arrive.  When it finally did, I was pretty disappointed.  The coat was so stiff, it could stand up by itself.  When I put it on, I couldn’t even move.  But I loved the color and just didn’t want to admit I’d made a mistake.  I hung it in the closet. 

About 18 years later (not kidding!) it still hung there.  I pulled it out every couple of years or so, tried it on, remembered why it was there, and put it back.  A few months ago, I moved it to my craft room.  I decided you can’t really ruin something that’s been with you for that long and NEVER, EVER worn.

I decided to start by shortening it to a jacket.  I cut a large chunk off the bottom, then hung it back up for a few more months.  Ok, maybe I was still a tiny bit intimidated.

leather coat 2
leather coat 2

I did a little research on altering leather, but in the end I cowboy-ed it.  Big time.  I pulled the stitching out of the lining enough so I could fold the bottom up an inch. 

leather coat 3
leather coat 3

I clipped it up with binder clips.  I stitched from one side to the other, overlapping the top of the leather with the folded-under edge of the lining.  I didn’t take photos of any of that, probably because even I was afraid of what I was doing.

I’ve never sewn leather before, but my little sewing machine was a beast.  Even the parts so thick I could barely fit it under the foot.

I don’t know why, but my crazy attempt actually worked.  Close inspection of the inside gives me away, but I love the way it turned out!

leather coat 4
leather coat 4

Because of the cut of the original coat, the jacket ended up with a bit of a peplum effect in the back, which I really like.

leather coat 5
leather coat 5

Cutting off all that extra leather really helped with the flexibility of it.  This, I will wear!  See, I told you there would be a happy ending.

Now, you may be asking, what happened to all that leather you cut off the bottom?  Here’s a sneak peek:

leather coat 6
leather coat 6

I’ll show you that, and one or two other reincarnations of my red leather coat, next week!

Stitching, Cutting and Dyeing a New Wardrobe

I’ve been making some changes to my wardrobe this week.  I have a new favorite pair of jeans that are great with boots, a jacket I will wear often because it matches everything, a new shirt in a color I’ve been wanting to find and a leather jacket that might be my new prized possession.  But I didn’t buy a thing.

My opinion about clothing is this – if I haven’t worn it in a long time (or ever) and I’m going to get rid of it anyway, I really can’t go wrong trying to make it into something I can actually use.  There are a couple of incidents in my past that lead to something I couldn’t even send to Goodwill, but overall I’ve had pretty good luck. 

The jeans were super-wide legged.  I have rather short legs in relation to the rest of my frame, so I have no idea what I was thinking when I bought them.  I also don’t have skinny calves, no matter what the rest of me looks like, so skinny jeans are out.  But, I love wearing boots, so I basically turned the jeans inside out, stitched straight down from the knee, cut off the excess and zig zagged the edge.

New Wardrobe 1

As you can see, I had already used this great hemming technique to keep the original hem.  Here’s a closer view of how I carried the stitching from the original seam and into the new one.  The original is the darker one that veers off toward the top.  Piece of cake and I love wearing them now.

New Wardrobe 2

Another piece of clothing I had just about given up on was a cotton jacket.  It was a cream color, but at some point it must have gotten something on the back because when I went out into the daylight it looked like I’d been sprayed with bleach.  I didn’t have the heart to get rid of it, so I stuck it in the back of my closet for a while. 

I failed to take a before photo, but the story here is that I found a package of black dye in my sewing room and decided to give it a go.  However I failed to set the timer so I could restart the washing machine, so it didn’t stay in the dye long enough and came out lavender.  Not my color.  In fact, this photo doesn’t do it justice.  If it had looked like it does here I would have been perfectly happy with it.

New Wardrobe 3

So, I bought a second bottle of black dye.  By the way, I highly recommend the liquid dye and washing machine method.  I think everything comes out with a much more even color and it’s less messy.  Just make sure you clean your washing machine well afterward, using the instructions on the bottle.

New Wardrobe 4

I didn’t want to use a whole bottle for just a jacket, so I dug through my closet until I found a shirt that I’d hardly worn.  Again, cream in color, which just doesn’t work on me.

New Wardrobe 5

Make sure you soak the clothing items you’re going to dye well before you throw them into the dye bath.  Any dry spots will not take the dye the same way as the wet areas, leaving spots and streaks.

New Wardrobe 6

A second go-round was exactly what the jacket needed.  It’s a darker, greyer color now and all hint of purple is gone.  I especially love how the stitching didn’t take the dye and stands out.

New Wardrobe 7

This shirt was just a bonus.  The grey is much more me, and I can see myself wearing this often.

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The leather coat I mentioned?  Here’s the before photo.

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I’ve had this for over 10 years and I’ve never worn it.  Not once.  I missed my window to return it.  Now, I LOVE it.  Come back Wednesday and I’ll show you the beginning of this coat’s new life!

Disney Dreaming–Bleach Pen and Reverse Applique T-Shirts

This all started because I found a hole in one of my favorite t-shirts.  It has all the qualities I love in a T, and the hole was front and center, obvious, and not fixable.  I’ve been wanting to try both bleach pens and reverse applique, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity.  Besides, we’re going to Disneyland at the end of the month to celebrate our daughter’s graduation from high school, so an appropriately decorated shirt is in order.

shirts 1
shirts 1

My original plan was to trace around the mouse head with a bleach pen to create kind of a glow, then move on to the reverse applique.  But I learned something very important:  bleach pens go bad.  I thought it wasn’t working because my red shirt has synthetic fibers in it, so I pulled out the black T, which is cotton, and tried it.  I ended up letting them both sit all night and not one bit of dye was lifted the next morning.  After a trip to the store for a new bleach pen I was much more successful.

I started by printing the design I wanted to use on the non-shiny side of a piece of freezer paper.  I’ve done this many times with no problem, but this time I jammed up my printer.  Make sure your paper is lying flat before feeding it through.  Cut out the shape and iron the shiny side onto the shirt.  Also iron a piece larger than your design to the opposite side to prevent the bleach from bleeding through to the back.  I also slide a piece of cardboard inside the shirt for extra protection and to give me a flat surface.

shirts 2
shirts 2

If you have a design with more than one piece, I recommend using the paper you cut away as a placement guide, like I did with the dragonfly I made on the black shirt.

shirts 2.5
shirts 2.5

Shake the bleach pen well, then draw a thick, even line around the outside of the shape.  Keep in mind if you have very many lines to draw that what you drew first will fade the most.  Rinse the bleach off thoroughly.

shirts 3
shirts 3

The amount of time you need to wait for the color to lift can vary.  I let this sit on the red shirt for 10 – 15 minutes, and the change was still pretty light.  I only had to leave it on the black shirt for a couple of minutes.  I originally planned to reverse applique the wings on the dragonfly, but I liked the orangey-red color it was turning so much I filled them in with a swirl pattern instead.

shirts 4
shirts 4

I continued on with the mouse though.  For reverse applique, you need to sew a piece of fabric underneath your design and cut away the inside fabric on top.  I went with some black ribbed knit I had left over from a pajama project.  Cut a piece larger than your design.

shirts 5
shirts 5

Pin the fabric to the back of the design.  LOTS of pins.  I found sliding my small cutting board inside the shirt helped a lot.  It kept everything flat and I didn’t have to worry about accidentally pinning through the back.

shirts 6
shirts 6

Stitch around the design.  I stitched just inside the bleach line with a small zigzag, so everything could still stretch.  If you are a beginning sewist, I wouldn’t recommend a design with this many curves.  It was tough to keep from stretching the fabric.

shirts 7
shirts 7

Turn the shirt inside out and cut away some of the added fabric.  Be sure not to cut the shirt or stitches.

shirts 8
shirts 8

Turn the shirt back right side out and use a small, sharp pair of scissors to cut away the t-shirt fabric inside the stitching.  The hole in the my shirt turned out to be useful, since it gave me a starting point.

shirts 9
shirts 9

Cut all the way around, close to but not through your stitching. 

shirts 10
shirts 10

I felt like my Mickey was more of a Minnie, so I made her a little bow and sewed it through both layers.

shirts 11
shirts 11

I’m completely hooked on both of these techniques, and have already been searching my closet for more holey shirts.  I don’t know what the actual life span of a bleach pen is, but I have a feeling this one won’t find out.

shirts 12
shirts 12

Friday Favorites–New Life for Old Clothes

This is the time of year when I always find myself standing in front of my closet with a critical eye, ready to start tossing.  Sometimes it’s things that have just seen their last outing, thanks to a hole here or a stain there.  But often, it’s just that I’m tired of looking at a garment in it’s current form.  In fact, I’m working on a major clothing refashion of my own I’ll be showing you soon.  In the meantime, I’ve found lots of inspiration.

I actually tried this Pinched Hem from Feathers Flights a couple of months ago.  My jeans are always too long, but I don’t like the look of my “homemade” hems.  This trick worked beautifully.

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This Draped T-Shirt from One Avian Daemon is made from a piece of knit fabric, but I think it could also be done with a t-shirt or two.

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I love these Faux Chenille Capri Pants from RoCa and Company.  I think if I made these with the chenille closer to the hem I could get away with it.

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I used to have a sweatshirt with three-quarter length sleeves and I wore it a lot this time of the year.  I’ve been thinking about altering a long-sleeved one I already have to replace it, and I’d like to also use the neckline from this Sweatshirt Makeover from Irish Attic.

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My short-short days are over, but luckily I have a daughter with lovely legs.  I think she’s going to need these DIY Vintage Lace Trimmed Shorts from Hippie Lace.  Living vicariously through my daughter’s closet.

hippie lace DIY eyelet lace trim shorts

The ruffle and buttons are a great details on this Men’s Polo Shirt to Woman’s Cute Shirt with Yolk from LauPre.  This would be equally fun with short sleeves for summer.

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I’m not sure this Snowflake Cutout Tank from Honeybear Lane on Ucreate would be the same if she hadn’t used the black and white polka dot fabric.  It really adds to the design.

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These little Ruffle Cuff Pants from The Mother Huddle are adorable.  How cute would this be for shorts?

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I love how the braiding turns this big, boring shirt into something so stylish.  Scroll all the way to the bottom of the tutorial on Crafting Dreams to see what she did with the bottom of the sleeves.

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Single-shoulder tops are everywhere right now, so why not make your own?  Find out how with this tutorial from Craft.

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Also, in case you haven’t already heard, next Monday is the first day of Giveaway Day (which is really Giveaway Week) at Sew, Mama, Sew!  If you haven’t heard of it, you’re really missing something.  Hundreds of bloggers and crafters from all over participate by giving something away.  Some offer a premade item, others craft supplies.  Some give both.  Everyone has their own method of entry, but it’s often as simple as leaving a comment. 

I’ll be giving something away as well, so be sure to check back here on Monday to see what it is and enter to win!

Friday Favorites–T-Shirt Refashion and Recycling

T-shirts are like the flour of fashion.  They aren’t good for much all by themselves but they’re the foundation of a lot of things that couldn’t exist without them.  Once in a while, I look into my closet, wonder how I ended up with so many t-shirts and go shopping for something new.  But I always come back to them, and occasionally try to figure out how I can make them better with crayons, paint, bleach or scissors.  And I’m not the only one out there.

These T-Shirt Pom Poms from Craftaholics Anonymous are not only cute, but they look like they would be really fun to make.

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valentine's-day_pom_poms

I’m so glad I found this this tutorial for Dear Lizzy’s Pretty Petals Tee before I bought another one of these flowery tops.  I actually wish I had found it before I bought the first one.

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IMG_2057b-2

I like crafts I can do while I watch television or movies with my family. These T-Shirt Yarn Braided Coasters from Homework would be perfect, and when I’m done, I can set whatever tasty beverage I’m drinking on them.

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Braided_5

I love all of the texture and detail on this Anthropologie Pratia Tank Top from Made by Lex.

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untitled

I’ve wanted to try these Bleach Pen T-Shirts, like these from Show Tell Share, for months now.  I’m just waiting for the weather to be nice enough I can do it outside so I don’t knock myself out.

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february2011_008

This Empire Cut Blouse from Guaya is cute, but the bit of ribbon and lace she added makes it adorable.

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2910194344_a9bc7c2937_o

I. Love. This. Rug.  Thanks to Xoelle for sharing how she made it.

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3499154651_ab8c7acd61

This Long Sleeved Shirt to Short Sleeves from Make It and Love It didn’t just get its sleeves cut off, but added details as well.

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IMG_3750

All I can say about this reverse applique t-shirt from Sew Simple is wow.

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DSC01722

And finally, a pretty Lace Applique Tank Top refashion from Ali Foster Patterns that would be perfect for the lovely summer weather I’m sure is coming our way soon. 

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finishedtanktoprefashion-390x487

Friday Favorites–Earth Day

I had grand intentions this week.  I have a pair of jeans with a broken zipper that I was going to use to create some sort of Easter basket/container, covering my Easter and Earth Day projects in one fell swoop.  Didn’t happen.  Honestly, there was just too much going on this week.  But it’s Friday, so instead I’m going to let you in on some great recycling projects other people have done.  Don’t worry – that denim thing will turn up here at some point.

I’ve been seeing these homemade play kitchens for a while and every one of them is more clever than the last.  They are usually made from a piece of old furniture, like a night stand.  The details on this version from My Little Gems really put it over the top.

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I don’t think it would be especially difficult to get a kid to empty a candy bag for me so I could make this Sweet Tooth Pouch from Punkin Patterns.

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And I think there’s someone else in the house willing to empty the dog food bag for the Upcycled Garden Tote from Garden of Eden Goods.

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I really like this Braided T-Shirt Yarn Headwrap from Sew Homegrown, but I also think it would make a great belt.

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I’ve worried that bags made from old t-shirts might stretch and sag, but I think She Wears Flowers has solved the problem by lining hers.

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We have loads of Pez dispensers floating around this house.  I seriously love this Toy Story Wall Art by Under the Table and Dreaming and might have to make one for myself.

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This Ribbon Sling Bag by My Recycled Bags is an ingenious use of old store shopping bags.

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Primitive Living Skills shows you how to make your own Tire Sandals.

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This Treasure Chest Gift Box, made from recycled plastic containers, by Creative Jewish Mom is a present all by itself.

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This is one of the most unique recycling projects I’ve seen.  UrbanWoodsWalker on Our Everyday Earth made this plastic coat by fusing plastic shopping bags together with an iron and using it as fabric.  Pretty amazing!

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Happy Earth Day…now go recycle something!

Summer Top Refashion From a Boy's Shirt

This shirt belonged to my son until I made him clean out his closet and get rid of everything that was too small.  He probably wore it less than half a dozen times, about two hours at a go, for band concerts.  He’s a t-shirt kid. The shirt is a boys’ size medium and for some reason I pulled it out of the donation bag and tried it on.  The voice in my head said “I can make this into something.”  I was still feeling pretty good about the  T-Shirt Refashion from last week.  This one was more complicated, but we all need a challenge once in a while, right?

Boys Shirt 1

Boys Shirt 1

Try the shirt on and mark where you’d like the armholes to be.  I know that’s vague, but it’s a personal decision.  I marked mine with masking tape and a few pins.  Cut, remembering that you’ll have to hem those armholes and you'll need an extra 5/8".

Boys Shirt 2

Boys Shirt 2

Cut off the bottom also, if needed, allowing for 1" hem.

I’d like to point out that it’s an excellent idea to iron the shirt before you start so everything lays flat and evenly.  I wish I’d realized that sooner.

Put shirt on inside out and pin to fit.  Take off, mark stitching line on both sides and stitch.  Try it on again before you go cutting anything.  Trust me.

For a 1” hem and 2” vents (those little slits on the bottom of the side seam on shirts), mark 3 ½” up from the bottom edge near the seam.  Trim the seam to ½” from the bottom to that mark and ¼” above that.  Remove stitching in the seam to ½” below mark, clip at mark, almost to stitching and zigzag seam above.

Boys Shirt 3

Boys Shirt 3

Press seam toward back.  Press vent open, folding fabric back ½” on each side.  Roll under ¼” and stitch around vent near fold and ¼” from opening at the top.

Boys Shirt 4

Boys Shirt 4

Boys Shirt 5

Boys Shirt 5

Turn bottom edge up 1”, then under ½”.  Turn each corner in to prevent any raw edges from showing on the outside.

Boys Shirt 6

Boys Shirt 6

Stitch close to fold.

Boys Shirt 7

Boys Shirt 7

At this point, I tried my shirt on and decided I wanted more of a racer-back, so I carved the armhole larger in the back on both sides.  In order to keep it even, I cut one side, flipped the piece over and used it as a pattern to cut the other.

Boys Shirt 8

Boys Shirt 8

To hem the armholes, turn under 5/8”, press, then turn under again to meet the fold and stitch close to fold.  Iron.

Boys Shirt 9

Boys Shirt 9

Here are my mistakes, which I tell you only to help you avoid them:  I cut too close to the front pockets, so their corners ended up in my armhole hem; I cut the armholes too deeply in the front so I will have to wear a tank under it, which I had planned to do anyway;  there is a button that’s too close to the bottom hem, but I didn’t know how to get rid of the button hole, so I left it.  Those are the big ones.

Boys Shirt 10

Boys Shirt 10

Overall, I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out.  I also like it with a belt.  Now to break the news to my son that I girlied-up one of his shirts.  Actually, he’ll probably just be happy he doesn’t have to wear it anymore.

Boys Shirt 11

Boys Shirt 11