Descriptions of craft projects based on recycling and re-use of materials.
Welcome to my blog!
Up until recently I blogged mostly based on local photos about my neighborhood or Washington DC or other places I visited. But I took a break from the blog for a few months and find myself now posting about crafts and sewing projects I have done or are doing, with most involving recycling, re-use and other frugalities. I've left up the previous blogs and may occasionally revert to those topics again. May your days be blessed with miracles, surprises and creativity too!
I stitched up some lacy sleeve cuff extenders recently to keep my wrists warm over the winter. These were made out of old socks that I cut the feet off from and then just quickly stitched on a lace border, stretching the sock as I sewed the border on. There was no need to stitch the top as the sock top is sufficient. I just wear these on my lower arms, especially when the sleeves of the sweater don't reach all the way to my wrist (as I have long arms). And they can make a dumpy sweater look a little more interesting! I made a pair of these and am quite happy with this reuse of a pair of old socks and some left-over lace border! I just slip them on when I think my wrists might get chilly!
I finally finished a quilt that I started over ten years ago. It is made of scraps of fabric and ribbon and bits of found lace that I stitched together at odd times over the years. It was sitting in my stash of "unfinished sewing projects" for way too long. About a year ago (!) I got the final pieces seamed together along the edges and this week I stitched on a backing. This was an old flannel sheet with a pretty floral design on it that I got for $3 at the Salvation Army Family Store and that makes a nice warm cozy back to the quilt top as I decided to forgo inserting batting between the two layers of fabric. I was inspired to finish this by watching a PBS TV show recently -- Sewing with Nancy -- on making quilts where Nancy (Zieman) showed how to make perfect squares and triangles and how to arrange them for classic quilt designs. Well, my quilt is not like that but more along the lines of a 'crazy quilt' in terms of design, as crazy quilts are basically easier to make as you kind of make them up as you go along which is how this quilt got made! I used a full size flannel sheet to back this so the final size quilt can lie on top of a king size bed or can hang over the edges on a smaller bed. It's mostly pinks, reds, greens and a lot of floral bits with some lace and ribbons and a stitched down ruffled part in the center, so the overall effect is on the "feminine" side. I'm thinking I might sell this quilt if someone makes me an offer and I can bear to part with it!
It must have been the floral print on the brown black background that got me. As well as the shirt front neckline and the buttonholes down the front with self-fabric covered buttons, all nicely worked and hard for me to have sewn myself (as if I could be bothered!). I snagged this dress at a Salvation Army store and, inspired by other sewing queens on Pinterest, I felt compelled to buy this dress -- a Size 12 -- which is way too big for me, for $3.99 and challenged myself to see if I can do the Tim Gunn "make it work" refashionista thing and to turn it into something I would actually wear out of the house, that is, into a Size 4 summer dress. Basically it was a massive hack-down: I slashed 2 inches out of each side seam and cut off 6
inches off the bottom and hemmed it. I also took in every one of the
four vertical darts another inch or so to get the volume of the dress down even smaller and give it
more curves! The piece that got cut off the bottom became a self tie belt. I ripped out the lumpo shoulder pads and snipped out the sleeves completely, then shortened the two shoulder seam widths by about half an inch and hemmed the arm hole openings. After a jolly good ironing, I tried it on and hey presto chango, had meself a new dress. I've gotten a few compliments wearing this out as it has a dressy look but is very comfortable, machine washable, and cool to wear!
It was fun using up the leftover blue jean fabric scraps to make banners for two boys' bedrooms. For each letter, I created a simple triangle-shaped pattern and stitched down the sides and created a casing at the top. I then cut out the letters in a contrasting fabric, tracing them first on the fabric, and overstitched them with zigzagging onto the triangle-shaped pieces. The "cord" holding the banner pieces together is made from the thick leg seams and threaded through the casing with a large safety pin. I then just thumb tacked these to the walls! Depending on the number of letters in the name, you can run these up in less than two hours.
Well, these are the last two little girl dresses I made out of pillowcases and by now I had got the drill down fast. First I dyed the pillowcases and after drying cut the fabric. Cutting is simple as I'm just snipping off the top about 6 inches so I can make the ribbon that goes through the neckline casing. Then I cut out the armholes and use those pieces to make the top stitched pockets on the front of each dress. Since these were one seam pillowcases, I put that seam down the back and angle seamed the sides so the dress would flare a bit at the bottom. Then I stitched on embellishments -- in this case some silver ribbon made from a hem I'd hacked off another dress. The yellow lace was left over from a table cloth I'd cut up another time (as it was all torn up except for the lace bits). Then I do the neck casing, about an inch and a half and then, after making the ribbon for the casing, I thread it through and make a bow for the shoulder.
I think I've now got the drill down to about 45 minutes per dress (not including the time to dye and wash and dry). There's tons of tutorials on Pinterest and in various blogs if you need a pattern for making these, just search away!
While I'm sewing these, I stay praying for the girls that will hopefully receive these. I think about how the dress will go with their personality and fit them properly (so I put a size label on them--you can see the white tag hanging off the pocket).
So these were given to Church of the Redeemer in Bowie, MD This church has a ministry where they deliver these to a non-profit that then packs off the dresses and other items to orphanages in various parts of the world. So once again, I was happy to re-use and recycle some pillow slips and put them to a good use.