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!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Baggy Brown 80s dress Gets a Make Over from Size 12 to Size 4

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! 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Blue Jean Leftover Fabric Becomes Boys' Room Banners

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.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Pillowcases become Little Girl Dresses

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.  

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Images That May Influence Something I'm Making

Well, although I said I was going to use this blog for all the sewing and artsy-craftsy things I've been doing lately, I still take photos of stuff that catches my eye that I use for artistic inspiration or to spur my creativity.  Recently, inside the GAO building on H Street I noticed all the decorative embellishments all over the doors and walls. There's a castle of some kind of shiny metal on the marble walls that I think is used as a symbol by the Army Corps of Engineers. There's eagles in the parquet wood along the tops of the panelling in the elevators. And then on the elevator doors are stamped metal images of all kinds of American motif things, such as corn stalks bending in the wind.  I'm not exactly sure how these images are going to inspire or enhance my sewing or other projects but I think they all go into that vast visual imagery software in my brain and that somehow some of them will find a way to influence whatever I'm doing.

Old Towel Turned Into Kitchen Apron

Well, I haven't put much up here lately as I've been really busy busting through the fabric pile and finishing several big scale sewing projects. One of the smaller, quicker projects was a re-cycle or re-use of part of a green towel that got frayed out on one end and was really raggedy and headed for the landfill. But no, I just had to turned the untorn half into something useful. So I hacked off the torn up part and made it into an apron using some left-over green bias tape to make the ties more interesting and to bind the pocket. I always put pockets on my aprons for cell phone or keys or candy or something.  I've already used this green towel apron a lot, hence the stain on it already! But it's totally washable as it's an old towel!