Monday, April 16, 2012

Final Week of Classes! + Paper Flowers

This week is our last week of classes before finals! I can't wait for it to be over... I did my recital at the end of last month and now I am ready for my internship to start in the fall! We still haven't found out our placements but I hope that we will before summer begins. I requested a high school band placement. This semester I have been in a middle school for field studies, so I am ready to gain more experience in a high school setting.

Source: Capitol Romance via Casey on Pinterest
I have done more work (relaxing and waiting until the last minute to do that work) than crafting this past week. I have been on pinterest a lot (which is the best thing to do to when you are procrastinating) and I saw these pretty paper flowers.

I also pinned many more similar bouquets that used these flowers as well.  Here is one of them:

Source: Weather Paperworks Facebook Page via Casey on Pinterest
The first picture has a great tutorial for these flowers.  I tried it out today and made two of them.  The first time, I used post-it notes (3x3 in.)  the stem is just a post it note rolled up.  I also made another from 3x3 in. squares of plain printer paper, again with a rolled up paper stem.  I glued a pearl bead in the center of the post-it note one and glued some seed beads in the center of the white one.

They are such cute little flowers!  I am definitely planning on making more of these.  I am probably going to go to Michaels and pick up some scrapbook paper while it is on sale to make some in different colors.

In case you are wondering, squares of paper that are 3 x 3 in. make a finished flower with 5 petals that measures roughly 2.5 inches in diameter and 2 inches tall.  I have also seen these made with 4 or 6 petals.

I can't wait for the summer! I am hoping that I will get lots of sewing and other crafts done after work and on my days off.


Monday, April 9, 2012

Simple Covered Elastic, No-Hem Skirt Tutorial

No Hem, Covered Elastic Skirt Tutorial

I made this simple gathered skirt together in one afternoon with tons of interruptions.  I would say you could sew this skirt in less than 45 minutes with no interruptions.

I have made plenty of elastic waistband skirts but I wanted to find a way to make the plain elastic not so noticeable.  I also try to avoid elastic casings... unless I am just feeling lazy.

Covering the elastic with some knit fabric is the perfect way to match the elastic to the color of the rest of the skirt or just make the elastic look better.

To make your own covered elastic skirt, you will need:
  • Fabric - main skirt
    • Any light to medium weight woven fabric will work 
    • 44/45 inches wide
    • The amount you will need depends on your measurements (I used 1 1/8 yd.)
  • Fabric - waist band cover
    • Knit fabric - make sure that it can be stretched to be at least 1.5 times its width
    • 1/8 yd.
  • Elastic
    •  I used 1 inch non-roll flat elastic 
    • The amount you need depends on your waist measurement (I used 26 inches)
  • Matching thread
  • Sewing machine
1.   Begin by measuring your waist.  Here is a great link that shows how to take accurate measurements.
2.   Take your waist measurement and multiply it by 1.5, this will give you a narrow gathered waist skirt  You can also multiply you waist measurement by 2, for a fuller gathered skirt.  For a reference, my skirt was made by multiplying by 1.5.  You can also choose any number between 1.5 and 2, depending on the look you are going for.  This number is the length of fabric you will need. 

3.   Fold the fabric in half with selvedges together and right sides facing outward.  This fold will become the hem.  The double layer of fabrics is great for fabrics that would need to be lines.  Folding it like this creates a skirt that is 22 inches long, which is knee length for me... which is where I like my hems to hit.
4.   Square off the edges of your fabric so that you have a rectangle and no jagged or uneven edges.

5.   Pin the long edges (selvedges) together with lots of pins (1 every 4 inches).  Your fabric should still be right sides facing out.

6.   Sew/baste along the edge that you just pinned using a long stitch length. Do this 1/4 inch away from the edge.

7.   Moving onto the waistband... Cut a length of elastic that is 1/2 inch longer than you waist measurement.  For example, my waist is 25.5 inches, and I used 26 inches of elastic.
8.   Cut a rectangle of your knit fabric (3 inches X (elastic length + 1 inch))

9.   Fold the knit fabric over your elastic right sides facing outward matching edges and pin every 1-2 inches. Sew along the short ends of the case to secure the edges of the elastic.

10.   Make small chalk marks or use different colored pins to divide the waistband into 1/8's. (Fold in half - mark... fold each of those halves in half - mark... and finally divide those sections in half)
11.   Do the same thing for the skirt fabric along the line you sewed earlier (divide and mark into 1/8's)
12.   Line up the elastic casings long raw edge with the skirt fabric's long sewed edge and pin each of the marked divisions to each other.  This will ensure an even gather on the skirt.
13.   Sew along the edge using a 1/2 inch seam allowance.  Make sure that you stretch the waistband out to make the skirt fabric lay flat.  It is easiest for me to hold the fabric behind the machine with my left hand and hold the fabric in front of my machine with my right hand while stretching it.  In the pictures, I used a serger, but it works with a regular sewing machine to (especially since these edges that will not fray).
This is what it looks like with the elastic stretched out - how it should be when you are sewing
This is how it looks when the elastic is let go - how it should be after sewing
14.   Fold the skirt right sides together lining up the edges to sew your one and only side seam with a 1/2 inch seam allowance.  Make sure that you fold the waistband seam allowance down while sewing over it.

I already serged the edges prior to sewing the side seam... just ignore the extra stitching until the next step.
15.   Finish that edge with a zig-zag stitch/overlock stitch or use a serger to prevent fraying.
16.   There you have it... a super simple (even though the directions are quite wordy) no hem, covered elastic skirt.

I will post pictures of me wearing it in the next couple of days.  It is a great skirt that can be dressed up for a more professional look for teaching or dressed down for the weekends or summer.  I am thinking of getting more of this fabric in different colors from Hancock fabric, they have some purple floral and some yellow floral.  This skirt cost less than $7.00 to make.

What do you think of the covered elastic waistband? What about the no-hemming part?
Let me know if you are confused about anything and I will help you out.

A Law Student's journey


Saturday, April 7, 2012

A Liebster Blog Award!

Thank you so much to Dee at Seams Sustainable for nominating me for a Liebster Blog Award!  You should really check out her blog, she has some great ideas for sewing.

This is an award for blogs with less than 200 Followers.  This award is intended to give extra encouragement and support to bloggers who receive it... and it definitely does.

The rules for receiving this award are:
  1. Thank the person who nominated me on my blog - Done... Thank you again Dee!
  2. Link to that writer's blog - Done... really go visit her blog!
  3. Exhibit the badge on my blog - Done!
  4. Nominate five other blogs for the honor to keep the love going!
  5. Leave a comment to let those bloggers know they've gotten a Liebster.
 Here are my nominations!
  1. Whitney at Between the Lines
  2. Heidi at Literate & Stylish
  3. Rachel at Be. Mine
  4. Andrea at Four Square Walls
  5. Meg at Made by Meg
You really should check out these awesome blogs!


Friday, April 6, 2012

Pant Suit to Pencil Skirt Refashion

What happens when you go to a garage sale where you can fill a bag for $1?  Lots of clothes to remake.  One thing that I stuffed in that bag was a plum colored pant suit similar to this:

I have been seeing so many colored pencil skirts lately, that I want one in every color!  I wanted to get this skirt finished so quickly that I didn't take any pictures of the process.

I used Butterick 5466 view D, the black and white one, but without the raised waist.  Any skirt pattern with princess seams will work for this.
I ripped each of the seams and darts on the pants so I could get as many pieces from the pant fabric.  I ended up eliminating the center front seam on the skirt... Doing that meant that I could squeeze 5 of the 7 main skirt pieces onto the fabric from the pants.  I used the back of the jacket to get the other 2 main skirt pieces and facings.  I reused the zipper from the original pants for the skirt.  Next time I do this I will definitely take pictures.

I did not follow the pattern directions since this is a pretty straight forward pattern.  I attached the facings prior to sewing the front to the back, this allows for easier alterations later on, if needed. The pattern suggests a centered zipper but I did a lapped zipper with a hook and eye at the top.

Here are some pictures:  Excuse the wrinkles (I did iron it after I made it)

Skirt Front
Skirt Back

Inside Skirt Front
Inside Skirt Back
Inside Hem Detail
I will show you a full outfit post when I have clothes/shoes that go with it... I didn't pack any dressy clothes for the long weekend.  I was able to have a 4 day weekend since my only Thursday class got canceled, and we didn't have classes today due to Good Friday.

So how much did this plum pencil skirt cost? About 15 cents!  That is so much better than others that I've seen for $120.


Monday, April 2, 2012

DIY Necklaces... And a Bracelet

This weekend was very productive for me.  I made three necklaces inspired by some that I saw on  I also made necklace and matching bracelet set using a wire jig.  I love these necklaces... they are a definite change for me since I always wear the same simple jewelry over and over.

The first up is this necklace:

It was based of of this necklace that I had pinned a few weeks back:

Source: Ruche via Casey on Pinterest
 I made it using 18 Gauge wire, thinner wire for wrapping the beads, some beads that I had, and a gold colored chain.  I think that I will be making more variations on this necklace in the future.

I didn't have a gold clasp on hand, so I just made one:

The next one is a cute bow necklace.

It was also based of of this necklace that I had pinned a few weeks back:

Source: Ruche via Casey on Pinterest
 It is made from antique bronze chain, 18 gauge antique bronze wire, an antique bronze bow charm, and a pink bead.

The last necklace that I made that was inspired by the ones that I had pinned is:

It was based of of this necklace:

Source: Ruche via Casey on Pinterest
 I used 18 gauge antique bronze wire to make all of the eye pins and jump rings to connect the beads and charms together.  This necklace is probably the most different from what I usually wear.

I had bought a Thing-a-Ma-Jig Beginner Set on Friday and this is what I came up with for a necklace and bracelet set.

I just used some 20 gauge silver colored wire and some pearls.

If you are interested in any of the charms that I used, I posted about where I bought them here.

Which one is your favorite? Are there any that you don't like?

Would you be interested in seeing a tutorial to make any of these? Which one(s) in particular?


Friday, March 30, 2012

Go-to Black Dress

I have yet another thing to show you from what I finished a month ago on spring break (yea, I took advantage of the extra time to sew). This time it is another dress, McCall's 6201, to be exact.

I made mine out of some suiting fabric that I picked up at Hancock Fabrics.  The dress is meant to be fully lined, but I didn't do it, I just wanted to try the pattern out quickly to see if I liked it.  Since I did not line the dress, I used self-made bias tape to finish the neck and bottom half of the arm holes.  The good news is that I like the dress as a whole. 

I made the dress in a size 10, my normal, even though my measurements suggest that I make a 12.  I did have to take the dress in on the side seams from the hips down. 

The other problem that I noticed is that the bust darts are just a tad high... not so much that I felt like I needed to unpick and resew, but enough to make me want to change them for next time. 

I tried out the sleeves from view A, but they did not work for me... too pointy.  I ended up removing the original ones and replacing the sleeves with some cute cap sleeves from Butterick 5317.  I need to have this dress for teaching, otherwise I would have left off sleeves completely.  I don't like having to wear a jacket or cardigan over this dress all day, even if it gets warm, just because it is sleeveless.  These cap sleeves will definitely be seeing many more sleeveless dress patterns.

I may raise the neckline by about 3/4 to 1 inch next time I make this, since I don't want to take a chance of it gaping with it being somewhat of a low scoop neck.

I added used an invisible zipper on this dress instead of the regular zipper that they suggested.

Here is a close up of the bodice:

The dress was  very quick and easy to sew.  The most annoying thing about making it was marking the 6 darts (two vertical ones on the front, two vertical ones on the back, and the two horizontal bust darts).

Overall, it is a great dress and is very versatile.  I have already worn it for a performance, last Saturday with a bright blue cardigan.  I am also thinking of wearing it with a bright belt (red or hot pink) with it, as well.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Two new skirts!

I have two skirts that I want to show you all today.  They were both just made with rectangles of fabric... no pattern needed!  They are skirts that I made months ago before I started this blog, but I still want to share them.

The first one was destined to become the bottom part of a dress that failed terribly.  I was not quite ready to tackle it at the time.  I still have the bodice, and hope to try again someday.  Oh well, at least I have a cool, mint skirt. 

Do you recognize that top? Its is the lace accent Sorbetto that I posted about a few days ago.  I think it works with this skirt with a tied brown woven belt.

The fabric is just some broadcloth from JoAnn's that caught my eye because of the color.  The amount of fabric that I had after attempting to make the dress was just barely enough to squeeze two large rectangles for the panels and a smaller one for the waist.  I used some iron on interfacing in the waist, as well. The zipper is just one that I picked up a thrift store for $0.10.  Overall, this skirt probably cost me about $3.50... not bad for a cute summer skirt.

The next one is an elastic waist skirt that I made after seeing this skirt on Sewing in No Mans Land.  I just loved the bright yellow color and the sash.  For my version, I decided to do an elastic waistband with 1 inch elastic and leave a little bit of fabric ruffling out at the top like paper bag skirts.  The sash is just to hide the elastic casing.

Here is a close up of the waist and sash. I also added three belt loops, two on the sides and one at the back.  I decided to do a wide (3 inch) hem for this skirt.  The fabric is just some more cheap broadcloth from Joann's.

There you have it. Two super quick and easy summer skirts that do not even need a pattern!

What do you think? Do you like making skirts from patterns or just winging it?


Monday, March 26, 2012

Modcloth Inspired Dress

This is my favorite dress that I have made so far! It is perfect for in the classroom or on the weekends/breaks.
A while back I had pinned this dress
Source: Modcloth via Casey on Pinterest
So after picking up some great teal fabric for really cheap (which I blogged about here), I couldn't decide what to make with it.  No problem, just look on pinterest.  While looking through my boards I was amazed to see the above dress that I had pinned months ago.  It was basically the same color as my fabric and I had just picked up McCalls' 6503 just a few days prior.

I decided that I would go with the full, pleated skirt that was included in the pattern because honestly, I was tired of sewing fitted skirts and dresses when I made this.  It worked out perfectly because I realized that I really like this type of skirt on me.
My measurements suggest that should cut a 12, but I cut an 8 for the bodice and a 10 for the waist and skirt.  Next time I will be shortening the bodice by 3/4 in.

I really love this neckline.  Instead of a regular zipper, I inserted an invisible zipper.  I also did not make the button placket functional.  I just slip-stitched it closed and added the two buttons.  This was mainly because I did not have three of the correct size buttons on hand that matched the dress.  These two that I had looked really good, but wouldn't hold the front shut on their own without gaping.

As you can see above, the waist seam is not enclosed like the pattern has you sew it.  This is perfect for altering it as you sew, or later on.  I also did not sew the waist facing to the dress like the instructions say to.  I pressed the top and bottom edge under 5/8 in. and pinned it, wrong sides together to the corresponding waist section... use lots of pins (on the outside of the dress) to keep the folds in the right spot.  I then top stitched the waist band, this attaches the waist facing without any slip stitching and adds nice looking top stitching details.

I also constructed this dress using the flat method.  I sewed all of the front pieces together, bodice front, waist band front, and skirt front.  I did the same with all of the back pieces.  Then I sewed the front to the back, inserted the zipper, then the sleeves, and hemmed it.  This method works even better if the dress has a back zipper.  It allows you to make easy alterations on the side seams.  This is how I construct many of my dresses.

What do you think?  Do you like the inspiration dress with its slim skirt or the fuller skirt version?  Have you ever used the flat method to construct dresses (or anything else)?