Another Step

In my previous post,  I challenged my dear readers to guess what I was making.

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Susan, who must know me well, guessed it was a costume.

Well done, Susan.  It is indeed a costume.  Among Young Son’s many interests is being a dance partner at the ballet studio.  He is, at 6’7″, not a traditional dancer, but size has its value.

This year he needs a cape, pants and mask for his costume.  That is the inside of the cape.

Here is the mask.

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I hope to have the entire ensemble together for your viewing pleasure by the end of the week.

Creating is fun!

 

Band Concert And You Know What That Means: Dress Refashion

We started with a pretty enough dress for $5 from the thrift store.  Sparkle Jane didn’t need a dress, but, I did have an excuse:  Band concert.

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We had the dress in advance.  We even went before Thanksgiving and got the additional needed fabric when the big pile of junk didn’t produce something suitable.

But, somehow, the actual refashion was put off.  Again.  Until it was really almost too late.  I started Wednesday making a new partial bodice to add some substance and comfort to the top.  All it really needed beyond that was a sash.

Should be easy. Right?

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And it wasn’t really hard.  Just nearly late.  Again.  We would never have made it if Sparkle Jane hadn’t come to the  rescue by offering to handstitch it all together while I did chicken chores, prepared dinner and made some cookies as treats after the performance.

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She finished less than 10 minutes before we had to go.  “Mom,” she said.  “Maybe we should start a new tradition next year.  And have the dress ready early.  Maybe a whole day BEFORE the concert?!”  Oh, I don’t know.  This down-to-the-wire method is sort of fun.  Not really.  But somehow it always ends up happening anyway.

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The concert was a success and she was lovely.  Young Son plays with the high school band–tenor saxophone–and did very well.  I am so glad they have these sorts of opportunities.  Life is better when you can do real things, like sewing or music, rather than just consuming entertainment being fed to you by wires.

Refashion Runway Sewalong Week Five: Halloween

What to be for Halloween?  Cowgirl?  Indian?  Fairy?  As Daughter has grown, the answers have changed.

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This year, when she saw the pile I collected for a costume, what she was most of all was SKEPTICAL.

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Really, what was going to come of this orange bridesmaid dress, black lace dress, black skirt, garage sale bag of ribbon…and a pink doll’s hat?  It was the hat that got her.

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“Oh ye of little faith,” I said, “This year I am dressing you AS Halloween.”

First was the bad hat…a little help from spray paint, netting from the green dress makeover, and chickens…and, Ta-dah!  A HAT!

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The hat makes me wish there was a living being a millner these days.  It is so much fun to take bits and pieces and CREATE!

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The bodice was a good fit and I liked the length, but I wanted something quite a bit more dramatic.  The cumberband was coming off anyway, so we removed it in earnest. And, replaced it with a  black lace corset with white foundation that gives contrast and style.

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Gores added to the side gave more fullness.  The slit up the front with ruffles opened things up, too. Underneath went the top layer of the black skirt and some orange netting from my big pile of junk.

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Shoulder  decorations add interest, too.

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When it all came together it was a Halloween-Steampunk-dress up dream…at least for me, but Daughter seems to think the dream came true for her, too.

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Visit Refashion Runway to see more Halloween creations…it is such a good time to let imagination run wild.

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If you want to see more refashion fun, Halloween style, visit Refashion Runway and vote for your favorite.

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Refashion Runway Sewalong Week Four: Leather

After reading the misadventures of the other refashionistas on Refashion Runway, I am more grateful than ever for my Grandma Mary’s Pfaff 130.  While I struggled with the different drape and handling properties of leather, no needles were broken during the creation of this item of clothing.

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We started with a skirt purchased at the thrift store for $2.50.  I liked the soft texture of the suede and how lightweight it was, but the fit was off on daughter.  The skirt was long and straight.  What we needed was short and curvy.

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Detatch waistband.  Add a few darts. Shorten.  Scallop.  Attach waistband. How hard could that be?

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It was trickier than I anticipated.  For example, you can’t pin leather.  Holes are permanent.  So I used a glue stick for basting.  It worked really well.

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Some of the seams ended up a little crooked.  But, the final piece is  wearable. For only $2.50 and a few hours time, it was a good learning experience. 

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Visit Refashion Runway for more leather inspiration.  Maybe you’ll be inspired to  sew along too.  Next week:  Halloween!

Refashion Runway Week Three: Peplum

What is peplum anyway?  A dictionary definition might be something like:

A short overskirt or ruffle attached at the waistline of a jacket, blouse, or dress.

It comes from a Greek word, peplos, that referred to a robe worn by women in Ancient Greece.

But how was that going to help me with this week’s challenge as I sew along with the Refashion Runway?

Well,  first we needed raw material.

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This looked pretty raw to me…

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Husband said, “That hurts my eyes.”  Young son said, “How tall a person was that meant for?”  Daughter added, “That is ghastly!”

But, it was what I had,  and it was time to get to work.

First, I wanted to open up the neck.  There was a very wide facing inside that was ready-made to be a little wider.

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Then it was time to get serious with scissors. This is always a scary moment–what if I take off too much?OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

That skirt-thing on the bottom, at least the smaller top layer, was an already shaped and hemmed peplum.  Just needed to do a little fitting and add a few belt loops.  Also, shortened the sleeves to my favorite 3/4 length. Ta-dah!  A top!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADaughter was the photographer and had to dodge chickens and the rain, but we got the job done.

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Go check out Refashion Runway Season Two to see  other refashionista peplum creations.

Refashion Runway: Emerald Green

Emerald Green?  There is a wide open Refashion Runway challenge.  But,  emerald green items were hard to find.  Perhaps because it is the Pantone 2013 Color of the Year, in fashion and snapped up in thrift stores.  Our friend, Doug, found this piece for me.  Let’s just say it had lots of potential.

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GOOD POINTS:

1. Correct Color

2. Lots of fabric to work with

3. Fit Daughter reasonably well

WEAK POINTS:

1. The open back

2. The footballer shoulder pads

2. The “jeweled” front

3. That bow…and bustle.

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Not what I had in mind…but if you have shopped for fancy dresses lately, you know that the prices can be mind blowing.  As Daughter moves through her teens she seems to need nice dresses for more and more occasions.  Can we make this one work?

It was a fairly complex re-fashion, because so many things needed to change.  I still wanted a dress when it was done, but  a dress Daughter could wear to her winter band concert, not an 80’s revival party.

The first step was a lot of picking out:  shoulders, bustle, skirt.

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Then it was time to start putting it all back together.

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The bodice needed new sleeves, a new neckline, no deep V in the waist,  and some detailing.

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The skirt needed to be shortened. And the bustle and bow?  All that extra fabric needed to come off.

I really wanted to build a whole new back to the bodice, but just filling in the gap with fabric from the v-shaped bustle left a keyhole opening that Daughter liked–modest but interesting.

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The finish is a winter dress with a 50’s vibe.

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Such a nice change from Before…

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To after…

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Take a minute to visit Refashion Runway Season Two and see the Week 2 work of all the contestants.  And, take a minute to VOTE for your favorite. Even though I was eliminated this week, I’ll sure be browsing  and voting for the remaining contestants.

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Off to work on Week 3: Peplum.  Who knows?  Maybe this one will even be a refashion for ME!

ps–I didn’t mean to lead anyone astray with my earlier post about a curtain dress.  It was the resourceful use of green that I found inspiring.  And the reminder that refashioning isn’t really a new idea.  But, I do have some home-decor items in mind for a future challenge, should I get there.  Hmm…doilies and tablecloths? ddt.

Christmas Presents In July

Making Christmas presents ahead of time is a real life-saver come November, and I try to do a little something from time to time during the year.

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This week it is hat and scarf sets for those babies made out of minky/minkee fabric (a 100% polyester plush velour) and some cotton scrap.

I am sorry for not sharing a tutorial at this time, but I am not confident of the fit and do not want to risk leading you astray.  But, just to let you know generally, I used 1/3-yard of the minkee and various leftovers of the contrasting cotton fabric.

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Minkee is  soft and warm without being suffocating.  It washes really well, too, a nice feature for anything involving toddlers.

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Hopefully those babies will enjoy having a little something for the winter, such as it is in the South, from their Granny D.