Sunday, September 9, 2012

Make Pants Look Good Shorter!

The majority of the time I love being my 5'2 stature. But not when it comes to pants.

Most pants are like this one, are loads too long! That folded up cuff is only the sizable measurement of 5 inches. 

 And I can be quite particular about my pants. I hate folding up the ends. I hate too long pants that I trip over. And  I hate hemming the pants at home because it always looks home done. It never quite has the professional look of the original hem. Then I found this tutorial from the lovely lady at Cotton and Curls. You keep the original hem; you sew it higher up on the pant leg. See it looks like a pro shortened it. I might shorten these even more later but as I mostly use these skinnies to stuff into boots, why bother?

Here's different kind of jeans that are frustrating! It says a 27 SH. SH = short. This folded up cuff is 3-4 inches. Guess Jeans apparently thinks short people are 5'5 or 5'6! But I was silly because I was the one to buy these jeans. And they sat unworn in my drawer for years. No longer! As I have made them a real 27 SH.

One parting tip. Measure the height you want your hem to raise after you've walked around in your jeans for a bit. They will inevitably slouch down a bit. The first time I followed this tutorial I didn't do that and that pair of jeans (not pictured in this post) is fraying at the back hems. If this fraying issue doesn't bother you, pay no mind to my little tip. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Dress with Questionable Sash to Dress with Sass!

I raided my mum's closet and found this dress. And with her permission I tweaked it so I could wear it. 

 It has this weird sash thing that tied across the belly. I found this unflattering. Who wants to draw attention to their belly? The before pictures are actually way more flattering than how it really looked.

So since the sash things were sewed in to the side seams. I opened up the seams cut out the ties, and sewed the seams back up. Voila and done.

DIY: Over the Door Organizer with Vinyl & Cotton

Why the lack of posts lately? I've been working on this thing since Tuesday!
I've discovered that I'm terrible about keeping my clothes organized, but if all it takes is hanging it on a knob (not a hanger) or balling it up and stuffing it somewhere I can be slightly more organized. Also the current way I had of storing my basic T-shirts and tanks was simply not working. I had them stored in a drawer and inevitably whichever one I was looking for was the last one to be pulled out of the drawer, meaning all the other rejected tops were strewn about my desk or the floor. So I decided to make an organizer.
Materials: an over the door hook thingy, vinyl (heavier that 8 gauge, lighter than 20 gauge), cotton & heavier cloth (linen, duckcloth, canvas, etc.),  3 packages of Bias tape double wide, leather sewing machine needle, paper clips, waxed paper, thread and lots of patience.

To start I put my over the door hooks, over the door. Along with a big scrap of paper to determine size and pocket placement. I figured out that the size of my piece was going to be 26''x 36'' but with .5'' seam allowance. Therefore being 27"x 37". Then I drew out pocket sizes, using the drawings to test out sizing and placement. I also measured the distance from the top of the paper to the hooks that the organizer will attach to. Very important as my hooks were of varying lengths.

I ended up with this:

First cut out your pattern pieces 3 pieces 27" x 37". One of pretty cotton, and two of the sturdier fabric. Also cut out your vinyl pockets. Use paper clips to 'pin' your pattern pieces in place. Why paper clips and not pins? Every time you poke a hole in vinyl it is permanent. And as you want the least amount of holes as possible use paper clips over pins. Oh yeah and here's the pattern pieces for the pockets:

I made the pockets like this so that they would be roomy. (If you don't want as roomy pockets I'm sure you could find a less time consuming how to.) The dotted line indicates .5" seam allowance. I hope that if you try to use the pattern pieces for the pockets it will download at the correct size. But if it doesn't, make the middle rectangle the right dimension. And as it's all proportionate the sides should be right. 

Moving on the next thing I did was to baste the edges of the cotton and one of the sturdy fabric pieces together on all sides. The cotton will probably not be strong enough to hold all the weight of pockets and their contents, so you want to reinforce the cotton. 

You may have noticed that the pockets have no seam allowance on the tops. This is because vinyl will not fray, but to make them look prettier I lined the tops of the pockets with bias tape. To sew the bias tape on to the vinyl use paper clips again. AND use your leather sewing machine needle. 

Then sew the sides of your pockets to the bottoms. Sew from the inside to the edge of the pocket. Stop .5" from the edge. Use a thread that will blend in with your base cotton fabric. And because vinyl is tricky to sew with, it will stick to your sewing machine. So use waxed paper strips. Put the waxed paper underneath the vinyl. The order from top to bottom should be presser foot, vinyl, waxed paper, sewing machine plate. And again as the holes are permanent do your best to get the sewing right the first time.

Next chalk off the dimensions of the pockets onto your cotton piece. Be sure to mark off sides and bottom. Marking the the very top of the sides are essential. So I marked off the sides, tops and bottoms. 

Using the chalk lines as guide lines sew the bottoms of the pockets onto the reinforced cotton piece. Start from the center and work out. These seams should be inside the pocket. I couldn't figure out a way to sew with my machine the sides of the pockets, so that they would be inside the pocket. And I think it being inside the pocket makes the pockets overall sturdier. (Of course I figured this out after I had already cut out all the pocket pieces and lined them with bias tape) So I sewed the sides by hand. Get a thimble. Two days later I was done........ Any suggestions for an easier way to do this in the future are welcome. 

Almost done! Figure out your loops to go over the hooks. I doubled the distance from the hook to the top of the fabric, then I added an arbitrary inch and another inch for seam allowance. So if y = your fabric to hook distance, the math goes like this (y" x 2) + 2"= length of your loop. For the width I did 3" + .5'' seam allowance on both sides, equalling 4".  I cut these loop pieces out of the sturdy fabric. 

 Right sides in, stitch sides together and then turn the tube inside out. Time to switch back to your regular sewing machine needle.

It's time to sew the loops onto the reinforced cotton piece. I folded the loops in half width-wise. Point the loops to the bottom of the organizer. Sew the loops inside the .5" seam line, like .25". 

Sew the back sturdy fabric piece to the cotton-pocket piece, right sides in. Only sew the top. 

Turn right sides out. Test your loops. Make sure they work. If they work turn the right sides in and sew across the top a couple more times. This is where the greatest strain will be on the fabric so make sure it's secure. 

Turn out again. And lay the organizer out flat. Line up the sides and bottom. Because the vinyl pockets contorted the reinforced cotton piece my front and back pieces didn't match up exactly. I had extra fabric on the back piece. If you have the same issue trim the back piece to match the front. Then to seal up the raw edges, line the sides and bottom with bias tape. Top stitch in place. (Since I didn't want to deal with turning the whole vinyl pocket monstrosity inside out I lined what edges I could with bias tape.)


While this was a much more time consuming project than I anticipated I really like it. Also while the cost of the materials are cheap (less than $20). There are ready made over the door organizers that are $15. But those are boring. They don't have awesome skull fabric and pretty colored bias tape. You have been warned. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

DIY Pencil Case with Sound Effects POW!

Since my school is starting up in the matter of a few days I've been hunkering down to do projects that have been on my "to do" list all summer long. A new pencil case to replace my falling apart one is the latest crafty thing I've finished. I promise new drawing posts are soon to come!

In one of the those sleepless nights on the internet I discovered this tutorial for a pencil case. And then the next day, by pure accident I stumbled across this awesome fabric. Comic book sound effects!!! I had to stalk a lady who had the bolt in her cart to get the fabric. She was nice enough to let me borrow the bolt so I could get the foot of fabric required.

I pretty much followed the tutorial from Sew Mama Sew (same link as above). Except she makes her own piping and I opted for store bought. Also I added a pocket. Here's all my pieces cut out and ready to go. I used some duck cloth I had sitting around for the inside. This is a great scrap busting project as you need less that a square foot for each rectangle and the circles are only 4''. Plus you need a 7'' zipper and piping.

Ok so I said I added a pocket. I basically cut out a rectangle; lined the edges with bias tape; folded up the pocket; leaving more space on the top for seam allowance. 

Then after I sewed all the lining together I stitched the pocket into the top inside of the lining. But you need to insure that the pocket is low enough so that it will not interfere with the zipper

In this pocket I am going to keep my kneaded eraser so that it won't get too dirty from all the pencils and such.  Also hopefully it won't end up at the bottom of my pencil case every time I need it. And hopefully as the pocket is so close to the zipper, the eraser won't fall out. Lotta hopefully-s...