Thursday, December 29, 2011

Inspired By Pinterest: A Line Wool Skirt

 When I saw this skirt, I was struck by its simplicity. I am a reader of this lady's blog, Blame It On Fashion and I love her style. I went to her link to see if I could order it but she lives in Denmark and the company does not ship internationally. Plus it was a hefty price in Euro dollars. The image stayed in my mind and I decided I would make it.

Fast forward a few days later, I went to the thrift store, and picked up this size 14 skirt - in wool, all for $5.

Here is a picture of me modelling the skirt. :) It was intentional that I got a skirt this size because I make many mistakes and might need extra fabric!

So I started with a pattern - I used one of my old skirts which is a favourite of mine and traced a pattern around it.

Once the pattern was drawn, I unpicked the whole skirt, but I left the hem because that meant that I did not have to hem it later, thus saving me time. I reused every single piece of this skirt, from the lining to the zipper, even using the pockets to make my new pockets. I made several mistakes with the pockets and accidentally threw out one that I had completed.

I had not sewed a skirt for a long time (about 8 years) so this was a test of my memory, especially putting in the zip part. But I had a sense of satisfaction as I went along, remembering why I took lessons. Pity I stopped at drafting patterns for skirts before I left to live in the Middle East.

This is the end product. I took this photo this morning and it started snowing while I did it. The first snow for the winter, hurray!

Front view:


Me wearing it.


Methinks I made the waist a bit too high. That old skirt I used to draft a pattern with was too tight and it was only after I had sewn the skirt that I remembered that the old skirt used to sit on my hips. As it is now too tight (cough cough, I love my chocolate) I had to hitch it up to my natural waist line. Still, it's not too bad, considering that it was only $5 to make the whole skirt. 

The back view:

The chunky gold necklace is a Goodwill find for $5. 

 There was a lady who saw it first, held on to it but she was on the phone. She left it on the counter top, absent mindedly. I waited, and waited. Eventually she left the store, still talking on the phone so I swooped in and grabbed it before anyone else saw it.  And my shoes...oh sigh. Shoes are my nemesis. I love them and cannot resist them. They are the only things I buy new. I have seen these Zara pair on many bloggers and I love how it is so neutral yet contemporary. However, they are 4" in heel height yikes! I have never worn anything so high before because I had a major surgery on my bunions 20 years ago and they are never quite right.  I wear them and they hurt a little but beautiful shoes are meant to hurt, right? I heard Louboutins hurt like anything...

And just because I want to vary my's a goofy one. My sons, who are on a week's semester break thought I looked like a freak. I love them because kids are so honest.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Book Tote and Butterfly Art

We had an end of year party for our book club and I made some gifts for my girlfriends, some of who are beginning to be very dear friends. They have been my pillars of strength since I arrived in the USA. I made birthday gifts for two of them as I had not seen them for a while.

The first is a book bag I made for my friend Revathi. She is the organiser of our book club, always the initiative one and she holds the group together with her planning. We do not share common interests (I don't even read any of the books in the book club but I go there for the food and company) but since she loves books, I thought a bag to put her books in would be fun to make. I saw this idea on Martha Stewart and downloaded her transfer print. I did not follow her instructions as I thought her tote was too small. I just measured a canvas bag I already had.

I used drop canvas cloth (to protect the floors from messy paint jobs) from Home Depot - it is the most economical and the canvas is sturdy.  This is the finished product. I printed the transfer picture on to fabric using freezer paper. One could put snap buttons on the "Books" print and the user of the bag could remove it when the bag needed to be washed but I did not have any buttons at the time. You could also buy special chemicals called Bubble Jet Rinse that you pre-wash the fabric in so that when you print, the ink is permanent on the fabric. But as it was just for one project, I was unlikely to use them again and they are pricey.

I also made some butterfly stamp art - again an inspiration from Pinterest. This is the inspiration from Pinterest:

 This is my version. I was giving it to a friend who loves life with such a passion. She is a vet and she rescues animals and advertises to give them a home. I enjoy speaking with her because even after all her children are at college, she is still astounded at what life has to teach her I learn a lot from her. I wanted to give her something that had animals in it, yet had meaning in it.  See the butterfly in this photo? I took that in July 2011 before the Sept 11 tragedy occurred. The butterflies represent the lives lost but they are still with us in memories and thoughts. They are never forgotten.

I am really having fun with Pinterest because normally I don't venture very far off with my quilts and painting/furniture crafts. They both said that they liked my gifts. I am glad because I know that there are some who dislike getting hand made gifts, as I recently read in some famous online Design magazine. I always prefer hand made gifts because to me, it shows the effort and thought that went behind it, and hand made gifts are never, never "Oh, what will I do with this?" feeling. I have held on to all the hand made things given to me by my friends from 20 years ago, even hand made cards! What do you think, do you like getting hand made gifts or are they something to be put into the "re-gift to others" category?

Inspired By Pinterest: T-Shirt Scarf

I was away for a week because our whole family was sick with a stomach flu. And now that we are all well again, we lost connection with the internet after a storm. Happily, I was able to do lots of craft stuff as Christmas gifts for friends - stomach aches and lost internet connections did not stop me!

Remember the ruffle skirt? I was not really happy with the quality of sewing because of the white t-shirt underneath. Tip, choose a base colour that closely matches ruffles. I ended up ripping up the whole thing and turning it into a scarf. I will make another ruffle skirt the next time when the weather turns warmer.

 This scarf has been making the rounds on Pinterest so I wanted to have a go at it. You can find the tutorial here.

It is very important that you get a good quality t-shirt that is slightly thicker because as you pull the strips, they tend not to remain curled as the picture above. My t-shirts were from the thrift store and the interlock t-shirts are not as good as the others. They have already unravelled so I have to pull them taut again and again. This is what I ended up with. I had grey in it but it doesn't show up here in the photo. I enjoyed making the scarf but it is more of an accessory than to protect you from the cold.  The days have really dropped in temperature and on Sunday, it was hovering around 1 degree C all day.  However, I am thankful that it is warmer this winter than the previous two we have experienced here. Now we are just waiting for some snow!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Inspired By Pinterest: Ruffled Skirt

or here

I went to the thrift store where they had men's clothing at 50% off. I picked up about 10 XXL t-shirts at $0.75 to $1.50 and just out of curiousity, I stopped by at Joann's, which is a fabric and craft store - t-shirt materials is around $5.00 per yard.

I won't go into the details on how I made it because the other two websites have instructions. It looks really ugly when you first make it, even my husband was a little doubtful about the project. But when I put them on, he really liked them, which is saying a lot as he doesn't always like what I make.

Okay - I am super sorry for the horrid quality of the photos, seriously, you wouldn't believe that I was working as a studio photographer in Singapore at one stage, I have become so sloppy with photo taking. It is so cold now, in the negatives and I took this inside. It also gets dark before 5 pm so I was too lazy to get the tripod out. 

I scored big time at the thrift store this weekend, I found a vintage Coach handbag (will post about it later) two pairs of shoes and this is one of them. A pair of black oxfords, making it my third pair of oxfords. (will blog about that later when the sun comes out and I can take better photos)

I lightened the photo a lot more so that I could show you dear readers what a boo boo I made. I used one of my old white t-shirts underneath and as I moved, the upper most ruffle would sometimes move up and reveal the white underneath. I also was lazy about using matching thread. I was just impatient to sew! But I just had to take a photo to say that  I made a skirt. Then I took it apart and ripped it all up and made it into another t-shirt scarf! I had made it too tight and as I went to wear it, I could hear the thread rip, as the ruffles gathered the t-shirt material closer and made it tighter.

Cost of fabric - $2.75. I used two t-shirts and I stole my husband's old underwear's elastic for the waist band.
Shoes: Thrifted black oxfords $9
Socks: TJ Maxx a pack of 3 for $6 and top, my own from Target. (old)