Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Trunk or Treat 2015

Some of you may remember this costume from a couple of years ago.  I created it from six pieces of clothing while I was a contestant on The Renegade Seamstress' Refashion Runway.  You can read all about the process here.

Well, I have never worn it for Halloween...until this year.  And, since my husband and I like to coordinate, he played the part of a wizard.

The really fun part, though, was decorating the trunk of our van to match our costumes.  Last year, we did a steampunk theme for our trunk and costumes.  You can check it out here if you'd like.

As always, the thrift store is my friend when it comes to decorating.

Everything was either purchased at a thrift store, or the dollar store...except for one can of spray foam insulation from a home improvement store.


Black birds were purchased at the dollar store.

Everything was battery operated, including the sound system that played music from Disney's Fantasia.

The book was covered with a free printable I got from the internet.  I added a belt and jewelry piece for added effect.

Dry ice and glow sticks gave the cauldron a nice effect.

The battery operated taper candles were from the dollar store.  I used a hot glue gun to make the candles look like they had dripping wax.  I then sprayed them black.  The pillar candles and owl lantern were picked up at a thrift store.

The potion jars were all purchased at a thrift store.  I downloaded various labels (some can be found here and here) and adhered them to the jars with modge podge.  I used E6000 to attach some random jewelry pieces I had in my stash.  I then filled them with Eye of Newt, Toad Tongues, Skeleton Dust, Fur of Werewolf, etc.!

The camera flash takes away the ambiance, but gives you a better look at everything.  Check out the black cat I found at one store, and the perfect size black hat at another!  I even found a silver leafed apple....of course its not poisoned since I'm a good witch!  The coals were made from spray foam insulation, painted black.  There are tutorials on the internet.  I don't put the lights in the foam like the tutorials show.  I leave a domed space underneath the foam and place battery operated lights, covered with red tissue paper, underneath the foam.  This method allows me to replace the lights if, by chance, they go bad.  

I also smeared small amounts of the spray foam onto the outside of the plastic cauldron, then dabbed it with a scrunched up plastic bag.  When dry, I sprayed it all black, then used a sponge dabber to apply copper, tan, brown, and teal green paint.  This gave my cauldron a nice textured, aged look.

The walls and ceiling are discarded sheets that have been stenciled using spray paint.  The edges of the ceiling sheet were burned to give it an aged and worn look.

My husband's costume began as a black graduation gown.  I knew I wanted some trim on it, but didn't want to pay the price for several yards of expensive ($4-5 yd.) embroidered trim.  So I cut long strips of purple fabric (overlocking the edges), then layered narrower strips of striped metallic fabric down the center.  I edged the center strip with inexpensive silver metallic ribbon purchased from Walmart.  Considering I already had the striped metallic fabric in my stash, it only cost me a few dollars for about 7 yds. of wide trim.

His hat was repurposed from a black skirt.  I added wire to the brim and to the hat so he can shape it any way he likes.  The gnarly, twisted staff was found on our property.

Fixing the stache!

I like to link to these great parties!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

A Romantic Country Wedding

Our daughter got married this summer.  And, although this wasn't as thrifty as the past two weddings, (you can view them here and here), we still had some thrifty elements in the decorations.  For instance, we saved money on the table linens by getting free kingsize sheets from the Hilton hotel chain.  They were a nice white on white stripe.  I cut them into large circles and then overlocked the edges.  The lace for all the burlap squares was given to me for free.  The mason jars, vases, corks, and tea light holders used for centerpieces were all thrifted.  The barn wood and barn doors came from a barn we dismantled earlier in the year.  Lace and sheer curtain panels that had been thrifted over the years were also used.

The welcome sign was thrifted and originally showcased an oriental-themed picture.  I spray painted over the picture with chalkboard paint.  I also painted and distressed the frame.  The idea for the wording came from the internet (I apologize for not being able to locate the original source!)  I used white chalk paint pens for the lettering.  It gives a much crisper result as opposed to regular chalk.  If you make a mistake, just wipe it away with a wet cloth and start again.  The rustic easels were free, made from fallen cedar trees on our property and fastened together with wooden dowels. Enjoy!

The gift tables were covered with vintage crocheted table clothes and tied with burlap bows.

The guest sign-in table was adorned with this shabby chic wooden candelabra.  It was stained dark brown when I picked it up at a thrift store.  I painted and distressed it, then glued five pint-sized mason jars in place.  Filled with flowers, it made a beautiful vase.  It sat atop a lace-edged burlap square with a few pinecone flowers surrounding it.  

The pinecone flowers were made by using a chop saw to cut the bottom from a pinecone.  I also cut the remaining part of the pinecone again to have a whole different looking flower.  Essentially, I got three flowers from each pinecone.  The picture below shows flowers cut from the bottom of the pinecone.  Other pictures in this post shows flowers cut from the center of the pinecone.  A helpful hint:  Hold the pinecone securely with a pair of pliers when cutting to keep your fingers safely away from the blade!

A slate arrow points the direction of the ceremony.

The bride arrived at the ceremony in this sweet vintage truck, owned by the groom's grandfather.

The bride's bouquet was placed in a burlap-wrapped mason jar and became the centerpiece of the wedding guest table during the reception.  The bride's attendants' bouquets were also used at the same table.

A slate arrow points to the reception area.

Hay bales, topped with barn wood, doilies, jars of flowers, and tea lights, were placed around the reception area and acted as small tables for guests to sit around.

We purchased the outdoor "Edison" lights from Costco and strung them over the dance floor, along with tissue paper pom-poms.  A paper lantern was hung in the center of the dance floor and was illuminated by one of the lights on the string.  We wrapped some of the tree trunks with strands of white lights.

The wedding party table was decorated with thrifted sheer curtain panels, each tied with a burlap bow and a flower cut from the center of a pinecone.  

See how the flowers look different depending on if they are cut from the bottom or the
middle of the pinecone?


Each centerpiece included a variation of a mason jar wrapped and tied with burlap ribbon, a single white vase. a tea light candle, a picture of the couple (usually placed in the cork holder), a variety of pinecone flowers, and a small log round with the couples initials carved into it.  All of these sat atop a vintage doily placed in the center of a lace-edged burlap square.

The menu board was made from a thrifted mirror.  I replaced the mirror with a piece of masonite that I sprayed with chalkboard paint.  I painted the frame and distressed it a little.  It was displayed on another rustic easel.

A helpful hint:  Prepare the chalkboard surface by covering it with chalk and then erasing it.  Print (or freehand) your words onto paper.  Cover the backside of the paper by rubbing a flat piece of chalk over it.  Place your paper in position, chalk side down, onto your board and lightly tape it in place.  Trace over your words with a pencil to transfer them onto your board.  Remove the paper and you will have perfect lines to follow!

The groom and his friends made the cake stand from wood rounds.  They attached the rounds to the main stand and then "stair-stepped" them from there.  They also carved the bride and groom's initials into the stand.  The groom's mom made the wedding cake.

The groom's aunt made all the lovely cupcakes.

The flower girl was a dancing machine that night!  She even caught the bouquet!

We set up a photo-op area using old barn doors, bales of hay, sheer lace curtains, a vintage bed spread, and paper buntings (which were recycled from this previous wedding!)

Also in the photo-op area were a couple of frames to use for props.

The beautiful bride.

As the guests left, they could take with them a heart-shaped bird seed ornament to hang on a branch.  The bride and her sister had a fun afternoon making these!

Tags were punched, stamped, and tied onto the bird seed hearts.

The evening ended with a beautiful sunset!

I like to link to these great parties!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Asymmetrical Sew Along

Well, this is the last challenge of Refashion Runway, Season 3.  Beth, the Renegade Seamstress, chose Asymmetry for this challenge.  Originally, I wasn't going to sew along since inspiration hadn't struck me.  But then it happened!  Looking through my refashion closet, I felt impressed to do something with this super soft, super stretchy, gray dress.  It sported a turtleneck, long sleeves, and absolutely no shape whatsoever!  But, I really liked the color and feel of the fabric.  So I got to work.

I began by chopping off the lower 27" to use as the skirt portion of my dress.  By using the lower half of the dress, I could take advantage of the finished edge of the dress already in place.  I then took it in on the sides to fit.

The next step was to fit the top.  I used a t-shirt to give me an idea of fit and also how to cut for the new armholes.

I knew I didn't want a turtleneck, so I cut it down to 1 1/2".

I then folded it to the inside and serged it, creating a 3/4" wide ribbed neckline.

Now it was time to join the two together.  This could have been left as two pieces, but stitching them together eliminated the need for a waistband for the skirt and a hem for the top.

I cut about 10" from the top of a thrifted half slip, and cut off the elastic waist.  Since the slip was naturally flared, I stitched a new tapered seam on each side to even it up.  I wanted a straight "tube" for this next part.

I pinned the tube to the top of my skirt, right sides together, then stitched.

I needed a casing for some waist elastic.  So I stitched again about 3/8" away from the first stitching.  Then it was a matter of threading some elastic through the casing and fitting it to my waist.

Next, I stitched the top of the tube to the bottom of the top, right sides together.  The photo below shows the whole thing stretched out.  You can see that I took in one side of the top more than the other.  This seemed to help the fit better since one side was going to be "pleated" and the other side wasn't.  When the dress is on, the slip fabric folds upward to the inside allowing a nice rolled edge to the bottom of the top portion.

I needed to tackle the sleeves.  I used the same t-shirt to give me an idea of where to cut.  I decided on 3/4 length sleeves, taking advantage of the nice existing sleeve edge.  One good thing about knits is that it can be so forgiving when sewing...which is great!

I used my dress form for the final step, which was draping the pleats and adding buttons.  I began by placing pins at 1 1/2" intervals.

I then took the top pin and folded it towards the next pin.  I repeated this two more times.  I tacked the pleats in place along the seam.  

I added buttons from my stash just to the front of the seam.

And that was it!  I now have a very soft and cozy dress as we head into the cooler temperatures!

I like to link to these great parties!

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