Tuesday, August 12, 2014

"Modest"ifying a Wedding Dress

A dear friend of mine got married this month.  She is such a sweet person!  In her search for a wedding dress, her budget didn't allow for the dress she really wanted, so she settled for a strapless, tea-length dress.  But, strapless wasn't going to work for her so she gave me a call.  I had helped her with prom dresses before and was more than happy to help out with her wedding dress.  I don't have a "before" picture, but just imagine the dress below being strapless and sans the center belt detail.

I have done this before to strapless dresses and have found that its more comfortable if the fabric has some stretch to it.  If not, then it makes it really hard to move around and lift your arms.  We were lucky that the only stretch "lacey" fabric that JoAnn's carried in a light cream color was exactly what she wanted!  We also picked up a lightweight jersey as lining.  Since we were shortening the overall length, I used the excess fabric to make bias trim for the neckline and sleeve edges.  I also added some small beads to match the sparkle of the belted waistband.

The "modest"ifying is really like taking a fancy t-shirt, cutting away the top of it and attaching it to the lining of the bodice.  In this case, though, we didn't have a fancy t-shirt available and had to start from scratch.  We also had to do a bit of other alterations which mandated us cutting the belt, leaving an unsightly gap at the front of the dress.  We could have allowed the gap to be in the back and covered it with a bow, but that wasn't exactly what she wanted.  So, I picked up some ribbon and a rhinestone brooch, along with a couple of buttons from my stash and covered the gap.

Since I didn't want to hassle with putting in a new zipper, I left the original one in place and closed the new back with loops and pearl buttons (also in my stash.)  If you are lucky enough to find a fancy t-shirt that matches your dress, you would need to cut the back of the t-shirt and add a facing to allow for the loops and buttons.

I was a bit worried about this whole project.  She was only in town for one weekend about three weeks before her wedding, and we couldn't get back together until the day before the big event.  That meant that I had to be precise with my measurements and hope that everything would fit as planned.  Lucky for us, everything went perfectly and she was so excited.  Congratulations to the two of them...they are so cute together!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Girls Camp Crafts 2014

Summer is a busy time for most people, and I'm lucky to have a portion of my summer spent at Girl's Camp.  And, I'm even more lucky to spend my time at camp doing crafts!  How great is that to do crafts in the beautiful outdoors amongst beautiful young women?!  So here's the run down of what we did this year.

Magnetic Bulletin Boards

The first day we made these cute magnet boards.  We started with a 9x13 cookie sheet purchased from the dollar store and/or WalMart.  We cut our paper to size and adhered it to the back of the cookie sheet using mod podge.

While we waited for the mod podge to dry, we made these cute magnets.  We had already printed the words onto colored paper and a 1" punch was used to cut them out.  The girls glued the circles to the inside of the bottle caps, then once dry, covered the circle with the epoxy sticker.  Magnets were glued to the back using E-6000 glue.

Once the mod podge was completely dry (using a hair dryer, or letting it sit overnight) the vinyl lettering was added.  The last step was to drill two holes and add the ribbon hanger.  One tip:  The holes are actually easier to drill before they start the project, and a small file is necessary to remove any metal burrs that are left as a result of drilling.  

Follow the links below to see where we bought the supplies:

or, you might like these magnets better
as they are smaller and have a lower profile.

Temple Pendants

Day two had us doing these super easy necklaces.  The original idea can be found on SugarDoodle, along with the information of where to purchase the supplies, and also a file for the images used in the necklaces.  Follow the directions they suggest and give them plenty of time to dry.  We let ours sit overnight.

These images were cut with a 1" punch just like the magnets.  These, however, were covered with a glued on glass bubble, as opposed to an epoxy sticker.  Please note, I was unable to photograph these without getting reflective glare on the glass, so please excuse what looks like strange white patches on the photos...they are only an illusion!

The necklaces were super easy and took all but about 5 minutes to complete.  Our girls have several activities available for them during their free time, crafts being just one of them.  So, this project allowed them to experience some of the other fun things at camp.

Design Your Own Pillowcases

Our last project was basically a free project...nice on the budget!  I had done this activity before with a smaller group of young women.  You can view the original post here.  The pillowcases were donated from a hotel chain.  Before camp, we cut off a portion of the pillowcases and then added back a band of bright fabric.  All of our fabric was donated so these cute pillowcases didn't cost a thing!

The only thing purchased for this project was a few boxes of crayons.  Add to the fact that crayons are super cheap this time of year and this project cost us just a couple of dollars!

All the girls needed to do was decorate their pillowcase however they wanted to.  Once complete, we used an iron to heat set the design.  The girls who have done this project before say the pillowcases wash up just fine.

And that's it!  Another successful year at Girl's Camp....looking forward to the next!

I like to link to these great parties!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

My Sewing Studio: Lighting

This small, white ceiling fan in my sewing studio has been there ever since the room was first built.  As you can see it had residue left on the blades from when the kids put glow-in-the-dark stars on it...plus a hefty layer of dust!  It was in need of an update.

I began by removing the blades and the globe and painting all the metal parts with oil rubbed bronze spray paint.  I didn't want to hassle with removing the base, so I covered the ceiling around the base and also put some drop cloths on the floor and surrounding items before painting.

I found a "new" globe at a thrift store for $1.50.  I liked the gold painted trim and thought it would fit in nicely with the gold accents in the studio.

I also trimmed out the edges of the blades with some gold paint.

Now the fan fits in better with the studio!

I got the idea for this next light from a flea market.  I found a cute hanging light for $40.00, but decided to pass on it.  I figured I could probably make something I liked for less money.  I spent $2.00 for an outdoor light that originally sat on top of a post.

I cleaned it up, removed the post cap and all lighting parts, masked off the glass, and got to painting.

I needed a chain for my new light.  I priced the chain at my local hardware store and wasn't thrilled with the price of $20.00, so I kept my eye out at the thrift stores.  Lucky me, my persistence paid off and I found a package with TWO chains for $3.75!  Now I have a chain already for the next time I do a hanging light!  I hung the chain over a tree branch and sprayed it also.

I already had a light cord left over from an old paper lantern.  It was exactly what I needed for my light.

Once I put it all together and turned it on, I wasn't happy with how bright it was, and how easy it was to see the lightbulb.  So, out to the shop I went to fix it.  I masked off the beveled part of each glass panel and then sprayed them with frosted spray paint.  I have found that electrician's tape works well for masking off curved areas since there is a stretch to it.  (I know the glass looks black in this picture, but I assure you, it was clear before I frosted it!)

 After spraying each of the glass panels, I put it back together and was much happier with the results.

The last light in my sewing studio is a swing arm lamp that I happened to find at a thrift store for $4.00. I didn't even have to paint it...it was the perfect color already!

Total cost for lighting in my sewing studio:

Paint for ceiling fan....already on hand
"New" globe....$1.50
Outdoor light fixture....$2.00
Light Kit....left over from an old paper lantern
Spray paint....already on hand
Swing arm lamp....$4.00

Total for three fixtures....$9.38

I like to link to these great parties!

Monday, July 7, 2014

My Sewing Studio: The Desk


I really felt lucky when I found this solid wood desk on Craigslist.  It was a corner desk, the perfect size, solid, and had a mid-century modern feel to it.  I really liked the curved shape flanking the drawers, and the funky legs.  At the time, this desk was being used in the office of some grimy industrial business and it was pretty forlorn.  I knew it was really crying out for someone to take it home and give it some tender loving care.  My suspicions were correct when I opened the top drawer and found the following label inside:

It was fate!  This desk had ties to the sewing world before, and now it was time to return to that world and become a valuable asset to my sewing studio.  No more grit and grime for this beauty!  The ad on craigslist had listed the price of $50 for the desk.  In my enthusiasm of finding the perfect desk, I was willing to pay the price, but my frugal side just had to ask the gentleman how much he wanted for it.  Well, he was anxious to get rid of it and said I could have for $25.  SCORE!  He, along with a fellow worker happily loaded it into my van and away I went.

I decided that I wanted both sides of the desk to be closer in height to each other.  I solved this by purchasing a couple of new legs from the local home improvement center, cutting them to size and reattaching them. I also drilled new holes a few inches higher than the original holes for the bolts that attached the two sections of the desk together.  

I thing I knew for sure was that I didn't want the laminate top to remain dark brown in color.  I had painted laminate before and knew exactly what to do.  I first primed the laminate with Zinsser water based primer.  Once dry, I top coated it with the same latex paint I used on the rest of the desk.


After everything had dried thoroughly, I laid some lace fabric over the top and lightly sprayed it with Heirloom White spray paint.  Some areas have a heavier coat of paint than others, but it just adds to the effect.  Years ago I did the same technique on a dresser and metal cart.

Once the spray paint dried, I coated it with a few layers of Water Based Polycrylic.  I like the clear satin sheen.  Years ago I painted the laminate-covered rails of our pool table with the same technique (minus the lace overlay, of course) and it hasn't chipped or scratched off at all.

All of the hardware is original and got a coat of oil rubbed bronze spray paint.

I found an adjustable silverware tray at a thrift store for $2 that fits perfectly in the center drawer.

Each side of the desk has extra tabletop space that pulls out, if needed.

The lower drawer is just the perfect size for a wastepaper basket.

I'm loving the convenience of sitting at a corner desk and switching effortlessly between my sewing machine and serger!

The total cost for a corner desk in my sewing studio:

Thrifted Desk.....$25.00
One Gallon of "Oops" Paint.....$15.00
Spray Paint.....already on hand
New Legs.....$7.00
Polycrylic.....already on hand

I like to link to these great parties!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

My Sewing Studio: Seating


For seating in my sewing studio I definitely wanted a swivel chair to make it easy to switch between my sewing machine and serger.  As luck would have it, I had an old office chair just waiting for a makeover.  I began by masking off the the black plastic wheels.  Everything else got a coat of Heirloom White spray paint.  

Originally, I had planned to paint the original fabric on the chair with fabric paint, followed by some sort of painted design.  But, I wasn't too happy with the early results and opted for reupholstering.  I had a sheet that was given to me that was going to work perfectly.  After searching the web for some ideas on the process,  I managed to recover the chair without taking the whole thing apart.

The back rest was super simple.  I began by cutting a piece of fabric large enough to cover the chair back, with a couple of inches all around to spare.  Next, I sprayed the original chair back fabric with spray adhesive.  I then centered the new fabric onto the old fabric and smoothed it into place.  Then with a real "high tech" tool, a.k.a a butter knife, I pushed the excess fabric into the space between the cushion and the hard plastic backing.  If some of the fabric was too long to push inside, I trimmed it off, then finished pushing it in place.  No staples required!  I have used the chair for several weeks now and it is staying perfectly secure.  The spray adhesive helped the new fabric conform to the curvature of the chair back.

For the seat cushion, I did remove it from the chair base.  It was just a matter of removing a few bolts.  I cut a piece of fabric large enough to cover the seat and wrap around to the underside.  Once again, I used spray adhesive and centered my new fabric over the old fabric, smoothing into place.  I did my best to line the stripes up with the stripes on the chair back.  I stretched and wrapped the excess fabric to the underside and stapled it into place, trimming away any excess fabric.  I then reattached the seat to the chair base.

I thought I was done at this point, but it just didn't look finished, so a pleated and piped skirt was added to the perimeter.  I attached it by placing it upside down, and stapling it into place along the edge of the seat.

Now it looked finished!

My sewing studio also needed some secondary seating for when I'm sitting at my cutting table.  I found a wooden stool at Goodwill for $4.99.  I painted it with the same Heirloom White spray paint and then slip covered it with the same fabric and pleating detail.  However, instead of piping, it was trimmed with some rick rack from my stash.

Total cost for seating in my sewing studio:

Office Chair....free
Gifted Sheet....free
Heirloom White Spray Paint....$4.00
Thrifted Stool....$4.99
Cording and Rick Rack...from my stash

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