Mar 31, 2013

All Zipped Up!

A while back I picked up this maternity jumper at a thrift shop for a couple of bucks.  Now, let me just say that this grandma is no way in need of maternity clothes!  The only babies I am waiting for now are more grandbabies (hint, hint to my married kids!)  But, I did like the black and white fabric and knew I could take in the sides.  

The first thing I did was to cut off the ties.  At first I thought I would add an invisible zipper to the side seam so I could still get the dress on and off.  But, it was late at night and no invisible zipper on hand.  I did, however have a long, black separating zipper in my stash.  So, plan exposed zipper down the back.  To allow for this, I made one cut all the way up the center of the back.  I then serged the edges.  

Next, I just laid the zipper on top of the serged edges and topstitched in place, folding and stitching the top of the zipper to the inside.  The zipper wasn't long enough to reach the bottom of the hem, but this just allowed for a vent in the back...nice how things have a way of working out!  I just turned under the edges of the vent and topstitched in place.

The jumper next went onto my dress form to pin to size.  Then it was just a matter of stitching up the new side seams, making sure to match up the lines of the fabric.

I didn't care much for the look at the bottom of the zipper so I added a small placket with two decorative buttons.  All in all, pretty simple!

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Mar 18, 2013

The "Tattooed" Denim Jacket

I may not have the urge to tattoo my body, but I did get the urge to tattoo a jacket!  I love the intricate design of some of the henna tattoos and thought they would would look great as embellishments on a denim jacket.  I started with this white denim jacket that I picked up at a thrift store for a few dollars.  Originally, it had eyelet lace trim around the collar, pockets, and cuffs.  I didn't care much for it, so I cut it away! 

I then spent some time...quite a bit of time...drawing designs on the jacket with an ultra fine point sharpie marker.

After I was satisfied with the designs, I used Elmer's washable clear glue and filled in some of the design elements.  I filled an empty paint tube with glue so that I could have a smaller opening and more control over the gluing process.  I let the glue dry thoroughly.  The dried glue works almost like magic in the next step, which is dyeing the jacket. 

I used Rit Denim Blue liquid dye.  I was going for an ombre look, so I started at the bottom of the jacket and worked my way up to get the desired ombre effect.  As you can see in the picture below, I made a makeshift rack to hang my jacket from.  Every 5 minutes I lowered the jacket to the next level, into the dye.  When I got to the level of the inked design, I placed the whole jacket in the dye for a couple of minutes, then placed it in the sink to rinse. 

 The dried glue resists most of the dye, leaving the treated areas lighter.  The glue is washable and disappears in the wash.

 Whenever you dye something, you never know exactly how it will turn out.  With this project, the thread remained white.  I really like the effect, though, since it ties in so nicely with the white in the inked designs!


This technique was a bit time consuming, but I'm really happy with the results. 
A few tips:

•Make sure you use Elmer's washable clear glue and let it dry completely.
•I didn't get my jacket wet before dyeing (which is usually recommended for a more consistent result), I didn't want to risk washing away the dried glue and, therefore, ruining the effect.
•Be sure you use a permanent ink marker.  

Update:  Louise in SW Saskatchewan had this useful information to add to the process:
"The thread stayed white because it was probably polyester or a polycotton blend instead of 100% cotton. I am a professional hand dyer and have found out about this.  If you use Elmer's blue School Gel you can get finer lines as it holds it's shape better than the Clear Gel which tends to spread more. I use the Blue Gel for a particular technique and we tried the clear gel to compare and discovered its spreading tendencies."

I was aware of the reason why the thread didn't take the dye, but the advantage of the blue glue was news to me!!

Good luck!

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Sugar Bee Crafts
The Busy Bee's
Threading My Way
A Girl and A Glue Gun

Also featured in Fall 2013 Altered Couture magazine!

Mar 10, 2013

Polo, anyone?

This latest refashion began life as an 4XL tall men's polo shirt.  I was drawn to the color, stripes, $2 price tag, and most importantly...amount of fabric to work with!  I cut off the collar and sleeves, then placed it on my dress form backwards.  I didn't want it to necessarily look like a reformed polo shirt, so I placed the button placket in the back.  I switched out the buttons for two black ones found in my stash.

I pinned the sides to the right width and trimmed away the excess.  There was so much fabric left from the sides that, after cutting apart the original side seam stitching,  I was able to make four strips with vertical stripes (two for the front and two for the back.)  Before sewing up the side seams, I made two horizontal cuts along the bottom of the shirt front and back (one at about 5" from the bottom hem, and another at about 8").  I retained the original hem of the shirt for my new dress.  I then inset my vertical-striped strips, along with some black knit piping in the front and back of the dress.   Next, I cut a long strip of black knit and inset it into the side seams.  This served two purposes, one to give the dress more interest, and two, I didn't have to be so precise when matching the front and back stripes and piping!  I finished it off with some black ribbing around the neck and arms. 

After it was finished, I felt the armholes were bigger than I wanted, so a made a little pleat at the top of each sleeve and hand stitched it into place.

It was a windy day for taking pictures, but check out the great leather coat I snagged for $2.00 at a local thrift shop!

Because of the stretch knit, this dress is super comfortable!  At $2.00, it was also very affordable!  I think my favorite part, though, is that the two vertical striped insets disguises the fact that I was trying to lengthen a t-shirt into a dress.  It feels like it was designed that way!

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