Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday Fashions #13, FLOP!

TOTAL FLOP of a project today.  
I am rather bummed and totally ready to pack it up for now.  

Last night after I finished up some other projects, I was going through my fabric stacks and had absolutely no inspiration.  NONE.  I would pick up a piece and think about which one I had purchased the fabric for in the first place.  I didn't like anything.  Not my original ideas, not any new one either.  I was in a total creative funk.
Well today after lunch, I finally thought about this shirt.  I love this shirt, why not try to replicate it.  I like the raglan sleeves and the gathers in the bodice and sleeves.

I had this fabric.  A nice light weight knit.  I love the silver sparkles running through it.  
I didn't have a good t-shirt pattern with raglan sleeves.  Too many gathers in the original shirt for me to try and trace it.  And the closest fabric store is 25min drive away.   I just didn't have an hour+ to go shopping today.  So, I had to try and alter pattern already in my stash.
Bad idea.   I guess I have gotten a bit cocky lately, because all of my projects have worked lately.  So, I thought I would be able to make something work, no problem.  WRONG!  I had a tshirt pattern with an option for raglan sleeves that were off the shoulders.  So, I thought I could just add inches to the sleeves and necklines and I would be fine.   Well, what I ended up with was a shirt with a really wide boat neckline that was too tall in the back and sleeves, and surprisingly way too low in the front.  It bunched in all of the wrong places.  After pinning and fitting and resewing, repeat,  I thought I maybe had something that would work.  I then decided to add a ruffle to the neckline.  This action undid all of the good from my previous pinning, and I ended up with something just as hideous as ever.
The fit on this shirt is so bad I can't even take a pic of it on me, it is that awful.  I don't even know where to go from here with this shirt to fix it, and I am completely frustrated.   So, for today, I am puttingt away the sewing machine.  Maybe with some time I can get a little perspective and figure out what I can do.   For now, I am just wishing I had stuck to a basic shirt pattern that I know instead of wasting cute fabric on a flop.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Dining Room Table Runner

 This has been a project a LONG time coming.  I had an extra length of fabric from my curtains when we lived back in Wisconsin that I was always planning to use for a table runner.  Well, a couples moves and 4 years later, we are in a new house. I still love the fabric and I purchased it again for my curtains.  Only with this house, I used this fabric for all of the curtains on the main floor since I have such an open floor plan.
 But, I still had this perfect amount of fabric left over for a table runner.  I just never got around to sewing it up.  I have way too much ADD when it comes to sewing and crafting.  However, this spring I've got a little Finish Decorating Fever.  I want to finish adding all the little touches to my rooms so that my place looks cute and put-together instead of half-way done.   So yesterday afternoon, I whipped up this table runner.
This was actually a very quick and easy project.  I love how it ties in my mismatched colorful chairs and crackle-finish table.   This glamorous custom runner is the perfect juxtaposition to my very casual table and chairs. It just makes me smile!
 After I figured out my desired width, I folded and ironed the edge under. 
 Then I cut a piece of white muslin just smaller than the width of the runner, taking into account my seam allowances.  With right sides together, I sewed the 2 pieces together forming a tube.  Turn it right-side-out and press. 
 Now it looks like this.  Nicely lined with a great finished edge.  Then, I tucked the top and bottom edges under, pressed and sewed shut. 
 Next I took some tassel trim and sewed it to the edge using matching thread and the longest stitch on my sewing machine.  I stitched along the stripe where the brown meets the blue on each side.  I think you have to look really hard to find the stitching.  Perfect!
 Adding the trim made this runner look more formal and polished. I love it next to the shabby-chic crackles on my table.
 I just love this fabric!
 This is what I was using as a runner before.  Just a plain, tan cotton runner from Ikea.  Boring. 
It makes such a difference and adds a huge finishing touch to this area of my house to finally have a beautiful table runner.  

Monday, April 11, 2011

I've Found a Twin!

Imagine my delight when I saw this chair will thrifting last week for only $2.99!  I'm giddy with excitement!  Of course I had to snatch it up, even though there is a small hole in the caning because look at it next to my Vanilla Oasis chair.
 They have they same scale and same look.  At first glance, they even appear identical (or they will once I redo this one!)
 There are of course some differences.  The size of the caning is different.  I might try to redo the caning.  I've been researching it online, but I'm not sure if I'm up for that challenge yet.  If I do replace it, then I could just buy the same size that I have on Vanilla Oasis.   The backs of the chairs are slightly different too.

And the legs are different.  But the overall look of the chairs is identical.  
So, now I pose a few questions.  Should I try to make these chairs look as identical as possible, or should I change things up a little?  When I just had Vanilla Oasis, she was going to live in my living room area.  But, now that I have 2 similar chairs, I have a great place in my family room where they could both be placed near each other with a small table and lamp in between them. 
I could definitely paint the chairs the same color.  But  I am stumped when it comes to the upholstery.  I don't quite have enough left-over camel colored fabric from Vanilla Oasis to make a perfect cushion. And I bought the fabric a long time ago, so I can't just buy more.  I'm close to having enough, so I could maybe seam a couple of the scrap pieces together for the seat as well as the underside of the cushion.  The seams would be in places that would be hidden, so no one would know but me.  But still.  The perfectionist in me is having a hard time with that thought.  My other option is to use a coordinating fabric.  This would make the chairs look like fraternal twins or just sisters, instead of identical.  
I happen to already have this tan and blue striped fabric.  Notice that it does coordinate with the camel.  I also have some matching solid blue that I could use for the piping.  Then, I could make throw pillows for both chairs out of the camel, blue, and the tan and blue striped.  
So,  I really need your opinions. Should I somehow patch the leftover camel-colored fabric together to make the cushion and seat?  Or, should I use this other fabric for the upholstery?   Please help!
Does it make a difference to know that in the family room I have a shag rug with chocolate brown, blue and tan colors?  Or that the side table and the coffee table are going to be painted that light blue color?
Please, give me your opinions!  Thanks!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Friday Fashions #12, Knotted Paisley Tee

This week for Friday Fashions, I made this blue paisley shirt with a knot at the bust line. 

 It add a little interest to what could otherwise have been a very boring shirt.  I have had this fabric for ages, it was passed along to me from my mom (I think).  I haven't really known what I was going to do with it.  The paisley pattern is too busy for me to make an embellished tee, but I didn't just want to make a plain shirt either.  In my stack of patterns, I came across a tshirt pattern that had this knot variation on it, and I decided to give it a try.

 The front is made up of 2 of these pieces. With right sides together, sew along A.  Then on the right-side panel, sew the dotted lines together at B, leaving a small opening (C).  This will form a hole that you will pull the left-side panel through, creating a knot. D becomes the plunging V-neckline.
This is what the front looks like after that! 
 After that, I began working on the sleeves.  I love using a flat panel construction for sleeves when I am working with knits.  It makes them easier and faster.  This method doesn't work as well with more tailored pieces or stiff fabrics.  So for those, stick with the traditional set-in sleeves.  But, if you are going to work with knits, try the flat panel method next time.  You will love it.
 First, you sew the shoulders together. 
 Then, carefully pin the tops of the sleeves to the shoulders. Sew. 
 This is what the shirt now looks like. Wasn't that easy?
 Next, with right-sides together, sew the side seams of the shirt from the edges of the sleeves all the way to the bottom of the shirt.  
 Make sure that you carefully line up the seams along the sleeves and the shirt. 
That way, when its right side out, it looks like this, and the corners line up. 
When you are done, turn the shirt out.  You have now set in the sleeves and sewn the side seams!  This method is so fast!  You now just have to hem the sleeves and the bottom of the shirt, and you are completely finished with the shirt.  From cutting out the fabric to the sewing, this shirt only took me 1 1/2 hours from start to finish.  Not bad! 

I love this shirt and will probably wear it tonight on my date with Mr. Right.  I think that this shirt pattern could easily be lengthened to make a comfy, casual dress.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Project Restyle #2: Ugly Orange Chair Becomes Vanilla Oasis

Yeah!  I am finished with my Ugly Orange Chair redo.   Now, instead of the ugly orange chair, I am calling her The Vanilla Oasis.  Isn't she beautiful?  So simple and elegant.  
 Remember what she used to look like?

This is her new look.  Very light and very neutral.  I don't usually go with such a neutral color scheme, but since this project was so time intensive for me, I wanted a neutral chair that I could move from room to room  easily without having to take her apart and repaint every time.  So, when I move her around, I plan on just changing out the pillows. 

So, how did I refinish her?  
A. First I unscrewed the seat. 
B. Then I ripped off the black backing. 

 Once I was down to the wood, I lightly sanded the surface and then spraypainted it with Rust-oleum Heirloom White.  This is a very warm white.  I didn't want pure white because I thought that it would make it too stark. 
Next, I started on the upholstery.  I had two pieces to recover, the seat and the cushion that goes on top.  I started with the seat. 
 I had to pull out all the staples holding the old orange velvet. I used needle-nosed pliers along with a flathead screwdriver. 
Once I had the old fabric unfastened, 
 I took the velvet over to my camel-colored fabric and used it as a pattern.  I cut out the square I would need. 

Then, I began stapling it to the seat frame. Pull the fabric till it is taut.  Then put in a couple staples to the north, then the south, then the west, then the east, gradually working your way around the edge.  This way, the fabric will be pulled evenly and straightly on your seat.   Trim away the excess fabric once you are finished. 
 Next, I needed to make the piping to go around the edge.  
 I cut a thin strip of the camel fabric. 
 I inserted the cord into the middle of the strip and sewed it shut using my zipper foot. 
I now had a long piece that looked like this. 
 Now using my staple gun, I stapled it to the edge of the seat, going all the way around. 
 Flipped the seat right-side up and set in onto the chair.  Screwed it into place. 
Now I was finished with the seat and it was time to tackle the cushion!
 The first thing I did was undo the zipper and take out the cushion. 
Then I turned the cover inside out to study the construction.  From here on out, I just tried to made the cushion cover look exactly like the orange cover.  I took it apart and used the orange pieces as my pattern.   I knew the first thing I would have to make was the side piece with the piping, and the zipper.
 I sewed my zipper onto a strip 

 After the zipper was on a strip, I sewed another strip (A) to the zipper piece (B).  After that, I sewed the cord onto the sides (C).
Here is a view from the right side. 
After this, I cut out the top and bottom of the cushion cover, using the old pieces as the pattern.  I sewed them on to the side panel I just made.  
(I got a little frustrated at this stage and stopped taking pics in my frustration.  Sorry.  I didn't measure the length of the side panel correctly and I ended up having to pick things apart and add fabric to the panel and then re-sew it).  Finally I was finished.
Now, I will enjoy the look of my new chair. 


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