Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Me-Made May

As I've seen more and more people post their Me-Made May pledges over the last week or two I've thought, "That sounds like so much fun, I wish I had more me-made clothes to wear. Guess I'll have to wait until next year to participate, when I (hopefully) have a much larger me-made wardrobe." But the more of these posts I kept seeing, the more I started to realize that the pledge doesn't necessarily ONLY apply to clothing, right? How much me-made jewelry do I own that I never wear anymore? Seriously, I have two go-to pairs of earrings and two necklaces, depending whether or not I'm going to the gym after work. It's ridiculous that all that beauty and hard work is sitting in a drawer somewhere and not being used and appreciated. 

[The only one of these that I've worn with any regularity is the turquoise teardrop necklace. The others are due to bust out of purgatory!]

[I have not worn those shoes ONCE. I need to brush the dust off and bring them out. And I'm not really sure where that purse is now...]

That jewelry, plus the few me-made articles of clothing that I have, bring me SUCH a rush in wearing them and showing them off. I was so psyched with my flower culottes that last weekend, the first weekend I've been home and near my sewing machine since I finished them, I made THREE new garments, one of which I'm wearing today! And in spite of locking myself out of my house this morning, I've been so happy today because every time I look down at my outfit, I think about how much I love it. So without further ado, here is my pledge:  

I, Alicia from Project Stash Bust, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '14. I endeavor to wear at least one me-made item five days per week for the duration of May 2014 with a round-up of outfits/items each week.

Now, if I could just find a trusty photographer...

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Polo Shirt Refashion

After almost a year of sitting in my UFO pile, I am pleased to announce that this project is finally done!

[My mom, who graciously agreed to take some decent pictures for me, said that I looked like I was ready to go sailing in this outfit. I'd love to!]

I struggled with what buttons I wanted to use for this, and finally decided on some contrasting navy-ish ones.

As a reminder, this is what it looked like beforehand (bad lighting and all):

-a super large old shirt of my dad's with a hole in it (I'm not convinced that my mom didn't make that hole herself just so she wouldn't have to look at this shirt anymore...)

After a promising start, inspired by Merrick, this one languished for quite a while. First, I couldn't get the neckline to sit right. I finally fixed that and wore this to work (we have a very informal dress code) and noticed that it hit me at a very weird spot and I was constantly fussing with it. My solution?

Use some more of those buttons from the back, and some scrap fabric, to make these cute little whatcha-ma-call-its (seriously, what would you call that?). 

I'm not 100% in love with this shirt (1. I accidentally cut the boat neck too big and 2. I'm not sure it's really figure-flattering), but it does fill a hole in my wardrobe and feels very summer-appropriate. I do especially like the cute but easy feel with the navy shorts, and have been wanting to add some stripes to my wardrobe for a while, as they're very classically trendy (a perennial favorite of Tilly’s). And I stash- and UFO-busted like a champ, woohoo!

What's your favorite go-to summer look?

Tania culottes, FINALLY

I know I'm behind the times with these, both sewing-world-wise, and also in terms of how long it's taken me to photograph and post since I finished them, but without further ado, I present my Tania culottes!

[Not only was my facial expression really weird in most of these pictures, but there was a giant smudge right over my head. Oops.]

I don't think it's possible for words to express how absolutely in love with these I am. First, I fell in love with the pattern. Then, I fell in love with this fabric and broke my stash diet pledge (oops - in my defense, it was only $2/yard and I didn't have anything else with enough yardage to make these). Then, I fell in love with the finished shorts, and finally, with the whole outfit! Just seeing these pictures makes me unbelievably happy.

[This is a standard blogger pose, right? Looking down at my feet?]

The turnaround on these was really quick for me, all things considered. I started cutting into the fabric only a week after I bought it, and finished everything but the hem within 3 days. I left them to hang for a bit, as recommended, and then couldn't stand the thought of all that ironing and hemming (and the weather here was still only 40 degrees, so I was in no hurry). 

[Oddly enough, this photo of me adjusting everything is one of my favorites. What can I say? I'm a weirdo.]

I FINALLY hemmed everything up and realized that the hems didn't match and the skirt illusion was shattered. There was some more procrastinating involved knowing that I had to unpick and re-hem, but finally, gloriously, I was able to finish these!

[See? Shorts! Please forgive the white white legs.]

I don't know how many times I read that these are SHORT and should probably be lengthened for modesty, but what did I do in my eagerness to have them done? Cut the standard length, of course. 

After finishing these up, I was reading through my Marie Claire and what did I find? That watercolor-ish florals are all the rage right now! Who would have guessed? For once, I guess I'm on-trend.

Oh well. Live and learn, right? I've already bought the fabric for my next pair (I know, I know, but this time it was only $1.29/yard!), which WILL be longer. It's from the same fabric line, same weight, but black and white. I like this weight of fabric because it's cool enough for summer, but is not super floaty like the pattern recommends - this definitely saved me during some breezy days we've had lately (yes, I've worn them all three days of nice weather we had, before the temperature dropped again).

Wow, looking through these pictures again, it's AMAZING how big of a departure this outfit is from the browns and grays I've been wearing all winter (and am wearing again today because the weather still hasn't quite warmed back up). 

What do you guys think? What's your favorite pair of culottes?
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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Crafting ADD, it's got the best of me!

I know, I know, it's been far too long since I've posted. I have not been keeping up with my resolutions very well (on so many fronts, more on that in a minute). Maybe the length of this post will make up for my absence?

I do have 2 quickie projects that I've finished and need to post, but they're not overly exciting, which I guess is why I haven't yet gotten around to blogging about them.

I have, however, been working on about eight different projects that I am excited about (which just means that I have to wait that much longer to experience each of them in all of their glory, oops!):

1. The Aidez sweater, knit in this lovely red yarn that Emma Jayne swapped with me!

[One of the cables is backwards, but by the time I realized, I was too lazy to redo it.]

I feel like I'm a fairly proficient knitter, in that I can usually figure out complicated stitches and new patterns pretty easily. I've made gloves (fingerless and fingered) and plenty of little plushies, but have never ever made a sweater (probably because I usually don't buy enough yarn for one!). I considered going with something simpler for a first try, but a friend suggested that I might get too bored with stockinette stitch for the whole thing. I...think she was probably right. That being said, this IS a tricky pattern, and certainly not for the faint of heart! These are the instructions that are spread out in front of me whenever I'm working on it: 

I was chugging along on this faithfully for a while, until I got distracted by:

2. This pattern by Satsuma Street on Etsy. My mom used to do a lot of counted cross stitch when I was a kid, and I guess I just always saw it as an old lady, country-type craft. Until I saw a few of these patterns. So beautiful! I was due for a visit home to my parents and, among the many things I was excited for, one of the main ones was stealing my mom's cross stitching supplies so I could get started on this! Unfortunately, the original weekend I'd planned to go home was a bust because of the terrible weather, so I had to wait patiently (or not-so-patiently) for one. more. week.

[This picture was taken RIGHT after I realized I screwed something up. Oops, so much for the counting part of that "counted" cross stitch thing.]

Thankfully, this is coming together fairly quickly, and I'm loving it! I added quite a bit to my stash with the supplies for this project, but nothing was bought new, really just transferred from one stash to another. And I've modified the colors in this pattern a bit, working with what I have on hand rather than buying the just-right color that the pattern calls for. I already have plans for two more patterns, which are unfortunately much more complicated. We'll see how fast I get sick of it, ha.

3. While I unfortunately haven't cut into much of my yardage (honestly, because most of it is less than a yard and not garment-worthy), I have been cutting into my stash of Goodwill-bought clothes that I intended to refashion. (They used to do this promotion in my town where they'd let you stuff a paper bag full of anything with that week's color tag for $5. You'd be amazed how much could fit...I figure that most of the things I bought during these binges cost about $0.25 each.)

I tried to buy the biggest skirts I could find, so I'd have as much yardage as possible to work with, but I apparently wasn't too successful in all cases. A lot of things were way too small to ever be able to work as a garment for me, but I loved a lot of the patterns, so I started cutting out squares for a quilt inspired by this beauty. (Of course, it's a rainbow.)

[Okay, so I've got a ways to go for my rainbow,'s a work in progress.]

4. Pattern weights with the scraps of those scraps above.

[Is that super-efficient, or what?]

5. A pair of shorts, made from one of the Goodwill skirts that actually was big enough to do something with.

First attempt: the butt was way too big. Second attempt: oops, too small. I'm determined to finish these, even if they're probably not wearable, so I can get some practice fitting my Midwestern pancake butt. I have the perfect fabric in mind for them, because...

6. Oops, I haven't been doing so well with my stash diet resolutions. What can I say, I got the shopping bug, found out that my favorite fabric store was having one of their semi-annual sales (up to 90% off, you guys!), and had to stop by on my visit home (it's probably a good thing there's not one of these closer to where I live). I got one new sewing pattern (and conveniently, Gertie has started a sew-along for it!), 10.5 yards of fabric (4 yards of which of which only cost $0.50/yard!), and 3 sewing machine feet (at about 75% off, and I seriously needed them - well, at least the zipper foot). (I mean, I kinda really did "need" bigger yardages, right? The 0.5 yards was for the quilt, and the other 3 fabrics were 10 yards in total, intended for dresses or skirts.)

I was so excited about one of these fabrics, you guys have no idea, because I knew it would make adorable Tania culottes (a pattern I recently acquired through a swap with Jana). I bought the fabric last Friday and cut into it only 8 days later (that's such a record for me). Now, they're almost finished, save the hem. Here's a sneak peak (full post to come when they're finished!):

And the best news? There's definitely enough fabric left to make a pair of shorts (probably enough fabric for 2 pairs, except I know I'll screw one of them up, given my recent shorts history).

7. I finally finished the men's polo refashion I'd left sitting around for ages. All it needed was a seam around the collar, but I couldn't get it to lay right the first couple of times I tried, so I gave up for a while. When I went back to it, I really don't know what the issue was to begin with. However, after wearing it once, I realized it was too long (awkwardly so) and didn't really bunch up nicely along the waist. I found (what I consider to be) an elegant solution. Full post to come, but for now, here's another sneak peak:

8. I also tried working on another Goodwill refashion. I think this one went even worse than the shorts - there is absolutely no way to make this wearable. *sigh* Inspiration:

[Image from: Cotton and Curls]

My disaster:

[Please ignore the mess in the background, and the ridiculous faces.]

This goes straight into the scrap pile, there's just no saving it.

9. Much more knitting, looking for a companion to the rainbow zigzags I mentioned a while ago. Unfortunately, this was also a failure, and learn!

I also finally got around to altering some ill-fitting shirts.

So, I've definitely been busy, but sorry for the silence around here! I'll try to be better about posting in the future. :) (Hmm, and maybe actually finishing things I've started, oops.)