Say Hello to My Little Flats

IMG_3236I got these new tribal printed Roxy bad boys at TradeHome and I couldn’t be more pleased! Apparently, TradeHome is a store chain that doesn’t spread past the midwest, but if you live near one and you heart comfortable shoes, it’s worth a peek. You won’t find many bargain store prices there, but they make sure the comfort, quality, and style of the shoes they stock are well worth the price.

P.S. Who doesn’t love a little hidden splash of hot pink? These shoes officially contain my favorite insoles. Hmmm, favorite insoles. . .the thing I never knew I always needed!

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Just when you think it’s too warm for this get-up:

  . . . it’s not!

Sheesh…we’re just completely skipping Spring this year, huh? Winter, Winter, Spring for a day, Winter again, Winter some more, Summer. The bright side is that it’s supposed to be in the 60’s here at some point today, but that first dog walk in the morning still requires bundling up. The real bright side, fashion lovers, is being able to make use of this awesome winter coat with Spring colors.

Turn a T-Shirt into Leggings!

IMG_2622T-Shirt into leggings- Why not, right?

Upcycling T-shirts is all the rage these day. One needn’t wander any farther than Pinterest, Craftsy, or just a good, old-fashioned Google search to stumble upon oodles of ideas: tank tops, boy shorts, purses, rugs. You name it; crafters have probably thought of a way to make it using repurposed t-shirts.

When repurposing garments, I typically like to take them completely apart and use the fabric, not too much of the stitching. That way, it’s like making something from scratch, which I feel better about. That’s not to say I haven’t cut off ugly sleeves, shortened hems, and revamped old dresses and other articles of clothing. That can be really fun and definitely makes great before and after shots, but my preference is really to design from the ground up.

Upcycling is a great way to get your feet wet in the sewing world. Whether you’re brand new to sewing and just want to get in some practice or you’re an experienced seamstress and are just looking for economical projects, it’s a fantastic option. And as my followers know, you don’t even need a machine to get started sewing clothes. I used my serger for this project, which made it super fast, but if you don’t have a machine, aren’t comfortable sewing knits yet, or if you just love the artistic goodness of the hand-stitched look, whip out your needle and thread and read a couple of my tutorials and posts on hand sewing knits to get started!

Baby T-shirt Tutorial

Upcycled Tank Top

Little Girl’s Tank

Here’s what you’ll need for this project:

    A Pattern (If you don’t have one, use a pair of leggings as a guide to make one. Just add seam     allowance.)

    One or multiple T-shirts

    1/2 Inch elastic for the waistband

    Thread

    A sewing machine, serger, or hand sewing needle

    Scissors

Step 1: Prepare or make the pattern. I used a pair of yoga pants to make this pattern.
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Step 2: Cut out the fabric. I used a cool graphic tee and one with a contrasting color for the foldover waistband. Ideally, I would like these leggings to be a little longer since my daughters are so tall, but since this t-shirt is very soft and thin, I decided these would be for Spring/Summer wear anyway and they’d be fine as capris.

I kept the hem at the bottom for ease of sewing and because I don’t have a cover stitch machine that will do that type of hem yet. I like to avoid the zig-zag stitch for knits if I can. Another option for taller kids would be to use another t-shirt and extend the pattern. Just sew the extra piece to the bottom of the pant legs before sewing the pant. IMG_2623

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Step 3: Cut the elastic. You can measure the waist of the pants you made the pattern from, follow the pattern package directions, or measure your child’s waist. I prefer the third method. That way, you get a wonderful fit the first time around.

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Step 4: Sew the pants together. I don’t have step-by-step pics for the sewing portion, but if you’re a sewing newbie, feel free to ask questions in the comment section.

My favorite way to sew pants is to sew the inseam and outseam (this pattern only has one seam per leg, so I just folded each leg over and sewed that seam) and then turn one leg right side out and put it inside the leg that is right side in, so that the right sides of each leg are facing each other and sew the crotch seam, being careful to match the inseam up on both sides. (Click here for an easy tip on how to do that well.)

If there’s a waistband, sew it on with the elastic inside. If there’s no waistband, sew the elastic together at the ends and roll the top of the pants down over it to make a casing and sew, using a zig zag stitch or cover stitch.

   For an example of an elastic casing, click on the picture below.photo 10

Do not sew the waistband or crotch with a straight stitch, because the threads will break as soon as the pants stretch! I wouldn’t recommend sewing the vertical seams with a straight stitch, either. With knits, your stitches must allow for stretch, or your kid may be looking at a pretty embarrassing day at school.

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The Moral of the Story:

If you have more time than money, upcycling is a fabulous way to pursue a hobby and get in your sewing fix.

Also, make use of that zig-zag stitch, please! Friends don’t let friends rip their pants.

Open Back Spring Tank

 

 

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Between 2 hour delays and working on a separate project last week, this top didn’t come along as quickly as I had wanted it to. But it came nonetheless. It was like Christmas…it came without packages, boxes, or bags, and there was nothing that old Grinch of busy-ness could do to stop it! IMG_2814

Now, I won’t be wearing it without another shirt on under it- unless I had really, really high waisted pants on and it was like a hundred and thirty degrees outside and someone could guarantee me that I wouldn’t run into my dad, or anyone from my conservative family for that matter. I used to throw caution-and modesty-to the wind, much to my mother’s chagrin, but poor girl, she wasn’t as strong-willed as I am. I had an unshakable argument, too. She had been a hippie, a real flower child of the 60s. Like she never went braless! If I had known then what I know now that mother’s are right in ways we can’t imagine in our naive, rebellious youth! Oh well. Now I have my own children to wrangle, so the tables have turned. I’ve already told them they’ll never be more stubborn than mommy, though, so I refuse to back down on the important issues. (That’s my sometimess-too-gentle-and-peaceable mother in the background picture. She was beautiful! Man, if I could take back the misery I caused her, I would. Well, sae la vie, I suppose.)IMG_2816

Back to the shirt. I may not wear it without something under it, but sheer is hot right now! Would I send it down a runway like that or put it in a photoshoot? Heck yes! I may be a fairly modest midwesterner, but I am, after all, an Yves Saint Laurent Girl at heart. . . Mastermind behind the iconic women’s tuxedo and sheer secretary blouses of the 70s- worn, of course, sans bras.

Also, Lets take a moment of reverence for these new palazzo pants. No, I didn’t make them, but I was just as excited to buy them for $11.99 at Sears last week! I will be wearing them with everything! And, yes, they do have pockets. Thank you for rejoicing with me over that fact. I know you did. Because nobody doesn’t love pockets!

IMG_2819I didn’t want the bra strap to show, but I”ll be wearing a cami under it, so it works for me!

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IMG_2821-0That criss-cross back turned out really well. Let me just say that it was no fun sewing the straps into the back neck binding, but we’ll leave that little saga for another post.

IMG_2827This post is for you, Mom, the one who told me to follow my dreams and believed I would be a writer since my second grade teacher told you so. I didn’t want to be for quite a while-perhaps just to be obstinate-but I’m writing now. . .and I love it. I wish I had listened to you sooner, but thank you for never really backing down, even when I ran all over you. You had your way in the end. I love and miss you!

 

The Moral of the Story?

Always remember to be grateful for pockets! It’s not until you buy a pair of pants, bring them home, and then realize the front pockets aren’t real that you truly appreciate them the way they deserve.

And listen to your mothers! Unless maybe they were hippies. In that case, go ahead and have a little fun with them. I think they enjoy the banter.

Whatcha Workin On Wednesday

IMG_2806 I must admit that I love the style of the teensy, squared short sleeve. I’ve doted on this style on pinterest, but honestly didn’t think about the construction until I began sewing the binding onto this tank and put the half-finished project on the dress form. Maybe next time.

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The original design- quickly sketched, not that I’m too amazing at drawing when I spend a lot of time on it. I have the pattern made for the skirt and the fabric cut out, but I haven’t begun sewing.

IMG_2799That’s my to-do list pinned to the dress form. If I leave it anywhere else, I forget about it and get off track.

IMG_2790I got a little bored and played with the scraps and I love these dainty little flowers. I have enough for several hair clips for my daughters to lose.

IMG_2807Turns out, they would be pretty cool around the neck of a really rad dress, or just as a neck piece. Boredom really does inspire a lot of my designs.

I’m excited about this criss-cross back! It’s fairly open, while still being able to hide a bra. I love fashion and fads, but not at the expense of my bras!

Crop Top Set

IMG_2683Here it is, after much ado and many posts about my new obsession with matching sets.IMG_2684

IMG_2679This top was really fun to make and I love how the back turned out. My kids love how “slippery” it is inside. They’re always able to find the really great things in life.

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IMG_2590Things I learned during this project: Make the next skirt with a teensy bit more ease-especially if there’s no back vent, and for crop tops, cut them longer than you think you’ll need. Even with all the measuring before making the pattern, I didn’t really consider moving around in it. Let’s just say I won’t be raising my arms very high in this top.

Stacy London’s Back, Baby!!!!

IMG_2653This is what my face looks like every day now! I’m just ecstatic about Stacy London’s return to television! I know I’m not alone, America. Who’s with me?

IMG_2641If only she were peeking around the wall of my closet, waiting to tear me down only to build me back up from scratch with perfectly tuned style!!! It hurts so good!

IMG_2702She actually uses volunteers for this show…no more hijacking unsuspecting frumpy moms like What Not To Wear! (The last time I saw Clinton Kelly, he was cooking on a morning show. Break my heart, Clinton!!)

IMG_2705The volunteers are women who dress so outrageously they often can’t make it in the professional workforce and come to Stacy for style help. The girl above, who had coined herself “Alien Baby,” turned out to be really gorgeous under all that black makeup.

IMG_2707Alien Baby’s After.

So Pretty, Right?

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My absolute favorite part of the new show? The theme song montage! Stacy actually dresses up using several of the genres she so vehemently opposes…and totally rocks them, I must say. Oh, how I love her sweet, biting satire!

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I just don’t think life gets any better than this:

IMG_2655Angsty Hipster Stacy!

IMG_2666Gothic Stacy!

IMG_2665Jersey-Tastic Stacy!

IMG_2692J-Lo Post-P Diddy Phase Stacy?

IMG_2698Teeny Bopper/Rockabilly Stacy!

IMG_2656Those nails!

IMG_2657Ah, Stacy London’s IFFY face. This is what pops into my mind every time I put on those jeans I’ve held onto since high school. I just know she’d burn them! They don’t even have any stretch in them-denim with spandex apparently hadn’t been invented yet. But I’ll keep them around, in hopes that one day she’ll catch wind of it and show up on my doorstep, elbows locked with Clinton, and make all my masochistic styling dreams come true! BRING IT ON, STACY!