Saturday, 27 February 2010

My very first sewing project

I know the exact date when I finally finished sewing something that could actually be worn by someone: May 25th, 2008. I know because I took a photo of the dress and here it is (still missing buttons, though):


The picture was taken at my workplace (hence the really boring desk with papers and a stapler), since I just had to show my (uninterested) colleagues what I had  made :DYou see, I work with a lot of engineers and they do not seem to care about sewing, or dresses, even. Go figure!
The fabric is from Amy Butler and the design is copied from one of Emma's old store-bought dresses. I had a hard time making the pockets and the end result is not something I was trying to make, but it works anyway. And I learned a lot making it :)

Here is the finished dress, which was unfortunately never worn. Emma had too many dresses at the time and all of a sudden, the dress was too small. I don't like growth spurts!

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Best find ever!

Last summer I went to a country auction with my mother and even though there really was nothing that I was looking for, I made a great find. I made an offer on a huge box of old linens and won it very cheaply and went happily home with my purchase. When I started going through the contents of the box I was very diappointed at first, since there was only one colourful bedsheet in the box and a few white linen sheets (handmade though!) and the rest of the box was filled with doilies. Hundreds of doilies in pretty pastel colours! At first I didn't know what to do with them, but I began to get excited. They were so cute and even though they smelled of cheap perfume, I realized that I could not have found anything better. And after washing them, the awful smell vanished!

Here are some pictures of my lovely doilies. I was trying to coordinate the colours to make a few blankets or sorts, that is why they are spread on our garden table!



Aren't they just lovely! I still haven't used them for anything, they are almost too precious to be used at all. Some longer table runners (not pictured) I dyed black and am now using in their original purpose on our dining room table, but others are still waiting for a suitable project.
Oh, I did use the pink ones once! Emma had her fourth birthday and I decided to use the doilies as table decoration. The whole theme was princesses and pink, she is very into all that girly stuff nowadays!


Here is the birthday girl, opening yet another gift and having her own private moment under the table :)

If only I had the courage to use the doilies, they are so lovely...

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Something blue

Last summer I found this gorgeous blue linen from a local fabric store and just had to buy it. I had no idea what to make of it, but it seemed a bit too blue for Emma and anyway I had lots so I could make something bigger, something for me! Scary thought, I had never really sewn anything for myself and thought it much more demanding than sewing for kids. Children don't have curves that complicate sewing. I have curves, lots of curves! Also in all the wrong places, so the plain thought of making a garment that actually fits and lookes nice was a bit intimidating. Finally I decided on an Amy Butler Lotus tunic and cami pattern and that's what I made. A dress. Yikes.

Picture from Amy Butler.

The pattern was quite easy to follow but I had a hard time choosing the right size. I am not that familiar with the U.S sizes and inches terrify me - they don't make any sense! I like my familiar meters and centimeters much more, no thinking of yardages and quarter of an inches for me... Anyway, it was not that bad, but I still managed to choose a size that was too big for me. Good thing that I had a lot of fabric!

I was very happy with the end result although it was still a bit big and I had to take it in in all the seams. I only noticed it from this photo, though. It was so comfy but admittedly, looked a lot better after changes, especially around the waist and stomach area! I am so sorry that I don't have a picture of the finished dress. It so happened, that the dress was my favourite and I used it the whole summer. I was planning to take another picture but never seemed to have time and then it started to look a little worn. Too bad, but I think I might have to make another one for next summer, the dress was so nice. This time I would like to use Amy Butler's fabrics, they are lovely!

Emma wanted to join me in this picture, so here she is with her favourite horsie.

I look so awkward in these pictures, but I was just hoping that my husband would take the photo fast, since we were already late from a summer party and Emma was not even dressed yet. We suck at managing time! But I still wish it was summer again... This winter is so freezing!

Speaking of blue clothes and Amy Butler, Emma is wearing a tunic I made from a piece of Wall Flower fabric from her Lotus collection. Here is a better picture of the tunic.

I think I used the same pattern as for the shirt dresses, but I am not sure anymore. I must be getting old, since my memory is failing me!

Monday, 22 February 2010

Stroller makeover

I think one of the most appreciated toys Emma has ever gotten are her doll's strollers. When she was younger, she used to sit in them herself or ask one of her friends to sit while she pushed them forward. Now they are mostly used for carrying dolls or teddy bears and they are used a lot. The strollers were really cheap but surprisingly durable, but time came when the fabric seat started falling apart. Something had to be done to save them.


I used the old seat as pattern for the new one, picked up a pretty fabric scrap from my stash (Emma has curtains of this fabric in her room) and got to work. I did not have any nice elastic or ribbon, so I decided to reuse the ones from the old seat. Here is the end result:


No surprises here - Emma hated the end result initially. Ariel was missing! After a while, she didn't mind anymore and now she does'nt even remember that there used to be a Disney princess there. That's great, since I like them much better now :)

Sunday, 21 February 2010

A failure

Since I am still learning, I make a lot of mistakes. I need the seam ripper quite often, since my stiches are not straight and my sewing machine doesn't always do what I ask from her. I like to use patterns rather than make my own, but sometimes I try to recreate something storebought. This time I wanted to make a hat.

Emma had a very nice hat that unfortunately did not fit colour-wise to any of her outerwear. I decided to make a similar one with fabrics that matched Emma's overalls. I used old pair of pink fleece pants to the exterior and old pyjama pants for the lining. The buttons are spare buttons from my shirts. 


Emma loved it. There was only one problem: the hat was too small! Here you can see the problem a bit better and note that the hat has been tucked as low as possible on her head and it doesn't stay there. It goes UP. Sigh. You can't always succeed, I know.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Shhh, don't tell anyone ; )

Take a pair of lacey knickers and cut them to pieces, add a few scraps of fabric, sew on some old buttons, and attach a pin back - you now have a great conversation piece! Yes, I know, nobody wants to know they are admiring your old underwear when they stare at your lovely brooch, but as long as the end result pleases you, you do not have to tell what materials you used :)

Oh, and for the record, that piece of underwear was never actually used - they were too small when I bought them but I just could not through them away...

Friday, 19 February 2010

My dad's shirt

My mother was throwing away some really old and worn out clothes and I noticed my dad's favourite shirt in the pile. I quickly snatched it away, since it brought back some really nice memories. I guess he has always had it. It was bought in the seventies and worn throughout the eighties, even though my mother hate it and thought it very old fashioned. My father didn't care, it was his and not hers.

When after so many decades I got my hands on the shirt, the fabric was almost too worn out, but I loved it and the memories and just had to create something from it. The sleeves had small holes in them, since my father had used the shirt when welding. There was also tiny specs of white paint in several places, probably even in several shades from different painting projects. Nevertheless, the shirt still looked OK, since the pattern is quite restless and covered most of the paint and holes, if you do not look too closely (and I wasn't going to!). I decided to transform it to a shirt for Emma. The shirt was very narrow, so I had to plan my work very carefully. Here is the original shirt, looking a bit neglected:


I removed the pocket, but the colours were much brighter at the spot where I had removed the pocket, so I had to come up with some solution to cover the different shades of fabric. I decided to make a brooch from some odd bits of eyelet lace,  an old coat button and some satin ribbon from a gift packaging and attach that to the shirt. It worked! To make the shirt a bit prettier, I added lace to the collar and sew the pocket to the side. The pocket is also covering some paint specs.  As an after thought, I decided to add some lace to the pocket as well, but was too lazy to detach the pocket and just sew the lace by hand to the pocket edge. I am not going to show any close ups of that, that's for sure :)



My dad loves the end result :)

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Shirt dresses

My love for repurposing started when I stumbled upon a Flickr group, you MADE it, which is full of lovely crafts by followers of the MADE blog. What an inspiration pool! A new world opened up to me and I dusted my old, very basic sewing machine and got to work.
Since I like clothes and love shopping, I have loads of clothes that I do not use or that do not fit me anymore (or have never fitted - so sad...). The material was available and it did not matter whether my creations actually were usable or not, since the materials were free. Now I am actually in a bit of a trouble, since I have difficulties throwing ANYTHING away, since I see potential in every piece of clothing.

Here is something I made last summer to my four-year-old daughter Emma using instructions on MADE, a shirt dress.


The summer was very warm here in Finland and the shirt dress was used a lot. It actually became one of my favourites and I really would have liked a similar one!
Since the original shirt was so boring, I just added some ruffles to the front. It seems that at least in this picture the ruffles are not evenly placed, but I think I corrected that already back then :)

After succesfully following Dana's really clear instructions, I wanted to make another one. I used my mother-in-law's shirt to create this:

I used a hair band as a belt and you can just barely see it in the picture. Even though it is almost impossible to see it, the fabric has some sparkly paillettes (Is that the correct word?)  sequins sewn into it, so my daughter liked this one more than the blue dress with ruffles :)

Oh, one more thing. I just couldn't resist posting another photo of my daughter in that white shirt dress. Isn't she lovely? My sweet girl...

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Big words - or not really...

Wow. My own blog. I have tried blogging once before but since I did not feel I really had anything to share, I deleted the whole blog after a few months. Considering I had only written a few posts, I don't think my non-existing followers were very sad. But that was way back when blogging was very new. Now I feel like I should keep track of my crafting ideas somewhere and this blog tries to do just that.

No promises, though, I am not sure which way my ramblings turn. I might end up blogging only about designer bags (my other passion) and that does not really fit in with my recycling and reusing type of crafts. I also love decorating our home and cooking, so those might also start taking space away from crafts. Maybe it is best not to think beforehand how this blog might evolve, that way it will accurately present me, just the way I am :)

Oh, by the way, this is me:

I figured that since this is a very festive moment, starting a blog and all, a party picture would be appropriate.

I wish that my blog can be just as inspirational as the blogs I follow. It might take some time to make this as creative and nice, but at least I am having lots of fun trying!  :)



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