Saturday, July 21, 2012

Fabric scraps, unwanted garments, UFO's .......... it's all yardage in my book

I can be stubborn when it comes to 'making it work' and I usually come up with a solution, otherwise it just has to go back into the stash (remember Butterick 5672? Not in the stash! Crumpled up in a heap in a corner of the sewing room as a threat to all the following dresses-to-be).

I rarely throw fabric away - including garments I no longer wear. I DO keep them for  experiments and others reasons that will probably come to light at some time in the future. And you know what? Sometimes, I actually end up finding this useful.

When I'm starting a new project with minimal 'left overs' (very common - I often seem to be finagling a knee length dress out of half a metre of 90cm wide fabric, or something nearly as ludicrous), I don't have room for stuff ups so to test that my machine/s will actually deal with the fabric, I go through the scraps and find a similar fabric to practise on.

Then there's also the linings and bindings of things. When I made the Vogue 8555 hibiscus dress, it needed just a small amount of fabric to line the bodice, a check in my 'accents' fabric box came up with a 25cm piece of plisse (I soon found out that that was not the best fabric for lining but c'est la vie).

I made a sun visor out of an old top, made a money belt with part of my sister's old top, lined a bag, made pin cushion covers and lined pockets in the Palin bag from the left overs of a robe I made a boyfriend years ago.

If, in the rare event that I am making a muslin, I'm not going to go and lay down dollars for a throw away - I'll cut some old garment/sheet/whatever up to use.

Any clothes I no longer want are regarded as yardage that can be cut up for other things as far as I'm concerned.

And that's another reason why my stash might seem a bit big to some people - not all of it is 'real' yardage.

Am I the only one that does this? C'mon, I can't be the only one.

And just because, here are some pics I took in the Galapagos when I was snorkelling with this little guy - he couldn't have cared less about me but I thought it was super cool to be snorkelling with him.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Static cling remedies

The last dress I posted suffered from static cling of monumental proportions - and that would be why it's only been worn twice. A bit of googling came up with some remedies that may or may not be useful.

Not useful for that dress:
  • choose a natural fibre (too late she cried)
  • don't put it in the drier (I don't even have one, so I've done that)
  • shake it when it comes out of the drier (see above)
What might be useful:
  • adding vinegar or borax to the wash/rinse cycle (I have my doubts this'll work on that particular garment)
  • the metal hanger trick (is this something I'd have to redo whilst wearing it every so often? If so, it's hardly convenient.) 
  • helpful hint from ReadyThreadSew ->  "wash with a bit more fabric conditioner than you might usually use" (In my case that would mean actually buying some because I've never used it but if all else fails I'll give it a go.)
  • rub a dryer sheet over it (not having a dryer, I'm not familiar with these but it's more convenient than carrying a metal hanger around with me)
What I will try first:
  • wearing a slip (remains to be seen whether I'd then have two layers of cling)
  • rubbing body lotion on over your tights (this is the first one I'll be trying because part of me is wondering if the tights are a major player here) UPDATE: THIS WORKS REALLY WELL!
The thing with that dress is that the static cling doesn't build up over the course of wearing it - it's there as soon as the dress goes on! Maybe we could see about hooking it up to some electrical appliances to save on the electricity bill?

I'll update with my findings because, you know, I'm highly scientific.

For more info on these remedies:
End Static Cling Six Ways
How do you deal with static cling?

And, just because it's my blog and I'll post whatever pics grab my fancy:

Actually - this is a bit sewing related. This tunic top was not the best look on me - straight from bust to hips, nothing in the way of waist definition. It's a lovely fine cotton, great for hot, hot weather but a belt in 45 degree plus is just one more layer so the waist got shirred.   See the paisley?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Size 22 Dress Refashion and PAISLEY

Tigerboy and I went back to my home town for Easter. Going back there is something that I avoid at all costs - I couldn't wait to leave and didn't ever plan to return, so going back is only done under extreme duress. In this case, that duress was the stress tigerboy was putting me through over his angst regarding where to go to "get out of the city" because he seems to think it's mandatory if we've got a long weekend. In the end I was so over it I suggested going home to stay with Mum for a few days - I really didn't think he'd go for it - that seed sprouted into a Californian redwood within about 3 seconds and there was no way I could stop that speeding train short of fatal injury which although I did consider it for a bit (his of course), even I thought would be over reacting and possibly messy - I hate housework!

It pains me to admit it but we actually had a good time, not the least of which was due to me going through Mum's stash (which is approaching pitiful thanks to my pilfering campaign) and I even scored from her wardrobe.

As I was reclining on Mum's bed lamenting the fact that she hadn't had a 'thing' for silk over the years, I spied some dark paisley fabric peeking out from between her clothes. This was weird because Mum and I have very different tastes, she favours pastels (primarily mint and baby blue) whereas I like the darker colours, she likes pretty little florals, I like bold prints, solids and my holy grail is paisley. As far as I'm concerned, paisley is like garlic, there can never be too much and honestly? I'd wear paisley in any colour, just because it's paisley.

I've had this love of paisley since the 80's (probably the 70's but I was too young to realise it then) and it's something that Mum has never understood. Some time in late high school I was going through her stash (it's been a long, sustained campaign) and found two pieces of corduroy, paisley fabric, a green and an orange - I was in love. Mum was horrified that anything that ugly had ever made it into her stash and after I'd convinced her that I wasn't joking and really did like it, she said I could use it. Back then, it was really hard to get Mum to let me use any of her fabric because she was still in the (30 year) phase where she thought that at some point she would start sewing like there was no tomorrow, so her eventual capitulation really demonstrated her loathing of those pieces of fabric.

I made some slim fitting capri pants from the green paisley and I remember that they were my favourite pants for years. Of course Mum was not only stunned that I'd made something wearable from it but also slightly horrified that I wore it out in public - a lot! Whenever she saw those pants she'd try to tell me that they "had seen their day" and should be tossed - I wasn't buying it. In the end I think they got ripped and she refused to mend them for me. I wonder what happened to the orange piece? I don't remember ever making anything from it.

Back to the point of the story (yes, there is one), as soon as I spied that paisley in Mum's wardrobe, I was off the bed like a rocket to check it out.
"Why is this in here?"
"Oh, that, I don't know why I bought it."
"You bought it? It's got paisley!"
"I think I thought I'd wear it in winter but it doesn't fit right and it's really just not me."
"No, it's not - it's me!"
There was nothing to do at this point except to throw it on over what I was wearing.
"Do you think you can do something with it? You can have it if you want."
And so, I ended up with some more paisley but as you can see, it was a bit on the big side and a lot on the "why don't you check out my cleavage and bra" side (I've actually got it pinned closed in this pic).

There are a few rows of shirring just under the bodice. It's actually bigger than you can see here but I needed one hand for the camera.

I thought a quick zip up the sides with the overlocker and another quick zip to secure the front neckline would do the job but it turned out to be slightly more challenging.

I did at least realise that the shirring should be secured before I used the overlocker so that when the overlocker cut the elastic thread it didn't all shrink back and not get caught in the seam.

After some confusion, I realised that those squares on the skirt weren't centred at the back of the dress - bummer. There was also something strange going on under the arms that meant lots of finessing rather than just zipping up with the overlocker before it looked decent.You can see that the hem doesn't follow the border of the squares either - I at least fixed that in the final version

Anyway, here's the finished product which although is fine enough for day-to-day, seems to have a major static cling problem - you can see it around the hem where it's sticking to my legs. I wore it as a jumper with a black turtleneck one day but I wasn't sure about that look. Oddly, although it seems as though this was an empire line, the shirred waist is now somewhere between that and above my natural waist which feels a bit odd. I also thought it would be shorter the whole time I was making it - must have been an optical illusion when it was wider.

I took about 10 photos and had a choice between head cut off or feet cut off - something needs to be done about my photography!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Quick and dirty moneybelt

Yesterday I put tigerboy on a plane (with his Palin bag) to take him to the opposite side of the world. (It was actually a planned trip, not a banishment.) The day before that there was much searching for one of the four moneybelts that we have but rarely use. I found one with several safety pins holding it together and a strap from another one .......... fabulous.
"Do you want me to quickly make you one?"
"Do you think you can? Will it have a zip?" (At this point I'm thinking "Oh no, don't tell me this is going to turn into a Palin bag saga.)
"I'll give it a bash." (I disappeared quicker than a glass of wine after a day of work at that point - I was not sticking around for his endless list of improvements.)

I went through a bag of clothes my sister had given me years ago and pulled out a white knit top, pulled out the bag of white zippers my Mum had reclaimed from various garments and other sewn things ever since Jesus was a baby (seriously, there are some with my baby sister's name written on them along with her primary school - she's nearly 40!) and I winged it, totally, completely, winged it, zero forethought, zero measuring.

Ok, there was some forethought - I decided to use a cotton knit so that it was soft and not as sweaty as some moneybelts (like some we've owned). There was a long skinny strip of knit left from my hacking, at the last minute I decided to make it the beginning of the strap.

So, here it is. NB: This is a very quick and dirty project - one look at the stitching (not to mention that antique zipper pull) is enough to support that claim - but really, I'm not going to agonise over making a money belt look good.

  • I cut the back out of the shirt to give me a big rectangle
  • folded the rectangle in half, attached each end to the zipper (the hem of the shirt is actually attached to the top of the zipper)
  • opened the zip a bit, turned it inside out
  • inserted the straps inside
  • sewed up the sides
  • turned it right side out again
  • then I sewed up the front of the money belt from the bottom to just under the zip so that it has two compartment - one that holds notes and one that's smaller (credit cards, notes folded in half etc.)
  • I used a piece of elastic between the two knit strips
  • for fastening I used those flat hooks you get in pants - I wanted something nice and flat (I also hate that most money belts leave you with a mile of extra strap hanging around)
  • I put two bars in for the hook because I don't trust the cheap shoddy elastic not to stretch out - this was a quick and dirty prototype remember?
Tigerboy's take on it? "Oh, it's so comfy! I don't even know that I'm wearing it. Oh, honey, that's not good - I wouldn't realise if it fell off!"
"You can't have everything baby."