Monday, January 16, 2012

Jean Shorts, Maxi Dress, and Plaid Skirt (+ links to tutorials!!)

I got a great deal done on my to-do table last week.  I have been organizing the entire house and I am finally made it to my final destination. My room, which is also the fabric storage area.  It's starting to get scary in there.  Part of the organization process means getting my projects and ideas off the table and out of my head and into my life.

I must be dreaming of summer, because everything I made isn't exactly winter wear, but I can couple each piece with tights and a sweater to wear throughout the winter.

First up:  Jean shorts.  I had two pairs of blue jean pants up on the chopping block.  They are too big for me now, but they are still nice jeans and I hate to just give up on them.  I cut one pair into cut off shorts, but I just don't feel right in "daisy duke" style cut offs any more, even if they are long.  I found this great tutorial via Pinterest from a really cute blog called Adventures in Dressmaking.  Click on her blog name to go directly to her blog and jean short tutorial.  It isn't as easy as you would think!  I didn't realize that you couldn't just roll the pant up and pin it.  Her technique was smart and not too much work.  I am sure I will be making more of these in the future.  I love how mine came out.  Here are my two pairs:  

Even though they are a couple sizes two big, they look cute with a belt and I have room for tights or leggings under them in the winter.  I'll be looking for some smaller jeans on my next thrift store hunt, me thinks :).

Next up: The Maxi Dress.   I also found this tutorial for a maxi dress via Pinterest from another cute blog called A Small Snippet.  Click on her blog name to go directly to her blog and tutorial.  I bought some plaid wool fabric to make a bag out of, but I fell in love with it and I had to use some for myself.  This was the perfect project.  All you need is an old ribbed tank top.  Some cool fabric - enough to wrap around your waist one and a quarter or one and a half times.  I preferred one and a quarter.  One and a half was too much bulk around the waist for me, but that is what she recommends in her tutorial.  You will also need some elastic thread.  This was the first time I have ever worked with elastic thread and it was really cool!  Here is how my maxi dress came out:

I couldn't put this on my model due to fit, so you're stuck with me :).  It has a little sash that covers around where the tank top and wool fabric meet.  I made mine into a belt instead of a tie on sash.  I used buttons, so I can take it in or out if necessary.  I can even wear the buttons in the front for a different look.  They are cool vintage fake gold buttons with lions heads on them ... "RoArrR!"  I was able to wear this today with a pair of navy blue sweater tights, my red Toms, and a dark blue denim jacket.  Winter to summer, sweet.  I have tons of these tank tops ... I can see making more of these when I come across cute fabrics!

When I originally sewed this dress together, before I fit it to my preference, the dress was much longer.  The piece I cut off the bottom could easily be turned into a skirt and I was eager to play around with the elastic thread some more.  Recently, I got sucked into a clearance sale on elastic at Joanns.  They had huge 4" bands of elastic for 50 cents a yard.  SOLD!  I bought it all.  I instantly thought of using that as a band because the piece of fabric I was turning into a skirt was a tad small/short, so I could really use the extra 3" in length to make this work.  Thus was born another, unexpected side project ...

Project from another project, the Plaid Skirt.  

I prepared the wool fabric the exact same way she did in her tutorial for the maxi dress, only this time, instead of pinning it to a tank top, I pinned it to the large elastic band.  Before pinning, I fit the elastic band to my waist.  I have another store bought skirt that has a band just like this, so I fit it to match the elastic on that skirt and sewed the ends together to form a circle.  Then carefully pin the skirt top (where it is gathered) in place on the inside of the elastic.  I sewed around with regular thread two times carefully making sure to catch all ruffles and wool all the way around.  I trimmed back the wool close to the seam very carefully.

It is still a little short, but wearable and I think it will wear well with tights or leggings and a sweater or shirt.  I love this fabric!  It's so soft and cozy.  I'm pretty happy I was able to squeeze two new outfits out of one!  Looks like this black sweater might come in handy.

I still have plenty of this fabric left over to make the bag I originally intended the fabric for.  And that bag will not be for me to keep, but one I will put up for sale.  I am trying out a new design, too.  I hope it comes out the way I picture it in my mind.  

First, I have to finish my bedroom and fabric storage overhaul and complete all the little projects that are adding to the clutter on my sewing desk.  So far, I have managed to get all of my fabric color coordinated and organized in bins and nicely stacked into my armoire.  I've almost finished doing the same to all of my scraps, but in plastic storage bags.  Then, I need to make better use of the bottom half of the armoire storage, drawer storage, desk storage, which is basically all of the buttons, zippers, beads, straps, velcro, metal accessories, cording, binding, ribbon, office supplies, patterns ... blah.  Slowly, but surely, I'm getting it done and loving the results!

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