Monday, July 30, 2012

Twiddling Thumbs Gets Nothing Done

This week has been a time of resting up a little.  The DH has been on a mini-vacation since Wednesday, and both of us needed R&R.  We have been so busy taking care of things that have to be done that just staying home and having a movie marathon sounded good to both of us.  Unlike our past "stay-cations" in which we did a little bit of local traveling and sight seeing, we thought it would be easier on both of us if we did not try to take my mother out every day.  Now 97, and deeper into Alzheimer's Disease, we never know what to expect from her health-wise or in terms of attitude.   Also, I just don't feel like pushing a wheel chair even 5 feet in the 100* heat we are having.

So, you should know by now that I do not just sit twiddling my thumbs.  I have been busy working on the chair swing, patching the other pocket of The Jacket, and sewing up a tunic which is up-cycled from an old tank top, matching shorts, and similar color knit capris.  I have had these three items for years, but have not worn them in forever because they "got little."  I could have worn them, but I hate seeing a of any age woman stuffed into her clothing.  As far as I am concerned, it is seriously deeming to her dignity and speaks volumes on her self worth.  Clothing should add grace, mystery and beauty, and there ain't no way that defining every bulge and cellulite dimple does that.

Because the tunic took too much thinking as I designed it, I didn't take photos of the stages it went through, but it is easy enough to describe the process.  The first thing I did was to remove a label that was sewn to the front of the tank top.  I am not at all big on wearing someones labels on my clothing.  I knew I would slip up with this and made a few tiny holes in the knit.  Yes, this could be a disaster, but there is a great product called Fray Check that will stop unraveling in T-short knits.  I used to use it often on my son's T's because they always got holes where they were tucked into their pants at the front waistline.Then, I picked out a stitched on logo from the shorts.  No holes this time!  Next, I cut the waistband from the shorts, and cut the two front and two back pieces apart along the seam-lines.  I was careful to preserve the pockets.  The waistband is a folded ribbing with a drawstring, and I decided to use it along the waistline seam when joining the "skirt."  I actually cut it in half the long way, and extended it by sewing the two halves together, and then cutting it to fit the hem of the top.

For the skirt portion, I cut the shorts pieces straight down from the center front and back seam-lines, removing the crotch areas.  The legs of the capris were cut into elongated diamonds and sewn in at center front and back as well as the side seams.  I only needed to hem the diamonds as the shorts already had the hems.  After sewing the waistline together, all that was left was to thread the drawstring through, and then patch some pieces onto the holes on the front of the top.

I have already worn this over black capri length leggings and tank top, but plan to wear it under my Aruba sweater when weather gets colder, with either tan leggins or pants.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

THE Jacket Again

Well, when you just keep wearing a garment, it does wear out.  This is one I keep resurrecting every spring now.  This time it was a blown out pocket that required patching.  Here you see the hole next to the last repair that resulted in a lace applique.  A little tricky because it was the bottom of the pocket and I wanted it to be solid enough to push my hands into another 20 years.  So, I am going to take y'all through the steps I used.

Other than my sewing machine, iron, and the hole, here is what I needed for the repair...
  • iron-on woven interfacing
  • an old left-over flower applique with Stitch Witchery fusible web already applied
  • not shown: non-stick ironing sheet (keeps the glue away from the iron!)

1.  I cut the woven interfacing to fit the inside bottom of the pocket, all the way to the lace flower applique, which overlapped the pocket edge.

  2.  I cut the stitching along the bottom and side edge of the pocket so that I could insert the interfacing properly.  Then, I ironed the pocket (from the right side, following directions for fusing interfacing) to fuse the interfacing to the back side of the pocket.  Once cooled, placed the flower applique where I wanted it to be and pressed just the pocket (not the garment front) to fuse it to the pocket flap.  I lifted the pocket flap to sew on the flower applique.  This did require care so as not to be sewing through both the flap and the jacket front behind the flap.  Remember that it was already sewn down previously.  I did not want to  shorten or close off the pocket any further.  Luckily, I was able to sew it all in as planned.  The lines for the zig-zag design were drawn on to the flower piece with a white pencil.  I sewed some of them through both layers of fabric where the two appliques overlapped.  The flap was lifted away for the rest of the flower patch.

3.  Once that was done, I wanted to make sure that the interfacing would not separate from the fabric, even through years of pocket pushing and washings.  I assured this by stitching back and forth across the area where the interfacing backed the pocket.  All that was left after this was to replace the pocket in position and sew it on along the original pocket line.

Now my well-worn and loved jacket can keep on for another season, and hopefully years to come.  Every time I wear this jacket I am reminded of my beautiful granddaughter, who is now a grown woman.  In this jacket, she lives on as the tiny tot who was so enchanting and stole my heart.

For the story about this garment, read this blog:  THE Jacket story

Friday, July 6, 2012

Studio Re-Do #3

OK, so I have had many things going on and the studio is advancing at a snail's pace.  However, I managed a quick fix in very short time this morning that I want to share with you.  I have seen several photos on Pinterest that show off some clever use of homemade chalkboard paint.  Some are chalkboard walls, old silver trays, and some are just painted boards in a  frame.  I chose the latter for my project.  I had a nice gilded frame sitting around waiting for a picture to beautify, but no board to fit.  Taking myself off to the craft store, I found that the canvas boards were sold in packs and would cost me far more than necessary.  So, I grabbed up a white foam board for this project.  Now is where I get experimental.

All the Pins I was used un-sanded grout mixed with regular latex paint.  I had checked with the local Lowe's, and saw that a small bag of grout was about $13.  Not bad, but all the recipe called for was about a teaspoon of grout, and that just seemed ridiculous to me.  So, after a friend suggested that joint compound would probably work too, I mentioned I only had the already been mixed kind.  "No matter" said my friend, and I am glad I listened.  I had this big tub, and some deeply purple paint to play with.  I mixed about 1/2 cup paint with a generous amount of joint compound (perhaps 3 Tablespoons, I did not measure), and spread it on lightly with a small trim roller (though just about any way of application would do).  I smoothed it out afterwards with a very light brushing over the surface.  It dried very quickly, without much warping of the foam board.  I gave it another coat after an hour or so. 

 This is the result...