22 April 2010

I Need More... Sewing for Handsome Him [Ampersand T-shirt]

My crafts tend to lean on the cutesy/girlie/feminine-side.  But I've been wanting to make something for my darling husband (and prove to myself that I am actually hip enough and edgy enough to make something that he would actually wear).  Ta da!

T-shirt (Old Navy $6, on sale.  $8.50, retail)
Print out of your design (or you can freehand it if you think you're just that good)
Freezer paper
Contrast fabric (the size of your design, mine was about 8.5x11-inches)
Sewing machine

1. Print your design as large as you'd like it to appear on your garment.  I used an ampersand, font = Arial, as large as I could fit onto an 8.5x11-inch sheet of paper.

2. Trace (or draw) your design onto the dull side of a sheet of freezer paper and cut out.

3. Place your design, shiny side to right side of fabric, and iron for a few seconds or until the freezer paper has gently adhered to your garment.  (Isn't freezer paper magically delicious?)

4. Underneath your design, on the wrong side of the garment, place your contrasting fabric.  Layers: freezer paper design, then garment, then contrast fabric (right side up).  Stop and think before you make a seam ripper mistake here: the printed side of your contrast fabric is going to show through the design once the garment is cut away.  So place your fabric accordingly!  (Above photo is the t-shirt flipped up so you can see the underbelly.)

5. Stitch around the freezer paper design, but not ON the freezer paper.  I went around twice just for security and I liked the look of several stitches.  Pull off the freezer paper.  Then - very carefully - snip away the t-shirt where the freezer paper once sat.  This will expose your contrast fabric.  Do not snip all the way to the thread line.  Keep some t-shirt fabric "seam allowance" so that all your hard work won't start to unravel!

6.  On the inside of the garment, snip away the excess fabric outside of the design to eliminate bulk.

7.  And there you have it!  Something cool enough for even my fashion-foward husband to wear.  

I Need More... Color on my Porch [Burlap Wreath]

I stumbled across a darling burlap wreath tutorial at Tater Tots and Jello.  My front porch was in dire need of a new wreath (the current one screamed fall harvest and here we are well into April).

Styrofoam wreath shape (I used a 12-inch because it was on sale.  I wish I'd gone a bit larger.)
Burlap (about 1 yard)
Scrap fabric
Upholstery tacks (24 for $1.49 at JoAnn's)
Hot glue gun & glue sticks

I glued sections of burlap on the wreath rather than wrapping it as the tutorial instructed.  I found it a bit easier to manage.  And I used a popsicle stick to press the burlap down to the styrofoam.  Remember: burlap is loosely woven and that hit glue comes right on through to your precious little fingertips.  Ouch!  Oh, and have I mentioned how very itchy burlap is?  Double ouch!

Front of wreath, burlap complete.

I then began the messy task of cutting random-sized circles of fabric and burlap.  I spread them all out and started stacking so that very few were exactly alike.  I probably made about three dozen of these "flowers".  With a very small dot of glue between the layers, I secured them together and...

jabbed an upholstery tack into the middle of each "flower".  From there, I globbed more glue on the back surrounding the tack and placed it into the wreath, holding it until the glue set slightly.

I wrapped a ribbon around the top of the wreath and hung it.  I know it will get dusty and gross someday.  But for today, it makes me happy.  (And a little bit itchy when I think about it too much.)

I Need More... Ruffles [Ruffles, ruffles, and more ruffles!]

Let's face it - ruffles are hot.  J Crew and just about every other company right now have ruffles everywhere in their catalog.  And ruffles are about the easiest thing in the world to emulate as a seamstress.  (Hurray for one project that didn't melt my brain!)  For example...  J Crew currently has their Perfect-fit Cascade Tee selling for $29.50.  My version totaled about $10.

2 t-shirts (same color), Nordstrom Rack about $5 ea
Coordinating thread
Rotary cutter, guide & mat

1. Wash and iron your t-shirts.  Washing first helps keep shrinkage under control and ironing will help give you a more manageable canvas on which to work.

2. Spread one t-shirt flat on a rotary mat and, on the bias, cut strips 2.5-inches wide.  Cut the whole shirt.  You might not use all the strips, but you might.  Better safe than sorry.  I used leftover strips to embellish a dance leotard tuxedo-style for my daughter.

3. Cut the end of each strip so that it creates a nice square end.

4. Overlap the ends of two strips and sew with a 0.25-inch seam allowance.  (Backstitch if you're worried about the stitches coming loose.)  Continue with about three or four strips and stop.  Repeat.  This should leave you with a couple of sewn strips.  (The ruffle on the shirt s NOT one complete strip, but three.)  This will leave the seam allowances exposed.  Ruffle shirts are not an exercise in hiding seams, but in embracing elements like fraying, wrinkles, etc.

5. Run a 0.25-inch basting stitch along one side of each sewn strip and gently gather.

6. Stare at the J Crew photo and then begin pinning.  The beauty of ruffles is that there is no right or wrong design really.  Start at the shoulder and work down, making sure to hide the basting stitch of the layer below slightly.

7.  Once pinned, top-stitch over basting stitch.  I opted to look a little less like a pirate and ironed my ruffles flat.  Did the trick.

8.  Try it on and wear it out!  And, for heaven's sake, don't tell anyone you made it.  Let them think you bought it at J Crew!  The first time I wore my shirt I got stopped at least FIVE times in an hour asking where I got it.  Ah.  The perfect craft for the egoist.  [Insert evil laugh here.]

11 April 2010

I Need More... Bold Jewelry [Ruffle Necklace]

While blog-surfing the other day, I was totally inspired by this tutorial by Creature Comforts.  It quite literally made me salivate!  Here is my version.  And I have a growing pile of fabrics and findings to make more.  I'm thinking torn silks and fabric flowers, pearls and vintage buttons...  You have got to try this necklace!