Friday, May 28, 2010

Shirr Madness

It’s the shabby chic shirred madness summer top!
Once I started shirring, I couldn’t stop.  It’s just so easy and turns out so stinkin’ cute! 
Here’s how I made a cute summer top for my daughter out of a shirt I had in my closet:
(Don’t be alarmed at the difference in colors of the shirts.  I did not dye anything.  I just worked on this a little bit at a time, and photos were taken at different times of day, when the lighting in my craft room was either great or nonexistent.)
Cut the top of the shirt off, right below the armscye (that’s a fancy schmancy word for arm hole.)
Set the top piece aside, as we will be working with the bottom so that we can use the existing hem.  I’m all about little shortcuts.
If you have a serger, serge away at the edge that you just cut.  If you don’t have a serger, you can fold the edge over and run a zigzag stitch around the entire length.
Now get your machine ready for shirring.  There are some great tutorials out there such as this.  You can also check out my other shirred project.
I did 12 rows of shirring and then my favorite part: blasting it with a steamy iron and watching the elastic crunch up tight.  Don’t worry - it will stretch nicely back into shape.
Now get the top portion of the shirt and cut off those armscyes.
Now we’re going to make the strap for the shirt.  I cut two strips that were each 2 inches wide.
So, now you have four strips of fabric (two from the front, two from the back of the shirt.)  Sew the right sides together to create one long strip.
Take the long strip of fabric, fold it in half longways and right sides together and sew.
Finish off one end of the strip and leave the other open so that you can turn it right side out.
You can use a dow rod or a safety pin to scoot the fabric around to turn the tube right side out.
I decided that I wanted my strap to be thinner, so I folded it in half and sewed again.  You can skip this step if you are happy with the width of your strap.107_4546 Next find the center of your strap and create a loop that looks like an awareness ribbon.

Find the center of the front of the shirt and stitch it in to place.  I did this by hand because I didn’t want to change the thread in my sewing machine (lazy) but you could easily run a few forward and back stitches over this by machine.107_4548 I decided that I wanted something shabby and chic for the front of the shirt so I made a fabric flower using the very few pieces that were left of the original shirt.
I cut out a variety of squares in all sizes.  I didn’t measure or cut straight lines – I just winged it!
107_4549   Fold each square into a triangle and then fold again to get the start of a flower form. 107_4550
Stitch the point at the bottom with a needle and thread.

Place each piece onto the shirt, one by one, and stitch.  I was very random and haphazard about where I placed them.  I wasn’t looking for a pattern or specific flow…
I also did nothing to prevent fraying.  With washing, the flower should begin to fray, creating more of a shabby look.
I continued placing pieces until I ran out of fabric and was happy with the flower.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Apple Of My Eye

When Hannah was 6 months old, we were sent to a pediatric ophthalmology specialist.  During a routine well child exam, our pediatrician noticed that something was a little “off” with her left eye. 

Following the first appointment with Dr. Cowboy (that’s not really his name, it’s just that he always wears cowboy boots and a bolo tie) she was diagnosed with a  rare eye movement disorder.  Fortunately, Dr. Cowboy didn’t feel that surgery was needed at that time.  However, we would not know if this disorder would effect her vision until Hannah was old enough to tell us by way of a vision exam, around 2 1/2 years of age. 

Yesterday was that appointment.  After 2 years of regular appointments, eye drops, exams, poking and prodding,  Dr. Cowboy confirmed what we already knew:  Hannah is fearfully and wonderfully made!  While she will have this eye movement disorder her entire life,  we are dealing with the best case scenario in every aspect. 

After the appointment was over, we hung out on the 4th floor lobby of Children’s Hospital before heading to the car.  Hannah looked out the window and said, “That’s the big city!”  This is funny only if you are familiar with our hometown.  Not a big city.  By any means. 


Here she is looking at her “big city.”


Because of the drops used in her eyes, she got to wear these totally cool sunglasses home.  They reminded me a little of these.  I may or may not have owned a similar pair in the late 80’s. 


This is one of my favorite pictures of my little Twinks, taken last October.  What a reminder that God can take what we may perceive to be a weakness and make it something beautiful.

Happy Wednesday!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Tutorial: Anthropologie Inspired Necklace

I’ve been noticing all kinds of fabric flower beaded necklaces lately and I just love them!  So, using these as my inspiration:
anntaylor  express

I made this:

I found the beaded necklace at an antique shop for a couple of dollars.  I started out by cutting peanut shapes out of tulle.  I did not make a pattern, I just started cutting.  I didn’t care if they were messy or uneven.  It just adds to the charm. 
107_4505I cut out about 15 shapes and stacked them like so:
107_4506Then I sewed them all together in the center.  It’s difficult to see, but there is a stitch in the center.107_4507 Next, I selected some scraps of white fabric that I had left over from another project that (I am totally excited about!) and will be sharing soon.  I did the same steps to make the flower petals.  I didn’t do anything to prevent fraying, hoping that the more I wear this necklace, the more shabby chic it will become.
107_4508 107_4509 I stacked the fabric pieces on top of the tulle and folded the entire piece in half.  I stitched them together, then folded in half the opposite way and stitched again to give it more of a flower shaped form.
107_4512I added a few tiny beads to the center for some extra sparkle and attached the flower to the necklace.107_4511

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Help Wanted

Seeking creative, talented individual to help me in my studio. 
Must have an up-to-date portfolio.


Must not be afraid to get hands (or face) dirty.


Ideal candidate will be a skilled seamstress.


And be willing to model the merchandise.

orange dressdamask dress4

Job requires long hours at a desk. Pants optional.


Apply within.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Monica Closet

I’ve got a secret.  A deep, dark secret that I can’t believe I am going to share.
Remember the episode of Friends where the total Type A, neat freak Monica is outed for her messy closet?
Monicas closet
My name is Tina and I have a Monica closet.
This is the closet in our guest bedroom. 
Home to stuff that doesn’t have a home. 
A walk-in closet that you can’t walk in.
Anyone who knows me in real life would gasp to know that I have a space in my home that is so unorderly and cluttered.
We have visitors coming this weekend who will be staying in our guest bedroom.  So, what does a girl do when under pressure to clean out her Monica closet before guests arrive? 
She takes pictures and posts them on the internet, that’s what.  
It’s time to get this closet under control before someone mistakes me for a hoarder and notifies TLC.
Now this is the closet in our guest bedroom.
Everything has a home.
A walk-in closet that can actually be walked in.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Tutorial: The Shirred Dress

A few weeks ago, I did a guest post over at A Little Knick Knack.  Meg was such a gracious hostess to me and my little project:
Let’s get shirring!
Let me start by saying that I purchased three spools of elastic thread last summer and they have sat unused since.  I have no idea why, but I was so intimidated by it!  I found this tutorial and with warm weather approaching in Ohio, I knew it was time to get to work.
I started out by taking my daughter’s chest and length measurements and cut my fabric, adding about 5 inches to the width.  I sewed one seam down the side.  Following the steps in the tutorial, I began sewing rows of elastic, creating the shirred effect.  For the first row, I drew a straight line with chalk for a guide.  For each additional row, I followed the previous one.
Here’s the outside of the dress.
And the inside.
I continued sewing until I had completed 12 rows.  I followed the instructions on the tutorial to tie off each row of elastic.
Next I cut 4 strips of coordinating fabric 2.5x12 inches.  You can make these much wider if you want thicker straps for your dress.  Rotary cutters are great for this type of thing.  I just bought my first one this year and I heart it.  I can’t believe I ever sewed without it!
I folded and pressed about 1/4 inch on each side, folded in half and pressed again.  
I then sewed down the left side of each, creating four straps.
Next, I attached the straps to the dress. 

Now comes the fun part!  l cut a piece of the coordinating fabric 3.5x26 inches (the chest measurement plus 6 inches) and sewed a  1/4 inch hem down one side.  (For more pouf in your bottom ruffle, simply make this piece longer.) Then I sewed a nice wide basting stitch down the opposite side and gathered the entire thing into a ruffle.  You could also use your ruffler presser foot to create the ruffle. 

Then I sewed the two end pieces, right sides together, to make one large circle of ruffle.
The next step is not difficult, just tricky to show in a picture.  Taking the right side of ruffle, I lined up the basting stitch along the right side of the bottom of the dress and pinned it in place.  You may have to adjust the gathering in your ruffle to make it even all the way around the dress.
Then I sewed it in place, making sure to stay to the left of the basting stitch, so that it didn’t show when I turned the ruffle out.
Super cute and really easy!
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