Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Sewing, fashion, and what I was up to a month ago

This post has been a long time in coming.

a) I've been telling y'all for ages that I'd update you on sewing projects, and,
b) I started this post several nights ago. ...and I almost never take three sittings to write a post.

But here I am, at last. I'm sharing two projects with you; both were completed at least a month ago, and both of them are my favorite "genre" of sewing; alterations.

Project #1 - Striped Shirt
Don't you love thrift stores? I went through my closet the other day, and counted the number of things I've bought or had given to me that were brand spanking new - I think the number was 8-10 items. Everything else is either hand-me-downs, freebies, or (most numerous!) from thrift stores. I love it!

Of course, when you do so much shopping at second-hand places, you have to be careful that you don't lower your standards too much. It's tempting to buy a shirt that you would have loved when it was new...even though it definitely shows signs of wear now. Unless you need paint clothes, or have a ton of extra money to get rid of, try to stick to items that feel and look like they've got miles of wear left in them, and then treat them as if you paid full price for them. Quality counts more than quantity when it comes to clothes, folks.

All that being said, I've picked up many items from Good Will that weren't in "wearing condition." I promised myself I'd hem them, lengthen them, take the seams in, ....whatever it was that was needed. Most of those projects never made it to my closet.

So I've learned that when planning a "Good Will" project, as I term them, I need to stick to these basic guidelines:

1) Item must have good bones. (Fabric feels new, plenty of ease to play around with, etc.)
2) The needed alteration must be a day-long project or less. (No week-long jobs!)
3) If it doesn't meet these two rules, DON'T BUY IT!

Sticking to those rules makes things SO much simpler. Saves me a lot of money, too. And things actually get done this way! Take my first project, for instance.

Here is the shirt as I bought it. ($3.50)
I loved the colors, stripes, 3/4-length sleeves, and yoke.
It fit me well, but the neckline was a little too low.
Not good when I bent over. :)
What to do? I was so sad - such a nice shirt!
Did I have to put it back, just for a measly 1.5"?
I picked up some stiff, wide, black ribbon from WalMart ($2, I think)
I had plenty left over when this project was done.

And here's what I did:
The wide ribbon added just the perfect amount of height to the neckline.
It took FOREVER to iron it into pleats, but it sewed on zippy-fast.
The flower was the inspiration of a moment, and took only a few minutes to make.
It's safety-pinned on, rather than sewn, and I've worn it in my hair with other outfits.
Love it!

What'cha think? I love it when I can make clothes work, that at first I thought were unwearable.

That's how I also feel about my second project:

Project #2 - Ruffle Plaid Vest

I'm going to confess it; I'm interested in fashion. Not obsessed, I hope, but interested; enough to know that plaids and ruffles are both "in" right now. That's fine with me, because I like plaid, and ruffles are very feminine.

Sometimes, however, lovely plaid fabric just doesn't look appealing, because of what it's made into.

This jumper, for instance, didn't match me:
(The picture was taken after I'd already cut it in half.)
It was in a bag of hand-me-down clothes, from a friend, so it was free.
I liked many things about it.
The color. The buttons. The Princess-seam style.
I didn't like the skirt part. Too narrow.
Didn't fit me. Wasn't "me" anyway.
The top part reminded me of a vest.
I hate vests.
...Don't I?

I have no idea where the inspiration came from.
Probably browsing clothes on the web.
But I hate vests.
...Don't I?

I thought I did.
But I like this!

There was enough fabric in the skirt to create the ruffles, with generous scraps - and several buttons - leftover. I never would have called this outfit "me," but once it was on, I liked it a very much!

This las tpicture was taken right before bedintme and as hyour ca =n see by this ytpeing (which I am, not, byt the way, doign on purpose), I it is rather late, and I really ought to go do to bed. Honestly , this paragraph was tpyed without any backspacking to fix erroesrs, and is an example of how thankful I am for backspace buttons wh on nights when I am to o tired to type straight.

Whew! Aren't you glad all my blog posts aren't like that? :) :) :) The above paragraph was written the night I was trying to load all these pictures.

Now you know why it took three sittings to write this post.


Melanie said...

WOW! AMBER!!! You are so absolutely creative!!! What you did with that vest is amazing! And the ribbon too, what a neat idea!
I'm gonna go to you from now on when I need ideas on how to alter things! You are so creative. :-D

Amber said...

Thanks, Melanie. :) You are more than welcomed to ask for ideas, since I LOVE trying to come up with new garments from old ones, but from what I know of you, you're quite creative, yourself! :)

Angie said...

Hey, do I recognize that picture in the background?

Your projects look great!

Amber said...

Hi, Miss Angie!
Yes, that's your picture in the background! :) See how it's right above my bed? It always reminds me to pray for you. :)

Sarah G. said...

Very well done updates! Love 'em. :)

ConstitutionGirl said...

Amber Sue, I know I am late in reading this post, but I had to comment on your wonderful creativity! I remember seeing you wear that shirt at church a few weeks ago, and I loved it. Now, that vest is adorable. It's inspiring to see how you were inspired! :) I can't wait to see you again in a couple weeks! ~Sarabeth