Monday, October 28, 2013

Of Tulle and Gypsies

So, I mentioned in my last post that I was going to make something with red tulle for our Reformation celebration. My church celebrates Reformation Day - the day Martin Luther nailed his 95 thesis to the church door in Wittenburg - with a meal, a short presentation about the Reformation, and a dance. For these Reformation dances, a lot of us like to dress up in costume: Renaissance, Victorian, Southern bell. I wasn't planning on doing anything really fancy this year. I just wanted to take this outfit:

and make it into a gypsy costume. I made an underskirt for the long black skirt...

...then attached four gathered rows of red tulle.

The only step that remained was to pull the skirt up (on the side or in the front - I hadn't quite decided yet) so that the red tulle was visible underneath. When I pulled the skirt up on the side, I found it was wide enough that it hung almost closed, leaving a barely noticeable sliver of red. So, I tried pulling it up across the front:

This seemed to work, but when I put the skirt on, it just didn't lay right. The fabric was too thick to drape nicely. A wardrobe flop! And now I had less than half an hour to figure out what in the world to wear! (Sewing rule 101: NEVER decide to sew something the day you need it!) In the end, I settled on the original, unaltered outfit pictured at the beginning of this post, with a few accessories.

I tied some netting around my neck like a scarf, and put a rhinestone earring in the center for some added bling. I also tied a bit of netting around my wrist in a bow, then flared out the loops to make it look more like a flower. I added the black scarf over my curls for a finishing touch. I was pleased with the final result, but I still want to make that gypsy costume sometime!

Needless to say, I learned a few things from this experience! But that's what mistakes are for, isn't it?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Happy Fall!

I know it's been a little while since I have posted anything. Sometimes life gets so busy I can't keep up with it! I just wanted to pop in and say happy fall! Autumn came so suddenly this year it took me by surprise. By now we are well into the season of brightly colored trees and nut-gathering squirrels, apple pies and pumpkins, boots and scarves, frosted grass and foggy breath.    

Mums are blooming and leaves are falling, and I am pulling out my sweaters. When the weather gets cold, I get the urge to curl up on the couch under a blanket and do nothing. Unfortunately my life won't allow that right now, but as soon as I get a chance...

As you can see, I had fun outside today taking pictures. Fall and spring are my two favorite times for photographing nature. There is just so much color and variety! Isn't it amazing that God causes the earth to die so splendidly?

I hope you are having a wonderful fall, and that the cooler weather isn't keeping you from enjoying these gorgeous days. I am beginning a sewing project that involves a Reformation celebration and red tulle, so stay tuned for that! I can't wait to show it to you!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

A Day's Work

I went home for an extended fall break weekend last week, and in all the rush of packing I forgot to bring the thread. I grabbed a few spools - the colors I thought I would need - but I really should have just brought all of them. So Friday found me lying on the couch in the basement in exasperation, wondering how I was going to constructively use my time if I couldn't sew.

I began searching around for a project I could work on, and found a bag of old cloth napkins and place mats in my closet that were just waiting to be refashioned. The best thing was, the dominant color in the napkins was white, and white was one of the few colors of thread I had!

I wanted to make a quick, easy baby dress, and after some searching, I found this pattern on married to a bmw. It was the perfect afternoon sewing job.

The napkins had a nice, finished edge, and after I cut out the pattern pieces, I cut this edge off the scraps. I could sew it onto any raw edges of the dress so that they would match the hem.

There were also some coordinating place mats that went with the napkins. I cut a rose out of one, thinking I could use it for an applique on the dress.

The neck and sleeves had raw edges... I sewed the edging I had cut off the napkin scraps to those raw edges just under the blue rim.

I then zig-zag stitched the edge, folded it in, and ironed it down.

I sewed elastic thread into the sleeves and neck, and the result was a cute peasant dress.

I zig-zaged thickly around the edge of the rose circle, and added lace. I tried pinning it to a few different places on the dress, but I didn't like it, so I decided to make a barrette out of it.

I am going to be putting up several things on my Etsy shop soon, including this dress, so be watching for that!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Sometimes I Don't Sew

While I do make a lot of my clothes, I certainly don't make all of them. Some things I wouldn't want to take the time to make, like long, tired skirts made with sheer material, and some things I don't know if I have the expertise to create, like jean jackets. I guess for me there will always be certain articles of clothing that are better bought than made. This brown hoodie definitely fits in that category.

When I go clothes shopping, I rarely go to the mall. I am rather thrifty, I must admit, so I have trouble spending $30 for a shirt or $50 for a pair of boots. I have discovered, however, that I can find really nice clothing at second hand stores, so when I am looking for something, that is the first place I go. I don't really shop for brand names, but if you do, these stores have plenty of options. My sister, who likes getting brand name clothing, has found very expensive items with the tags still on them for very reduced prices. You can also find beautiful, unique things that you won't be able to find in retail stores, like this purple top.

Sometimes I find things that I wouldn't have even thought of making, but that I really like. The outfit pictured below, including the shoes, came from various second hand stores. I love the style and color of the shirt, but I don't know that I would have come up with that particular design on my own, and I certainly wouldn't have wanted to tackle that skirt!

It's always a good thing to save money, and when you can save money and get fun stuff, that's even better! I know, it's fun to go to the mall and buy new clothes. Want to know what I do instead? I ask for that new dress or nice wool coat for Christmas or my birthday. That way, people can get me something I'll really enjoy, and I don't have to spend anything!

If you already shop at thrift stores, that's great! If not, why don't you give them a try? You never know what you might find!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Free Makes Me Happy!

Everybody loves free stuff, and in my opinion, there is not enough of it in this world. So, I did some searching around and found some websites with collections of free patterns that I would like to share with you. Enjoy!
This blog has a wealth of sewing patterns for men, women, and children, as well as miscellaneous items like bags, potholders, and pillows. I am definitely going to be visiting this site a lot in the future!
Here is another great find. I can't believe I didn't know this site existed! They have hundreds of patterns, including bridal patterns and an embroidery section.
This page has a lot of quilting patterns, with a few other things thrown in. If you've never thought of making a quilt before, you might after seeing this page - so many bright, fun ideas!
If you sign up on this site, you will have access to some free sewing patterns. They don't have a lot, but signing up is completely free, so it can't hurt!
If you're looking for some fun little sewing projects, you might want to visit this site. It doesn't have a lot of patterns, but there are a couple of purses, aprons, a little girl clothes, among other things.
Here is another site with a lot of miscellaneous patterns. It has a lot of unique, fun ideas that would make great gifts.
In case any of you are interested in knitting, here is the only knitting pattern site you will ever need. They have an endless supply of patterns for all seasons and occasions.

I hope you find these sites helpful!