Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Just The Way I Like It

After making bags out of pairs of jeans for a couple of friends, I decided I needed to make one for myself. I've had the same purse for forever, and it is getting quite old and worn. A cute jean purse would be the perfect replacement! I started with the jeans and shirt below:

The jeans were really cute! I found them at a thrift store after much searching. I love the flowers on the back pockets.

After many hours of work and much impatience (I was really excited about having a new purse), I came up with this:

love it!!!! The shirt I used as contrast was perfect for the western look I wanted. That's the collar on the back, cut in half and turned upside-down.

My brother filed the hooks off the back of the big silver belt clasp in the bottom left picture below and drilled holes in it so I could sew it on, and one of my sisters let me use her buttons. So you might say it was a family project. ;-)

One of the things I was most excited about was how many pockets my purse had! There were already three in the front and two in the back on the outside. I made two more on the inside, an open one on one end and a zippered one along the back. No more digging through a mess of random articles to try to find something!

To keep the bottom from sagging too much, I sandwiched plastic cross-stitching canvas between the inner and outer layers of fabric. It works really well!

I love using this thing almost every day now, and I love the fact that it was so much fun to make!

Friday, July 25, 2014

...because you always need more...right?

It's not like I need more fabric. In fact, if I am completely honest with myself, I would have to say I really don't need any more fabric at all! But when I have a chance to get more, that fact somehow becomes completely beside the point. The other day, a neighbor graciously gave me a bunch of fabric, in various kinds, colors and patterns. What was I supposed to do - politely refuse? Refuse free fabric?? Ha. Instead, I got all excited and gladly accepted it! (very gladly) I already have plans for some of it, and I know I will start using it soon. In case you wanted to see it, here it is:

Three whole drawers. Even you non-sewing people have to understand why I was (and still am) so excited!

Cotton, eyelet, sheer, fleece, knits - and so much more!

I love that brown stuff with aqua spots, and the embroidered sheer below is so pretty!

You will be seeing a lot of these fabrics in future posts, I am sure. Also be watching for my next post: I finished the purse I was making from a pair of jeans. I love it!!! Can't wait to show it to you! :-)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Operation Shoes

You know how people sometimes get writer's block? Well, a couple weeks ago, I got the sewing version of it. Only, it wasn't that I couldn't think of anything to sew. I have so many projects (in the works or in my head) it's crazy. No, the problem was that I didn't feel like sewing. I just didn't have any motivation. At all. I finally turned to a project that I have wanted to do for a long time - decorating shoes! I have been excited about this since I thought of it. What could be more fun than buying plain shoes and embellishing them any way I wanted to? My answer: Not much!! So I bought these black shoes and began pulling out all the odds and ends that can loosely be termed 'decorating materials'. 

The leopard pattern on the inside of the shoe was kind of hard to match. I finally chose this gold trim:

I cut part of it off to make it narrow enough for the shoe, then sewed it across the toe.

Then I used the gold edge on the heel. I needed something to cover up the ends of the trim on both the toe and heel. My first idea was to cover black buttons with gold tulle. That worked really well on the heel, as you can see below...

...but the buttons ended up looking like bug eyes on the toe. Not good.

After some more brainstorming, I ended up making gold tulle flowers. See? Those flowers can be used almost anywhere!

I really liked the buttons on the heel, but decided to replace them with flowers to make everything match.

I am pretty happy with how my first pair turned out, and I have so many more ideas!! Rest assured, these definitely won't be the last shoe pictures you see on here!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Ultimate Upcycling

Have you ever thought about how many ways you could use jeans? I know I have only scratched the surface, but so far, I am pretty happy with my scratching. I recently came up with the idea to cut the legs off of jeans and turn the top parts into bags. I had so much fun designing and decorating them!!

Here's how I did it. First, like I mentioned above, I cut the legs off.

Then, I sewed a rectangle of fun, colorful fabric on to make the bottom, leaving the raw jean edge visible. (Later, I threw the bag in the wash to fringe the edge.)

I made the lining from coordinating fabric (adding a pocket along the back)...

...turned it inside out, and sewed it in. As well as sewing the top edge of the lining to the jean, I also tacked the bottom corners and the middle of each long side down to secure it. The fabric I used for the lining actually used to be an apron, and the ties worked perfectly for the bag handles.

The most fun part, of course, was decorating the bag! Buttons and ric rac and patches and colorful many possibilities!

These bags make great gifts, and because this first one was such a hit, I decided to make another one for a different friend! Here it is:

Now, I am planning one for myself, since I really need a new purse!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Fun Little Projects

Since I discovered I could make flowers like the ones below, I have been having fun with them...and with lace and pearls and ribbons...

I sewed some flowers on an elastic band, put a silver decoration in the middle of each, and had what I call a bun band!

I made a headband by sewing flowers onto a ribbon and connecting the ends with a few inches of elastic. This time, I used small, sparkly beads for the middle of the flowers.

My third idea didn't involve flowers at all - just strips of lace. I cut three strips, laid them on top of one another, and sewed them together at intervals with pearls. Then I added toggle clasps at the ends to make ankle bracelets.

I am convinced that lace and beads and ribbons have endless possibilities. I'll have to keep experimenting!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

An Eager Learner

My 'adopted' Chinese sister asked me to teach her to sew. Sure! I love teaching people to make things themselves! She wanted a skirt like the one below:

A bit of a hard thing for a first sewing project, but we dove right in.

She was great! I just had to briefly explain things to her and she was off doing it! Her one fault was sewing too fast. :-P

After about three afternoons of sewing, the skirt was done. Ayu was very happy with it.

Pretty good for a first project, don't you think?