Saturday, December 28, 2013

Refashioned Sweaters All Around

Christmas gifts for the ladies of my family were: Surprise! Refashioned sweaters! Like I've said before, I love cardigans. So much so, I guess I need to see them on everyone near me. Seriously though, hanging out, kicking back with the fam, traveling, questionable temperatures; these are all excellent calls for cardigan wearing. And if the pieces of the puzzle happen to be from a by-the-pound thrift store, then cardigans fit even the skinniest of gift budgets too.

#1 Grey Cashmere 3/4 sleeve. 

Ulterior Alterations Refashioned Grey Cashmere & Plaid Sweater

Ulterior Alterations Refashioned Grey Cashmere  & Plaid Sweater

This puppy is a beautiful piece on its own. I wish I could have saved it in its original form somehow, but there was a stain in the center. It didn't really show up in the picture though... hmm. One leg of these pjs worked perfectly for the center strips, and I actually used the original pockets to create in-seam pockets. (Only slightly altered.) The finishing touch is a simple hook-and-eye closure option at the neck.

#2 Dark Grey Men's Pullover. 

Ulterior Alterations Refashioned Dark Grey & Plaid Sweater

Ulterior Alterations Refashioned Dark Grey & Plaid Sweater

Not such a beauty on its own as the first- completely ordinary. However, in my opinion, the transformation is completely great! I love the pattern, colors, and length of this plaid, flannel, button-down, and bought it intending to wear as is. Upon home inspection, I discovered some defects that had gone unnoticed in the store, so it needed a new plan. I think it looks so homey and cozy with this slouchy grey number. And it was another great opportunity to practice beloved elbow patch techniques!

#3 Pale Pink Scoop. 

Ulterior Alterations Refashioned Pink & Purple Plaid Sweater

Ulterior Alterations Refashioned Pink & Purple Paid Sweater

Albeit an acrylic blend, this pinkie is so soft! I knew its great shape would be perfect for something on someone at sometime. Mom! She has long, slender arms and this turned out to be a beautiful fit on her. Again, one leg from a pair of thrifted pjs wrapped splendidly around the collar, and their drawstring serves as an optional belt.

Upcycled, Repurposed, Refashioned Sweaters

A BIG thank you to my wonderful sisters and incomparable mother for modeling, and for indulging my crafty gifts so graciously. The truth is, anyone of them could have done this (and probably better!) if they had the time and desire to do so. I'm the late one to the sewing party in the group! Love you all and so glad we got to be together this Christmas- that is the most meaningful gift of all. xo

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Elbow Patch Fix

For my hubby's birthday this week, I decided to fix up a favorite pullover of his that has been in the "needs repair" pile for at least a year. It turned out to be a pretty fun gift because he'd totally forgotten about it!

Ulterior Alterations: Elbow Patch Fix Before & After

I have not taken on a lot of menswear. Honestly, I'm usually not sure what to do with it. That is, when keeping it menswear; I can refashion it to me-wear, no problem!

Ulterior Alterations: Elbow Patch Fix Before Front View

Elbow patches are pretty trendy right now, although this is a classic fix to a genuine problem. I guess that makes it a win win! But don't tell my husband- he would never wear anything knowing it's on trend! ;)

Ulterior Alterations: Elbow Patch Fix Close Up

Here's how I went about this: I first patched the holes from the inside of the affected sleeve with a small piece of fusible interfacing, just to make sure it didn't continue to wear or anything. Then, I cut out two ovals from an old pair of cords and ironed on with fusible web.

Ulterior Alterations: Elbow patches made from old cords

Booty Rip!

Ulterior Alterations: Elbow patches made from ripped cords

I used some fray check around the edges of the patches, but still wanted to stitch them on, which I did by hand. Obviously. I don't mind that it looks hand sewn, I think it's kind of charming or something. But, truth be told, I've tried to do it with the machine, and can't seem to get it right. The fabric always crinkles and pulls on me... need more practice I guess- or some tips!

Ulterior Alterations: Elbow Patch Fix + CakeUlterior Alterations: Elbow Patch Fix + Cake

Regardless, he seems totally into it, and for a guy who doesn't like a big fuss over his birthday, I think it was a gift success on a couple of levels. As was this cake! Yumbo!

Ulterior Alterations: Black Forest Berry Cake (Elbow Patch Fix)

This Black Forest Style Berry Gateaux, from What Katie Ate is probably the most high maintenance cake recipe I've ever attempted! It is slightly altered from her recipe, because of a few things I couldn't find and didn't want to run all over town to get. Overall it turned out pretty well- and much better than I thought it would a couple hours into making it! It kind of looks like a disaster though, a delicious one, but a disaster. So did my little kitchen!

Ulterior Alterations: Elbow Patch Fix + Post Cake Kitchen

 I think I used every dish and utensil I own!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Remaking the Lab Coat Dress

You can undoubtedly understand the nickname, no?

Ulterior Alterations: Lab Coat Dress Remake Before & After

I really loved this dress when I bought it, as one usually does when one purchases something. However, with time (and not too much of it) that love faded; I don't even get it now! What was I thinking?!?!

It's made quite well, by Tabitha, and wasn't cheap, so I kept it... for years. Why I waited so long for such a simple refashion I'm not sure. Bet it will serve me far greater as a tunic, layering piece instead of an awkward, odd-length, plain, boring, unflattering dress/ lab coat.

Cut and sew. 8 inches removed from the bottom. A button replaced on a cuff. Huge, saggy, belt/sash loops removed. Not quite your classic white button down, but a close kin. More wearable for sure!

If I can figure out a low-maintenence, chem-free way to keep it from wrinkling 5 seconds after it's ironed, I bet I'll wear it even more!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Stool Refinish

Refinished furnitureWhen I found this stool at a classically Austin antique store, Uncommon Objects, I knew it was the one. I had been looking for just such a piece to use when I sew...

A while back I inherited a very cool vintage sewing table, and wanted a seat to fit underneath, with an equal amount of character, and hopefully a little storage to boot. This baby is exactly what I had in mind.

In desperate need of some t.l.c. to say the least- I envisioned this clean, modern-inspired update to be sort of a bridge, bringing together different styles that I love.

All I did was: clean, sand, prime, paint, staple new upholstery to the seat cushion, and mod podge some coordinating paper inside.

Ulterior AlterationsUlterior Alterations

Ulterior Alterations

Honestly, the most difficult part of this project was finding the fabric and paper that I wanted to use! The actual doing part was pretty straight forward, and relatively easy. (Especially with my husband's assist!)

Vintage Table Singer Fashionmate 257 Refinished Stool

I absolutely love the way it turned out, and love the way it looks with my table, in my little sewing nook. It makes me happy every time I sit!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Green Cashmere Sweater Overhaul

Who doesn't love cashmere? "It's a cashmere-ical!" (If you know that line, you know my heart as well.)

Green Sweater to Cardigan Refashion

I went on a thrifty cashmere mission and came up with several pieces, but nothing 100% wearable. This green one is just such an example. Obviously, I love the color. But, it was a size small; I am not.

Ulterior Alterations

Also, there were several tiny, annoying moth holes, mostly on the sleeves, but a couple on the back. Here's how I made it wearable:

Ulterior Alteration RefashionUlterior Alteration Refashion

1) Sleeve chop. And hem. I wasn't quite sure how this wooly fabric would take machine sewing, but it worked just fine. 2) Open up. Right down the middle. I used a scrap of plaid flannel from some pjs I made last Christmas as the collar band, similar to my Sweater to Cardigan Remake post from a few weeks ago. 3) Triangle slice. Up the side seams, but not perfectly aligned- because of where the holes were. Insert more flannel scraps. Not sure I love this part of the finished product, if I'm being honest, but it served its purpose... wearable!

Ulterior Altered Sweater

It was a beautiful, chilly, but mild Thanksgiving afternoon in Austin, and my lovely niece obliged me to a photo shoot. She told me she likes pictures that are alive. Yep. She's 10.

In my opinion, Black Friday should be spent like this; in your pjs (matching or not), with someone you love. Hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Napkin Throw Pillow Case

napkin to pillow upcycleAnyone who sews is probably thinking, "Pillow case? Big whoop." And you're right. It's one of the simplest, most novice homemaker items to create. But there is no denying, throw pillows are a wonderfully manageable and affordable way to refresh home decor. This project cost me approximately $4!

I bought these two napkins on clearance at World Market. The block print and colors are so me; I had to have the fabric in my home. I didn't know right away how they'd be used, but I knew they'd be used somehow...

For the ulterior use of the beloved napkin find, and also because I sewed a zipper enclosure, I'm actually super proud of this pillow case- elementary or not.

Maybe you don't understand:
I. Vanessa. Successfully. Sewed. a ZIPPER!

throw pillow case with zipper
Zippers are so intimidating! But I can happily report that it was relatively painless, following a very clear video tutorial that brakes it down step by step. Seriously, it feels like I graduated or something!
I'd made some envelope-style covers previously for these two old, ugly greens, but honestly they were a little sloppy, and looked as though hiding something. Which they were. Time to rip that ugly green right off, once and for all. (Sorry J!) 
What I discovered inside was completely bare polyester stuffing, so I decided to sew a nice little muslin case around. Now the pillow form can just as easily be washed as any cover. Essential for old dingy pillows especially!
With it's pretty new, zippered case, the pillow looks much more polished than the way I'd covered before. And I quite like the way she fits in with her Anthro sisters.
The only question now is... what will I use for the other one?

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Repurposed Tablecloth, Part 2

A tablecloth is basically a large piece of fabric, no? So the possibilities are infinite. Pun intended! In Part 1, I used a piece of this thrifted tablecloth to create a top. Here, I go a different route...

Ulterior Alterations Upcycled Scarf

Using a scrap of camel knit jersey for the outside and a panel from the lace tablecloth for the inside, I created a simple infinity scarf.

Along the way, I realized the jersey piece wasn't as long as I wanted it to be, so I attached an additional block of tablecloth to elongate. When wearing, I tend to kind of hide this piece in the back. 

Repurposed Tablecloth to Scarf

Two of my favorite things: scarf & lace. What's not to love? 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

DIY Lace Overlay Sweatshirt Refashion

I got this idea for a lace overlay on a sweatshirt from So, Zo..., an incredible UK blogger, when it was floating around Pinterest a while back and have been dying to try it ever since. Admittedly, I was a little intimidated and let it swim around in my head until I just couldn't stand it any longer and had to give it a go! Here's what I did:

Start with regular old sweatshirt.

Remove bands. Cut arms off (remove those bands as well). Spilt sides and shoulders.

Pin lace (containing a little bit of stretch preferably) to the front side of the trunk and trim to fit. It helped me to keep the lace pinned flat to the front the whole time, just to make sure it kept against the correct (front) side.

Sew back together* in the reverse order of how it was taken apart, with lace overlay sandwiched between right sides.

*If necessary, make any resizing adjustments. I took about an inch or two from the shoulders as this was a man's sweatshirt. I also chose to shorten the sleeve length to just below the elbow.
Sew the bands back on. (Still with the lace pinned flat to the front.) This part took the most care. For each band, I pinned at half way marks, then half way again, and again (like you would elastic)... until I felt it was pinned and spaced evenly enough to zig-zag stitch back in place.

Woah, neck band! Had to do that sucker twice to get all the layers stitched down. (Also, had to unstitch the shoulder a little bit.)

I love the finished product! I love it so much, that I'm a little saddened to have given it away to my sister for her birthday this week. But, they say the best gifts are the ones you truly love yourself, right?

Happy Birthday, sister! Love you so much!!! xx
(Looks so cute on you!)