Saturday, December 28, 2013

Have a Happy New Year! My 2014 Resolutions

I hope everyone had a lovely holiday so far. We did! Relatives visited us from out of town for about a week and everyone had a lovely time it seemed. I usually get stressed out about people staying with us because I would be trying to make sure the food is perfect, the rooms immaculate, with abundant entertainment, etc. This year I decided to just relax and to keep everything simple. No one wants to visit a stressed out hostess!! So I had very simple food/drinks (even the Christmas dinner was simple), did a minimum amount of cleaning, let the kids themselves be the entertainment, and not planned particular outings. It turned out that there was an ice storm here for a few days so we couldn't have gone out anyway. If I had scheduled some outings during those days I would be all stressed out and disappointed!

My sewing/crafting new year resolutions for the last couple of years had been the same:

1) No buying brand new stuff unless absolutely necessary. Go to the Thrift stores first if I need something.
2) No buying new fabrics/notions/patterns unless absolutely necessary. This past year I had only bought some Thrift store sewing patterns and some brand new interfacings.
3) Be creative with the fabric/notions/pattern/refashion stash I have. I had been making kid's clothes, accessories and home decor stuff with my stash so far.
4) Create gifts with current fabric/notions/patterns/craft materials. I made a purse for my daughter and 2 Thomas applique shirts for my son this X'mas. I had made fashion jewelry for my mother-in-law as X'mas gifts. 

So far my fabric/notions/refashioning stash has been gradually shrinking which strangely makes me very happy. I thought I should add a couple of new sewing/crafting resolutions for 2014:

1) Create my own fabric with notions and dyes and paints. I have seen so many lovely garments made by other bloggers who paint/stamp/dye their own fabrics. I would like to do that too!
2) Craft some toys for my kids with the current stash. I made stuffed animals and quilted mats for my kids when they were babies. I need to figure out what else I can make them now that they are older.
3) Attempt to make something with the scrap wood in the basement. I have always been very interested in woodworking so I need to go to the library and get some basic woodworking books.

That's it! Not too ambitious I hope. I have a whole year to try these new things. Hopefully I will have accomplished them by the end of 2014.

Have a safe and Happy New Year!!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Happy Holidays! Top 10 Favourite projects in 2013

Can you believe it's almost the end of the year already? I'm soooo thankful for everything that happened this year - my 2 beautiful (sometimes a handful) children, a loving/supportive husband, wonderful friends and family, a good roof over our heads, functional cars, adequate nutritious food to eat, a peaceful place to live.......and of course: lots of creative projects for MOI!!

It's difficult to choose just a few favourite projects as they are all my 'babies'. But here are the Top Ten Sewing/Refashioning Projects that I particularly love:

1. Refashioned Turtlenecks to Scoopnecks tops. I did this refashion for 5 different turtlenecks. I wasn't wearing those turtlenecks anyway and they were just sitting in my closet. I'm now wearing them regularly in the Spring, Autumn and Winter. Yay!

2. Very practical use of Fabric Scraps - Sanitary pads. Not the prettiest sewing project but I am so happy with them! I haven't bought any commercial sanitary pads since I made these earlier this year. I'm so happy I'm not filling the landfill with commercial pads anymore. Another Yay!!

3. Self-made Swimsuit #2 (Kwik Sew 2690). This is the 2nd suit I made with this pattern and I tweaked it a bit to suit me better. I wore it a lot (as well as the black suit) during this past summer when I went to the pool or beach with the kids. It held my lumpy bits in more than the commercial suit. I'm so happy I'll never need to buy another commercial swimsuit again!! Yay yay yay!!

4. Toddler Spring/Autumn jacket (Burda 9780). I really like this jacket. It was all made with stash fabric a stash pattern. The good thing is that my toddler loves it too. She even wanted to wear this jacket in the snow (of course it's not warm enough). She wore it a lot since I made it which is really gratifying because you never know how fast the kids will outgrow the clothes I've made. Yay!

5. Refashioned: 1 odd Thrifted ensemble into 2 dresses. I thrifted an odd ensemble at my local thrift store for less than $10. And from that I was able to make 2 party dresses. I wore them out for my wedding anniversary and my birthday dinner. They were comfortable and I felt wonderful in them. Yay again!

 6. Refashioned Tuxedo suede skirt. This was the first time I had sewn with suede. Previously I had only sewed with faux suede which was very different from real suede. I conquered my fear of sewing with suede with this skirt and I'm so happy about it.

7. Refashioned kids' pants. I have used this same method to extend many of my son's and my daughter's pants. I'm hoping they will not outgrow them until next summer.

8. Toddler jumper (Butterick 3267). This was made with stash fabric and a thrifted pattern. My daughter likes it wears it a couple of days a week since I have made it. Great layering for the winter.

9. Refashioned boy to girl vest. I started doing rudimentary embroidery with my old mechanical sewing machine with this project. It turned out okay. My daughter loves this and wears this all the time.

10. A little purse for my little lady. I used scraps from my stash and did the same cat character embroidery on this little purse. It's a X'mas present for her so she hasn't seen it yet. Hopefully it will get a lot of use.

So that was my list of fav projects from 2013. Let's hope for more fabulous sewing/refashioning/crafting projects for 2014 too! Happy Holidays everyone!!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

A Little Purse for my Little Lady

I have to finally come around to the fact that my toddler is no longer a baby and turning into a little girl! I went to my local groceries store where they have a section of clothing/accessories, etc. She saw a adult sequined skirt, ran over to hold on to it and wouldn't let go. Then we walked by some little bags/purses and she grabbed one of them tightly and I had to yank it out of her hands. She seems to be becoming a really girly girl which is going to be a bit of a headache for me since I'm more of a tomboy.

Anyway, I thought that it might be fun to sew her a little purse as a X'mas gift this year. I think she may appreciate a gift like that. So I rummaged through my fabric scraps box, found some remnants from these self-stitched pants, some cream canvas scraps, and a thrifted zipper and made her this little cross-body bag:

She seems to like this cat character at the moment so I just did some quick satin stitch embroidery with my old mechanical sewing machine. The bag may be a bit big for her right now but I am hoping that she would use it for a couple of years. I hope she likes it!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Thrift store vs Mall Store: Price sticker shock

I have been buying garments/toys/books from Thrift stores or making them myself for so long that I forgot how expensive things can get in a regular mall store.

My son had outgrown his snowpants this past month and I needed to get him a longer one in a flash. I went to my usual thrift stores but they didn't have any in his size. It had already been snowing so that was probably why they were all out of stock. So I went into my local Target store (a medium to low end chain) to get him a new pair of snowpants. I got a real Price sticker shock! The cheapest snowpants at Target was $25 whereas I had been buying gently used boy's snowpants for less than $5! I could literally buy 5 pairs of these used snowpants for the price of a brand new one!

Fortunately a few days later I was able to find a used pair for my boy for $4.99. I quickly returned the Target snowpants. I was so relieved after that refund! I have lots of friends who never shop at thrift stores and always buy everything new. How are parents afford to dress their kids if they buy everything brand new these days?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Need some ideas - Refashioning the Pregnancy coat

I made almost no pregnancy clothing for my 2 pregnancies - yes I made my whole line of pregnancy wear - but they were just regular sized clothes that accommodated my bulging belly. The only thing I made for the pure purpose of containing the big belly was this checkered wool pregnancy coat.

The coat started out as a cape that went horribly wrong (you can read all about it here). I refashioned the big cape into this coat. Basically it's a big tent with a hood and 2 big pockets. It's made with a good weight wool coating and the lining is a nice purple quilted, batted polyester. The coat was well used and loved during the winter months for my 2 pregnancies, and cocooned me all through my deliveries and hospital stays. There is no way I'm sending this coat away! I need to figure what to do with this coat - whether to refashion it into another coat that fits me now, or harvest the wool and the lining for some other garments.

I already have lots of winter coats so I'm hesitant in making this into another coat for myself. I could refashioned this into a coat for my toddler, or I could reuse the checkered wool to make a thinner, short jacket. The wool is too thick for a dress unfortunately - I think I'll look too bulky in it. What do you think? What would you do with this coat?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Re-Refashion: Sweater Knit skirt to Sweater dress 2.0

Remember this refashioned sweater dress I made last month? After wearing it out I decided to reduce the bulkiness of the Star Trek sleeves. I used some remnant grey cotton knit in my stash as facings and cut back the sleeves to a more manageable size. Here is the before:

And here is the after:

I think the dress looks less Romulan but more Uhura!! :-) What do you think?