Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sweater Purse 3.0

I hope you're not sick of the Sweater Purse yet!  I still have several to do.  Maybe I will mix in other posts so you gals don't get burnt out on the Sweater Purse.  This time I wanted to use a pattern that I had bought ages ago, but had never used.

The Wristlet

I love the wristlet.  I have several that I have purchased, but I have never made one.  Sometimes I get into these funks that I won't do anything with a certain type of implement or concept or whatever and won't go near them for awhile.  At the time I bought this, I really wanted to do a wristlet, then something happened with a zipper project and I swore off zippers for awhile.  So, all of these styles in this pattern collection have zippers, ergo, no wristlet was ever made.

I hope to be over it, so I pull out the basic pattern guide for the front and back and liner.  I cut out the pieces from the pink sweater and liner from Sweater Purse 2.0.  That sweater will probably yield at least one more complete project (a small one from the sleeves).

I could always call this the Boob Wristlet!

I did not realize how this pic looked until I inserted it in.  Well, as you can see, I cut the fabric from the breast area.  Ha ha.  No one needs to know the origin of the fabric, just that it existed.

So, with the same pattern guide, I cut out the liner fabric and chose a zipper from my stash.  I think I got these zippers from my mother or they were leftover from my grandma.  She sews, but does not sew clothing with zippers, so I have a bunch of random ones.  This was a neutral tan or yellowish zipper.

It looked so easy....

So, to spruce this little number up, I wanted to do an applique again.  But I did not want it to be loose on the wristlet, but flush with the sweater.  I chose some scraps from my past felted sweaters (see, you never throw scraps out).  The recipient of this wristlet, her name starts with an L, so this was going to be my applique.  I drew a letter L on a piece of paper and traced it on my cream felted scrap and a slightly smaller L on a  denim scrap from my Laptop Bag post.  I distressed the denim edge a bit and sewed the denim on the sweater L.  Then sewed this layered L on the current sweater cut piece.

This reminds me of a Varsity letter

I had to think ahead and decide what I wanted my wrist band to be made out of.  I thought of sewing strips of the sweater together, but it would get too thick for my machine and would look sloppy.  So, my next idea was ribbon, but ribbon seamed too flimsy.  I rifled through my scrap bag and I found the inner seams from my jeans, again from the Laptop Bag post.  I did not use them at that time, but kept them anyway.  Good thing, because a section of this would be perfect.  I also had to think about where I was going to get a split ring and hook for it to attach to.  Vince wanted to help, so I sent him in search for these items around the house.

In reading the pattern, it had me make these zipper stops which are attached to the front and back before you sew the zipper on.  They are supposed to cover the zipper ends, I guess.  I never did these before, but I sewed them in anyway.  Then I positioned the end of the wristband on the side edge and pinned it to be sewed into the side seam later.

Something just ain't right!

This is the thing with patterns.  Does anyone try these out before they go saying they are easy or that certain steps are an integral part of this project?  I sewed these stops in even though I did not like them.  I measured the zipper several times to line it up with the stops and the length of the wristlet opening.  I cut the zipper and stitched it to make the new zipper stop.  I pinned it in the purse....yup, the zipper was too short!  How?  I don't get it.  Anyway, I am making the best out of this zipper and not getting a new one to cut.  This pattern also had me basting everything but the turkey to this opening area.  I hate basting....

Basting away

I continued to follow the pattern; I pinned the liner to the sweater portion, sewing along the zipper and up the sides and leaving the bottom of the liner open so I can turn it right side-out.  I also sewed the sweater sides and bottom.  Since the liner was so thin and the sweater was so thick, this turning was proving to be a little hard.  Important: make sure the zipper is open so you can turn it. 

The hole was too small; I had to unstitch it more

Once it was finally turned, I pulled out the liner enough to sew the liner hole closed by topstitching it (rather than slipstitch, where it is invisible).  At this point, I'm at the end of my rope and need this project done.  I insert the liner back into the wristlet and with a needle and thread make two stitches in each inside corner, connecting the liner to the sweater.  This way the stitches act like an anchor and the liner will not pull out when in use.

Yea, go Big L!

Now, remember I sent Vince off to gather some necessary items to complete this wristlet?  He came back with items that were very chunky, like a carabiner clip (used in mountain climbing).  Obviously, he knows nothing about wristlets; but a wonderful guy for trying.  So, we looked through the kitchen junk drawer, then my craft bag, then finally his toolbox.  The final hook and split ring came from some key chain that held a key for something that he doesn't even own anymore (well, that is what I told myself when I snatched the hook and ring).  The hook is like something that would come off a lanyard.  It was perfect!

Showing off that great zipper

I won't say that zippers are my favorite sewing thing, but I don't necessarily hate them anymore.  I still think the zipper stops were overrated, but I'm no biggie in the sewing world, so what do I know?

Chic liner debuting again!

Ok, that, I hope, is the most difficult one that I do.  That pattern really is not for material as thick as a sweater, so I really only have myself to be shaking my head at.  I want small and simple.  Back to the drawing board, no more patterns for these sweaters!  They need freedom from the restriction of pattern rules.  I will try and keep simplicity in mind for the next ones (and I don't mean the pattern maker either)!!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Bowling Party

Me and three other friends from work are in a fall bowling league.  We are called the Odd Balls.  We have t-shirts, black pom-poms and friends that stop by to cheer us on. 

I figured I would write a Mid-Week Mini to chat about one of the Odd Balls and her birthday bowling party.  At bowling, we love to have fun and joke around with everyone so since her actual birthday landed on a bowling night, we threw her a mini party.

I had gone to Goodwill earlier in the week to look for some pretty glassware with a pal and I happened upon this random bowling trophy.

I guess the Most Improved Male did not like his trophy

This was marked about $3, and I thought that was a bit much for a plastic bowling trophy at Goodwill.  So, I may have embarrassed my pal when we got to the register, but I haggled with the cashier on the price and she took off $1!  Yes, I haggled at Goodwill; I have no shame!

The time between work and bowling I went to the party store and bought a few balloons and used this trophy as the balloon weight.  I had also made a new "plaque" for the trophy.

It was our table centerpiece!

We were bowling against one of our favorite teams that night.  We had some friends stop by to cheer us on.  One of our friends had brought her baby by and I think she really likes the bowling atmosphere!  We tend to bowl really well when she is there so we call her our Lucky Charm.

Lucky Charm, Ines!

Here is me and the birthday girl, Stephanie:

Yup, we wore birthday hats!

Of course, Vince, my sweetie is an Odd Ball (he is our anchor, us gals do our best).  This is us:

Odd Ball sweethearts

We won six out of eight points!  Poor Anthony and his team!  We normally have a ying and yang thing going on each week, we win some, we lose some.  We had fun, that's for sure.

Cathy even made a cake, so we served any team that wanted a piece.  It was a peanut butter cake: Yum!

We ran out of gel, so it was just Happy Birthday Stephy!

Here is our first group pic of the season:

Gooooooo Odd Balls!

We love having company, so let me know when you want stop by to cheer us on!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Sweater Purse 2.0

Here is another addition of the Sweater Purse.  This purse was made for a friend that has everything.  I knew that this purse had to be special.  I decided to down-size the large purses I made in my last Sweater Purse 1.0 post to: 1. Accommodate more purses out of one sweater and 2. Make it easier for me to handle.

I certainly will get more purses out of one sweater, but I did not make it easier on myself!  First, I took a hot pink sweater that was previously felted from my first Sweater Purse 1.0 post.

This one dd not shrink too much
Then I cut the sweater across the chest just below the armpit and then cut that bottom section in half.

Use a rotary cutter - it makes life a piece of cake

Instead of sewing the bottom waist/ribbed area closed to make it the purse bottom, I'm turning these around and making the ribbing the top.  My goal is to make two separate drawstring wristlets.  I am only demonstrating how I made one, because the second one will be the same except for the embellishment on the front, which you will see later.

I'm also trying something new this time and I am going to line the purse.  The liner I chose is a length of fabric that I bought at a yard sale for 50 cents.  It was at least a 3/4 yard length.  I get so stoked when I find something fab like this for cheap.

Very chic 50 cent liner!!

I utilized the side seam in the sweater and turned it inside-out and sewed up the other side, leaving the ribbed end open and then sewed the cut end for the bottom closed.  I then attempted to sew a gusset seam so that the purse would have more body.  I sewed this so that the seams from the bottom of the purse looked like a plus symbol. I did not take a pic of this specifically, but you will see it in a below pic. 

I cut the liner slightly larger than the purse, to allow the purse to stretch a bit when something is placed inside it.  This was a bit of a challenge, because at first I sewed it too big, then unstitched and sewed it too small.  I also was trying to be professional about it (sewing like how a pattern would have you sew in a liner) but that did not work.  Phooey on patterns!  I sewed it just like I did for the outer purse but then placed it aside to insert later.

I wanted to make a flower applique to affix to the outside of the purse.  I cannot draw for the life of me, so I found a applique picture from an old knit magazine and had Vince's teenage daughter draw it out for me on a piece of scrap paper.  With this I took some sweater scraps from past projects and drew the flower on the scraps with washable magic marker.  I also cut a strip of the liner.

Homemade applique flowers

Once the daughter cut out the flowers for me, there was marker residue on the edges.  I took them to the sink and ran them under cool water and rubbed the edges until the marker was gone.  I then pressed the flower pieces between a towel.  They are wool, so they dried in no time.

While I was doing my purse project, Vince's daughter was having fun with my sweater and liner scraps.  She was tying little bits end to end and made a bracelet.  Then she made a bracelet for her dog, Maggie, a miniature pekingese.

What a good sport, Maggie was!

Meanwhile, I attempt a rosette with the liner scrap with a needle and thread.  I don't bother to look it up, it seemed easy enough.  Ha, well, when I was done, it did not quite come out like a rosette, but it was cool enough.  I layered the two flowers on top of each other, a bit skewed so the pedals were off-lined and then sewed my liner rosette in the middle.  I then affixed my new flower applique to the purse.

Is it cute or what? I amaze myself sometimes!

I'm not trying to brag, but I do not consider myself a very creative person.  I am crafty, but creative?  Creativity to me is something unique coming out of your own brain.  When something does come out of it, I am amazed, usually I just copy someone else's idea.  I do not claim the idea my own, but I try to do a decent job of mimicking something I see.  Oh, also, can see the seam in the front of the purse?  That is my gusset.  Eh, who knows if will help.

I then took the liner I set aside and turned it righside-out.  I inserted it inside the sweater purse and folded down the top edge so that the raw edges are not exposed.  I used a zig-zag stitch to sew the liner to the purse to allow it some stretch when the purse it opened.

Liner material is the worst with fraying.  It will fray the second you cut it.  That is why I thought that it would look cute as the rosette on the flower, the strip was quite frayed by the time I was done stitching it.

Fray no more, Liner!

As you can see, I sewed the liner about where the sweater started to rib, so about a 2" section was unlined.  In this section I inserted grommets.  This will be where my drawstring with be threaded through.

Make a hole with the tool and punch the grommet in.

Since this sweater was not very heavily felted, the ribbing was a bit delicate and I really only needed to make a hole one punch wide, but did two because it looked too small.  Once I put my finger in it to place the grommet in, I realized that one would have been enough.  Oh well, live and learn.

Now, I was having a hard time coming up with what to use as a drawstring.  Ribbon seemed too thin, but the sweater seemed like it might work.  So, I cut a strip of the sweater to test my theory.

Strip that sweater!

When I pulled on the sweater strip, it did not react well.  I thought that it may rip if pulled too tight.  As you see in the above pic, I raided my yarn stash to see what I had in there that would match.  I found some white Berocco Plush from when I made a lamb baby blanket.  That is a story all on it's own.  The blanket came out awesome, but it was challenging.  Anyway, Plush is like yarn spun from a cloud.  Soooo soft.  I also had some tan Plymouth Baby Alpaca Grande leftover from the same lamb baby blanket.  This was just as soft as the Plush, but it was spun from a baby alpaca.  What a treat that was to work with!

Anyway, I took strands about a yard long of the Plush, Grande and sweater and braided it.  I taped it down with duct tape like you did when you made friendship bracelets out of embroidery thread.  I only accomplished the herringbone style once and I kept it; so much for making friends! Ha ha!

I held the yarn strands together to equal one sweater strand

Now, threading this braid through the tiny grommets proved to be a challenge.  Vince helped, as usual, when I started to get frustrated.  It was threaded through so that the ends came out on the side.  I opened the purse to determine where the the knot was to go on the drawstring then knotted it so that the strands all hung together like fringe.

Yea, it's done!

I really liked the way this came out.  On the second one, I will make only one hole for the grommets and will do a different applique.  The second one does not have to be done until March, so I have some time to work on it still (I love burning the candle at both ends).  I don't have much of this pink sweater left, so I may come up with a different drawstring as well.  Here is the close-up of the applique that I am so proud of:

The fray gives it charm

If you have any ideas of other styles I could try using my felted sweaters, then I'm all ears!  I have a few more ideas up my sleeve, but I am always receptive to what you guys have to say!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Chunky Cuff Bangles

I made these bracelets hoping it would be simple and quick, and it was!  I'm so glad when a project works out the way I anticipate it would.  Vince helped me with this project; I think he wanted to play with the hot glue gun.

First, this project idea came from a book called P.S. I Made ThisI bought this book at Books-A-Million and it is a great DIY book for the fashionista on a budget.  The link above is to the website for this book and it has a photo gallery and several DIY ideas right on the main page.  If you're a DIY gal, then you must check it out!

Ideas-a-plenty in this book!

I'm not claiming to be a fashionista, because I won't make half the ideas in this book, but the other half are quite clever.  Like I said, these bangles are from this book. 

The items needed for this project are a cardboard mailing tube, a knife to cut the tube, fabric strips (anything will do), scissors, and a hot glue gun.  I also had some cool studded strips that I harvested from a purse that I bought at Goodwill for $2 or $3.  It had some great hardware and a handle in great condition, so I bought it, with the intention of cutting it up.

Look at all the cool stuff on this purse!

First, the large rings are awesome, along with the handle, the small rings, the studded strips and the zipper pull all were taken off this purse.

All the possibilities!

Anyway, after I cut up this poor purse, I worked on unstitching the studded strips from the zippers.  I kept the fabric too; Vince will use these scraps later.  The other items I put aside and will use them on future projects.  I then cut about a 1 to 1.5" inch "slice" of cardboard tube for the bracelet base.

Cut on the edge of something so you don't gouge your work surface

I used a mailing tube that a calendar from work came in, so I did not even have to buy the tube (I love free stuff) and a bread knife.  I thought the serrated edge would work best, like a saw, but since I did not have a saw, this knife was my next best thing.

Then you take that slice and cut it so there is an opening, like for a cuff bracelet.  Pick the kind of fabric you want to use and cut it into at least a 1" wide strip that is at least a yard long.  I had some black lace from a past Halloween costume, so I cut from that.  But you can use anything, but if it is silky, it could fray.  That could be nice or not nice, depending on the look you are going for.  Thin fabrics would work the best.

Once you make one, you will want more!

Next, I practiced first, without gluing to get a feeling of how tight I was going to have to wrap.  This also gave me the feel of how much overlap I needed to do.  I did not want to see the cardboard under the lace, so I wrapped the lace overlapping itself at 1/4" intervals.  So, this is why you need a long strip of fabric.  If the fabric you choose is not lace or transparent, then you can be less tight/together with it.

Practice wrapping before you glue

Once I got the wrapping down,  I unwrapped it and took the cardboard opening and put a dab of glue on the inside of the cuff.  While hot, I affixed the end of the lace on the glue.  Then, as I practiced earlier, I wrapped the lace around the cuff.  As I got to the other end, I dabbed more glue and pressed the lace into it.  That is all you have to do!

Purse fabric cuff

Once the first one was completed, the others were simple.  Like I mentioned earlier, I glued the studded strip to one, Vince did another one with the other strip.  I did one with a ribbon and Vince did one with the leftover fabric from the purse.  We even made one with a feather on it.

Strike while the glue gun is hot!
We were looking around the house at what else we could wrap around a cardboard cuff!  We made several that evening and gave some to his daughter for her birthday and I plan on sending some up to my sister to give to her 80's-loving neighbor.

We had to stop ourselves, it was so fun!

These are very reminiscent of the Madonna Like a Virgin era. 

I'll always love Madonna!

You know, seeing this picture, you see that this sort of layering/lace/fingerless gloves/long necklaces are making a come back.  Not sure if the black rubber bracelets are coming back, but lots of other 80's inspired fashion is absolutely coming back.  I just hope that the pegging of jeans stays in the past.  I'm avoiding the skinny leg jeans and Converse sneakers.  I'm in my 30's, so I really have no business wearing those anyway!

I went to a party last night and got several compliments on my diamond studded lace cuff!  I was very excited to state that I made it with a cardboard tube!  It was worth doing.

I still have about two feet of cardboard tubing left, so this won't be the last time you see the Chunky Cuff Bangle!  (Hmm, what else can I glue to that cuff....)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Laptop Bag

This project had been on my mind for awhile; for I had this pair of jeans that I loved, but sadly, a hole had worn itself on the inner thigh.  I had worn them, even with the hole there, but I knelt down the other day and I heard the "rrrrrip" of the threadbare fabric; I knew their time had come.  But I had these jeans since forever and wanted to repurpose them somehow.

I've been to craft shows where little girl's pants are transformed into cute purses and seen denim purses selling in stores.  I went online to take a closer peek at these said items and came across a video on YouTube on making a laptop case out of a pair of old jeans.  The unknown chic who made this sped up the video so it was only about a two minute tutorial on how this is done, but it is really all you need.

But, you know me, I'll drag it on a bit longer than two minutes.

My poor favorite jeans!

First I took my jeans (see the worn spot), and cut the legs off just below the crotch.  This depth was adjusted later, but I did not want to cut it too short to begin with. 

Then, with the seam ripper, I opened up the front to the bottom of the zipper flap.  If anyone says that Gap jean are crap, then try taking the seams out and get back to me.  The inner seam had three layers of stitching.  Three layers!  It took longer than I though because this was baffling to me.  After I unstitched the plethera of stitches, I had all these little thread bits every where I cut the stitches (on both sides of the jean fabric and on the table).  There is this little trick I learned in a quilting class to get those little bits out of there in a jiffy.  So, I took a lint roller and slowly rolled it over where I cut the seam stitches.  Each one of the bits stuck to the lint roller in a crazy straight line.  Amazing!  Alternately, I ran out of lint roller tape and had to use packing tape.  That worked well too, you use it like you are waxing (put on, press where the threads are and rip)!

Flap over and stitch

Once, I had all of the threads out, I arranged the front so that one side flapped over the other (like in above pic) and sewed to the end.  Coats and Clark makes a denim thread that is orange and is a bit thicker than your average thread.  I used this to sew the flap down.  I only did one pass with the sewing machine, but a second, double row would have matched the way the rest of the stitching was done. 

Next, I then figured out how deep I needed the "bag" to be.  Then turned it inside-out and drew a line across the bottom so to make it straight, then I cut along the line and sewed it shut.

Measure from the waist to determine your line

The below pic shows that I also sewed and trimmed the corners off, but this is not necessary. 

You know, what this could be...

I turned the bag right side-out and ironed it.  The waist was crinkled from the store during the stonewashing, so they were always crinkled.  I ironed the heck out of it with a touch of starch so it would stay uncrinkled.  A little starch goes a long way.

Almost there!

If you watched the video link, you will see that the chic made holes in the waist and cut the side seams off of the legs.  She used the side seams as the handles to the bag.  In my opinion, this will not do for me.  I did cut them out, but I did not like the way it was going to look.  I imagine that you could tie them to the belt loops or thread them through the belt loops as you would a belt, but my legs are short and I would have to sew them end to end to make something long enough to do these ideas.  I was not in the mood for that.

Instead, I chose to insert rivets or grommets in the wasit area.  Just poking a hole was not enough of a finish for me.  I marked where I was going to place the grommets with some screwdriver thing with a point on it and tapped on it with a hammer.  (Vince said it was a size 1 Philips scewdriver, if that means anything to anyone).  This gave me a guide to make my snips into the denim to insert the grommet.

Two-piece grommet with anvil

I just followed the directions on how to install the grommets.  This type uses an anvil with that cylinder you see in the above pic.  I inserted the cylinder into the hole and tapped it with a hammer until it was flat.  I did one and then Vince did the rest.  My taps on the hammer were lighter than his.  He only needed two or three taps while it was me tapping several times.

Tap on a hard surface, like concrete

Once they were all in, it pretty much was done.  I just had to figure out what to use as handles.  I looked through my craft closet and then my belts and found a yarn belt that I made with an i-cord maker.  It used novelty yarn and a string of sequins.  I used it as a dressy belt tons of times, but the sequins-on-a-string got caught on themselves one time and I almost could not untie it to use the bathroom.  Yeah, so I had rarely used it since then.

My personal touch!

At first I thought this bag was a bit juvenile, but once I put my i-cord belt on it,  I was loving it!  It is large enough to fit my laptop and it's battery power cord with plenty of room to spare.  The front and back pockets are still functional and can hold your cell phone and/or mp3 player.

Very Chic!

As I was doing this project, I had a thought of another idea.  Take the same jeans and cut the leg a lot lower and make a skirt.  You have to do it slightly different, but it is the same concept.  I have another pair of jeans that just ripped, maybe I will have to give it another life as a skirt. 

Stayed tuned.