Sunday, June 26, 2011

100th Post Weekend Reflection

We now live in a time where information is passed around and shared so fast that events practically unfold before us on our computers.  New posts are added with lightening speed and in such a routine fashion that we expect to read new tidbits each day from out favorite bloggers. So it seems menial to mention that this post here, happens to be my 100th post in my nearly three years of blogging but it's an important milestone nevertheless.  I looked at past posts and was happy to find that I still keep true to talking about my interests and desires.   I might not share the kind of thoughts that would change a person's life but I do share what I love and [hopefully] inspire others along the way.

I also cannot tell you where this blog is heading towards.  People have asked whether my blog is a crafty blog?  A photo blog?  A cat lady blog?  I think I have a long way to go before I can safely give this blog a defining path.  There is just too much that I enjoy and too many times I change my mind and find a new interest. 

I can say with certainty that I am enjoying this California sunshine, this glass of red wine, this moment in blogging...and then some.  :-)

I hope that you all enjoyed your weekend and that you're all well rested for this week to come. 

Cheers my friends.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

T-Shirt Dress Part II

On Tuesday, I posted the beginnings of my T-Shirt dress and my desire to take something unwearable and make it into something that I would use and wear time and time again.  Today I ended up finished the last few steps of my dress and came to a very satisfactory and surprising conclusion.  This was by far an amateur take on transforming clothing using improvisational sewing but I'm glad that I got to experience the process.  I definitely have learned a lot from any mistakes along the way but ultimately I have some newly founded confidence and knowledge for any future improvisational sewing I might do.

To refresh any memories of where I left off, I had just finished making straps for the dress out of extra material that I had cut away previously.  My ultimate mission in this project was to try and reuse as much material of the original shirt as I possibly could.  With that said, I also left off with the challenge of re-incorporating the cut off sleeves back into the project...

And so I added pockets!  Burda Style offers a great step by step tutorial on how to add inseam pockets to your sewing projects and so I added pockets to my dress using their guide.

Once I had attached the fabric to the front and back pieces of the dress, I sewed along a side seam, connecting the pieces together.

Finally, I measured and tried on the dress to get a feel of where the straps should lay and sewed them on.

 And there you have it!  An instant beach cover-up dress for those warm sunny days.  A few things that I learned along the way:

-Always try and re-incorporate any fabric you might cut away.
-Sleeves make great pockets.  :-)
-Measure the length of your body before cutting.  I wish I had thought a bit more on that.  The length is a bit short and instead of being a dress I would wear daily, I now have dubbed it a beach cover up, perfect with shorts or capris.  It's definitely still a win-win for me!

My first project without a pattern!  Not too shabby.  :-D

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

T-Shirt Dress Part I

Do you remember this size 3x women's t-shirt that I bought during my stay in New York?  This past weekend, I began my journey in improvisational sewing and trying to see what I can possibly achieve with an unwearable article of clothing and turning it into something more than desirable.

To begin with, I cut off the sleeves and collar.  Not only did this help me to visualize new possibilities but it also helped me see the discarded scraps as something useful.  (You'll see what I mean later on...)

After shaping the top portion of the front and back piece, I carefully measured out from the sides of the piece and drew a line with a fabric marker, creating an A-line shape.

Here you can see where I cut away the extra fabric. (which I also held on to!)  Can you begin the see the shape of a dress?

Next, I double folded all the raw edges near the top of each front and back piece.  I used an iron and pins to keep the double fold in place while I sewed across.

Remember that "extra" fabric I had cut from each side?  I decided that I wanted to add straps to the piece and I found that I could easily make a pair from these side scraps of fabric.

I measured out 3.5" from the already bound finished edge, drew a line with a fabric marker and cut it out using a pair of fabric shears.

Next, I sewed a 3/8" seam across the opposite longer side and across one of the openings, leaving one opening un-sewn.

I then flipped out the fabric so that the right side was out.  Instant straps!

This is basically where I left off.  I still need to fine tune the top edge of the dress, add the newly made straps and use a creative way to add back in the sleeves of the original shirt.  I will continue the rest of my progress in my next post, when I finish this project up!  Stay tuned...

Friday, June 17, 2011

Britex blog shout out!

 I just found out yesterday evening that the hexagon quilt I made was mentioned on Britex Fabrics' Blog!  I'm very proud and happy that Britex chose to feature my quilt, made by the many wonderful fabrics that the store specializes in.  Thank you's go out to all the 2nd floor ladies there that first day, who were so patient and helpful while I tore through the shelves of fabrics!

If you live near or in San Francisco, stop by the four story store and be amazed as you browse through all the luxurious fabrics and bountiful notions.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Lots of grannies and updates

 I'm finally back and settled in San Francisco after a very long and relaxing trip back home in New York.  I had a wonderful time catching up with family and many friends, chasing my nephew around the garden and just enjoying the East coast's hot and humid weather.  My mother had made two trips with me to Jo Ann Fabrics, a simple joy that I cannot get in San Francisco.  [I haven't decided it that's a good or bad thing.  Good, because if there were a store near me, I'd probably end up shopping and buying heavily discounted fabric every other day.  Bad, because it's hard to want to buy any of the expensive fabric found here.]  And being the savvy and veteran-ed traveler that I am,  I only packed a carry on suitcase for the whole two weeks.  So, needless to say, I ended up shipping back a couple boxes of fabric, yarn, notions and patterns.  I'm hoping to begin a new journey away from dress making and into pants and blouses!

 While waiting for my mum at a local Walmart, I found myself browsing through the womens clothing section and grew instantly inspired to take something unwearable and make it...well, wearable!  (Inspiration gained from NDAD)  As you can see from this shirt size, I would more than likely be swimming in it, rather than wearing it.  My goal is to transform it into a dress.  I'll be explaining this more in another post but I am absolutely excited to start improvisational sewing.

Finally, I wanted to share my grannies!  It had taken me nearly three evenings while at home and many Youtube videos and online tutorials, but I finally found a granny pattern that I like and will continue making into a small afghan.  The grannies that you see here still need to have the ends tied back into the square but I wanted to show my progress thus far.  It's amazing now many patterns and techniques you can make with grannies.  And like I mentioned before, I love how I can pick and choose which colors to add within each granny.  My goal is to eventually try granny flower patterns.  We'll see...  ;-)

So, to sum it all up, new inspiration, materials and projects ahead and summer semester just around the corner!  Busy, busy, busy!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Strawberry Fields Forever

My parents planted strawberries last summer.

They waited patiently for them to grow and mature all year 'round.

Now that it's June and the weather is so hot, the berries couldn't wait until August.  We have been enjoying our first strawberries of the season.  They're warm and fresh when you pick them right off the plant.  Plop them in your mouth and get that sweet taste that only makes you smile for another.

Pick, plop, eat, repeat.

My nephew can't seem to get enough.  He takes one in each hand from me and runs away with his little treasures; juice always dripping down his chin.  Such a simple pleasure of summer.

This weekend I'll be catching up with some old friends, another pleasure that I always associate with summer.  I hope that your week went well and that your weekend only gets better!  :-)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Granny Squares

A new phase begins!  I was searching around on Pinterest and found a photo of a lovely crocheted blanket via Ohdeedoh and was instantly inspired to start crocheting.  I loved that the blanket incorporated all kinds of left over yarn, in all colors, that would surely keep any short-attention-spanned crafter [like myself] occupied for days.

And what's even better is that I flew home to find that my mother was gifted with several boxes of FREE yarn from our church!  Jackpot!  So yesterday evening, I sat down and looked up some tutorials on how to crochet.  So different from knitting but not so you know what I mean?  Since then, I've been playing around and practicing with different size crochet hooks and getting a feel for how to create the granny squares.  It seems that I've traded my knits and purls for double crochet's and shells.

Here's my initial inspiration that I found on Pinterest [Via Ohdeedoh]:

Another inspiring piece via Crafty Crafty:
 And yet another [Via Whip up]:

Any crochet-ers out there?  Tips or hints for a beginner like me?  I'll have to keep you all posted on my progress!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Hexagon Quilt Completed

I started this project sometime in late February and had just finished off the binding today.  I am so happy and proud of starting, creating and finishing my first queen-sized quilt!  Hexagons were quite the challenge and this project would NEVER have been completed in such a quick time if I hadn't had it quilted by machine by the lovely ladies at New Pieces

I love the fabric and simple design.  Choosing a soft gray instead of a traditional muslin back helped create a fresh and modern feel.  I love knowing that I had created something that I will be using and enjoying for years to come.  And of course, this quilt was inspired and created from another quilt made by Malka Dubrawsky in her book,  Fresh Quilting: Fearless Color, Design and Inspiration