Let’s make some clothes!

I am extremely grateful to all of you whose who take the time to read and follow this blog. I want to tell you about my new blog, Sewing Myself Stylish. I hope you will take a peek at it, and even follow it too! To date, it has two posts featuring these garments.
I still love to do all the fiber art stuff I post about on this blog, and will continue to post here. I just had an urge to start sewing clothes again. You can read about that in the About page of my new blog.

Again, thanks so much for stopping by! Lori


Jasper and Hanna’s Halloween, a costume retrospective

My husband Michael and I have been empty nesters for two months. I am not “regularly” employed and my professional résumé of the last 20 years is spotty. Without a child at home to distract me, I have been looking back and asking myself, “What have I done all these years?”

I find myself looking at the blogs of 30-something mothers of young children posting adorable photos of their kids in the cute clothes they have made for them. I feel like I have something in common with these women. I feel drawn to them because I can relate to them. They are having a great time doing creative projects for and with their children while possibly putting their professional careers on hold. However, I feel ageism at work for me. I doubt they would be interested in me. I am a seamtress, not a sewist; I use McCalls, Simplicity and Butterick, not indie patterns with first names. I am an early 50-something, and I blog about handbags and purses.

So I am posting what follows for two reasons. First, here is one of many, many things I have done in the past 20 years. And, second, young mothers, we do have something in common. I’ve been through it and enjoyed every moment!

The first costume I made for Jasper was a bee, and there are no photos to be found. When he was three, he wanted to be a dinosaur.
When Jasper was four, he wanted to be Simba. Well, fine, but I wasn’t making that, so we bought one.
However, Hanna was one, and old enough to dress up, so I made her a bunny costume. Confession: I don’t think I asked her what she wanted to be, I just decided.
From about age one to six, Jasper was car fanatic, and I mean FANATIC. When he was five, he was Jeff Gordon, Nascar driver #24. This prized costume was a joint effort between my husband and me. I painstaking made the outfit – letters, numbers, logos and all. Michael contructed the cardboard car.
Currently, Jasper goes to college not far from home, so he was able to indulge me with this recent photo. That costume will always be loved.

Jasper at twenty-one.

Jasper at twenty-one.

When Hanna was two, we did the basic princess costume.
At six, Jasper was an Indiana Jones, adventuring, sort of guy. I made the vest. Hanna, at three, was Miss Potato Head. I think I pushed for this one. This costume is one of our all-time favorites. Hanna has actually worned it multiple times, as recently as a year or two ago, only it came up to her waist, the armholes were tight and the velcro didn’t close completely in the back.
Another great year, I made Jasper, now seven, an Anakin Skywaker inspired costume. And, Hanna, four, was a beautiful, handcrafted mermaid.
All good things must come to an end. This shiny cape was the last Halloween thing I sewed for Jasper to go with his alien mask when he was eight. Hanna, five, insisted for some reason, that she wanted to be a tiger. I remember we had an Indian summer on that Halloween day, and I think she was roasting in that costume during the school parade.
At nine, Jasper was now in charge of his own costume. He might have been pushing the P.C. boundary, but those Billy Bob teeth he borrowed from his dad are pretty funny.
Hanna, at six, asked me to make her a glamorous Cleopatra costume.
Jasper at age ten, crafted a pretty clever costume as a headless man. Hanna, seven, chose to be a pioneer girl. Did I mind that it was a separate dress, pinafore, and hat, and required yards of fabric? Of course not!
The last costume I made for Hanna was Carman Maranda. It was very cool, but no photos can be found.

Well, this brings my costume retrospective to an end. Young, sewing mothers, I hope you see that we have a lot in common. And I’ll look forward your posts of your handmade prom dresses ten years from now.

Hanna at eighteen.

Hanna at eighteen.

California girl becomes a Longhorn with upcycled t-shirt

In November, 2011, my husband, daughter, parents, and I visited Austin, Texas on a “significant birthdays” celebration trip. We spent some time walking around the University of Texas. We were swept up in the Longhorn spirit, and my husband, Michael, bought this t-shirt.
Before this visit, the state of Texas had never been on our radar, and Michael and I were somewhat surprised when our daughter Hanna, now 18, expressed an interest in applying to UT, Austin. Well, through her hard work and an amazing offer, Hanna is actually going to be a Longhorn this fall!

A few days ago, Michael announced that his Texas shirt had become “short and wide” after a few washings and was donating it to the recycle pile. Of course, upcycling this t-shirt for Hanna was the obivious course of action.

Hanna and I selected New Look Pattern 6814 for the re-make.
So here is Hanna’s first, of hopefully many, Longhorn t-shirts!

This post was shared on Sew Country Chick.

Alabama Chanin tank from souvenir t-shirt

(This post is actually a repost from an old blog of mine, http://t-cycle.blogspot.com. I felt inspired to share this project after reading recent posts from other bloggers sharing Alabama Chanin projects. I have made countless projects from Natalie Chanin’s books over the past few years and have enjoyed using her techniques as springboards for my own adaptations for upcycling t-shirts.)

I found this wonderful XL, souvenir T-shirt from Washington D.C. at my local Goodwill. I thought it would be perfect to make a hand-stitched tank top found in Natalie Chanin’s second book, Alabama Studio Style.
(If you’re interested, http://www.amazon.com/Alabama-Studio-Style-Celebrating-Sustainable/dp/1584798238)

I decided to dye the shirt Orchid because I thought it would contrast nicely with the gold colors in the image.

Next, I cut the pieces out for the fitted tank. I had just enough fabric from the XL T-shirt to squeeze out all the pattern pieces. XXL T-shirts are actually more suitable for this project.

The entire garment is hand-stitched. I settle in on the couch and get myself in a mediative state of mind when I’m ready to begin stitching. I decided to use red thread for the seams and gold thread for the neckline and armholes. I always use contrasting thread on these projects as the hand-stitching is part of the design, and should be featured rather than blended in.

Here’s the finished tank. My favorite model wasn’t around for me to photograph for this post.

This post was shared on Sew Country Chick.

Stretch-n-Sew skills for sewing contest

I know a lot of people are afraid to sew on knits. I am a child of the Stretch-n-Sew era. My mom was a big fan and shared all the great techniques for sewing on knits with me. I was excited when I ran across this sewing contest sponsored by Girl Charlee. The contest was to make something from their Black and White Chevron fabric.

Here’s what I made.
The pattern is Burda 7817. It is trimmed with scraps of recycled T-shirts that I dye. The model, of course, is my daughter Hanna.

This was shared on Sew County Chick.

DIY prom dress for Hanna, part one

Of course I have volunteered to make a prom dress for Hanna. The event is on April 20th – plenty of time! Two days ago we went into downtown L.A. to our favorite fabric store, Michael Levine and picked out three fabrics, one for the bodice and bow, one for the skirt and  one for the lining. Cost totaled $85.00.



The pattern she has chosen is Simplicity 2444. I am making the view on the left using different fabric for the bodice and skirt.



Stay tune for the results, as we are going to give the word “homemade” a positive connotation!