Sunday, March 24, 2013

#30: Black Coveralls

Hello and welcome to my 30th transformation post! Last time I shared with you a denim coveralls jumpsuit I transformed into a strapless Summer dress. Today I have another jumpsuit for ya, but this time it's black denim with short sleeves, and much less dirty :) I got it at my favorite thrift store for a buck.

Before: Black Denim Jumpsuit

Before: From Behind

It was actually well-made and almost like new, but it was missing some buttons in the middle.

Oh where, oh where have my buttons gone?

 The stiff material and the shoulder pads reminded me of Janet Jackson in her Rhythm Nation days,

and had me doing my best Janet Jackson impression.

"We are a part of the rhythm nation"


Then I started busting out some of my best Rhythm Nation moves :)

It's time to get funky!

Whew! With that out of my system, now it's time to get down to business...

I really liked the structure of the top, so I left it mostly unchanged. But the pants just weren't working for me. So first, I took a seam ripper and removed the seams all the way down the center of both legs.

First one leg...

...and then the other.

Next, I flipped the piece inside out, laid it on its side, and pinned a line going down from the waist.

Laying on its side, pinned down the front and back

Then I sewed down that line, cut off the excess, and fake-serged the new seams so they wouldn't fray.

Sewing away the extra material.

(This is the same method I used with the denim jumpsuit in my previous post, but I didn't have the pictures.) 

Next, I cut about 15 inches off of the bottom.

Length be gone!

Then I folded, pinned, and sewed a new bottom hem.

Folded hem

Sewing a new bottom hem

I also took in the sides between the waist and the underarm only a tiny bit.

Finally, I had to fix that gap in the front, so I relocated the top collar button to the gaping area and sewed on another button where one was missing.

Sewing on the buttons

Sewing a new button hole

That was it! This wasn't a hard transformation at all, and making it was a nice break from my first week at my new job.

So here's a reminder of what it looked like before:

Before: Black Denim Jumpsuit

And here's how it looks now:

After: Black Denim Dress

After: From behind

Amazing what a few changes can do! And I can still get my groove on :)

Whoop whoop!

I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I did. And speaking of grooving, I'm teaching my African Groove dance class at the Pasadena Dance Festival on Saturday, April 27th at 3:15pm as part of a wide variety of classes and performances happening that week. For more info and the schedule, check out the website here. And if you'd like to purchase tickets, please support me by using the code "teachernettles2013" (without the quotation marks). I'd really appreciate it!

Have a lovely week everyone!

Until next time, blessings.

Friday, March 22, 2013

#29: I've been working on the railroad...

Welcome back! I started my new job this week! No, I haven't been working on the railroad, but this denim Dickies jumpsuit I found for a dollar at the flea market surely makes me feel like I have been. It made me feel like some kind of cross between a train conductor and mechanic.

Before: Denim Jumpsuit

Before: From behind

Sometimes you find something that is so outrageously awesome that you just can't pass it up. This was one of those things :)


Macho-Macho [Wo]man!

I did this remake last Summer before I started this blog, so I unfortunately don't have any process pictures. But as always I'll try to detail how I transformed this jumpsuit from greasy to glam!

1) First, I washed it. I got it from a flea market, and I'm not sure how they got it, but it was super smelly and dirty. Washing out the grime was half of the transformation!

2) Next, I cut the sleeves and collar off by cutting a straight line just above the pockets on the bust. The zipper conveniently zipped only up to the top of the pockets with a clasp just above, so I didn't have to cut through the metal zipper.

3) I folded and sewed a new hem across the top of the piece in a shallow sweetheart neckline.

4) There were large openings in front of the side pockets, so I sewed them closed.

5) After that I cut over a foot of length off of the legs and took a seam ripper and separated the seams between the legs.

6) I flipped the piece inside out. Then I pinned and sewed the right and left leg inner thigh material together in a straight line down both the front and back of the legs, leaving a slight slit in the front. Because more material is used in pants between the legs, when the seam is removed, the extra material makes a triangular area of excess material when folded. That is what I sewed away and cut off the excess material. This way I have one big hole for a skirt instead of two holes for pant legs.

7) I then folded and sewed a new hem around the bottom of the new skirt.

8) Next, I took it in straight down the back from the waistline to reduce the size. It had a naturally built-in waist which worked well for this project.

9) Then I removed the bust pockets with a seam ripper.

10) For the last part I cut long, thin strips of material from the leftover sleeve material.

11) For each strip, I pinned one end into my carpet to hold it down and twisted the rest of the strip all the way to the end.

12) Then I carefully rolled each twisted strip around itself into a flat rosette. I used different lengths of strips to make different size rosettes. These looked cool because the two sides of the denim we're different shades, so the rosettes were two-toned.

13) I took a needle and thread and hand-sewed straight through the coiled layers of the flat rosettes so they wouldn't come unraveled. The opposite sides of each rosette looked like a spiderweb with all of the stitches!

14) I laid the rosettes across the top hem of the the bust. I positioned the smaller ones toward the center zipper and the larger ones slightly higher to give the illusion of a more defined sweetheart neckline. Then I hand-sewed them in place.

15) Finally, I sewed two remaining rosettes at the center of the waist with a metal floral bead at the center to make that area look a little less mechanical with the heavy-duty zipper and clasps.

I had a lot of free time last Summer, so I made a lot of transformations. Just like the rest, this one was just what the Summer weather ordered!

Here's what it looked like before:

Before: Dirty Denim Jumpsuit

And now after:

After: Strapless Denim Dress

After: From Behind

Close up of the rosettes

I loved this transformation! I really feel like I took it out of the junkyard :) What do you think?

Unfortunately, this is the project that sent my little sewing machine to its death.

RIP Lil' Sew & Sew

It was my first seeing machine, and couldn't stand up to all the denim. Something snapped on the inside that wasn't worth repairing for this kind of machine. I can't believe something so little and simple served me well in so many projects! But losing it made way for me to get a real, full-sized Janome 2212 sewing machine a for my birthday!

Helloooo Janome!

I LOVE my Janome! It actually goes in reverse and has more than one stitch (something Lil' Sew & Sew didn't have)!

I hope you liked this transformation. It's one of my favorites. Unfortunately (or fortunately) I can't wear it anymore because I've slimmed down since Summer and the dress just falls off! I'll have to take it in again. I have another black denim jumpsuit waiting for me in my big bag of transformations, so we'll see soon what I do to that one!


Until next time, blessings.

Friday, March 15, 2013

#28: Not just for babies...

Finally! The project that has taken me all month to finish! So today I've got a kind of different transformation for you. It's the one I've called "interesting," yet very practical for many people. So how is this cute little one related to today's post?

Little cutie!

I'm sure I got many of you here from Facebook eagerly anticipating an announcement of sorts. Now before you go planning baby showers, I'm going to clear the air: no, I'm not *expecting*.

So what the heck does that picture of the baby have to do with anything?

Well, a few weeks back I was musing about how women's busts tend to be natural magnets for spilled food and toothpaste. It's extra lame when you are all dressed and ready to go and you notice a stain on your blouse from breakfast. It's even worse when you have no time to change or clean up.

Sexy spill?

Pause. Ok, seriously? This is the most awkward spilled-food photo ever. How would you caption this photo? Please, let me know in the comments section at the end of this post!

I digress. Anyway, soon after that discussion, I received a request from my grandmother to make.........


.......wait for it......

............... adult bib. Yes. An adult bib.

I <3 my grandma

Now, before you go laughing, think about it. Bibs aren't just for babies. Many people find them useful as they age and they may get arthritis or lose some coordination and may be more prone to food spillage. Similarly, many people with disabilities, various medical conditions, or who have come out of surgery find larger-sized bibs helpful in their rehabilitation. They're great for toddlers during arts and crafts time. I've also heard they are helpful for pregnant women as growing tummies are like a target for spilled food. There is actually an industry for making adult bibs, but they tend to be very bland and boring, and custom bibs can run quite expensive.



Now, if you knew my grandmother, you'd know that she is just as bright and flashy in her style as I am (probably even more so!). So I decided to try my hand at making a slightly more fashionable adult bib (well, as fashionable as they can be!). Let's see how this works....

I wanted to buy as little as possible and utilize what I already had. I recently went through my closet to get rid of a bunch of clothes. Some of the items in the donate pile had wild and crazy patterns that I thought my grandma would like. You may recognize some fabrics, as they are recycled from earlier projects. I then went to the 99 Cent Only store and scoured the kitchen/bathroom section and picked up some towels and a clear shower curtain. 

So many patterns!

Shower curtain

There are many styles of adult bibs, so I drew up a few ideas and made 5 of them, with each slightly different than the others. First, let's start with the simplest bib.

Bib #1:

1) I began with a light purple towel. I folded up a few inches from the bottom to create a crumb pocket at the bottom of the bib, and sewed the sides of the crumb pocket. I also sewed a straight line up the crumb pocket so it wouldn't gap so much.

Crumb pocket

2) Next, I folded the towel in half long-ways and grabbed a 10-inch plate placing it about 9 inches down from the top on the folded side of the towel. I traced it out with pins and cut out the semi-circle space to make a neck hole (the plate may be placed lower if the person has a larger neck).

10-inch plate

New neck hole

3) Then I folded and pinned around the neck hole I had just cut, and did a fake-serge around the edges to keep it from fraying.

Pinned and ready to fake-serge

4) Finally, I squared off the pointy corners around the neck hole and sewed velcro at the cut edges of the neck hole.

Velcro closure

I think this bib turned out pretty well in its simplicity. It is long enough to rest on the lap of the person wearing it to protect from lap spills. It can be thrown in the wash like a regular towel. It also wraps completely around the neck for full coverage and uses velcro for easy, convenient closure.

After: Bib #1

After: Bib #1


Bib #2:

1) The next bib was slightly more intricate. I used a light blue towel and created a crumb pocket the same way as with bib #1.

Folding the crumb pocket

Sewing the crumb pocket

2) Next, I folded and sewed the top corners, cutting off the excess. 


3) I took a piece of contrasting dark blue material saved from this project, folded it over the top of the bib, and sewed it on.

4) Next, I tried out a fancy-schmancy embroidery stitch on my machine to outline the entire bib in contrasting light and dark colors.

Fancy Design

5) I then cut, sewed, and ironed a long strip of dark blue material, sewing one end on the top side of the bib.

Super strip!

Sewing on the neck strap

6) Then I sewed velcro onto the other side of the dark blue strip and the other side of the top of the bib. I put the scratchy side on the strap since it faces out so it wouldn't snag the wearer's clothes.

Velcro on the neck strap

Velcro on the inside of the bib

With a convenient side closure, I had my second towel-bib that is a little more detailed and still machine washable.

After: Bib #2

After: Bib #2


Bibs #3, 4, & 5:

For the next 3 bibs I took it in a different direction. The steps are mostly the same with a few small changes between them.

1) First I took all of the dresses, skirts, and shirts, took them all apart at the seams, and re-sewed them where necessary into separate large, flat sheets of fabric. I also borrowed materials from these three projects.

Before disassembling

Before disassembling

After disassembling and re-sewing

2) Since the materials were all different sizes, I laid all of the materials on top of one another, pinned, and cut all of the materials into equal rectangles.

Stacking fabrics

Cut same size rectangles

3) I wanted to make these bibs reversable, so I laid 2 sheets of coordinating fabric face to face, pinned, and sewed them around the edges leaving a small hole un-sewn.

Inside out pinned fabric

Sewn shut except for a small hole

4) I pulled the rest of the material through the hole so the material was right-side in, and sewed the hole closed.

Pulled the material through

Sew the hole closed

Reversible material

5) Then I tucked the top corners in and sewed them down.

6) I folded the shower curtain in half long-ways, laid the 3 bibs out to make sure they fit, and cut the shower curtain into thirds.

Enough plastic

Cut into thirds

7) With slight variation in the following steps, I placed the bibs between the plastic and folded a crumb pocket on each side.

Folding the crumb pockets

8) I carefully clipped the edges so as not to rip the plastic, and sewed both on and around the edges of the material in the plastic, cutting off the excess plastic.

Sewing the plastic onto the material

9) I pinned and sewed color-coordinating thin ribbon around the edges for better structure and because it looked better than the raw plastic.

Pinning and sewing ribbon

10) 1a) For the first of these bibs I sewed on 2 clear rings at the top of the bib and strung some golden beads through them that could be hung on both sides.

Clear ring

Beaded necklace

    1b) Then I sewed a short strip of material around the each loop.

Sewing another strip

Sewed around the loop

     1c) Then I sewed velcro at the edges of the 2 strips to close the bib around the neck.


     2a) For the second one I used the waist sashes taken from the original dress and sewed them on as halter neck straps to tie in a bow.

Sash ties

     2b) I sewed 2 strips of thinner off-white beads on both sides at the neckline.


     3a) For the third I also used the waist straps from the original skirt and sewed them on as straps.

More sash ties

     3b) I sewed 2 separate beaded necklaces of coordinating colors to either side of the bib.

Beaded necklace

I like the idea of a plastic-covered bib because it means any spillage can be simply wiped or rinsed away. Ideally I could have used some patterned vinyl material and it would have been a lot simpler, but like I said before, I wanted to utilize what I already had.

I like that I was able to feature all the patterns and colors that made the bibs less boring. The beads not only add a bit of flair, since they are also plastic, they can be rinsed just like the rest of the plastic bib cover.

Here are the final results of these 3 bibs:

After: Bib #3

After: Bib #3 (I forgot to pull the necklace over)

After: Bib #4

After: Bib #4

After: Bib #5

After: Bib #5 (The dark blue didn't show so well)

They look big in the photos, but my grandmother is larger than I am, so they should fit her well.

Now she'll be ready for dinner, brushing her teeth, or whatever other messy things she gets her hands on. And since 3 of the bibs are reversible, it's like having 6! Add the 2 towel-bibs and my grandma should have a new bib for every day of the week with one more just in case! I'll try to see if I can get a picture with her wearing one for a future post : )

Homemade thin crust pizza and salad. Ready for the mess!

Brushy brushy!

So now I hope you see that bibs aren't just for babies, and can really be valuable for many adults. Plus, they don't have to be bland and embarrassing, but can be a fun fashion statement!

After a month of interruptions and working on this project, I'm sure glad to be done with this project. I'm excited to start my new job in a few days, so I really didn't want to have any projects lingering.

I hope you found this post interesting. If nothing else, at least you know these exist in case they can be useful for you or anyone you know.

Until next time, blessings : )