Sunday, April 21, 2013

#33: Floral AND Frills!

Hey y'all! So, the weather's been confusing me lately. Though I enjoy the sun, I'm wondering what ever happened to "April showers brings May flowers." Even in sunny Southern California there's usually some early spring rain, but instead it has been rather warm and super dry. Well, since it's getting warmer, I thought I'd work on a warm-weather piece. I actually began this transformation last Summer, but I wasn't satisfied with the result, so I put it away to give it another shot. Time to pull it back out of my big bag of projects!

Before: Unflattering frills!

Before: Built-in beads

It had a nice, Spring-y floral feel, but the added chest frills, too-short under slip, and built-in beads didn't belong in any season. So I tried to make this a bit more practical. Armed with my strawberry lemonade and Netflix, my self-care Sunday commenced.

Strawberry lemonade and Last of the Mohicans

The first things to go were those 4 strings of chest beads.


Next I had to tame those chest frills. Removing them completely wasn't a good option because underneath looked too thin and plain. Instead, I pinned and sewed them down at the bottom edges.

Sewing down the frills

I liked the way this framed the bust of the piece.

Sewn down frills

Next, I took a long strip of blue scrap material I had handy and sewed it at the waist seam between the top of the piece and the skirt. I chose blue because it matched some of the little blue flowers in the skirt and provided some nice contrast to the pale yellow.

I first sewed the top of strip upside down to hide the seam.

Upside down blue strip

Then I flipped the strip down and sewed the bottom.

Sewing the bottom of the strip

The dress was too long to be a shirt, but too short to comfortably be a dress, so I decided to go the shirt route and cut about 6 inches from the bottom of both layers of the dress.

Cut cut cut!

I folded and sewed new bottom hems for the under slip and the outer shell. I also took the outer shell in a bit on both sides.

I like when I can utilize most of my project materials, so I grabbed 2 of those strings of chest beads and a piece of thin elastic.

Beads and elastic

I sewed one end of the elastic to the ends of both strings of beads.

Bead ends sewn to the elastic

Then I fitted it around my head, cut the elastic, and sewed the other ends of the beads and elastic together.

Wham, bam, homemade headband!

Beaded headband

After taming the frills and re-purposing the chest beads, I had a new, fresh piece that was a little more practical and fashionable than before. Here's a reminder of before:

Before: Frilly beaded floral dress

And here's the new look:

After: Less-frilly floral shirt

After: From behind

Plus the headband!

After: Beaded elastic headband (and super straight hair part!)

I doubt this will be a keeper for my closet, but I think it's a good upgrade for whoever wears it next! And it's nice to finish a project I started over half a year ago :)

I hope there is some more rain on the forecast soon. I'd like to have at least one more chance to cozy up with my blanket and some hot cocoa before it's time for popsicles and swimming pools!

And I'm REALLY excited about the next transformation on my list. Here's a sneak peek:

Next time on New Dreams for Old Seams....

Until next time, blessings.

Monday, April 15, 2013

#32: Shiny Purple Shorts!

Hello again! I'm loving my new job, but I feel like it has been AGES since I've sewn! I was glad to have a nice Sunday off, and took the opportunity to paint my fingernails and sew (I'd recommend doing those in the reverse order. So much smudging). I dug through my big bag of projects and pulled out this puppy!

Before: Shiny purple shorts!

I found them at my favorite thrift store a few months ago for one dollar. I already had a transformation in mind when I picked them up. Let's see if my vision came to be!

First, I separated the seam between the legs of the shorts with a seam ripper.

Split shorts

Then I sewed away the inner thigh material and cut off the excess so it was like a skirt.

Sewing away the inner thigh material

Shiny purple skirt

Next, I cut a large slit just underneath the elastic waistline on each side, leaving half of the elastic connected on both sides.

Cutting under the elastic waistline

Then I folded it flat so that the 2 cut parts were on the sides. These were becoming new shoulder straps.

Slit shoulder straps

I sewed the piece straight down the sides, then I laid the piece flat and cut off the excess material I had sewn. I kept those 2 side panels for later.

Cut off the sides

I measured and sewed the new shoulder straps to adjust for length, cutting off the excess. Then I fake-serged around all the edges to keep them from fraying.

Sewing the shoulder straps

I took in the sides to give it a little more shape, but not too much to be clingy. Then I folded and sewed a new hem for the underarms on each side. I also darted both sides just under to bust to give it more shape.

Side darts under the bust

It's time to make some flowers. First I grabbed those 2 side panels I had cut off and cut out multiple circles in descending size (no need to be perfect with this).

Shiny circles

Then I took the circles and cut wavy edges (again, no need to be perfect).

Wavy edges

I stacked the wavy shapes on top of each other from largest to smallest, setting aside the smallest shape.

Stacked wavy shapes

I hand-sewed a small "X" pattern in the center of the stack of shapes, pulling tightly so it would bunch up.

Hand-sewing the flower

Then I took the smallest shape, folded it in half twice, and sewed it into the center of the bunched flower. 

Bunched wavy flower

I found a great tutorial for a felt scarf with these kind of flowers on Pinterest. I made 2 of them.

Two wavy flowers

I pinned the flowers at the base of the upper right strap. Then I sewed them on carefully so they wouldn't lose their waviness.
Wavy flowers pinned and sewn

Finally, my new blouse was complete! 

Here again is how it looked before the transformation: 

Before: Big shiny purple shorts

And here's my new blouse!

After: Shiny purple blouse

After: From behind

I like the way the elastic waistband lent itself to a nice wide neckline. And I love the bit of fair the shoulder flowers add to it.

It's very light and comfortable, and when I pair it with a flowy cover, I feel very therapist-y in it; perfect for my job!

After: Covered all therapist-like

I hope you like how this one turned out as much as I did! Let me know what you think in the comments section below! I'm looking forward to working on my next project soon :)

And my thoughts and prayers go out to all of those affected by the bombing at the Boston Marathon. Peace be with us all.

Until next time, blessings.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

#31: She Wore Blue Velvet

So my brain has been on overdrive trying too learn everything at my new job. Just one more day until the weekend....

In the meantime as I try to figure out what my next project will be (and when to sit down and do it), I'd like to share with you one of my favorite projects from the Summer.

Before: Blue Velvet Dress

Before: from behind

I found this blue velvet dress for a few bucks while thrifting with a friend. I almost left without it, but this was one of those pieces so outrageous that I had to have it. It was calling my name! Problem was, it was way too small for me. Making a big dress smaller is easy, but making a too-small dress larger is a challenge. Good thing I'm up for a challenge!

The first thing I did was flip this dress around so the zipper was in the front. Then I completely removed the zipper. This left the whole front open.

Goodbye zipper

Next, I cut off half of the skirt. To make the piece wider, I cut straight down the center of the new back to the built-in waist. I used a piece of the skirt I had just cut off to create a center panel and sewed it into the back, keeping the dipped waistline.

New center panel down the back

I needed to add more space around the arms, so I added a small piece of fabric at each shoulder. I also added a diamond-shaped patch at the underarm seams.

Inside diamond patch

Outside diamond patch

I also sewed away some of the excess material below the waistline on both sides so it wouldn't billow out so far, but the wavy waist hid the seams well.

Camouflaged seams

I also hemmed the bottom of the piece so it dipped widely in the back.

Dipped bottom hem

Now that I had widened the piece and given it a foundational shape, it's time to embellish with details.

I cut and hemmed a rectangular piece of the skirt I had cut off and did a straight stitch across the top of the square, pulling it taut to scrunch it.

Scrunched material

Then I hand-stitched the scrunched side upside down to the dipped waistline on the back.

Sewed to the back waistline

I flipped the section down.

Next, I used my handy trick of taking 2 large buttons and painting them gold with fingernail polish.

Gold-painted buttons

Once dried, I sewed the 2 gold buttons at the corners of the scrunched rectangular flap.

Gold buttons and flap

Almost done! I took 2 smaller buttons and painted them light blue with fingernail polish and sewed them to the front at the waistline.

Blue buttons

I sewed another thin blue strip and cut 2 slits for the buttons (this was when I had my old machine that didn't have a button-hole sewing feature).

Button hole strip

Connecter strip

This strip also helped with the width of the piece.

After the cutting, painting, and stitching, the piece was finally done!

The before dress totally had me singing "Be our guest! Be our guest!", and the after transformation had me singing it even more. Here again is the before photo:

Before: Blue Velvet Dress

And here's the after transformation:

After: Blue Velvet Jacket

After: From behind

After: From the side

It was part Beauty and the Beast, part Frankenstein's monster with all the patching and panels going on. I hadn't learned of serging or anti-fray liquid when I made this jacket, so the inside of the jacket looks kind of like a raw mess, but at least the outside looks good! I can go back and fix this later.

Tale as old as time....

When I first wore it, a woman walking down the street started singing "She wore blue velvet." I think she liked it. At least I do ;)

"She wore blue velvet"

I hope you liked it! I'm glad I was able to get creative and make it wider.

As I get more settled into my work routine, I hope to find more time to work on new projects. By the way, here's a reminder about the Pasadena Dance Festival that I'll be teaching at on April 27th. Click here for more info!

Until next time, blessings!