Monday, November 29, 2010

I love Mail :)

I got a package in the mail the other day... just what I have been waiting for!  My order from arrived, complete with the rest of the supplies I needed to finish the chair upholstery.  I'm such a geek for snail mail and packages (yes, it was still exciting even though I knew it was coming :)  )

Muslin, tack strips, and the much awaited foam cutter.  I also got some buttons to hold the fabric covered buttons I will be making onto the chair.  I thought about re-using the buttons that were hidden inside the chair before... but thought they were pretty neat (and antique) so I bought some cheap-o's to use instead. 

Oh, and I also ordered some other buttons... I have no idea what I'll use them for at this time, I just thought they were cute.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


My sewing room is pretty cluttered and it finally got some of the attention it deserved!  I got around to organizing my fabric and scraps, and have them hidden away in an armoire.  My other crafting supplies still needs some work, but this is a start.

Small pieces of fabric, thread, machine accessories, etc. on the top shelf.
Large pieces of fabric, patterns (in larger envelopes) and a binder cataloging my patterns on the bottom shelf.

Originally I put a small, old school TV inside the armoire, thinking I could watch while I sew (which I prefer) but it was too heavy and sagging the shelf a bit.  Rather than bothering with reinforcement, I figured it'd be a good place to store supplies.  So far, I'm happy with the storage space... I imagine my opinion would change if we got cable TV :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

teal dress... "finished" but then torn apart

So that teal dress I was making... I thought it was done, then I tried it on and wasn't really feeling it.  (I especially didn't like the bulky attachment of the bodice to the skirt)  So, I took most of it apart, and am going to try another look! 

Here is what it looked like... for about a day :)


Here's what the back looked like at one point... the side seam is a pretty awful site here.

This dress is taken apart and will be re-worked into hopefully something more flattering.  Now that it's torn apart... I'm kind of regretting it...  We'll see what turns out next though!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Fabric for chairs

I'm still waiting for tack strips and a foam cutter to come in the mail before I can continue on the chairs, but hubby and I did find fabric! 

The fabric we'll be using on the chairs is on the back of the couch.  This couch, pillow, wall color, and grey carpet was what we were trying to blend with. 

Before adding the batting and new fabric, I used wood filler to fill in the old nail and staple holes.

We're going to use the batting for the back rest of the chairs, and the foam cushions for the seat.  The foam is pretty close to the right size, but it needs to have a curved front.  We also got burlap, which will replace the old stuff to protect the cushions from the springs.  (there is another layer of something that protected the old cushion from the springs, which we will re-use) 

Friday, November 19, 2010

the start of a teal dress

The teal fabric from this post is getting put to use.  I'm attempting to make a dress, and here is the start of it:

The start of the bodice.  I'm thinking a one shouldered, sleeveless dress right now.

The plan for the back of the dress right now... (I'm kind of thinking of another horizontal band, to cut up some of the open space on the right side)

My attempt at making a back panel for the dress, with a continuous edging for the front, angled part of the dress.

Chair upholstery update:  I ended up having to order a couple of things for the chairs, and am just waiting for the supplies to get here!  Hopefully I can get back to those soon.... our living room is completely taken  over by the project :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tutorial - taking chair apart to reupholster pt 2

In the first post about reupholstering chairs I showed the seat portion completely dissected. Now, lets take a look at the back rest of the chair:

Here's the underside of the chairs back rest. As you can see, nail removal is not even close to complete!

Ah, the fabric on the back of the chair was beautifully hand stitched on, covering many more nails :)

Here we see the panels of the fabric (which hopefully I can duplicate) and where the buttons are attached.

Almost got it, except the tack strips (which were the easiest part to remove)

Fabric removal = DONE (well, on one chair that is, hubby still has some left on his chair :) )

Next step: Measuring the panels of fabric that were removed, and picking out new fabric!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Tutorial - taking chair apart to reupholster pt 1

About a year ago, my Grandparents offered these beautiful, old chairs to me since I had recently purchased a house and didn't have anywhere to sit! They suggested that I either have them reupholstered, or have a go at it myself because the fabric on the chairs was worn and a little dirty (I thought they looked great). I'm finally getting a chance to work on them, and am really excited! (oh, and I've never done this before, so things may get interesting...)

I don't know how many yards of fabric I'll need, so I'm removing the old stuff first to make measurements. Then it's time to pick out fabric. Thanks to the beagle destroying one of our couch cushions in the room the chairs will be in, I have a nice, large fabric swatch to match to new fabric. (Beagle is banned from the living room now, so the couch, and chairs can rest easy)

Here we go:

This comfy, goldenrod chair was actually reupholstered by my Grandparents back in the day (not sure when) So they did give me some tips :)

Here's the duo, before

This is what the bottoms of the chairs look like

Separated into the seat and backrest

There were TONS of nails holding the fabric on, and by tons, I mean the cushion portion of the chair I worked on had approximately 220 little nails, and a couple dozen staples.

I thought this was really neat: you can see an old nail with a few strands of red fabric on it. It makes me believe the chair was red before my Grandparents reupholstered it. (I wonder if it was a solid color or patterned?)

I thought that little nail and extra strands of fabric was so neat, I purposely left a nail in nearby with a few strands of the yellow fabric I was removing. Maybe it will be a surprise for the next person :)

The cushion fabric removed from the wood, then there was burlap and padding above the springs.

This was written on the curved part of the frame of the seat, I thought it was cool. I'm not sure what it says though.

Here's the cleaned off seat frame of the first chair

I started removing the fabric from the back rest but didn't finish it, hopefully that will be done soon! Hubby is simultaneously working on the other chair.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Attempt to fix bleach spots on shirt: part II

In case you missed it here is part I of my attempt to fix bleach spots on a shirt

To try to save a bleach spotted shirt, I first used Rit color remover to even out the shirts color.
I used the solution for the minimum recommended time due to the decals on the shirt.  I've heard sometimes those come off with the dye too, but have no experience with this.

Here it the front of my shirt after the color remover: 

Sort of a weird yellow color, but for the most part the coloring is even, which is good.  (hmmm maybe I should have left it this way?  Nah)

Here is the back of the shirt after the color remover:

There still is a fair amount of mismatched coloring in the center, but it's better than it was.  I think the color would have blended more if I left the color remover on for more than 10 minutes.

Everything looked good to move forward onto the redying step.

But then, things didn't work out as well as I had hoped.  I believe this was largely due to user error.

What did I do wrong?


I didn't have another container suitable to dye fabric in, and decided this pot (now designated for this purpose only) would be ok if I kept stirring the shirt.

No.  The pot was too small.  Not all of the shirt was covered with dye at any given time, and pockets formed in the shirt creating an uneven dye pattern.  Stirring was hard to do, at least when trying to get things even. 

The images below aren't very accurate as the shirt is still slightly wet from the wash.  So some of the darker areas are water.  BUT, as you can see a nice little spot right in the center of the shirt needing dye.  There definitely are several uneven patches that remained on the shirt after it dried.

Again, a large amount of the dark portions of the shirt are due to it still being slightly wet.  However, there are definite areas needing more dye.  They're kind of wrinkly looking patches.

The areas of the shirt that did not pick up dye for the most part were not the same areas that were affected by bleach.  I think this would have worked well, had I used a bigger dying bucket.

Where does this leave the shirt?

I am not giving up on this thing yet.  I bought a 5 gal bucket (and lid) and some more dye.  I decided I didn't want to do the color remover again.... but now think I will to have a fresh start.  So, I'll have to pick that up sometime and try this again!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Attempt to fix bleach spots on shirt: part I

Normally I don't get too bothered by a stubborn stain, or bleach spot that ruins a shirt (or other clothing). I generally make the stained or bleached item into something else, use it as a "dirty work" shirt/pants/whatever, or retire it.

However, I got a shirt as a souvenir on my honeymoon, and only wore it one time before bleach spots tried to end its existence.  I was really disappointed, and couldn't bring myself to part with the shirt, or make it into something else, so I'm trying my best to do something to preserve it.  (I usually don't use bleach in the laundry, for this very reason.... but I figured "just this one time")

This is what happened to my shirt:

Oh, that's not soooooo bad..... but, it gets worse, check out the back of the shirt:

So, in an attempt to fix this shirt and "rid it of bleach spots" I am trying a multiple step undying, redying process.

First, I used 1 pack of Rit Color Remover and followed the directions carefully.  I went the stove top route and now have a big pot (don't worry, it was an old one!) and long wooden spoon dedicated to fabric dying projects in the future.

**This shirt does not have a listing of fabric content... and I've heard many people complain about not having success with the color remover, or fabric dying process, so whatever happens good or bad to my shirt might not be what would happen in another situation.**

This is what my shirt looked like after 10 minutes on the stove (the package stated you should do this process from anywhere between 10-30 minutes)  There are a couple of decals on the shirt I didn't want to risk being removed with the dye, so I chose to error on the low end of the dye removal time and stopped at this time. 

Next, I rinsed the shirt and put it in the washer. 

The main point of this process was to even out the colors, so when I attempt to redye the fabric, it should be an even color, without the bleach spot areas being lighter than the rest.
Up next: trying to redye it.  I chose the Olive Green Rit dye, since I think (short of mixing dye colors) it would be the closest match to the original color of the shirt.

Click here to check out step II of my attempt to fix bleach spots

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

New fabrics!

Hubby and I made a trip to Jo-Ann's, and had some success! (after striking out in our town... we went to a cute little sewing store, but it turned out to just be a repair place, they didn't sell supplies)

These probably will not be used together. Hubby picked out the red material on the left, so I'll probably make something for him out of it. I picked out the fabric on the right. It's kind of "loud" but I like it. I planned on getting 2 yards and had the option to buy the rest of the bolt for 50% off... I'm always a sucker for that and 9 times out of 10 will get the extra fabric. (especially if I don't have a pattern picked out) Right now I'm picturing a tube dress and possibly a shirt out of this material.

Hubby spotted this gem. We debated on whether or not to get it, but decided it would make cute curtains so we ended up getting 2 yards. (the white fabric is a remnant I plan on using to line the curtains)

I really like this material. It has a slight texture and looks like it would drape nicely. I'm thinking either a dressy top, or a dress with this fabric.

I was so excited about all of the fabric we found that I forgot to see what types they were... or washing instructions, oops! But, I wash all of my fabrics before using them, and they all washed up nicely. (this time!)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Halloween costumes 2010

I'm finally getting back into the swing of things... and now have a chance to post about our Halloween costumes this year.

Wizard of Oz Halloween costumes

Hubby and I went downtown to a Halloween party, and of course, had to leave the tin man (our dog) and the scarecrow (our cat) behind. When we got there, everyone was staring at us... and we weren't really sure why. Then we figured it out. There were 2 ladies across the room, one dressed as the Tin man and the other as the Scarecrow! They had been in search of Dorothy and the Lion all night... what are the odds of that? And, that there wasn't a duplicate?

Anyways, the costumes:

Dorothy's costume

Click to see Dorothy costume before changes (the only other thing the pattern called for is 2 buttons, which I did sew on later)

I used McCall's pattern M4948 for the Dorothy costume, but made a few changes.
#1 Adding pockets to the dress (these always come in handy!)
#2 Having the checkered fabric and straps continue onto the back of the dress, instead of being like an apron
#3 Adding a waistband in the checkered material

Dorothy Halloween costume McCalls M4948, with some changes
Back of Dorothy costume (Ingrid: my dress form, wanted to model the back of the costume, but she's a little bigger than I am... so I couldn't zip it up. Here is a wrinkly look at the back of the dress. All of the checkered fabric above the waist, is what I added to the back)

In addition to the dress made from this pattern, I cut 2 satin ribbons to tie in my hair, wore bright red lipstick, bought a "Toto in a basket" from the Halloween store, and of course, wore the bright red Dorothy shoes (from Walmart). The Toto in a basket also doubled as a purse.

The Lions costume

This was made from McCall's pattern M6106. The only changes I made were to use boas instead of longer "fake fur" fabric for the lions mane and tail (I skipped the longer fur accents around the arms and legs also). I believe it took five, six foot boas to make the mane the way it was. (with a little extra left over) I also added "pad" details to the mittens.

These blog posts show more details:
Lion paw costume details
Making the Lion's mane

Changes I WOULD make, if I made it again, or it was re worn in the future:

#1 Add pockets, or at least slits so the pockets to your pants could be accessible through the costume. (I don't know why I didn't think about pockets for this costume, since I put them in the other one)
#2 Make the mane go further down the back of the costume. We thought the mane was a bit overboard... but when hubby put the costume on, we both agreed we could have added much more to it.

**WARNING** as hubby experienced, having a big mane as part of your costume attracts people to "pet" your head. The costume overall was also very warm, which could be good, or bad... depending on where you are.

Tin Man & Scarecrow
These are the hats our pets wore for their costumes. Tin man also had a silver collar cover. For the scarecrow, I should have sewn some yarn strands or something on the hat... but the cat really didn't wear it (for more than a couple pictures by herself) I just made her hat for fun.