Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Time to Vote! The "Hand-me-down" Challenge!

Shaffer Sisters - Undiscovered Beauty

Growing up our mom had barrel of clothes that would get passed from one sister to the next. Each sister would pair outfits differently taking the clothing to all different styles (some more fashionable than others). Now as adults in dressing our own families recycled fashion has become our bread and butter; we like it that way too. When we go "fabric shopping" you can find us at the thrift store morphing our design idea as we troll through the isles to select the perfect fabric. There is something about selecting something cast off and forgotten, then morphing it into something refreshed and beautiful.

The fabric from this project came from a knee length women's cocktail dress & lace table cloth. The dress is a modified Candy Castle Princess Dress. The bodice pattern pieces were modified pieced and ruched to help utilize every available scrap.  The full length of the chiffon over skirt on the original dress was used with hand embroidered chain stitch pickups. The lining of the dress was cropped and hemmed at the appropriate length. The lace shrug was self drafted to compliment the dress and provide for additional modesty. For additional details about the outfit or phootshoot head over to our blog.

imagine gnats--take it slow

take it slow title photo
this week's challenge is all about creative reuse, which is a thing near and dear to my heart. I spent a lot of time thinking about how to approach this particular challenge. do I cut apart an old dress from the back of the closet, find something fabulous at the thrift store, rework a previously sewn garment? in the end, it was some well-timed inspiration from the amazing Alabama Chanin that sent me searching for ill fitting knit garments in my own closet. what I found were two long-sleeved t-shirts in shades of blue and one pair of heathered grey leggings that never did fit quite right, and what I did with them... well, it wasn't something I ever expected I would do!

take it slow collage 1
as I tried out techniques for the reverse applique, I found myself enjoying the time I spent stitching and really feeling a wonderful connection to my work. I thought of the Slow Sewing Series from Sew, Mama, Sew and Carolyn Friedlander's Slow Sewing Studio, about mindfulness, and I decided that the entire outfit - yes, the hat, dress, and even leggings - was meant to be sewn completely by hand. I did not once use a sewing machine in the making of this outfit. in fact, even the muslins I made for the dress and hat were sewn by hand. for me, this look combines modern aesthetics and traditional techniques in a way that celebrates making, much like the mindfulness of creative reuse. take it slow collage 2c
stop by my blog, imagine gnats, to read more about the details of this outfit and see which patterns I used. and don't forget to vote!
Spiegelstiksels--Upcycling for Autumn

I had a lot of fun designing and sewing for this week’s theme. Never before had I sewn an upcycled outfit and at first I really didn’t have a clue where to begin. A trip to the thrift store however gave me enough inspiration to start with. The best find was a dress that could be turned into a cute skirt. For this skirt I cut into the bottom half of the dress and selected the most flowery part of it. I pleated this part of the fabric and just played a bit until I found the best way to shape the pleats. I had a lot of doubts over the blouse. A bottle green shirt matched beautifully with the flowers of the skirt. But, it was silk. Yes, silk for a 6 year old is not very smart, don’t you think? Plus, the shirt was not very big and had an ugly pocket sewn on. But the drape of the silk was so beautiful! My daughter also loved it big time, so I couldn’t resist. I started by carefully removing the pocket flap and then washed the shirt to see what would happen. After ironing, the holes of the stitches had al disappeared and the silk was still in the best shape. So then I removed the pocket and washed and ironed the shirt again. The drape of the silk made the type of blouse I wanted pop up in my head very quickly. Maybe you recognize the pattern I used for this. It’s the Apple Picking Dress by Oliver+S. I shortened the bodice pattern and adjusted it for a smaller placket. Then I added extra width for the right front piece to make it a blind placket.

The cape has been on my to-do-list for a few weeks, but I didn’t really find the time to draft and make it. It’s made out of a maxi wool skirt in navy blue. I made a few muslins during the past weeks to get the basic shape the way I wanted it. I put a lot of effort in the shape of seams around the shoulder, as I wanted the cape to have an opening for the arms. It was only last weekend that I really did start making the actual cape, so some night sewing was involved. The pocket flaps, the lining and the buttons are repurposed from the original skirt. I’m very glad I persisted because I really love the result. I drew it from scratch and I’m very proud of how it came out.

I hope you love this outfit as much as I do. If you want to see more pictures, head over to the blog!

Lily Shine Boutique--Timeless Treasure
Wahoo for Week 2! I am still in a bit of shock and awe at Week 1's results, and am beyond grateful to be a part of this adventure! If you remember from my post in week 1, I began prepping for the contest while visiting family back in Michigan. My mom is a great collector who has held on to some amazing items from our family to pass on to me when we moved back near home. I was blessed to acquire mounds of lace tablecloths, placemats, doilies, and such, handed down from generation to generation. My mom also kept a jewelry box full of unique, treasured clip-on earrings, broaches, pins, cuff links, and various trinkets from family members who have passed. I wanted to create an outfit that would be an heirloom ensemble for my daughter to cherish forever, but wear today. In creating my own high-waisted suspender skirt pattern, I layered strips of varied lace linens: crocheted, needled, embroidered, and more, all aged in shades of ivory, cream, gold and antiqued white. I used a pillowcase to create the straps for the suspenders and waistband for the skirt. I used a window valance as an underskirt for fullness and structure.

But, I couldn't just create a skirt so I set out to find something that would be the perfect upcycle to make into a top. I came across this muumuu style night gown at a second hand shop and it had the most perfect under-layer of lavender stripes. I started with Violette Field Thread's Pattern for the Josephine Blouse. I wanted the top to be nice and slim so it wouldn't bubble over the high waistband of the skirt, so I slimmed the silhouette. I omitted the ruffle detail down the button placket to keep the top simple and clean. I took the waist sash piece, extended it and used it for a necktie instead. I also rounded the tips of the collar. Who knew a muumuu could be so cute? Now, I know you've been waiting to hear about the shoes. Those.Shoes. My mom's jewelry box was full of treasured trinkets, most of which she told me were from her Aunt Margie. She said that Margie would wear a new outfit each day, loved clothes, jewelry, shopping and the sunshine. I'm pretty sure if we had met, we would have been best friends! I fixed each pin, broach, earring, tie tack, and trinket to the shoes (recognize them from last week's look?) and used the trim of the muumuu to make ruffled boot socks. There are trinkets dated back to the 20s in the collection, and many of the lace linens were from the same era. To think that Kenzie's ensemble is composed of items handed down in my family for over 90 years makes this week's entry truly a Timeless Treasure. PRP2_collage
Photo credit: Hailey Faria Photography
Compagnie M.-- The Grey Shirt Dress
The "Hand-me-down" makeover! My personal favourite theme in this Project Run & Play season. Every time I walk through the thrift store, I see up-cycling projects everywhere. I can never leave without buying something! ;) For this week's challenge I choose to sew a dress from a dull grey man's shirt. My personal mission: using all typical elements of this shirt in my new garment. Next to this challenge, I tried not to use new pattern pieces: I recycled all pattern pieces in this dress from my own patterns. Nothing new added!
This is basically what I did: I kept the collar that's now a little bit oversized. I did shorten the shoulder seams. Used the bodice of my Lotta dress and added a skirt (this one is just as wide as the fabric). I placed the Louisa sleeve on the lower part of the shirt's sleeve, but turned it in order to position the closure at the top. The sleeve was too wide, so I've sewn a dart to make it exactly as wide as my pattern piece. Didn't want to take of the cuffs, since I tried to sew as less new seams as possible. I added my new sleeve to the dress and closed the side seam! Easy as that. To turn this dress into a fashionable garment, I added in-seam pockets (again from my Lotta dress) and a small belt sewn from a more colourful fabric. Recycled from an old skirt from Essentiel (a Belgian fashion brand).
To accentuate what I did, I topstitched all new seams with some 'Compagnie-m-yellow' thread. I didn't just top-stitch, but did it in a very 'unusual' way. I started at the hem, then moved upwards at the side seam, at once, I did the sleeve and then went downwards again to the back hem. I've sewn all the way to the other side and repeated these steps. Without stopping I top-stitched all new seams! My personal signature to this up-cycling project. This yellow is the main colour also of the little cardigan. I just copied the curve of my own Julia sweater to cut the sleeves. To make the outfit complete, I've sewn some super cute leg warmers that I made from the sleeves. Both recycled from an old cardigan of mine. Lisa's first reaction when she saw this cardigan: Now I have the same one as you! Too small to realise that it was actually mine! Super cute! :)
I have more pictures and a detailed tutorial on my blog to show you how I made this outfit: hop over to Compagnie M!

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  1. the poll isn't working and there is two time spiegelstiksels, but no entry for lily shine boutique...

  2. There is no "Lily Shine Boutique voting area. What happened? I want to vote for her and there is no place to vote for her. Thanks, Pam Coughlin

  3. Still not working at 7:56 am CST ;) These all look fabulous! How can I choose only one!?! ;)

  4. The poll is now open and fixed! We will keep the poll open for an extra hour for the hour it was closed this morning ;)

  5. so much talent. Amazing upcycles!

  6. well done!!! love the tee shirts by imagine gnats!! looks totally different from her last entry :D

  7. Wow. You guys! This is way too hard!!!

  8. How in the world do I choose just one! I'm blown away!

  9. Lovely pieces.. Going with Lilly Shine Botique! Gorgeous !!

  10. Such beautiful creative garments. I'm having a dickens of a time deciding who to vote for. I vote that they all win... and I want a post at a later date about how those trinkets were glued/attached to those shoes.

  11. Throwing out some kudos for the gorgeously paired outfit by Spiegelstiksels. It's so sophisticated and although I agree that silk for a 6yr old is a toughie- it's stunning in it's drape and color!

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  13. Spiegelstiksels--Upcycling for Autumn
    Naturally, I am very excited for my daughters to be competing in Project Run and Play and am cheering for their continued success, but I just need to let you know I also love your beautiful Autumn ensemble. It is very artistic!

  14. OH, MY . . . I'm seeing all the LOVE sewn into these "HAND-ME-DOWN" challenge (Project RUN and PLAY) girls' outfits! Creative, clever & colorful outfits. I voted earlier today, but returned to type a comment. I'm anxious to see the next couple week's creations in this FAB challenge for sewists. . . and the WINNER! Good luck to everyone this week. Sarah in Minneapolis

  15. Love, love, love the grey shirtdress!


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