Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Reinventing Evening Gowns and other stuff

In my dreams!!!!!!

Have you ever had a dress that you would love to fit into again?  Don't you wish you could fit into your rehearsal dinner dress once more or that little black dress that is a wallflower in your closet?  Me!

But, I cut up my rehearsal dinner dress quite a few years ago and put it into a patchwork quilt.  Gone.

And then there was my vintage purple gown that I wore to one of the first Maine College of Art Auctions.  It was gorgeous with black velvet on the bodice and deep purple vintage satin and full length.  Back when I was ultra thin.

Wouldn't we give our right leg to be that thin again?  Well, after giving birth to multiple children, we know that can never happen.  Unless we are driven to a passion of major workouts.  But even after doing that, we many times still never see that day again.

But if you still have that dress in your closet, there still is hope.  For one thing, if you want it to look exactly as it was, you could take it to a seamstress who knows what they are doing and have them alter it to fit you.  That would be if you want the original on you just as it was many years ago.

But, if you have the dress and decide that you want to change the whole thing, that can work too.  Or what if you have found a few gorgeous dresses that don't fit you but you would like to change things so it will fit you?  Go for it.

Recently a few weeks ago, I bought three evening gowns for a few bucks a piece and decided to list them for a few bucks more on EBay.  They didn't sell.  I re listed a red one that didn't sell, but I didn't re list the other two.

This one I think I will be able to wear more often either by itself or over some leggings I have.  And that's another future project to knit.  I bought a cheap pattern for adult leggings on Ravelry.  That's an awesome site by the way.  This is the skirt that I am knitting the i-cord for.

This one I forgot to talk about.  This was a shirt I bought at a yard sale and listed it.  I tried about three or four times to sell it.  Also thinking that it was too small for me.  Well, today as I looked at the shirt, I knew that the sleeves were stretchy enough for me and wasn't sure if it would fit around the waist.  It ended up fitting.  Well, originally the neckline was higher.  I don't like a high neckline.  I feel like it is choking me for some reason.  And I tend to like my stuff a little lower and more revealing.  But not too low!
I slowly cut around the front to get the new neckline and then sewed along the edge.  I cut up the top of a different pink top too.

                     The tulle skirt.  There is a satin under layer that I will sew the crochet edging to.

They were a size three/four or 5/6 and I'm more like a 14/16.  The material on these two dresses were gorgeous.  One is this glittery gold material and the other was a gorgeous tan lace on the top and tulle on the bottom.

I knew I was going to cut these up, and I did.  Last night I worked on my first skirt and I tried it on this morning for the girls and it fits!  All it needs is a cool i-cord drawstring to put through the top and I can cinch it tight.

Then, this morning, I started cutting up the lace dress.  Part of the lace I have saved for a potential apron to wear over stuff and some headbands.  And there are some pieces of the fabric that the girls will get to have when they come home today.  They will want it to make dresses for their Webkinz.

I have one bag that they can have whatever they want for fabric.  It's full of scraps from outfits and other stuff.  But they have to ask me on my good fabric.  Then, I am in charge of cutting them a piece.

They had a fight over this leopard stretch fabric that I had given Julia last night.  She wanted my bigger piece that is for a headband.  But I had given her this thinner strip.  Well, Mollyanne had it around her wrist this morning and wouldn't give it back to Julia.  Of course Julia has that high pitched shriek that bugs the crap out of me.  And sometimes it's hard to get her to stop.

So after they had calmed down, I pulled the other piece that I have destined for another headband.  One for me and one to sell.  I ended up cutting another thin strip from that one to give to Mollyanne.  One headband will just end up being thinner than the other.

So anyway, you can always change an outfit.

One thing to know is that the skirt or dress that you plan to cut is most of the time thicker towards the bottom.  So chances are, you can get it to fit you.  Anything can be altered.

These are quite simple to do.  All you do is get your skirt or dress, and decide where you want to cut it.  Cut about one inch above where you actually plan to cut, just in case you mess up.  You want to keep in mind that you will be folding over the top of the fabric to where you are going to sew your seam

With the first skirt, the metallic one, I decided to cut a little above where all the pleats and seams were.  Then I began to fold it over and started sewing along the inside of the top.  I'm not doing anything to the bottom of this one.  The bottom of the skirt or dress can already be done for you.  Unless you want to add an embellishment at the end or extra ruffles.

I like to hand sew a lot of my stuff.  It's becoming a lost art.  Most everyone sews on a machine for the majority of this stuff.  I suppose I would too, but I have yet to figure out my machine.

Always have your pins on hand to mark where you want to do your sewing.  I tend to just use one so I will fix it as I go.  That way, you don't have all these pins sticking you in the arm.  That can be a pain in the neck.

Some seamstresses have one of those pincushions that attach to the wrist.  I might make some of those at some point.

All I have left to do for this skirt is the drawstring.  At first I was going to use elastic band, but then I remembered I have this cool gold metallic crochet string.  So, I have started this fun i-cord.

I-cord is so simple to do.  I learned this trick last month.  Before that, I just figured people made i-cord with either a mushroom tool that little girls learn with or four double pointed needles.  Then, last month I saw a tutorial to knit it with two double pointed needles posted on Pinter est.

It's so easy.

All you do is get two double pointed needles in the size that you want.  I guess they usually use a size 7, but you can really use any size you want.

Get your needles and CO 3 or 4 stitches.  One knitter/blogger said she prefers 3 but lots of people also use 4.  And I bet you could cast on more stitches if you want to get a different result.  Could be neat if you want to make a thicker bangle bracelet or something else.

After you CO, then start knitting.

Then, instead of turning, all you do each time you knit each row is slide the stitches to the other end of the needle and knit from the back.

Then, knit to your decided length.  I am thinking for my drawstring for the skirt, I should knit it to at least 30 inches but maybe more.  I'm larger due to four children, so mine will need to be longer.  And I'm thinking I might sew in a few beads at the end afterwards.  If I had thought, I probably would have started with a good sized knot and put my beads on first, before I begin the i-cord.  I still could do that, as I haven't gotten that far yet.

So that is the first skirt.

This second one, I cut up the lace for other stuff and then looked at the skirt at the bottom, which is this beautiful tulle.  I have cut a little above it where there is that satin material.  I will be folding it over so that part doesn't show and will do a similar thing with that one.  Once it is all sewn up, I will cut a hole somewhere in the middle of the front which will allow for an elastic band or another type of drawstring.

Then I bought this pretty lace that I am going to attach to the whole bottom of the skirt.  I kind of liked the pretty plaid ribbon, but I think the crocheted lace will look better on the bottom.  I'm thinking I will either add it to the top too or I could go with the ribbon at the top.

And then here is the other little project I've got going.  A little craft apron for me.  It is from a little Bonnie Jean dress that fit the girls when they were toddlers.  I cut it from the top of the skirt and it had more material to it.  Probably enough for a little craft apron with a pocket maybe.  I've got the fabric ties that originally tied the dress in the back.  (Not shown)

I will sew them on after I have finished it.  On the sides, I folded the fabric over and sewed up the sides.  I use very small stitches and keep in mind when you are sewing on the wrong side of the fabric, you want to get a very tiny piece of the fabric on your needle so that the stitches don't show on the other side.  This is easy to do with most fabrics.  There is always a way to get that unseen stitch that will keep it all in place.

Another cool trick when starting your sewing is not having a knot.  I always used to make a knot at the bottom of my string up until recently.  I learned that you don't have to do that.  Who wants this hideous knot showing up in your work?

You can either tie it to your previous thread or just don't knot.  Pull your thread almost to the end, and at the beginning before you start sewing, sew a few stitches at the beginning so that your thread won't pull through and you know it's going to stay.  Then, stitch to your heart's content.

At the top of my apron, I have slowly started to give it some pleats.  This is one way that you can make an apron.  Another way that I haven't tried yet, is by gathering your ruffle and then sewing it to a waistband piece of fabric.  I'm going to have a waistband to this one too, but it will be of a different fabric as I don't have anymore of this one.

Also, when deciding to use a gathered ruffle, you can use a thread that is elastic.  Walmart sells it.  It's a really thin white elastic thread.  I've got some and might try it sometime with something.  I think that is how they smock an outfit.  They have to use the elastic thread so the outfit stretches to fit.

So, I've started by folding over my fabric 1/4" at the top and I stuck my pin in.  I decided to sew my little pleats along the side first.  I sewed down a little past where the pin ends.  About 1/2".  After I have all the pleats where I want them, I am going to then go and sew along the top of the apron.

My pocket is going to end up having to be something else.  I'm kind of wanting a pocket to stuff my scissors or thread spool into while I wear my apron.

After I had started sewing the apron, I was off to the craft store to get my embellishments.  I knew I wanted the crocheted lace for the skirt, as I had previously bought some for my tea cup pincushions.  And while I was there, I saw the other two ribbons.  The smaller ones were about 50 cents a yard and the crochet one was a little over a dollar.  Not too bad.  I saw the pink satin one and thought it would look nice on the bottom of the apron.  I've changed my mind.

It didn't quite match it.  And then I put it to my skirt here and it matches that a lot better.  So now, I am suddenly rethinking the end of my knitted skirt.  I still kind of want the beading and the bobbles on the bottom, but now I am thinking I will do a yarn over and K2T to get a row of holes in the skirt to thread the ribbon through.  Maybe even a few rows of this might be pretty.  And then, I could still get maybe  few packages of those tiny little roses that I can sew on the ribbons at the end.

When that slow project finally gets done, I will have to share with you.  Already, my nurse at the doctor's office wants me to wear it into the office when it is done.  Each time I go, I am usually knitting the thing.  I like having something to do while I wait.

It's too bad, you can't do this while you are waiting in line at the post office.  What I should do there is learn to bring  a tiny notebook with me to jot things down.  Or maybe someday, I might find myself getting one of those little gadgets that you can write your notes on and then upload to your PC when you get back.  I will maybe price it at Amazon and splurge at Christmas time.

I love getting things at Amazon.  I love that they have used things.  I don't have to have brand new.  This is great especially on a book you might like to read or a movie you might like to watch and you don't want to pay the full price for a new one.  I've done this on some of my how to books or my dummy books.

And also getting lenses for my camera.  Those are expensive if you get them brand new.  That's how I got my little underwater camera last year.

So, these are my current projects as of today.  Besides writing on my blog, Triond and checking my EBay listings.  And doing a little bit of advertising for the blog and my new blog page:  Authentic Life Blog on Face book.

Still waiting to be able to post on face book walls under my new page.  That might be when I start to see a little more action on my new page.

So, I guess right now, I've got to finish this up so I can get sewing and other stuff.  The Nate Berkus show is on now, which means in fifteen to twenty minutes, Jake is going to be back and then Sean and then the girls. Which means I have a little over an hour to hide my new ribbons and embellishments so that the girls don't see them.

You know what will happen if they do.  "Can I have a piece?"  But, I am thinking I might leave the pink one out and give them a good sized piece.  It's still going to be a little while before I get to that part.  And at 50 cents a yard, I can always go back later and get five or six yards for finishing up the skirt.

Jennifer Jo Fay

May 22, 2012

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