Image Map

Monday, January 30, 2012

Fake Fur and Leather Outfit inspired by Mad Max

Inspiration: Mad Max Movie.

This project was made in a hurry for the Project Run and Play Flick'r contest. I didn't win but that's Ok. I  really like it! I was working on a pink lined and tailored wool coat made from a 1942 pattern for my entry but was uninspired and knew I wouldn't finish it. I just wasn't in the mood to finish the coat so I put it on the back burner.
After my experience working on fake fur last week, I decided maybe it wasn't so bad after all. I have had some small pieces of leather and fake fur I wasn't sure what to do with and came up with this idea above.  The work actually went really quickly as I didn't have to hem or finish the leather. It was nice outside so I worked outdoors. Since I lined the vest with small strips of suede zig zagged stitches all over it to create a patchwork look.
If they ever cast for a toddler to be in a post-apocalyptic survival movie, maybe I can send this photo in .
Moral of the story:
Leather is easy and fun to work with and it looks very cool. For some reason people are more impressed when you make something out of leather, which is actually one of the easiest materials to work with.
I'm keeping my eye out for leather garments when I go to thrift shops because leather is very expensive to buy in fabric shops and it might be cheaper to buy garments second hand and upcycle them to cut out the leather pattern pieces. 
Pin It Photobucket

Friday, January 27, 2012

Sew & Tell Saturday # 6

Welcome to Sew & Tell Saturday ! I am lucky to have some amazing designers and sewists post their projects here and I thank you. I enjoy visiting your blogs and seeing more of your work. Here are my featured creations from the last link up:
Sertyan is so ladylike in this feminine blue dress at Sertyan's Sewing Corner
This green dress has gorgeous welt seams and is totally reversible at The Seek Speak
I love these ruffly backed dresses on little girls like this adorable one at A Couple Of Craft Addicts.

This was an exquisitely made little boys wool coat with some studious elbow patches I loved at thimbles,threads,and needles

So are you ready to show off your sewing projects this week?

Now, if you've been to this party before you can skip this boring part coming up but if you haven't, read on!
Link the post of your project in the InLinkz form and not your blog homepage. Please leave a link back to this blog by copying my party badge html below to your post or sidebar or party page so others can find out about the party.
And please do visit ablog or two here and leave a comment. To you non blogging readers out there, we love comments!
And I love new Followers and FB likes of course! Don't you? You know you do!
If you don't have anything new you are welcome to dig back in your blog and sometimes everything old is new again, right? Like high waisted jeans! As long as we haven't seen it yet.
Thanks for participating.
I have linked my projects since the last link up.

Pin It Photobucket

Hey Girl, Ryan Gosling Love!

Hey girl!
I just had to post these. I always just crack up when I see them!
Hope you stop by tomorrow to post your projects on 
Sew & Tell Saturday!

Pin It Photobucket

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Simplicity 2121: Working with Fake Fur

I used the pattern Simplicity 2121 for this vest. This was a pattern from the simplicity "It's so Easy " line that is available at Wal Mart for two dollars a pattern. The designs are simple, fashionable, and perfect for beginners. I didn't buy enough fur so I hemmed the bottom and armholes instead of self binding them with fur like I did at the neckline.
I really loved the quality of this fake fur. Sadly I only bought 3/4 of a yard, thinking it would be plenty for a vest. I often buy my fabric first, and then find a pattern, which often backfires on me. After cutting the vest pattern and fur I realized I didn't have enough. When I returned to the store to buy more, the fur was sold out and no other stores had any. I was short only about 6 inches for the band needed at the bottom! 
 Here is some advice for working with fake fur:
Fake fur sheds like crazy when you are cutting out your pattern pieces so if you can cut out your pieces outside somewhere by all means do it! I had to thoroughly sweep and dust everything in my dining room for about two days after cutting out my pattern pieces. It was really disgusting. 
If you can move your sewing machine outside with an extension cord, that would be advisable. When I sewed up the pieces there was a second batch of extreme shedding and another bout of cleaning followed. Since the fibers are man made they are full of static and stick to things.

 Because of the shedding involved at the seams , fake fur must be lined. It also looks ugly and very synthetic on the inside if you don't line it.
The pattern didn't mention adding a lining which is really necessary. 
The lining must be attached by hand. Maybe the pattern designers at Simplicity didn't want to get involved with explaining how to attach a lining by hand so they just left it out. I used a fell stitch and attached the lining as recommended by Claire Schaeffer, couture sewing expert.
I hoped I haven't scared you away from working with fake fur, because once you are done it can look great! Plus it's hard to find good quality fake fur in the shops unless you pay a lot of money.

Pin It Photobucket

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Chickens 101: It All Starts With The Coop: Or The Glamorous History Of My Chicken Coop

An otherwise boring looking chicken coop but one with an interesting past.

I don't have any sewing projects to show today. I have two somewhat interesting projects I am almost done with. The first is a wool toddler coat I'm making for Gigi from a 1942 pattern and  the second is a fake fur vest I am just finishing up. If you have ever worked with fake fur before, you know it's a messy business and I would rather clean out my chicken coop any day rather than work with this stuff again.
In the meantime, I thought I would share a strange little story having to do with chickens since besides being a sewing person, I am also a "Chicken Whisperer"
 OK, that may be overstating things. Speaking at the upcoming Craftcation Conference doesn't make me a chicken expert per se, but I do know a thing or two about or feathered friends after raising them for the last 6 years.
If you have ever wanted to get involved with raising chickens you do need to have some sort of coop before you get them unless you don't want your chickens getting mauled by raccoons or coyotes, and I  tell you this from experience. I once left the coop open and walked into a morbid scene worthy of a slasher film the next day. The heads were actually ripped off of my poor hens. The damage was most likely rendered by a marauding raccoon, one of the most vicious of hen predators. My  second piece of advice to you after you get a coop is, don't forget to close it at night.

I worked very hard to give this coop an "authentic" country feel. Some worn out tires would complete the rustic, shabby, but charming look I am after, don't you think?
We are lucky enough to have a really good coop and we got it for free. We used to live up in the mountains above Malibu, California in a place called Topanga Canyon. People like Jim Morrisson and Janis Joplin were known to have holed up in the canyon and it has a "colorful" past. I had heard stories about the place and there was a nudist colony up in those hills somewhere. When I was about 20, I went to a paty with my friend up in Topanga Canyon. The old wooden house was on a big property that was full of old trailers, lovely oak trees, and a giant American flag hung across the whole yard. As someone from the party strung his guitar and sang "Girl from Ipanema" in the dappled sunlight, I thought,"This would be a cool place to live someday."
 And that is what I did. 

The Inn of The Seventh Ray in Topanga Canyon, where I was married.
There is a crystal shop there where you can go in and lay on a bed of crystal that the owner believes has alien powers and vibes. There was a group of mom's at my son's kindergarten who would get together during the full moon and chant. Topanga was just that weird! When my six year old daughter was bit by a rattlesnake there in our front yard I took it as a sign that God above wanted us to get out of that place so we moved back down into the city of Los Angeles. But not after dragging our chicken coop with us.
Photos of Topanga Canyon Inn Bed and Breakfast, Topanga
This photo of Topanga Canyon Inn Bed and Breakfast is courtesy of TripAdvisor

The view from beautiful Topanga Canyon.
To get to Topanga Canyon you have to drive up the beach at Pacific Coast Highway and turn north. At the corner of PCH and Topanga were some old ramshackle but very charactered and storied properties that had been there since the 1930's. They overlooked the ocean but were owned by the County of Los Angeles so although the inhabitants lived there for decades, they rented the properties.There was an old motel there as well, and many rock musicians were said to have stayed there in the sixties and seventies when the Topanga hippie scene was at it's zenith. The county decided that that land near the ocean was too valuable to have a bunch of ramshackle dwellings on it and they were going to evict everyone and tear down those old houses and put up something that would be more in the "New Malibu" style. Something expensive and elegant like a fancy hotel. Sadly, they never did develop the property so all those poor folks were kicked out of their homes for no reason. All the inhabitants were given a 3 month eviction notice and had to clear out because all the structures were to be condemned. After everyone was gone, the houses stood there empty and on one was a beautiful abandoned chicken coop. My husband didn't feel the least bit guilty about going to rescue this chicken coop. He got some guys together , used someone's truck and put that giant coop on the back of it in the dead of night and drove it home! 
He brought that coop back to our property but we never did get any chickens and when we sold the property to a greedy forensic criminal psychologist and his crazy wife they demanded that the the chicken coop stay! The law states that only permanent structures remain with the house but these people didn't want to hear about that. Somehow I could not picture these folks as the chicken raising types.
 "And what is a criminal forensic psychologist", you might ask? A psychologist of serial killers. This man and his wife were pure evil from day one. We tried to get out of selling the house to them because we didn't want to saddle our poor neighbors with these characters , but they threatened to sue us so that was when we decided to take the chicken coop with us. 
They did send the letter threatening to sue us over our taking the chicken coop but nothing ever came of it.
And so now here she stands, an ordinary chicken coop with a storied and glamorous Malibu past on an old orange ranch out in the country. Doing what she does best. Housing baby chicks and their mommies and a mean old rooster.
So maybe the chicken coop you get isn't as interesting as mine. I won't hold it against you.
Pin It Photobucket

Monday, January 23, 2012

Sewing For Others For Pay Or For Free: Do You Do It?

I get asked to sew things for people. 
Sometime people are willing to pay and sometimes they aren't. 
I work sometimes as a costume designer for the local theatre .  I am really grateful for of it because not only do I get to do work I love and get paid for it, but I also meet some really interesting people. Recently I was asked by a colleague to work on an outside project of his for no pay. I initially said yes because it sounded like a really fun period piece but in going over the project I realized I would have to put together more than 25 costumes in 6 weeks. I had to let him know it was just too much work for me but that I would help him rent the pieces from a rental warehouse or borrow them from various theaters.

I felt guilty because I hate to disappoint people but I am learning to say no to projects that  will take time away from  my family unless the benefit outweighs the cost.
I created several vintage style dresses in September for a charity fashion show that earned money for an organization called Life Centers. They raise money for girls who are pregnant, don't want to have an abortion, and want to go the adoptive route. I was happy to donate my time and energies for what I felt to be a really worthy cause.

If you have searched my blog you can see I make wedding dresses, first Communion dresses, and baptism dresses for people sometimes. It is interesting and creative work. Since I have started doing this I have had some nice girls ask me to alter their wedding gowns. For those of you who sew, you know that altering ready made gowns can be a nightmare! I would rather make something entirely from scratch than have to do this kind of difficult and tedious work.  I should probably do it just for the money but bridal alterations are really difficult and the work is often undervalued and underpaid. So when people ask me to alter their bridal gowns which are usually made in China and badly fitted, I have to tell them, "Sorry, but no." 
The same goes for other types of alterations. I have to admit, I  hate doing alterations, even on my own clothes I make! 
 Measure twice, cut once! 
A pile of projects for my family awaiting repairs can attest to this.
Does this mean I am a selfish seamstress?
How about you readers? Do you do a lot of outside sewing work for people and what will or won't you do? 
I'd love to hear from you!
Pin It Photobucket

Saturday, January 21, 2012

I Love Lucy : Du Barry 5667 from 1942

If you are visting from Project Run And Play, welcome to Sew Country Chick! Although I used a pattern fo this dress I can assure you I do know how to make patterns if I am chosen. I just enjoy the feeling of working from vintage patterns. I think I can bring a fun flavor to the competition.
Happy weekend! I'm sorry I didn't post Sew & Tell Saturday today. I had a cold and then started organizing  my sewing closet last night and the whole project extended well into the morning and I was tired! But my stuff is organized now and that is a great feeling.
It's been awhile since I have made a vintage pattern and I really enjoyed working with this pattern , Dubarry 5667 from 1942. 
Lily was excited to get a new dress since I haven't made her one since Halloween.
She wanted me to curl her hair for the photos. She looked so cute with the rollers on that we took the pictures with them still in.
 After this shoot we went downtown to have some coffee and chocolate and she still had her rollers on. She got some funny looks but she didn't seem to mind one little bit.
I love vintage children's patterns. Just looking at them makes me feel happy. Children were so innocent and cute looking in the old days. I think Du Barry patterns have some really sweet designs for children. I wonder when they went out of business? Do any of you vintage mavens know?
Something about reading these old directions and making something old new again is fun.
I used my vintage notions. I have a huge collection of metal zippers and buttons bought at yard sales.The fabris new and double sided with ginham on one side and plaid on the other.i bought it for a dollar a yard on the street in The LA Fabric District. It appears to be a cotton rayon blend.
These are tissue patterns, which are surprisingly strong for being 70 years old. They aren't marked at all but the directions are explained really well on the sheet that comes with the pattern. The three large dots on the sleeve represent the grain line. You can also see the dart marks. You are supposed to thread trace them or you can mark through the holes with a water soluble pattern marker.
Pin It Photobucket

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sewing For Me: Denim Military Style Jacket. Burda 7994

I had no idea starting a blog to post about things I make would create so many new interests for me. Like photography. Today I ordered my first DLSR camera, a Nikon 5100 . I have been reading a lot about photography lately.There is so, so much to learn! A few blogs that have creative and inspiring photography I love are Mena's photos of her projects on The Sew Weekly, Kathleens photos at Grosgrain Fabulous,  The Pioneer Woman, and Miss Mustard Seed . They also have some great articles on photography.
When I first started this blog in 2010 I was using a point and shoot camera that my teen daughter broke at the beach. Since then I have been using a Canon G12, a great everyday camera that can be adjusted manually, but just doesn't have the great lens quality of a DLSR camera. You can't get any Bokeh effects on it and I love Bokeh. Bokeh is a Japanese term for a photo were the subject is in focus but there is a nice soft blur on the background. It's so beautiful and professional looking.
Now even if I do get amazing at taking photos there still is the problem of "Who is going to take a great photo of me when I want to show off something I made?" 
My dad took this shot. I wasn't happy with most of them even though he is great photographer. Let's face it, I'm not in my twenties or even thirties anymore like most " Blogistas" out there, and I'm very self critical. Especially since I have gone up a size since weaning Gigi and eating too much over the holidays. It's not so easy to lose weight anymore and I have to practically kill myself to lose like, two pounds. But I won't take photos of my things on a dress form. I made the clothes for me and not my dress form and I love an excuse to get dolled up. Photos are kind of funny because most of the time I won't like the photo but then when I revisit the same photo a year or more later I think "Hey I looked pretty good! Why did I hate this picture?"
I probably sound like a vain idiot right now. Can I blame that on growing up in Hollywood?
I had already cut this fabric when I read about the buttons challenge at Sew Weekly. I was considering not making this version because I was afraid I would mess up my buttonholes yet again but I soldiered on
I'm quite happy with how it turned out.
I used some denim fabric I bought in downtown LA for two dollars a yard. It had a tag on it from Not Your daughters Jeans. A lot of manufacturers donate their fabric and I have found some really unique designer fabrics down there! But Not Your Daughters Jeans? Ha! My own daughter and I joke about me buying a pair of those. I did buy a pair once on sale and they somehow looked very dorky on me!

It has a seventies vibe to it and I decided to go a little crazy with the topstitching to add to that seventies feel. 
It was very hard to do the double stitched seams and I messed up a little. I probably should have used a twin needle for this.
Although I made a muslin there were several fitting issues I had to deal with that I missed in the muslin. My shoulders were a lot more narrow than the pattern and I had to cut some length off the shoulders and reattach the sleeves. I also lengthened the center front princess panel for a larger bust and then I took in the sleeves and the sides a little too.
This is my first jacket!
Even though I went to design school like a million years ago, I was a terrible student and an even worse sewer! We never did learn how to make a coat . We draped a muslin of one but that is all I remember. I spent too much time going out dancing like a lot of young girls.
I used Burda 7994 "The Steffi Coat."
The Steffi coat  is downloadable here on Burdastyle but I used the store bought version of the pattern which has the big lapeled version I made. The downloadable version on Burdastyle only has the straight buttoned up, no color variation.

I bought these buttons at a rummage sale. If you look at my blog header you will see I also used them on the corners.
Pin It Photobucket
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...