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Archive for the ‘Project’ Category

Closet Editing

While at the bookstore, I picked up The Little Black Book of Style by Nina Garcia. Although Nina is like the Simon Cowell of Project Runway (toughest judge but still my favorite), I didn’t really think I needed fashion advice from Project Runway, because those designs aren’t for real women. But, after flipping through the book, I thought, “why not have a more glamorous wardrobe?”

I actually like Nina’s writing style, which is relaxed & fun. I couldn’t resist buying it when I saw the quotes from Ernest Hemingway, Mark Twain, and Elizabeth Taylor. One of my favorite quotes, which I think came from a PR episode, is from Michael Kors- “Put on a trench, you’re suddenly Audrey Hepburn walking along the Seine.” I also loved the section on film fashion which discussed some of my favorites: Katherine Hepburn, Audrey Hepburn, and Grace Kelly, and introduced me to some potential new ones. I’m pretty sure when I Netflix Scarface, my husband won’t know it is to scope out the dresses. The book is also worth getting for the beautiful illustrations. Plus whenever I think of the book I say Nina’s name in my head in my best Heidi Klum impersonation.

So how is the actual style advice? Not bad so far. I’m only working on Basic #1- How to Edit. Nina advocates for clearing out your closet and getting rid of everything you don’t look good in. That advice works for me, because I move every few years, I’m always editing so that my house doesn’t grow unruly. In the course of paring down, I saw these linen pants in my closet.

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My first instinct was that they should go in the Goodwill pile. But I do love their fit and linen is a godsend here in Puerto Rico. I’m just bored with the light green that fades more every year, making them look like pajama bottoms. So I decided to rip out the fusible hem-tape I ironed in six years ago, to hem them properly and to dye them darker. Although I don’t have a live-in seamstress like Nina’s mom, I think I did OK. I guess I was also a bit inspired from sites like Wardrobe Refashion, and the Compai books I’ve been reading lately.

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I dyed them using Navy Blue Rit. They ended up a faded indigo color (I used 4 boxes of dye, but also dyed 4 other clothing items). I’ve heard that nylon doesn’t dye and now I have proof- I still have green thread outlining the pockets! But I don’t mind- I now wear these pants every week.

Back to the closet for more editing….

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I’m trying to be more eco-conscious, thanks to Daily Danny and his fabulous books and thanks to Apartment Therapy.

I decided to make cloth napkins so I wouldn’t waste as many paper ones. I’m also going to bring a few to work to use with lunch. I used the pattern from Lotta Jansdotter’s Simple Sewing although I made them a different size so that I could use up some of my stash of fat quarters.

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Some other great napkin patterns:
Bias Toward the Pretty from Martha
Napkins Trimmed in Rick-rack from Last Minute Patchwork & Quilted Gifts
More Bias-bound Napkins from the Purl Bee
Napkins with Mitered Corners from Tammy’s Times
Design*Sponge napkins

Or No Sew Versions:
Pinked Napkins from Planet Green
Fringed Edge Napkins from Rocks in My Dryer
Heat n Bond Napkins from Apartment Therapy Re-Nest

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Chic Head

I saw this beautiful headband (thanks Stacy) from Allison Kelly, and knew I had to make one. I love the feathers, although I’m not sure when I’d have the occasion to wear them… I wear T-shirts, running shorts, and flip-flops every single day because after a year in Puerto Rico, when every day is summer, the heat is starting to fry my brain.

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It is awfully hard to photograph your own head.

Although the original version uses feathers, I didn’t -the only feathers I have are black and you wouldn’t be able to seem them in my hair. Too bad I didn’t save that down comforter The Dog ate when he was in his chewing stage.

Feathers remind me of another Project Runway style favorite, Kenley. I couldn’t find a picture of her feathered hair pieces online, but there’s a video on my latest favorite website.

My version is just a thin strip of white silk dupioni made into a tube. I secured the bottom with elastic for an easier fit.

For other headband patterns:
Heather Bailey’s Hooray for Headbands
Martha Stewart Ribbon Headbands
Craft video: Pearl Necklace Headband
Reversible Headband at The Long Thread
Sweet Crowns at Angry Chicken (There is also a cute ribbon headband pattern in Bend the Rules Sewing)

The best headbands? Jennifer Behr because who could argue with Natalie Portman’s taste? (and another beauty)

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Jeans to Wrap Skirt

My husband gave me some of his old jeans, so I finally got to try out a design from 99 Ways to Cut, Sew & Deck Out Your Denim.

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I’m really happy with the finished product. I doubled the width of the top fabric strip from the pattern, because the photo looked wider than a 1″ fabric strip used as a binding, and that 1″ binding would have been too hard for my clumsy fingers to maneuver. Next time (I will definitely make this again) I’ll widen the top fabric piece again to 3-4″, and I’ll widen the fabric width for the bottom piece to 6-8″. You can see this pattern, #46 Miriam, on the Amazon page.

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Otherwise, this book is fabulous. I was hesitant to order the book because I’m getting older and would feel silly still dressing like I’m in my 20’s. But, there are 16 more projects in the book that I have tabbed and plan to make. Most of the designs are fun and modern, and just as creative as the ones from my favorite Project Runway episode (where they raid the denim warehouse and Christian makes pants from denim jacket sleeves).

More restyling from Compai

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Simplicity 0602

I successfully finished my first set of sleeves, although they aren’t quite symmetrical. The hardest part of this pattern was putting in the collar, because the inside looks so messy that I can’t believe I actually put it in the correct way. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a review on Sewing Pattern Review when I was running into trouble, so I made my best guess.

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I do really like the pattern although next time I will probably use a fabric with more swing (instead of plain old cotton) and will not make the neckline as low-cut.

Sorry but I can’t find a link to this pattern on the Simplicity site, even in the out-of-print section.

The perfect version of this shirt? It’s Lindamade. (Although she used a different pattern, I think the design looks almost identical, except mine had a seam down the front and a belt.)

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Although I have made 2 skirts (Built by Wendy here and Linen Craft Reversible Skirt here) since learning to sew, I wouldn’t really wear either of them. But my newest project- definitely wearable.

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The Cabo Halter, from Amy Butler. I used Robert Kauffman fabric. The pattern was very easy to follow and quick to sew. Thanks to all my past invisible zipper failures, the invisible zipper was actually pretty easy. The hardest part was the hem. For a short gal, you would think that would be my strong suit. For some reason, my hems always look sloppy, especially because when a garment is flared at the bottom and you fold it up, it just gets wrinkly with all the extra fabric.

Sewing the upper bodice actually reminded me of this purse, where I used the same fabric.

I will definitely make more of these halters, although I’ll tweak the sizing a bit. It fit perfect up top, but my hips and belly made it a bit too tight to wear over jeans.

My favorite sewing blogger‘s Cabo Halter is here.

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I love this book. The projects are beautiful and the instructions are very detailed. I’m sure I will refer back to these instructions for all the quilting basics (applique, binding, log cabin blocks). I’m most excited by the “Scrap Wrap” project- a scarf made from wool suiting and vintage silk kimonos. However, living in Puerto Rico and dependent on air conditioning, I’m in no hurry.

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I did make the Closet Case Sachet (a very quick project to make when the fabric you were going to use for your next big project has to be washed first). It is almost complete, just needs stuffing- and I’m not sure how difficult it will be to find cedar shavings in the Caribbean…

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Can you tell I really like turquoise?

The sachet will make a nice gift, and now that I’ve learned log cabin piecing, I’m anxious to put log cabin patches on everything….

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