Thursday, December 15, 2011

recycled and revamped sweater dress for the Little Sister!

Look at that beautiful smile! I arrived at my friends' house yesterday with a bag full of clothes and my sewing machine. We look through them to find something that would fit first. Then we chose the fabrics for the sash and skirt. After a little stitching, more trying on and a little stitch ripping (this means I truly love you, Sunny! Normally I find all kinds of ways to get around it.)

The owl was on another shirt which was too small, so it was cut off and restitched here. I gathered the skirt fabric and added the shawl collar to fill in the too-large Vneck on the sweater.

I think she likes it!

The Little Sister is part of an amazing homeschooling family with a non-profit site that encourages reading. Check out the books for walls project!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

look who stopped by to visit!

Last week we had a visit from a couple of pileated woodpeckers!
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recycled+revamped party skirt!

This is my darling niece in her revamped skirt. A while back I wrote all about it and even showed you the process here. I bought this dress for her several years ago and of course, she outgrew it. But we loved the fabric, so now it's a party skirt and we get to enjoy it for a little longer!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

inspiration for a short cardigan

This is my friend, Amy, modeling the inspiration for my black cashmere cardigan. She is a fellow crafty mama. She made a short, shrug type cardigan from a v-neck sweater and inspired me to go home and do the same! I love having crafty friends!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

another pair of patch pants

Happy Thanksgiving! Hope you all enjoyed a little holiday and had a lovely feast with people you love.

As I review the many things for which I am grateful, I realize that knowing how to sew has shaped, sustained and customized my life, as well as the life of my family and friends. I am so thankful for that! I am thankful for our mother earth and continue to reuse and recycled when I can.

These are the patch pants I made for little f for the harvest gathering at while back. He calls them his harvest pants. They are a bit different from the pants in my tutorial. I used another pair of pants as a p pattern and made the waistband elastic, so he can take them off and on. Would you be interested in learning how to make them?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

the little boys wedding suit

When I bought this pattern from Chicken Hill, I had a few ideas about how it was going to be more boyish, most of them involving buttons. Turns out it was the perfect choice for a wedding suit. Not only was it fairly simple in construction, the clean lines work on corduroy really well. For those of you who are learning to sew, please know that corduroy has a nap, which means you can brush the fibers up and feel roughness, or down and feel smooth. All your pattern pieces must be going up and down in the same direction. This often requires a bit more fabric than suggested in most patterns. I tell you all this because only after cutting out this pattern, I remembered it. Oh my! At least you may learn from this.

Here you see the suit in action with his little cousin, who was the ringbearer at Emily and Rob's wedding in Grand Rapids a few weeks ago.

Love the way this jacket wears. I lined it with a nice cotton batik that has dragons in it, so when he's feeling crazy, he can reverse both the jacket and pants. Could make for some fun holiday photos, huh?

One of the last things I made to wear was this cashmere shrug. It was a turtleneck sweater. I cut off the neck and down the front. Then I cut off the bottom half, folded it in half lengthwise and attached it as a shawl collar. After stitching in the sleeves a bit and down the sides, the bottom ribbing was added to the bottom and a sweet flower stiched on with some large vintage hooks and eyes. I'll show you my inspiration soon...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

our wedding best

This fall we attended two weddings, both on my husband's side of the family. One was in Grand Rapids and one was in Detroit. As I reviewed our closets in preparation, I found that we were in need of some finer threads. So I scoped out vintage suits on etsy, and scored this sweet vintage number for my husband. It was the only one there, and somehow it was the right size. He was totally pleased not only with fact that he didn't have to go to the store and try something on, but the price was right too. Since he's totally into the Beatles, it wasn't hard to convince him to wear a 60's mod suit. I imagine it will double as his halloween costume in the future.

For my little boy, I made some elastic waist reversible pants using a pattern made from another pair of his pants. The indigo corduroy was in my stash. I used it to make a jacket too from a chicken hill pattern. More on that coming... His vest is made from a felted v-neck sweater found trifting. I just used a t-shirt to guide me on sizing and cut it out using the neck. Then all I did was sew up the sides and whip up a little tie from some scraps and elastic.

My dress is something I have had for  a very long time. It's a gorgeous black vintage lace number that needed a little love and repair. Before I had a baby and nursed him for two years it fit great and was even sexy at the neckline. This year, it needed some modification so I used nude colored t-shirt fabric to line it and added some elastic from the bra part of an old tank top. On the bottom, I cut off the torn lining and used a black t-shirt to extend the lining a bit. Since the lace floats in a overlayer, it worked great. What you can't see in the picture are the green Mizmooz wedges I scored at Zany, a consignment shop in Traverse City. Now I just need to figure out how to repair the lace which tore while I was holding a squirming three-year-old and a glass of champage at the same time!

This is my husband's cousin (I would just call her my sister), Lisa. She was one of the bridesmaids. The Lovett Hall was a gorgeous venue for this kind of event. The lighting was really nice too.

Monday, November 7, 2011

a lovely wedding party!

What a gorgeous time! The lighting, ambience and especially the dancing were superb. We spend the weekend in Detroit for our cousin's wedding party. There was much planning and work on our outfits, which I'll show you in the next couple posts. For now, this little memory, to focus on all that is wonderful about family.
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Monday, October 24, 2011

Be the change! Sewing bags for local food pantry at sewing studio.

These gorgeous women came to the sewing studio to change the world. They set to work cutting out the shapes, matching fabrics and sewing them together. There was much conversation and laughter, some regarding technique and some just regarding life. What a wonderful couple of hours spent in the studio.

Come join us at the sewing studio at Grow Benzie sometime soon! Now there are four new sewing machines, with special thanks due to Marcy Grudzien at Mecca for her fundraising veggies!

We will be sewing again this Wednesday night, October 26, 7-9pm, $5 donation. Let us know if you plan to come join us.

Friday, October 14, 2011

{this moment} project 231

One extraordinary moment from this week that I want to savor and remember.
What inspired you this week? Share your link in the comments.
Inspired by Amanda Blake Soule at soulemama.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

sweet memories of our equinox celebration

This year we started what I hope will become a family tradition. We all went out into the woods and collected sticks for kindling and built up a little stash for the winter. Then we had our first fire in the wood stove. Ahh, warm toes!

The red mushroom cap was inspired by Children of the Forest by Elsa Beskow and made of recycled cashmere. His jacket was a great ebay find and I bought it a couple of sizes too big, which has worked out great for a couple of seasons now! And the mittens are his favorites, a gift from a thoughtful friend.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Saturday, October 1, 2011

More than a diaper bag, a system for mom and baby stuff!

A few posts back, you saw Krista with her fab new diaper bag. Here are all the details you might not have seen. I'm working on another one for a friend out in Baltimore, and thought that some of you might be interested in something custom, either for yourselves or for a friend. Wrapped in a reusable fabric gift bag and tied up with ribbon, there's no need for tissue paper. This particular design concept has been through intense R&D, so I know the system works!

Something red and modern were the starting points for the design.

And loads of pockets for all those little tiny things. I remember my diaper bag pockets were filled with tissues, prefold diapers and an extra cover, a spray bottle with water and a few drops of tea tree oil and some nice organic cloths for wiping hands, face, toys or any surface that needed disinfecting, some toys and tiny books including a small photo book of "people who love you", eventually crayons were added to the toy pocket, fingernail clippers, nose squeegee, black walnut salve (best for diaper rash!), calendula salve (for all things skin related), snacks for baby and for me, pacifier that he rarely used, a spare outfit, nursing pads and probably a few more things too.

And for mama, a coordinating little clutch, so as not to lose her identity and also to make it easy to go out without baby.

There is a funny story about the zippered pocket which involves a curious child, the post office and a tampon. There was not a zipper on the first version of this purse but as you can see, there is now...

A pocket on the outside is great for phone, receipts, lists, coupons, etc... in my favorite Heather Ross mermaid fabric.

A little recycled scrap detail along with a very cool vintage button adorn the front of the clutch. Photos can also be added to make it more personal.

My camera lived in the outside pocket of the bag, as all my friends can attest. I've captured so many wonderful everyday moments in our little guy's life with his buddies and that makes me so happy. It's my photojournal, since I don't seem to find much time for writing.

As always, a key hook is great not only for keys, but also for the pacifier or anything else you need to find quickly, as long as you remember to put them on there in the first place...

And that my friends, is the way that I survived the first three years of my son's wonderful life! Krista will be filling her bag soon, as we anxiously await the arrival of "baby a + baby b" I hope you will be inspired.

Monday, September 26, 2011

In the news!

This summer I received a call from a reporter doing an article on recycling clothes. We talked for a long time and here is what she wrote!

and now, the recycled+revamped 2011 purses and bags!

Without further ado, I give you the latest collection of recycled+revamped purses and bags! Inspired by an earlier design for blue star bags, a long adjustable strap was added along with a zippered pocket inside. Some of the bags have recycled jean or pants pockets on the front. All have a vintage button/elastic loop closure.There is a range of sizes, based on the size of the fabrics. At the show, these bags were priced at $40, and I'd love to extend that price to you this week! Just let me know which one you like and I will ship it to you (+shipping).

Thank you to those who already chose their new bags!

sage swirl with jean pocket

pinky patchwork tote

orange sprinkles blue star bag

honeycomb brown and gold with jean pocket

earthy stripes with cord front pocket

indigo blue star bag

herringbone aqua, green and orange

loopy orange and tweed blue star bag

Saturday, September 24, 2011

recycled+revamped 2011 harvest collection

Here it is, at long last. A new batch of purses in the work ! Last weekend I was scurrying about packing up for harvest gathering and working out the details of this collection, made from rescued swatches of rich fabrics. What would be the ideal purse for this event? One purse for a memorable experience. Colors that reflect the richness of autumn all around us. Warm late sunshine, local music by friends, full moon in a vast indigo starry sky.

Stacks of fabrics, components are gathered together and cut to size for the sewing spree that will ensue!

More on the 2011 harvest collection coming soon...