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Inspiration, Shyness, And Self Promotion

One month into 2016 and I find I’m groveling a bit for inspiration to fuel my denim creations. Last week I did my second ever children’s piece which was truly fun to do http://bettyrockwear.com/product/girls-colorful-denim-vest-size-6/ and something I look forward to doing again.

But there’s a struggle at play here, too. It’s the resistance I encounter within myself when I’m inspired to cut loose and just try anything. Last year I found a lovely, simple, ivory short-sleeved lace bodice wedding dress with an elaborate floor-length bow in back; I’ve had so many ideas for making a denim wedding jacket (a denim wedding jacket??) but have yet to take scissors to that piece and begin. And then there’s another part to the struggle-getting the word out. Just yesterday afternoon I was having a phone conversation with a very dear old friend about how my very own shyness gets in the way of self promotion; it’s a tough thing to manage in this endeavor, but I’ve decided to soldier on…

One of the best examples I’ve seen of just cutting loose denim (yeah, I know, but I think of this as cutting loose rather than cutting edge) is this brilliant idea from C & C Pop-Up Shop http://cncpopupshop.com/cncpopupshop/2014/2/10/diy-upcycled-denim-jackets

fabulous, isn’t it?

How do you meet your resistance head on?

 

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Craft Fair Lessons Learned


Tween Jean Jacket front

Tween Jean JacketTween Jean Jacket apple patch

Tween Jean Jacket Recently I did my second craft fair ever. The YAH Craft Fair was put on by the Young At Heart senior group in Gardnerville, NV https://www.facebook.com/DouglasCountyCommunityandSeniorCenter/ and was a great event!

It also proved to be a learning opportunity for me. Though I did fairly well, and met some lovely people, I could have done far better, if only:

  1. I remembered that (duh!) holidays are approaching and many fair goers were shopping for gifts
  2. Many of those fair goers were shopping for gifts for children
  3. Winter in Nevada is chilly, and people are not interested in skimpy summer wear…….right?
  4. Good idea to have more than twenty items in your booth space

Why the oversight on the above mentions? Well, the past few months have been filled with various life distractions, and when that happens my calendar somehow gets distorted (turn the pedal OFF-ha!) and I don’t always see holidays coming. As I have no children, I forget to appreciate that many folks will buy for children before they buy for themselves. The tween jacket pictured http://bettyrockwear.com/product/back-to-school-tween-jean-jacket/ here is a piece that I donated to the fair’s raffle, and it received a lot of positive attention that day; I realized right away that I should have had more to offer like it. The jacket, incidentally, was a kick to do, and I look forward to crafting more whimsical denim wear for the smaller set.

Another realization that day was that what seemed like a great pile of inventory crammed into my tiny home work space hardly filled that booth space-I was instantly sorry I’d not spent more time sewing in the weeks prior.

What was a hit was my dummy (at right in lead photo) dressed to rock out; sneak peeks at the dummy from some of the older gentlemen was completely amusing!

Good takeaway. Good lessons learned.

 

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Upcycled Studded Denim Wrist Cuffs

Upcycled denim wrist cuffs

I was in the mood to do a small upcycle denim project and removed the wrist cuffs from two pairs of discarded jacket sleeves. I had quite a bit of soft animal print fabric left over from a pair of pajama pants, and black lace salvaged from a couple of vintage slips; the animal print wrist cuffs were easy to put together. The blue/purple themed cuffs are fashioned from a lovely old suit jacket and its gorgeous purple buttons.

Small accessories like wrist cuffs are fun, easy to wear and pack a lot of style punch! What do you think of wrist cuffs?

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What Would You Do With An Ankle Length Denim Shirt?

denim shirt ankle length front ankle length denim shirt backIt’s easy to find denim shirts in thrift stores. My eyes have gotten very accustomed to Continue reading What Would You Do With An Ankle Length Denim Shirt?

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What To Wear Back To School

Tween Jean JacketA while back I spent a number of years working for a major retailer. I didn’t work in the children’s department, but as a member of the store management staff, I regularly listened to complaints from parents about the offerings in that department, especially around back to school time.  The upset nearly always seemed to be levied toward the clothing styles aimed at so-called tweens, those girls aged 9-14-too old for toys but too young for boys. And I had to agree with those concerned parents-much of the clothing was devoid of practicality, a sense of fun and innocence, and often seemed entirely inappropriate for a young girl.

I came across a really nice, sturdy jean jacket recently and modded it out a bit for a fun back to school item:

http://bettyrockwear.com/product/back-to-school-tween-jean-jacket/

I’d love to know if you’ve also found tween clothing a challenge!

 

 

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Craft Fair Betty 4

100_1618My booth at the local downtown festival was a success last weekend! I was grateful to have had a loaned tent, and some assistance early the first morning setting it up. Having never dealt with an event tent, I was unaware that putting it up solo would have been nearly impossible for me. And by the time the temperature climbed to 102 that day, I was just grateful for the tent, period!

But before the heat really cranked up, I set up my space. I covered Uncle Bob’s old sway-backed folding table with gorgeous red fabric that had  once served as floor length dining room curtains. On top of that went two guitar stands holding small handbags. A couple of jackets hung from my mic stand, configured into a T. The clothing rack picked up through Craigslist held most of the jackets and vests, a thrift store black metal cd tower held a couple more. At the back of the tent I hung an old black mosquito net on its round frame. Lastly, I had Marvin the Martian holding down my band’s tiny merch table near the front. My trusty old amp cart made hauling all this stuff from car to space easy.

The two days were long and very hot. Planning ahead with an ice chest full of water, some cold salads and a washcloth for bringing my body temperature down helped tremendously. The ice chest kept me about as comfortable as I could be and allowed me to schmooze with a smile. When the afternoon breeze came along, the black mosquito net flowed luxuriously. The feedback was great! Even dubious looks from passersby counted as feedback in my book! But many were jazzed with some of the items, and some even took home things-ten items sold over the two days!

I may do another such event over the summer. I’ve not decided yet whether the purchase of an event tent is worth it, or if it’s even the direction I want to go in. However, this experience made me realize how much I miss doing vis-`a-vis retail. We’ll see!

 100_1617

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Embellish A Denim Vest With Lace For Less!

I think I must have seen a thousand denim jackets and vests today-truly! Some weeks back I glimpsed a very slighted modded denim jacket in a mall shop in Reno for around $50. So today I went on the hunt for an inspiration jacket or vest that would be simple to recreate at home with basic sewing skills, for much less. My field trip took me in and out of Bebe, J. Crew, Gap, Dillard’s, Chico’s, Tilly’s, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Maurice’s, and finally, Rue 21, where I found my inspiration piece. Randomly checking price tags showed a range of $26.99 up to $128, with most of the pieces priced in the middle. That’s a good chunk of money for something that functions mostly as an accessory in the wardrobes of many.

Here is the inspiration vest spotted at the mall for $26.99:

The lace on this vest is sewn in the inside of the cutout, allowing the edge fray to be highly visible. The trashy chic of this piece is a bit over the top for me, and appears overly contrived and downright cheesy. $26.99…really?
Inspiration vest

Later, at the Salvation Army thrift store, I found this printed denim jacket:

Project vest
The price for this one was $4.99, but I was in luck-today all green tags were 50% off, so the jacket was just $2.49! My plan is to remove the sleeves, add a lace inset to outside of the yoke cutout, and run some color matched eyelet around the bottom edge. Maybe some studs or buttons if the mood strikes… maybe not… I believe it will look super over a summer dress or tee!

My next stop was Mill End Fabrics http://www.millendfabricsreno.com/contact-us, a fantastic local shop where one can purchase trim as needed, rather than as packaged:
Lace trim at Mill End Fabrics
From all of this and more, I chose some eyelet lace (currently enjoying quite the comeback!) and lace panel for the project vest:
Trim & receipt project vest
All that I need for the project, plus a bit extra, cost just .97!

First, some simple prep work and gathering of supplies and then, off to the work table…
I washed the jacket and trims in cold water. Best to put the trims in a lingerie bag and let hang dry, which takes almost no time at all.
For this project you’ll need: sewing machine, thread, pins, sharp fabric scissors, any button or studs you may wish to put on at finish, and less than an hour. You may want to press the jacket, but just out of the dryer ought to be fine for this project. Something I recently learned and would like to pass on is to never use waxed thread. This is intended for ease in hand sewing, and could damage your machine.

First, cut off both sleeves:
Blog 2 remove sleeve
Then, carefully trim edge that is behind the outer finished edge.

A good pair of sharp fabric scissors make this easy, with a neat finish.
Blog 2 trim sleeve

Next, cut out both front yokes, leaving between 1/4 ” and 1/2″ from existing seaming.
Blog 2 cut out yoke

Pin lace over cutout, using plenty of pins to avoid shifting. Take advantage of any nicely finished edges in your lace, as here on the bottom edge. Place to avoid trimming finished edge later.
A tip: Those thin, flexible plastic chopping boards? Placed under fabric, make for really easy pinning.
Pin lace on outside

Sew lace over both openings using zigzag stitch. Then trim excess lace as desired.
Blog 2 sew lace inset

On this vest I chose to add eyelet trim along the bottom. You may choose to sew this over outside edge, or along inside for a more subtle effect. Use plenty of pins.
Blog 2 sew eyelet around bottom edge

I also decided, as I often do, to give the vest a bit of a rocker edge with some low profile stainless steel studs from Studs & Spikes http://www.studsandspikes.com/blue buttons would have also been a fun choice.

Finished close up

And here we are, all finished and ready for Spring and Summer or Fall-enjoy!
Finished and ready for Spring and Summer!

Shop for upcycled and embellished jackets and vests here!