Do you use your ironing board to press and pin fabric together in your sewing projects? Isn’t it irritating when those pins catch the soft cover of the ironing board? Check out my one-minute video for the remedy to this very pressing problem!
Even though my sewing machine is currently packed away while we await the finish of our new place https://buildingasmallhouse.wordpress.com/2016/10/27/first-blog-post/, I’ve begun to seek out small denim items for fun embellishment projects in the near future. I know now is not too early to plan for a couple of 2017 local craft fairs.
I spied these toddler overalls at a local thrift store recently and couldn’t resist…how sweet would these be embellished with bright cotton print around the cuffs? The past couple of craft fairs had me wishing that I had more pieces for children, and indeed, they’re a lot of fun to put together. Much of the children’s thrift store clothing that I see is in hardly worn condition, perfect for a makeover. And many people really seem to enjoy seeking out special items for the children in their lives. Buttons in lieu of studs, and bright cotton print in lieu of lace and what do we have? Little Betty!
I’ve decided to write about my relocation experience from Nevada back up to Washington, where I lived prior to Nevada. This move will involve an interim stint in a rented travel trailer while we build a small apartment over a garage to live in. I have no idea how I’ll carry on with music, sewing and other creative projects in said travel trailer, but I’m going to try!
I’m writing on the road from Roseburg, Oregon. Today began with tears as I left the gas station in Carson City; people I’ve come to love are in Nevada, and indeed, most of my reinvented identity-how do I know it will follow, and if not, where the heck might it go? In other times I’m not troubled by such thoughts, but putting this scenario in motion has dragged up emotions I wasn’t aware I had. On this trip up I’ll drop my car off, fly back to Reno, and do the actual move next week…
Driving with such a heavy heart called for music that would take me out of my troubled head, and I’d packed a bag (yeah, the real thing, no Bluetooth or whatever for old-school me!) of Zeppelin cds.
Yes. John Paul Jones, Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Bonham, wherever you all are, you should know about the enduring magic of your art. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDwotNLyz10
If you have a favorite old t shirt (perhaps an old concert t for rock and roll flavor) that you’re unable to part with but are no longer wearing, you can easily fashion it into a casual slipcover for a round ottoman, such as this one:
For this project you’ll need a basic sewing machine, an old t shirt, a round ottoman (although this method will work on an oval shape as well), fabric shears, a marker, piece of fabric for ottoman top plus a couple of inches for seam allowance, thread, pins and a measuring tape. A steam iron is helpful but not necessary.
Slip t shirt over ottoman and decide where the bottom edge will be. You’ll be using the existing hem as the bottom edge. Measure, adding two inches for seam allowance. My ottoman is 11″ and so will be cut to 13″
Lay as flat and evenly as you can on your cutting surface. (It’s helpful to align edges and press first)
Cut at predetermined distance from bottom hem. Mine was 13″
Set aside the side panel, and lay your top piece face down on your cutting surface. Put the ottoman upside down on this fabric and, using a felt marker lightly draw line around ottoman. (Holding marker parallel to ottoman side makes it easier) This line will serve as your seam guide when attaching top. Measure and mark at several points 2″ out from this line for your seam allowance.
Moving your attention back to the side panel, measure circumference of ottoman. If your shirt exceeds this measurement, cut it down the side, measure and add one inch to the circumference measurement. Then pin and stitch this side. Press seam open.
You can skip this step if your t shirt already “fits” your ottoman.
Turn side panel inside out and pull over ottoman and adjust so that hem is as even as possible. Then take top piece and place face down on top of ottoman. You should have your inked line facing you. Pin along this line, making sure that t shirt edge is as even as possible with top piece edge. The t fabric tends to roll a bit.
Turn inside out and pull over ottoman. This cover is fairly plain, but imagine the possibilities, and so easy to do!
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 https://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?
End of the first week of January already, and I’ve not begun any of the projects that escaped me during the last few months of 2015. I had envisioned, from day one of this new year, new creations emerging from the sewing table, signing up for springtime craft fairs, cramming for a rock show, etc. But! Not one of those things has happened; the slate’s instead been full of mundane catch up.
Sometimes the desire to just check out and escape in a good book nearly outweighs the desire to make exciting things happen-ever feel like that?
In the case of that happening-or if I find some time-this looks like some truly entertaining rock and roll reading:
Happy New Year!
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:
- I remembered that (duh!) holidays are approaching and many fair goers were shopping for gifts
- Many of those fair goers were shopping for gifts for children
- Winter in Nevada is chilly, and people are not interested in skimpy summer wear…….right?
- 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 https://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.
Betty has been busy with both hats on!
Over the summer we https://www.facebook.com/betterbettyrocker had a fantastic time playing a number of shows in the Reno-Carson-Tahoe area. We debuted a few new
songs (that aren’t really new anymore!) and are now taking a break while we work on new material as it turns cold here in Northern Nevada.
At this writing I’m prepping for a local craft fair http://carsonnow.org/reader-content/11/10/2015/1121-young-heart-holiday-craft-fairraffle the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Hopefully a few fair-goers will be inspired to get a new denim jacket or vest for their inner punk rocker! https://bettyrockwear.com/product/betty-rocker-denim-zip-jacket-with-faux-fur-trim/
I have also been having fun doing simple loom knitting, covering a couple of birthday gifts as well as some upcoming holiday gifts; very gratifying, loom knitting.
For now, back to the sewing machine, and then on to the guitar and the search for a cool riff 🙂
Life sometimes has a way of preventing the happy swirl of creativity in my head from turning into something real, be it a song or a piece of art. The swirl seems to break up into tinier and tinier bits until it’s just dust. But it’s also the signal that I have too much on my plate, emotionally and otherwise, and that it’s time to clear it away and seek some fresh inspiration.
Some months ago I was given a copy of The Art Of Fabric Collage by Rosemary Eichorn http://www.tauntonstore.com/the-art-of-fabric-collage-rosemary-eichorn-070703.html as a gift and flipped through, dismissing this type of fabric art as being far beyond any sewing ability that I might have. But, there is some amazing art in there, and so I have lately been again flipping through with more of a sense of adventure; I’d love to do this!!
Another terrific inspiration is the crazy beautiful wearable art offered by Pat Berryhill of Magpie Dreams http://www.magpiedreams.net/apparel.html like the gorgeous piece here:
What do you do when life intrudes and hampers your creative sense?
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?
Later, at the Salvation Army thrift store, I found this printed denim jacket:
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:
From all of this and more, I chose some eyelet lace (currently enjoying quite the comeback!) and lace panel for the 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.
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.
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.
Shop for upcycled and embellished jackets and vests here!