style, thrifted!

Thrifted!: five quirky dresses

It’s 6:58 am. Thirty-eight people shuffle their feet in front of a store, waiting for the doors to unlock. They’re sleepy, but poised for a treasure hunt. I’m standing with them. I'm stealthily dressed in a loose tank dress and slip-off shoes. A small purse with a long strap is draped over one shoulder and across my body, holding only a debit card, a finely curated shopping list, and Burt’s Bees lip balm.

I had my morning shot of Diet Coke. I listened to loud, happy music on the drive in and I sang along, loud and happy. The anticipation amplifies. I’m pumped.

I hear the theme from Rocky in my head.

Okay, now you're just getting weird, I think to myself.

The doors open. It's time to play.

It’s 50% off day at the thrift store. I’m ready!

Amidst the fun of the 4th of July weekend—filled with food, fireworks, and a mass of mosquito bites (welcome back, little Beelzebubs)—I found a bit of time for a cheerful jaunt to the thrift store.

It was what I call a “jackpot” day.

Five summery dresses. Five. In my size. In my style. And most certainly in my budget. None made more than a $6 dent in my debit card.

I brought my dresses home to my three boys. The response? Kind. They care, of course. But they don’t care, you know, like dress hoarders do. Any dress hoarders out there? I need a little share 'n care.

Dress #1: the doily dress

Dress1What a unique mix of woven and knit fabrics, stripes and piping. And then they go and throw in a doily.

Dress1detail1and2

Right side, left side.

Dress1detail3

The dress had ties sewn into the side seams. Didn’t like ‘em. Took ‘em out. Now it’s just right.

Dress #2: the linen flowers dress

Dress2
An everyday dress for summer. Such a pretty pattern, I think. I love that linen doesn't like to hug your curves too much. Thank you, linen.

Dress #3: the girly-girl dress

Dress3This dress is frilly, no doubt—more frills than I’m used to. But it was unusual enough to catch my eye. I love the texture of raw edges, and this has lots of raw-edge and machine-embroidered detail. I played down the girly-girlness a bit by pairing it with jeans and heavy shoes.

Dress3detail1

A close-up of those pretty details.

Dress #4: the mod-pod dress

Dress4Holy bizarro. I could not NOT take this dress home. The outside layer is cotton cutwork; the inside layer is a white cotton tank-style slip. I figured, why not bizarre-it-up even more with polka-dot leggings?

Dress4detail1

Here’s hoping I’ll find a way to pull this dress off, sometime, somewhere.

Dress #5: the date night dress

Dress5detail1

Bretty likes it. Enough said. Now we just need find a date for a date!

A quick thrifting tip: if you live near a Savers or a Value Village thrift store, they announce 50% off sales a few times a year. You can sign up for their newsletter to get reminders about their sales. Next one is around Labor Day.

Thanks for letting me share my finds. I hope you had a happy weekend!

style, thrifted!

Thrifted!: Hand-embroidered flowers. With love from Taiwan.

I love dressing up. On any average day, it’s unlikely that you’ll find me in sweats. I don’t typically head out (or stay in) in a t-shirt. And I never, never wear shorts. Long story. (We all have our body-image issues, right? ‘Nuff said.)

That being said, I’m no girly girl. I’m not into ruffles, or puffy shoulders, or lacy edgings. Flowery feminine flourishes aren’t really my style. But when I noticed a big, bright bouquet of fuzzy flowers on a sweater at my local thrift store, I stopped. I swear that sweater was pointing and giggling at me. I just had to point and giggle back.

Perhaps it’s a bit too flowery; a bit too feminine. But to me, it’s hand-embroidered happiness. And I just can’t say no to wearing that!

Flowersweater2

Flowersweater3

Flowersweater4

Flowersweater5

Flowersweater1

Ah, yes. A good thrift.

Next on my thrifting list: sweatshirts. Lots of them. I’ve been told I’ll be sharing a few of my sweatshirt refashions from ReSew on the PBS show Sew It All. I’ve got some major sweatshirt shredding to do before taping time come October. Get ready, rotary cutter.

Happy weekend—thanks for letting me share one of my favorite thrifts with you!

crafts, sewing, thrifted!, tutorials

a wildcards tutorial: funky felted basket

FIRST, AN ALERT. (Not an "ALERT: Jackspeak." Although I'm sure he'll be alerting me about something any moment now.)

Today you can head over to the incredibly inspiring sewing site, BurdaStyle, for their "Project of the Week." This week, it's from ReSew!

Burdastyle
Alison Dahl Kelly, Editor/Creative Director at BurdaStyle (and a competitor on season three of Project Runway), chose the "Sugar Stripes Dress" to feature from the book. The sewing community at BurdaStyle is helpful, encouraging, and jaw-drop-on-floor talented. I am so thrilled to be a part of BurdaStyle this week! I hope you'll head on over for a look, plus the chance to win a copy of ReSew.

_________________________________________________________________

Okay, onto today's post!

If you missed it at Crafting a Green World, here's my way of making felted baskets out of thrifted wool sweaters. You can make them in any size, from big and fat to tall and skinny; just change the size of the rectangles and squares. I love the idea of making them for gifts, and then filling them up with little treasures like jewelry, small sewing supplies, gift cards, a stash of pens or pencils… stuff like that. Candy works too. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and Lindt Mint Lindor Truffle Balls fit very nicely. Just in case anyone wants to make a basket for me.

The basket requires just a few basic sewing tools, and it's a hand-sew only project. Timid about hand-sewing? Don't be! You can be as beginner-ish as you wish–your stitches will disappear right into that plush felted wool.

C'mon, let me show you how to make it!

funky felted basket tutorial

Basket1
This little basket was made from the leftover scraps of two wool sweaters I just couldn’t throw out. I opted for a solid color on the inside of this basket and a colorful stripe on the outside, but you can choose whatever color combinations you like. You can also make the basket from just one sweater, with the same fabric on the inside and the outside of the basket.

Here are “before” photos of the sweaters I used:

Sweaters
To make the basket, here’s what you’ll need:

Two 100% wool sweaters (or just one); scissors or rotary-cutting equipment; a ruler, measuring tape, or rotary ruler; long pins; thick thread or thin yarn to coordinate with your sweaters (I used perle cotton thread); a large-eye needle; sewing thread to coordinate with your sweaters; a piece of corrugated cardboard, about 9" x 9"; and buttons (optional).

Note: Your wool sweaters need to be “felted” so they won’t fray when cut. To felt a sweater, simply machine wash and dry it, using cycles you would normally use. You may need to wash your sweater more than once for it to fully felt; when you can’t see the stitches in the sweater any longer, you’ll know it’s felted enough to cut into it without any unraveling.

Basket2
From each of the sweaters, cut 1 square, 3 1/2" x 3 1/2"; and 4 rectangles, 3 1/2" x 7". Determine which sweater fabric you would like to show on the outside of the basket and which sweater fabric you would like to show on the inside.

Basket3
Lay one of the outside and one of the inside 3 1/2" x 7" rectangles wrong sides together. Lay the two 3 1/2" squares wrong sides together. Place the square layers on top of the rectangle layers, making sure the pieces that show on the outside of the basket are facing out. Align the edges of the squares with the short sides of the rectangles; pin.

Basket4
Knot a long double strand of perle cotton onto the large-eye needle; hide the knot in between the layers. Starting 1/4" from a corner, hand sew the four layers together using a running stitch 1/4" from the edge. Make stitches about 1/4" in length and about 1/4" apart. Leave the needle and thread in place; do not knot or cut.

Basket5
Lift the square layers away from the rectangles. Place another set of two rectangles on the square side adjacent to the side you just sewed; make sure the rectangle you want to show on the outside is facing out.

Basket6
Align the square edges with the short sides of the rectangles; pin. Following the same sewing directions above, sew the four layers together.

Basket7
Repeat the same sewing steps on the other two sides of the square. Your basket should now have four sides (above are photos showing the inside (red) and the outside (stripe) of the basket.)

Basket8-(3)
Using the same sewing technique described above, pin and sew the four sides of the basket, starting at the bottom of the basket and continuing to the top.

Basket9
When you reach the top of each side, tie off and bury the thread knot in between the sweater-fabric layers.

Basket10
From the cardboard, cut 1 square, 2 3/4" x 2 3/4", and 4 rectangles, 2 3/4" x 5 3/4".

Basket11
Slide a cardboard rectangle in between the sweater layers on one long side of the basket; repeat for the other three sides. (If your cardboard rectangles are too wide to insert, cut a little strip away from one long edge of the cardboard until the piece fits snugly in between the sweater layers.) Push the cardboard down firmly, until it fits tightly in each bottom corner. Place the cardboard square inside the bottom of the basket; push the corners of the cardboard securely into the corners.

Basket12
Using doubled sewing thread and a whipstitch, sew the tops of the sweater rectangles closed, enclosing the cardboard in between the sweater layers.

TIP: Hand-sewing wool with regular thread can be a little tricky; the tiny knot will likely slip right through the wool. Follow these steps for securing your stitches:

1. Thread your needle; then knot the two ends of the thread together to form a loop.

2. To start a line of stitching, guide the needle through the sweater fabric where you want to begin. Hide the knot in between layers or along the inside edge. Before you pull the knot tightly against the sweater (and it pops right out the other side of the sweater fabric!), thread the needle through the loop of the doubled thread. This will hold the thread in place so you can begin your line of stitching.

3. To end a line of stitching, tie a large knot in an inconspicuous place; then take 3-5 tiny stitches over the knot and cut the thread close to the sweater fabric.

Okay, let’s finish this basket!

Basket13
I found these cute vintage buttons at yard sale.

Basket14
You can add buttons wherever you like, or not at all. I liked these buttons off to the side of this basket. When you’ve decided where to place your buttons, tip the basket on its side and sew them onto the basket using your regular sewing thread (see “TIP” above for securing your stitches on wool). You won’t be able to knot your thread on the inside of the basket—your needle will hit the cardboard!—so I hid my thread knots underneath my buttons.

Basket15
I added buttons to the centers of each side on this basket (my trial and error basket).

Basket16
You can vary the sizes of your squares and rectangles to make your basket taller, shorter, wider, or skinnier. Once you’re done, go find something to put in your pretty wool basket and display it for all to see!

Hope you enjoyed it; thanks for stopping by. Cheers, crafties!

ReSew

The ReSew blog tour, day nine: V and Co.


Welcome to day nine of the

INCREDIBLE

001RESEW1
BLOG TOUR!

With sharp, stylish designs, straight talk, and a good dose of humor, Vanessa's posts at V and Co. are just plain 'ol addicting. Her Fabric Flower Ring tute and Fabric Bracelet pattern make me wish I would've thought of them first. She's got categories called "It's All About Me," "My Crazy Kids," and "Somebody Shoot Me." Go for the craft, stay for the talk.

VandCo
Head over to Vanessa's blog and read what she has to say about ReSew. She'll be hosting a giveaway of the book at a later date–she's offered to share her experience with the book by actually making one of the projects from it. Talk about an honest review! Got me shaking in my boots a bit, even.

Hope you'll join Vanessa today! If you do, I bet you'll want to visit her again tomorrow.

crafts, sewing, thrifted!

meet my book: ReSew!

For me, the countdown to the release of ReSew officially begins today with the completion of this little video. Just a dozen days left! 


http://www.youtube.com/e/5VGjkmoY1SM
 

(You can also view it on YouTube, here.)

That was fun. Hope you thought so too.

ReSew's official release date is February 7th, when you can order the book at the publisher's site, Martingale & Company (where you'll get it shipped first), as well as at Amazon and Barnes & Noble (where you'll get it shipped next). And if you are into brick and mortar, it'll be coming to a bookstore near you, too.

I hope you enjoyed meeting my girl! Now that the work I put into her is behind me (along with the work of all who made her so beautiful at M&C), it's time to give her wings. Here's to crossing fingers that she flies.

thrifted!

Thrifted!: The Vegetarian Epicure

I've been a vegetarian for 16 years now, and I have a collection of cookbooks to prove it. For a while now my shrinking shelf space has put a halt to cookbook purchases because the alternative is to start storing them in the garage. And really, who gets inspired to cook in their garage?

So, I try to avoid buying cookbooks whenever I can. Really, I do. But then I came across this delightful-looking little book while thrifting. I loved its title and its illustrated cover:

Epicure
I have a habit of reading copyright pages, and I flipped to the one in this book. 1972. Hmm, I thought. I wonder what vegetarians ate in 1972?

Two dollars and 15 minutes later, I was sitting at my kitchen table ready to find out.

Turns out, vegetarians from the '70s enjoy a lot of the same stuff as vegetarians from 2011. With one exception. It's this thing the author calls a "two-hours-later" course. I had never heard of it before.

From page 9:

"So, the two-hours-later course came to be. This may consist of a great bowl of strawberries and a pot of cream, or maybe hot chocolate on a cold night, accompanied by thin slices of the torte that couldn't be finished earlier, or a platter of nuts and dried fruits with mulled wine. This two-hours-later course is especially recommended if grass is smoked socially at your house. If you have passed a joint around before dinner to sharpen gustatory perceptions, you most likely will pass another one after dinner, and everyone knows what that will do–the blind munchies can strike at any time."

After reading the passage on page 9, I read it again. (You know, just to make sure I got it right.)

Guess vegetarians did do things a little differently in the '70s. At least when it came to writing cookbooks.