Saturday, September 27, 2014

DIY dress refashion: from the "Awkward Big Blue" to something cooler.

It's been a while, but I've been busy doing absolutely nothing. Ha.

So, I got this blue skirt thingy from a friend:

As you can see, it was slightly big for me, but the fabric is pretty awesome. It's flowy and shiny and has these awesome sewn flowers on it:

The color is really weird (in a good way), because in certain light it looks electric blue, then in another light it's almost black or dark drey with blueish tint... That's why it seems to be different color in every damn picture I took :D

I decided it was going to be a dress.

So what I did was measure the length I wanted the skirt part to be from the hem up, and cut it:

I then pleated the skirt part to fit my waist:

I added a waistband of another fabric since I wasn't sure if there would be enough if I cut some fabric from the top part that was left.

...then I took the top part and removed the original zipper and sewed it into the pleated bottom part of my dress-to-be. I cut some armholes on the top part, below the original waistband; made the waistband into a v-shape neckline and then just wrapped the whole thing around me and folded and pinned and unpinned and refolded the excess fabric this way and that until I found something that looked pretty okay. This was a frustrating process so there are no pictures of it happening. :P

Once I'd found a way the fabric was folded that was good, I pinned it and sewed it in place. I also hemmed the armholes I'd made and top-stitched the neckline.

Then I decided that I wanted the dress to have a cutout in the back, and so I sewed the top onto the bottom part only at the front. Next I decided that I wanted the top part to have buttons instead of a zipper! Oh, okay, that's fine... But do you know what having buttons means? Buttonholes.

Have you ever sewn a buttonhole? And not with a sewing machine, but by hand? (My old sewing machine has a buttonhole function but I've tried and failed using it, so by hand it was! In case you are as crazy as I am and want to embark on a journey of buttonholes-by-hand, here's a tutorial for that and good luck to you.)

So, sewing buttonholes by hand takes a lot of time. And I mean a lot. And it's frustrating as hell. But well, eventually (after about four hours) I'd managed to sew five buttonholes and five buttons to the back of my new dress. And now I never want to see another buttonhole in my life.

Pictured: the bane of my existence.

And then on top of that, I had to wait for my husband to come home to actually try the dress on, because I couldn't button the dress up without help.

(Note to self: don't go anywhere wearing this dress if you're not a 100% certain there will be someone to help you out of it at the end of the night. :P)

But what do you know, it actually turned out pretty good.

(If you ignore my arm flab.)

Sure, it's not completely symmetrical or anything, and the armhole hemming is the most uneven and bulged thing I have ever seen in my life, but I think I did okay. :D

(And now I have to post this gif here :D)

Oh, Tony. :D


But yeah, from an oversized blue skirt to a pleated cutout dress. (With buttonholes. Those damn buttonholes.)


So, how do you like my newest refashion? :)


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

DIY: Pleated skirt tutorial

I've been away for a little while because I've been sick. I got some weird vertigo symptoms after a nasty cold, so I've been unable to do much in the last week or so, as moving makes me dizzy which then makes me nauseous. I'm still a bit dizzy, but since I've been going crazy doing nothing, I decided to try to make a pleated skirt. It took me way longer than usually to complete the sewing project, as I had to take breaks all the time due to dizziness. Who knew folding pieces of fabric and pinning them together could be such an effort?

Anyways. I found this tutorial for a pleated skirt, but I decided to make some modifications.

Above is the fabric I used. It's this cotton/linen type of fabric (I think it was originally meant for curtains, but whatever).

Start by cutting two rectangles of the fabric. I decided to use the entire width of the fabric I had and just make more pleats to make it fit my waist, so I only had to decide on the length. I made mine 65cm (~25") and then made the hem with an extra wide seam allowance at the end, but you can make it any length you want.

Mark the top center of the width of your fabric, then start making pleats towards the center from both sides. You can measure and mark the pleats if you want to be super accurate, but I just made them without any exact measurements, estimating the width as I went along. Note that if you want to add a zipper in the back (as I did) and not in the side seam, you should leave a gap between the middle pleats of the back piece and not pin the centermost pleats right next to each other. I left a gap of about 2-3cm (~1") for the zipper in the middle of the back piece.

Once you're finished pinning the pleats, the skirt piece should look like this (the front piece without the gap in the middle):

The width of the piece should be half of your waist measurement plus seam allowance. I made mine a bit big, just in case, because I could always add a pleat to the side seam if I wanted to. Turns out there was no need and it was good that the measurement leaned a bit towards the too-big side, as the end result fits me perfectly.

Top-stitch over the pleats to keep them in place:

Next, I wanted to add pockets, so I cut the pocket pieces. Pockets should be shaped approximately like this, unless you want to make square pockets:

There are four pieces in the picture, they're just on top of each other. Make sure your hand fits the pocket.

Estimate where in the side seam you want the pockets to be, then pin them along the side seam, right side to right side. Measure the distance from the top to make sure the pockets align once you sew the side seams together.

(Here you can sort of see the small gap I left for the zipper in the middle.)

Sew the pockets along the edge of the skirt using the same seam allowance you're going to use for the side seams themselves.

Press the sewn pockets open with an iron:

Then lay the skirt pieces on top of each other, right side to right side, and pin. Sew along the edges like so:

If you haven't added pockets and want to insert the zipper into the side seam, leave the other side seam open at the top for the zipper and sew it in. As I added the zipper in the back, I did like this:

Slit open the gap in the middle of the back piece (make the slit about as long as your zipper) and add a zipper. I've usually just pinned the zipper and sewed it on, making it more or less visible, but this time I tried this tutorial that I found. And it worked pretty well!

My zipper seams are always a bit wobbly since my old sewing machine doesn't have a zipper foot, but it doesn't really bother me. And I think the zipper turned out just fine, plus it's not as visible as the ones I usually manage to sew.

Then, it's time to add the waistband. Make it a bit longer than your waist, as it will overlap the zipper part. Press the raw edges in and then fold the whole thing in half and press again. You'll get something like in the middle picture here:

My waistband was about 8cm (~3") when I cut it, and it turned out narrow (which was what I wanted). You can make it wider if you want.

Next, pin the waistband over the pleated top of your skirt, encasing the raw edges of the pleats inside the fold of the waistband:

Sew the waistband on, also folding the raw edges in at the ends.

Make sure there is overlapping fabric, as the next step is to add a hook and eye:

Then it's only a matter of hemming the skirt, and your pleated DIY skirt is all done and ready to use!

Rocking the new look:

(Sorry about the pale zombie no-makeup look. In my defense I have been sick...)

But yeah, I'm really loving the pleated skirt, and it was so easy to make, too! What do you think? :)


Friday, September 12, 2014

Dress refashion: from "short & boring" to "striped & amazing"

Last time I refashioned a dress in this post, where I added a cream colored ribbon detail to the front of an existing dress, completely transforming the look of the dress into something new and exciting.

Well, I happened to have anothed dress of the same type, only without sleeves. I'd used it as a strictly summer dress because it was very short when worn by a giant like myself. Now I came to think that I could add something to the hem to make it longer and maybe wear it also during the winter.

I dug out my pile of fabrics.

I took one of the stripey pieces and used that. I measured the width of the hem of my dress and cut two pieces of that length (plus seam allowance). I then sewed them together, right side to right side, to create a loop of fabric, which I then pinned and sewed onto the hem of the dress. I hemmed the newly added length and looked at the dress... It looked okay, but I wanted to add something striped on the top part as well.

I remembered this tutorial by one of my favorite DIY bloggers, and I set out to make a Peter Pan collar for my dress. It was a bit of trial and error to find the best angle for the stripes on the collar, but in the end I managed to find something that looked just right.

And here are the results:

So instead of a boring stretchy dress that's a bit too short for me, I now have an awesome new dress to rock when me and Stormiina hit the thrift stores tomorrow. This was a really simple refashion and it didn't take much time to complete. You should definitely try this if you have a dress you want to spruce up a bit. :)

So, what do you think of today's quick refashion?


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Yet another dress I made & I joined Pinterest

When I went to buy fabric for the red cape I made for Stormiina for our castle photoshoot (previous post), they had a sale going on in the fabric store. Cue to me going insane.

Yeah, I cleared out the scrap pieces bin...

Fall is coming, so I went for red shades. Such a nice hue for cold fall days. The red and black houndstooth (upper left corner) is this thick, stretchy fabric, so I paired it with a cut-off pantleg of some stretchy jeans, added a front zipper and made a dress for fall.

I probably should have done the black contrast pieces in a fabric that is similar to the houndstooth one, but I didn't have any and I was too lazy to go to the fabric store to get some. So I made use of the pantlegs of some jeans I cut into shorts last summer, and it worked out just fine as well.

Rocking the new dress.
(The belt I'm wearing with the dress is from H&M sale.)

So, that kind of a dress this time.

Also, I finally caved and joined Pinterest. You can find my Pinterest here - I'm planning on putting my sewing inspiration and style inspiration pictures there. It's mostly just for me to stay organized, because right now my inspiration pictures are just clumped up in one messy folder on my computer desktop, but you're more than welcome to follow me etc. :)


Friday, September 5, 2014

Photoshoot: In the ruins of a castle

Yesterday me and Stormiina drove to the ruins of Kuusisto Castle to do a photoshoot. I was wearing a self-made floor-length skirt with a bodycon dress beneath it as the top. I'd added some slightly ruffly sleeves to the bodycon dress, and I was ready to rock the ruins! I also had a long black cape I made earlier in the summer. Stormiina was wearing red skirt with a red cape I made for her - the perfect imitation of the Little Red Riding Hood. We had so much fun doing the photoshoot and we're planning on going again in the winter, when snow covers the ruins and gives the place an eerie, dramatic look. :)

But yeah, here are some of the ~400 photos we snapped yesterday. All pictures of me by Stormiina, all pictures of Stormiina by me. All photos edited by Stormiina. :)

Just a fair maiden from times of old.

Oh you know, just hanging in the middle of the ruins of my castle, no biggie.

I'm so noble I can't even look at you, peasants.

I look suicidal. But I kind of want to make a poster out of this photo. :D

~Looking down on you.

~Dreaming of my prince.

I wonder if my prince is coming to pick me up soon?

Seriously, where is he? I'm getting bored here hanging with these stupid rocks.

Maybe I'll see him if I look behind the tree?

(Sadly, no.)

...or if I look around here...?

(Alas! No princes there either... but look, is that--)

--Little Red Riding Hood! (Who apparently just crawled out of a hole in the castle wall, whoa. On a scale from one to Little Red Riding Hood, how rough was your last night? :D)

She is looking fierce, though.

Here, let me try that fierce thing:

Nope, I just look like I escaped from a horror movie. Damnit.

Hanging out in a hole in the wall. Just like they used to back in the days?

Stormiina makes the whole hanging in a hole in the wall thing look so much better than what I can manage.

*dramatic prairie dog look*

*dramatic I-don't-even-know-what look* :P

Stormiina is also looking for her prince? (Or maybe a wolf?)

On a bridge, still looking fierce.


And finally, the both of us. Photo courtesy of an old, crumbling wall where we set the camera. :D


Thanks so much for doing this with me, Stormiina, it was a lot of fun! ♥


PS. Stormiina had a bit too much fun with photoshop, so here, have a picture of me looking like a freaking Disney princess, birds and butterflies and all:

I really have nothing to add. :D