Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Button Art Mannequin is Done -or- What I Did Over Summer Vacation

It started out simply enough. I framed a few buttons several years ago. Button art. Done. Nope, I saw a piece in a window of a Richmond gallery that caught my eye. The seed was  planted. I had to make one of these myself. My mannequin was just waiting to be buttonized.

So the summer began with this obsession with buttons and glue. 

Recently, the piece was completed. I wasn't crazy about the colors, so decided, after naming it, to give it a little destructive look to sort of represent the downturn in the number of people who sew. Okay, that's a little dramatic, but you get my drift. I did a couple squirts with the paint and liked how it looked not completely painted. And so, out came the acrylic coating and it's done. I present to you, Buttons and BBs, a collection of buttons from the early 1950s to the present along with BBs filling some of the gaps. Read into that what you will.
There's a heart shaped button over the heart of the form. Awwww.

Closeup of the concrete paint. 

Here's the front. It's about 14" tall and used to be on a stand that added a few more inches. I like it better not on the stand. 

Both arms have the large yellow buttons. 

The top has a large pink button. I believe the large buttons were my mom's. 

You can see a big button on her rear. Accidental. I swear!

I wasn't sure where I was going with this when I started it, but there you have it. I like that I was able to use up some of my really old buttons. I did buy some 1/4" buttons for the smaller holes. I just didn't have enough! My summer project is now done. Sort of a scrap stitching project, don't you think?

Monday, September 9, 2013

Caftan completed - Simplicity 5718

I learned a few valuable lessons sewing this pattern. The pattern was indeed what I wanted. I found it on Etsy:

It was new and uncut, dated 1982. I generally liked patterns from that era and wanted something very simple in lines and construction. The bodice is about the right size. The sleeves fit well at shoulder insertion, but man, they're full of way too much fabric. I added elastic to the cuff because I don't care for hanging sleeves. I also ran out of fabric! I pieced the sleeves. Remember, this is just something to throw on in the morning; I won't be wearing it outside the house. Whew! Lastly, the body of the caftan is huge. I will cut at least 4" from the center of the front and the back next time, and I do have another set of fabrics ready to use. I added a matching ribbon here and there, and am showing a closeup below.
The sleeves look a little funky in the picture because of the piecing, but you can see where there's way too much volume in the gathered portions. That's easily corrected. The non-checkered fabric was used for the cuffs and I used 2" elastic because the cuffs were so large. I will make them half the size next time and perhaps use 5/8" or 1/2" elastic.
I happened on the ribbon at Joann's and it matched the flowery fabric perfectly.

Overall, I'm okay with the pattern itself. The fabrics I chose are too heavy and, as mentioned, I ran out and had to do some not-so-pretty piecing. Live and learn! I have some lighter fabric that I've had for years and wouldn't use for a garment that is perfect for this type of garment. It should be a quicker sew as well. The pockets from 1982 are cut kind of funky, so I adjusted them and made them a little deeper.

This caftan will get worn a lot this winter. I can see me frumping around with this, socks, and slippers when I take the dog out in the morning.

I have a cardigan cut out and ready to go next! Plus, my package of sale knits came today, so more cardigans are in the works!

Keep sewing, even when it's ugly. You will learn something and just might get some wear out of it too.

Update (09/14): Hated this house dress. The yolk is now gone and I used the rest to make a really nice summery skirt. I have a salmon colored tee that goes well with it. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Sewing and finishing stuff! (And always more to come)

I finished the button mannequin project. I'll have photos when the sun is bright enough to get a good view. I coated it with a concrete-like paint and finished it with a vinyl coating. I actually like it a lot. More to come!

I've lost a considerable amount of weight and need clothes. I don't want to buy them, so am doing a buy-a-few/sew-a-few combo. For the summer, I had bought a few pair of shorts, some solid tees, and made a number of skirts. I want to share one of the skirt sets as it's a recycle project, where I took a business suit and turned it into summer casual. More to come here too!

I've been working on tote bags too, like this one:
It has a recycled blue jean pocket in the lining and the lining itself is the large M&M fabric. All my M&M ribbon is finally gone!

I've cut out an open weave cardigan and am almost finished with a caftan that I'll throw on in the mornings. I want to make two of them. Next comes a couple pair of pants for the fall and winter. I plan on making several cardigans to go with the pants I have and use the tees from this summer underneath. I have a ton of receiving blankets that I use inside Christmas stockings and placemats, and they'd make the best liner for a woven fabric cardigan. I did buy two pair of jeans at Walmart. A girl's gotta have jeans, right? I'll be ready for the colder weather in nothing flat! More to come!

I'm sewing just about every day - how about you?