Saturday, May 19, 2012

May FNSI Results

 Last night I sat down and altered 8 of my old workout T-shirts!  All of these were originally size medium, and some of them were pretty stretched out, too.  These days I'm wearing size small - with my iPod nano clipped on to the hem when I'm working out, it really bothers me if there's enough room for the shirt to flap around. 
Here's one of the shirts before I did anything to it.  I turned it inside out and smoothed it out completely flat, and used a size small t-shirt that I like as a template.  I turned the small shirt inside out and smoothed it out, too, and then used my chalk marker to trace where the new side seams should be, up to where they meet the armhole seams.  Then I turned the line 90 degrees and went out to the sleeve hem.  I pinned along the line, sewed along it with a somewhat narrow zig-zag (using a "stretch" needle in my machine), and cut off the excess fabric with pinking shears.

Here's the result.  A much better fit!  After I knew that the first one worked, I did the others assembly-line style.
Now I have a bunch of refreshed work-out shirts!

The Friday Night Sew-In is hosted by Crafty Vegas Mom this month.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Denim Skirt

One of the MANY things I did this weekend (along with going to Robert's brother's graduation, helping Robert's brother and sister-in-law move, cleaning my oven, socializing with friends who no longer live in the area, giving said friends a ride to the airport, going to church, and baking a birthday strawberry-rhubarb pie for Robert) was to convert a pair of jeans that didn't fit me into a skirt. 

I bought the jeans earlier this spring on super-sale from L.L. Bean.  I knew there was a good chance I wouldn't like the way they fit, but I only paid $7 for them and the shipping was free, so I figured I didn't have anything to lose.  When they arrived, they fit in the waist, but the butt and legs were quite baggy.  I was going to give them to the thrift store, but then I decided I could make a skirt instead - I used to have one that I made from an old pair of jeans, and I liked it so much I wore it out. 

The first thing I learned was that L.L. Bean makes really good quality jeans.  The inseams and crotch seams both had several lines of stitching and were much more difficult to pick apart than I remember the seams being on the last pair of jeans I did this to.  When I started to re-sew the seams, I had major tension problems.  My machine really didn't like to sew with the heavy duty orange denim thread I bought to match the thread the  pants were sewn with at the factory.  I ended up having to buy a special 110/18 denim needle, and even so I had to crank up the tension higher than I've ever had it set to on this machine to avoid loops on the bottom of the fabric. 

When I cut the legs off, I measured and cut as little off as possible so that the remaining leg and the inserts from the cut-off legs would be roughly the same length after I sewed the front and back seams.  The jeans were "talls," so that resulted in an unhemmed skirt that was well past my knees.  Then I put it on and had Robert mark the tops of my knee-caps with chalk.  I measured the distance from the marks to the top of the waistband (23") and extended the line all the way around the skirt - I decided to make it 24" long in the back.  Then I cut about a half inch below the line, zig-zagged around the very edge, folded it under at the chalk line, pinned it, and sewed two seams to try to imitate the original hem that you see on pretty much every pair of jeans. 

I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.  It's definitely way better than the jeans I started with, and the whole thing only cost about $15, including the thread and the special sewing machine needles!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Garden socks finished!

Here's another finish from last week.  I finished weaving in the many green ends, and the garden socks are now in my sock drawer.  I'm happy with how they turned out.  They are a little on the short side, but I think that's okay.  I didn't want a long and awkward-looking green cuff. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Felted soap

Even though there are no colloquia in the summer, and I'm focusing on math right now (like, a lot), I'm still working on some projects - and thinking about others.  I realized that I won't be able to make a new dress or skirt before the end of June at the earliest (so if I do make one this summer I won't finish in time to wear it this summer) and that made me kind of sad.  But last week I made this quick and easy project.  I started with a lavender Dr. Bronner's bar of soap, wrapped it with colored wool, and felted it in a bowl of hot tap water.  I put it in my locker at the gym, so now I don't have to use the gross-smelling soap they have in the showers in the locker room anymore.  That makes me happy.  The felt is sort of like a built-in washcloth, and it keeps the wet soap from making a mess in my locker.