Life's Little Details: Knitting, Sewing, Green Living, Frugal Living and Cooking In A Little Corner of Southern French Countryside.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Nifty Thrifty

A few sewing projects to show off... I've been in a little bit of a sewing mood since I started the thrift shopping and found lots of things to convert. In order to do so, I had to take a little trip to the fabric store for notions and a bit of fabric. While browsing, I came across the bias tape. I always look at it, but I've never used it. It's always been a little bit mysterious, so I never buy any. This time, I was attracted to a couple of them in particular. They seemed too cute to pass up, so I racked my brain for something to do with them. This isn't easy (don't be rude, I don't mean because I have trouble forcing my brain to think), because, since I've never used it, I don't really know what to use it for (I do, sort of, but I couldn't think of anything I needed it for). Then, the idea of a couple of baby bibs came to mind. I have lots of towels that are getting a little shabby on the edges, but the centers are great, so I decided to convert them. Pink is perfect for my girl, and this particular towel was quite frayed on its outside edges. I got two bibs out of one hand towel, and I'll still be able to use a few extra leftover bits as rags.

This is an extremely simple project to do. The bias tape, being already pressed for you, makes it even easier. All I did was trace a store-bought bib onto my pattern paper and set to work. I did all the cutting and pinning while watching a movie the other night, and sewed them up last night in a jiffy (haven't used that word in a while). And, look at those little pink animals on the bias tape. Or, how about the one with butterflies? Too cute to pass up, right? I'm thinking something like this would make a great baby shower gift. Stripes or some other patterned towels could be fun. You can easily find old towels in great condition at garage sales for nothing (or in your own linen closet). The two of them together cost me a total of 3 euros just for the bias tape (about 1.5 meters of it for each bib). I could have used a little more tape for a slightly longer tie string, but it'll work.

I remember mentioning the other day that I had plans to make a dress for Lambchop #1 out of a ladies tank I got for free at the local thrift shop (no, not the "five finger discount" - they gave it to me). I finally got around to it yesterday morning. And, you know, I love the feel of yarn sliding through my fingers as I knit, but there's something to be said for the instant gratification of sewing. It wasn't instantaneous enough for our Lambchop, though. She hung out looking over my shoulder all morning asking if it was done yet. She put it on the moment it was finished and loved it so much she got a chocolate stain on it.

An explanation:
The striped part is the tank top. I just shortened the shoulder straps a bit and took it in a little in the chest (girls may be going through puberty earlier and earlier these days, but she is only 5). The bottom section is exactly how I envisioned it. She, apparently, had other ideas, but since she didn't express them, this is what she got. She told me, "It's not what I wanted, but I like it," so I can't complain. I appear to have better luck sewing for her than knitting. I may have to stick with that, since it is far less time-consuming, so even if she rejects a sewn garment, I'm not devastated.

For the ruffles, I basically just cut a length of fabric double the circumference of the bottom of the shirt and gathered them (after basting) and sewed them to the shirt. Pretty simple. I'm happy with the end result, but I'll have to fix the chest a little more. I need to take it in up top, where it hangs open a bit when she leans over. I actually had a lot of fun sewing this, because, for the first time, I read my sewing Bible about how best to sew stretchy fabrics. It's amazing what a little know-how can do for you. It's not perfect, but it's a huge improvement over previous projects done with stretchy fabric, and I didn't feel like corrupting my children with wild cursing throughout the entire project.

I also finished my kimono shirt, but with me as my own photographer, you don't get a great shot of it. I'll have to catch my husband later today for a photo session. Should comb my hair and doll myself up a bit for you or just have him chop my head off? Here's a teaser for you in the meantime...

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