Guest post: Jessica from Quilty Habit

8.31.2011

We're on our honeymoon!
I'm so excited to have some lovely guest bloggers this week while husband and I honeymoon in Hawaii.  I'll be back after Labor Day!

Today, let's welcome... Jessica from Quilty Habit!

Hi, I'm Jessica! I'm a 21-year-old senior undergraduate student at a New Jersey college, and I blog over at Quilty Habit. I'd like to thank Suzannah for allowing me to guest post! I started sewing and blogging about one year ago - my blogaversary is coming up, as a matter of fact - and I'm looking forward to doing all sorts of DIY projects for my wedding next year (though I don't think I will be as adventurous as Suzannah, who, as many of you know, made her wedding dress - see next sentence). I've only recently begun making clothing (like this patchwork skirt), but today I'm here to talk about what you can do with t-shirts!


Do you have a closet/drawer (s) full of t-shirts from all of those sports/plays/marathons/parties etc? Or maybe your kids do. I know I did after high school was over. I had taken a basic sewing class junior year but it wasn't something I thought I would ever really do again. Boy, was I wrong. That crafty outlet I'd been looking for (scrapbooking wasn't cutting it) called to me when I found out that there was such a thing as a T-shirt quilt - although I don't remember how/where/when that happened exactly.


Like any person these days, I went to Google and typed in "t-shirt quilts." I was shocked to find that these things (for the amount of shirts I had, which was a lot) could cost anywhere from 300 to 500 dollars - and up. That wasn't happening - not on a college student's budget. So, being the way I am, I decided to do it myself - with a LOT of research on both the subjects of sewing and quilting (it took me a while to understand what quilting actually was - sewing layers of fabric together!) I borrowed my future mother-in-law's sewing machine and got to work.

I didn't have the best tools - I cut with a scissor and did not buy a rotary mat, etc…. But I did it, and even though it's lumpy and full of mishaps, I still love it with all of my heart. Memories! I bring it to my dorm room every year and I'm moving in this weekend for the last time… tear… but life goes on. I have a whole stack of shirts ready for a college t-shirt quilt!

The sewing craze caught on from there. I made one for my brother around the same time:

This month, I made a t-shirt quilt from a friend, which I consider a very significant improvement:

Whenever I finish a t-shirt quilt, I have lots of scraps. Lately, I've just been saving them, but I've been meaning to make some of the things that I've seen, such as t-shirt pillows, t-shirt scarves (here and here), t-shirt flowers (this one is near the top of my to-do list) and even t-shirt rugs! I'm planning to take some of my favorite college t-shirts and make them into a tote bag of some kind, and I'll be sure to post a tutorial on my blog when I do.


If you'd like to make a t-shirt quilt, I can assure you that you can do it, or you can always send it to a company that specializes in them! I like to sew the shirts together with at LEAST a 1/4th inch seam allowance. Working with t-shirt cotton is very different from other cottons. It's more stretchy, so it can be difficult to cut, and it is very easy to tear or get holes in. I mean, think about that favorite t-shirt you used to wear… yep, that one with the hole. Mine was a beloved WNBA shirt… but anyway... you get the idea. Professional t-shirt quilt makers use interfacing to give the t-shirts support so that they are easier to sew - but interfacing is really expensive for big t-shirt quilts, and so far I've avoided using it. I know that I *should* and you probably should too, but what I do works for me, for now. So that's your decision!

There are different ways to sew them together too - the uniform way seems to be much more popular around the internet (rows and columns, with the shirts exactly the same size and framed by fabric), but I like to figure out a layout that works according to the different sizes of the t-shirt designs.

So, as you can see, there are SO many things you can do with t-shirts! Who knew, right? This should give you a really good excuse to clean out your closet - and no, I don't just mean pushing everything into a corner like I have done.

I'd love if you popped by my blog to say hello - and if you have any questions about t-shirt quilts or quilting or anything, I'd also love to hear from you! Thanks again, Suzannah, and I hope you have a fantastic honeymoon!

Thanks so much, Jessica!  Lots of great ideas!  I've often thought a patchwork t-shirt shower curtain would be fun for a teenager's bathroom or something.  And I LOVE the ideas with what to do with the scraps!


See you next week, readers!

Guest post: Whitney's sewing tips

8.30.2011

We're on our honeymoon!
I'm so excited to have some lovely guest bloggers this week while husband and I honeymoon in Hawaii.  I'll be back after Labor Day!

Today, let's welcome...Whitney from Becoming, a fun blog about DIYs, sewing, decorating, and thrifting!


I started following Suzannah's blog long before I sewed my first stitch. When sewing was but a mere dream ... also known as last year.

I wanted to learn, but I was a bit intimidated. I was afraid I would be horrible at it or that I would hate it. I started small by finding sewing blogs and reading about the process of sewing. Adventures in Dressmaking quickly became one of my favorites. Suzannah has some serious sewing skills, but she never makes sewing sound intimidating. And I was amazed at the way she mixes and matches her patterns to create one of a kind pieces.

I finally worked up the courage to learn sewing this April. My mission? An Easter dress. Prepare to be shocked and awed.


Yes, my first dress was shockingly awful. (As you can see, I gave up before finishing it.) I haven't even shared it on my own blog. It's pretty embarrassing. But I figure that sewing is a process, and we all have to start somewhere! So here are a few sewing tips I've learned (mostly the hard way) in my little five month journey.

1) Know Your Body

If your eyes can bare it, look back at my first dress. Once you get past the horrid fabric choice and the questionable construction, you can see the real issue. The smallest part of the dress was not hitting me at my waist and the hip part of the dress was hitting me at my thighs.

And that was the day I learned I would never be a super model. Ha!

Basically, I have a very high waist and short torso. So I tweaked my pattern by cutting inches out of the torso area.


Then I grabbed some new fabric and was able to make a better looking Easter outfit. Learning my body shape and what compliments it has helped me a lot in sewing. Before I even start a dress, I now know what to pay attention to and what I'll most likely need to tweak.

2) Find Your Own Style

This is something that Suzannah excels at - she finds the best patterns for her and then uses them to make unique outfits. I personally love vintage clothing. Since sewing with vintage patterns can be very tricky, I did some research and found a modern day pattern that I really liked. I chose fabric that I thought would give off the vibe I was going for. Then I adjusted the sleeve and hem length and voila! A dress that suited my body type and style!



Sewing frees you from fads and trends. You don't have to settle for clothing that isn't your style or doesn't suit you.

3) Kick Fear Out The Door

This is what has helped me the most. I can't tell you how many hours I have researched patterns and sewing techniques to make sure I did things the right way. But the problem was that I let the fear of not doing it the right way keep me from adventuring into new sewing territory!

In sewing you're going to make some mistakes. Big ones. The biggest mistakes I have made (besides in my first dress) were in this dress I made recently.


But can you tell? Well, if you look at it from the back, yes. Yes, you can. But the point is, if you don't have fun sewing it, you won't have fun wearing it. With this dress, I modified the pattern to the bodice from my previous dress and then made up my own skirt and bow detail. I messed up so many times, it's unreal. But in the end, I had a dress that I loved, mistakes and all. If I had stressed out the whole time about sewing the proper way, I probably wouldn't have had near as much fun or ended up with an outfit I loved as much.

These are just a few things I've learned in my new sewing adventure. What about you all? Did any of these resonate with you? Do you have any tips to add to help someone just starting out?

Thanks, Whitney!!  Sooo many great tips in there!  Your story of learning to sew is so inspiring.  Readers, are ya with me??

Honeymoon!

8.29.2011

Photo by Red Bird Hills (not of us!)

We're on our honeymoon!
I'm so excited to have some lovely guest bloggers this week while husband and I honeymoon in Hawaii.  I'll be back after Labor Day!

Giveaway: Amazing blog design services!

This giveaway is now closed.  Check back soon for more!

I'm so excited to have some lovely guest bloggers this week while husband and I honeymoon in Hawaii, but today I'm pleased to bring you a giveaway from a very talented sponsor and the designer of my new blog design!

This giveaway from Nadine at Fox & Toad Design is for either a custom header redesign or custom social networking buttons. Nadine will make three headers or three sets of social networking buttons for the winner to choose from based on their needs.  Awesome, right?!

Nadine does great work--she did my blog header and some other super fun site designs...

Who wouldn't love a new blog design, after seeing that super cute diaper site??!

Here's a little bit about Nadine...
I've long been obsessed with all things design and strive toward simple, fun design that expresses itself in unexpected ways. I write and edit for my day job but indulge in design passion projects whenever I can. I'm currently attending classes at my local art school to better hone my skills. I loved working on Adventures in Dressmaking and hope to spread the love with this giveaway! Besides design, I love music (I like to make mixes to post on the Fox & Toad blog), running, and a good book.

So generous of Nadine to offer up a flexible blog header or custom button package.  If you'd like to win, the rules are as usual...

  • Check out Fox & Toad Design! (You must be a follower of my blog in some form to enter). Make sure I have a way to contact you if you win. Basically:
  • Leave a comment on this post telling me why you want a new blog header or buttons or what kind
  • and/or share this giveaway: Facebook, Twitter, your blog--leave a link in a comment on this post!
For each thing you do, be sure to leave a comment telling me about it! Giveaway ends Tuesday, September 6th at midnight and I will announce the winner Wednesday.
*BE SURE TO LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS SO I CAN CONTACT YOU IF YOU WIN!

Good luck and have fun dreaming of new blog designs!

Oops! I never shared wedding dress pics!!

8.26.2011

I told you all about my wedding dress progress, but never showed you a picture of the final result!

We have the pics back from the photographer (our amazing photographer, Becky of Studio 623 Photography), but I still have to go through and pick out faves.  A post is coming soon, don't worry!

But until then, I can certainly share a pic of the finished product of the wedding dress I made with my mom's help.  Here it is!

By Studio 623 Photography
Can't wait to go thorough all the pictures (after our honeymoon next week) and post them!!

More pics coming!

By Studio 623 Photography

A little kitchen re-do and curtain

8.25.2011

I don't like our kitchen much at all--it's small and the cabinets are an ugly natural wood color very typical of 1979 construction, true to our rental townhouse's age.  The floor isn't great and I don't know what to do with the walls/wall color, and the counter is uuuuugly.  And there's no room to store anything.

BUT it could be worse.  I should stop complaining--I love the fridge and it's nice we have a window to our little patio thing.  Until now I hadn't done much to it... like I said, without painting the cabinets white (a dream of mine... if you've seen my Pinterest dream kitchens you know where I'm coming from), or somehow making it bigger, I don't really know how to improve it.

I hung up a favorite curtain and always used bright, cute handtowels, and with a few other fave items ("flour"/"sugar"/"coffee" tubs that contain things other than flour, sugar, or coffee), yellow tea kettle, fresh herbs on the windowsill, it was okay.  But I've been open to redecorating.

Now that the wedding's over I have a little spare time on my hands, and when husband and I were out doing errands last weekend I found this BOMB black and white rug at Grocery Outlet for $8.  It's 100% cotton, black and white stripe, not too thick or thin, and we'd been wanting a rug by the sink anyway.  (Grocery Outlet, for those of you outside the Northwest, is super sketch for produce or food that spoils but has amazing snacks and candy and random homegoods for super cheap.  And it's employee-owned!).

Anyways, I had some black and white fingerprint quilter's cotton that I used to have covering a bulletin board.  I thought, sure, we can go with the black and white theme!  I loooooooove the rug, and the curtain goes.  I also bought some cute white-with-black-edge hand towels at Grocery Outlet for like $4 for 8.  They were a little too short to hang over the horizontal rod as-is, so I did a super cool velcro/tube conversion.  More details later.

Since the window is so narrow rather than make a pair of curtains I made a faux Roman shade-type panel, and tied it up with some white grosgrain.  Maybe someday if I still like it I'll give it a lining, make it the exact right width, sew the twill tape with plastic loops on the back, make it a real Roman shade.  But this is fine for now.

So here it is.  Not sure if it's a whole lot better, but it is different!  I have decor ADD in a major way.  Always changing things up!  Especially in a rental I don't love.

I know the fabric color goes, but it occurred to me that kitchen curtains aren't necessarily the coolest right now.  Or fabric.  Not as sleek and clean and cool as my rug, maybe.  I dunno.

What's hanging in your kitchen window?

Apartment Therapy heard me

8.24.2011

You've seen me share inspiration on grey bedrooms--we're ready to re-do ours (again).

While Pinterest-ing recently, I linked to Apartment Therapy--they have a whole article on picking the best greys, and on grey bedrooms!
Both pics from Domino, like, a while ago

Grey bedrooms... article from February of 2008.  I'm a little behind on this trend, obvs.
AT

Choosing the best greys, from January of 2010... so, I'm not as late reading that one...
AT

And this February they posted that grey is still in.  Oh, good.  Cuz I'm just getting around to implementing my lovely grey bedroom idea.
AT

And, if you needed any more convincing, Colour Me Happy has a great (2009) piece about using grey in your home/what you need to know... helpful stuff! 
And doesn't this living room look like something from an early James Bond movie?
Coulour Me Happy
We're planning on painting the bedroom grey.  Finally.  This week!  I swear, we are!

This summer's DIY cut-off jeans shorts--Tutorial!

8.23.2011


Last summer, I noticed bermuda-length cuffed jean shorts were all the rage, and I made my own out of a pair of old jeans (tutorial here).  I did the tutorial here, and still love those shorts and have been wearing them around this summer.

But this year, I've noticed another trend in magazines and such.  The original cut-off jean short, with a small (sometimes raw-edged) hem.

Express (4" long inseam!)
Flickr via Pinterest
J.Crew like a year ago
J.Crew this summer
Lucky Mag
Nordstrom
Pinterest, original source unknown
You could pay $181 for these True Religion ones...
YesStyle.com, $50
Anyway, so you see the range of styles, lengths, and tightness-es.  Quite a few ideas to work from!  In all, I'm noticing shorter and looser than last year's longer cuffed jean shorts.

I went into my closet, and pulled out this ancient pair of old favorite jeans.  They're from, literally, like 2006.  They have spandex in them so they stretch, and I have worn them while at many different weights!  Haha, they've been around--they have holes starting on the knees, some paint, and some of my original jeans-mending method patching on the butt.

I wish I had a slighly looser pair, but these will do for this fun DIY project.  Here goes the tutorial!
  • Start with your old jeans and try them on.  Mark with a pen about 2" below where you think you want them to hit your legs.  Just in case, you'll give yourself that extra room since you may waste some straightening etc.  Begin to cut.
  • Cut through the top layer only, to start with, rather than chopping both off at once.  The grain is slightly different on the front and back, and you want to get a true straight line.
  • Once you've gone all the way around, fold the jeans in half and cut the other side to match as closely as possible.  They'll really look homemade if they're not symmetrical!
  • Fold them in half and look at them from different angles to make sure both sides are the same.
  • You may also want to turn them inside out, so you can see the straight grain of the denim, and shave off little bits of the edges to make them straighter.
  • Try them on again.  They should be about 1" longer than you'd like them to be.
  • To the ironing board.  Press about 1" of the jeans up.  No need to hem or turn under twice!  Wahooo, these are simple!
  • Now get out your needle and denim blue thread.  This part is sort of optional, I guess, but these will be most wearable if you do this step.  Basically, to lock in the cuff and rolled-up look, without always having your shorts moving around in length, you'll hand sew the cuff in place.
  • You'll do a running stitch, but make the stitch on top just a millimeter long, and the stitch underneath more like half an inch long.  You cover lots of ground quickly this way, but your stitches don't show on top.
  • If your jeans stretch at all, like mine did, you'll want to do this in a zig zag pattern.  The thread doesn't have the same give as the jeans, so by zig-zagging you give the stitch some flexibility.


All done!  Wear and enjoy--your personalized jean shorts, exactly the length you wanted!  And so trendy right now!


And, pretty much free.  You can't go wrong.
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