Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Cheap & Chic - Tutorial #1 - Nude cocktail dress



This is the first of many, weekly tutorials on how to turn a terrible looking thrifted, vintage dress, or something your mom had lying around, into a fabulous, one-of-a-kind treasure to be the envy of everyone!

Let's start with the basics. When looking for something to use, you want it to be quality fabric, nothing that is ratty or worn too thin. Also look for the color of the fabric, a fun print or bright color you just can't take your eyes off. Don't be put off by something that is too long, a few inches too big, this can be altered. Shoulder pads? Removed. Something fun and interesting but there are just a few things wrong with it? These things that are wrong with it are going to be fixed and it will become a wearable dress!

The nude cocktail dress.

I purchased it for $8 at the Goodwill in Grand Haven, Michigan in January when I was home visiting family. It had a jacket attached, shoulder pads, was floor length, no belt (but wide belt loops, this was key!), and just a tad too big.

Loose fitting but notice how it lines up with my natural waist, this is important to look for when finding an item to alter. Saves you a lot of work in having to reattach the bottom.

The wide beltloops

The attached jacket

I started by carefully detaching the jacket. It was sewn on by only one top stitch on each shoulder. Using a straight razor blade, more inexperienced sewers should use a thread ripper, I tore out the seam. With that came the shoulder pads. I set aside the jacket, it's actually not too bad over another shirt.

Then I figured out the length I wanted the dress. I tried it on, and made a mark with tailor's chalk right above my knees. Took the dress off, laid it out on my table, and carefully cut straight across about an inch below my mark, to leave room for a hem allowance.

Only a few more steps and it's done!

Next, I tried it on, inside out, and pinned the side seams about an inch on each side, to fit me a little more snug. I didn't want a tight fit. I took it to my sewing machine and sewed from the armpit down to the bottom.

Finally, I stitched up the bottom, using a double fold hem. This hem is created by folding the hem allowance twice. It hides the raw edge of the fabric in the hem.



I went to my closet, found a teal belt that went well with the dress. Carefully pressed the dress to get rid of wrinkles, and DONE!

The finished dress, with belt

Close-up


I brought it with me to Vegas last weekend when I went on vacation with my friends from college. I wore it to "Love" the Beatles Cirque du Soleil show!

I don't get the chance to dress up very often, and I love wearing stilettos (I'm 5'8" so it's pretty infrequent). And it's an added bonus when I get to wear something I made! With my friend Betsy at the Revolution Lounge.


Next tutorial:
Is it possible to make this dress fabulous?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Hamburger dress!

So.... I've decided to try out this whole "style blog" thing to showcase my personal style and clothes I make. I'm going to start posting tutorials of thrift store dresses that are completely hideous, with before pictures, pictures of how to change them with instructions, and pictures of the end result! It's a great way to learn how to sew and so much fun to create a dress that no one else has with just a few alterations! I'm so excited! However, it's strange for me to be in front of the camera; I've always preferred to be the one taking pictures. So here goes. Tell me what you think. I am making funny faces in most of these, need to stop talking when she's snapping away.

Rachael and I went down to the pond at the entrance to our street and took a few pictures after shopping at the mall. She yelled at me for going in Sephora :/ . I guess it's good I stay away from that store. I would have ended up buying $40 face cream I didn't need or something.
Anyways, there are a ton of asian ducks down there just wandering around all the time, drinking from the street and blocking traffic. They don't like flowers I guess.

My friend, Sarah, gave me this dress a few weeks back and I've been itching to wear it since the second I got it home and tried it on! I love living in the south; it's already warm outside. I will probably be biting my tongue in July when it's 100 degrees outside.. but for now I'm loving it.

Sarah's son Aidan used to call design on the dress hamburgers when he was little when she'd wear it. He's now nine, and when we all went to dinner last night he didn't remember the dress at all. Sarah reminded him he'd call it the "hamburger dress" and he gave me a funny face. I still like to refer to it as the hamburger dress though. It's funny.

I paired it with a navy polka dot belt I had from a dress I cut up to make clutches a while back. The best part about this dress though, it has pockets!

Shoes: Aldo
Dress: vintage
Belt: thrifted
Sunglasses: Forever 21

Yellow Jessamine

Sarah at Yellow Jessamine. Notice I'm in the picture. Can you spot the cat on my t-shirt?! : )

______________________________


Ohmigoodness, it's really Sunday night/Monday morning already?! It's 1:18am, and I should really be in bed, since the kids get here at 6:20am.

Saturday, Sarah and I were vendors at the Yellow Jessamine festival in North Augusta, South Carolina, right across the river. What a learning experience that was! So many things went wrong!

We went out Friday night, because, well, why not?! We knew we wouldn't be able to sleep much with the growing anticipation of the show; we'd been getting ready for weeks. And why not go out when we have to be up at 6am the next morning? Haha. Bad idea. We just had a few cocktails, but the lack of sleep made the morning wretched! Not to mention we looked like crackheads all day with out dehydrated skin and bags under our eyes.

But really it didn't matter since the show was kind of a bust. A major disappointment. And I did make a few dollars. But the promoters really dropped the ball. Definitely will not be participating next year. And they probably won't invite us since we broke the rules and packed up early haha, oops.

First, Sarah and I requested to have our booths next to each other. Instead we were across from and one down from each other. And the woman next to each of us wanted to be next to each other. So they were idiots and switched us all around, no one noticing till hours after we setup.

Second, terrible wind in the morning kept knocking everything over. They neglected to tell us we had to have our tents weighed down, and since it was in the middle of Georgia Avenue we couldn't use steaks. Some people near us were kind enough to lend me some weights. For Sarah's we had to find something to weigh it down at 10am, an hour before the show. I drove around, of course, I almost got lost, in Sarah's minivan and found a Kmart (what a shithole that place still is). I bought two 10lb iron dumbbells. Hurried back downtown, and finished setting up in the wind. My sign blew over and broke; luckily Sarah had packaging tape so I taped it down.

Third, there was NO advertising! Not even in Augusta. No one even heard of the show! So, naturally, there was no one there. NO foot traffic. And the few that were there were more interested in the imported purses that would be monogramed on site (ewww!) than my wonderful handmade creations! And there were some interesting folk there, I'll put it that way and not talk badly about South Carolina people.

But, the few people that did stop, and even fewer that purchased something, were very kind and gave me the best compliments! One thing that I miss with online sales is the experience of putting a face to the bag. Getting feedback face-to-face and seeing their excitement. It makes me so happy! I met a few great people and booked a few shows even!

And my booth was beautiful! Sign out front, on a matching easel.
The sun hit the spot where I sat all day and the back of my neck was burnt. Redneck ha.

My cassette wallets on display. I bought this table for $1.99 at Salvation Army. Primed and spray painted it red like the frame of my sign, the easel, and the picture frames.

My purses out front on a clothing rack cut down about 12" for optimal purse display height (thanks to Sarah's dad and his hacksaw!).

Sarah's lovely booth! "Cribbledy Goodness." She repurposes jewelry. "Vintage made new"

Her assorted creations.

I absolutely LOVE this display! We found it at Salvation Army, the same day as I found my table, and it was a brass candle holder. Unscrewed all the candle tops, filled the holes with spackle for normal drywall, primed it, and spray painted, a few coats. Makes the cutest display for her bracelets! The color is "pistachio". I spray painted two other displays this color for Sarah last week when I watched her kids and they looked great in her booth!

More sewing in the morning. I am a vendor at First Friday in downtown Augusta this Friday! And Masters is fast approaching. Since it's practice rounds all week it's going to be busy *fingers crossed*!!

Bedtime!

Tomorrow: a new tutorial!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Quilting: definitely not my forte,.. a sign making tutorial



I've needed to make a sign for art shows for the longest time! People always come into my booth and I have to tell them that my products are all from second-hand fabric and handmade, and blah blah blah. It gets redundant. And the only thing with my name on it is my business cards. I had to step it up a notch and make this! I have the Yellow Jessamine Festival coming up this weekend, so I finally made one using scrap fabric.

You could also alter this project to make a wall hanging for your bedroom with funny sayings, or you could use pictures instead of writing! Make a hanging photo collage that looks so much better than just a photo in a frame!

I used the following materials:
  • thrift stores picture frame
  • spray paint
  • scrap pieces of fabric
  • photo transfer paper
  • white linen napkin
  • masking tape
  • scissors
  • iron
  • ironing board
At Salvation Army I found an 11" x 16" picture frame that was a hideous was orange with a hideous gold sponge paint overlay. I spray painted it red. It took a few coats.

On with the sewing! All you quilters will find this project super easy. Oddly enough, I can make awesome handbags, alter clothes, make clothes from scratch and sew as like the day is long, but I can not quilt! I hate measuring things exactly; I hate cutting on grids and measuring. This project tested my patience a little bit for these very reasons.

I always save little scrap pieces of fabric, which came in handy for this project. I found an wide variety of pieces big and small. Sat them aside. [Hint: I organize my scraps in plastic zipper pouches pillowcases come in. They work great for organizing fabric you have laying around messing up your sewing area. They stack perfectly, and being clear you can see most of what they contain!]

Next you will need to print out what you want your sign to say, or your photos. Open any photo editing program. Type or create what you want on your sign. Don't forget to flip horizontally before you print, even if you are using photos! This is what mine looked like:



Cut out the words, if the background is white you can cut right up to the letters. Or cut to the border of the picture.

Position them on the fabric and iron the transfer using the manufacturer's instructions. Wait till it's completely cool to peel off the paper!
Cut them out.



Sew scrap pieces on either side of your writing that are as the same height. This of course depends on what you want your sign to look like, this is just how I did mine. You can do this any way.

I attached strips in between these pieces, and mounted the complete piece of fabric on an 11" x 16" piece of cardboard, using masking tape. Put back in the frame and you are done!
This is your end result!

And viola! You have a beautiful sign to advertise what you make!

It's really quite a simple project. But for beginners, refer to these sites for help with quilting and sewing:


Also! I finally have my thread cabinet on the wall in my sewing room! So exciting! My dad and Sue bought it for me for Christmas. I'd wanted one for years. Jo-Anns only carries them for their day-after-Thanksgiving sale; they are doorbusters. I try to only use Guterman thread so it's perfect for me.

[Notice the tension rod on my shelving unit with the sheer curtain. A great way to hide all your fabric! Even though everything behind it is color-coordinated, it tends to look messy all the time, and when company comes over it makes the room appear much neater. Especially since my workspace is the dining room.]

Monday, March 22, 2010

Las Vegas vacation

I'm finally home! What a long, long weekend that was. My apologies for no posts from Vegas, went computer free for a weekend; I needed a break. I only updated my Twitter and Facebook.

A bunch of my friends from college and I met up at Aria, an amazing new casino and resort. I arrived on Thursday night, the three hour time change being very difficult to adjust to. Spent three nights. It was absolutely wonderful! Had such a blast going nuts and tearing up the town. I brought both of my cameras but somehow managed to take a few pictures. Oops.

Here is a view from our room. Thursday when we arrived.

Since Vegas is three hours behind Georgia, and I've been getting up at 5:50 A.M. most mornings to be a nanny, sleeping in was impossible. So 7 A.M. Vegas time, Friday morning I sprang out of bed and wandered around the strip eating a blueberry muffin for breakfast and taking in the desert air. It was nice being one of the few people out and walking around.

Can you tell it's 8:00 A.M. No makeup and looking like hell.

The weekend was typical for a Vegas vacation. Far too many cocktails consumed, gambling, dining out, Cirque du Soleil, shopping.. yadda yadda yadda. Such a blast seeing old friends! I'll just share a few pictures.

Betsy and I by the pool on Friday, and yes, I was rocking a one-piece! It was much better to be comfortable with my sleek brown suit, than looking cheap and scandalous like most 20-somethings in skimpy two pieces. Don't get me wrong, I love wearing two-pieces when I'm trying to get a nice tan, but I couldn't bring myself to wear one. Especially when we're having mojitos and being ridiculous! Hehe.

At the cabana. MSU playing inside. Lots of swimming, cheese, champagne, and beer.

My favorite couple! My roommate from college, Stephanie, and her boyfriend, Drew. I met him my first week of college, we had an English class together. We all became friends, they started dating. Six or seven years later, they're still together.

Betsy and I having dinner at the Bellagio.

Betsy and I at the Revolution bar after "Love", the Beatles Cirque Du Soleil. I made this dress from a hideous thrift store find; I finally got the chance to wear it!
(TUTORIAL COMING THIS WEEK)

Back to work. Focusing on getting ready for an art show this weekend and finishing up custom wallets!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Cassettes available for custom wallets


Title/Artist
Album
Color
98 degrees
Because Of You (single)
white
ABBA
Super Trouper
white
Aerosmith
What It Takes (single)
black
Air Supply
Lost In Love
white
Air Supply
The Christmas Album
white
Alfred Prinz
The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
grey
All-4-One
I Swear (single)
black
Amy Grant
A Christmas Album
grey
Andy Gibb
Shadow Dancing
grey
Anita Baker
Body & Soul
black
Bachman-Turner Overdrive
Not Fragile
grey
Bad English
self-titled
grey
Barbra Streisand
Emotion
grey
Barry Mantilow
One Voice
grey
Belinda Carlisle
Heaven on Earth
white
Belinda Carlisle
Belinda
white
Bette Midler
Beaches Original Soundtrack
white
Bill Cosby
From Original Motion Picture “Bill Cosby-Himself”
grey
Billy Joel
The Nylon Curtain
grey
Billy Joel
Streetlife Serenade
grey
Billy Joel
The Bridge
grey
Billy Joel
Glass Houses
grey
Billy Joel
Cold Spring Harbor
grey
Billy Squier
Emotions in Motion
white
Blondie
The Best Of Blondie
grey
Blood, Sweat & Tears
Musically Speaking
grey
Bob Dylan
Self Portait
grey
Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band
The Distance
white
Bobby Brown
Bobby Brown
white
Boston
Boston
grey
Boyz II Men
I’ll Make Love To You (single)
white
Brandy
I Wanna Be Down (single)
black
Carly Simon
The Best Of Carly Simon
white
Carole King
Tapestry
grey
Carpenters
Voice Of The Heart
grey
Carpenters
Carpenters
grey
Cat Stevens
Greatest Hits
grey
Cheap Trick
Cheap Trick At Budokan
grey
Cheap Trick
Cheap Trick
grey
Cher
Cher
grey
Chicago
Look Away (single)
white
Christmas Is Coming
Compliation
grey
Connie Francis
Treasury of Love Songs
white
Cyndi Lauper
True Colors
grey
Dead Or Alive
Nude
grey
Dirty Dancing
More Dirty Dancing (soundtrack)
white
Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff
Book on tape
white
Doughboys
Shine (single)
white
Dream Babies
Various Girls And Girl Groups of the Sixties
white
Eddie and the Cruisers
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
white
Eddie and the Cruisers 2
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
white
Eddie Money
Can’t Hold Back
grey
Ella Fitzgerald
The Rodgers and Hart Soundtrack
grey
Elton John
Breaking Hearts
grey
Elton John
Candle In The Wind (single)
white
Elton John
Live In Australia
white
Elton John
Something About The Way You Look Tonight (single)
white
Elvis
Rock & Rock Forever
grey
Elvis
Elvis’ Christmas Album
grey
En Vogue
My Lovin’ (single)
black
Eric Clapton
Layla (single)
black
Eric Clapton
Unplugged
white
Eric Clapton
Backless
grey
Everything But The Girl
Missing (single)
black
Fine Young Cannibals
The Raw & The Cooked
white
Fire & Ice
Realistic
white
Footloose
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
grey
Foreigner
Head Games
white
Frank Sinatra
At the Sands with Count Basie
white
Frank Sinatra/Bing Crosby
Holidays with Frank and Bing
yellow
George Michael
Faith
grey
George Strait
If You Ain’t Lovin’ You Ain’t Livin’
grey
Gilbert & Sullivan
H.M.S. Pinafore
grey
Grease
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
grey
Grover and the Package
Book on tape
yellow
Guys And Dolls
Play on tape
white
Harry Simone Chorale
Little Drummer Boy
black
Henry Mancini
“The Second Time Around” & Others
grey
Hooters
Nervous Night
grey
Hootie &The Blowfish
Let Her Cry (single)
black
How To Handle Difficult People
Understanding Behavioral Styles
white
How To Handle Difficult People
Why People Resist
white
Huey Lewis And The News
Huey Lewis And The News
grey
Inxs
Shabooh Shabooh
white
Jacksons
The Jacksons
grey
Jacksons
Victory
grey
Janet Jackson
Rhythm Nation 1814
black
Joan Osborne
One of Us (single)
black
Jose Garcia & the New Spirit Band
Feliz Navidad
white
Kenny Rogers
Twenty Greatest Hits
white
Kenny Rogers
Christmas
white
Kitty & Roy
Book on tape
royal blue
Little Richard
Tutti Frutti
white
Little Texas
God Blessed Texas (single)
black
Little Women
Book on tape
white
Lorrie Morgan
Trainwreck of Emotion
black
Louie Louie
self-titled
grey
Love And Rockets
Express
grey
Luciano Pavarotti
Mamma
black
Luciano Pavarotti
World Famous Music Treasures
grey
Lynda Ronstadt
What’s New
white
Madonna
Ray Of Light (single)
black
Madonna
Vogue (single)
black
Madonna
Take A Bow (single)
black
Mark Morrison
Return Of The Mack (single)
black
Maximum Strength Weight Loss
Your Subliminal Improvement Program
white
MC Lyte feat. Xscape
Keep On, Keepin’ On (single)
black
Meatloaf
Bat Out Of Hell
grey
Merle Haggard
Back To The Barrooms
grey
Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson
Pancho and Lefty
grey
Miami Sound Machine
Primitive Love
grey
Miami Vice
Music From The TV Series
grey
Michael Bolton
The Hunger
grey
Moonlight Classics
The World’s Most Beautiful Melodies
grey
My Pet Monster Goes to School
Book on tape
red
Nat King Cole
The Best Of Nat King Cole
white
Neil Diamond
Classics, The Early Years
grey
Otis Redding
In Person At The Whisky A Go-Go
grey
Pebbles
Pebbles
white
Phil Collins
Face Value
white
Pocahontas
Sing-a-long
yellow/gold
Pocahontas
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
white
Prince
Controversy
grey
Prince and The Revolution
Purple Rain Soundtrack
grey
Reba McEntire
Just A Little Love
white
REO Speedwagon
You Can Tune a Piano, But You Can’t Tuna Fish
grey
Rick Asley
Free
white
Rick Springfield
Hard To Hold Soundtrack Recording
grey
Robert Plant
Pictures At Eleven
white
Robin Hood
Book on tape
white
Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree
14 Upbeat Children’s Songs
white
Rod Stewart
Foot Loose and Fancy Free
white
Rod Stewart
Every Picture Tells A Story
grey
Salt-n-Pepa
A Salt WIth A Deadly Pepa
white
Santana
Santana
grey
Scooby-Doo
Ghost in the Doghouse
yellow
Shostakovich
Symphony No. 6, Opus 54
grey, yellow
Silverwind
A Song in the Night
blue
Simon and Garfunkel
Greatest Hits
white
South Pacific
An Original Soundtrack Recording
grey
Stevie Nicks
The Wild Heart
white
Superman, The Movie
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
white
Swan Lake
Eugene Ormandy, The Philadelphia Orchestra
grey
T. Rex
Greatest Hits
grey
Tears For Fears
Advice for the Young at Heart (single)
white
The Bee Gees
In The Beginning
grey
The Best of Marlboro Country Music
Volume One
white
The Chipmunks
The 12 Days Of Christmas With The Chipmunks
grey
The Glory Of Christmas

white
The Greatest Love
A Wedding Collection
blue
The Guess Who
Best of
grey
The Guess Who
The Greatest Of
grey
The Guess Who
The Best Of
grey
The Jerky Boys
Sampler
white
The Little Mermaid
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
white
The Magic Organ
Waltz Time
blue
The Police
Zenyatta Mondata
grey
The Righteous Brothers
Greatest Hits
grey
The Romantics
In Heat
grey
Tiffany
Tiffany
white
Toad The Wet Sprocket
All I Want (single)
grey
Toddler Tunes
Cedarmont Kids
dark pink
Toto
Isolation
grey
Treasure Island
book on tape
white
Wee Sing For Christmas
60 Minutes of Fun & Songs
white
Wham!
Make It Big
grey
Whitney Houston
self-titled
grey
Willie Nelson
Always On My Mind
grey
Wynona and Naomi, The Judds
Why Not Me
grey