Thursday, August 30, 2012

Coming soon: the Secretary

Soon to be available for purchase in my Etsy shop, Secretary Lingerie. Made from vintage slips, a camisole and half slip, hand dyed and combined for a more conservative look. A gathered waist accentuates the hips and elongates the body. And oh so comfortable. The Secretary can be worn alone or under a dress. The more bold and brave could even wear it alone as a dress!

More details to come! I'm headed back to the sewing machine.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tuesday Tunes - George Harrison

I stumbled upon this video the other day, that a friend posted on Facebook, with the caption "They don't make 'em like they used to". And I couldn't agree more. Sit back and enjoy a musician just doing his thing, performing his song in a wacky 80s music video. Happy Tuesday everyone. And good luck getting this song out of your head hehe.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The importance of oiling and servicing your sewing machine

Hey all you ladies (and gents) that sew out there! When is the last time you cleaned, oiled, and serviced your sewing machine? Your sewing machine is the biggest investment in your sewing room. Whether you got it for a steal or not, it's the most important piece of equipment in the room, and keeping it well oiled and maintained is even more important! A well serviced and always clean machine will yield the best sewing you can possibly do. 

Things to keep in mind when servicing and oiling your machine:
  • Consult your manual! The manual specific to your machine will tell you exactly what parts to oil, with detailed diagrams. You will open up and take off all the panels you can to cheap all parts of the sewing machine. Some things may need to be professionally serviced, but generally you can do most of it yourself.
  • Get the proper sewing machine oil. It's white oil, not oil from the garage you'd use on your car.
  • When sewing, only use GOOD QUALITY thread. Cheap thread will clunk up your machine and make it run slower. (see link below) It can damage the discs in the tension control, and on most machines this is somehting you won't even know if happening. Cheap thread will also cause more buildup and therefore more work everyday to clean your machine. I only use Gutterman thread. 
  • Keep compressed air within reach. Every morning I blow off all the excess lint buildup in my bobbin area and top of my machine. It's good to get in the habit of blowing off your machine and bobbin area after each project
  • Oil your machine according to use. I oil my machine once a week, you may only need to oil it once a month or year.

My sewing machine runs for about twenty hours a week, since I work for about 40 hours a week at home, designing new things and sewing. Not all the work time is time spent on the machine, but 20 hours is still a LOT Of wear and tear. The frequency at which you service your machine is dependent on how much use it sees. But you should still always have a can of compressed air nearby by blow off fuzz and debris from the previous project.

Like the sewing machine above? It's a Brother Festival 461 from the late 1960s. It had never been used when I bought it and serviced it. It is currently for sale in my Etsy shop for anyone looking for a GREAT vintage machine.

Helpful links:

Friday, August 24, 2012

Oldie but goodie

Hello new readers! There's a handful of you that are new, thanks to the giveaway on Selective Potential. Thought I'd give you all a nice hello and welcome, by showing you this video of what I do. 

Back in April, I produced and presented my second lingerie fashion show here in Augusta, Georgia. I design and create lingerie from recycled materials and vintage slips. The above video is my spring fashion show, with my spring line of recycled lingerie. 50 sets, 17 models, my DJ friend that flew in from Bahrain, a live band, and one hell of a good time! Check it out and tell me what you think. 

Because you are awesome for reading my blog and I'm so happy to have you all here, use the coupon code "Springfling" for 40% off the remaining spring lingerie in my Etsy shop!

And for more posts on my fashion shows, click here

Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Kangaroo Dress Makeover

This dress has been screaming to me from my closet for over a year now, "FIX ME! MAKE ME PRETTY!", and I finally sat down with it and had a sewing adventure, making it wearable again. the kangaroo print is the best part! 

I purchased this dress at a Goodwill in Grand Haven, Michigan, during a visit last year. My mom, my two sisters, and I all went thrifting together and my mom proposed a challenge, she gave us each $20 and we could spend any more or any less. We each had to spend exactly $20. This is a huge challenge for me. Only $20?! Once I get to looking at clothes in a thrift store, I'm bound to fill up a cart and spend $40-60. I have a hard time saying no, I'm way too impulsive, and when I can just fix a hem or completely redo a dress, my options among the hideous discarded clothes really open up. 

What would you do to this dress? Would you give it a second glance if you saw it at the thrift store? Things to consider when purchasing something from Goodwill: the quality of the garment and fabric, are the seams intact, does it need much repair? What alterations are necessary to make it wearable again, is it worth it? Is it something within your sewing expertise? If it seems like too much work, say 'what the hell' once in a while and try something new. You never know what you're capable of until you try! So many readers and friends tell me, "Oh I wish I could sew like you" and "I wish I had your skills" but in all actuality, it's not that hard to sew, you always get out what you put in. If you try you will learn and improve upon your skills of sewing. I wish everyone knew how to sew like they did 50 years ago!

So back to that thrifting trip, I had my arms full with a handful of items, a gorgeous suede skirt, a bright yellow linen skirt, a silk blouse, this kangaroo dress, a watch, and a few shirts. Well I don't remember the pricing of everything, but my total was about $35 and I had to get rid of some things. I opted out on the suede and linen skirts and put back a few blouses. BUT THEN! As I was standing in the checkout, I discovered a Sailboat Marushka for $15, throwing me for a loop. Do I put everything back for an awesome vintage wall hanging? And these are wall hangings I've had a love affair with for ages! I came so close to putting everything back for this one item, but I loved the kangaroo print WAY too much. After adding a few small items, I spent right around $19! It was a miracle! 

For this reconstruction, I used:
  • scissors
  • chalk
  • ruler
  • thread
  • sewing machine
  • rolled hem foot (optional)
  • 1/2" elastic, 3 inches less than your waist measurement
I started off by cutting 9 inches off the skirt of the dress. It was just way too long. (I'm using that 9" of scrap material to make a few skirts with some added scrap fabric!) Then I cut off the sleeves, making the scraps about 2" wide after allowing enough room for a seam allowance. To reinforce the waist's new shape, I sewed new elastic over top of the existing waist's elastic. I take my waist measurement, and subtract a few inches. Then, I mark the elastic in quarters with a disappearing marker to be sure the stretch is evenly distributed. When I sew it, I sew right over top of the existing seam, and that quarter mark hits the side seams, center front and center back. This bring the waist in to YOUR size. I also cut the front of the neckline into a scoop neck. Rolled hems all around on the hem, sleeves, and neckline. BAM! DONE! 

Let's play Where's Waldo with cats? I love looking at shots I've taken in my work room to find cats in the background. Lately they haven't been hanging out with me much, I guess they aren't fans of the X-Files, as that's what I've been watching while I work this week. Bunch of brats. They just sleep all day and complain when they're hungry. I love them so much, but as they get older, man are they grumps!

The finished dress! Whatcha think? This dress will be for sale at my festival show, Arts In The Heart, next month, and then on my Etsy shop if it doesn't sell at the three day festival. Expect many more clothes in the future from Sally Ann. I'm a busy bee and just can't stop creating things! Good problem to have right? I love being a workaholic.

Another dress I made this week. From double-knit polyester pants from the 70s, a gorgeous little dress!

Happy Thursday everyone! And hello to the new readers that found my blog through my giveaway on Selective Potential. I'm excited to have you all. And everyone else, check out Tieka's giveaway for a chance to win a purse from my new collection!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

What I made:: Floral dress from a mumu

This is what happens when I'm burnt out on sewing for work and decide to sew for myself, for once. Oddly enough, this dress I made out of the skirt of a vintage mumu has become the prototype for a new line of fun dresses I'm going to make. I can't wait to make a ton of these simple dresses with a double scoop neck and elastic waist.

The front of the skirt of the "mumu" was used to cut out the front piece, and the back of the dress is the back of the vintage garment, that's why there is a seam left of center on the back piece. It wasn't quite big enough for the length I wanted, so I had to fudge it, and make it work. (Everytime I hear "make it work" I think of Tim Gunn, anyone else?) When there isn't enough fabric for a garment such as this, and it's only two pieces two the dress, I use quilting techniques, merging small pieces with the bigger one, and top stitching in the ditch to secure the seam.

I've been slacking on making clothes lately. It's something I really want and need to dive into. Can I manage to add that to my work list? Gah. Lingerie. Purses. Wallets. Accessories. If only I could pick one. Not going to happen anytime soon though. Sometimes I beat myself up for not having a "focus", but I don't think I ever really will. I love making all kinds of things. If I focused on one specific thing, I'd go insane from the redundancy of sewing. Plus my undiagnosed ADD makes it great to jump around from project to project. I may or may not actually have ADD but I think whatever afflicts me with a short attention span, it's a good thing, except when I start out headed to my desk for a fabric pencil, then I find something to distract me, like, lace on my desk attached to vintage lingerie. Then I sit down and start seam ripping, then I have an epiphany and head to the kitchen to grab a snack. Next thing I know I'm baking a pie, forgetting what I was initially working on. It's bad ha. I've upped my caffeine and coffee helps me a lot! At the worst of it I'm frantically doing 10+ things, not even kidding.

Zeus has missed out photo shoots lately. He's been a big under the weather and has almost completely recovered, adding on a few more pounds. He's getting close to 105 pounds! And he still doesn't like my kisses in front of the camera. Stop being bashful, buddy.

BTW, I released my new collection of clutches in my Etsy shop. I took all of yesterday off, had a photo shoot in my kitchen, and spent all late afternoon and evening creating the listing. 24 clutches total! And one sold within 20 minutes of being listed. Makes all my hard work worth it. Tomorrow there will be a giveaway on Selective Potential to win one of my new clutches, so be sure to enter.

Tuesday Tunes - Arcade Fire

If you haven't heard this song or listened to Arcade Fire then hit play now! This band is breathtaking and phenomenal. Gahhh I don't even have words to describe how amazing this band makes me feel. It makes me feel my blood rushing through my veins and feel alive. They make life and the world more beautiful and make sense. Just listen. You will see.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Can you believe this cost $1?!

And who says you can never find nice things at the thrift store? I bought this dress on a trip to Florida to visit my sister. It was an impulse purchase, since I have plenty of black dresses, and probably did not need another. But this one is not like the rest, like all excuses I use when buying something hehe. The circular cut to the skirt gives the dress so much movement. I can't believe I've had this dress for a year and this is the first chance I've worn it. The 90s feel to it can be a little hard to pull off. I felt like being daring and changing the look of the dress.

Saturday night, Matt and I joined our friends for a dinner at one of the best restaurants in town, so we tried to dress it up a bit. I didn't want to look too dressy, as a black dress can be a little too much sometimes. I dressed it down with my short cowboy boots, a thrifted Saks belt, and a necklace from Etsy. Plus the cut of the dress was very comfortable knowing we'd have a huge dinner. It helps when I get that "food baby" after a huge meal, appetizers, and cocktails. You all know what I'm talking about! As women, we're supposed to dress all sexy and appealing, but have the slightest bit of food, and high waisted outfits become very constricting. The baby doll cut was much more comfortable than my usual go-to high waisted cut. Maybe no one else experiences this, but it drives me nuts!

Dress: Salvation Army, $1. Belt: Saks Fifth Avenue, thrifted, $1.
Boots: Leather, thrifted, $3.50. Necklace: VintageEtsy, $15.

And that is not an engagement ring on my finger, so don't ask ha. I have always worn a ring on my left ring finger. I have this twitch that I like to spin a ring counterclockwise on that finger incessently when I'm pondering something. It's a weird tick I've had for years. When Matt and I first started dating and I realized it was getting more serious, I took a break from having a ring on the finger, to experience a bare ring finger, but it couldn't last more than a year. My weird idiosyncrasies won.

Happy Monday everyone. I'm bouncing around my work room to Camera Obscura and sipping on my triple skinny mocha. I hope you all have super productive Mondays!


Friday, August 17, 2012

Basketful of Bows

I've had the best time working this week! Some of what I've sewn: a basket of these fun little bows I will use to make hair accessories. It's great using up the tiny piece of scrap fabric from other projects that would have otherwise been thrown away.

When I sew clothing, purses, etc, there are always pieces that are scrap. Most people would throw away these scrap pieces. I simply put them all into a rubbermaid container for later use. This batch of scraps goes back years, some fabric reminding me of clothes I made back in college! The mint green cotton, a skirt I made in 2004, the brown polka dots lined the inside of my first "Sally Ann" purses in 2007, the pink polka dots, scrap from a dress I reconstructed in 2009. It's so much fun! What a nice trip down memory lane, and boy it feels so good to look at my trash can of mostly thread, that has not been emptied all week!

I hope you all had a productive great week! Now I'm going to make a few cropped tops out of an old curtain! I'm on a roll.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Clothes broken, fix em!

I'm sure all of you have that one dress in your closet that needs a new zipper. It just sits and sits and you'll eventually get rid of it, and then Goodwill won't sell it because it's damaged, and it will end up in a landfill. You know how easy it is to replace a zipper? Don't be intimidated by the super easy alteration!

This peacock and paisley print dress belongs to my sister Rachael. She sent it home with me on one of recent trips to visit her in Florida. She was sure to emphasize that I wasn't allowed to keep it after I replaced the zipper. We'll see Rach, this dress fits so well! Muhahaha!

Step one: Examine the broken zipper. 8 times out of 10, the zipper seems broken but it just needs the zipper pull restrung. If this is the case, open up the zipper from the bottom and bring the zipper pull up from the bottom. Resew the bottom and you're done. But this zipper in this particular dress had broken teeth so it needed to be completely replace. So this step one: Remove the broken zipper. 

Razor blades are my preferred tool for ripping out seams and zippers. A seam ripper takes too long!

Get a matching zipper, the same type and length, and be sure it matches! Follow the instructions on the package when sewing in the zipper. 

And all done! This dress is so comfortable. I've finally jumped on the maxi bandwagon. I understand why the ladies love this cut of dress. It's like I'm wearing pajamas but I'm not! Whoa. When I work from home, I'm all about comfort. 

Clem says hello readers! Ms. Grumpypants was not into this photo shoot. She much prefers to sleep on everything I'm working on. As she gets older, she gets so much meaner to everyone. I think she's still mad that Zeus lives with us now. Matt and I moved in together over 8 months ago, and we've been together for almost two years.. Clem still hates poor sweet Zeus. Maybe in another year she'll like him. 

Questions or comments on fixing your ripped and broken clothes? Shoot me an email at! I'd love to give you some sewing advice.

Mid week is here! Gah, already?! I'm sewing all day again. Have a great day everyone! I think today I'm going to work on some new lingerie. I have a ton of hand dyed pieces to reconstruct.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tuesday Tunes - Lera Lynn

Hailing from Athens, Georgia, a town that has produced many amazing musicians, Lera Lynn is breaking out of the alternative country music scene. Aside from being drop dead gorgeous, she is a captivating performer. Matt and I caught her show at Sky City last fall. She was amazing!

She just finished a new EP, covering June Carter's "Ring of Fire", listen below. I can't wait to go see her again in October in Athens, Georgia. Enjoy the above music video and check out her album, "Have you met Lera Lynn" on iTunes or her website.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Pineapple Explosions!

I'm not quite sure what to really call this amazing little appetizer I can't stop making. The recipe I found just calls them "Bacon wrapped pineapple bites", but that's a little too literal and boring for me. Matt and his brother named them "Bacon Boners" on the fourth of July, but that's not appropriate for all haha. Bottom line: these things are amazing and sure to please everyone! Matt and I hosted a little cookout yesterday and had a few friends over. Matt requested that I make them, but I was already ahead of him, with two pounds of bacon in the fridge! I ended up making two batches since everyone couldn't stop eating them!

You will need:
  • one pound of bacon, I like to buy low sodium bacon from Hormel.
  • one cup dark brown sugar
  • one can of large pineapple chunk
  • toothpicks
  • roasting pan
This recipe is the easiest thing ever! Cut the bacon in half and take a piece of bacon and smother it in brown sugar, coating both sides.

 Place a your bacon on a flat surface, sit a piece of pineapple at one end, AND ROLL! Secure the bacon with a toothpick and place on roasting pan.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes or until the bacon is is cooked to your preference. I found 18 minutes to be my magic time. But male party guests and Matt liked the last batch, that I accidentally burnt when we were out on the porch and I didn't hear the timer go off. The bacon was blackened and burnt. I think those cooked for about 25-28 minutes. Ooops. Hehe.

NOTE: You must use a roasting pan so the fat from the bacon and juice from the pineapples fall off the cooking surface. I've cheated and used a regular pan once and it just wasn't as good. The sugar didn't stay on the bacon since it sat in it's own juice and fell off. They were still great but not perfect. And perfect is important with these little babies.

Thank you all for reading and coming into my kitchen! I hope you try out and love this recipe as much as I do. Next bacon recipe I want to try I found on Not So Average Momma, Bacon egg muffins! Oh my they look so yummy.

The pineapple explosions are Jessica approved!

Happy Monday everyone! Hope you all have a productive morning back to work. I know I'm going to tuck myself away at my sewing table and watch X-Files. I love me some Mulder.

ALSO! I have to plug this amazing giveaway from Hopeless Lingerie. Gaby makes the most beautiful handmade lingerie, I wish I had her skills. This giveaway celebrates her company's 4th birthday! How exciting. Enter for a chance to win $200 in lingerie from her site!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Dog Days Are Over

Gah, finally! A day I can wear my hair down and denim shorts without being miserable! For once it wasn't sweltering hot, a mere 79 degrees outside. Since June, it's been too hot to do anything! I can't even remember the last time it was cool enough for Matt and I to go for a bike ride. I am so excited fall is coming soon. Jeans weather will be here before we know it!

 Outfit details::
T-shirt:: Kings of Leon tour t-shirt. Hat:: Vintage. Belt:: Thrifted.
Jeans short:: Vintage. Shoes:: Born, thrifted.

Oh no, I dropped your leash Zeus. Don't run away. Haha. He's getting so good that I can drop his leash and he still stays right by me. He will still stay nearby. His separation anxiety is so sweet. Unfortunately, our yard isn't fenced in, but it's plenty big for Zeus to roam around and play on an extended leash. I used to live across the street from my current residence, where I had a complete fenced in back yard, but it wasn't maintained or taken care of by the owners of the property, and I'll take this lawn over it, anyday.

He looks so great dressed up. I wish he'd let me put t-shirts on him and what not. He literally rips them off of himself because he thinks it's a toy and wants to throw it around. Matt's not a big fan of his dog in clothes either. So sad. Zeus looks awesome when he rocks a bandana.

Man, I love this dog. He is the sweetest boy. It's so funny how big he looks on this bench. He's only 100 pounds, but looks so much bigger with the right camera angle! 

Happy Thursday everyone! Sewing all day again for me! Surprised? 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

My messy workroom

Welcome to my studio! Here's a little sneak peek into my messy workspace. It's usually cleaner, I swear! I've been working so much lately, I feel like I've been neglecting my blog this last week since I've been back from Michigan, as I haven't left my sewing machine most days unless it's lunch or Zeus time. Since I wanted to show you all this skirt I made yesterday, I thought it'd be fun to show you my honest mess and where I work. Apologies for the grainy pictures, it was a grim day with little natural light.

My sewing machine sits in front of one of three fireplaces in my home. The mantle serves as a shelf for my ribbon, elastic, spray bottles, irons, and patterns. It's nice that existing features in the house work to my advantage. I've probably had this room set up four different ways, at least. After I finish one project, I completely rearrange the whole room. I think this was is my favorite so far. My desk sits in front of the window so I can get some fresh air, the previous location of my sewing machine.

I'm a vendor at a three day art festival next month, and I have not one, but two spaces. My 10x20 foot booth needs a lot of merchandise to fill the space! I'm making a ton of handbags, clutches, suitcase pet beds, lingerie, clothing, skirts, and more! My trusty Kenmore has seen much use, and my social life will definitely be compromised the next month, as I watch old 30 Rock episodes with the animals.

This fun skirt, above, I made from the bottom 20 inches of a vintage skirt I'd removed a few panels for other work, that I've been cutting into for years, here and there. It was probably twice as wide, and floor length. It was time to start getting ready for work and I thought it'd be nice to make myself something, and this fabric was begging to be used! I sewed what was left together, fixed the invisible seam, cut it to the right length, and create a elastic waist. Voila, comfy skirt!

Stella says hello blog readers! My cats are always glued to my ironing board and every piece of fabric I'm using. It's almost as if they're psychic and want to be in the way on purpose!

Happy Wednesday everyone! I hope you enjoyed the little peek into my messy studio! Back to work for me. And I need coffee!!