Monday, June 19, 2017

{Dyed} Drop Cloth Slip Cover

Remember that slip covered chair from forever ago? 

It was all fine and good until I discovered, much to my chagrin, that not all drop cloths are family friendly fabrics.

Great texture.  Horrible stain resistance.  Horrible. That thick cotton thread gathers dirt like crazy and tenaciously holds onto oil stains.  Couple all of that with it's non-color and even after bleaching, the thing looked brown, splotchy, and gross.

Hence the new color.

Better, yes?  You can still see the shadow of old oil stains (despite bleaching the thing one more time before dying), but I'm hoping a darker color will help maintain the appearance of cleanliness for a longer period of time between washings ;).

The directions say to use 1 bottle per 2 pounds and I'm guessing this weighed in the 3 pound range.  I used one bottle.  I also forgot to reset the washing machine to run for a full thirty minutes before rinsing out the dye.

The color reads............purple.  Grey purple, but purple all the same.

Right now my yellow/grey rug is put away so we have yet to see how it will jive.  Might need to run it through with a brown dye to "greige" it a bit?

Meh, we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.

Maternity Dresses

A friend handed-me-down a couple of maternity dresses.  Cute ones!  Same style, too different fabrics.

They were two letter sizes too big and skimmed the floor. (She knows I "fix things.")

Inside out to show the new stitch lines.  I trimmed off the extra.

A wise person would probably have saved them for the "big" stage, but I thought it a shame to let two perfectly good summer dresses hang unworn until the 3rd trimester.  Might as well get an extra couple of months out of them!

I took in the armpits, left some extra room in the rib zone, and chopped a couple of inches off of the skirts.

Ever notice how maternity bodices of the tank variety tend to be narrow at the neck and cross-busted?  As lovely as it is, this style can be rather high maintenance.  It almost always requires:

1)  A camisole/tank for frontal modesty (or at the very least, a hole-inducing safety pin).

2)  A racer-back bra

Two things I just don't care to think about on a hot day in June!!! It was ninety humid degrees here in the midwest last week.

To fix, I put a good solid set of stitches right there in the center front to keep that v-neck in check.  Blessed pattern didn't show a thing.

And to deal with the racer-back bra issue (since I don't have one in a pregnancy size), I re-purposed an old convertible bra strap.  To do the same, just cut it off at about 7" and loop one end.

Hooked around the back straps of the bra, it makes a functional converter.  Basically, the DIY version of this.  Only, made out of an old wrinkled elastic strap.  Classy.

Here's the second dress:


Oh, and by the way, it's a boy :o).

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Summer Salvage of Worn Winter Clothes

If your family is like ours, come spring, you have a whole bunch of winter clothes that won't be serviceable for the next season.  The old wardrobes are riddled with ruined sleeves and holey knees, along with the usual assortment of items that'll be outgrown by fall.

Most of the time I fill bags to donate, but this year it just so happens that about a dozen of the girl's things can be saved with the help of scissors and a trusty twin needle.

These dresses, for example.  The one with the cat motif used to have sleeves.

And so did the striped one :o).

It was a rough winter for leggings in my household.  The girls burned through about six pairs of them.  I'm slowly cutting them off above the holey knees to turn them into summer shorts to wear under dresses and such.

I've been using the regular presser foot for this process, but I think I might need to switch to the walking foot to see if it will minimize stretch in the stitch line.

The stretch doesn't matter for this type of thing but I have a three-quarter-length sleeve dress of my own that I want alter into a short sleeved dress and I'd prefer to have that one smooth.

If you haven't used a twin needle before, it's easy enough.  Make up a second bobbin with your top stitching color so that you have two "spools" of thread to use with the twin needle.

And whatever you do, DO NOT SEW OVER ANY PINS!!!!!  Is there anything more useless than a broken twin needle?  There certainly isn't anything more frustrating.  Except maybe trying to follow the vet's orders to keep a German shepherd puppy from running for a month.  But that's another story altogether!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Maternity Jean Hack: Over-belly panel into under-belly waistband

I sew next to nothing for myself for years on end, and then that dang second trimester comes around and I'm all scissors and seam rippers!

The first victim of this pregnancy was a pair of stretchy over-the-belly panel maternity jeans.  I picked them up at Goodwill in the off season (that's my pet term for when I'm NOT pregnant, lol) because I have a weakness for perusing the maternity clothing rack.

Here I am sporting them at about 16 weeks preggo:

In my defense, all of my regular jeans no longer fit.

Over-the-belly style maternity pants are the smoothest fit around, but they are particularly prone to gravitational pull, are they not?  They need to be REAL SNUG to stay up there without significant maintenance on the part of the wearer and pant tugging is not a sport I enjoy.  Especially when the underpants choose to descend as well, only at a completely different level.

So, I decided to find an adjustable under-belly solution.  I bought a pair of drawstring knit shorts in a large size (for $1.99 at a thrift store) and chopped off the waistband.  Ideally, they would have been navy to match, but whatever. Cheap.

I won't attempt a how-to since I stink at them, but here's the process I used if you are good at going off of "the gist" of directions.

To start, I pinned and sewed the waistband on to the front of the jeans.  
The front pinned on.

See that triple line of stitches on the far bottom left? #9.
That's the stretch stitch on my machine.

Sewing with a denim needle.

The completed front seam.
You may have noticed, I didn't size down the grey waistband before I started.  I could have, but that would have required thought and probably even a bit of math.  I decided to forgo both and size the waistband "by eye" after sewing the front waist.

After sewing the front, I pulled the leftover waistband into a center back seam.

Center back seam sewn and trimmed

Back waistband pinned to pants

After attaching the waistband, I tried on the pants to check the fit before trimming off the over-belly panel.

Also, tacked down the top corners of the back seam on the waistband to keep them from peaking out the top

Pic before trimming off the original over-belly waistband
The pants fit reasonably well after I sewed on the new waistband, but that bump you see in the denim on the sides (just below the waistband) proved to be an issue.

When sewn at the same line as the over-belly panel, the new waistband was too high through the sides and rear.  Aka, there was too much fabric in the seat area.  Sag city!

I trimmed off the over-belly panel and then went back and lowered the waistband, thereby shortening the crotch seam and getting a better fit.

Trimming off the over-belly band

Before re-positioning the waistband 

During re-positioning the sides and back of the waistband
Unfortunately, lowering the waistline required sewing over/cutting through the coin pocket and back horizontal seam line.  This caused some additional bulkiness in the seam allowance of the new waistline.  Oh well!

They fit "good 'nuff"!

20 week picture.
Moral of this blog post?   You can certainly make over-belly maternity jeans into under-belly maternity jeans, if you so desire.  It's not that hard.  And thenceforward you can hike up your jeans and underpants in one motion instead of six.  I count that as a pregnancy win.