Jan 9, 2012

Preview: DIY Leather Patch Leggings!

I have too much work today to linger here long, so this post is merely a preview to whet your tastebuds for some sweet DIY Leather Patch Legging Action. Here's the inspiration (from H&M):

And my first attempt, which I made using fake leather from AK Fabrics on 39th Street ($10/yard) and a pair of old Mountain Equipment Co-op long johns:

I love the way they look, but I need to work out the easiest way to accomplish this cool DIY project. My first pair involved some trial and error. I'll be back soon with a tutorial after I get the time to make another pair of these!

Jan 5, 2012

Never Look a Gift Horse (Bearing Fabric) in the Mouth

I KNOW what you're thinking (because you're judgey, aren't you? Plus you've already scrolled past my words to the photo below and are no doubt disgusted by the black stretch crushed velvet hanging on my dress form). But this is not something I plan on wearing. It's a muslin for a top I'm drafting that will be made from one of the amazing printed jerseys I mentioned in my last post (scroll down further if you want to see those too. I have yet to buy them, but a girl can dream — and get ready with a new pattern for when that dream comes true).

Sewing a test garment is the best way to find and correct any mistakes or alterations that need to be made in your pattern. And since my resolution this year is to take more damn care with the things I make, this seemed like a decent way to spend my spare hours this week. Anyway: scoop neck for some cleavage, flutter sleeves to show off my arms, and a goodly length to cover everything else:

It's about time I got back to drafting a pattern of my own — for myself to wear. I just checked and the last thing I designed, drafted and sewed for myself was this chevron-striped jersey dress, made in August — more innocent times around these parts:

I love that dress. And it's so cold in NYC this week, it hurts to look at this photo.

Anyway, the point here is not to show off my Blue Steel face again. The point with the muslin/test garment your see above is this: nearly every test garment I have sewn in the past year has been made with fabric passed down to me from sewers culling their stash.  I accept all, and gratefully, for I never have to spend money on muslin when I have significant yardage of ugly fabrics I care little for cutting into. I'm guessing this black, stretch crushed velvet was the remnant from a Halloween costume. Or perhaps from my neighbor's Goth phase. No matter. I don't judge. She was getting rid of it, after all.

It's not hoarding if you do something with it eventually. And you never know when your kid may ask to be a disco witch queen for Halloween.

Jan 4, 2012

Fabric rationing in these tough times

You know that sad feeling you get halfway through a vacation that something you looked so forward to is almost over? (I was going to say Christmas, but I wanted to be more inclusive and I am so OVER Christmas right now).

Anyway, That's the feeling I have in using up the remainder of this amazing peacock printed silk I bought at Metro Textile Corp. on 37th Street — which readers may recognize as the fabric from my beloved Bombshell Dress. But my husband started school today which means our budget is tighter than ever, so when the whim hit this week to make something new, rather than go shopping, I had to fish out some remnants and decide what to do. I should have worked harder on the pattern to ensure I didn't mess up and waste these last precious scraps, because the results are a little wonky. But the fabric and the silhouette are lovely and it just looks adorable on.

Keep in mind this is not finished (and the photo was shot on my phone because my husband took our SLR to school with him today). The cord on my iron sparked and sizzled last night in a truly frightening foreshadowing of the gigantic fire that burned up nearly a block in my old neighborhood of Inwood a couple hours later. I threw the offending iron in the trash (with a note on it to say it's a fire hazard because I know our super would fish it out. New York City gives supers stiff fines if tenants don't sort out their recyclables. So the crank who keeps our building clean sifts through the trash, picking out the paper and bottles my elderly neighbours can't be bothered to put in another bin. What this means is he sees everything. So now I am extra careful about what I throw away — if I think he can identify me as the tosser. See what you're missing, those of you lucky enough to live in houses?) Anyway, the dress-in-progress:

The skirt in this (very-short; don't worry, I plan on wearing tights with it) dress was made from the black silk satin I used to make this junior bridesmaid dress:

Anyway, I started sewing this on New Year's Eve, so I guess it squeaked in under the gate as a 2011 project, which means I didn't yet break my resolution to take more damn care with the things I make — especially when using such precious pieces of printed fabric. I'll reveal more about the mistakes I made when I post this as a finished project.

As for the iron, I ordered a new one from Amazon this morning, so hopefully I can hem my new dress soon. To that end: without an iron, I can't really do anything — other than plan what I want to sew in the future:

-The Minoru jacket. The pattern arrived in the mail yesterday, but I have yet to buy fabric.
-Pants that fit better than the ones I sewed in 2011 and NEVER wear.
-A bra — to go with all the underpants I made near the end of 2011. It sounds crazy, but Novita of the blog Very Purple Person does it, and hers are amazing. If she hosts a sew-along, I am so on board.
-Soft, comfy, things made from jersey that I will actually put into heavy rotation in my wardrobe (probably atop a pair of black leggings. Here are the prints I am coveting (both available at Harts Fabric).

And, speaking of leggings, I covet these H&M leggings with knee patches:

But I can't be bothered to go into an H&M and spend any money on them (and nor can I afford to), so I'm thinking of trying to finesse my own pair. Any thoughts on what would work best for the patches? Faux leather/vinyl? Any readers out there purging their closet of a pair of faux leather pants or an old icky jacket? Cut me off a leg or an arm and I will figure out how to do this and then post directions! Let's do this, team!


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