Onesie Life

My major sewing project so far this year, outside the occasional hemming or fixing of current clothing items, is the onesie. Fashion magazines and clothing stores are probably more apt to call them “jumpsuits” or “rompers” but lets be real. They’re onesies. Adult onesies! I like the concept for loungewear rather than for going out, which may be why I prefer the name onesie. I do have a fancier shorts-onesies that I love (similar) – but when I wore to my office’s holiday party last year it just seemed more trouble than it was worth when it came to trying to use a bathroom. It definitely reminded me of leotards and dance class a kid. But I digress.

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My onesie project goal was to create a comfy, 100% cotton, outfit to wear around the house and to bed. It turns out that it’s hard to find cute and soft 100% cotton fabric at Joann Fabric. In the end I was very happy with the soft blue tie-dye fabric I settled on, however silly it felt to be buying tie-dye fabric. (And check out the stores if you’re out shopping, because tie-dye is apparently back in style! Go me!) I cut a few corners as I always do when making things for myself, and I didn’t include a tie for the waist since comfort was the goal. The onesie/jumpsuit turned out great, but in allowing for extra comfort I definitely felt it was a tad too big. That inspired round 2.

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I decided for my next attempt at the romper that I would make a shorts version of the same onesie, and I do some fabric mixing. I even tried to follow the instructions more closely and used interfacing on this one, but I don’t know that it improved the final product. It may have simply added frustration. But oh well. Additionally, the red fabric I chose also was thicker than I realized, so it’s not as light and flowy as my first jumpsuit. And since I wasn’t thinking about the waistline, the patterned red/grey divide definitely has an unintentional clown vibe (but Jeremy says that might just be me). The blue tie-dye onesie is my clear favorite, but I really enjoyed experimenting.

 

Be our guest (or get crafty)

Jeremy and I have a guest bedroom in our apartment. It’s a great asset when we having friends coming through that want to stay over. But it also holds great value as a creative outlet room.

For Christmas I scored an awesome easel on sale and decided to create an art studio spot for Jeremy. You can’t read the sign on the side, but it says “The Art Doctor Is In” in the Peanuts font. Jeremy is so creative and I love what he paints and how his brain works… so obviously I wanted him to have a space to hang out and craft.
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And you could say great minds think alike, because Jeremy got me a new sewing machine for Christmas. My old Walmart machine shockingly died early in the fall. And look at the diesel machine! I previously had a Brother machine when I sewed a lot in high school and they make great sewing machines. With my sewing machine corner and Jeremy’s art studio corner, we had the perfect set up for a crafty room!IMG_5515

My first goal was to ‘liven up’ a skirt my mom sent me for my birthday. It was a cute pattern but the length did not do someone my height any favors. Jeremy’s initial response was pure laughter and telling me I looked rather homely. It was a bit frumptastic.

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Look at that creeper

I took probably 6 inches off the skirt and voila! Much more versatile outcome. In hindsight, however, I wish I hadn’t shortened it as much because the ‘poof’ of the skirt probably would have rested better had I kept it closer to right above the knee. I’m not sure if that explains it, but I will likely only wear this skirt with tights and not bare legs. But hey, live and learn. And keep sewing.

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Always someone photobombing

I can’t wait to tackle more design projects and I plan to focus more time on hemming, fixing, or adapting current clothing items in my closet.

A Stalled Work In Progress

I am a big fan of sewing projects. Fabric and patterns all over the place.

'die flimsy paper, die!'
Die flimsy paper, die!

When I get rolling on an idea and have time to feed the momentum, things tend to go well. I was able to pin up all the parts of my bathrobe in one night, and cut out all the necessary pieces.

STOP SEWING LOOK AT ME
STOP SEWING LOOK AT ME

A few day passed but I will still able to make progress sewing the major pieces together. Side seams, back seams, sleeves, etc.

I have wings!
I have wings!

But now I have to add the collar. Lapel? Whatever it is, I haven’t gotten to it yet. I’ll need to have some extra care for the corner I’m cutting by not using interfacing. (And I, uh, don’t own an iron so that takes extra flattening work.)

Based on the pictures you see here, I also may take in the sizing once I’m all done. I know bathrobes are supposed to be bigger than usual, but I think this robe could stand to be more fitted to me.

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I’ll check back in soon…

Work in Progress

This is the first time these jeans have been brought out into the world in many months. Sometime last fall or summer the zipper broke at the base, becoming disconnected and lost a few prongs, or whatever you call them. Since I spent some time working on my robe project last night, it made sense to finally attempt to fix these jeans. They’re my relatively expensive “nice” jeans, and I want to keep them in rotation. Long term plan will probably require replacing the whole zipper, but for now I used some fabric glue (best fixer ever) and stitches to create a new zipper end. Maybe it’ll last, maybe not. We’ll see.

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Blurred Image Lines

I’m realizing that I should probably open my curtains now that the sun is rising earlier.

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In other news, I’ve embarked on a new sewing project – finally! I got a great selection of pattern’s from the bf’s mom and my mom over the holidays. I bought some cheap fabric online to start, since I figure I’ll have to play around a bit before my skills (and short cutting ways) return to me. And as always, I realized I still don’t have fabric scissors. On the other hand, I made due for years without a full set of pins so I’ll get there eventually. The new attempt is a light spring-y bath robe. I’ll keep the updates, and the angry cat photo bombs, coming.

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If you sew it…

Ever since I left for college I’ve been trying to get a sewing machine into my various homes. I mean, I started out as an apparel design major in college, and when I decided I wanted to keep sewing as a hobby I figured I’d need my own machine. However, buying a sewing machine was never in the cards, usually due to space and cost. But mostly space. When you live in box-sized apartments there just won’t be room for a spare project area. Of course, if you’ve looked at the pictures from my newest apartment here in Troy, you’ll see that I do in fact have a ton of space for once. Thanks to my huge spacial expanse, I decided to create a sewing corner in my bedroom. Honestly, the room looked to big and empty without something extra there. It started slowly, still, with just a folding chair that sat lonely in my room. Next I found a reasonably priced desk/table to build. The last, biggest financially draining step, was to get the sewing machine. After some hesitance I decided on a decently priced Singer machine and sucked it up and bought it.

So pretty!
So pretty!

It is so exciting to have a sewing machine again! My first project is a bit silly, but necessary. I’d been using the same cloth bag for my lunch stuff that I got from my Glamour internship in 2007. It was rather beat up, and after the umpteenth time of spilling coffee in it (no spill mugs my ass!), I tossed the poor thing. I decided to try out making my own tote bag, but since I’m scared of getting close to malls in the holiday season I wasn’t feeling a trip to buy fabric. However, I do have a bright blue curtain that ended up not working in my apartment, so I cut the thing apart and started working, while watching “Company” on Netflix. (You guys, Raul Esparza’s voice!)

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The result is rather decent. I wasn’t sure at first how hard it would be put in the bottom piece on the tote but it worked out. After pulling dimensions for the tote online I just winged the rest of it. It feels very bright, but I like it. Since lately my temporary plastic bags for lunch fall apart as I try to rush out the door in the morning, this will be a welcome change.

Progress

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Why yes, I did spend the better part of my evening tackling this table assembly project. Now I am officially one step closer to having a sewing corner! Next step, browsing Craigslist for a sewing machine. Then comes the fabric browsing and the project brainstorming and all the fun clothes I can make for myself and my friends and… the world! Right? Right.

From Romper to Jumper

There are days where I get antsy and don’t know what to do with myself. And when it’s been a thousand degrees plus humidity, taking a stroll in the neighborhood isn’t the best idea. Thankfully, the weather is no longer so bad. C and I managed to make the most of the nice days with a 6-mile hike on Friday and 36-mile bike ride on Saturday. What to do on Monday when everyone else is at a real job? Crafty project, of course.

I bought this romper last summer at a thrift shop in Brooklyn, knowing it was too big but figuring I could make the most of it as-is. But I never wore it outside the house except when I was heading out to get covered in fur while hanging out with some kitties.
(Mini the cat makes more sneak appearances in my pictures.)

I figured I could turn the shorts into a skirt and take off the straps to create a halter top. I (still) don’t have a sewing machine or any real sewing materials (pins and fabric scissors, I need), so I had to do my best with tight hand-stitching and eye-balling measurements.

Basically, the work was successful, but just like in all sewing projects where I cut corners, there are some drawbacks. The length of the romper isn’t really conducive to a skirt, so practical wear is only achievable with leggings. The skirts is also a little tight – it seems I forgot about having hips for a minute there. I still love working on designs, even if they don’t work out. Learning is fun, right? Although designs are way cooler when they’re easily wearable.
As my brain gets exhausted hunting down jobs and wondering just when I’ll hit the line where I give up finding my next career and just find a paycheck to fill my days, I feel my craving for creativity grow and grow. You’ll be seeing me at more Broadway shows, cutting up and sewing my clothes and wandering around the city finding places to write and think. I’d been so lucky up to this point, so now that I’m jobless and direction-less, I’m a little frustrated to feel the need to create and do things without knowing what I really want to do. Is my quarter-life crisis coming early?

Thanks, Mom

It’s Mother’s Day! All I could do was chat with mine on the phone earlier, so in addition to my most recent craft project, I present a mommy-dedicated post.

My mom has been a strong influence in my interests growing up, and it’s something for which I’m grateful. Of all the things my mom has shared with me (including learning French, musicals, tennis and Oregon), learning to sew is probably my most treasured skill. I started sometime in elementary school, and by fifth grade I was making basic jumper dresses.

Thanks to my mom, I discovered my love for fashion, clothes and creation. It’s why I decided to be an apparel design major (…which eventually became merchandising management) and to move to Oregon. It’s what took my life on the path I’ve been on for so long and brought on so many great experiences.

While the majority of my creations (hit and miss) are stored in boxes, there are a few I show off proudly. Funny enough, even though strapless dresses aren’t my favorite, two of my best creations are in that form.

First, my red satin princess seam dress I made in high school – lets be honest, it just barely still fits and I may never wear it again, but it looks nice. Second is a dress I made with boning in the bodice that I like best with a t-shirt underneath. The third is a dress pattern of my mom’s from the 70s that I messed with … er, altered.

The reason my mom is great can be summed up in my love for fashion and everything that came after: she always has pushed me to take chances and get out of my comfort zone. And that’s how I ended up unemployed in New York City after a stint at a personal finance website. Ba dum chh! Seriously, though, the support and love of a parent who lets you move across the country without complaining and wants you to succeed just reminds me how lucky I am.

On to the present: My most recent, non sewing machine project – boot alteration

I love comfortable boots, and while the boots I have are runner-ups to my favorites that died a few years ago, they’ve served their purpose well. However, I always cringed walking through my quiet office with the clanking of the belt buckles on the sides of the boots. They were lightly secured, but over time frayed at the zipper and felt like an unneeded weight on my legs.

What to do in this situation? Cut the suckers off, obviously. It’s not perfect, I’ll admit, but it’ll do.

Before and after:
I never realized how in love I was with my seam ripper before (fabric glue is #2 in my heart), but I miss it so much with little tasks such as this. I made due with scissors to take off the strap. The belt loop leaves to worst mark after removal – a seam ripper really would have been essential here.

I’ll probably play around with the minor residue left on the sides of the boots, but I don’t think it’s too offensive. After test driving them on a walk to the grocery store, I found the boots to be so much lighter and they felt fantastic. Success!