Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Sexiest Shoes on the Planet!


              Oh My! I was out holiday shopping when I spied these incredible heels. I really needed to find some kind of a top to wear with a pretty black lace skirt hidden in the back of my closet, but I did not find a single one that appealed to me. BUT ~ these shoes just spoke to me! Naturally I had to try them on. Now, you must know that I am not in my twenties anymore and have not worn anything like these in quite a long while. I could not believe that I could actually walk in them! And, you will not believe it, but they were actually comfy! Nearly too good to be true.  So, I bought them and they came home with me. Yippee! I have had them "on display" in my bathroom for a few days now as I have been pondering what to wear with them. I could make something. After all, I do have a dinner party to go to this Friday ~ plenty of time! 

             I remembered that I had an outfit in my armoire - purchased over 10 years ago - size 4! Ha, we all know that will never work! I studied the skirt. It is floor length and concluded that I could remake it, sorry, I mean "recycle" it.  It will need to fit my now size 10 waistline which will change the overall length of the garment. Perhaps a tea-length. The skirt  is a gorgeous Dana B, a printed silk organza with a velvet ribbon at the hem and it looks fabulous with my killer shoes! I studied the price tag  ~ of over 10 years ago! ~ $179 Of course, I only paid $16 at a warehouse sale.  

                  Last night, I unpicked the zipper ~ I'll reuse it!  I cut the waistband off ~ after pinning the organza to its slippery silk lining. Then, using a yoke pattern  from of a skirt pattern that I like, I cut off the top of the skirt to match the top of the skirt pattern piece. Today I will baste the two layers of the skirt together, reinsert the zipper  and test fit the waist. I have not decided on a waist treatment yet. I like to design as I go. I'll let you know how it turns out. Then, its off to design the jacket/top! I have a silk velvet skirt, a matching silk jacket and a beaded lace jacket that I am going to cut up and put all into one stunning garment! Stay tuned and send good thoughts as I need to wear this Friday evening!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Ruffled Tee-Shirt Embellishing!

                  I know, I know . . . I promised that I would have this posted by Thursday evening, but, well, best laid plans! Between unpacking from the Houston Quilt Festival (which was fabulous! - have you been on Sew It Up to see how many kits are Sold Out!) and then packing up for my last sewing retreat for the year . . .  hmmm, I am only human! I wish that I could learn this fact!

At the Houston Quilt Festival, I had several tee-shirts on display at one corner of the booth that I had decorated with a crinkled metallic silk fabric. I got the idea from a woman's wear catalog last Spring ~ see the picture at left. I did not order any as they started at $69 each. So, I said, "I can do that" & for a lot less! We sold little "burrito" rolls of the fabric in several colors at the quilt show. Lots of people stopped, bought the fabric and wanted instructions for "how I did it".  So here goes:

First, I sketched some ideas out from different catalogs. I cut samples of the metallic silks and went shopping for tee-shirts. I did not really want the Walmart/Target quality so I went to Ann Taylor, Talbots, TJ Max and Ann Taylor Loft. Ann Taylor had them on sale so I bought several! I did find one at TJ Max as well. 

I used my rotary cutter, the mat and a clear ruler to "slice" off 1" strips of the silk. This is what I used for most of the shirts. It would depend on my chosen design as to how many strips to cut. Then I ran a gathering stitch, on my sewing machine, in a matching color of thread down the center of each strip lengthwise.  See below:

Gently gather the strips and pin to the front of the tee-shirt. On some of my shirts I stitched them on by machine with either a straight stitch or a small zigzag on others I stitched them by hand. It really does not matter which way you do it ~ its personal preference. As you come to the end of a strip, simply overlap a new strip and continue. I did not sew the strips together.

Its fun to put them on in a squiggly design or follow the neckline of the tee-shirt. Let your creativity come forth and just have fun. Pin the strips down in different positions until you come up with the design you like most. Once you stitch them down, it is very difficult to "rip out" of the silk as it will leave stitch marks in the fabric. On some of my tees I added beads, sequins, rhinestones, etc in the folds of the gathered strips. You know that I love bling!

Here is a close-up of my design for the peachy tee-shirt. I really went crazy here. I must have been watching TV and just kept pinning and stitching. I do like it a lot though. After I finished the stitching, I wanted the "ruffly" look to be a little more subtle, so I pressed them down with a medium hot iron, with steam. I did use a pressing cloth as the silk is delicate. This compressed the ruffles and I really like the effect.

Here is the completed tee-shirt!
Below are several other tees that I did. On the soft pink one, I sewed the 1" strips to the inside of the neckline. Then I cut 2" strips, gathered them down the center and stitched them to the outside of the neckline. 

For the Blue tee-shirt, I cut 4" strips, folded them in half lengthwise and ran a gathering stitch at the cut edge. I gathered them in and twisted them several times as I was pinning them down to the front of the tee-shirt ~ in the shape of "S's". You can see the raw edge at times at the neck edge. I then added a beautiful ribbon trim on top of the silk along the neckline. On both of these tees I pressed then down after I finished stitching to "tame" their fluffiness.

One of my favorite of all of the shirts that I have decorated is my white one. I used the silver metallic silk, some ribbon, a left-over piece of "drippy" rayon lace and a section of sequined trim. (see where there are on the tee shirt below). I cut my strips 2" wide for the left side of the neckline. As you can see, I added a trim in the center. On the right side of the tee, I cut my strips wider: 3".  For the larger "rose", I used approximately 12", folded my strip in half and ran a gathering stitch along the cut edges. I gathered it in gently and then spiraled it into a "cinnamon bun" shape. Then I tacked it down as my corsage. Above my rose, I made a smaller one using a scrap of my 1" strips. I gathered it in tightly and spiraled it as well. Since it was a 1" strip, the edges are the raw edges. Cute, huh? I sewed a little round piece of lace to the center of the flower.

But, my favorite tee-shirt is my gray one!

I cut out a large heart shape from the silver metallic silk ~ approximately 12"  long X 10" wide which I then cut in half. I ran a gathering stitch down the two long cut edges (the center of the heart). I gathered them in very gently, layered them one on top of the other which the points of the heart pointing to the left shoulder and stitched them down. This tee shirt happened to already have a gray cotton ruffle on the right hand side of the neckline ~ but anyone could add this to a tee-shirt on their own. Next, I added a gray taffeta picot edged ribbon to the neckline on top of the silk heart halves. I folded the ribbon back and forth like a "z" shape and tacked it down. I added gray pearl beads every 3" or so. Where the two decorative fabrics met, I added a small section of gray beaded trim to dangle!

Here is my newest. I love the teal/turquoise color and the silk matched it perfectly! For this one, I did not press down my ruffly rosettes. For this one I cut 2" strips, ran the gathering stitch down the middle and then folded the strip along the gathering line. I spiraled the strips into rosettes and then twisted the strip and then spiraled it in the opposite direction.  I added beads and sew-on sequins between the folds.

So, for all of you who purchased little bundles of the metallic silk at the quilt festival, have fun and send us pictures of your creations! 
We will add these silks to our website sometime this coming week for everyone else to play with!