Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Spandex Bike Shorts

so, i have this pair of cotton spandex shorts that i used to wear years ago, like back when i was 7 and took gymnastics!  lately, i've started wearing them under my soffee shorts when i ride my bike.  they are comfy and i love that they add length to my shorts that are too short.  well, since i only have that one pair, i got inspired to make me some more.

i was in Jo-Ann Fabrics the other day and found an awesome printed spandex, this is also known as swimsuit fabric.  right away i knew i had to buy some and make me some shorts!  i bought 1 yard for my shorts, and depending on how long or short you want yours to be you'll need more or less.  i used the old shorts as a template for a pattern.  i made the pattern, but the way i did it didn't seem right, so i did some research.  i found this great tut that shows how to create a pattern for when the front and back crotch sections will be a little different.  since i had already cut my pattern pieces out, i found it worked best to just place the pieces side-by-side on the double layered flat fabric.  once i had the pices cut out it was time to get sewin!  for the only two inside seams i used my serger.  this made things easier and it was better since i am working with a stretch fabric.  if you don't have a serger, or don't want to use yours, you can do a simple zig-zag stitch.  just avoid straight stitches b/c they will not stretch with the fabric.  for the hem on the legs i simply serged the straight edge then turned it up and sewed it in palce using a zig-zag stitch.  i did the same for the waistband.  also while sewing the waistband i left a little opening to insert my elastic.  once the elastic was in and sewn together, you just close it up and your shorts are complete!  and i must say, they are very comfy! i will DEF be making more!!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Patchwork Maxi Skirt

I'm baaaack!  i finally got back around to making myself another clothing item after my denim skirt.  *i will also go ahead and tell y'all, if you decide to make a skirt like this for yourself, an adult version is going to take quite some time.  the project isn't necessarily hard, just a little tedious at times.*  after doing that denim skirt i got inspired.  i had a lot of extra fabric leftover from making my cotton circle skirts, so i decided i wanted to do something with it.  thus entered this awesome patchwork skirt!!  for this skirt, i took an old pair of jeans, that were too small and had holes, and decided to use that as the top portion of my skirt.
as for how long to cut the denim, i just cut to where i went directly under the lowere tip of the pocket.  this way i could still have full back pockets.  now, on to those squares.

as i said earlier, i had a lot of cotton fabric leftover from making my circle skirts and wanted so badly to do something with it.  so, i took the five different patterns and cut out 5"x5" squares.  of course i didn't cut out the same number per each fabric b/c i had more of some fabrics than others.  in total though, i cut out 147 squares...but my skirt only needed 136. this number will differ for each person, especially if you want to use use more or less for each row, and how long you want it to be.  as you can see, that was A LOT of cutting, and this where you'll be glad to have a rotary cutter, if you have one!  another useful tool is a serger.  not saying you HAVE to use one, but it'll def make the project easier and go faster.  my serger saw lots of work this project, b/c every stitch is serged.  the only time i used my sewing machine was to make the gather stitch on each row.  so once i had the squares cut it was time to start constructing the skirt.

to get the first row of squares, i measured the width of my denim.  in total, the circumference was 40", give or take, so i knew the first row of squares needed to be bigger than that.  so, for the first row i used ten squares, making the row 50" long.  once you have your squares selected, you'll sew them together to create a tube.  since it is bigger than the denim, i had to gather the top of the squares row to make it fit.  to do this, i set my stitch on the longest stitch setting and turned my dial to a higher number.  for instance, my dial goes up to 9 and i set it to 6 (the higher # you set it to, the tighter the gather will be).  this creates a gathering effect as your fabric goes through the machine.  start at one point sewing around, and as you get back around to that starting point, stop a little ways before you get to it, that way if you need to adjust the gathers as your attaching the layers you can.

there is another way to create the gathers also, but i found that to be much more complicated, especially as your rows get bigger and bigger.  this method involves using your longest stitch and a lower number setting to create a loose stitch that you can simply pull and make the gathers by hand.

once you have your tube of squares, with right sides together, attach it to your denim.  i pinned every row to the previous before serging to make sure everything fit correctly.  now you can serge, or sew, the two edges together.  when you reach those pockets on the back, you'll have to unstitch the pocket so you can reach the denim edge to attach your fabric.  next, you'll repeat the steps for making the rows, creating the tube, and gathering for each row.  for each row i did, i did eight rows total, i added two more squares to make the row bigger than the last. *ex: my first row was 10 squares, so in sequence i did 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24.*

once you get to your last row, there is an additional step to do before making the tube.  once i had the squares sewn together for the last row, but before making it into a tube, i did the hem.  i figured it would be easier to do the hem with it straight out instead of in a tube already.  for my hem i simply serged the bottom them sewed the edge under.  you can do your hem however you like.  once your hem is finished you can continue normally.  after attaching this final row your skirt is almost complete.  next is to finish the pockets.  right now the pockets are still intact, but each one has hole in the bottom where i had to unstitch it.  well, to reattach simply follow the old stitch line on the pocket to sew down.  you will have to sew onto the fabric, but that was the effect i was going for.  once you've done that your skirt is done!  after that i just ran an iron over the entire skirt to lay the serged edges down.

i know this is a long post, the longest one i've ever done, but hey, i wanted to give you guys every detail so maybe this will inspire you sewers to make one if you want!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Skirtin' In Denim

nowadays, it seems like most women's skirts you find in stores look like they should belong in the children's section b/c of how short they are.  for you shorties out there i know they work perfectly for you, but for those of us with long legs, that don't like showing their goods to the world when they sit or bend or function daily, it's hard to find the perfect skirt sometimes.  this was my dilemma when trying to find a new denim skirt.  instead of agonizing anymore over this dreaded hunt i did some research, something i'm very good at when i want something, and found this great tut.  what's awesome is that i was able to reuse some jeans i had that i loved but were too big and too long.  i pretty much followed the tut step-by-step, but made some changes by cutting it a little shorter, but still maintaining the modesty, and making my hem an inch and a half.  all in all, i love how the skirt turned out and might have to make another one with light denim.