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My first sewing projects

Publié le par Charly C.

As you already know, I now own a sewing machine. So, I had to start using it. So here, I'll share my first completed sewing projects.  I have to mention that the supplies I used were given to me - fabrics, thread, scissors. I only bought hand sewing needles and pin needles (which i still need to buy).

KITCHEN APRON

My first sewing project was a kitchen apron. It should be of no surprise, since I like cooking. I can't have too many aprons. Looking through the fabric pieces I had, to see which one would be a better choice for an apron, I found this "beauty". 

The colors on it are neon green and neon orange, and not this reddish color. I thought it was a pretty fabric for an apron - really where could I wear such a color combination other than around the house?

The fibers are man-made, most likely polyester. It's a pretty stiff fabric? not very thin, but thanks to the grid pattern on it I could cut it straight enough.

Now, I already had an apron from H&M, so I used that one as "guide lines". And because I forgot to take pictures from the start, you'll only see the already cut fabric. It also seems I had already one seam at least pinned down. The above picture, is actually of the left-over fabric, sorry to mislead you.

The colors are off because I did this after the sunset, and i have bad lights in the room - and i know everyone has them. Sometimes my creativity sparks in the evening, so I can't wait. I know it's a really bad habit. 

So, to cut out this shape, I laid the fabric on the floor folded in half, in such a way to have most of the left over on one side. I can't tell which side of the fabric is the "right" one and which one is the "wrong" one, not with this particular piece, pattern and color combination. I folded my old apron in half as well, and i simply cut around it. I'm pretty sure I left some seam allowance, especially since i had to turn the edge in twice to avoid unravelling. This fabric can really unravel fast! 

Then, i started sewing the straight edges, after I pinned them down. I wen't slowly since I had pins in the fabric, and I didn't want an accident to happen and ruin my machine, or worse. 

Then I had to make the ribbon-like strips of cloth that make the apron stay on the body. I cut 3 strips of cloth, 5 cm wide and some 60 cm long. The original apron has 4 of them, 2 tying around the waist and 2 around the neck, or a combination, depending on your imagination.

I also cut 2 strips to cover the rounded edges around the arms. These strips were also about 5 cm wide, and just a bit longer than what i needed. You can see a little bit of the ribbon after it was attached to one of the rounded sides of the apron. Because this specific ribbon was a bit longer, I left it as it was, and i sewed the other 3 ribbons to the "extension" - I didn't want the fabric to become too thick. Up close it doesn't look very nice, but from afar, nobody can tell i made this faux-pas. 

To attach the narrow fabric to the rounded edges, I pinned down the fabric first. I had to make sure to attach the ribbon to the 'right' side of the apron, as once i made hems, it had a right and a wrong side. Then i used a straight stitch from one side to the other. I twisted the ribbon over to the front, and tried to pin it down with the raw edges in, and straight stitched it in place. It looks a bit wonky on the wrong side, but who can tell? 

To make the ribbons that keep the apron on the body, I first had to stitch the edges be hand. the fabric was being difficult and I don't think I would have managed to do it by machine from first try. I had to make sure the raw edges stay inside the ribbon. I folded the ribbon in half, and straight stitched and attached to the apron. 

And now the apron is complete! maybe not quite as complete as I want it to be. And can you spot the mistake? the neck-ribbon is twisted. Twice. and sewn in place. Yes, I didn't pay attention to that. And it kinda bothers me, but I won't fix it.

So, if you pay a bit of attention to the H&M apron, it has a white pocket. I put it there, because I feel it needs a pocket. So, i decided to make a small pocket for my new apron. And the nice part is that this apron and its pocket will look much better because they're from the same fabric. 

The pocket is not very big, and I had to follow a similar approach as with the ribbons. I had to make sure the raw edges stay inside the hem/stitched part, so I made sure by using some thread, needle, and my hand. One of the edges, the one you see stitched by machine was the salvage part of the fabric, so I only turned it in once. I was then able to attach the pocket to the apron, and now it was really complete. 

NECK-TIE FOR THE BEAR PLUSH TOY

The second project was a neck-tie for this plush toy.  Well, I has to fix one of its eyes as well, as it was broken. I bought it on sale, for half the original price, because of his missing eye. I felt bad, ok? The non-shiny eye is actually a button I had.

I thought the bear looks a bit boring or sad, so I thought it needs further grooming or cheering up. I decided to make a ribbon of sorts, that I would tie around its neck. I once had a flannel shirt that I didn't like for some reason. I cut it into pieces, hoping i'd make something else out if it, at a point when i didn't have a sewing machine. As a result, I decided to cut 2 strips from that fabric, and sew them together into a ribbon of sorts.

I first sew together 2 of the short edges, and then around the new longer strip, then to turn it inside-out. The idea was pretty good, but in practice it was pretty difficult. The new strip/ribbon was a bit too narrow and it was difficult for me to do. I only learned a trick for it to be done fast, a couple of days later. 

The new ribbon was pretty long, and I decided it worked well as a neck tie. So, I made a tie knot around the bear's neck. I didn't think the look was complete, so I decided to add a button as extra decoration. I wasn't going to use that button for anything as it looked pretty ugly on its own. On the neck-tie, on the bear it looks quite elegant? chic? I find it pretty at least. 

I hope you also like my projects. What else should I make? I already have in mind to make some clothes for Barbie. That's for a different, future, blog entry.

See you soon!

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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I embroidered my jeans jacket

Publié le par Charly C.

As you already know I like doing things with my hands. I like coloring, or I like "improving" my clothes like I did these pants

The jacket I decided to embroider is off white, and from H&M, but from at least 2 years back. I doubt you'll still find it - when i bought it, it was sales season. I also haven't seen anything similar anymore. This jacket is pretty long, as it reaches below my butt. Its fabric also feels sturdy, and doesn't really let the wind through. I wish it had a hoodie - maybe I can MAKE one in the future? LOL. 

So the jacket has 4 large pockets on the front. The 2 on the chest have a flap, while the ones on the lower part have a bit of a different shape. I thought the jacket looks too plain and that I needed to do something to cheer it up, give it a bit of a fresh air. What better way to do this if not with some embroidery? And not just any type of embroidery, but specifically Romanian.

I embroidered my jeans jacket

So i searched for something in the book with Romanian embroidery I own and I also searched online. And I found the above design, completely black, originating from the Moldova area. 

I can only remember finding it on a Romanian online book store, and they were showing pictures of a few pages from inside the books they had listed. And U copied the model on paper. 

I embroidered my jeans jacket

I had no idea to start to embroider the design. It looks easy enough, especially if only one color is used. Another problem was the fabric as it is woven, but it uses a special type of weaving that makes it hard to count the threads. And if there's one thing to know about Romanian embroidery, is that it counts the threads in order to make a pretty, even design.

I decided to put the paper on the pocket, and to proceed with sewing through the paper. I didn't want to break the paper, at first, but i really had no idea or indication anywhere, on how to do it. 

As you can tell from the image above, it worked pretty well. Except for when i was done,and i had to break the paper. Can you guess what happened? The thread was loose. If you'll look carefully at the next 2 pictures, you'll see what I mean.

I embroidered my jeans jacket

Since I already embroidered one pocket, I had a better idea on how to proceed with the design, on the next ones. I didn't take pictures, but I'll try my best to explain if you want to reproduce it - but please give credit to the Romanian people.

If you'll use a fabric on which counting the threads is easy, it's even better. You basically need a 20 * 20 grid, as there are 20 rows and 20 columns.

If you use 2 colors:

Start with any of the red squares, but not the middle one. You embroider 2 rows of 2 crosses, then jump to the design in the corner that would be above it, and embroider in the same direction. When done, jump to another square, then another corner, then another square, then the 3rd corner, another square, then the one in the middle, and then the last corner.

You'd have to turn the fabric almost with each jump from the corner to the square. A lot of turning would happen when working on the second color as well. 

If you look closely, you'll notice 2 rectangles that intersect one another. I found it easier to work on them if I stat with the longer section, then the edge, then the shorter section, then jump to the next longer section, and so on. 

   the final look :)

the final look :)

If you use a single color:

I suppose that for when embroidering in a single color, the design would be easier, since you'd have to work on rows. I didn't want to work it all in black because I thought it would look too austere in a way. 

As you can see, i managed to finish the embroidery. It was pretty easy too, once I got used to it. But of course I also cheated a little bit. With the design copied on a different paper, i poked holes with a pencil, to mark the fabric with a visual guide. 

I didn't cheat perfectly, as you can probably tell. The crosses are not all the same size and are not perfectly aligned either. It took me 4 days in total to complete, with just a few hours per day. I'm pretty happy with the design, i think it's cute and cheerful, and that it looks quite authentic. I have nothing to compare it to, so i'll just stop here.

See you guys!

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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Romanian style embroidery

Publié le par Charly C.

Hello everyone!

Today I want to share with you my newest interest - cross-stitching. WooHoo! /throws confetti/ oh, i'll clean that ... later...

 

freestyle vs patternfreestyle vs pattern

freestyle vs pattern

Cross stitching is something I didn't think i'd get into. But somehow it happened. The story is a bit longer than this. Back in 2015 I received this gigantic sheet for the inter blanket -duvet? I thought I can't possibly use it as it is, and i thought I could turn it into pillow cases. And therefore I started measuring, cutting and sewing -everything by hand. 

If you don't have a lot of resources, and you need to hem your cloth, you can use some hair pins to keep the fabric in place. I found this method easy to use and not to ruin the material. On top of this, you can simply slide the pin as you need to advance. 

As a curiosity, i used a running stitch on the fabric i folded twice, and the stitch didn't get ruined in the laundry machine. 

my pictures, from my instagram @secret.agent0101my pictures, from my instagram @secret.agent0101

my pictures, from my instagram @secret.agent0101

I wanted to use traditional motifs, so i asked people i knew if they had something to help out. I needed both patterns and thread. Of course they did and they gave me a book with traditional patterns and a lot of thread as well. 

Romanian style embroideryRomanian style embroideryRomanian style embroidery

I flipped through the book to find a design that wasn't too complicated to replicate since I'm a beginner. And i found some that did looked easy, in a single color.

The one i decided on was all black and seemed easy enough. I copied it on paper using colored pencils, because i wanted some more colors on my pillow. 

The next step was to make sure the colors looked ok together. They weren't bad and they look better in real life.

i changed the design a bit more [3rd picture above]i changed the design a bit more [3rd picture above]i changed the design a bit more [3rd picture above]

i changed the design a bit more [3rd picture above]

The design i chose is the one in the lower right corner, in the book. I also show you how you're supposed to embroider it, if you like it. It makes a really nice edge on stuff, if positioned right.

I thought that an all black design would look too rough, though it would have been easier to stitch.

Did you know that Romanians traditionally sew with red and black thread, on white cloth? White means purity, red means joy and black means life.

I wanted to have at least 1 traditional color in my traditional motif. And this is why i choose red.

Romanian style embroideryRomanian style embroideryRomanian style embroidery

Since the cloth i decided to sew on in not easy to count the threads, i needed more visual help. I used a fountain pen. If you want to use the same method, make sure it's blue ink: red and black are staining the fabric and are more difficult to remove.

Of course, i sometimes messed up the guide. But it's ok as some of the errors got covered by some of the later stitches. 

None of these patterns have instructions on how or where to start from, so I had to figure these aspects myself. I figured that stitching the wave first would be easier later when i decide to add the other elements in other colors. 

However, drawing the guide [here the dots], then crossing the location of each stitch made my work even more easy. This allowed me to embroider whatever element I wanted first. 

Refer to the 1st picture in the beginning and the 3rd picture above, if you want to see what happens when you don't count the thread of your fabric, when you're supposed to do so.

Romanian style embroideryRomanian style embroidery

And above you can see the end result. I decided to embroider a hen eating grass as well. For that design i decided to use a piece of etamin fabric to trace a counted guide. it made my life quite easy, but for the size, i needed thinner thread. 

I like what everything looks like. I will continue practicing my embroidering skills though.

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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DIY: shirt into pillow case

Publié le par Charly C.

This week is for another do-it-yourself project presentation. YAY?

Let's learn how to make this pillow case from a shirt! shall we? In the first pic I used a different shirt because i didn't think of the pics I'd use, ahead of time. Plus I realized a bit too late I could make a blog entry about this process, so not all the pics are with the same shirt. I hope it doesn't bother you much. 

from the shirt on the left to the pillow case on the right. from the shirt on the left to the pillow case on the right. from the shirt on the left to the pillow case on the right.

from the shirt on the left to the pillow case on the right.

There's a little backstory for this DIY, so let's start with that. If you're not interested in it, scroll down till you see the first picture. ;)

We received some pre-owned/pre-worn shirts because "they're still in a good condition, maybe they fit you and you can wear them!" As great as this sounds for a minimalist person or someone who's concerned about too much waste and poverty, the reality is that those shirts were obviously worn. 

The shirts were in decent condition, but they're yellow on the collars, the fabric is also a bit destroyed because they've been worn too much. Even washed, these garments are nowhere near to be worn again, not even indoors. See first picture, here below.

 

ewww, to gross to still wear >_<

ewww, to gross to still wear >_<

I didn't throw them away because I thought I could do something out of them. I first thought of cleaning rags, but the fabric is not quite the right type, but more of a bed sheet type. And then it hit me that I needed more pillow cases - stitching together pieces of fabric to make a sheet is too much even for me. 

Things I used: 

  • an existing pillow case
  • scissors
  • sewing needle and thread
  • clothes iron
  • measuring tape (not really used in the end) 
  • pencil 
  • extra needles

 

very old scissors, sewing thread and measuring tape. pencil type is below.

very old scissors, sewing thread and measuring tape. pencil type is below.

The first step is to make sure the garment doesn't have holes and clear of wrinkles, hence the clothes iron. If it has holes, either patch them up or give up the garment. My shirts don't have holes, so I checked to see if they're big enough to make a case. They're mostly men's shirts, so there's enough fabric - see below. 

making sure the shirt is big enough for a pillow case

making sure the shirt is big enough for a pillow case

If you align the old pillow case to one of the side sewings of the shirt you'll save yourself some time as you'll only have 3 more sides to sew together.  Make sure to turn the shirt inside out to have it ironed (not even designers work with wrinkled fabric), and buttoned up.

In my opinion, the bottom hem is the easiest to start with, especially if it's a straight one. But you could align the shoulders in place, pin the case to the shirt and start sewing all around it. 

I sew by hand, and this means I needed more visual guidelines and this is where the pencil proved useful as I drew around my pillow case, on the shirt. Depending on the type of lead, it will be really easy to draw on fabric. My pencil is a Staedtler norica 132 46 HB 2 if it's of any help. 

Sewing all sides with the pillow case still attached to the shirt will save you some time. This is especially true if you have a sewing machine [unlike me]. Well, it will save some time when sewing by hand as well.

DIY: shirt into pillow caseDIY: shirt into pillow case

Now supposedly you sew all the sides of the pillow case. It's time you cut all the excess fabric. Once all the extra fabric is removed, you will have something that looks a lot like a pillow case. See below how mine turned out. I must say I'm pretty proud of myself. 

I purposely left the buttons of the shirt on to save me time and effort. This way I don't have to sew other buttons, nor a zipper. The pillow case looks a bit old fashioned, but I find it really pretty. 

This was my first time completing such a project, and sewing it by hand along with having other projects going on, made this DIY unnecessarily long. I think that with a sewing machine this would be a 30 minutes (tops) project. 

DIY: shirt into pillow caseDIY: shirt into pillow case

Of course, I leave the project for 5 minutes, and I return to see this (below). If you have kids, cats, dogs, any other pets, make sure they don't have access to the needles if you need a short break from your sewing or whatever you're doing. You may know this, but while it looks cute in photos and in real life, such a situation can be dangerous - luckily my boy wasn't sitting on the one I was working on. 

sometimes cats happen

sometimes cats happen

PS: Sometimes, after you finish your first project, you may realize that placing the pillow case in a different position on the shirt, it could make your job even more easy. In my case, I placed the existing pillowcase in "landscape" position while the shirt was in "portrait" mode. Like this, I only had to sew 2 sides only, saving me even more time. See the pic below for a better understanding.

The resulting is not much different than the first one I made, so I didn't think another image would be needed. 

DIY: shirt into pillow case

 © Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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Hacking my pants with a DIY pocket

Publié le par Charly Cross

While I have many other things to update you guys on, on Friday that just passed I was hit with a wave on inspiration and I thought I could write about the result, and show you the process of getting a similar look, if you'd like to.

Let's start with 2 things:

  1. pockets are useful and sometimes fun
  2. I have at least one clothing item with no pockets

Clearly, something had to be done, especially now that winter is coming. So I decided to hack my clothes by adding pockets to them. I started with some training pants - is this what they're called? - though, this must be one of the more difficult clothing items to start practicing with.

So these are my pants. Aren't they kinda plain and boring?

So these are my pants. Aren't they kinda plain and boring?

This is how they turned out!

This is how they turned out!

Not too shabby, if I can say so myself. My partner thinks the result is rather cute and not all that bad for the first ever DIY / hack project. There are a few steps to follow if you want a similar ... look, or result ... however you want to call it.

TOOLS:

  • clothes that need pockets
  • fabric to turn into pockets
  • scissors
  • thread and needle
  • pencil and eraser, maybe
  • paper [for your pattern]

HOW'S DONE, step by step: guaranteed 100% NOT foolproof

  • Choose a clothing item that could need some pockets - in my case, some HM sweat pants I got on sale, in summer or so.
  • Search for fabric that would look nice on the chosen clothing item. I used some old sweat pants by Juicy Couture, on baby pink [is this how the color is called?] Those pants were some 8 or 9 years old and were well loved and falling apart, but I still felt bad for just throwing them away and some parts were still in decent condition. hmmm
  • Make sure the fabric you find matches somewhat in thickness with the garment, and is made the same: woven or knitted. It will look better, than mixing thickness and fabric type.

  • take the pencil and paper, and draw your hand's outline, to make the pattern for the pocket. Leave some space around the hand because you don't want a very tight pocket. Use your smartphone as well, if you want to make sure it will fit into the future pocket.
Hacking my pants with a DIY pocket

Remove your hand, and realize the pocket will be too small and possibly too ugly too for an outer patch pocket. Decide at this point to use a bigger item, like an A5 agenda or notebook, or any other item of that size. Trace its outline on the paper instead of your hand.

Hacking my pants with a DIY pocket

You can use a different paper, the back of the one you used already, or the same paper like me. You may choose to erase the first attempt, like I did, or not.

  • Cut the paper pattern and use it to cut your fabric. While you could use the agenda or notebook to draw directly on the fabric, the paper is lighter, and you can attach it to said material to make sure it stays in place. This is especially helpful when you're not someone with more experience when it comes to sewing or making clothes.
Hacking my pants with a DIY pocket

Cutting the fabric should be easy enough if you laid the fabric completely flat. You just need to own good scissors for the purpose. Make sure to cut enough pieces for as many pockets you want to make. I cut 2 pieces but only used one.  But I may use the other one in the [near] future.

Hacking my pants with a DIY pocket

I had to cut away the seams of the pants, as I used the lower part. I also removed their hem as the fabric there was dirty and too thick. eww

  • The next step is to find a position for your pocket, on the garment. I recommend putting the garment on and then deciding where the best place would be. I chose it while the pants were off of me, and I didn't realize it would be too low. I did want it to cover 2 small holes that appeared in my pants [eww, no craftsmanship in the HM labor camps/factories and the cheapest yarn possible.]
Hacking my pants with a DIY pocket

While you're here, make sure you choose matching yarn as well. I measured it too, since I was about to had sew this patch and I don't need unlimited supply.

  • You're supposed to start sewing at this point. You are allowed to make some tea or coffee if you didn't have one before. Make sure to sew an upper hem as well - it will look more professional. You should also ensure to fold in in the edges of your pocket patch.
Hacking my pants with a DIY pocket

If you also chose pants or another garment that is pretty tight, or don't own a sewing machine [like me], you have to pay attention NOT to sew together the 2 sides of the item. You can avoid this accident by placing an agenda right under the working spot - like I did in the 3rd shot, in the image above.

In case you're wondering, I'm right handed, so I sew towards the left hand, but I placed the pictures in a left-to-right order ... I hope it doesn't confuse you.

  • When you're finally done, more likely an hour or more later, your pocket should look like in the image below. I think I will go with another sewing session, to give it more strength - I don't trust it much with just one go done by hand.
Hacking my pants with a DIY pocket

My partner said she likes it, and I think it's decent enough. I was lucky with the colors too as gray and pink look nice together. The pants are now more interesting, eye catching, and make my life easier when I don't want to carry a lot of stuff.

before and afterbefore and after

before and after

            I hope you find this little DIY project useful. See you next time!


            ©Charly Cross 2013 – present. . All rights reserved. [previously known as The Owner Travels To]

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