Thursday, May 14, 2015

Paisley Skinny Tie DIY

Last month, Josh and I celebrated our 1st anniversary with yummy food, a Bob Dylan concert, and this paisley skinny tie. I bought the lovely silk fabric from Mood a few years ago, and finally - finally made Josh a tie with it. The light blue fabric is leftover from when I made my wedding dress! I'm sooo pleased with the result. Josh actually asked me where I bought it!

Tie pieces

I did a lot of online searching for a free and easy to follow skinny tie pattern. I found the perfect pattern/instructions on the blog Joe & Cheryl. Cheryl geniusly took one of Joe's old ties to copy the pattern from, so it's the perfect shape for a skinny tie. Check out their blog for full instructions  :)

I used leftover blue silk from my wedding dress for the inner fabric!

After tapping and cutting my pattern pieces out, I cut all my fabric. Pretty much everything has to be cut on the bias, so the tie will bend & tie-up nicely. Because I was using silk, and silk is all wiggly, I used a rotatory cutter. The rotary cutter also worked well, since I was mostly cutting long straight lines. When I had all the pieces, I sewed together the tie. Cheryl's instructions are amazing, they made it so simple to put together.

I definitely want to make some more ties, maybe with some vintage silk or some nice wool! Father's Day is right around the corner too - ties make great gifts ya'll!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

DIY Letterpress

Hot Letterpress Action!

Finished invite!

Last spring I was uber busy getting ready for our wedding, and because of that my little blog here was put on the back-burner. In all the excitement, I completely forgot to post about my handmade letterpress wedding invitations. So here goes!

I've always loved the look of letterpress invitations, but they were totally out of my budget. As a designer/crafter - I decided it would be fun to try making my own. Because making things is fun! I searched the web for info about letterpressin', and I found instructions on how to make your own press! The instructions were written by Charles G. Morgan, here's a link to his PDF. My Dad helped me with building the press (aka he built the whole thing - thanks Papa-Georgio!) We had to buy a few things, but luckily we had most of the ingredients on hand.

Rolling the ink

I bought paper, a roller, and ink from Dick Blick. I drew some sketches of the invitation and then I designed it in Adobe Illustrator and InDesign. I sent my design in to BoxCar Press, and they printed it onto a polymer plate. It was super easy and I was really happy with the quality of my plate.

The inked plate

Once I had the press and the plate, the process was pretty simple. I would roll a small (very small) amount of the dark blue ink onto my roller and then I would carefully roll it onto my plate (which I taped onto cardboard, so I could move it around more easily). Then even more carefully I lightly placed my pre-cut paper centered over the inked plate, and put another cardboard piece on top (to protect my paper and plate from the weight of the press. In the very first photo you can see that the two thin cardboard pieces (I think I cut them from a shoebox) were taped together at the top, so I just had to flip the top one over to make the sandwich. So the layers were... 1-cardboard, 2-plate, 3-ink, 4-paper, 5-cardboard. 

Finally, I carefully slid the sandwich into the press and cranked it closed several times (more info in the PDF instructions) to press the ink into the paper. It took some practice versions, but I was really happy with the end results! I think I made around 150 invites, so that was several hours of just inking and pressing (not counting the designing stage). It was totally worth the time though - they turned out beautiful, and now I have our invitation sitting out in our apartment - cause it's pretty!

Some of the invites drying

By the way, Happy Me-Made-May!!!

Monday, April 27, 2015

New Fabric

Getting new fabric is always so exciting - especially when it comes in the mail and you aren't exactly sure which day it will arrive. I got these beauties recently and they came with a cute garment tag - awesome! The blue quilted fabric is soon-to-be a swing-top tee, and the hot pink jacquard is destined to become a lovely By Hand London Sophia dress!

Other than buying pretty fabric, I've been busy organizing and redecorating my sewing corner. I added in extra storage and moved all my thread onto its own shelf - so I can find the colors I  need faster. Still move organizing to do, but it's already looking so much better  :)

Monday, April 13, 2015

Springtime Zinnia

Zinnia skirt

Spring is in full bloom here in Virginia, and I finally have time to put pictures up of my Colette Zinnia skirt! Josh & I have been so busy the past month, he was finishing up the thesis project for his MFA and I had my lovely friend Emily visiting. Emily made a zinnia also, and it was so fun to work on our skirts together! Unfortunately we didn't have time to take a photo in our skirts before she left - but her's turned out absolutely gorgeous!

Chambray zinnia skirt

I made my skirt out of a really pretty chambray with dots woven into it. I bought it at Home Ec. in Iowa City over a year ago, without knowing exactly what it would become. I miss that place, they have the cutest fabric. I haven't found a place like it yet in Virginia. Any suggestions?

Sooo many pleats

Pretty pleats!

Overall, this was a simple pattern to make, and it's a skirt I will be able to wear a lot! The most time consuming part was sewing and ironing all the pleats. This skirt has 16 pleats — yes, 16! They do look really pretty though, when they're done  :)  At first I was really confused about how to apply the waistband. Luckily Emily and I talked through it and figured it out.

Sewing the buttonhole!

Yesterday Josh and I celebrated our first anniversary! We went biking, drank wine, and saw the amazing Mr. Bob Dylan. It was perfect. Bob Dylan was awesome  :)  I made Josh a silk paisley tie - pictures of that to come soon!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Zinnia Skirt Sneak Peek!

Antique glass button on my Zinnia skirt!

I finally finished the chambray zinnia skirt that I started in November and then forgot about for several months! I am in love with how it turned out. This is probably the best fitting thing I've ever made. Probably helps that only the waistband had to fit perfectly  :)

Josh and I have been super busy this month, so I don't have proper photos yet. Hopefully we can take them this weekend!

Preparing to sew the buttonhole!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Pattern Drafting

Basic Sloper

Pattern Drafting

Last week I finished my pattern drafting class! We spent several weeks drafting patterns on paper. Then we sewed a sloper out of muslin, using our draft. I have the sloper on in the photos above, not too cute (I think it looks like a strait-jacket), but it's just a starting point for designing whatever you want. After we made adjustment to the sloper for a perfect fit, we seam-ripped the cloth pieces apart and traced them on to really thick paper.  Now I can use those pieces as jumping-off points for different things I want to design!

So far I'm dreaming up some easy outfits that I can draft from these basic pattern pieces. I have some beautiful velvet fabric that I want to turn into a pencil skirt. I'm thinking that will be a perfect / simple first pattern to try drafting on my own! I'm so excited to try it!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

DIY Yoga Bag

A friend and I recently started taking yoga classes!!! Taking yoga has been a dream of mine for years, so I'm thrilled that it is finally happening. We ride our bikes to class, and the first few weeks I held my yoga mat while biking - yikes - very difficult. So when I got a Spoonflower email with instructions (from Emma Jeffery) for a yoga bag, I was like heck yes!

Pretty grosgrain ribbon

I was able to use all fabric that I had in my stash. I love the combo of the bright blue with the rich chocolatey grosgrain ribbon. The directions called for a cord and a cordlock for the drawstring, but I used ribbon that I already had & it's working great! Finally I can bike to yoga & not worry about falling  :D