"I love my cats because I love my home, and little by little they become its visible soul." Jean Couteau

Friday, August 23, 2013

my shirt is toooo big!

This weekend, my sister, Bethany, is visiting. Since I've been blogging, she was very excited to do a project together, so she brought one along. She has some shirts that are men's large and much too big for her, so I found this tutorial online. 

We started out with Bethany's big shirt. She had brought another that fit well, so we used that to trace a pattern on the big one (with both shirts inside-out, so we weren't drawing on the outside of the shirt!). We tried using a fabric pencil to do the tracing, but it was way too light to really see, so we ended up using a gray washable marker. I don't think it really matters, though, because the line ends up inside the seam.

Once we had the pattern drawn, we got to work sewing. Bethany hadn't used a sewing machine in a long time, so I showed her how, then let her go to town. It was her shirt, after all, I figured she should do some of the work.

Here is one part that wasn't mentioned in the tutorial I found online. When you're doing the tracing, you may want to shorten the sleeves. Go ahead and trace that part out, but DON'T sew along that line. If you do, you will sew your sleeve shut. We did that on the first shirt we tried, and there was seam-ripping involved. On the plus side, I finally went out and invested in a seam-ripper (or rather, Bethany went out and got one for me; thanks, sis!). Instead, follow the lower line of the sleeve and sew out to the edge. After you cut off the excess, hem up the sleeve the regular way you do a hem. 

We did 1/2" hems; folded up, ironed, folded over again, ironed, sewed. We also hemmed up the bottom to shorten up the whole shirt. 

The other thing we did that was not mentioned in the tutorial was to zig-zag stitch the raw edge where we trimmed off the excess fabric. That makes that edge inside the shirt a little nicer and will help keep it from fraying. I did the zig-zag stitching before doing the sleeve and bottom hems. Now Bethany has a shirt that fits much more appropriately than before. And she got a crash refresher course in using a sewing machine, which is always a useful skill.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

it's the little things (part 2)

Closet Organization
The first was inspired by Jessi Makes Things (scroll down past the awesome wall stenciling). It wasn't something I'd really thought about doing before, but I saw this post and thought, "I need that!" The hardest part was finding a curtain rod that was narrow enough. I went to my go-to store, Target, but the smallest rod they had was 30", which was too long for my 24" door. I happened to be heading to JoAnn next to check out fabric options for my curtain project and, as I was in the curtain area, I stumbled upon curtain rods that were adjustable between 18" and 30" -- perfect! I also got the rings there because they were on sale (otherwise, I'd have been the crazy person who went BACK to Target where rings were cheaper).

I came home and got right to work with my rulers, level, pencil, and drill. I was a bit concerned about accidentally drilling all the way through the door, but I managed to not do that. The screws that came with the curtain rods looked like they'd just barely be short enough to not come through the other side of the door, so I went ahead and used them. It was straightforward enough, and now I have hat and scarf hangers on a closet door!


Cord Wrangling
I got this idea from Small Home Big Start. Like the closet organization above, it was something I didn't know I needed until I stumbled across this post. But I'm frequently annoyed with cords, especially the iron cord, and this seemed like a lovely solution.

I basically just followed the tutorial above. I added about 2" to what I measured around the cord. I used this cute polka-dot fabric that I had leftover from making a T-shirt quilt several years ago.

In the little foot box that came with my sewing machine (which I got free from a lady at church several years ago, which made me even more excited that it came with the user's guide and a box of feet!), I discovered a buttonhole foot, which I never even knew was a thing before.

Using the buttonhole foot and instructions in my user's guide for using the buttonhole foot, I sewed the hole for my button, then snipped out the inside of it with my small, sharp scissors.

Next, I deviated from the tutorial a bit. I decided I wanted my cord wrangler to be actually attached to the cord, as I thought this would be easier for using it and not losing it. So next, I hand-sewed the non-buttonhole end together around the iron cord. I wound up the cord and wrapped the wrangler around it to see exactly where to attach the button, then hand-sewed that on. I used an extra button that came with an old green pea-coat that I don't have anymore. 

I'm pretty excited about this cord wrangling. Maybe I'll wrangle some more cords down the road. I could do it for all my hair stylers -- blow-dryer, straightening iron, curling irons. It's not super necessary most of the time, but it would be nice for traveling. Right now, I have some other project ideas in the pipeline, so more cord wrangling will have to wait.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

the drawbacks of being tall

I'm just over 6 feet tall. It's mostly good; however, there are drawbacks. For example, someone once called out to me while I was running through the airport, "Do you play basketball?" It still blows my mind how some people think this sort of behavior is socially acceptable. The other main drawback is pants. Starting in the 10th grade, I had to buy pants at The Tall Girl Store (now Long Tall Sally). Luckily, now there are many more stores that make extra long pants (Gap, Old Navy, J C Penney, Buckle), though you can generally only buy them online, not in real stores. However, I still have trouble with pajama pants. Many places that carry extra long jeans and dress pants don't carry extra long pajama pants. If they do, they're either just barely long enough and then shrink in the wash or $50+ or both. The two pairs that I have are actually sweat pants; one pair is really old from The Tall Girl Store, and the other pair is men's pants from Old Navy. Both of these are too warm to wear in the summer. I have some capri pajama pants, but sometimes, I really want light-weight long pants. So I decided to try an experiment.

I went to Target and bought two pairs of the same pajama pants. Now, ordinary pajama pants are 4+ inches too short for me, which, as you can see from the picture below, is too long for capris and so just the right length to look goofy.

The plan was to cut off one pair to make them capri pants, and then add on that cut off part to the other pair to make them extra long. I took a pair of my existing capri pajama pants to measure the length for the capri pair. 

I added on another inch for the hem and cut them off there. Then I pinned, ironed, and hemmed them up. This was the easy pair.

Next, I pulled out the hem of the long pair. In retrospect, this was probably unnecessary, as I ended up folding the hem back up anyway. Then I turned the leftover pieces from the capri pair inside out, ironed a 0.5-inch hem in the top of them, and turned them back right-side out. This next part is very important. Turn the pants inside out and the leftover pieces right-side out. Then I fit the pieces inside the pants, meeting up the original hem of the pants with the new hem of the pieces (not the manufactured hem, that's further inside the pant leg). I pinned and sewed them together. Then I pulled the pieces out, now attached to the bottom of the pants. Since they were put in right-side out, when you pull them out after sewing, they're now inside out, same as the pants. 

Then I ironed the sewed-together part and turned the pants right-side out. And now I have super long pajama pants!

The primary problem I had was the pattern. If I were to do this again, I would probably try for solid-colored pants, but these were the only ones that Target had two pairs of in my size. I tried to match the pattern up, but to no avail. But, they're pajama pants, so I decided I don't really care, and most people are probably not looking that closely anyway. I'm very excited to try out my new pants. Even though it's not quite 4pm, if it weren't 78 degrees F in my house, I'd be wearing them right now!