DIY Sequin Sweater

Cover Sweater

I’ve been itching to do another clothing upcycle/refashion project for the past few months and I finally got around to it this past week! Today I’m excited to share my DIY Sequin Sweater. Yes, I went in to the hubby’s closet again, but to be fair, I’ve never seen him wear this particular sweater/shirt since I’ve known him.


Before Sweater

 

I’ve always stumbled across this shirt when we swap out our clothes as the seasons change. Somehow the hubby has always managed to convince me to keep it. This time I’m glad he did, because it became my guinea pig to refashion into something for myself. My inspiration for this refashion project came from this pin from here I came across on Pinterest: a short sleeve sweater layered over a dress shirt.

I tried on the sweater to see how much fabric I was dealing with. Yes, it looks like I’m swimming in it.

Before Sweater 2

But no worries, I pulled out a  J Crew sweater that I owned which I was going to base my sizing on. Now it was time to get down to measuring and cutting by doing the following:

Bodice:

  1. Lay your sweater on top of the black one, matching both sweaters by the neckline to make sure they are centered.
  2. Mark on both sides with chalk the desired width of the new sweater based on your existing one. Baste or pin both sides and try on the sweater first. For me it was too fitted for my liking the first two times around, so I re-drew my lines out a little wider. Once you’re happy with the width, sew a straight line down both sides with a 1/2″ seam allowance. I then finished the edges with an overcasting stitch to prevent them from fraying.
  3. Cut off the ribbing from the neckline. Fold the edge of the neckline under by 1/2″ and sew it down with a straight stitch.
  4. Cut both sleeves off. Make sure you mark each sleeve for which side it came from.
  5. Cut your arm holes. I made a template for the armholes, by tracing the armhole of my J. Crew sweater and factoring in a 1/2″ seam allowance. Using the template, I cut out the shape of the armhole.
  6. Hem your sweater to the desired length.

Sweater Cutout

Sleeves

  1. Similar to the armholes, I made a sleeve template based on my J. Crew sweater and factoring in a 1/2″ seam allowance to attach them to the bodice. Using the template, I cut out each sleeve from the existing ones. Then attach your sleeves.

Sweater Sleeves

Here’s how the sweater turned out. I was quite nervous when it came to attaching the sleeves, since this was my first time attempting it. To make thing more nerve-wrecking, I chose to make the sleeves gathered at the shoulders so they would look slightly puffed. But it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be because I got them both right on the first try!

Sweater After 1

I was happy with the way the sweater turned out. However, it looked too plain, like it was missing something. So I went back on Pinterest to look for more ideas. I came across this pin: sequin trim around the neckline! So I went to Joann’s to pick up a pack of gold sequins and some transparent thread.

Sweater Sequins In progress

 

Now here’s how the final product turned out! I LOVE it! The sequins definitely make this sweater stand out. This is going to be a staple in my winter wardrobe and maybe into spring!

Sweater After Final

Sweater After 2

DIY Zippered Pillow Covers

Hello there! I have finally been able to get back into the groove of working on DIY projects and they’ve kept me pretty busy. Working on them is only part of the fun, the other part is being able to share them with you!

Today I wanted to share the zippered pillow covers I made for my living room. I decided that I wanted to replace my existing envelope pillow covers. They were a good first attempt at sewing pillow covers and learning how to mix and match colors/patterns. But I was never completely satisfied. So you try again, right?

Before Pillow Covers

This time I decided to go with simpler patterns and change up the accent colors. I used this opportunity to learn and practice sewing with invisible zippers.  The zippers make the covers look more finished, durable and store-bought. And that’s exactly what I wanted. Here’s how they turned out.

After Pillow Covers

My cat decided to jump in on the photo action that was going on this morning 🙂

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My favorite one is the mint green ‘Love’ pillow I made. I love the mixture of textures and stitching. I want to make more of these!!

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Have a Happy Sunday! =)

DIY Peplum-Style Dress Shirt

My husband’s dress shirts always rip at the elbow first without fail. In the past when that happened, the dress shirt became useless to him, and in the trash it went. So sad. Now that I have my sewing machine, I save them to practice my sewing. It’s free fabric for me to mess around with. If I screw up, oh well.

Lately, I had been pinning quite a bit of clothing-related sewing ideas, one of which was a tutorial to transform a men’s dress shirt to a woman’s dress shirt from Cotton&Curls. Considering I had never sewn a single article of clothing before, I thought this project was perfect to try because it only involved deconstructing the shirt, cutting the pieces down to size, and putting it back together. No pattern needed! So here’s the my husband’s dress shirt that was to be my guinea pig. You can see the tear on the left sleeve.

 

Before Picture

The tutorial was pretty easy to follow concept-wise. My lack of experience in sewing clothing is what made this project difficult. But you have to start somewhere, right? There was definitely a learning curve that I had to overcome. I studied the construction of my own dress shirts to understand how the seams were supposed to look on both the inside and outside.  I didn’t take pictures of the process this time around because I just wanted to focus on making it look right. To be honest, I went through several iterations of sewing certain portions of the shirt  at times. To add my own twist, I chose to make the shirt sleeveless since warm weather has finally arrived. I added mini ruffle sleeves as a finishing touch. Here is the finished product!

After

 

I love it, it’s simple and clean. This is a great addition to my spring/summer wardrobe!

front 2

Side

Back

Ruffles

I feel inspired now to make other clothing pieces. My husband better beware,  his shirts might start to go “missing”. =P

DIY Envelope Pillow Covers

Pillow Blog Cover Photo

I finally got around to making new pillow covers for the sofa this summer. I was never a fan of the paisley and plaid pillows that originally came with our sofa. When we bought the sofa,  I had to stop and remind myself that the pillow covers could easily be replaced, just not the sofa. (I’m committed to that piece of furniture until it breaks, which I hope never happens!)

Blue Couch

Blue Couch

I decided to be ambitious and try to make pillow covers with different patterns, just like what you see in the magazines. This was harder than I thought it would be, but after reading a blog post by Tidbits&Twine, I felt a little more confident about choosing the patterns. This is what I ended up going with:

IMG_1225I decided to make envelope pillows covers because they are the easy and fast to make. I used tutorials from thelittlegreennotebook and feelinglovesome as my guide, but have made my own tutorial based on what worked for me. Beware…there is some math involved (Yes, I’m a nerd), but I’ve done the hard work for you so this tutorial can be used for pillows of any size. Let’s get started!

1. Determine the dimensions of the pillow cover.

The finished dimensions of the pillow covers should be 1″ smaller on each side in comparison to the pillow itself. My pillows are 21″ x 21″. (However, it’s deceiving because they are super stuffed and 19″ x 19″ is written on the actual pillow itself.) To avoid confusion, I just remeasured the original pillow covers, which are 20″ x 20″, which are the dimensions I went with.

2. Measure and cut out the fabric based on the following calculations.

Width (inches) = Width of Finished Pillow Cover + 1 inch
 My width = 20″ + 1 ” = 21 “

Length (inches) = 2.25 x (Length of Finished Pillow Cover) + 2 inches
 My length = (2.25 x 20″) +2″ = 47″

3. Hem the two short ends.

Pillow Case Short Edge Instructions

4. Lay fabric right-side facing down. Fold over the two short ends so that they overlap.
Pillow Folding Edges Over Instructions

Since the finished length of my pillow cover is 20″, I folded each short end over by (0.625 x 20″) = 12.5″. This helps the center the “envelope flap” in the center of the pillow.

5. Hem the remaining two “raw edges”.

Pillow Final Two Raw Edges Instructions

6. Trim the corners and turn pillow case right-side out.Pillow Turning Corners Out Instructions

…and you’re done!

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DIY Sunshine Yellow Curtains

I must confess that this post has been a long time coming. March, April, and May were busy busy months. However,  it’s not like life will get any less busier in the upcoming months for me, so I’ve got to get back on track with posting and sharing with y’all on this blog!

I’ve finished tackling what probably is the biggest DIY project I’ve accomplished so far in the new house: sewing my own curtains! You might ask why on earth I would even consider sewing my own curtains. Well, besides the fact that I like DIY projects, I had a few good other reasons to rationalize my decision…

  1. Cost…
    I have learned that I have expensive taste, but not the budget to match it. I had been eyeing the Linen Cotton Window Panels in Desert Marigold from West Elm. It cost $64.00 per panel (96″ long) was $59.00. Multiply that by the 6 panels I needed…that’s $384 before tax, shipping, and buying any curtain rod hardware.
  2. Dimensions…
    Through this project I learned how to properly hang curtains, thanks to Pinterest and the numerous custom curtain magazines we keep receiving in the mail. The width of the West Elm curtain panels were 48″, which were too narrow for my windows. Therefore, I would need to sew panels together to achieve the desired width and fullness. In addition, the length of the panels were slightly longer than I needed, so I’d also have to hem them to the exact desired length. I have an eye for detail, so it bothers me when people buy store bought curtains and hang them so that they are too short or do not have enough fullness to them.
  3. Color
    I had decided from the beginning that I wanted bright yellow curtains to go with the light gray walls for the main floor. Although the Desert Marigold West Elm curtain panels were fairly close in color with what I was looking for, it still wasn’t close enough for. The color had to be exact. I wanted something a slightly bit brighter, with a more citrus yellow hue.

So, as you can probably imagine, with all the “rationale” reasons I presented above, I wanted the perfect set of curtains, and making them myself would be the only way to achieve that!

Finding the specific shade of yellow that I wanted was not all that easy. I must have spent a a few weeks just browsing online and pinning potential candidates on my Pinterest Board for my husband to help me decide. Luckily, the search did not go on forever, as I was lucky enough to find a shade of yellow from Joann.com that satisfied my eye: Cintronelle. I was even luckier to have a 50% off coupon (thanks to my sister-in-law). The original price per yard was $34.99, but with the coupon it came to $17.49/yd. I bought a total of 18 yards for the two main floor windows/patio doors combined. So it came out to $314.82 before tax. Did I mention I got free shipping too?

So I received a long narrow box in the mail. It was a bit of a reality check as I slowly pulled the fabric out of the box…what was I getting myself into? Doubt started to creep on me as I examined the fabric. Now, I knew that the color swatch from online wouldn’t exactly match the real color of the fabric. The fabric seemed to have a super citrus/neon hue to it. So I unrolled it out on the floor, and had to spend some time looking at it. It was growing on me, but I was still unsure. This wasn’t the a dilemma I wanted or needed so early on in the project. My husband had to constantly reassure me that the shade of yellow was perfectly fine, and in the end I had to trust him.

Next came the sewing! I’ll spare the details for now of how I sewed the curtains/lessons learned and save that for a tutorial post. I will say the concept of sewing the curtains isn’t hard since you’re just sewing cutting in straight lines. But cutting straight and sewing straight is the key. Those two things become more time consuming the larger the panels are because it’s always safer to measure twice and cut/sew once. After dragging out this project for two months, I finally finished! (Yes, I know it’s pathetic,  because I would only work in short spurts and only on weekends, which as I explained above, were pretty busy.) Anyways…*drum roll please*….here is the finished product!

The curtains just add a completely different dimension to the rooms and make them look one step closer towards of being ‘put together’. I was especially glad to camoflauge the sheer brown shades on the main floor window, and completely get rid of the hideous (I don’t even know what shade of brown/pink you could call it), 80’s fabulous panel-like blinds.

I will say in the end, I am completely happy with the shade of yellow that the curtains are and have no regrets. It’s amazing to watch the different shades of yellow the curtains turn throughout the day as the sunlight pours in. And as you can see, my cat looks like she’s literally surrounded by two columns of sunlight. She’s pretty content now that she can finally reclaim her spot by the patio doors.

DIY Sunshine Yellow Curtains

First Sewing Project: Iphone Travel Pouch

A few months ago, I made the decision to buy a sewing machine. The reasoning behind the purchase was to be able to custom decorate my house affordably by making my own curtains and pillow cases and whatever other projects Pinterest could inspire me with.

Now, my mother, who is an amazing seamstress, did spend one summer teaching me as a kid how to use a sewing machine. I even had my own toy sewing machine to practice on. All I ever made were makeshift smocks and pillows for my Barbie dolls, which turned out less than spectacular. So I did have some familiarity with using a sewing machine, but from what I could remember that was very little. Therefore, deciding on a specific sewing machine wasn’t the hardest part; rather, mustering up the courage to unpack the sewing machine from the box and learning how to use it was.

After two months of procrastination, I finally opened the box and set up my new toy: a Brother CS6000i Computer Sewing Machine. To my relief, setting it up was relatively painless as the instruction manual was easy to follow.

Now, it was time to sew! The first project I wanted to tackle was making curtains for the main floor. However, I decided that it would be better to first pick a smaller-scale project to become comfortable with the machine. So I tried to think of something useful I could make and turned to Pinterest (as always) for inspiration. Then, it dawned on me to make a travel pouch for my iPhone and accessories.

Here was my dilemma. When I carried my headphones and usb charger for my iPhone, I used to just put them altogether in my Hello Kitty drawstring pouch or just throw them straight into my bag, both of which created a wire tangling nightmare every time I want to retrieve either from my bag. I came across these two images/links on Pinterest that could potentially solve my problem:

I liked the first option because it had three compartments: one for the phone, one for the headphones, and one for the usb charger!  I liked the second option because it showed me how to secure the pouch closed. In addition, the sleeves for each compartment were deeper, providing a more secure fit and lesser chance of the items falling out. So, instead of choosing between the both of them, I decided to combine the two and make my own pattern. Here’s what I ended up with!

I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out given this was my first sewing project. All my materials were scraps from given by my mother or my own crafting stash. The lace and button are my favorite details! There are some definite improvements which could be made, but I’ll have to think about it and get back to ya’ll in a different post down the road. Nevertheless, I’ve been using this the past few weeks, and it’s definitely solved my organization problem, so I’m a happy camper. =D