I made some leggings a while back, and posted about them on reddit’s sewing subreddit. Someone asked about tips, and I wrote a long post outlining my tips to make the whole process easier/more successful. So I’m adapting/recreating it here; hopefully someone finds it to be useful! (The post took longer to write than the leggings did to make. Talk about an instant gratification project!)
I’m all over the place, aren’t I. I made some pants this week that I really enjoy, and I’d like to share how, since it’s really easy.
Draft a simple pair of knee-length elastic-or-drawstring-waist pants with side seams, adding about an inch to each side seam compared to what you’d normally wear. Or, use your favorite pattern, and add an inch or two extra at the side seams. (You could even do this with a non-elastic waist band with a fly, if you want. Just make sure there’s a waistband, or it’ll look really strange.)
Confession: This wasn’t meant to be a tutorial at first. Originally, the belt was supposed to be over a sheer paneled floaty skirt; the idea was that I’d make it, photograph it, and maybe try and sell it if it turned out especially amazing. But I just started hating that idea, until I decided to leave it as a belt. Then it just seemed a little too simple to keep to myself; it’s time consuming, but by no means a work of artistic genius. Finally, I kept changing my concept as I worked, which led to some severe uneven-ness in the beading, and some crazy wonky grommets.
So instead, how’s about a tutorial so you can make your own? I might still offer a 2.0 version in an Etsy shop or something in the future, since they are super time consuming for such a small accessory, but it’s nice to share how to make things.
Veils are really expensive. Well, you can get a really cheap, fingertip-length piece of tulle with some beads glued on it. But if you want something nice, it costs a lot of money. Which it should, in the case of nice, handmade, high-quality veils! Those take a TON of time and effort. Of course, then there’s the ridiculously overpriced crap that people sell, banking on a bride’s liberal spending because it’s her wedding. Either way, you’re in for a big cash ding if you want something fancy without doing it yourself.
I decided on a long veil with a crown and scattered crystals, with lace trim at the bottom but not the sides. I don’t really like huge, poofy, dramatic wedding dresses (they’re gorgeous, just not on me), so I’m relying on the veil for the drama. Plus, in my heart of hearts, I’m still a little enamored with elves and fantasy creatures. I don’t want to do a costume or a theme wedding, but a simple wire-and-crystal circlet nods to my love of fantasy while not being silly about it. I hope.
Whenever I’m working on a costume, I think “this is super cheap. I should share it.” And then it doesn’t quite fit into the tutorial, or it’s a weird tributary of eddying thoughts that strays far away from the main flow of the post. So here’s a few tips and tricks I’ve picked up about obtaining materials on the cheap, that hopefully go beyond your standard “go to the thrift store. Thrift. Good job.”
Quick and easy tutorial today, guys. It’s almost like cheating. But hey, not every project has to be crazy complicated, right? I wanted some bracers for a costume I’m making, and I had this piece of crazy beaded fabric lying around. It came from the waist band of a child’s skirt that I bought forever ago and ripped up for its plain black cotton. (Every time I use something years later, it enables the hoarder in me. Alas.)
-Strip of heavily embellished fabric that will go around your wrist ~2 times, at least 2 inches wide. Wide ribbon is a good choice. Alternatively, use this as your chance to practice beading/embroidery/smocking/whatever crazy techniques you want, since it’s such a small piece of fabric.
-Equal amount of lining fabric. I used a silk scrap that I had lying around, for extra luxury and to help diminish forearm sweatiness.
-Grommet tape or grommets. I used grommets because my bracers are tiny and I needed them close together.
-Short amount of shoelace, ribbon, string, I-cord, what-have-you. Something to lace it with.
-Heavy interfacing. (Optional, but essential if you want them to look like armor.)
I got this jacket from the Male Compatriot’s mom. It’s a beautiful color, very soft suede, (for more information on why I sometimes use secondhand leather even after converting to vegetarianism, click here) and overall really nice. But the double shawl collar and the waist skirt made it really fussy.
First, I removed the waist skirt, button plackets, and collar. This left it very nice, but incredibly simple. I tried adding back in one of the collars, but it suddenly looked like something a politician in her 50s would wear — polished and upscale, but not what I want right now. It was also much more formal without those button plackets! I thought about just overlapping the front with a button loop, but that created a couple of minor fit issues, and looked even more political.
Instead, I decided to add a silver zipper. Unfortunately, JoAnne’s didn’t have silver separating zippers in exactly the length I needed, so I used gold instead. It worked out well, but I did want silver for the southwestern feel. I chose to hand-pick the zipper because a. I don’t have thread that matches exactly, and I don’t sew with this color enough to justify getting a whole spool, and b. the bottom of the jacket is slightly curved, and I needed the control that hand sewing gave me to make sure things lined up. I considered adding a lace “yoke” at the back and cutting away the leather underneath it for a cutout, but decided it would be too kitschy Southwesty and overdone.
Unfortunately, you can see the white of the zipper. If I were really committed to this refashion, I’d have dyed the zipper before inserting it. But I didn’t.
It’s a simple refashion, but it makes a huge difference! I’m not 100% sold on the jacket when it’s zipped up, though; there’s a couple of pull lines (probably because a full 2 inches was removed with the button plackets), and it kind of eliminates my waist. I love it unzipped, though, so I’m calling it a success.
Buckle in readers, today’s post is quite long. It involves drafting fancy shoulders and a backless shirt. So bear with me, it’ll all be worth it. I hope.
I got a dress form for an early Christmas present! Hooray! So I’ve been playing with some drape. My first project is inspired by this shirt I found on Pinterest. (Please, ignore the weirdness on the model’s back. Poor girl’s waist curve was moved over so far in post-production, her head’s bigger than her ribs! Or she’s just standing at a really contorted angle. Either way, it’s freaky if you look at it too long.)
I like the idea of backless shirts, but somehow they always move around just a little too much for me to feel comfy, even with a bra. I just feel like I’ll flash my bra at everyone, and that’s weird, no matter how pretty it is — if your bra is showing, it should be intentional! So I’m always on the lookout for something pretty and functional, no specialty bra required. In this case, that means bra-less, but it’s secure, and the girls are fairly well contained/supported, so it’s all good for me. It’d be painful to run a marathon, but that’s not really what I plan on doing.
Today’s “refashion” doesn’t have many photos, since I made it over two years ago. I only have pictures of the finished product.
P.S. I swear that photo isn’t shopped. The edges are all blurry because of my crappy camera and the fact that I was wobbling, trying to keep that ridiculously over-exaggerated back curve. Oh, past vanities.
It was pretty simple — take an oversized v-neck cotton sweater and sew it down to size — but it has one interesting feature that I hope women will find useful. And that’s a modified hem.
I do this all the time with my winter tunic dresses, actually, refashioned or no. It’s easy: Take the hem, open it up at the side seam and insert elastic, or (preferably) bungee cord. Elastic by itself may have too much stretch and not enough snap-back to work: My solution when I don’t have bungee cord lying around is to use 1/2 elastic and 1/2 ribbon ties. The ties keep everything nice and tight, while the elastic allows me to actually move my legs and walk and stuff. Plus it makes a cute bow.
I use this all the time.
Because there’s nothing fun about wearing a short, sexy skirt and having to worry about your butt cheeks hanging out. I’ve found that even with longer skirts, this is an issue if you want to do anything other than sitting demurely in the corner, and I hate it. I wanna swing-dance in my bodycon tank dress! I wanna run in my sweater dress! I want it all, and I’ll be damned if I have to compromise between feeling sexy and having fun.
I realized that I was missing a fairly integral part from my steampunk costumes. I had the corseted bra tops (I know opinions are super mixed on this, but it’s MY steampunk, and I like bra tops!) and the floofy skirts, and the pseudo-corset top and the boots and the fingerless gloves and the parasol and the pocketwatch necklace and the goggles. (Again, I know opinions are super mixed. I like goggles. Somewhere, a steampunk purist is getting a cold chill.)
But no vests!