Thursday, September 18, 2014

Thrifty Thursday

I willingly admit to stealing this Thursday post title from numerous sources. Everybody and their dog has a Thrifty Thursday post...and now so do I. Deal with it. Dammit.

The trouble is, I haven't been thrifting lately. But, remember my pretty orange dress from the antique mall? Well, that wasn't my only score!

I am a bit of a fabric nut. I have a small, dragon-esque hoard of the stuff. And I'm a bit snobby about it too. I won't just buy any fabric. No, no. It has to be vintage fabric. I am not picky beyond that. 

So I happened to find a few other delightful bits of stuff to take home, all for a truly excellent deal.

Take, for instance, these souvenir dish towels. Have you ever seen these?! I'm positively mad for them! They are amazing! I got these two beauts for only $4 apiece:

Look at those DOORS!!! Isn't that amazing?! I have dozens of these things. Sometimes I make things out of them, but only if the dish towel tells me what to make. 

I'll admit that perhaps this next thing was a bit of an impulse buy. Looking at them now, I don't really see the appeal the way I did in the store. Then I remember that this whole stash of feminine purple fabric was only $1.25. 

It's probably half a yard or so in total, all cut up into squares of various sizes. One day this stuff will tell me what it wants to be...or someone will tell me they want it and I'll give it to them. :)

Finally, I nabbed this kind of kickass scarf for only $5:

It's vintage and in beautiful condition. And look at this pattern!

It's kind of unusual and I love the colors. I can't wait until it's not 95+ degrees outside so I can wear it!

It's almost Friday can make it!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

WIP Wednesday: A Sweater Hat and an Upcoming Project

So on Wednesdays I will endeavor to keep you up to date on anything I am working on during the week. Part of this is to keep me accountable; I have a tendency to abandon projects that I can't finish in a day. The other part is because I know how much all of you care about my ongoing handmade hell-ness! Right?



Right. :D

Soooo, here is my WIP update for this week. 

I recently discovered sweater hats. Basically you cut a hat shape out of a sweater, sew it in the appropriate places, and whammo, a hat!

I had this sweater, which was a gift from a coworker years ago. Now, let me just say that I love teal. It's one of my favorite colors ever. And yet...this was just SO MUCH of it. It was so loud. And the acrylic material trapped heat like a son of a bitch. Which for some particularly wintry winters is appropriate, but for South Texas? I could basically only wear this sweater comfortably a few days a year, and even then if I entered a heated building it was a matter of minutes before I would break out in an uncomfortable and embarrassing sweat. TMI?!?!

So here's the sweater (I had already cut the hat before I thought to take a before pic):

Pretty cute right? I was disappointed it didn't work out between me and the sweater in the end. 

So I cut the hat piece out. Then I removed the sleeves:

I also removed the cute matching buttons that existed for absolutely no reason on each shoulder:

The sleeves pretty immediately got turned into little fingerless wristlets:

And I added some cute elastic trim I had for interest:

And here was my almost-finished product!

I was happier than I was when the blue stuff was still a sweater, but it still wasn't singing to me. That is, until my daughter got a look at them. 

She immediately requested a set for herself. It struck me: I was never making a hat and gloves for myself...I was making them for her all along! This is her favorite shade of her favorite color, and she is a summer (while I'm decidedly a fall). So I've decided to rework them, resize them, and re-embellish them for my 10-year-old. Yay!

I think I'll be incorporating this fabulous vintage fabric into my final design:

Is that crazy? That could be crazy. I won't know until I see it. 

Also, be on the lookout for a future handmade item crafted from this...uh, thing:

First of all, I want to assure you that I was not on drugs when I bought this for a mere $4.50 at my local Goodwill a few months ago. I wasn't drunk or sleepwalking either. I just thought the colors were pretty. And they are! And if I were, you know...older...and a church-goer...this would be a great find as-is!

But for my purposes, it's not quite right. At all. Luckily I have some ideas, and at least one of them involves losing the Easter green lining:

I plan to work on it this weekend and have something to show you by Monday. 

Happy hump day everybody! Hope your week is going splendidly!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Dream Cocktail Party

Some of you may have seen this article floating around recently. You don't HAVE to click that link, but if you do, you will not be disappointed.

Huffington Post publishes 9 reasons to bring back the old-fashioned cocktail party. By reason #3 on this list, I was sold.



Of course, you can't just have any old cocktail party. You have to have THE cocktail party. The one you never realized you'd always been dreaming of. I couldn't help but daydream a little myself, and as my mind wandered, the whole thing came together...

I have always been madly in love with the "atomic age": that bright-eyed, optimistic view of the future that those who lived in already-optimistic times (the 1950s) believed in so heartily. I wasn't there, so I can't actually speak to how much people believed that the future would be all glitter fabric and pointy shoulders. But I adore the imagery.

So I bring to you today, straight from my very own head, the SPACE AGE COCKTAIL PARTY!


As hostess, I would of course need to absolutely stun in a smashing vintage cocktail dress. It didn't take long before Etsy showed me exactly what I need:

Hummunah-hummunah! Those shoulders! That green! Those skirt flap things! The length is modest but the neckline is surprisingly sexy. Yes, this is absolutely what I would wear.

And since I need to be able to retain both comfort AND style all through the long night, I would pair it with these simple-yet-sparkly low heels:

And because I always need a little whimsy in my special outfits, this headpiece (also from Etsy) should fit the bill nicely, and hammer home the theme of the evening's soiree:


So important to get the right feel going in one's home when one is hosting a cocktail party (I don't know how I should feel about sounding like Brini Maxwell here). Therefore, the following items would be absolutely necessary:

A large piece of sci-fi artwork as a backdrop to the bar.

Atomic wall decals:

Some fabulous mod vases and bowls for snacks and flowers:

And of course an assortment of retro ashtrays placed strategically throughout the house:


What cocktail party would be complete without some kick-ass glassware for guests to sip from?

Like these retro highball glasses:

Or perhaps these:

Oooh, or these!

These atomic-inspired lowball glasses:

And of course, a set of simple but direct martini glasses:

The Most Important Part: The Drinks!

What would a themed cocktail party be without some themed cocktails? A quick Google search gave me the following delightful contenders (many of which were taken from The Drunken Moogle, a FABULOUS video-game themed cocktail recipe site!). Click the links below the pics for the recipes:

Serrice Ice Brandy (A Mass Effect Drink):

Possession (A Bioshock Infinite Drink):


And basically everything from this graphic below (from the ever-informative

Daydreaming about my perfect cocktail party occupied the better part of an afternoon which would otherwise have been spent lounging on the couch in misery (thanks, seasonal allergies...thanks so much). 

In any case, I am definitely in agreement with HuffPo on this one: there are a lot of perfectly good reasons to bring back the cocktail party. I reiterate: LET'S. DO. THIS.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

New dress and new pants!

Hope everyone has had a great weekend!

My folks were in town this weekend and we had a great time. And a productive time! Daughter-person picked up her viola, which was very exciting, and a little terrifying, and a little ear-grating (for now anyway):

Also, since my parents own an antique mall, we went to a little crafts and collectibles place here in town. I love, love, love looking at vintage clothes, but I almost never look too closely because I almost never find vintage clothes that are remotely my size. But!! A particularly groovy little number caught my eye and as I peered closer, the tag somehow, amazingly, read my size. And the price?

Oh my friends. 

The price was $9.99. 

So I bought that bitch. And to my incredibly happy surprise:

It fit like a glove!! Now I have a fabulous new vintage dress that can be worn to work, out on a date, or really anywhere. I'm shocked! I don't have to do a thing to it! Thrilled. To. Death. 

But this blog isn't about new (to me) clothes that fit perfectly already. This blog is about handmade hell spawn! And here is my Thing I Made for the day.

Say hello to my $1 black trousers:

Purchased years ago at Goodwill because they were comfortable and fit my waist pretty well. 

But ugh...

Those legs! Hips are too wide, the hourglass shape is too dated, and overall they are embarrassingly short. They just look awful on me. 

Earlier today I was browsing the Old Navy website and came across these beauts:

I've always been a little nervous about skinny pants because, well, they're so skinny. But skinny pants are EVERYWHERE. I can't ignore them anymore. So I might as well give them a try. But I'll be damned if I'm gonna spend $35 on a pair of pants I'm not even sure I'm gonna like. So, using a combination of tutorials I found on the wonderful wide interwebs, I decided to make my own out of Captain Tacky-Pants up there...

And here they are!

I'm pretty thrilled with them actually. They feel great, like I could just as easily wear them around the house as I could wear them to work. They will be wildly useful come fall, which if this weekend's bizarre cold snap is any indication (it got down to the low 60s today!), we are going to have a good and long autumn this year. 

Anyway, enough about the weather. These pants might look fine, but they were well and truly a pain in the ass. So, if you want to give it a try yourself, here are my top tips for tapering your own pants:

1) If the pants have a megaflare like mine did, you'll need to pin them on both sides while you're sizing them. Otherwise your seams will be way uneven. 

2) It probably won't be exactly right the first time. But if you must err, err on the side of too big rather than too small. If you sew them too small (like I did a couple times), you'll need to pick out the bad seam, which can take a lot of time. 

3) Give yourself a couple hours. There will be a lot of trying on and repinning and I got really sick of it. It was through dogged determination alone that I actually finished this project. 

4) Get a pal to help you pin the new seams. Pinning them myself was hard, painful, and probably led to all of my wrong seams. 

I kinda can't wait to incorporate these new skinny pants into my wardrobe! I'm rather proud of the Thing I've Made. 

The week is beginning! Hang in there everyone...

Friday, September 5, 2014

I finally did a sweater recon!!

As you know from previous posts, I have a thing for sweaters and the stuff people make from sweaters. It's a bit of an obsession really. And yet I had not ever done a single thing with a sweater before! Probably because I've never had a sweater I didn't love as-is.


Boyfriend gave me his green and grey argyle sweater, claiming it fit him just fine but he "hated" it. I wasn't so sure about that because I thought he looked awesome in it, but I didn't wait too long to start making plans. 

Originally it was going to be a hat. But then it hit me: I. Need. A. Sweater. Vest. 


I got to work on it yesterday:

Big old thing. 

Too big for me, even to wear in a cute, "I'm wearing my boyfriend's sweater" way. 

So I chopped off the sleeves. Even then, there was a ton of extra fabric hanging everywhere, especially the shoulders:

I wanted to keep the bottom ribbing for ease. So the only way to do this was to adjust it from the top. 

I found the ideal height for the shoulder pieces, pinned it, and sewed it. Then I took it in about two inches (each side!). I trimmed back the armholes so they were a decent width for my frame. I cut a deep V in the front and trimmed up all the excess fabric. 

AMAZINGLY, the plain ribbed collar piece I had cut away from the original sweater fit my new neckline perfectly...but only in the front. The back of the neckline would have to be hemmed, as would the armholes. 

I was not a little terrified at this prospect. This was a thin, well-worn, super stretchy fabric. All you had to do was give it the stinkeye and it would stretch out of shape. Bastard sweater wasn't going to win!

I took it slow and steady. That alone is an accomplishment for me. 


The sewing machine hiccuped a few times, I'll admit. There was a minute there when the all-too-familiar hot tears of failure prickled against the backs of my eyes, as the machine coughed and snagged and bird nested. 

But I fixed it and all turned out well. :)