Skirt as Art series with Skirt Fixation: Norman Rockwell

Welcome, Skirt Fixation readers! Today I am participating in the fabulous Skirt as Art series (which is one of my very favorites). The artist I chose is one my family has loved for many years: Norman Rockwell. A few years ago I made a dress inspired by another Norman Rockwell painting (here) called “Girl at Mirror“, which, funnily enough, is the same girl in the painting I chose today (although it is a different daughter of mine modeling).

Skirt as Art: Norman Rockwell

This one is called “Triumph in Defeat” and was originally for the Saturday Evening Post. I adore it,  BUT let me tell you, it was dang near impossible to find a location to photograph it in. I decided to zoom in on the little girl in the photo, to simplify things, so that all I would need to do is find a suitable bench, and wall. I ended up shooting in two different locations, and then chose the one I liked best (which was from a local school). To make things interesting, my daughter and I made up a story about the girl in the photo, and we documented that, first.

Skirt as Art: Norman Rockwell

This is the “before” scene.

Little Mary Whalen (her actual name) was headed to school, neat and clean like her Mom liked her to be, but she rarely enjoyed. Just as she was approaching the school,  another little girl who was a known bully, knocked Mary’s books out of her hands. A great fight ensued and even though Mary got punched in the eye, and called to the Principal’s office, the other girl was taught a lesson, and would not bother her again.

Skirt as Art: Norman Rockwell

Outfit details: I sewed up a Bookworm button up by Blank Slate Patterns (affiliate link) like I have sewn before (here and here). The only change I made was to shorten the sleeves (so they could be rolled up for the photo).

Skirt as Art: Norman Rockwell

The skirt is the Betty Skirt by the Shaffer Sisters which was perfect for this pleated uniform skirt.

Skirt as Art: Norman Rockwell

Clearly, this is the “after”.

The story goes that Rockwell was having trouble painting the black eye, so he put out a call and offered $5.00 to a person with a black eye willing to sit for him. A little boy, named Tommy, from Massachusetts happened to get two black eyes while playing, and his Father drove him all the way to Vermont to sit for Rockwell. For my model, I had face paint, and photoshop.

Skirt as Art: Norman Rockwell

I have to say, getting the expression of this girl was the other challenging part of this project. Take a second to try it. Let me know how you do. It is super tricky to get right! I was trying to demonstrate it for my girl, and really could not do it. We took a whole bunch of photos, and this was the best I got. I wonder how much liberty Mr. Rockwell took with the eye and expression and how much was the ability of the model.

This was so much fun to reenact. You know I love a good challenge. The sewing part was easy, surprisingly. Thank you for joining me.

If you were to recreate a painting, which one would it be?

Now hop over to Skirt Fixation to see which painting Audrey chose to recreate!

Skirting the Issue Inspiration

Welcome if you are coming here from Simple Simon, today, and Welcome back to everyone else!

For the past few years I have participated in Skirting the Issue, and it has made my heart so happy, every single time (like here, here, and here). I do love skirts in their simplicity, and they are one of those cathartic projects that I like to distract myself with, when I should be doing other things. Ha!

Today I thought I would give you a little skirt inspiration (or skinpiration– no that’s just weird).

skirtingCollage

Top Row: Left : Middle : Right

Second Row: Left : Middle : Right

Bottom Row: Left : Middle : Right

To see each post, click on the links above.

 Right now, I am working on the skirts I am donating this year. I always love the thought of some little girl somewhere knowing someone out there cares.

And we do!

If you would like to join in, check out the post over at Simple Simon.

Sewing Rope Baskets

Remember the change purses I made for teacher gifts? I never had the chance to show you the rope baskets I made for the end of the year teacher gifts. Now that things have quieted down, I can finally do that.

Sewing Rope Bowls

Sewing Rope Baskets

Sewing Rope Bowls

Sewing Rope Bowls

Sewing Rope Bowls

Sewing Rope Bowls

I absolutely adore making these. It is incredibly cathartic. You can see more of these here, here, and here. They make great gifts and you can create any size you want. I think my favorite kind, though, are made with found or recycled rope. Especially if they are stained. It adds such a cool look. So for this batch, I purposely spray painted them with watered down acrylic paint (like I used in my spray paint tutorial). For some of the baskets, I even used blue thread. Ultimately, I think I prefer the white thread, though.

I think for the next batch, I would like to try to make really large ones. Doesn’t that sound like fun?!

What is your most fun sewing project?

Recovered Case

Recovered Case using the old case as a pattern

Recovered Case

Recovered Case using the old case as a pattern

Recovered Case using the old case as a pattern

Recovered Case using the old case as a pattern

Recovered Case using the old case as a pattern

Recovered Case using the old case as a pattern

Recovered Case using the old case as a pattern

I wish I took a photo of the original cover. It was pretty thrashed. Lots of tears, and the fabric was brittle. Honestly, I wasn’t sure I could do this. You’ll have to use your imagination.  A friend of mine runs a non-profit music program for kids, regardless of income. It is pretty wonderful. She has a few of these cases that are extremely worn, and she gave me one to play with. I wanted to see if I could recover it, and you know what? I can!

It is far from perfect, being the first one I ever did, but it totally works, and it looks a heck of a lot better than it did. I completely seam ripped (carefully) the old cover off, and removed all the hardware, and then used the old case as a pattern, adding a half inch seam allowance all around. The best part is, I managed to save the zipper and the straps, and reuse them. It is difficult to find a 52″ zipper, so I am thrilled to be able to use the old one.

One case saved from the landfill! I can’t wait to do more.

More Zippered Change Purses

zippered changed purses made with a FREE pattern

Zippered Change Purses

Remember the change purse I made for our friend’s graduation? Well, I thought they would make great teacher gifts, too, so I quickly whipped more of these up to give away, yesterday!

zippered changed purses made with a FREE pattern

I adore this fabric. It is all colorful and happy. We all need more happy, don’t you think?

zippered changed purses made with a FREE pattern

I am also thrilled that I had enough of this pigeon fabric to make another wallet. That bird makes me giggle.

zippered changed purses made with a FREE pattern

If you are looking for Noodlehead’s FREE pattern, click here.

 I cannot believe this school year is over. I think we are all more than ready for Summer.

What have YOU made for teacher gifts this year?

 

Graduation gift idea

I was hemming and hawing trying to come up with a graduation gift idea, when it hit me:

"Give them what they want" graduation gift: AKA Cash

Graduation Gift Idea? Um, Cash. Duh.

I didn’t just want to hand our dear friend money, though. We have known this young lady since she was teeny tiny. She is like family to us. It felt unceremonial to just hand her a bill. So I made her a small change purse using Noodlehead’s FREE pattern. It was quick and easy, and used up some scraps (which I love).

"Give them what they want" graduation gift: AKA Cash

I have made tons of zippered coin purses before, but I love Anna’s version because it adds a little more fancy to it with that handy pocket and pretty closure. BTW, no one asked me to review this pattern, I just was looking for a quick and easy (yet fancy) pattern.

"Give them what they want" graduation gift: AKA Cash

I only had a few small pieces of this Pigeon Fabric, which I adore, and used here for a bowtie and here for some boxers.

"Give them what they want" graduation gift: AKA Cash

The front pocket is large enough for a business card, and the whole thing can attach to some keys.

"Give them what they want" graduation gift: AKA Cash

Very practical for someone who is college-bound!

"Give them what they want" graduation gift: AKA Cash

These would make an excellent end- of-the-school-year gift as well! I think I will have to make a few for teachers this week.

What do YOU give graduating seniors?

30 Days of Sundresses: Fabric Splatter Paint Tutorial

Sundress2016Logo-Smaller

I am so thrilled to be a part of 30 Days of Sundresses this year! This series has been going on since 2012 and it has always included such talented sewists. Tons of free patterns and tutorials, just for you! I am honored to share my fabric splatter paint tutorial with you today.

  30 days of Sundresses Tour: Fabric Splatter Paint Tutorial

First, gather up your supplies:

30 days of Sundresses Tour: Fabric Splatter Paint Tutorial

acrylic paints (however many colors you would like to use)

empty spray bottles

white sheet/ or fabric

water

30 days of Sundresses Tour: Fabric Splatter Paint Tutorial

To prepare the paint, you squirt some of the acrylic paint into the spray bottle. I did about a tablespoon. Then add about a cup of water to that. Shake to mix.Test it on scrap fabric. The more you dilute it, the better.

30 days of Sundresses Tour: Fabric Splatter Paint Tutorial

Hang your sheet up somewhere you don’t mind getting painty. Add one child/person who would love to get messy (wearing clothes you don’t care about getting messy). Spray!

30 days of Sundresses Tour: Fabric Splatter Paint Tutorial

My daughter went a little heavy in parts, which made the fabric stiff. If you can, limit how much spraying goes on. Letting the white shine through is a good thing. I also had her do a second piece, and I watered down the paint even more, which helps too (not shown).

30 days of Sundresses Tour: Fabric Splatter Paint Tutorial

Plan on getting covered in paint (which, according to her, is the best part!).

30 days of Sundresses Tour: Fabric Splatter Paint Tutorial

After it completely dries, throw the whole sheet in the dryer for a few minutes to heat set your paint. If you need to soften it up a bit, you can then machine wash it with a 1/2 cup of baking soda. Then dry again.

30 days of Sundresses Tour: Fabric Splatter Paint Tutorial

Sew up one of your favorite sundress patterns using your new fabric! For the bottom of this dress, I used the very watered down painted sheet. I like how it looks like the top is running.

  30 days of Sundresses Tour: Fabric Splatter Paint Tutorial

Now your girl can sport fabric designs she actually made!

30 days of Sundresses Tour: Fabric Splatter Paint Tutorial

Thank you for stopping by! If you decide to give this a try, please show me what you make!

30 days of Sundresses Tour: Fabric Splatter Paint Tutorial

If you haven’t been, yet, head over to Melly Sews to check out some of the other tutorials.

Melanie Knit dress review

Melanie Knit Dress pattern review by Falafel and the Bee

The Melanie Knit Dress by Modkid

When Courtney asked me to sew up one of the awesome Modkid patterns, I didn’t hesitate to choose this fun knit dress. It is a PDF pattern that covers sizes 2T- 10. I sewed up a 7 for my girl, and it fits perfectly as a tunic.

Melanie Knit Dress pattern review by Falafel and the Bee

My very active girl absolutely requires clothing that she can move in, and being a tween, she prefers them to also be stylish. This pattern fits both those bills nicely.

Melanie Knit Dress pattern review by Falafel and the Bee

The only changes I made to this fun and simple pattern, was I added another small pocket on one side, and a strap with two loops on the other. Falafel loves pockets, so I thought it would be fun to add few more. You know… so I can pick more rocks out of the washing machine.

Melanie Knit Dress pattern review by Falafel and the Bee

I also added bias tape to the neckline instead of hemming. The great thing about this pattern is getting to choose how to finish the seams. It is very flexible that way.

Melanie Knit Dress pattern review by Falafel and the Bee

Let’s talk about that fabric! Those are Patty Young exclusive knits for Riley Blake Designs and they are like buttah! When I work with knits, I like using quality fabric. It makes all the difference. And these here are quality, baby! I also know that my child will not wear through these so easily, and I love that.

Melanie Knit Dress pattern review by Falafel and the Bee

Not like she doesn’t try, though.

Melanie Knit Dress pattern review by Falafel and the Bee

Like all Modid patterns, my most favorite part is being able to print and assemble each pattern piece as a freestanding piece, instead of taping all of the them together into a massive sheet. It is the little things, really. They all fit on my kitchen island counter, where I cut out all my patterns. Makes things so much more pleasant.

Melanie Knit Dress pattern review by Falafel and the Bee

It only took me one day to sew up (and would have been even quicker if I didn’t sew, and then do a faux overlock stitch on every seam). It honestly took longer to take the photos.

Melanie Knit Dress pattern review by Falafel and the Bee

Hmmmmm. I wonder why?

Melanie Knit Dress pattern review by Falafel and the Bee

So to sum up, this is a fun, easy, stylish, comfy pattern, that I will be sewing more of.

Melanie Knit Dress pattern review by Falafel and the Bee

Do you like sewing with knits?

******

PS- Although I was provided with the pattern and the fabric, as always, all opinions are mine, mine, mine!

 

Signature Style: Project Run and Play Challenge

Well, it is the last challenge of Project Run and Play’s Season 11 and the theme is Signature Style.

I swear I think my signature style should be “where the heck did the time go, let me rush about last minute and fit it all in“. I actually came up with this idea a while ago, but the execution took longer than I remembered it would, so when I began Wednesday evening, I was stuck at “watching the glue dry” stage until Thursday afternoon. And then it was a rush against the sun setting so that I could actually photograph it and edit the photos before today.

I normally would have just let myself off the hook, especially after the week we’ve had (more about that in this week’s newsletter), but I really wanted to make this dress. So there’s that.

Signature Style for Project Run and Play. Glue Batik and sewing scraps with water soluble fabric.

Falafel and the Bee’s Signature Style

I began by asking myself, what is my signature style? The answer came in parts. The first being it had to be upcycled. I have been using tons of sheets lately,  I decided that would be a good place to start. If you know me, you know that I also love to paint on fabric. A lot.

Signature Style for Project Run and Play. Glue Batik and sewing scraps with water soluble fabric.

For this project, I did the batik method I used used years ago, (part one, part two, part three). I used Elmer’s blue school gel glue(*affiliate link*) on the white sheet to draw out a few feathers. Then I waited for it to dry. And I waited. And I waited. Finally on Thursday when it STILL wasn’t dry, I put it out into the sunshine which miraculously came out in a rare appearance. That did the trick.

Signature Style for Project Run and Play. Glue Batik and sewing scraps with water soluble fabric.

After it was finally dry, I watered down some acrylic paint, and painted over it. After THAT was dry, I rinsed the glue out. Then dried it again. I added some fine black lines with a sharpie, and then I could eventually cut out the pattern.

Signature Style for Project Run and Play. Glue Batik and sewing scraps with water soluble fabric.

For the pattern, I wanted a simple design so that I could show off some of the details of the fabric manipulation I did. I choose the Norah Dress by Mouse House Creations (*affiliate link*). Beautiful clean lined dress is just my style.

Signature Style for Project Run and Play. Glue Batik and sewing scraps with water soluble fabric.

For the collar, I tried a new (to me) technique. I found it on Pinterest and I followed the link to Just Jude’s tutorial. This was the first time I ever used water soluble fabric, and I have to tell you, this stuff is magic (*also affiliate link*)!

Signature Style for Project Run and Play. Glue Batik and sewing scraps with water soluble fabric.

I have been working on some other recycled/upcycled projects, simultaneously. Consequently, my scraps consisted of very strange materials, like weed barrier and juice pouches. Definitley adds some visual interest, doesn’t it?

Signature Style for Project Run and Play. Glue Batik and sewing scraps with water soluble fabric.

Since the scraps I used contained a little red, I thought a red button on the back would tie it together nicely.

Signature Style for Project Run and Play. Glue Batik and sewing scraps with water soluble fabric.

I do wish I had taken better photos, but I suppose I should be thankful they were taken at all! We just made it before the sun set. And my girl was such a good sport, even with a broken finger.

Whew.

OK to recap: My signature style is upcycled, simple, clean lines, fabric manipulation, with painting, trying new techniques…and sqeaking in before the deadline.

If you were to sum up YOUR signature style, what would it be?

Sewing woven strip pillow

Remember how we painted our bedroom? Well, I had orinigally tossed a few throw pillows on it, after I wrapped them Japenese style, for a temporary fix until I found something else to do. A post caught my eye over at Sew Mama Sew (as they always seem to do over there). Tara wrote up a very lovely tutorial for a woven chevron pillow and I knew I wanted to give this sewing woven strip pillow a try!

Sewing woven strip pillow case

Sewing Woven Strip Pillow

I did make a few changes (you know me), of course. The first is, I used wider strips of fabric. The second is I didn’t sew on a border. I really like the woven look and I wanted to test it without. Next time, I may add one because I do think it adds visual interest.

Sewing woven strip pillow case

I made the back envelope style so I could take it off and wash it. I thought it would be fun to use the salvage edges since they won’t fray, and leave the name of the fabric visible. As you can see, these are from two of the Birch Fabric Collections that I was lucky enough to work with! I only had small pieces of these fabrics left from the projects I did with Fabricworm.

Sewing woven strip pillow case

Since I was working with canvas fabric, it took more of an effort to get the interfacing to adhere to it. I had a little trouble with parts of my weaving unraveling when I went to flip it over. I think using lighter cotton fabrics would solve that issue, though.

Sewing woven strip pillow case

This was not a fast project, by any means, but it was worth it.

Sewing woven strip pillow case

I do love how it looks in our room. I may even leave just the one pillow there, to showcase all my hard work, and those incredible fabrics.