Recycled Jeans turned Denim Jacket

My friend Audrey over at Skirt Fixation made an incredible denim quilt that she posted the other day, out of upcycled jeans. When I read she made it for a refashioners challenge (which is right up my alley), I knew I couldn’t resist making something to enter myself (although that quilt is pretty hard to top)! The contest is over on Makery.uk.  After taking all of the jeans out of my upcycle pile (doesn’t everyone have one of those?!), I decided to make a Denim Jacket for my Falafel girl.

Upcycled Jeans turned into a Denim Jacket

I have always wanted to make one of these! Of course, when I started looking, I could not find a pattern to use. So, my next thought was “what pattern do I own, that is close enough so I can adapt it into a jean jacket?”.

Upcycled Jeans turned into a Denim Jacket

I fell back on one of my favorite patterns, the Bookworm Button Up (affiliate link). You can see other Bookworm Button Ups I have made here and here and here.

Upcycled Jeans turned into a Denim Jacket

I used it as a base, and then made some obvious changes. I shortened it, and extended each of the front pieces instead of adding plackets, and I broke the back up into sections (and took out the pleat).

Upcycled Jeans turned into a Denim Jacket

The most fun I had was in embellishing it! For the back, I used the same method I used here with water soluble fabric (affiliate link). I think it adds a little whimsy, at the same time it uses up a bunch of scraps.

  Upcycled Jeans turned into a Denim Jacket

A friend had made me those wool felt feathers, a few years ago, and I have been holding on to them to use on the right project. I think they are perfect for this!

Upcycled Jeans turned into a Denim Jacket

For the hem, I unpicked a wasitband on one of the old jeans I had, and used it, as is (just upside down).

Upcycled Jeans turned into a Denim Jacket

I left the distressed spots that were part of the jeans. For some pieces, I actually turned them inside out for some color variation.

Upcycled Jeans turned into a Denim Jacket

I had so much fun with this one, and the best part is, it used up some jeans (and scraps) that were taking up space!

Upcycled Jeans turned into Jean jacket

AND my girl now has a snazzy new jean jacket to go with her sassy new haircut!

jeanjacket7m

What have YOU upcycled today?

Sewing for my Teen: Bringing home Marbella

A month ago, I shared this Marbella dress I made for The Bee over at Melly Sews as a Blank Slate Patterns Team member. Today I get to bring it home! I absolutely adore sewing for my teen.

Marbella pattern by Blank Slate Patterns sewn by Falafel and the Bee

Oh my goodness we had fun with this one. When she put it on, she and I agreed that we needed to do a 1940’s-esque photo session. We got some great looks from passerbys in the ferry terminal and in the center of town, for sure.

Marbella pattern by Blank Slate Patterns sewn by Falafel and the Bee

Believe it or not, this pattern is a fairly quick sew! The Marbella uses knit fabric, and has a collar and front placket. Instead of buttons, I used snaps, because I thought they looked cleaner. Well, that AND I really dislike sewing button holes and buttons. Ha!

Marbella pattern by Blank Slate Patterns sewn by Falafel and the Bee

 A really cool feature is the side seam pockets. I took this opportunity to use a fun light blue woven map fabric. It is just a little pop of color that peeks out when she bends.

Marbella pattern by Blank Slate Patterns sewn by Falafel and the Bee

I folded the hem up, on the sleeves, and topstitched on the right side of the fabric, so that it would have a cuffed appearance. I left the bottom of the dress unhemmed. This knit fabric will not fray, and I didn’t want any bulk down there.

Marbella pattern by Blank Slate Patterns sewn by Falafel and the Bee

My girl is all over the sizing chart. Literally. Her measurements spanned across size 4- 10. And not in top-to-bottom fashion, which would be easy to grade out. Over bust is a 10, Bust is a 4, Waist is an 8, and Hips are a 4! So I took her bust measurement which was a size 4, and even though her waist is an 8, there is enough ease to fit her there. All I did was decrease the seam allowance a bit, and it fit beautifully.

Marbella pattern by Blank Slate Patterns sewn by Falafel and the Bee

She has already asked me to sew up another Marbella for her (just in time for school to start), which is a sure sign this pattern is a big hit!

This officially is my last post as a Blank Slate Team member. A big Thank You to Melissa for choosing me to be on the team this past year. It was wonderful to sew up your fabulous patterns. I know I will continue to use them for many years to come!

Bollywood Inspired Pattern Hack

 This past week, I celebrated turning 44! Every year I have a themed birthday party to ring in another fabulous year, surrounded by good friends, all dressed up. I love it. Truly, it is the most fun way to age. To prepare, I ususally make myself something to wear (see 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2015). For this year’s theme, I was inspired by Bollywood. The colors, the music, the fashion. I turned to Pinterest for some design inspiration, since I knew I didn’t want to make a sari (although it was tempting! Knowing me, it would untuck in the middle of the party, and the whole thing would fall to the ground, and NO ONE wants to see that.). The party would be more of a nod to the genre, and culture. This particluar pin caught my eye. So began my Bollywood Inspired Pattern Hack.

Bollywood Inspired Pattern Hack

I turned to a pattern I have used before in the book Sew Many Dresses (affiliate link). The bodice has princess seams, and made a good base. First, I started by taping the front and side panels of my paper pattern together, and then cutting the center piece out. This was done by holding it up where it would roughly sit on my chest, and drawing a line around the place I wanted it. The center panel was created by freehanding a sweatheart neckline, and marking where it would be, once it was connected to the (now cut) front and side panels.

Bollywood Inspired Pattern Hack

I did muslin this first, and that was a  very good thing. There was a bit of tweaking to be done, because the fit wasn’t quite right, and I ended up with a gap near the armscyes. Of course, I turned to the fabulous ladies over at the Capsule Wardrobe Sewalong FB group for help. And they did! They are some good peeps (I don’t really think I can pull off using that word, but I have made it my goal to work it into my daily vernacular, much to my family’s embarassment). I ended up adding a dart on the side panels near the armscyes and it fixed the problem.

Bollywood Inspired Pattern Hack

That skirt was self-drafted. It was just as challenging as the bodice to figure out. I could not think of a way to get the side pieces to look good in the back, so I cut them into two seperate free-hanging panels, and let them cup my sides. I love the effect.

Bollywood Inspired Pattern Hack

The outer fabric is brocade from Cali Fabrics, and the gold is silk from the huge rummage sale I attend every year. It is a bit stained, but you can barely see it because of the way I placed the fabric. I hand stamped the pattern on my shawl, with acrylic paint (which you can’t really see from these photos).

Bollywood Inspired Pattern Hack

A realization hit me when I was about to tackle this project. About 75% of my creative process is in my head. I think about sewing something for weeks before I even touch a pattern. I go to sleep thinking about how to tackle any problems, and how I would alter existing patterns to fit my design. I think about it when doing household chores, while driving, and showering. Borderline obsession, really. Then one day, it has gestated enough to the point that it is time for labor, so to speak. I have no idea if this is unique to me, or if others work this way too, but find that if I have enough time to let it marinate (as my chef husband would say), the final result is closest to my vision.

Bollywood Birthday Party

photo credit for above photo: Dawn Weber

Bollywood Birthday Party

The party was a lot of fun, but seriously the strangest weather we have had so far.

Bollywood Birthday Party

It rained, then the sun came out, then it poured, then it stopped. All the guests were very good sports about the whole thing.

Bollywood Birthday Party

YUM.

Bollywood Birthday party

You may recognize this outfit from here.

Bollywood party

My husband wins the year with this outfit, in my book. He is wearing our daughter’s (the Bee’s) pants!

Bollywood party

Another notch in the old aging belt, done with style.

I would love to hear from you…what is YOUR creative process?

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!

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!

 

Mama’s got a corset: Sewing what you like because you like it

Mama's got a corset: Sewing what you like because you like it

I was making another wearable corset for my teen, and I have no idea what I did differently, but it came out way too big for her. Maybe it was due to this actually being fabric and the last one I made was made from juice pouches. Could be. As I stood there trying to problem solve, it dawned on me to try it on myself. Why shouldn’t I? Am I too old, too curvy, too much a Mom? Silly. All of it.  And you know what?! It fit. And I love it. I don’t often sew for myself, but when I do, I firmly believe in making something I would feel good in. So now, Mama’s got a corset. I will hang it up right alongside my tunics and flannel shirts.

Mama's got a corset: Sewing what you like because you like it

My husband actually took these photos, and we had a blast. That first black and white one he has dubbed my “Joan Jett look“. I don’t usually feel comfortable in front of the lens (see here and here). My arms usually fly all over the place, and I make weird faces. But I really tried to have fun with these (and let me tell you, in 40 degree temps, outside, not an easy task).

Mama's got a corset: Sewing what you like because you like it

Well, I kept my arms mostly down.

Pattern details in case you want to make one of these up for yourself. Cause you can! I used Butterick 5935 affiliate link view A. I used zip ties for the boning, and snaps instead of grommets for the straps.

Mama's got a corset: Sewing what you like because you like it

I made my own cord with the same fabric. It fits more like a bodice on me which works for how I want to wear it.

Mama's got a corset: Sewing what you like because you like it

I bought that incredible fabric as a treat for myself, and I am glad it ended up being something actually for me. So often I use fabric intended for me, for my girls. This one is called “Alchemy” by Hoffman California International fabrics. It says “Fringe” screen print. It feels so decadent.

Mama's got a corset: Sewing what you like because you like it

So I am encouraging you all to be brave and sew up something for yourself that you wouldn’t normally wear because of *insert fear/anxiety/doubt here*. You are beautiful. You should wear whatever makes your heart happy.

What have you sewn that was daring or out of the ordinary, for YOU, lately?