Wednesday, March 28, 2012

New Skirts

I just added two new size small skirts to my website, click the images to go to the item pages:

Most of the handmade stuff on my website is made from scratch, but these skirts are made of certain recycled clothing items that I've had for a long time. I'm addicted to thrift stores and I have ended up with so much stuff over the years.

Anyways, the top part of the plaid skirt was originally a pair of plaid stretch pants. I bought them even though they were several sizes too large, thinking that I could turn them into leggings. I realized that the waistband fit perfectly around my low waist so I decided to turn them into a low cut skirt instead. I found a big plaid ruffle to sew to the bottom and I added some grommet tape trim.

If you have some basic sewing skills it's easy to find a use for just about any thrift store clothing item. This sewing project would work for any type of awesome printed pants that fit you around the waist but don't fit anywhere else. I still have the plaid legs leftover too, so I'll have to think of a way to use the rest of the pants.

For the second skirt I cut a long striped skirt in half to make a mini skirt. I used the bottom part of the skirt and added my own waistband and zipper trim. The hem on the skirt was already finished so that saved me some sewing time. I still have the top part of the skirt with the zipper closure which I can make into another skirt when I have time.

So once I figure out what to do with the extra plaid pant legs and the top part of the striped skirt, I will have made four garments out of two garments. Not bad! Now if only I could curb my thrift store addiction, I might end up with some extra closet space.

Just kidding, Thrift Town is having a 30% off sale on Friday. Here I go again...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

New Ways to Sew Gathered Skirts and Tutus

I know that there's probably a million tutorials for tutu skirts already on the internet, but this one contains a few shortcuts so hopefully I'm not just repeating what everybody else has said.

I made this skirt last week:


It's a pretty crazy skirt but it would be easy to tweak it or tone it down. If it was made longer, or with fabric that wasn't so stiff, it might pass off as a somewhat normal goth/alternative style skirt.
I started out with the petticoat portion of an old wedding dress:


This was the main shortcut. I cut the bottom layer of ruffles off the petticoat to use for the tutu. Thrift stores usually have a lot of different pleated or ruffled dresses and skirts. If you like the fabric of a thrift store skirt but not the general fit or style, it is super easy to just cut off the ruffled part and add a waistband of your own.

I didn't want the white tulle to have a raw edge, so I grabbed a big spool of ribbon and sewed the ribbon to the bottom edge of the fabric. I didn't use pins or even measure out the length of ribbon I needed. I just unrolled the ribbon spool as I was sewing. This is the same technique that I used to make bridal veils while I was working at a custom bridal gown shop last year. This works for any type of fabric that will not fray if left with a raw edge on one side. I also stretched the tulle slightly while I was sewing it to the ribbon so that there would be even more volume at the bottom of the skirt.


The gathered tulle from the wedding dress wasn't ruffled enough for me, so I decided to gather the fabric up even more. Instead of using the typical home-sewing gathering technique, I used another technique from the bridal gown shop. I folded small pleats into the fabric as I was sewing it. This is an easy and fun way to make fabric ruffles if you don't need the pleats to be perfectly even.


Here's the end result of all the pleating:


After sewing the tutu part of the skirt, I started laying out different fabrics that I could use for the waistband. I opted for some magenta plaid spandex plus some grommet tape trim. Since the spandex fabric was so stretchy, I made the waistband 4 inches smaller than I would have if it wasn't a stretch fabric. This way the fabric can stretch around the body and the skirt won't just slip off.


This skirt is a size small. The final waistband dimension was 28" around (to fit a low waist measurement of 32"). The tutu part of the skirt was about 37" around, so that it could stretch enough to fit over a 36" hip. I stretched the waistband fabric while sewing it on to the tutu fabric. I pinned it in even sections so that each part of the skirt has an even amount of gathers. After this, I added the trim and the lace-up part. The skirt doesn't need a closure because of the wide hip measurement and the stretch waistband.

You could use these same techniques for a much longer skirt. If you don't want such a poofy skirt style, you can use fabric that is not as stiff. A simple thin cotton fabric could take a large amount of gathering without creating too much bulk at the hips.

New Bustiers and Skirts, Plus New Sale Items

I was originally planning on adding more than three new items this week, but I had to cancel an outdoor photo shoot because of the crappy weather.

I still managed to get pictures of three new items though.

The first two are bustiers that I bought a while ago at a vintage clothing shop. They have been sitting in my sewing room for several years. I used to buy so much clothing at random and I'm still trying to figure out what to do with all of it! I added studs to these bustiers and photographed them in my basement. They each fit a B cup and are $25. Wear them as lingerie or get creative and incorporate them into a regular outfit.

The third new item is the plaid tutu skirt, available in sizes xsmall to large, $45. These are pretty crazy skirts and would be great for a costume party or for any reason you have to wear a totally ridiculous outfit. If you like to sew and you want to make your own tutu skirt, you can read how I made it on this blog post.

Other updates: I put four pairs of tights and leggings into the sale section. Originally $4.50 to $9.50, they are now $3 to $6. I'd like to sell these off to make room for some new pairs of tights. As a punk rock girl, I can never have too many pairs of tights!

Click on the pictures to go to the item pages.

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