Friday, November 30, 2012

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Fall Wardrobe Revamp 2012: Fixing the sweater

Here is another edition of Fall Wardrobe Revamp 2012. Here is my very simple and quick refashion of turning a odd sized sweater into a more wearable kind. Here are the previous editions of the series:
 A couple of years ago I bought a sweater from Marshalls. It was a super soft and cozy sweater with a beautiful pastel green color and a cowl neck which was very comfortable in cold weather. However, this sweater had some serious issues. See for yourself in the picture below
Here is a lovely picture of mine in the sweater. Strangely the fit was ok in the body, but look at those arms. Somebody must have switched the sleeves from "Tall women" section to petite I think. Also its not visible in the picture, but those armholes could fit the waist of a slender woman.

First step was to cut off the sleeves.

Then I kept the shape same but cut off about an inch from both the sleeves.

I shortened the width of the sleeve by about an inch by sewing a seam parallel to the existing seam. I also sew a seam on the body of the sweater by sewing a slanted seam starting a the armhole. This reduced the size of armhole.
Then I sew the sleeve to the armhole.
Repeated this for the other sleeve as well.

 Tried it on! Oh my hands! I can actually see them in this sweater. Pretty cool..huh
And we can also see my 'not pregnant anymore' belly as well...not cool...but oh so there. ( so wish there was a refashion for hiding that)

I just thought that having some big flowers  at the front will help such luck but I do like the flowers. I made them with pink wool and lazy-daisy stitch.

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Monday, November 26, 2012

Fall Wardrobe Revamp 2012: Fixing the neckline mini tutorial

So how was your Black Friday shopping? Did you shopped till you drop? or you just stayed home to avoid the crowd and enjoy some quiet moments with your loved ones?
I'm back with a mini tutorial for Fall Wardrobe Revamp 2012. Here are the other tutorials of the series:

Last week I showed you how to fix a neckline that's too big using paints and trim. Today I will show you how to do the same using appliques and lace.

I don't have a lot of pictures for this fix, but its pretty intuitive and I will try my best to explain it with words.

First I sew a seam along the shoulder seam to reduce the neckline from that area.

Next I measured how much of the neckline I wanted covered and cut out a rectangular piece of navy blue lace and also navy blue satin to cover that area with a little extra.

Place the lace and satin right sides together, sew a seam along one side of rectangle ( the side which will stay at the top of the neckline) to join the two fabrics.

Place the satin fabric at inside the neck and adjust how much of the neckline you want to cover with the fabric. I highly recommend hand basting the fabric to the neckline. That will give a you a good idea of how it will look on the outside. And you could also make sure that you are maintaining the shape of the neckline. I didn't do it and I later realized that the neckline was a bit skewed.
Anyhow, sew a seam where you basted earlier. Cut out the excess fabric on the inside.

Turn out. Find some scraps of fabric in the matching colors. Fuse with Wonder-Under on the wrong sides. Now cut some applique shapes that will blend in with the print of the original garment. Place at the desired location on the neck and iron without steam. Since ironing on lace is not possible, cover the applique with a cotton fabric to fuse it.  Once the appliques are fused, set machine on smallest stitch length and slowest speed and sew along the edge of appliques.
 If you look closely the applique matches the print on the dress.

A smaller and prettier neckline.

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Friday, November 23, 2012

Winter Clothes and Accessories: Friday Feature

How about a little self-promotion this Friday?
Well, it just so happens that November is winter clothes and accessories month on Sew Pretty Sew Free. I didn't planned it this way, but I just realized that when I started Fall Wardrobe Revamp here at Blooms And Bugs.
This month we are featuring many scarves, hats, cardigans and shrugs. If you are planning to make any winter accessories or clothes at all, you should definitely check it out for ideas and pointers to tutorials.

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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Fall Wardrobe Revamp 2012 - Fixing the neckline

Happy Thanksgiving! Hope you make some good memories and have a great holiday with your loved ones. Living far far away from my extended family, I have learned to cherish those moments.
Here is the latest edition of Fall Wardrobe Revamp 2012. Here are the other tutorials of the series:

Plunging necklines have been biggest of my pet-peeves when it comes to ready-to-wear clothing. I don't understand why the retailers feel compelled to draw out necklines all the way to waist. Why not just make a strapless dress/top/tunic?
Anyway, that's how it is and short of just buying button downs and polos there's nothing we could do about it. Oh wait! there's actually something we CAN do. Fix that neckline, and its not that hard either.

pliunging neckline
Here's a tunic I recently found in the clearance section of Old Navy. It's a light airy cotton woven, with a beautiful print in turquoise and magenta. Had long sleeves ( something I prefer). The problem? Of course the neckline sits way too low.

find matching fabric to fix neckline
I looked in my scraps bin and found two knit fabrics that matched very closely with the tunic colors. Now I realize that not everyone hoards as much fabric as I do, but the trick here is to make it work with whatever you have. Probably you could find some yellow which is the accent color or black, or you had a tee in the same color which you wanted to retire. Just find some fabric that would look good with the garment and go from there.

sewing two fabrics right sides together

I used the hem of a tank top that I had re-purposed earlier. It had some stretchy lace on it which I thought was a good bonus. I cut a strip about 4 inches wide from magenta and 1 inch wide from turquoise. Then I sew them along their long sides ( right sides together).

This is how it looked after I ironed and top-stitched on the right side.

add-on fabric to fix a plunging neckline
Now place it between the front and back of the tunic such that the piece sits symmetrically at the neck and covers the 'V' to the point you would like. 
 Don't worry about the excess fabric hanging inside. We will take care of it later.

hand-bastic a fabric to fix plunging neckline
Now hand-baste the add-on fabric piece in place with running stitches.  If your add-on fabric has some stretch like mine, stretch it just a little while you baste it.
This will ensure that the neckline doesn't gape when you wear it.

I know most of you will cringe at the thought of hand-stitching but this step is important for a great fit and you can go as rough as you like. Just make sure the piece will stay in its place for half an hour max. That's all you need.

sewing the covering piece at the neckline

Now set your sewing machine on minimum speed and match the stitch length to whatever has been used in the original garment ( you don't need to be precise, just make a guess) now sew a seam over the original neckline seam ( preferably). You don't have to be very precise but it will be good to not have too many seams at the neckline, because its a highly visible part of the garment and too many seams may make it unappealing. If you go slow and steady, its not that hard to follow the original seam anyway.

excess fabric at the neckline of tunic

 Here's how the fabric looks on the inside. Now we can cut off the excess fabric.

hack off fthe excess fabric at the neck

 There! much better!

trying on the tunic to check teh neckline

Here is the tunic, modeled on me. No plunging neckline! yay!

painting the neckline

I could have left it as is at this point but since I had a couple more minutes in hand, I decided to take it up a notch further. The tunic had an interesting print on its hem and sleeve cuffs. I decided to see if I could recreate the look on my add on.

To do this I slipped a sturdy paper ( camera ad insert from Sunday newspaper) between the  front and back of my tunic. This would prevent any color bleed to the back of the tunic while I painted in the front.

fabric markers and fabric paints

 then I pulled out my fabric markers and Tulip Soft Fabric Paints. I drew the damask design on the neck fabric using fabric markers. Its actually quite easy but if you have never used them before, just try them on a scrap fabric first. I couldn't draw the whole motif on my fabric but I think it does have a fair resemblance to the original design. Then I filled the big flower in the middle with yellow fabric paint. Then I placed the whole thing on a flat surface to dry for about 2 hours.

And that's all! The tunic was ready, neck and all. I have already gotten many complements when I wore it to the office. I know its probably because of the colorful summery print and great fit, but I am just so happy that I didn't have to pass it because of the neckline.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Fall Wardrobe Revamp: Fingerless Gloves tutorial by Make It Handmade

Here is another edition of Fall Wardrobe Revamp. Today we have Palak from Make It Handmade showing us how to make a cozy winter accessory.
Here are the previous tutorials of the series:

Sweater to Fingerless Glove Tutorial from Make It Handmade

Palak from Make It Handmade made these stylish and super easy fingerless gloves while joining us for the Fall Wardrobe Revamp 2012. Don't they just spell COZY! How nice it would be to curl up with a favorite book and a cup of coffee while wearing these gloves. Ohh! just thinking about it brings a smile to my face.

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Friday, November 16, 2012

Working with brands - Guest post on problogger today!

Holy Guacamole! This is in dinosaur big...I mean huge!
I'm talking my heart out on problogger today. Some of you have asked about my experience of working with various brands in sewing industry. I have so far worked with Moda, Clothworks, Pellon , Ruffle Fabric, The Ribbon Retreat and many other vendors/manufacturers.  In my post I talk about how I approached brands and what I learned while working with them. I hope some of you would find it useful.

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DIY Jewelry: Friday Feature

tiny tassel bracelet diy

Most of these do not need sewing, but this is just the biggest DIY jewelry ( I should add cute jewelry) roundup that I ever found. I want to make all of them. Get the DIY jewelry tutorials compilation at Buzzfeed

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Fall Wardrobe Revamp: Floral Fleece Scarf Tutorial

Here is another edition of Fall Wardrobe revamp 2012.

My friend Ashi and I have been exchanging a lot of style notes lately ( read: I pin everything she pins on internet, I listen very carefully when she tells what is in fashion or how to pair things from wardrobe). Recently I participated in a Scarf making challenge hosted by Rikka of Ricochet and Away. I just made a simple fleece scarf and called it a day. However, I shared her inspiration board with Ashi.
She quickly emailed to say that she loved this scarf on the board. I told her that it doesn't look very difficult to make and that I had all the materials needed to make it. I also warned her that it could be tedious to make and I was just not in a mood for tedious at this time of the year, but she was all up for it. Now one thing you should know about her is that she doesn't have any experience in sewing, but she is very enthusiastic and adventurous which I think more than makes up for the lack of experience. So I showed her how to do it. And she finished the scarf in....drumroll...two days! And that's working full time and doing all the household stuff as well. How awesome is that?
Here is how she did it:

Half yard fleece fabric. I think a solid color works better for this style.
Snap - one set - optional
Approximate time: 1.5 hours
Approximate cost: $5
Complexity: Beginner


1. Cut a 10 inch wide piece of fleece in your desired length for scarf. I think this style looks better when its a little shorter than regular scarf.
2. Cut circles of different sizes, about 5 per flower. Don't measure or use any bowl etc to cut the circles, imperfect circles look more natural in this project. Just eyeball and cut. Cut out enough circles to cover the entire length.
3. Layer different sized circles one over the other. Again don't center them perfectly, try to layer them in an imperfectly so it looks more natural. Fold the smallest circle in quarter and sew a stitch at the center to make it look scrunched.

4. Place the scrunched circle over the other layers and sew a couple of stitches joining all the layers together at the center

5. Repeat 3 & 4 for each flower until you cover the complete length of the scarf.
6. cut around the flowers such that the scarf main fabric becomes the largest petal. Do not cut in between the flowers.
7. Try it on and see where you would like both sides of the scarf to cross. Sew a snap at that point so the scarf stays put.

Show it off!

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Applique applique!

Sometimes there's a flight of fancy....

when you can't help but fly along

Until you reach the valley of flowers...
Sometimes it just best to let go...or just float along.

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