Wednesday, November 25, 2009

My Dream Project Room

We currently live with my parents until my husband graduates school. I was using the guest bedroom for all my sewing stuff. It was a bedroom, so thread all over the floor, clogging the vacuum and always a mess. Lynette and I would always talk about how our dream sewing/ craft rooms would definitely be hard wood. Easy to just sweep the threads rather than have to scrape them off the carpet, and kill vaccuums sucking them up.

Bad luck happened to strike in the bathroom adjacent to the bedroom I had as a kid. It was another guest bedroom. Water from the bathroom soaked the carpet, ruining it. So the floor needed new carpet, but my mom found laminate flooring at a great deal, and so she decided she'd only pay half of the cost of replacing the carpet, and install laminate. It was a fun project, and took us one day.
Since everything was moving around, they wanted my sewing junk up there to free up the real guest bedroom. I was thrilled! It is my dream project room. Lots of storage, pretty good lighting, and the wood floors!! I am in heaven until April when the husband graduates and we'll move. But now I know how to install the laminate flooring, so if we ever purchase a home, maybe I could make myself another dream room later.

This new room holds all the things I use:

-tall cutting table I made over

-closet/ storage

-sewing table, one side sewing machine, other serger

-desk for shipping/ etsy stuff (this was my first desk I got when I was 8)

-shelves for projects in their different stages, and to hold of course, the TV where I put on movies while I sew all night

-Iron with bonus window sill for everything

There is the nice, deep shelf along one wall, and I knew I'd need to use if for fabric storage. Lynette and I have been trying to figure out the best way to store fabric, and we don't have a solution, but we'll see how this works. I used diaper boxes on end, and cut off the top portion. So the stacks are narrow and tall according to color. If I need some fabric, I pull down the box, then put it back up so I can see what I have, but easier to access. Hopefully it will be handy.

Another thing I LOVE is the cubbies in the closet. Lynette, my mom and I all combine our scraps. This is really great, especially when you do applique and just need small pieces. We have all these orange boxes with the scraps in certain colors. But the closet cubbies organize them so great! Yay for using all your scraps!


I've always wanted a way to store my ribbon on a dowel, it reminds me of a high end candy store or something, I don't know why.
It does make it a lot more organized and easy to access the ribbon, plus I always love the look of all the colors lined up. So I was excited to get one of my own when I had to move my sewing room. All I needed to buy was the dowel, for only $0.40, I had the rest of the stuff on hand.


-2 mug hooks

-5/16" dowel

-white pray paint


-thin cardboard

1. Spray paint the dowel white or paint it the color of your choice.

2. Twist white mug hooks in the bottom of the shelf, cupboard, etc.

3. Loop all your ribbon spools on your dowel.

4. To keep the ribbon spools in place, cut 2 small circles of thin cardboard, like the cardboard used to package toys, electronics, etc. Use a hole punch to make a hole in the center. Push the cardboard circle on the ends. The hole punch is a little smaller than the dowel, so the cardboard rings won't move, and hold the spools tight so the weight of the ribbon won't let them unravel on their own.

5. Hang the dowel from the hooks with ribbon

I had a huge bag of ribbon not on spools. I bought grab bags holding 30 yards of misc. ribbon for $2.00 and so to sort all of that plus my own odds and ends, I just put them in gallon bags according to color and clipped all the bags to a trouser hanger I found that was metal and had rubber lining the bottom. This ribbon stash hangs in the closet.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Cutting Table

I had to move all my sewing/ project stuff from the guest room, upstairs. I would need a cutting table, and lucked out finding this table on craigslist for....FREE! It was actually a sacrament table from a church. It is all wood, super sturdy, the only thing was it wreaked like smoke. Gross.
It was also only 30" tall, way too short to cut on.
But the top is the exact size of my Olfa mat!

So I brought it home and my Mom helped me saw up some wood to make stilts for the table, to raise it to 38" tall, much more comfortable to cut at. I cleaned it up and it still stunk, so I used some paint I had to give it a little make over and took care of the stench.


For being completely free, this was so awesome. It is a perfect height and size for the olfa mat. I am storing all my thread and patterns underneath, and the shelf was cut out, making a perfect slot for the trash (yellow bucket) and the scrap box (apple box).

I really love great finds and projects that transform junk into something useful, and cost me nothing!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Table Top Christmas Tree

For a unique table Christmas tree, I used willow branches and rocks from our yard. I spray painted the branches silver, and the small rocks red. The hour-glass shaped vase worked well. I had misc. glass ornaments that I also spray painted red, then I found silver balls at the dollar store. I had a little package of word ornaments I found on clearance I threw on there too.

Quick, simple, inexpensive, and unique from the usual evergreen christmas trees.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Swimming Suit 3 of 3

I wanted a black, classic, vintage-inspired one piece bathing suit.

A few different inspirations went into my design of this last swim suit. I love vintage bathing suits from the 40s and 50s. I remember seeing photos of my Grandma in her swimming suit as a teenager. I love the low leg lines which almost look like skirts. Back then before spandex and lycra were invented, the bathing suits zipped up and used boning to create the almost corset look. I mean look at all those waist lines!

And since my form is closer to the plumper women of the past rather than the super-thin 12-year-old-boy-look of today, I thought it would be more flattering...I hope.

The bathing suit has four main pieces, The back, the bodice, then the front has the lining, and the top skirt piece.

I found a great deal on the black lycra from and it was around $4.00/ yd. It's thick and really great. I didn't even have to line the back.

The front is rouched, or scrunched. So it had to be longer than the length of my torso, because it would be scrunched up. I made the front 2.5 times longer than my torso measurement.

I bought a cheap $7 bra to go inside the bodice. I hacked off the straps, and sewed 1" wide elastic, probably 10" or so for the straps. I cut off the hook on the back and added 4-5" of 1" elastic. To figure out the shape of the bodice, I put tissue paper on my chest, then put the bra on, then drew on the paper where I wanted the bodice to go. That works pretty great.

I thought initially I'd make this a tutorial of each step, but a little way into it I realized no one may even like this design and therefore not make it, so a waste of my time.

But I did want to show the construction of the suit, mainly how the two front layers connect with the back. Because you have the front skirt layer, then the lining swim suit layer, and both have to connect with the back.

The crotch of the lining was sewn to the crotch of the back.

Then elastic was zig-zagged along the leg lines, folded over, and top stitched.

But the elastic doesn't connect together around the legs. Both ends of elastic end up being sewn in the side seams. The lining front leg elastic goes up like regular swim bottoms into the side seam. But the elastic from the back went low around and under the booty and connected in the side seams at the bottom of the skirt rouched front layer.

So in the end, from the sides it looks like a mini-dress, but there is the lining swim suit underneath the rouched skirt.
This was the trickiest thing to figure out in the design and I was so excited it all worked out so well.

I couldn't decide whether to sew the straps straight back or criss-cross. My mom suggested bringing them together in the V shape, and I like it a lot.

I think this is my favorite bathing suit I've ever had! It was great for our recent trip to Hawaii!
Vote for Lynette's dress design #12!!!

My Sister is A Shabby Apple Finalist!

Vote for the dress design you like the most here. To vote, you just have to leave a comment on the blog post of which number dress you like the best.

The winning dress will be a part of Shabby Apple's spring line for 2010

Lynette is #12!!!

photo is Lynette and me as kids at our Grandma's

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Swimming Suit 2 of 3


I already posted all the making details here. But I really liked the takini top. The shorts probably do look more like biker shorts than a bathing suit, but I was comfortable and I didn't have to babysit my bum cheeks hanging out so I loved it. I also love having a bra in my swimming suits!
I was kind of worried about the bra soaking up a bunch of water or being weird, but it was just great as far as all of that goes.
I don't know if halters are very flattering on me. Looking at the photo, my shoulders look really a line-backer. Oh well.

Swim Cover Up

I got this stretch terrycloth for $1.00 at a fabric yard sale a couple weeks ago. I last minute used it to make a swim cover up. The terrycloth works well, whicking up moisture, but being stretchable to go over head and shoulders or hips.
I took the piece and it was a basic rectangle to go around my body, just like you would wear a towel. I cut the two outer edges in a gradual curve, so when they crossed, it would overlap and give walking room.
I serged the edges rather than sewing a hem. I made a casing at the top for 1" elastic to keep it up, then for the straps made 1.5" wide tubes to house the elastic. I ended up having the fabric tubes much longer than the elastic, but I decided I kind of liked the bunched up straps and left it bunchy.
Pretty easy and comfy!
photo taken at Secret Beach on the north shore of Kauai

Swimming Suit 1 of 3


This was the easiest to make, just a shirt. The shorts I already wrote about. I chose to use some blue/green lycra from my other takini top as contrast on the rashguard shirt. For the pattern, I just used a regular stretch knit tee that fits a little snug. I had to just create the sleeve to what I wanted, since I chose to make them the baseball seams.

I don't know that we really needed the protection of rashguards, we were only boogie boarding, but I do know I was glad to have it on to prevent sunburns.

I LOVED boogie boarding. I wish I knew how to surf, or lived close enough to waves to learn. I had such a blast boogie boarding, I can't imagine how fun real surfing must be!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Off To Hawaii!

We're celebrating my husband's graduation a couple months early. We've always planned on going next May when he actually graduates, but an opportunity popped up to go to Hawaii... I'm so excited!

I hate store bought bathing suits, so I made my own little collection for our trip. I got a couple yards of black and blue/green and from it made a black one piece, blue/black halter takini, rashguard, and boy short swim bottoms.

I hope they work as well as I hope! I think out of all of them I'm most pleased with the black one piece, even though it looks weird hanging.

My little sister gave me the confidence to make my own swimwear, and it really wasn't as bad as I had always thought...and well worth the effort to have a bathing suit that I actually feel comfortable wearing!


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