Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween: Willow

I barely got costumes done in time for Halloween.  
This year our family is the main characters from Willow, the 80s fantasy/ action movie.
RJ is Willow, the main character.
Baby Ellaria is Elora Danon, but we've been calling her "Ellaria Danon" the past few weeks.
My husband Rhett is Mad Martigan, and I was to be Sorsha.

Here's the characters from the movie.
If I'd been really ambitious, I'd have made my husband a suit of gold armor for Mad Martigan and a cool helmet for me.  But I ended up losing time and my husband was scheduled to work all Halloween weekend, so in the end, Mad Martigan's costume is a long black wig and my hsuband's just wearing his black scrubs on his way to work.  I didn't make anything for me other than buying a can of red hair spray that I ended up not using.  
So in the end, my exciting plans ended up kind of lame, but I think the kids turned out alright.  I was going to make vinyl boots for Willow, but RJ said he didn't want boots, just to wear his sneakers.  So I figured I wouldn't waste my time if he wouldn't wear them, which is also what happened to my original plan of getting him a brown wig, but realized a 3 year old wouldn't wear it.

So the the real costumes were only for Willow and Elora Danon, and were simple.

First is Willow.
It's basically a tunic and acorn pouch.
I used the tunic pattern from Rae at Made by Rae for her Charlie Tunic.
The fabric was a linen look and the trim was from a bin we have at my mom's house.  I thought about adding more solid red on each side of the trim, but decided it would be too much on the little tunic.

The one accessory I did make, was the acorn pouch.
In the movie Willow has magic acorns that he carries in a pouch on his belt.

It's just a square pouch with a rectangle top with a button closure.
I had left over scraps of brown vinyl from my ottoman pouf.

I wanted to have real acorns to fill the pouch, but couldn't find any in my area.
So I asked on the Running With Scissors facebook page, and Debbie mailed me these acorns, which was so nice and RJ has been carting them around for a few weeks now.

So it's a pretty basic costume, would have been better and more recognizable with the wig and boots.

RJ seems to like being Willow alright...but he told me he still plans on going trick or treating as the mean pumpkin.

I decided to split the costumes, so I'll post Ellie's Elora Danon costume tomorrow.
Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Jean Week: Trouser Jeans by Lady Danburry

Jean Week: Part 3
Trouser Jeans by Lady Danburry

I feel like I mention my little sister, Lynette, a lot--because she's amazing.
So this post is basically me bragging about her.
{Lynette and I jumping on Grandma's trampoline 1989}

She's 3 years younger than me and an expert seamstress.  
Lynette opened her own tailoring/ alteration business at 21.  She recently sold her business and we've been spending the last 2 weeks with her while my husband works in Salt Lake City.  It's been so fun to see so much of her now that she's not working--we've been sewing a lot and she's teaching me a ton of new skills and techniques.  
Her business was called Lady Danburry, and she's just started a blog (I've thought she should have one for years) here:
where you can see all the amazing things a real seamstress can sew!  Compared to my mom and Lynette I am such a hacker lame sewer (but I have improved the last few years).  The past few days Lynette has been giving me tips as I've been attempting some clothing that was really intimidating to me.  At one point she asked my plan to sew my lining in my jacket and I explained my plan of attack.  Lynette said: "well that's not correct, but it will work" and helped me hack my sloppy way through.  She's good to be encouraging when I'm sure it looks like crap compared to what she could do!  She just knows a butt-load about clothing construction, for example I had no idea womens' vests are put together completely differently than mens' vests and much more.  It's just always good to have someone a lot better than yourself to look up to I guess.
I could go on about Lynette, but back to the pants she made...

She made me a pair of high-waisted trouser jeans! 
The look of dress pants with the comfort of jeans!
I brought some denim and she whipped out these jeans.
That's one thing I'm amazed at.  This girl sews fast.
From being a professional tailor she is just a blur of mad sewing skills and I'm next to her putting along like a turtle with Frankenstein stitching.

They fit so well.
Lynette made them with welt pockets on the back, along with the darts above the pockets to lay nicely on my booty.   The waistband fits great so no babysitting of crackage, or "crack attack" as someone said in a comment on the last pair of jeans.
I have to say these are the best fitting jeans I've ever had and my absolute favorite pants I own.
They hit just below my natural waist, which is where I'm most comfortable wearing my pants.
 I prefer the darker wash denim (another italian stretch denim I bought from and the fact they're jeans, but look a little nicer in the trouser style. 
 It's nice to have something that's not formal, but nicer than a regular pair of jeans.

I feel pretty lucky to have such a talented sister, who's also so nice to make me a pair of jeans. 
Lynette's also pretty funny and we've been having so much fun, sewing, eating, reminiscing, watching Twilight Riff Trax.  
I debated showing this photo below, but I thought it was funny when I saw she included my head in the pocket butt shot...

Sometimes it's kind of like we're 12 again...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Jean Week: Black Straight Leg

Jean Week Part 2: 
My First Pair of Jeans I've Sewn
Simple Black Five-Pocket Relaxed Straight Leg

I am slowly developing better sewing skills and confidence.
There is a list of items of clothing I'm building up to that I have purchased fabric for and just haven't had the guts to attempt.
Jeans were on the list and I finally decided it would never happen on my own, so I got help.
My mom makes all my brothers' jeans and so this summer we were visiting and I brought my denim and she helped me through the process.  
Just having a mentor to guide me gave me courage to try something that seems so intimidating as jeans.

The challenge of sewing jeans was a big motivator, as well as saving money (as usual).  I bought my denim from  It's so comfortable!  It's Italian stretch denim, but I just searched and apparently they are out or don't carry it anymore.  It's really smooth feeling, soft, and was easy to work with.

My mom told me to bring a favorite, good fitting pair of jeans to use as a pattern. 
 I told her I don't have any.
I had a baby in March, and was still in the post baby stage, and that's why I was making jeans because I didn't have any I liked.
So I went and bought some nicer, expensive, $100+ jeans.
Used them to make a pattern out of wrapping paper, and returned them.
This denim was 60" wide, so this pair of jeans for a taller, bigger girl required 1.5 yards, making the pair of jeans $15.00.

I prefer my jeans to sit just below my natural waist.  I should probably wear a lower rise because I have a midget torso, but I can't stand the feeling of my butt hanging out the back and the fear of crackage.  So these may seem a little "mom jean-ish" with the higher rise in the back, but it's about comfort and being able to get things done without babysitting my crackage at this stage in my life. 

We adjusted a few things, probably my favorite was adding elastic in the back waistband.
Just like little kids jeans, but not adjustable and not really noticeable if I'm wearing them.
I feel like my butt is just a weird shape, and now your going to zoom in on my butt to see if you agree, but it's just nice to have a little more snug fitting waistband on the back of the bubble-butt for me.   
Which is the beauty of making something yourself--you get it how you want it. 

Here's a detail of the back pockets.

So I made these actually back in the summer in August, but have taken forever to post them.
The steps inserting the zipper were probably the most confusing, and where I asked my mom the most questions.  Maybe if you took a pair apart, it would make more sense before you try to put a pair together, to understand how it will end up prior to being in the middle wondering how it's all going to work together.
I still just can't believe I made something that from a distance resemble real jeans! 

Thanks for the help mom!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Jean Week: Straight Leg to Skinny Jeans

 I decided I had enough posts to make a whole week about JEANS!
PART 1: Altering straight jeans to a tapered skinny leg opening

A staple in any person's clothing...and something I hate to shop for/ buy.
As a kid I could never find jeans long enough.  It seems to not be as big as a crisis now, with many brands having tall lines.
 I need between a 34-36" inseam, so not impossible to find, but not always available.

So I bought a pair of jeans for a good deal from the Gap outlet a while ago.
They didn't have any tall sizes, so I just bought regular, and yes.  Floods.
The before shows the straight leg way too short sad case.  I would cuff them when I wore these, but it's just annoying to have a pair of pants that are too short.  So I decided if I tapered the ankle so it was more in the skinny jean realm they might work better.

So here's a tutorial to alter a regular pair of jeans to make your own skinny jeans.
I realize that probably my finished leg isn't tight enough to be "skinny jeans" but you get the point, and this works mainly for straight leg or very slight bootcut jeans, because we're taking it all out of one side of the leg.  A flared jean would need to be taken in on both seams to look right.}

Look at your jeans, and notice the different seams on the leg sides.
One, usually the inner leg seams will be a "flat felled seam" which means it's sewn twice, a regular seam, then the seam allowance is put on one side and top-stitched down.  
Your other seam will be a regular side seam, which we'll be using to taper the leg opening.

1. Unpick Hem
You'll need to unpick the hem, but not all the way around.
 Just unpick directly under your regular side seam, and around the leg about the middle of the front and back of leg, so about half of the total hem will be unpicked.

2. Pin Your Fit
If you have a pair of skinny jeans you like and want to mimic, you could just align the inner leg seams and trace the outside where it fits well.
If you don't trust or have other jeans to use as a pattern, I put my jeans on inside out, and pinned down one leg along the seam to the fit I thought would work.
Next carefully take the jeans off. 

3. Mark Seam
Using your pins, you can mark along the side seam of the jean in a gradual line from the ankle up, slowly bringing your new line to merge with the original seam.
Using the first leg as a pattern, mark the opposite leg also to so they'll match in the end. 

4. Sew Seam
Gradually sew the new seam into the original seam so it's a gentle taper.  
My taper began as high as the bottom of the pocket, but this pair of jeans fit a little loose all over, so you may not need to take anything out of the thigh. 

5. Adjust If Necessary
Before you cut any of your jeans, try them on.
I found I wanted them a little more narrow in the ankle, so I sewed another side seam 1/2" in, making the total ankle circumference 1" smaller.
If you find you made them too tight, you can unpick and sew a new seam closer to the original. 

6. Finish Seam and Hem
Once you are confident you have your alteration where you need it, you can just serge the seam to finish it off.
If you don't have a serger, trim the seam allowance and zig-zag the edges as they will most likely fray if you don't.
From there your hem should fold right back up to where it was and you can just top-stitch it back in place.

I have to confess, I up to today have never owned skinny jeans, and even now, they could probably be a little more narrow in the ankle.
I guess I've actually been anti-skinny jean.
First off, with the name "skinny" jean, I threw them from consideration, adding to my mind the idea only twigs with chicken legs could pull off wearing them.  So  because my thighs do touch and are always going to be larger than my calves and ankles, I figured skinny jeans were best left for little prepubescent tweens.

So I'm turning over a new leaf lately trying to dress better.
Pretty much I've worn the same things since 8th grade: Old Navy/ Target tees and flared jeans.

Someone recently gave me advice to grow up and actually think about a wardrobe.  
So I'm trying to branch out a little, so far just adding layers and accessories to all my tees and jeans.  I'm never going to be a fashionista, but I would like to look a little more put together I that I'm realizing I may want to move on from my Jr. High fashion sense.

I mainly altered these jeans to wear with boots for fall/ winter, but maybe one day I'll brave wearing them with a flat or something.  They may actually need to be taken in a little more, as it kind of seems like the short inseam still looks a little weird not being tighter around the ankle. 
At least I don't have a huge bunch of denim scrunched around my ankles when I wear boots now.  

Anyone else anti-skinny jean?
Or trying new things they've never worn before?
Or buys jeans that don't really fit just because they're on sale and really cheap?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Infinity Scarves

I jumped on the infinity scarf trend recently.
The infinity scarf is just basically a doughnut of fabric.  
You can find them in different fabrics from knit to chiffon.
They're quite easy to make and depending on your fabric choice, can be really affordable.  
Each of my scarves came in at $2.00

There's lots of different ways to wear and sew these, so rather than show you what I did, I just have a few links to different tutorials you can check out.
Luvinthemommyhood with buttons
The Cottage Home sheer lightweight
Sweet Verbena smaller lace

My first scarf is from a sheer polyester blend. 

The second mustard scarf is in a cotton, and obviously a little thicker and stiffer.

Each scarf is about 12" wide and 60-72" long around the circle.

There's tons of different ways to wear these, but I think my current favorite is the single loop.  It keeps it a little more contained for all the bending, playing on the floor, etc that comes with having little kids.

I like the other scarf having the organic print that could be interesting if I knew how to put together an outfit.

What other ways do you wear these scarves?


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