Karlene's Workshop

My sewing, refashioning and upcycling projects revealed
You are currently browsing the Karlene's Workshop archives for 2010

Green denim dress, almost complete

  • 21/09/2010 1:53 pm

The dress, as is, on my dress stand.

A bit lopsided but there is a reason as you will see…

I’m pleased with how this is turning out, there is just one little thing I have to change, the top part of the “petticoat” lining layer is sitting too high. It’s kind of hard to tell on her, but on my body it looks a little weird and needs to be lowered a bit.

I’m either going to pull all the lace off the top and cut away the excess fabric, or pin and pinch it down like this and hand stitch the folds.

It was err, interesting sewing the bustle layer. When I first started I had a rough Idea of what I wanted it to look like but was getting very frustrated when it wasn’t happening. I spend a long time (and I mean LONG, like days and days) thinking about how all the edges were going to be finished, how it was all going to be joined together, and how I could get lots of random scrappy bits sewn on in the right place until I felt like pulling my hair out!
I cut out the rough shape in the same cotton as the skirt base and added the ruffle around the edge with the dark green rick-rack trim, then decided I was just over thinking the whole thing and needed to let go and just sew sew sew. So… I grabbed some fabric scrap I liked, plonked it on, grabbed a bit of ribbon, slid them all into the sewing machine in a haphazard fashion and stitched away, and hey presto it worked!

I continued in this way until the the bustle piece was covered and looking just how i wanted it.

The pieces that I melted were used here under the bustle layer to add more texture and ruffly bits to the skirt.

Finishing the back was also giving me a bit of headache, this is how it turned out,

I made the zip visible as a design feature and added some fancy machine stitching along the edge. Have decided that the uneven height on the bodice panels and lace at top is also a “design feature” :-)

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Melted

  • 09/09/2010 12:43 pm

Some fabrics fray nicely and look cool, like denim or cotton. Other fabrics just make a really big mess with lots of threads going all over the place.

I wanted to use some scrappy pieces in the skirt of the dress I am working on without all the mess, so I tried melting the edges with a candle.

Turned out OK, a bit blacker in places than I wanted but I can live with that. I also managed to get a few corners dipped in wax, (whoops) will add to the texture!

WARNING: Doing this with polyester and nylon makes nasty fumes, so do it outside or with lots of ventilation. Also be very careful with your fingers, candles burn and so can freshly melted fabric! Ouch!

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Green denim dress, a work-in-progress

  • 06/09/2010 2:40 pm

Remember this green jeans skirt I made? I’m using the cut off pant legs to make a bodice for a patchy fairy style dress.
Here’s a look at the front part of the bodice before being completely sewn up.

You can see I’ve used the unpicked hem at the top of one panel for a bit of added textural detail and I’ve added some patchwork applique and lace.

The skirt base is cut from an old cotton sheet with randomly sized triangular strips of tricot attached to the bottom. I’m planning to have lots of layers and scrappy bits over the top. The bottom edge is shaped so that it will be a bit shorter at the front.

The dress lining is made from the same green tricot, the elastic straps are from a bra that I didn’t fit properly :-)

Now I’m building up the layers, firstly with some gathered tulle,

then with broderie anglaise from my tea dyed skirt, I cut it off just under the pockets and shaped it slightly to fit the shape of the skirt base.

Currently going well and progressing as planned, hooray!

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The tea dye experiment

  • 26/08/2010 2:35 pm

I’ve been wanting to have a go at dyeing with tea for a while now.

I had an old white cotton skirt with a broderie anglaise hem that I wanted to incorporate into my current project (using up the pant legs from the green jeans) and needed to be less, well, white!

I also wanted to try it on this cream rayon dress mum gave me with cool embroidery details

and a vintage (gulp) wool cardigan that had become yellow with age to see a) if it would work on rayon and wool, and b) what colour would cream go in a tea bath?

From 2010-06-11-teadye-experiment

I boiled a big pot of water and then added LOTS of old tea bags, most of which had been sitting around in the kitchen for years as we drink coffee!

I let the tea brew for an hour or so and then removed all the teabags – or so I thought!

The pot wasn’t big enough for all three garments at once so I soaked them one at a time. The cotton skirt was first, I left it in for about two hours giving a stir every now and then, and took it out for a rinse.

I left the rayon dress for a bit longer, as supposedly it it harder to dye. The great thing about a tea bath is that you can use the same liquid over again. I put the wool cardigan in last and left it over night (about ten hours) as I wanted to see how brown it would go.

Unfortunately, when I took it out the next morning it was very blotchy. It was a lovely caramel brown colour, but blotchy. I couldn’t understand how this happened when the other two were fine? Was it because it didn’t get stirred?

When I emptied the pot of tea I discovered the problem. Teabags still at the bottom of the pot! Arrrgg! If you want a nice even colour, take out ALL the teabags first! And give it a stir now and then.

I also gave the garments a spin in the dryer to “set” the dye, hence the slight shrinkage of the cardigan. I’m not too worried about it as I was planning to try and felt it anyway.

Here’s my after shots of the skirt and dress:

They came out a kind of pinky brown colour, they look a bit washed out in these photo’s, you can see a more true representation of the colour in this one:

Now it works better with the other fabrics I’m using.

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Green jeans to skirt

  • 23/08/2010 6:04 pm

I started with a pair of slightly faded green jeans, then made them into a skirt like this.

It was a bit plain so I decided to add some patchwork applique and lace

My favourite so far!
If you look at the back of the waistband you can see the original colour where I’ve pulled the tag off. It’s now more of a turquoise green.

I am using the cut off pieces from the legs for another project which will be revealed soon.

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Mum’s floral overnight bag

  • 07/08/2010 3:49 pm

I haven’t posted for a while so here’s some pics of this large bag I made ages ago for my mum.

IMG_5168

The bag base was originally cut smaller than this. I had a small scrap of floral fabric from Nana’s stash that I wanted to use for the flower shapes, utilizing as much of the piece as possible. After building up the layers underneath the flowers grew in size and I knew I would have to re-cut the bag to fit them on without looking all squashed up.

This one is a photo of mum wearing it so you can see the scale.

IMG_5167

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A glimpse of my work-in-progress

  • 08/07/2010 6:07 pm

This is something I have been working on for a while now. Almost done, just got to do a few more fabric roses.

The peach fabric used in the photo above are the leftover pieces from the skirt I shortened here.

It’s turned out very differently from my original idea but still very pretty all the same. Can you guess what it is?

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Re fashioned denim skirts

  • 24/06/2010 11:26 am

Not far from where I live is a thrift shop that has a regular clothing sale once a month where everything is $1 each. I’ve only been twice, and come home each time with a huge bag full of clothes to be refashioned. I’ve promised myself to stay away until all the work has been done!

On my first visit I found a couple of long denim skirts, you know, those button up ones people used to wear like 10-20 years ago? And they still had tags on them!

I liked the colours but the style was really dodgy and crying out for a makeover.
This is the first one, yellow.

I gave it a chop and hot glued some flower shaped bling onto the buttons. I put two rows of stitching near the bottom edge and left the hem to fray.

Here is the second one, peach.

This time I shortened it and added some lace at the hem as well as some more bling for the buttons.

I like the length much better now, and the high waist style is cute. However I am not to sure about those plastic flowers I glued on to the buttons. What do you think?

Here’s a close up

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I Confess…

  • 15/06/2010 2:02 pm

Well this is kind of embarrassing. Not only have I not posted anything in AGES, this post is to confess that I went shopping and purchased some new stuff. So for the first time, here is my get out of jail free card.

Get out of Jail

It is mid-winter here in NZ and I was feeling very cold, so I bought a couple of merino thermal shirts, (on sale!) a knit jumper/jersey and a fine knit cardi. In my defense, I did think about making some merino shirts but I knew that by the time I got around to finding the fabric and then making the things, winter would be almost over. And the fabric costs as much to buy as the shirts themselves did!

I have been refashioning a few things, mostly denim skirts and am waiting to get some nice model shots before I post pictures.

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At last – pictures of the fairy princesses

  • 13/04/2010 3:54 pm

Remember all those frilly girly things I made for my nieces for Christmas? Well, I finally got some pictures of them all wearing the outfits. At Easter! The sun was very bright which is why some of the expressions are not very fairy princess like :-)

Here is Alyssa who is wearing a beaded necklace I made for her a few years ago and had completely forgotten about:

Next Rylee, squinting very badly, she was having a good time, honest!

And lastly Briana. Her bag is from an op shop, I re-covered the back. I love the fact that she is wearing tattoos on her arms LOL, drawn on by her dad.

The tops they are wearing are all bought from op shops and inspired the rest of the outfits. Alyssa’s one is a bit see through so she is wearing a T-shirt underneath with a butterfly print. Pretty!

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