Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Crusade 2010

So I have decided at the spur of the moment to motivate my self and build a body of crafty work.

The crusade is to create/finish/do a project a day for the entire year of 2010. Yes, seriously. In the interests keeping touch with reality, I mean that I will do 365 projects in 2010... mostly one a day though I intend to bank a few, cause you know I will go on vacation, have a hang over, run off with the pool boy, etc at one point or another in the coming year. So I have officially begun the count down Dec. 29th, 2009.

Each of the official "ya, I did it and wasn't just shooting my mouth off" projects will be numbered starting with #365 and going on down from there. 

These projects will be primarily crafty/sewing but could include other disciplines. For example doing an illustration for a future silk screen or pattern drafting for longer projects like corsets.

As some of you know (and others will learn) I often make myself little tutorials like things to think out a project that I am either modifying from another idea or doing from scratch. I also will be including my source of inspiration... cause not giving credit where credit is due sucks.

I invite others to join me and if you feel motivated you can contact me and become a contributor to this blog... moughh ha ha. Contact me by clicking on any of the little mail/envelope icons all over this blog especially at the end of posts.

Note about my work with clothing. There are ton's of resources out there for thin folks both for crafts and for fashion. When I look for resources that will look good on my body type the pickin' are slim (pun intended). My project, designs, modification and reconstructions are designed mostly for larger women like myself.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

#365 Sleeveless Wrap Shirt - Getting a jump on 2010

UPDATE: This is what I ended up with ;) Action pic's coming soon.
Modifications to the method are in red


This is what I am trying for:

I started with a long sleeve t-shirt (xxl) from target $6
I used tailor chalk
Sewing machine
(and possibly other t-shirt scraps)

Step 1 - Mark out your shirt
If you don't have a body dummy you will need a friend for this part.
Put the shirt on inside out.
Mark where the shoulders end
Next along the sides, pin down from the desired arm pit to where you want your to to end. Be careful to pin equally on each side. I like my shirts fitted but not tight so I was careful to not pull on the shir and left a bit of ease. Follow the pin lines with the caulk to roughly mark out the new fit of your shirt... do this on both the front and back!

With the tailors chalk (and pins if you like)mark out where the shirt will end in the center front and back.

Mark under the bust line (being careful to press the shirt up under a larger bust to represent where you actually wear the shirt). Mark this line center and sides... this is so you know where to put the wrappy bits.

Also mark on the sides where you want the wrappy bits to end... thinner and by the bust you end up with an empire waist effect. Thicker and more down you end up with a textured tunic feel (what I am going for).

Step 2 - Cut it up

With the shirt layed out as flat as possible clean up the chalk marks on both sides of shirt.. try to true them up as much as possible. You can do this before or after you cut off the sleeves.
Cut off the sleeves.

If you are going to finish the open edges of the bottom and arm holes cut them off a half  or a quarter of an inch over your marks.

Cut off the excess at the bottom.
Instead of cutting it off I left it and it gave me a great slimming paneled feel of an asian tunic... Though I had to rip out stitches at the end. Next time just mark the drop off point. That is the widest point of your hip or the apex of your hip curve.... is is were the side seams will end.

Next cut up the sides leaving half an inch for seam allowance.

Step 3 - Make the wrappy strip bits

Next do a bit of planning. Us the math from where you marked out your top in step 1. Lay open the sleeves and cut them as show. See the notes on the little drawings.

In the end I ended cutting each sleeve in three bits that ended up as tappered trapaziods like the illustration and sewed them together. I used french seams because I don't have a serger (yet!) but I wouldn't do that again as it was really to bulky for this kind of knit.

Then sew the bits of sleeves together till you have a strip that will go from one side of your body across the front and to the back with enough ease to tie comfortable. Add scraps of other t-shirt fabric as needed.

Step 4 - Put it together

This is a good time to check fit. Throw it over your head and make sure everything is landing correctly and that you have arm holes you like. Mark any fit corrections with chalk and pins.

Fold open the shirt at the shoulder seams. Place the wrappy strips to the edge of the front of the shirt... Wrong side to good side!!! Gather the wrappy bit as needed to fit in the desired amount of torso. This will vary by person but the goal is not to make your gut look giant and to make your girls  (no mater what size they are) look great yet modest.

Sew the wrappy bits down to the front of the shirt slightly inside the desired finishe seam edge.

Step 5 - No, Really putting it all together and finishing it
Fold the wrappy strips in (pinning if you need to) so they don't get caught when you sew the side seams.

Fold the shirt back together at the shoulder seams right sides together. Pin and sew the sides. Be Careful and don't sew all the way down to the bottom of the shirt like I did otherwise you will have to rip out the seams which is a huge drag with black on black and knit material. Huge.

I finished the sides and arms by folding over the fabric the same amount as the side seams folded in and going over them with a smallish zig zag stitch. I triple stitched the sides seams at the top so they wouldn't rip around my generous hip/bum.

At this point I haven't finished the neckline but that is cause I am not sure what I am gonna do with it. Need something but I don't want to kill the simple clean lines of the shirt.

Military T-shirt and other idea captures

Hmmm. I saw this idea at Cut out and Keep

And while I am not wild about the execution I do like the concept.

Other ideas I have been rolling around in my head is a ruffle front t-shirt and a pin tucked front t shirt. The ruffle front tshirt would start with a bit t- and would just have ruffles covering the front veritcally... yum.. still gotta figure out the finishing and the right size for the ruffles. The pin tuck shirt would start with a big shirt cut the front away... pin tuck it, Baste is back together and then cut to fit and finish the edges.

Oh and the idea I am working on right now is a faux tibetian wrap tunic shirt. Basically a sleeveless t-with wrap center.

Oh another idea that just popped into my head would be an semi infinity top. Basically a tube top with two halter strips (long ones gathered for the girls) that could be wrapped a number of ways like the infinity dress that is all the rage on the internet.

Only it would have a bit more boob coverage ;)

Like so many of my other projects I will write myself a tutorial before i do it most likely... just to get it all thought out. Then actually try it and modify the tutorial.

Also saw this skirt... I would love to make a everyday version out of some kind of inexpensive thick knit. Yum.|utmccn=%28referral%29|utmcmd=referral|utmcct=/victorian_swimwear.php&__utmv=-&__utmk=52000169

Friday, October 23, 2009

Coolest tattoo video...

Not my work or my stuff but it rocked so hard I have to include it.

First saw it here:

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Giant Man's Shirt to Cute Dress

Before: Big Box of a man's shirt with cool blue retro workman's stripes. I only wish I had a blue "bob" batch for the final project.

After: Cute Dress


  • 1 large mans shirt (really big is better) Try it on and it should be summer length on you and have enough ease on in the body for you to sit down without stressing the buttons. I used a 5x man's shirt I got from the thrift store for $2.
  • 1 Spool of ribbon or bias tape Enough to go around you and tie in the back with ease
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine (unless you want to so this by hand)
  • Pins
  • Calk or other marking tool
  • Thread to go with shirt/ribbon
  • Measuring tape
  • Quilter's ruler
Step one - Try on the shirt and pin to mark the following places:
  • Where your shoulder lands
  • Center of boobs
  • Under boobs (Move the material close up under your boobs so that you accomodate your girly curves
  • Your wides point (usually your hips)
  • Pin along the sides until the excess fabric is taken up and you have added shape. Don't go super tight here as you will need some of this fabric for the fitting darts back and front later. And you want t be able to move.

Step two - Mark and cut

  • Cut of the sleeves leaving the seamed bit with the sleeve you cut off
  • Button up the shirt and lay it out as flat as possible (iron if needed) and fold in half with buttons on the outside.
  • Redraw the arm holes up to the pin make you made for your shoulder. Take some of the curve out of them. Cut out your drawing leaving a .5 in seam allowance.
  • Redraw the side seams along the pin marks you made. Cut and pin leaving a .5 inch seam allowance.
  • Cut open the sleeves (removing any surged edges) and lay the material flat. Place good sides together and fold in half along the top of the shoulder seam.
  • Lay along this folded bit down next to the shoulder line of the shirt. You are gonna make a quarter circle shaped sleeve here. Draw a curved line from the bottom of the armpit to the shoulder edge and cut out. Leave a little bit of seam allowance for a rolled edge finish on the sleeve.
  • Attach the sleeve to the shirt. There is a great tutorial on how to do that at

Step Three.
  • Sew up the sides and try it on. Check out the fit. It should be still sorta baggy cause you haven't added darts or gathers.
  • Mark a line with chalk under the boob where you pinned before.
  • With the shirt on, and some pins pin a small area of gathers under each boob to give yourself some curve. It doesn't have to be super tight cause you are gonna be able to tie it and you will be adding darts in the back.

Step four -

  • Take it off and add but darts to the back. You can use a tape measure and feel along your back to find out the area in the middle of your back... what you are trying to to is measure an area in the middle of your back where each end is roughly over the center of each bum cheak. You can also use a fitted skirt to match up dart location.
  • Use a ruler and even out and make darts on the inside back of the shirt. I am not going to explain how to make darts cause there are way better tutorials out in the interwebs.
  • Next take out your ruler and under boob trim.... Mark out and pin the ties on the front of the shirt... use your ruler to pin the gathered area evenly on both sides. You will pin the ties from the button line to the side seam of the shirt.
  • Before you sew either th darts or the ties, try it back on inside out and adjust sides, darts and ties as needed for a comfy fit... sit down!!!!! other wise you may end up too tight. Don't pin yourself.

Step Five - Sew it all down... darts and ties.
Ad any other embellishment you would like... and done!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A basic list of components for the underbust corset

  • 1 eyelet per .75 inch (so a 15 inch underbust corset will have 20 eyelets)
    Or pre-made eyelet tape up to 1 inch longer than your measurement (when they cut it for you make sure that you are getting an even amount of material top and bottom)
  • Between 6 and 10 yards of lacing or go here to use this handy calculator:
  • Busk - Now when picking up a busk pick one that allows for the space you will need to sew in your binding... if it significantly shorter but you still want that nice smooth stiff finish you can place an extra bit of boning in the channel behind the busk that gets as close to the bound edge as possible.
    For example:  If you have a  13 inch  edge at the front the best busk will be 12.5 inches giving you a quarter inch to bind the top and bottom edges. But if you can only get a 12 inch or 11.5 inch busk then you will need to place slim bone behind the busk in each channel at the desired length.
  • I use this formula 2 bones for the back at the lacing, 2 bones per seam or gusset and one per busk if needed (see above). You may or may not want extra bones depending on how many panels your corset is made up of.
    For example: I used a 5 panel design to I ended up with 18 bones of various heights. I used steel bones for the channels by the lacing and cable ties cut down for the rest. This equal to one package of 20" cable ties.  Note if you are using steel bones you can't cut down measure carefully and remember the space you need for seam binding.
  • Fabric should be between 7/8 to 1 yard per layer. Now I know you might be freaking out cause coutil is major bank (approx. $25 to $50 per yard). But when you first start out you can use canvas at $12 dollars a yard or med. weight cotton twill for as little as $5 per yard.
  • Thread... lots of thread in matching colors to your fabric
  • Needles suitable for your machine and fabric types  
  • Pattern (make or buy one)
  • sharps
  • Binding. This is the trim binding for the edge of the corset. You can making bias tape out of material (buy extra) or use petersham ribbon. This will be a about 3 yards... just think of your measurements at hip and bust add 10 inches for wiggle room and there you have it.
    Example: My ribcage under bust measurement is 43 inches, my hip measurement is 54 inches for a total of 97 inches. I add 10 to get 107 inches and then divided by 36 to get the yardage (estimating up) for 3 yards of binding. You will need the same amount for your trims depending on the desired finish. 
  • A thimble. Yes, really otherwise you will end up bloody.
  • A sewing machine
  • Utility scissors
  • Basic sewing equipment (pins, scissors, a ruler, tailor chalk and the like.)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Underbust Corset - Deconstructed Tree

This is the second corset I ever made and the first attempt at making one the "proper" way and not being all costume-riffic with it. The piece is a combination of machine and hand stitching. I created it from scratch including the pattern after reading huge  amounts of things on line including some awesome tutorials and advice here.

It  is made out of inexpensive materials as this was a "learning" corset. Mostly cotton twill and denim with cable ties for most of the bones though I did use real steal bones for the area around the eyelets and a good steal busk. The trim was designed with muslin and netting to give that de-constructed look and the bottom trim was this great fuzzy black yarn I found. I was looking to extend the organic feeling of the roots.

This was a great learning experience and I hope to do another really soon. Here are some very poor pictures I took on sunday.



Wednesday, March 11, 2009

50's Skully Apron

Okay this post will be edited to include action shots and a downloadable pdf pattern.


about 1.57 yards of material in any combination half is lining for the pockets and apron
Iinterfacing 22 x 2 inches
thread to match your fabric
sewing machine
approx 25 inches of trim or more depending on how you want it to look.

Add a .5 inch seam allowance to cut edges (but not on the fold) of the pieces in the pattern

1 Apron front
1 Apron lining (see fold line on pattern)
2 ties 5 x 30 inches (this includes seam allowanc
1 waistband 5 x 23 inches

  • Sew the waistband and ties pieces together to get one long strip that is  5 x 82
  • Fold in half good sides together and sew the edges closed EXCEPT the 22 inch waist band
  • Clip corners and press the seams back, paying special attention to the waist band
  • Sew the pocket bit – place the pocket and the pocket lining good sides together and sew the top edges together. 
  • Clip the corners and turn right side out and press down the seam and face stitch this top edge for strength. 
  • Baste the curved edge together at a .25 inch seam allowance. Add any trim needed at this time... I didn't because I had a busy print already. 
  • Now place your pocket bit on top of the good side of the front of your appron. line up the edges and pin down 
  • Next mark out your pockets with with a ruler and tailors chalk. Sew down the sections to create smaller pockets
  • Next you need to make a sandwich of the pieces with the good sides facing in. I place them in this order. Front with pockets. Edge trim facing in. Lining good side facing in. Once everything is lined up sew the curvy edge. Notch the curve (take little v chuncks out of the curviest part) and press down the seams. Turn right side out and press down. Face stitch around the curvy bit if desired at this point. 
  • Find the middle of your apron bib and the middle of your waist band. Tuck (and pin) the apron into the gap in the waist band matching up these two bits. Continue to tuck the apron in making small gathers when you get to the sides. Make sure your gathers are even on both sides. Sew down and you are done!
This is just my plus size version with added pockets... I got all the ideas from this awesome craftster: 

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Upcycled big button down man's shirt to girly office shirt

So I didn't get any before pics but oh, well.

Here she is:

Black shirt recon finished

Black shirt recno - detail

I will edit this post to include a tutorial if I get bored enough to write one.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

shit I gotta get done

Take pictures of the following:
  • grey shirt recon
  • black shirt recon
  • blue shirt recon
  • black and blue corset outfit
  • Jeans skirt 
  • Red and black dress 
Take new face shots of self cause everything you have on line is older than dirt.

Make vest from pattern (get lining material - see thrift store for deal and for sheets to make mock ups of)

Find light over coat or frock coat pattern for wearing over event cloths. Then get stuff to make it.

Finish tree corset

Make little halter dress from black materials

Make short circle skirt pattern from thrift store sheets

Make longer circle skirt pattern from thirft store sheets

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Corsety fun

So I have my material (a cotton twill I think might be too light weight)

I have cut out to of each piece (two left two right) with seam allowances on the sides. Now I gotta figure out my construction method. I am winging it as you can tell.

I want the result to be artistic, somewhat rough and de-constructed with maybe a nod to the steampunk aesthetic without going over the top. Of course I want all that with rock sold construction.

So I was thinking of doing it like this.

Take my mock up and sketch out mock trim and free hand my design with a sharpie

Try it on and adjust it

Then transfer the design to the unassembled pieces of the outer layer. The seams allowances are chalked to knowing where to put the design shouldn't be a issue.

Next face stitch my design in

Then get out the embroidary hoop and add any extra bits that need adding

Then I think I am gonna work the assemby like this:
  1. First the inner layer I am going to sew together and add a band at the waist for support
  2. Next I am gonna sew together the outer layer 
  3. Then I am gonna install the busk... I am still not clear on how to do this but I think that is lack of confidence more than anything. 
  4. Now I am not sure if I am going to use my boning tape or just sew the channels straight in or not.. and I am thinking of using a combination of panels, store boning and cable ties, and proper boning. If I am going to use the tape it is now or never.
  5. Now to intall the grommet tape. First sew the outer edge together to create the slim boning channel
  6. Next I am going to turn back the extra seam allowance for one of the set's of boning channels and pin bast the inner layer, grommet tape, and outer layer together into a sandwich with the right sides and tape facing in.... and slowly sew it together one row of stitching next to the grometts.
  7. Then turn it right side out and face stitch that line down.
  8. then turn it right side in and use the extra grommet tape to measure out a channel for the fat steel bones.
  9. then turn it right side out again and sew the channel in as tight as possible.
  10. Next sew the remaining channels at the seams (this is where I have to decide to have exposed channels or just use the two layers to make the channels... I think I will use the two layers since I did a design on it at the beginning.
  11. Next I am going to add my trim to the top and bottom (lots of hand bits) being careful not to close the channels
  12. Next I am going to sew closed the bottom with at least a few rows of stitching
  13. Install the bones
  14. Sew the top closed
  15. Re-enforce the bone ends with stitching (aka flossing)
  16. Add the finished edge
  17. lace her up
  18. dance for joy