Saturday, June 23, 2012

The $1.50 Tote Bag

The past couple of weekends I have been working on making a tote bag using some of the fabric remnants I bought for 50 cents at Fabric World. After I caught the $1 pattern sale at Joann's, I decide to challenge myself, Project Runway-style, to make the bag using only what I had in my stash. Here's the final product:

This whole idea came from the new Lisette tote bag pattern, which is adorable and summery, but my plans were dashed when I realized both views call for about double the amount of fabric I had. I settled for Simplicity 2685, determined to make this work. I wasn't sure which view I wanted to make initially, but view D (top right hand corner below) was the only that wasn't way too wide for my remnant. Happily this was the one I liked best.

Even with view D, I had to quite literally cut corners and dip into the seam allowance because I didn't have quite enough fabric.

I also had to shorten the straps by about 3/4 an inch. I am a glutton for punishment, aren't I? Sheesh.

The lining and interfacing were both leftovers from other projects, the button was an extra that came with a jacket, and I happened to have a zipper in the right length. Neither the lining or the zipper were anywhere close to the ideal color, but I was on a "make it work" mission!

My one complaint about this pattern is that the opening for the zipper was much wider than it needed to be, and as a result it looks a little sloppy. Well, at least mine does. I'm sure the fact that I was hungry and in a rush to finish putting it in before dinner was ready has absolutely nothing to do with how it looks. Nothing at all.

I'm about to take my new tote bag out for an afternoon of thrifting and checking out the Batmobile. Happy Saturday!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Indy Craft Experience

Last weekend I went to a craft show called the Indy Craft Experience (ICE). As you probably can guess from the name alone, this was a craft fair that aimed to be a bit more sophisticated than most. Rather than funnel cakes and corn dogs out in the sun, there were macaroons and the poodle  (a hot dog in french toast bun topped with apple slaw) in an air-conditioned art gallery. While most craft fairs have anything goes feel with vendors selling everything from barbecue sauce to hair scrunchies, the vendors at ICE were "curated", giving you the feeling of Etsy brought out into real life.

As one of the first 250 through the door on Saturday, I got this awesome swag bag, which completely justified the $5 entry fee. It was mostly filled with business cards, but there was a pet rock, some 3x5 art cards, a couple of fabric pins, a magnet, and other fun items, not to mention the tote bag itself.

I love the design on the tote: Ice, Ice, Baby
Walking around the show, had to laugh after one too many crafters decided to put a bird on it, but there was really some great stuff. I felt weird about taking pictures of the vendor's wares while I was there, but I figure it's okay to repost some of the pictures from the ICE website. There were several tables of sewn items, including these cute tote bags and summery circle skirts:

A Squared W

The ridiculously cute amigurumi at the NeedleNoodles table made me want to pick up their book Creepy Cute Crochet and give crochet another try.
And I loved this jewelry, but sadly, it was not in my (tiny) budget.
I was able to pick up this adorable and inexpensive art print by Katie Coleman Illustration, which really captures the essence of our cat.
"I'm tough"
Pippin thinks of himself as hard-nosed tiger, spending his days ruling over the squirrels in the woodsy view and keeping his mouse toys in line, which is a little at odds with the reality that he desperately (desperately!) needs to be petted the nanosecond I wake up in the morning because he had to go 8 long, arduous hours without anybody adoring him.

The Indy Craft Experience was a pretty pleasant way to spend a Saturday morning. My only regret is that I ran out cash and didn't get to try a poodle...

Sunday, June 3, 2012

A tank top dress, the hard way

Inspired by other the DIY tank dresses popping up all over on Pintrest (like this one and this one), I decided to make my own. I thought it would be an easy weekend project, a nice change of pace from the some of the longer-term projects I have in the works. Besides, a girl can never have too many sundresses.

I'm pretty happy with the end result, but it was a three week struggle to get here, mostly because of my own questionable decisions.

Here's how you too can make your own tank dress the hard way:

Step 1: Buy the end of a bolt of fabric, so that there is juuussst enough to get by. In a moment of desperation, decide to use the selveges to make the hem in order to avoid having a voluminous miniskirt (not a good look on windy days).

Step 2: Buy a tank top that is at least a full size too big because it it $6 and the perfect shade of blue. Shrink it in the dryer and then take in the sides, only to discover it has magical growing abilities. Begin to lower your standards for this dress.

Step 3: Try elastic thread for the first time to gather the waist. Spend at least an hour fussing with the tension on your machine before giving up and deciding to make a normal elastic waist with a casing. Bask in the glow of your achievement for about 10 minutes until you realize that you will still need to use the elastic thread to attach the tank top to the skirt so you can fit it over your head and shoulders.

Step 4: Do a really bad job attaching the two halves of the dress, so that when you try it on the bunched-up tank top makes you look like you have a tumor in your abdomen. Redo the seam.

Step 5: Ask your husband to take pictures of your new dress out in the woodsy view. Fish for compliments the entire time. Ask repeatedly if Michael Kors would tell you that you look like "Becky Home Ec-y".