Hello Adventurers! Cristina here with another addition to the list! In addition to this list item, and because of the content of it, I will be shortly posting another blog about my (heavenly) time spent at the fabric markets of Shanghai! So stay tuned for that! But in the mean time here is another item to be crossed off my 25 Things To Do Before You’re 25 list. This time i’ve learned something new and it’s sew so much fun! (see what I did there… huh huh??) Pardon the not sew funny pun… oh god I can’t stop…. what I decided to learn was how to sew. Not just sew a button back onto a jacket, but actually sew with a sewing machine and make things.
It started when I decided to be Harley Quinn from batman for Halloween this past year. Halloween in my favorite holiday, and I tend to go big or go home when it comes to costumes. So this year I decided to go all out and create my own Harley Quinn costume circa the cartoon not the new video game Harley.
What I ended up doing in the end was hand sewing parts of the costume (some of it in the car on the way to Chicago) and using my aunt’s sewing machine for the large parts of it. Here is a quick tutorial of what I did should you want to attempt it yourself.
What I used:
1.) Two pairs of leggings, one black and one red
2.) Two long sleeved semi large shirts, one black and one red
3.) Two sheets apiece of black and red felt
4.) Two sheets of white felt
5.) White pom pom balls
6.) Two pairs of cotton gloves, one black and one red
7.) White ruffled or lace fabric
8.) One pair of black boots
9.) Red spray paint
10.) One black harlequin mask
11.) Small square of Velcro
12.) Black and red hairspray
13.) Black lipstick
Here is the finished product of my labors:
Step 1.) The hardest part is the pants. I carefully cut down the center seam of both of the leggings, so I had 4 separate legs at the end. Then I doubled checked to make sure I had the black and red on the right sides and I sewed two of the leg pieces back together on the seam. It is important to know that I bought leggings that were slightly too big for me so that I wouldn’t have to grease myself in baby oil to get back into them.
Step 2.) Then I marked both the shirts with chalk and cut them both into four pieces. I then used the correct pieces (left arm should be red, left torso should be black to match up with the pants and the right arm should be black and the right torso should be red to match with the pants) and sewed first the arm pieces to the torso pieces and then I sewed up the middle to connect all four.
Step 3.) The hard part is over! Now just use of elastic thread and sew your white ruffled fabric onto the wrists of one of your red and one of your black gloves. Elastic thread is sew (dammit! I’m sorry…) much easier to use when you are going to be stretching the gloves to fit over your palm. Try to scrunch up the white fabric to sew pleats into it as you go so that the fabric sticks out from your wrists.
Step 4.) Cut out the appropriate number of diamonds from your red and black felt. I looked at Google images of the cartoon version of Harley Quinn (like above) to figure out how many diamonds and what sizes should go where. I ended up hand sewing all the diamonds on, but it would have taken considerably less time to just use a sewing machine.
Step 5.) Take your white felt and draw out a sketch of the jester collar you want to have. I drew a pretty basic collar, cut it out, and then sewed pom pom balls to the ends. I also took a small amount of Velcro and attached it to one side of the collar and sewed shut the other. This will make it easier to get on and off.
Step 6.) The last read step is to take one of your black boots and spray paint it red. I just found black boots at a thrift store and used those!
Step 7.) Instead of doing the weird jester hat/head covering thing the original Harley Quinn wears I took a page from the book of the new video game/Suicide Squad Harley Quinn and put my hair in pig tails and spray painted (with temporary colored hair spray) the ends of one red and the other black.
Step 8.) The final step is to don your outfit, rim your eyes and lips heavy with black (I decided against the white face paint as I’m already pale as it is), throw on your Harlequin mask and paint the town red.
After Halloween my next big project was to make a dress for New Years. This was, as I will now willingly admit, much too advanced a project for my rudimentary, budding sewing skills to handle. I ended up scrapping the project after I realized that in my haste to finish the dress before our New Years shin dig in Columbus I would have had to take the dress down again to bare bones to fix it properly. However, It was satisfactory enough for me to wear it to ring in 2015.
One thing I learned from this project is not to rush. Had I not procrastinated on it, I may have been able to salvage it in the end, but it was too much work in the end to try and fix it. It will have to go down as a score one for the scrap pile. I do have hopes to make another dress, this time a cocktail length with this beautiful flowered fabric I found, but this time I will probably invest in a good dress pattern before I jump in!
To take a break from my clothes making I decided to start making small zippered pouches because… well to be honest you can never have enough small purse/clutch bags. Is that a girl thing or just me? I have ended up making three so far, a jewelry one for my sister, one for my friend Sarah, and a travel undee bag for me because i’m forever losing my underwear in my suitcase. These bags were pretty easy to make and all you really need is a small bit of fabric and a zipper! I followed this tutorial by Girl. Inspired with only one small change. Instead of sewing the inside lining and the outside lining separately I sewed them together so that I wouldn’t be able to pull out the lining (which has always annoyed me on purses). The only downside is that you will be able to see the seam on the inside of the bag. I just make sure to cut as much of the excess fabric off after I finished the seam and ran a large zigzag stitch over the seam to finish it.
The inside views of the jewelry bag made with a ‘bar’ (stuffed with cotton balls) to hold necklaces and bracelets and a small pocket on the opposite side for smaller items. I also made a small bag with a Velcro top out of matching fabric to hold rings and earrings.
I blame Pinterest for all of my sewing projects really. If I didn’t have an abundant amount of tutorials and cute ideas at my disposal i’m sure I wouldn’t spend my time off sewing like i’m 80 years old. (I also enjoy jigsaw puzzles, scrapbooking and being adorable with my cat just in case you were worried I wasn’t cool enough.)
So after a perusal on Pinterest one day I decided to try my hand at making some skirts. My first attempt was to make the currently oh so popular circle skirt. I used this tutorial here which was very easy, but there is also a plethora of DIY circle skirt tutorials out there so find one that looks the best for you. I would suggest making the waist measurements a bit larger than you need. Maybe you will be fine when following her directions, but my skirt ended up being a bit tighter than I anticipated. Maybe I also just have larger hips/disproportionate proportions than the average gal. That is a very good possibility, to be honest. One that I have come to accept.
The finished project! (Please ignore the cheesy picture) I, unfortunately, had to redo a few of the seams after I completed it because they ripped apart in the washer. I learned that the type of fabric you use for something really does have a huge part to play, especially when attempting to make clothes.
The next skirt I attempted to make was a maxi skirt. Because who doesn’t love being able to wear skirts and not have to shave their legs? This girl. I used this tutorial by A Small Snippet. It is actually for a maxi dress, but I just left out the tank top and attached the waist belt to the actual skirt so that the top hem with the elastic didn’t show. Again there are tons of tutorials out there for maxi skirts, and they are actually quite simple! If I can do it, so can you!
Here is the finished product, again sorry for the cheesy photo, I was home alone and had to make due. The material I made mine from was sorta stiff, and will wear with time but for the time being it holds its shape a bit which is why it seems a bit ‘bell shaped’.
Another sewing project that I recently completed was to make a bathing suit cover up. Not like i’m going to have any opportunity to use it any time soon considering i’m spending my summer in Alaska, but it will be cute for the next time i’m strolling around a beach somewhere (preferably in SE Asia with a drink in hand and a hammock waiting for me). The idea actually came from a Victoria Secret cover up that I saw and went ‘Huh…. I could make that.’ So I did. And apparently other people had the same idea because you can find tutorials for this as well. I just kinda winged mine because it is super easy.
A yard of fabric, some simple cuts, two braided straps and a few stitches and you are done! I made mine a bit longer and left it looser than I originally planned, but I find that it is much easier to leave something bigger because you can always take away in sewing and it’s much, much harder to add.
In case you haven’t noticed, i’m not all that great at taking pictures, but here are some other craft projects, sewing and non sewing, that i’ve done over the past few months. I try and make it a point to do something crafty every week to keep my creative juices flowing… or at least to keep Netflix from judging me on how often I re-watch Supernatural. Don’t judge me… I can’t get enough Sam and Dean!
Lace detail added to jeans to cover a hole on the side (that I may or may not have caused when drunkenly bumping into a table edge… which I will neither confirm nor deny):
With lace bow added to the bum for fun!
Sew (sorry, last time I swear) those are all the projects i’ve completed recently, short one or two that I didn’t have time to include. I am off to Columbus tomorrow morning to complete another of my list items… which one?! You’ll see!
What did I learn from all this?!
Well, obviously, I learned how to sew. Which is definitely something that I am pretty proud of. It is an awesome feeling to get a compliment on something you are wearing and be able to say that you made it. It is also nice to know that if I happen upon an item of clothing that I love, but it doesn’t fit 100% perfectly there could very possibly be something I can do to fix it and make it perfect. And I think that’s pretty cool. Also, if you want to know about any tutorials that I didn’t post, or how I did something feel free to let me know!
Although… I will say this about sewing. I have never found anything else that I truly do enjoy doing … that also makes me so overwhelmingly furious. I usually listen to soothing, calm music when I sew because it is not uncommon when I am using my sewing machine (I have my own now, by the way, courtesy of a hand-me-down from my Grandma!!) to hear the whir of the machine interrupted by a shriek and a steady stream of profanities to rival a swarthy sailor. To be honest, i’m surprised my machine made it past my learning how to work with zippers. That was a rough day for anything within grabbing and throwing distance in my room.
So to end here is a picture of my cat’s little paw. Pardon me, I mean her witty bitty paw.
Until next time, never forget:
Adventure is out there, so never stop exploring!