Friday, April 26, 2013

Moroccan Lanterns

I had the fun of decorating for a Moroccan-themed party.  You can view all the decorations by visiting this post.  But for this tutorial, I'm going to show you some of the pieces I picked up, all from thrift stores, to make these wonderful lanterns.  Most of the pieces, including the vases, were a dollar or less.  I have quite a stash of costume jewelry to choose from...yeah!  So, each lantern easily cost less than $5 to make, with most of them coming in around $3!  All of the flower vases, and many of the other pieces were turned upside down to make the lanterns.  All of the pieces were glued with E-6000 glue.  Once finished, the lanterns sat on top of small battery-operated LED lights.  Simple, but very effective!


For this one, the votive holder was kept upright, while the perfume bottle was turned upside down.  The neck of the bottle rested in the votive opening.  Earrings were glued to the top of the perfume bottle.

The brass goblet was turned upside down and fit over the top of the wooden finial.  The earring and chain were glued in place.  The base of the lantern rests unglued in the planter opening, accommodating for the LED light.

The small vase and silver cap are turned upside down and glued.  The earring and chain were glued in place.  The lantern sits unglued on top of the candle plate.

The green votive holder was turned upside down and glued in place.  Is was adorned with a decorative metal piece and silver bracelet.

The small vase and metal votive holder are turned upside down.  An earring was added to the top.  The lantern sits unglued on top of a planter that has also been turned upside down. 

The perfume bottle is glued to the opening of the gold votive holder, then both are glued to the vase.

The brass votive holder is turned upside down and an earring is glued in place.  The clear votive holder is turned upside down and glued to the brass piece.  The whole piece is then glued to the vase with the flower chain added as an accent.

The crystal votive holder is turned upside down and glued to the bottom of the metal votive holder.  An earring is glued at the top.  The whole piece is then glued to the vase.  The lantern sits unglued on top of the candle plate and trivet frame.

An earring is glued to the top of the brass candlestick, which is then glued to the bottom of the metal votive holder.  The whole piece is glued to the vase.  Dangle earrings are glued to each side of the lantern.  The lantern sits unglued on top of a mosaic tile candle plate.

 I hope this has helped you to visualize how these lanterns were put together.  It was a lot of fun mixing and matching pieces.  Lanterns like these, especially in the same color theme, could really make a statement at a wedding reception!  Have fun and be creative!

Ombre-dyed Sheets

In decorating for a Moroccan-themed party, I dyed some cast-off hotel sheets with an ombre effect.  Hopefully, the following directions will help you better understand how I accomplished the task!

This is the finished look we are going for...

You will need:
cotton sheets
3 colors of dye (I used Rit Lemon Yellow, Sunshine Orange, and Wine)
3 large buckets (I used 5 gallon buckets)
very hot water
rubber gloves

Start by gathering the sheet down the center.

Pick up the sheet at the center.

To help you visualize what you will be doing, the folded sheet will be dyed as shown:

Begin with the yellow.  Dip the folded center into the dye bath for a few minutes.  Remove and wring out the best you can.  Caution: It will be hot!  (Disclaimer:  The following photos don't actually show a dye will just have to imagine that it exists!)

Dip the center section of the folded sheet into the orange dye bath, overlapping onto the yellow.  Remove after a few minutes and wring out the best you can.  You will now have one last section of sheet without dye.

Dip the remaining portion of the sheet into the wine dye bath for a couple of minutes, overlapping onto the orange. If desired, you can remove most of the sheet from the dye bath, allowing the edges of the sheet to sit in the dye a little longer to make the edges darker.  Wring out the best you can and transfer the sheet to a sink.  Rinse with cool water.  I personally didn't rinse until the water ran clear, like it says to do, because I wanted to retain as much color as possible.  And, since I didn't plan on washing these sheets any time soon, I figured it wouldn't hurt.  I did run them through the spin-only cycle of the washing machine and then put them into the dryer.

When finished, your sheet should look something like this:

The existing hem on the sheet created the perfect casing to use in gathering the sheet.  I used a strip of foam core, because I already had it, but a dowel, wood slat, or even a strip of fabric would work to gather the sheet.  It was then pinned to the wall and topped off with a decorative foam core top.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Corduroy Shirt Dress

To make this dress, I started with a men's XXL corduroy shirt, and and men's L sweater.

Cut away the shirt collar, leaving the neck band.

Use part of the collar to create an extension for the future sweater collar.  The buttonhole on the collar tip will come in handy.  Be careful not to stitch over the existing buttonholes, you will use them.

Cut away the sleeves.

Carefully pick out the side seam stitching of the sweater (which should give you edges that don't unravel.)  Cut 5 1/2" off the bottom edge of the sweater front.  This will give you a collar piece that is finished on three sides.  Serge the unfinished cut edge. 

Pin the right side of the collar to the wrong side of the collar band and extension, easing if necessary.  Stitch in place.

Button up the collar band and mark where the button should be placed for the collar extension.  Since the fabric is kind of thick, sewing the button over a pin, and then removing the pin, will make it easier to button through the thickness.

Fit the shirt to your size and take in the side seams.  Cut your new sleeves from the bottom of the original sleeves, retaining the cuff detail.  I opted for a straight edge, dropped sleeve so that I didn't have to mess with cutting the upper curve to a new sleeve.  Stitch the sleeve in place.

Cut about 9" from the bottom of the sweater sleeves and take in seams as needed to fit.  Serge the unfinished edge.  Place the sweater sleeve into the dress sleeve, matching side seams.  Pin and stitch in place.  I left the shirt cuff unbuttoned to give me more ease in wearing.  You may have to hand stitch the sweater sleeve in place.

Square off the front and back tail of the shirt.  Retain these scrap pieces incase a waist inset is needed for added length.


Open the side seams of the leftover upper sleeve pieces.  You can do this by unpicking the stitching, or in my case, they were flat felled seams and I just cut close to the edge.  Overlap the sleeves and stitch in place.  Since I cut close to the flat felled seam, I didn't have to finish the slit edge.  If you have a raw edge, finish it before overlapping and stitching.  This will become the back slit of your dress. 


Square off the top edge of the upper sleeve pieces, pin and stitch this bottom band to the dress.  (As a side note, I stitched down the back pleat of the shirt before adding the bottom band.  I also duplicated the front plaque detail with buttonholes as you can see from the second picture.)

Front plaque detail of bottom band, with added buttonhole, made to match original plaque detail.

The dress wasn't quite long enough for me, so to get some extra length I added an inset waist piece, turning the front edges to the inside.


Stitch elastic to each seam, stretching the elastic as you go.

When complete, the inside should look like this.  Add a button and buttonhole to the waist.  (I had to piece together various scrap pieces to create the waist inset.  But, I didn't worry too much since it would be covered by a belt.)  All that was left was to hem it with a simple rolled hem.

So there you have it, a corduroy shirt dress!  You can view the tutorial of the sweater purse here.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Belted Sweater Purse

I started with a large sweater, corduroy pants, and a large belt.  I also used some iron-on interfacing, and your standard sewing supplies.

I had used part of this sweater already as trim on this dress.  With the remaining sweater, I cut the main portion of my purse.  It measured 16" x 16".  I also cut the same from my iron-on interfacing.  The corduroy lining was also cut 16" wide, but I added an extra 2" to the height to allow for the top edge of the lining to eventually fold over and finish off the top of the purse.

Iron the interfacing to the back of the sweater pieces.  The interfacing will give you stability when sewing the stretchy sweater fabric.  It will also give your purse some needed shape.

With right sides together, stitch across the bottom of the purse.

I pressed the bottom seam open and then stitched it in place to reduce bulk.  You won't see this stitching as it will be covered in the next step.

Cut a piece of corduroy 16" wide by whatever height you want.  I made mine about 7".

Press under both edges of the corduroy fabric, center the fabric on the bottom seam of the purse, pin and stitch in place.

Fold the bag in half, right sides together, and stitch the side seams.  Turn the bag inside out and stitch a boxed corner on each side.  Trim away the excess.  (Trimming not shown.)

If you want a pocket on the inside of your purse, now's the time to attach it.  Once it's sewn in place, stitch the bottom and sides of the lining.  Box the corners like you did with the sweater fabric.

Cut and stitch belt loops.  I made mine long enough to accommodate the belt and then have the excess be stitched into the top binding.  (Refer to the picture of the completed purse at the beginning of this post.)  I left the top edges unfinished since they would eventually get covered by the binding.  The bottom edges were folded under and stitched in place.  I placed two belt loops in the front, and two in the back. 

Slip the lining into the bag and roll the excess fabric over the top to create a binding.  I stitched this in place by hand since it was getting pretty thick.

Cut two straps approximately 3" by whatever length you desire.  Fold in half lengthwise, right sides together and stitch, creating a tube.  Turn them right side out and press.  Topstitch 1/4" along the edges.  Pin in place on the purse and stitch.  Measure the belt to go around the purse, cut off any excess.  Punch new holes for the belt buckle.  Use any leftover belt scraps as embellishments.  I used the pieces to cover the raw edges of the straps where they attached to the purse.  I also had enough to create a flap that keeps the purse closed with a button.  (Refer to the photos of the finished purse.)

Hopefully, this tutorial has been helpful.  The hardest part was probably the thickness of the sweater and corduroy.  Make sure you use a heavy duty needle!