Monday, August 31, 2009

Clothes transformation: Expando jacket

I'm a sucker for a cheap buy. If it doesn't cost too much, and I think I'll use it in the future or if it could be a present for a fren, I'll buy it.

That is the reason why I have clothes that can't fit me. Ok, I'll admit that partly is due to an temporal blindness that I am one size, when I am in fact the next size up.

What to do in such cases?

You can either give it away in a swap or to alter it to fit.

1) Fold the jacket in half and cut along the length of the back. Using the tailor's chalk, mark 1/2 inch and 1 inch away from the cut length.

2) Measure the shoulder and back width of a jacket that fits. Calculate the amount of fabric needed for the panel. If the width of your normal jacket measures 15 inches, and the jacket you are expanding only measures 12 inches, the difference is 3 inches. You will need to cut 1.5 times the difference plus 1/2 inch on both side for seam allowance. In this case, the amount is (1.5*3 inches+2*0.5 inch seam allowance)= 5.5 inches.
In this case, I cut off the strip of fabric off the skirt portion of a dress. One side is hemmed, so I did not need to hem it again.

3) Pin the floral strip into place between the two cut halves of the jacket. Baste into place before using the sewing machine. Remember to sew an overlock on the raw edges of the fabric.

4) To further decorate the jacket, cut a piece of the same fabric as the strip and cover the button with it.

Finished look
Difficulty level: 2 out of 5
Machine sewing needed: Yes

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Clothes transformation: Balloon shorts

I like the look of balloon shorts, but was also sure that they wouldn't be flattering to me.

One day, I bought a pair of shorts at a flea market and the cut tended to bunch up at the hips. I then decided to exaggerate the effect by turning it into balloon shorts.

My inspirations?

Extract from some DIY clothes alteration book (can't recall the title offhand)

Balloon shorts for sale online

1) Take a pair of shorts, preferably longer than your intended length. The pair here was given to me by a_slashie who bought the black version of my khaki pair.

2) Cut the hemline to the length you want less 1 inch. If you want the length of the pants to be X inches/cm, cut the hemline to X-1 inches/cm. You will need at least 1 inch to turn up the hemline.

3) Measure 1/2 inch marks from the seam. I chose to have 3 pleats, which means I marked 6 places of 1/2 inches. Fold the first pleat at the 1 inch mark towards the 1/2 inch closest to the seam. Pin and baste into place. Continue until you get 2 more pleats.

4) After pinning and basting all the pleats, turn up the cut hemline to cover the baste stitches. As the waistline for this shorts was cherry red, I chose to decorate the hemline of the shorts with a similar shade of red. I cut strips of red fabric and machine-sewed it to the hemline.

Finished look
Difficulty level: 2 out of 5
Machine sewing needed: Yes for the hemming

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Makeup: makeup brushes

One wonders how much do you really need? We know from school that humans need food, water and shelter to survive. But what kind of life does that make?

In a world where consumer is king, wants seem to be right up there alongside needs.

Do you need make-up? Or that new pair of shoes? Or that new PSP Go?

No, but it makes us feel better.

Along the same thread of wants vs needs, I present to you my collection of makeup brushes. 13 brushes in total, 3 of which are repeated.

Yes, I have 10 different makeup brushes for someone who doesn't put on makeup everyday. These does not include the puffs and sponges I do use whenever I decide to doll up.
In my defense, I point to the cosmetics industry and their perchant to advertise makeup brushes as necessary tools.

Extract of iNuovi Cosmetics' brochure

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Clothes transformation: Black & boring to punk & edgy

I love black capris and pants. They go with everything, minimise attention to the lower body and are low maintenance. But black pants start de-evolving into a mouldy shabby black hue after sometime. In order to revive a pair of my old black capris, I decided to decorate it up somewhat.

The black capris were made out of a tough, denim-like material and that inspired a punk look. I still might just cut holes in the capris for an even grunger look.

1) Test bleach on a sample of the clothing. I hemmed the length of the capris and used the excess material to test how the bleach will look on the cloth.

2) Spread old newspapers on the floor and your intended workarea. Make sure it is not in an enclosed space, the fumes from the bleach can be quite toxic. Pour out some bleach into a container and dip a brush into the container (typical art supply brush shown here).

3) As I wanted to create the effect only on certain areas of the pants and to shape the areas of which the effect will be seen, I covered some areas with newspapers. Flick the wet brush onto the exposed area. After a few flicks, wait for the bleach to take effect before dipping the brush into bleach and repeating.

4) The pants will look somewhat like this. Here the effect is only on a vertical stripe as I only covered the rest of the capris with newspapers. Once satisfied with the effect, continue to do another area until satisfied.

Finished product

Close-up of the effect

Difficulty level: 1 out of 5
Machine sewing needed: No

Monday, August 24, 2009

Clothes transformation: Long skirt to summer dress

What are the ways to transform a skirt?

I loved the colour and the asymmetrical hem of this skirt but didn't like the length. After languishing in my closet for a while, I decided to do something so that I would wear it more often.

Original long skirt

With the help of parts from another dress, I decided to sew straps to the waistline of the skirt and to create a sash out of the same material. The straps and sash were a deep magenta pink, which matched the purple accents in the paisley design of the skirt.

Straps sewn on skirt and accompanying sash

In addition, I decided to use a cute ribbon brooch to secure the sash in place. In the above picture, the yellow & brown ribbon brooch is on the left and sash on the right.

How it looks when you secure the sash

The final look

Difficulty level: 1 out of 5

Machine sewing needed: No