Sunday, September 30, 2012

Hemming And Hawing.

My first time hemming dress pants was today and I have to say it wasn't as hard as I thought it was going to be.  My pants are so long and they drag on the ground and wear out and even rip.  It's a sad state of things.  I have been meaning to take them to the dry cleaners and have them taken up, but I have a lot of pants and that would cost a lot!  I have this pretty nice sewing machine with all sorts of different chotchkies to do various stitches.  I figured it's time to learn how to do it myself!  If I can make a handbag, I can hem pants, darn it!  Turns out, it worked out that way.

If it were not for the internet and youtube, it would have taken a lot longer.  I'm a visualist and I needed to see how the pant hem gets folded for the blind hem stitch.  It's hard to visualize from the illustrations I've seen.  I found this great tutorital for that part of the process: Niler Taylor.  Thank you Niler! 

Anyway, there are a lot of videos on youtube that show you how to measure and cut and then hem but I had to get bits and pieces from various places to do it the way I wanted. 

Here's what I did.  I put the pants on and with shoes I normally wear them with and folded the hem under and pinned.  I readjusted to make sure they weren't too short (that would be bad).  I took the pants off, turned it inside out and measured the pinned material.  Once I found a measurement that looked good, in my case it was 3 inches folded up, I ironed to create the new bottom crease (do not iron with pins in).  Then I put the pants back on with the shoes for another spot check.  Once happy with the length, I again turned it inside out. Please measure and check multiple times!!!! I then cut the old crease to take off excess material.  Now I used my sewing machine to seam the just cut raw edge using the seam/overcast stitch.  That stitch makes a nice edge.  The next step is to fold the new crease and pin.  If you watch the video I mentioned earlier, you will see that the pins are pinned vertically instead of the usual horizontal pinning (like when pinning two pieces together). The vertical pinning makes the next step very easy.  Taking the folded and pinned crease you just worked on, fold the pinned material inward so the vertical pin heads stick up and the seemed/overcasted edge is on the inside ring of the pant leg and sticking up underneath the pinned material.  See video.  Once, I folded the inside-out-newly-creased-pinned pant hem, I then used the blind hem stitch on my sewing machine to create the blind hem.  The video does a great job of illustrating all of this much better than I ever could.  After sewing all of my pant legs with the blind hem stitch, I turned the pants right side out and ironed the new hem.  Of course, I tried the pants on again with shoes just to make sure everything went okay.  Happily, my first round of hemming went swimmingly! 

Close up of inside, newly cut and newly seemed/overcasted edge connected to outside by blind hem stitch.  Really good view of the seem/overcasting but not so great view for blind hem stitch.

 Here is what the blind hem stitch looks like on the outside of the pants

In addition to shortening my pants, I had another pair that had a cuff at the bottom that I used to get my high heel caught in all the time and almost killed myself a few times.  That cuff had to go.  Turning cuffed pants into uncuffed pants is really easy if you don't have to shorten them.  I left the original hem alone and just undid the cuff.  Then I ironed out the crease as much as possible so that I could then fold the cuff part inside the pant and iron the same crease but just going inside instead of the original oustide fold.  Once that was done, I used the blind hem stitch.  I did not have to use the seam/overcast stitch because the orginal cuff edge was already finished and flat. After sewing the blind hem, I ironed right side out again.  Worked like a charm! 

These were the cuff pants and now as you can see are not cuffed!  Blind hem stitch doesn't really show on the outside.  See here.

 I feel like I have new pants now.  I have a whole lot more to do but now I know how to do it so it should go faster!  Just remember these methods are more for dress pants than for hemming jeans.  But you can find youtube videos on that too!

I hope this post helps give the bigger picture of what to do.  Happy hemming and hawing!

Thanks for stopping by and Stay tuned for more creativity!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Third Times A Charm.

Or another ring!  As I've said before, I'm a collector of things and one is usually just not enough for me.  I guess it could be worse.  In the meantime though, I thoroughly enjoy all of my pretty things. And as you can surmise, I especially enjoy making pretty things.

During my hunt for seed beading supplies, I happened upon this spectacular crystal rhinestone in a tanzanite color.  Oh how it sparkles!  And it's fairly large, okay, it's huge!  That was it, I knew I had to make another seed bead ring.  I absolutely love it!

Here it is along the way to being fabulous.

Here it is as: Fabulousity!

Thanks for stopping by and Stay tuned for more creativity!

Oops, I Did It Again.

When I posted about my gorgeous seed bead ring that I made, I know I said: "Not sure I'll be doing seed bead jewelry too much." Then I said something about needing a lot of patience.... As it turns out, I was so wrong and I have a lot more patience than the large amount of patience I thought I had. 

You know that photo collage I've been working on?  You know that painted cabinet I was going to paint over in areas?  And all of the other projects you don't even know about yet, they have all taken a back seat to seed bead jewelry making.  Who would have ever believed it! 

With that, I am so excited about the rings (yes, plural) that I've been making.  I finished two of them and have six more in the various stages.  Oops!

I love, love, love labradorite!  I have posted about that before.  Labradorite is such a special stone, the flashes of glowing blues and greens and yellows too.  Recently, I was perusing the jewelry case at TJ Maxx and happened upon this ring on clearance.  A large faceted labradorite stone surrounded by metal.  I didn't love the light gold metal on the ring, but I really loved the stone.  I've been looking for a labradorite ring to call my own but hadn't found the right one.  As I was deciding if I should get the ring that was so cheap, I got The Idea! So here's kind of how it went - I bought it.  Took it home.  Took out my jewelry saw.  Sawed open the metal.  Got the stone out.  One little piece of the stone was cracked and I knew it was being held in place by the setting. Oh well.  I still love the stone.  Then I got to work on my second seed bead ring design.  Of course, when I was buying supplies at the bead store in Nanuet, NY called Beads Mosaic, I found a bunch of other things to make.  I'm talking about my third ring, fourth ring, fifth ring....More on that later.  Okay, we really need some pictures.

Labradorite Stone
The stone glued to the stabilizer which is glued to the metal adjustable ring. Read my post A Whole New World for more details on how to assemble.

The ring!
Look at that flash of color!  Art is messy and you can see a little preview of my other rings in the background.  I think I'll stop here and leave the third ring for my next post.
Thanks for stopping by and Stay tuned for more creativity!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Circle, Circle, Dot, Dot.

In my post Office Space I showed you the metal circle wall hanging that I am going to be putting up in my office at work. I had gotten so far as to spray paint the piece white.  Here's a reminder of what it looks like.

The next step was to get matte board large enough to fill the circles.  I got really lucky at A.C. Moore.  They had really large silver matte board and after a few attempts at tracing the circles on the back of the board so that I could use just one board, I was able to make it work.  I initially forgot that because I was tracing on the wrong side of the board, when I turned the board over, the shape would be reversed.  Thank god, I figured that out before I started cutting!  Don't they look like warped Mickey Mouse heads?

Next step was to remove those candle holders hanging in most of the circles by hinges.  I thought I could somehow hammer out the hinge pins and the holder would come right off.  Well, I thought wrong.  Then, I got out my jewelry saw which came in so handy before, but alas, there wasn't enough room to use that tool either.  I will admit, I was getting frustrated.  Then I decided to try brute force and it worked!  I took the holders one by one and bent them forward and back - over and over - until finally, the metal weakened and the holder came off of the hinge.  I messed up my paint job and my hands were killing me afterwards, but off they were! 

Here is the new and improved metal circle photo collage on its way to being awesome!

Get the picture?  I went back to A.C. Moore and bought a bunch of white photo mattes in various sizes and my next task is to cut out the holes in the silver matte board for the individual white photo mattes.  I have picked out most of the photos I am going to display.  Don't you think it's going to look great?  Only trouble is, I will have to carry the metal wall hanging on my shoulder down the street to the Metro North train stop and find a seat where I can put this thing and then carry it through Grand Central to my building.  Luckily, my building isn't far at all and I figure I'll take a less crowded train so less people will look at me like I have five heads.  I will have to assemble at work.  It's going to be worth the pain though! 

Thanks for stopping by and Stay tuned for more creativity!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Handbag Candy

All of the designer handbags I covet have beautiful shiny hardware with logos up the whazoo!  I would love to have my own proprietary hardware but since I'm not manufacturing en mass and I'm not Gucci or Marc Jacobs, I have to get creative.  Good thing I'm pretty darn creative!

Let me back up for a moment.  A few years back, I was in Petco buying supplies and I noticed these large rhinestone letters (sparkly and shiny - how could I resist) that slide onto leather pet collars.  People can spell out their pet's names or whatever they want.  Very cute idea.  If I was a cat or dog, I would love to wear one of those!  Of course, that doesn't stop me from wanting to wear them somehow, so I bought my initials and thought I might make myself a funky necklace or something.  That never happened but I kept the letters anyway.  Okay, fast forward again.  I'm working on my third handbag and I was lamenting on the lack of proprietary hardware.  See, I need to leave my mark, my signature on my bags.  But how to do it!  Then the light bulb went on over my head and I remembered the rhinestone letters!  My new handbag will have the initials incorporated in the design.  It's gonna look cool!  But how to do the same for my previous two handbags?  There really wasn't any good place on the finished bags to attach the initials to.  Then I had it!  Bag candy!  I'll accessorize the handbag. A few shiny objects put together in a cool way and voila!  Okay, enough talk - Handbag CANDY!  And it's a keychain too!

The Ilana Graf Jacket Bag (Black Leather)
The Ilana Graf Jacket Bag (Faux Red snake)
Another way to wear it - Handbag Bracelet!
Thanks for stopping by and Stay tuned for more creativity!