Friday, November 21, 2008

I Did It!

I have finally become confident enough in my sewing abilities to try selling my creations. I have always loved sewing, but knew very little about it. Over the past year I have gotten serious about learning. It never occurred to me that I could learn it all online. I found the threadbanger website over a year ago, and it opened a whole new world to me! I thought nobody sewed anymore. I definitely didn't know the internet could teach me everything I needed to know. I'm not saying I know it all now, but I no longer consider myself a beginner.

Besides a few aprons, I haven't made anything with a pattern until a couple of weeks ago. I learned how to read a pattern in school, but even then I didn't finish what I was working on. I usually do reconstructed clothing for myself, and that has gone well, but I am psyched about these two dresses I've done! One is with a pattern, and one without. I have put both in my shop, so I've got my fingers crossed!

I made this one from a pattern I found at the thrift store. I didn't realize it was only in one size when I bought it, so it's a little big on me. I decided it was good enough to sell, so I put it in my shop. (It's not really doing me any good in the wrong size anyway) It hasn't sold yet, but I'm hopeful. There doesn't seem to be as much competition in the clothing section of etsy as the jewelry. With one posting I got about 90 views as opposed to about 15 with my jewelry.
This may be my favorite reconstruction. I got the inspiration from a tutorial on threadbanger. It was a dress from two button down shirts too, but with an elastic waist and some ruffled detailing on the top. It was really awesome, so I had to try it. I'll find the post later and add a link. Anyway, I didn't want the elastic waist, so I left it out. Since I didn't use elastic I did pin tucks on the front and back to give it some shape. The neck and arm holes are bound with bias tape that I hand made from the leftover skirt material. This was also my first successful attempt at handmade bias tape that worked. That was really awesome! Enough of my talking, let me show this thing off!

I was extremely lucky enough to get a large box full of xxl men's shirts. I can't wait to make more of these! Hopefully the girls will give me a chance to make another. One of the shirts is red and green plaid. I'd like to use a white shirt for the top and the red and green one for the bottom. I'm gonna do it a little different though, maybe a fuller skirt. I think it would be great for Christmas. If it works out I'll be sure to post it. Sorry for the long post. I'm just really excited. Thanks for reading!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Paper Jewelry

I have been trying to find a way to incorporate my love of reusing things in my jewelry. Finally, by complete accident, it hit me. I was making some earrings with paper charms and needed some extra paper to back them for added strength. I decided to use a cup o noodle package to back them and cut out my shapes. When I was done I realized that the cup o noodle package looked better than the paper I was gonna use in the first place. So, my cup o noodle earrings were born! I also made some with a beer package of my hubby's that I saved.

These are so simple to make. Once you get the hang of it you'll be looking at your cereal box in a whole new light.

There are several ways to make these depending on whether or not you have a die cut tool/machine. I'm gonna show you how to make them with a die cut tool, and one method without. Another option for cutting is paper punches. I don't have any of these, so I'm not gonna show that way, but you can get them with the paper crafting supplies at the craft store in many shapes and sizes.

You'll need:
die cut tool, or scissors and pencil
old paper packaging
card stock (optional)
hard finish modge podge
foam brush
hoop earrings

for a necklace/pendant you'll need a jump ring and some pliers

If using the die cut tool follow the directions that came with it to cut out your shape. I had to cut the package to fit through the machine. You'll need two for earrings or one for a necklace. Also cut out the backing pieces from your card stock or remaining packaging. If the shape you are using is not symmetrical, like mine, be sure to cut your backing pieces from the opposite side you cut your front pieces so they'll line up when glued together. I still make this mistake.
You will now have two front and two back pieces.
If you do not have a die cutting tool/machine you can cut out a design by hand. For this tutorial I cut a design out of a package by simply following the design. You could also use a stencil or a compass to draw a shape on the back of the package and cut that out. Here's what I used.
If you want to back these, lay them on a piece of paper and trace around the shape. If your paper has a design you want to show on the back make sure you trace your shape on the back side of the design. Now cut out the shapes you traced.
The next steps are the same for either method you are using.

If you are covering the backs, just brush some modge podge, or another glue, to the wrong side of the back piece and attach the front and back pieces together. You only need a thin coat or it will run out the sides and make a big mess. Make sure the two pieces line up well. Let this sit until dry. For the pieces I cut with scissors the backing piece came out a little bigger than the front. After I glued them together and they dried I cut off the excess with an exacto knife. You may have to do the same with yours.

Next, coat the fronts with a thin layer of hard finish modge podge. Basically that's just what I had on hand, but you could also spray them with a clear coat spray paint to seal them. Let these sit until dry. Then do the same to the backs.

Last, decide where you want the top to be of each piece and punch a hole with a small hole punch. Slide them on a hoop earring, and your all done!

For a pendant you will need to put a jump ring in the hole so that it can be hung from a necklace.
Using pliers, twist the jump ring open. Don't pull the ends apart. Slip the jump ring through the hole and twist it back closed.

Tips: I don't recommend using thin paper (like printer paper) because it will wrinkle up when glued.

Get creative! I'm gonna try using fabric scraps for this too. If it works I'll let ya know.

I love making these. I won't throw away any package now without assessing whether or not it can be used. I love that I'm keeping at least a little bit of trash out of the landfill and giving it another life. Please feel free to make as many of these as you like, for personal use or profit. The more people recycling the better!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Buttons, Buttons, Buttons!

I have fallen in love with button jewelry! I love button bracelets in particular, but have been making earrings too. They are as fun to create as they are to wear. Here are some things that I've made with buttons.

All of these, and a few others, can be found at my shop But, if you want to make some for yourself, I'm gonna tell ya how. The best part about button jewelry is that buttons come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. You can achieve many different looks with the same simple technique.

First, get your supplies. For a button charm bracelet you'll need: buttons (of course), pre-assembled chain bracelet, jump rings (size needed to fit through button holes), pliers.

The chain bracelet can be found at your local craft store with the jewelry making supplies. They already have a clasp attached and save you an extra step. The jump rings are also sold with the jewelry making supplies, and come in several different sizes. I just kinda eye ball it on the size, and this will vary depending on the size of your buttons. The diameter of the jump ring should be wider than the distance from one button hole to the outer edge of the button. I use chain nose and bent nose pliers to open my jump rings. If you are new to jewelry making and plan to keep up this hobby, I recommend you get a set of pliers. I got a five piece set for about $10 at Joann's, and they are still working fine a year later. If you only plan to make this one piece of jewelry, however, you can use regular needle nose pliers.

Finally, making the bracelet! Use your pliers to open a jump ring. Do this by gently twisting the jump ring open. Do not pull the ends away from each other.
Next, pick out a button and slip the jump ring through one of the button holes.
Then, put the jump ring through a link in your bracelet chain and twist the jump ring closed. Add as many or as few buttons as you like in the same way, and your done!

Wow, it took me longer to explain the supplies than the actual process. Sorry for the lack of pictures. Next time I make a piece I'll try to remember to take pictures of each step. Thanks for reading, and I hope I inspired you to get creative!