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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Halloween Costume

Alright, it's extremely belated, but I finally sat down to write this post with all you beloved readers in mind...*sniff*...every time I get another view, my heart is touched. 

The concept for this costume was kind of loose. I've wanted to make wings like this for a very long time, but haven't been able to come up with a good enough excuse to do so...until Halloween! The excuse for all things!! (hey, I think that almost rhymed!!)

I found the most perfect fabric at the store and just had to get it. You know how it is. 

This is what I started with, but later took in the sides, hemmed it and shortened the sleeves. 

The bodice and sleeves are from the tunic I made for my mom, with a 1/2 circle skirt attached. 

The fabric is thick and sturdy, so the skirt has a great shape it and moves beautifully when I walk. 

All the top stitching was done in gray thread to make the dress match...

...the wings!

Originally, the wings were going to have more gray in them, but I just couldn't find felt in a shade of gray that worked with this, so I stuck with blue. 

To pattern the wings, I measured my armspan and then from the nape of my neck to the small of my back (mom had to help with this part). Super simple and easy to recreate.

You might recognize the floral fabric from a dress I made earlier this year.

I put elastic on the end of the wings to slip my hands through to keep them on and it ties around my neck with some silver satin ribbon.

So, there you go! A quick, comfy Halloween costume, and I'm definitely recycling the wings and dress for other things. 

Stay tuned, everyone! There's some Winter Break crafting projects coming up soon. 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Thing 1 T-Shirt

When my family went to NYC last summer, my brothers and I found matching Thing 1, 2 and 3 shirts at a street fair. But of course, they were of the "unisex" variety, so I got mine a couple sizes too big so I could do something with it.

I decided to use the t-shirt pattern that I patterned from an old shirt a while ago. Unfortunately, there wasn't quite enough fabric in the Thing 1 shirt, so I added panels of another fabric to the sides.

The fabric I used for the panels was this nice, stretchy black knit, which was nice since t-shirts from street fairs aren't exactly famous for their high fabric quality and comfort. 

I decided to do a contrast binding on the neckline to give the shirt more pop. I really liked the way the different color sections turned out!

My brother started high school at my school this year, so we decided to go matching!!

There we are! (Mom, don't cry when you see this photo. Also, I downloaded it off your Facebook page, so this is a lesson to everyone! When you put photos online, anyone can take them!)

Winter break is coming up...so be expecting some extra posts as my holiday present to you!
Love, Taft 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Blue Alabama Chanin Tank Top

Here's your late Thanksgiving present...an extra blog post! Yay!

Remember all those Alabama Chanin clothes I've made? Well, Natalie also has a beautiful tank top pattern that I love to wear. I've made a white one and a green one before (didn't blog about them, but I might post photos later), but this is the very first one I ever made (well, first one I started). 

The entire garment is hand-stitched, including the fancy stitching on the neckline and around the armhole. 

It's called a rosebud stitch; I learned it from that Alabama Chanin book I love. 

Here's the back:

The fabric is soooooo soft. I got it at Britex for my first Alabama Chanin project. Expensive, but damn. So freaking worth it. 

And the inside:

I think I should go in and clip the tails on the threads shorter so they're not poking out along the neckline and armhole.

Can't wait for the next Alabama Chanin project!
-Taft WK

Saturday, December 6, 2014

New York Fashion Week (...wait for it...)


Whew. Really just had to get that out of the way in the beginning. You'll thank me later.

But in all seriousness, I really am going to New York! My dad gave me a plane ticket to NYC, as Fashion Week happily coincides with our President's Week Break (more commonly known as Ski Week). He, being the jokester that he is, laser printed the message, so I had to wait ONE AND A HALF HOURS to find out what the tickets were for. I have never felt so much anxiety!

ASDFGJKLGKDSLSL. I just lose all capacity for speech every time I think about it. 

However, this is where you guys come in. I have a plane ticket (and maybe a buddy to come with me), but I don't have a place to stay and (through research) I have found out that you need to be invited to the shows or pay an $80 fee just to apply to maybe get invited (I'm a broke teenager and that ain't happenin'). 

So I need your help. Does anyone have contacts in the fashion industry who could get me into a show? Youth hostel recommendations? Excellent museums to visit? The best taco truck in Brooklyn? Your favorite street murals? The most banging thrift store in the tri state area?

Let me know. You can leave a note in the comments or email me at makingtembo@gmail.com. 

I'm counting down the days, my loves! 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Altered T-Shirts: Swim Cover Up

As you know, I went to summer camp a couple months ago (and went into sewing withdrawal) where I did a LOT of swimming. Before I left, I needed a new swimsuit coverup, because my other one was white (not going to fly at camp, where everything gets dirty) with some mysterious stains (just doesn't fly in general). 

The day, no, the night before I left, I decided to make my own. At this point, I'm considering naming my brand "Procrastination" (if I ever have one, that is). So, at 9 PM I pulled out this NYU shirt I got to remake to turn into a coverup.

(Apologizing in advance for poor photo quality. Like I said, late at night and bad lighting.)

Just your basic "unisex" t-shirt, oversized of course for maximum crafting possibilities.

I grabbed a t-shirt whose sleeve I like and traced it onto the NYU shirt:

I ended up adjusting it a bit later and rolling the sleeve up a bit, but this was the basic idea.

The sleeve's just tacked in place so it doesn't go anywhere.

I saw a picture of a technique like this somewhere and decided to put my own twist on it. I cut strips at the hem and tied them together in a pattern.

But of course I decided that wasn't enough and tied more t-shirt scraps onto those.

They're the hems cut off of other t-shirts, so each one has its own story. 

And this went on and on and on until 11 o'clock at night. 

It looks a little messy, but it was so fun to wear on the lawn! It's colorful and has movement and I love that so many projects are represented in this piece.

There wasn't an even number of second row knots, so the front has a gap, but I kind of like it that way. It meant that the hem didn't hinder running/playing/etc while I was at camp.

I also cut a lot of fabric out of the neck so I could pull it on/off easily before and after swimming. I ended up cutting too much, though, and sewed a strap across the back at camp (cut from the bottom of a t-shirt I had there). 

I loved wearing it at camp and I got some great compliments. Can't wait to wear it again next year!

-Taft WK

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Beige Striped Skirt

I don't know about everyone else, but my fabric stash is overwhelmingly huge. What I keep in the cupboard hardly fits in there, and it's expanded to my bedroom and a second cupboard. I had the day off (Yay! Summer math classes are over! My inner nerd is crying, but now I have all the time in the world for sewing!) so I went hunting through the cupboard for something to do. After spending an hour trying to fix a project I'd messed up a while ago, I went back to the cupboard and found this fabric (Fabric Outlet, 40% off sale probably). And remembered that I've been meaning to make a half-circle skirt pattern. And realized this fabric would be perfect. And thought, why the heck not?

10 minutes later (why I love circle skirts: they're so fast!) I had a pattern and was cutting it out. I made a waistband out of some leftover fabric and put some elastic in. 

I did have to make some adjustments to the back seam, so the pattern wasn't perfect. I think that next time I make it, I'm not going to cut it on the fold, but instead do it in two pieces with side seams. 

AND, the fabric is slightly see-through! Again! Freaking again! Why does this keep happening to me?!

Anywho, stay in touch readers. I think a black circle skirt is in order after my dog clawed up the last one....

-Taft W-K

P.S. I did end up making a black circle skirt, but I made it too long, cut it and now it's too short. *sigh* Maybe one day I'll get this right...

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

White Maxi Skirt

I just loooooove maxi skirts! They're soft, fun to wear and so easy to quickly pull on in the morning when you slept in and are late for school (Who? What? Late for school? Psshhh, not me....). I made yet another maxi skirt from my favorite Alabama Chanin Pattern (here's one from last summer) out of this really cool white polka-dot tissue knit I picked up at Fabric Outlet (during a 40% off sale, of course!). 

The tissue knit was see through, so I made a little skirt with the Short Skirt pattern from the same book to go under it. The two are sewed together at the waistband.

The waistband is really basic, folded over with elastic. I sewing this one with a zig-zag stitch so it could stretch.

Technically, all the Alabama Chanin patterns are made to be hand-sewn, but I'm kind of a cheater. I normally machine stitch the inside seams, but fell them by hand. That way, you get the sturdiness of a garment sewn by hand, but can still see some beautiful hand stitching on the outside.

For this one, I didn't fell the seams because the fabric was reeeeaaallly stretchy and the straight, non-stretch running stitch would not have worked. At all.

The back is marked with some polka dot ribbon (Yay! Ribbon!) and a B, but that's in the magical fabric marker that disappears after being washed (Love it! Use it all the time!)

And here's the back, just for some closure:

As always, I chopped about 6 inches off the hem, plus the train, cause I definitely don't want white fabric dragging on the ground. 

Well, there ya go! I'm definitely going to be wearing this one often during SF's fall heat wave.

-Taft WK

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Summer Camp Henna

Alright, blog posts are really backed up from the summer, so I've still got more summer crafting for you! And it comes straight from summer camp!

I went to Yosemite for a week with my family to Camp Mather, a family camp run by SF Parks and Rec. To most people, this is "Yay! A week in nature to swim and eat sugary food and get tan and have fun!" but for me it was "Aw $h!t. A whole week without sewing."

I would have brought some hand sewing projects buuuuut...it's camp. It would have come back dirty and unrecognizable. Two days in, I was officially in sewing withdrawal. Whenever I sat down, my hands would twitch towards my bag to pull out something to sew. And then I would remember there was nothing to sew. And then I wanted to cry.

Luckily, my friend brought henna! She is my saving grace. The only thing that got me through the sewing withdrawal was drawing on myself with weird herb gunk (seriously, what exactly is in henna?).
My legs were covered, so was my left arm (cause I'm right-handed! Fun fact!). 

Here's a mandala/flower-esque thingy I did on my leg. None of the henna I did was ever planned, it just kind of...happened. I added onto designs when I was bored and made new ones 5 minutes later. This specific one was added onto for a couple days as people gave suggestions and I took inspiration from a shirt with a similar design I was wearing.

A wavy thingy on my foot. My friend had something similar, so I took the idea and did something a little different.

I also kind of had an arrow-theme going on (there's another one coming up). The one on my forearm prompted lots of Katniss jokes. It's half-dried, that's why it's all cracked and messed up looking. 

Another, more decorated arrow (it's midway through drying and flaking off, so it looks a little splotchy). There's also that little vine on my foot, which stayed on forever. It was kind of weird what stayed and what didn't; some things just disappeared after two days, but there were some designs that lasted more than two weeks. 

I also had a vine wrapping around the entirety of my left leg, but that was done early in the week and faded quickly.

So what did all of your summer crafting projects look like? And how was camp?

-Taft WK

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Blue Tunic for Mom

Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me...I'm sixteen, y'alls! I can drive now! Isn't that exciting? Except for the part where I can't actually drive cause I haven't learned yet. Meh, all in good time.

Anywho, we're gonna celebrate my birthday by a) posting an extra blog post! and b) talking about my mom and the things I make for her! Because I wouldn't be able to make things if it weren't for her. Cue the "awwww, that's do sweet!". Lets cut the sappy and get to the crafty, okay?

My mom has this tunic that she loves so much and wore until it was so old and ratty, it was too embarassing to wear (it kind of runs in the family, huh?). She asked me to pattern it so we could make some cool, funky tunics in different colors and patterns. 

Same as with the North Face tee, I cut apart the garment and traced the different pieces. Mom picked out this awesome blue fabric at the store, but I'm not really sure what it is. It's a little bit stretchy, but the wrong-side doesn't look like a knit...I don't know. But it still worked for the tunic and she loves it!

There's still a few adjustments to take care of. She wants it a little longer so she can wear leggings with it and wants a couple different neckline variations so not all her tunics look the same. I'm also not totally in love with the fit around the armhole, shoulder and bust. I'm going to mess around with that a little bit until it fits perfectly.

(You can really see from the back how the shoulder area is a bit weird.)

The neckline was finished with a facing and next is my favorite part...

Eeeeeek! I just love the finishing on the back of the tunic! Mom and I both love a pop of color (especially linings and finishings) so I thought she would love this hot pink ribbon on the inside. And it serves a purpose! I just love things that look good and work well. 

All in all, not bad for a first try, huh? Mom already took me back to the store to get more fabric for these tunics, so be on the look out for more!

-Taft W-K