May 2, 2012: How to dye a garment

For the past month or so I have been searching for the perfect navy or black blazer. I wanted something light and casual, but dark in color to make my outfits a little more formal if I needed it. I finally was able to find a nice linen blazer that actually fit me pretty well (I’ve found it’s hard for a petite woman to find a jacket that fits correctly!) and was inexpensive to boot. The only problem was that it was a dull mid-blue color, and I really wanted something dark. I went ahead and bought the jacket, and decided to try my hand at dyeing it, and I am happy with how it turned out! The details are below:

What I used

-A garment to dye (in this case a jacket)

-One bottle of Rit dye (under $3 at Walmart)

-Table salt

-A large bucket

-A long metal kitchen spoon

What I did

I simply followed the directions on the bottle of Rit dye. For some fabrics it suggests you add either salt or vinegar. Because my garment was linen, it required I add a cup of salt to 3 gallons of hot water. After mixing the salt in with the water, I added about half of the bottle of dye, and mixed it well. I then added the jacket and stirred the garment at regular intervals.

Apparently you can dye the garment in your washing machine, but that made me a bit nervous so I opted for the bucket method. Once the jacket had been in the dye for almost an hour I was happy with the color and rinsed it with cool running water in my kitchen sink until the water ran clear. I then washed it in my washing machine with detergent and set it out to air dry.

The finished jacket! It is comfortable, light and just the right color. I may try this in a few weeks with white jeans. I just need to decide on a color :)

February 3, 2012: Simple homemade onesie for my (almost) one-year-old!

My son’s first birthday is coming up quickly and we are having a small family gathering to celebrate this coming Saturday. I have seen some really cute onesies with the number “1” on them in several stores and decided I could make my own by repurposing a slightly stained onesie we already have. The nice thing is, the “1” just happens to cover the stain! This is certainly a project (covering stains with other pieces of fabric, that is) I am pretty sure I’ll do a lot in my life as mom. Here’s the tutorial:

What you need:

  • A onesie
  • A fabric swatch (approximately and inch larger all around than the shape you hope to make)
  • Scissors
  • An iron
  • A sewing machine, or needle and thread
Here’s how I did it:

I first held up the onesie to my son to get a rough estimate of where the onesie meets his pants. I kept my finger there and marked it with a small pencil dot.

Next I put the fabric swatch over the area to choose how big the “1” would need to be.

This next step is important. The first time I did this, I flipped over the fabric so the back side was up, and then I penciled out a “1”…that was correctly facing me. When I flipped it back over, I had a backward “1”! Oops :) So, needless to say: Flip the fabric so the back side is facing up, and pencil out your shape backward.

Next, I clipped the corners and folded each side down, ironing them into place.

I safety-pinned the “1” to the onesie so it wouldn’t move (it actually did move a bit and it is slightly uneven…and I don’t have enough time to be obsessing over the slightly crooked 1 on my son’s shirt. It’ll still be cute!), so I would recommend maybe three pins.

I started at the top and sewed down.

Left the needle down and turned the fabric. I kept doing this until I had sewed all around the fabric and carefully back-stitched.

And there it is!

January 29, 2012: Sweater remake

As one of my goals this year is to repurpose items that I don’t use into things that I will use, I decided to try changing a pullover sweater I never wear (that I’ve had since high school!) into a an open sweater that I can just shrug on and off. I am not an amazing seamstress, but I think this project turned out well for me, and I am very happy with it!

Here’s what I used:

  • An old pullover sweater
  • A sewing machine
  • Scissors
  • A needle and thread

Here’s what I did (see photos below):

  1. I separated the “v” at the bottom of the neckline and cut along the horizontal seam, separating the two folds making them into “tabs.”
  2. Then, I found the middle of the sweater and cut a straight line vertically, following the knitted pattern down the length of the sweater.
  3. Next, I re-sewed the bottom horizontal section of the “v”, then  folded the raw vertical edge under and sewed.
  4. I then folded the “v” in such a way that the folded part at the top of the neckline slowly tapered down to the end. I sewed it horizontally, then vertically to ensure it would stay.

Finally, the base of the neckline wanted to turn out and expose the seams on the inside, so I simply got some black thread and tacked down the edge of the fold so that it tapered smoothly. And there you have it, a repurposed sweater!


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