Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Old T Shirts = New Skirts, Another Refashion Adventure!

T-Shirt Skirt:  Shipyard Brewing Company Wheat Ale/Summer AleI love taking something old and out of date, or out of fashion and making something new out of it.  I wish I had more time to play in my sewing room.  It's so run to create new things.  Refashion is a passion of mine!  I have refashioned old clothes, sweatshirts and more.  Recently, I came across a cute skirt on Etsy.  I don't even remember what I was originally looking for!  This skirt is adorable!   I knew I wanted one for myself. This particular skirt wasn't my size. If you want to see the skirts she has for sale, click on the photo.  I wrote to the seller to ask her if she sold directions.  She was so sweet!  She told me about the book that inspired her.   I ordered it right away!!  And, then I ordered another one for my granddaughter!

 There are a ton of ideas in this book.  Most of them are for a younger person (than me), but the ideas really open up a whole lot of creative thought about what you can do with old T Shirts.  If you want to read more about this book, click on the picture.

Rather than throw them away because they have a stain or a tear, why not take that old, used T Shirt and refashion it in to something brand new.  Something wonderful!!  Something totally fun! 

I went through my old clothes and gathered anything that was made of T Shirt material.  I started to see my T Shirts as a new fabric source. 

Let me tell you.  I have a lot of T Shirts that I don't wear anymore.  I'm so glad that I didn't get rid of them!  

I piled them on my sewing table and sorted by color.  

I chose three T Shirts to combine for my first, experimental skirt.  I thought that these patterns would look great together.  I love black.  You can never go wrong with black.  The T Shirt in the middle was never even worn.  When I got it home, the pattern was just to big and too overwhelming for me.  Now it's going to be perfect for my new skirt. 

After the T Shirts were chosen, I cut them open all the way on the sides. 

Next, I made a pattern piece.  I used some heavy paper that I already had.  I used the measurement from the book.  I believe it was my waist, plus four inches, divided by six.  I made the top of the pattern piece slightly smaller than the bottom to give the skirt some flare.  

I used weights whenever I can get away with not pinning.  I simply laid my pattern piece on the fabric to my liking.  I wanted to get as much of the design as I could, but I also hoped to have enough design for perhaps another piece or a pocket.  That's why I didn't lay my pattern piece right in the middle.

Cut it out. 

There you have it.  My first pattern piece.  Repeat six times.

Side note.  When I showed my finished skirt to my daughter, she thought it was too narrow for her taste.   I agreed.  My second pattern piece was much wider at the bottom.  My third try was wider still.  The third skirt with the wider bottom has the most "flare" and is my favorite!

Next, take each pattern piece and pin them to each other.  I did them one at a time.  Pin two pieces together.  Sew.  Pin the then piece, LOOK AT IT before you sew.  Make sure that it looks the way you want it.  You can change the order of the pieces.  I chose to alternate solid and prints.

Here is my first skirt before I sewed the final pieces together.  I was satisfied with the result.   

I used my serger for this project, but you can use a zigzag stitch on your sewing machine.  The book even shows people how to hand sew their project.  Side note.  The serger I have is from Walmart.  I have read lots of comments telling folks to avoid this machine.  I disagree.  It's really affordable (under $200).  The better machines are a REAL investment.  Walmart offers a 3 year warranty on the machine for only $20.  For $200, you will have a serger for at least three years.  That's worth it to me.  It's complicated to thread, but after you've done it a few times, it's not so bad.

I made the waist band from the bottom of a T Shirt.  I just measured about four inches tall.  For the width, take your actual waist measurement and add an inch.  That should be fine.

I folded the piece in half longways and sewed it to the top of the skirt, right sides together.  

I made my own little adjustment here that was not in the book.  I snipped a little opening on the side and inserted a piece of elastic about half the size of my waist with a long piece of ribbon on each end.  The ribbon hangs out of the opening and it tied in a bow.  This gives me a very comfortable and adjustable waist band.  And, the ribbon is a pretty touch.  

Here is my finished skirt.  Front. 


Option.  I thought it might be fun to add a pocket.  As a photographer, I'm always wanting more pockets.  Who wouldn't want extra pockets?  They were easy to add and they come in very handy.  I have plans for more pocket ideas in the future, so check back.

Okay.  Truth.  After I piled all of those T Shirts on my table, I didn't actually "like" them.  So, I went to the store to buy some cheap T Shirts for my next skirt.  Guess what?  I discovered that the larger size T Shirts have a LOT more fabric for the same price!  I bought the largest sizes I could find.  Woo Hoo!

I have made three skirts for myself and they are my FAVORITE thing to wear. So So Comfy!  And cute!  I get compliments on them every time!
here are all three.

I love my skirts so much!  I wear them as is and I love to put on leggings if it's chilly.  

On a recent visit to my son's house, I made a skirt for both my granddaughters and my daughter in law.  Here they are modeling their skirts for you! 

I loved my skirt for hiking.  It was so comfy!  I want to make more in a variety of colors and patterns. 

If you make a skirt, I would love to see it!  Find me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram and share your pic!  If you like the skirt and don't want to make one, click on the first skirt above and you will find more skirts on Etsy....they are not made by me....but there are lots of choices!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Garden Wedding FIVE years ago today!!

Happy Anniversary to my beautiful daughter and her sweet hubby!  Five years is quite an accomplishment.  I'm so proud of them both!  When I look back on the past five years, it's been really great for them.  Of course they have had their trials.  Unexpected challenges, family tragedy, these things happen.  And, through it all they have only become closer.  They just moved into their own house with their new baby boy...the apple of my eye! 
For me, this day brings back memories of my daughter's wedding day.  This was one of the biggest days in my life.  Since the day she was born, I thought of giving her a perfect wedding.  When they got engaged, my first thought went to the wedding.  I know that a lot of couples host their own wedding.  I did not want that.  It was always my dream to give her a wedding and that is just what we did!
Together we looked for the perfect venue.  She wanted the place where they first met.  When I heard the prices, just to rent the garden, I was blown away.  That day an idea started to grow in my mind.  I wanted to host the wedding here, at my home.  It was a crazy, far fetched idea from the get go.  Our home isn't a show place and the landscape....well, there wasn't any landscape.  But, on the other hand, it's beautiful here.  Mother nature does some pretty great landscaping herself.  Once we took the venue out of the budget, it all started to seem much more "possible".
I went in to crazy organization mode.  I opened a joint account for my daughter and me and I started to make payments to it.  I had tons of "motherly advice" throughout this process.  My first piece of advice was to stay within the budget.  I didn't want her to spend a penny of her own money.  And, the budget was SMALL, let me tell you!  She and I got creative in many ways.  Her best friend made the cake.  She used airline tickets from her job as a flight attendant to barter on many things.  We did all the decorating ourselves.
For the reception, we got new gravel for the driveway.  That's where we put all the tables. My daughter chose a Wild Flower theme.  This was a fun theme to work with.  We decided that our wedding favors would be flower seeds for our guests to take home and plant in their gardens.  The funny thing that happened was, when we started to fill the little mesh bags, the seeds seemed more like powder and started to sift right out.  We didn't have a backup plan for this, so we just filled them as fast as we could and tried not to jostle them too much.  I'm not sure that anyone actually got home with flower seeds.  But, it was a fun idea.
One cool thing about a home wedding is that the rental place was happy to drop off a day early and pick up a day later.  There was no rush!  One of my regrets was not having a better portable bathroom.  I couldn't have 100 people flushing my toilet in my old house, so I needed the port-a-potty.  In hindsight I would have had more light out there.  We did have separate men's and women's.  But after dark, I should have had some pretty lights out there.
I loved the ceremony.  It  was the perfect day.  One of my favorite parts was my older son's singing.  I wish wish wish that I had recorded it.  We had a video camera.  Why oh why didn't we record the whole thing?
Now that we are in the wedding photography business (www.farrellphotography.net), we know so much more about weddings.  If we knew then what we know now, we would have hired a photographer.  We were lucky in many ways.  My husband is a gifted and talented photographer.  Even without knowing anything about wedding photography five years ago, he took awesome photos.  When you are in a wedding, you should NOT be the photographer.  I think the pressure, took away from his experience.  He couldn't just relax and enjoy the day, he had to cover it like it was his job.  We had other photographers too, our son, my brother in law, our nephew and a good friend.  Remember, this was before everyone had a cell phone camera.  We were so happy and delighted to have all these photos.
The ceremony was on the hill by my Mother in Law's house.  It's the same hill that my husband and I got married on. When we got married, we all just stood there.  For my daughter's wedding, we had seating and decorations, the works!.  My brother in law came up a week early.  He made some amazing benches that are still in use today.  The weather was about as perfect as it could have been. 

One funny memory.  When my daughter was choosing the music for the ceremony, I had an issue with one of the songs.  She didn't realize that it was about breaking up.  It sounded like "love", but it wasn't!  I suggested At Last as an exchange.  My son sang the "Wedding Song" and "At Last".  Perfect.
The reception was fun fun fun!  The colors were bright and festive.  We had a brand new deck (built by my daughter's husband and his father).  We put a dance floor out.  I thought I was so clever to make a basket with all sizes of flip flops.  I wrote a sign "dancing shoes".  I've seen this idea many times since. lol 

We shuttled people back and forth from the hill to my house.  I have a memory in my mind that I didn't actually witness.  Some of the girls that were my daughter's bridesmaids, grew up with her.  Meaning, they are "country girls".  They didn't want to wait for the shuttle.  They took off their shoes and took the trail (a very steep trail).  I can just imagine them in their pretty dresses skipping, running and laughing through the woods.

I made a video of pictures of the couple growing up.  Because my husband is a photographer,  I have about a zillion family photos.  It was a monumental task just looking through them.  I asked for groom baby pictures and there weren't as many.  When I started to make the video, I was using sweet (sappy) songs.  Oh boy.  It was boring to ME...what would our guests think?  I changed to uptempo songs and I fell in love with it.  I used songs that meant something to them.  And, I kept it short!  Believe me, I could have made it an hour long.  In our wedding business, I keep all my videos and slideshows to under ten minutes.  This one is a little longer. As I watch it, I think that my 7-10 minute rule for videos is the best.  It would be much better if it were cut in half.  But, I still enjoy the walk down memory lane.  Making this video of my daughter's life, was almost like therapy.  I had forgotten so much of our history.  I want to make a video for each one of my kids.  (who has the time?)
We had an  awesome DJ, Guy the Gutter Guy.  He had never used an I-pod before.  I loaned him mine to play some special songs.  I remember thinking that he would probably go out the next day and get one!  The dancing went on and on.  It was a fun party and nobody was in a hurry to leave.

I took my favorite pictures from that day and made a video to music.  It's so fun to go back and watch it.  It takes me right back to that day.  Again, it's too long, and would be much better if it were half.  I can't urge other people enough to have a photographer and videographer for the wedding day.  It all happens so fast and in a flash it's over.  It's amazing to revisit the day FIVE years later.  Watching the photos and the video is like time traveling back to that day.  And, someday their children will watch it.  


The reception was awesome.  We couldn't have done better.  All that planning, was worth it.  I made lists for everyone, lists of lists.....people were finding my lists around the house for the rest of the weekend.  But, let me tell you...those lists were the engine that made the whole thing happen.  

The picture below is of the newlyweds and their parents.  We are on the left and my son in law's parents are on the right.  My SIL's father passed away a year and a half ago. May he rest in peace.

In the photo below is my BFF and her hubby.  They were the "longest married" couple in attendance.  They celebrated their 50th anniversary the next year.

All my children.  

I wanted to make this day everything that my daughter dreamed of.  I tried really hard to keep my preferences out of it.  But, when I really thought she was off track, I tried to persuade her.  That song for instance.  Heck, having the wedding at my house was something I really lobbied for.  Every time I had something done to my yard, she would ask me "is this coming out of my budget?" I would say "no, I'm paying for it."  After all, this wedding was a good excuse to get my place all fixed up.  And, I really took advantage of it.  Another thing that I lobbied her on was the color.  She wanted green.  I was convinced that green wouldn't stand out in the forest setting. I think that the second color she chose was perfect.  I did take a certain amount of teasing when the dress that I ended up with (after five different mistake purchases!!) was ..wait for it....GREEN!  My biggest advice to her was on the day of the wedding.  I made sure that I had her attention when we were alone.  I told her that we had done all that we could do. We planned, we worked and now the time was here.  I said that we should just forget our idea of what this day was going to be, forget the vision that we had in our heads, and wait to see it unfold like a story that we didn't know.  So much of the fun memories of a wedding are the things that went wrong and we laugh about later.  Or the many things that happened that weren't planned.  We planned a great party, and I wanted to make sure that we let ourselves enjoy it.  And we did.

I have to say that my family really came through for this wedding.  My son bought a bunch of sound equipment just to do the live music, as well as learning the songs for the wedding ceremony. And buying dresses for his wife and two daughters.  A major investment! My other son was a fabulous photographer on that day.  My brother in law and his family were like a CREW.  They worked so hard.  It was such a pleasant surprise.  

My daughter and I say often that we wish we could do it over again.  We had so much fun.  It made us closer than ever.  

On a side note, the flowers that have been at the top of Lulus Cottage Blog from the beginning are from my daughter's wedding bouquet!

Five years later, they are on their first date night after having a baby seven months ago.  

Monday, March 4, 2013

Rainy Days

I'm so ready for spring.  We had a moment.  It was so warm that we could sit on the deck.  Oh how I miss sitting on the deck.  Our doggies loved it.  

The next day it rained.  That's okay.  We need the rain.  It was a very dry winter.  

We need a lot more rain.