Cut-Up Couture: 2 T-shirts = 1 Dress

I recently set up my sewing space in my large, open living room, facing a big window and easily within earshot of my record player. But the thought of starting to sew a garment from scratch was a bit intimidating (I’ve spent the last year moving to two new states, so sewing took the back burner for a while!). So, instead, I bought a book on up-cycling menswear into beautiful womenswear garments: Cut-up Couture by Koko Yamase. Of course, I picked the most difficult pattern in the book to start! But I’m making great progress- just working on adjusting the sleeves to more of my personal taste. Here’s a sneak peak of the dress I’m sewing from two used t-shirts. Not bad for $4, huh? Stay tuned for the final project (and maybe even a tutorial!).

Cut up Couture miaprimacasa.comDeconstructed T-Shirts miaprimacasa.com

Cheers!

Sarah

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My Sewing Space, Reimagined

With my coffee bar nearly complete, I’ve moved on to decorating my sewing space. I moved it out of my second bedroom and into my living room; I was feeling cramped and isolated sewing in that small room! Now, my sewing table takes space near a wide window at the entrance of my apartment. For some (much needed) inspiration, I’ve put up a bulletin board and hung up my Venetian masks and some of my favorite hats nearby. My apartment is starting to look a lot like I first imagined it would: colorful, eclectic, and a bit like a hodge-podge of all the things I consider practical and beautiful.

Eclectic Sewing Space miaprimacasa.com

Eclectic Sewing Space on miaprimacasa.com

By the way, Pinterest photos print out surprisingly well. I printed my most inspirational fashion/running/cycling images to create an inspiring collage for my sewing space. Beautiful imagery for less than $5? Yes, please!

Take My Hand and Run Fashion Inspiration miaprimcasa.com

Cheers!

Sarah

It’s Here! My 1960s Singer

My parents found this beautiful 1960s Singer sewing machine at a garage sale for (wait for it)…$40. Yep. And it’s never been used, so it runs beautifully.

I’d been searching for a sewing machine for a couple months (this is my “Congrats, on your job!” gift to myself), and this machine tops anything new I was thinking of buying. My first project is going to be chambray skirt made from last semester’s left over fabric and some much needed throw pillows. Keep your eyes open for some sewing tutorials in the future!

The message the original owner left on the case:

“Hardly ever used. (Didn’t like to sew!).”

College or Sorority T-Shirt Blanket Quilt

After graduating college, I was left with more college and sorority t-shirts that I could ever want to wear. I didn’t want to throw them out, however. Afterall, they reminded me of some great memories that I hoped never to forget. But I didn’t really want to drag my twenty-some t-shirts to my new apartment, so instead, I chose to create a quilt from the old shirts. As a novice sewer, it took me longer than excepted to finish, but the work was worth it! Now I have a comfy blanket that holds so many memories from my college days, livens up my new apartment, and is much more useful than a stack of worn out shirts. Below are steps to creating your own t-shirt blanket.

What you need:

18+ T-shirts

Sewing Machine

Thread

Cardboard (cut into 9″ by 9″ square)

Rotary cutter

Cutting mat

Straight edge

Scissors (one pair for fabric, one pair for the cardboard)

Pins

Cut the cardboard into a 9 inch by 9 inch square. This will serve as your template for the fabric squares.

Cut down the sides of your t-shirt and lay flat on the cutting board.

Place cardboard square over t-shirt and carefully use rotary cutter to cut fabric. Use the straight edge to guide your cutting.

Continue for all your t-shirts. I first cut out the graphic on the shirt and then cut as many squares of the solid color from the t-shirts as I could. I wanted as many squares to work with so that I could put together the most desired combination.

I then laid out the squares on the floor in order to get clear picture of what my blanket would look like. I chose to use 36 squares total (6 squares by 6 squares). However, I recommend laying out your quilt 6 squares across and five squares high. With 36 squares, I had trouble finding fabric that was wide enough to be a backing piece. I ended up having to cut off half of the top row of squares in order to back my quilt with two panels of solid fabric.

Next, pin one row of squares together to begin sewing. Once you have sewn all your row, you can sew your columns. Make sure that you line up your seams as perfectly as possible, so that your squares are even and tight.

I then sewed on my back panel fabric. I found inexpensive fabric at Savers, so I had to cut it into two panels in order to fit my quilt properly. I recommend using a cotton or cotton blend for the backing. I considered fleece, which is a good option if you want a very warm blanket, but I opted out because I want my blanket to function as more of an everyday throw.

Finally, I pinned every other corner then sewed a few stitches. Doing this will keep the squares from shifting in the wash.

Voila! Your t-shirt quilt is done and ready to serve as a memorable and functional piece for many years. Beats keeping a stack of old shirts around!

Some final recommendations:

If your machine has zig-zag stitch, use this as the t-shirts are knits and will tend to stretch. I used a very old Singer that did not have zig-zag, so I may be faced with some shifting in the future.

Any extra squares would make great, soft pillows.

Good luck!

Sarah

Great Finds: Vintage Patterns & 1970s Vogue Sewing Book

I ran across these unique vintage patterns at two different antique shops in Wisconsin. I’m going to attempt to sew using the patterns, but if I have no luck, I’ll be glad to use them as decoration in my bedroom. Sew, Mama, Sew! has some useful tips about sewing from vintage patterns. One of them happens to be buy an “old school sewing book.” Thankfully, I picked up a 1970s (my era of choice for patterns incidentally) copy of The Vogue Sewing Book of Fitting Adjustments & Alternations at Good Will.

Total Cost?

$7.50 for the vintage patterns

$3 for the Vogue sewing book

______

$10.50 (plus whatever I end up spending fabric–don’t worry, I’ll keep you updated!)

Have you ever tried to sew using vintage patterns?

Ciao!

Sarah