Monday, January 30, 2012

Upcycled felt Lola dress

I have a new addiction and it's called FELT ("I felt it in my fingers, I felt it in my toes ..... tralalalalalaaaalaaaa")! Since I discovered this medium I've been visiting the local thrift store as often as I pass by (which is pretty much daily) and this is the scary part: every time I enter I get the feeling of a gold rush and throw myself at the hangers like a hungry vulture at his prey. Uhmmm ....  ok, I don't know if this description is flattering, but in any case just imagine a woman in her long, shapeless down jacket and a white furry "chicken" hat (as London calls it) rummaging through the racks with a huge grin on her face .. MOI!

If you've never shrunk a sweater (only by mistake) do not be intimidated! It's an easy-peasy process. But before I start .. here some tricks of the trade I've learnt from my collection of shrunken sweaters and scarfs:

1. Men's sweaters are always a better buy at the charity store! First of, they are larger in size, so you get more for your money. Second, they ALWAYS cost less! (Yes, ladies! It's not only your haircut that's more expensive and bathroom line that's always longer .. now here come the sweaters!)

2. Buy 100% wool or at least 80%! Maybe 75% ... but nothing else!

3. I cut the sweaters apart before washing them. (Not sure what the felting gurus rules say, but I did ..) Some frilled in the wash, but put a damp hankie on it, iron and it's back to status quo! I didn't unravel the sewing .. I figured that half an inch won't really add so much value as much time I would have had to spend on it. I simply cut up the sweaters and discarded the sewing line.

4. By now you must sense that I am not the most patient of crafters and cut corners right and left :) UHmmm ... if that's what you are thinking you are correct! I tossed the cut up sweater to the laundry with my pink flip flop and a bit of detergent, warm water and a short wash ... The washing machine was full of fluff afterwards, but for me it seems easier to clean up than a pillow case that many are using to contain the fluff. I cleaned the machine out afterwards with a few wipes and it worked.

5. I used the drier. Always! Though watch out, because a really warm sweater can shrink to a miniature for your toddler's doll's wardrobe. (Don't ask how I came across this information). Ok, so you may not want to tumble dry it if you already have a size and thickness that you'll like.

6. The thickness of your felt (if not the same) has to be approximately the same.

7. I am not an expert and everything above may be a subject to change depending on factors I wouldn't know about. Experiment it out yourself!

Ok, so now that you have gone through your family's closet for sweaters to shrink and visited the charity store, found your flip flops to be washed and have a nice piece of felt, this is what you can make out of it ...

Lola's dress is made from my H&M scarf (stripes) and a 6 USD second hand men's sweater.
I got the dress pattern from Betz White's book "Warm Fuzzies: 30 Sweet Felted Projects", but you can easily make your own pattern.  Just draw around an existing apron dress, cut out the pattern and cut it into different squares  .. see the photo collage below

Use zig zag stitch to sew the pieces together ... Cut away uneven ends ...
You may or may not line the dress. I did and I don't think it's necessary at all (though it looks far more professional). The book has a pattern for a tea cup pocket, but I wanted to make Lola's dress different, so I found a heart nurse in a flying saucer on one of the old Ikea fabrics I had and made an applique out of it (two sided stabilizer) ...  The result ...

As you can tell, my model is not overly cooperative and the photo shoot turned out to be a chase around the kitchen island with my camera swinging on my neck and taking turns around the corners as a formula race car driver ... The drive-by photo shoot turned out this  ... 

Here are some great recycled sweater projects if you don't have a toddler in your house, who would complain that their new dress doesn't twirl ... 

 I love it!  

(I think I need a pair of these in my life)

Oh and remember! These awesome things can be hand sewn also. Hand stitching gives so much character to any item. These are just a few examples, but I've seen scarfs, blankets, slippers just to name a few upcycled sweater projects. And get this! I just saw a pair of upcycled mittens at our local craft store for 95 USD! Wink, wink! Free pattern through the link above. 

Ok LoLo(vie)lies, I am off to bed. Thank you to all who just "like"d me on Facebook and Pinterest and all the comments that warm my heart. If you make anything from your oldies, please share! 
I would LOLOve to see! 

Have a great week and while I have visitors for another few days I am off making Pickles's partner (Bagel) in crime, who's been since re-named to KoKo. 

LO(lo)V(i)E, LV    

P.S. If you aren't as impressed with upcycling sweaters as I am, but have a closet full of woollies stashed in your closet waiting to be thrown away you know how to contact me ;)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Barrettes for Valentine's Day

Did you see Miss Pickles wearing a fabulous birdie hairpin with heart wings? 
You would like one also, correct? :)
Well, now you can make one! Here is a step by step to make any of the pins below ... 

What you'll need: 
pink, red, white felt
embroidery thread and needle
stuffing, such as polyfill 
small black beads (for birds eyes)
hairpins or rubber bands or safety pins (if you'd like to make a pin instead)  
the pattern - print below 
any other adornments you can think of - buttons, ribbons, beads, etc. 
(TIP: I bought a bag of hearts that can be sewn onto things at Wallmart for a few dollars) 

And that's it! Not many things at all, right? 

I used two kinds of stitches : 

Back stitch 

Buttonhole stitch 

For the true size of the pattern, please click on the photo below. 

Other Valentine's Day hair accessories I LOLOve: 

- This one is just so cute from Living Locurto blog. Hairpins made of cupcake liners, bottle caps and candy! Click HERE ... How cute awww ... 

- I love these padded hearts by Twirling Betty ... I really want to make a necklace right about this moment 

- And here is how the guys at Purl Soho do heart hairpins ... HERE

LO(lo)V(i)E to you all, LV

Monday, January 16, 2012

Meet Pickles!

Hi Everyone and welcome back to my crafting and real world. It's been a while since I posted I know, but with all the holidays and family ganging up on me wanting their peace and quiet at night, I really didn't get much chance to craft. That's living on 1000 sq feet New York City style for you.
Sewing machine deprived, I picked up my knitting needles. I've been admiring those large knitted dolls for quite sometime and had a book on my shelf called "Knitted Toy Tales" by Laura Long that's been staring at me. The cover has the cutest little doll that sold me the book immediately. The patterns are well written and easy to understand and follow, plus all the projects would make great gifts for little munchkins. (I am not the book's marketing rep or anything if you were wondering :)  ...

When the doll was half ready, I asked Lola what she wanted her to be called.  She thought about it long and hard and with daddy's help "Pickles" was born ... London, of course immediately responded by demanding his own doll, who will be called "Bagel" (as he informed us). I've been hiding Pickles from Lola until Bagel is born, so no photos of Lola styling P's hair or tearing off her dress just yet.

Did you notice the barrette in P's hair? She is getting ready for Valentine's Day! Tutorial and pattern for the hairpin coming up next, so stay tuned!  

FREE doll patterns I would also love to make and you may too :)
  • Evie's Doll from dried Figs and Wooden Spools blog Her name is Eliza. Eliza and Pickles could easily be BFF's, though Pickles would be jealous of Eliza's cute little sweater. For a free pattern of Eliza email here:
  • An adorable Rag Doll from "Essential Knits" by Debbie Bliss. You can download the free PDF file pattern HERE
  • Sally the Eco Fairy designed by Jennie Eveleigh Lamond is another cutie to add to the girl's club. I am sure she'd be adorable even without wings if fairies are not your cup of fairy dust (I mean tea, of course :) 
See you later alligator! I hope everyone's year started off on a right foot.

LOLO(vie), LV