We craft to live!

Month: November 2018

Vintage a la Thrift Store: 1930’s Holiday Edition

Vintage a la Thrift Store: 1930’s Holiday Edition

Fashions from the 1930’s are a challenge. For a long time, I assumed that most people dressed in hand-me-downs, like the orphans in the Annie musical. Turns out I was totally wrong. Times were tight, but there were some fabulous fashion statements made in the 30’s! 

My quest for fashion history knowledge was greatly assisted by experts from the internet. I began my research by consulting this article from Vintagedancer.com and then searching pinterest for historical images. When I discovered this dress at a thrift store, I knew I was on to something… (And yes, those Hawaiian print shorts hanging in the background also came home with me. In case you were wondering.)

The drapey, “Grecian” vibe coupled with the midi length and rhinestones made me think 1930’s Hollywood! Although the dress probably originated in the 1980’s, I had a hunch that the right accessories, makeup, and hair could take this dress back in time! Before leaving the thrift store, I snagged a rhinestone choker that nicely coordinated with the rhinestones on the dress! Next, I researched hair and makeup trends from the 1930’s. Thanks to the Youtube experts, I was soon experimenting with finger wave techniques! I most closely referenced this video , but I would love to try the technique in this more historical tutorial! Here I am in action!

I practiced the style several times to get the hang of it and experiment with what worked best with my face shape. I was assisted by the short length of my hair and the fact that it waves/curls/(frizzes) naturally. On the day of my dress-up event, I was ready! Here are the supplies I used.


 As in the Youtube video, I created a side part and sectioned off the front portions of my hair. I wet each section and worked in some of the design lotion before starting on the wave. I coaxed each section into an “S” shape, securing the curves of the S in place duckbill clips. Since my hair curls naturally, I used the DivaCurl cream to help the back of my hair curl by itself. (Another option would have been to pin curl the back.).  I finished the style with the Nexxus hairspray. 

In addition to the duckbill clips, I used bobby pins to create a small pin curl at the end of the longer section of hair. I tucked the ends of the other section behind my ear.

I can’t seem to find the Nexxus design lotion any more, but many bloggers really love Lottabody’s setting lotion for finger waves and pin curls! Apparently, it’s been around for ages and is perfect for these processes! Here are a few of my other supplies.



For 1930’s makeup knowledge, I turned to one of my favorite Youtube makeup artists and her tutorial here. I tried to use similar eyeshadow tones, except I also added  silver and black. It’s not shown in the picture, but I definitely used eye primer to keep all that makeup in place.

I also attempted to replicate the foundation and contouring shown in the video. Primer and powder were super important to setting the look. 

After letting my hair dry for about an hour and a half, I was ready for the 1930’s! My outfit got its chance to shine at a friend’s wedding! 

My husband was in the wedding party, so he dressed up all snazzy too!

All the time you spend researching an unfamiliar decade and practicing new hair-do’s can totally pay off. If a thrift store dress calls your name, give it a try!

Nifty Gifties Kids’ Edition: Felt Playsets

Nifty Gifties Kids’ Edition: Felt Playsets

While poking around in my craft stash one day, my inner child became inspired! Turns out I had all the random bits needed to create felt playsets for my nieces! Each playset is basically a miniature world that kids can customize and use for creative play! There are lots of cute ideas on Pinterest, but I decided to make a Fairy Playset and a Camping Playset. I used the same basic templates for both sets and added custom “accessories” to make each special! Here are some of my supplies:

For the figures in my playset, I used “peg dolls,” simple people shapes cut from wood. I left my people unpainted, but you could paint and decorate them too! 

I used the smallest and second smallest sized dolls, like those in this set.

Next, I raided my felt stash for a large piece of green and a small piece of blue. The green felt would become the “grass” base of the playset, while the blue would become a water feature. I used similar bases for both playsets!

Since we had grass, we also needed trees! I used wooden spools for trucks and cones of felt for the leaves/branches. I began by creating a cone template out of paper. I taped it together and made sure that the size worked well with the spool “trunk.”

I traced the template onto dark green felt and cut it out!

I used hot glue to carefully (and somewhat tediously) glue the felt cone together.

I coated the outer edge of the spool top with glue, then inserted the spool into the cone.

 

With the grass, water, and trees in place, our playset was ready for some peg dolls! Ta-DA! 


Although the playset was super cute as is, I added some accessories to add fairy charm! Firstly, those little peg doll fairies needed a place to stay! I used large silk leaves and pipe cleaners to make a tent.

First, I glued the leaves together and bent the pipe cleaners into a square frame. I then hot-glued the pipe cleaner frame to the leaves.

Once the glue hardened, I bent the tent into shape!

So cute!!

I added more silk leaves, silk flowers, and plant marbles to “fairy-ize” the playset! 

The fairy playset was so cute, that I couldn’t stop there! I used the same felt base and felt trees to make a camping set!

To make a tent, I cut two pieces of felt that were both 3.5″x7″ in size.

Next, I bent pipe cleaners into a rectangular frame and glued the frame to one piece of felt.

I glued the second piece of felt on top, sandwiching the frame in between the two felt pieces.

After the glue hardened, the felt could be bent in half into a tent shape!

Small rocks, pinecones, and pieces of driftwood helped create a woodsy setting for the campsite!

Hope the kids have as much fun playing with these sets as I had making them! There are so many more playsets ideas waiting to be created! I may be making more soon… Here are some supplies to get you started!

Fashion Challenge: Vintage Ralph Lauren Sweaters

Fashion Challenge: Vintage Ralph Lauren Sweaters

We love a great sweater, especially when we find it at the thrift store! Finding a quality sweater second hand often means finding a piece from a great brand. If the item is high quality to begin with, chances are it will hold up to, and maybe even be improved by, some gentle wear. Lindee and I found that some of our favorite thrifted sweaters are from the same brand- Ralph Lauren. We have worn R.L. sweaters in past posts and many times in daily life. If you haven’t already, check out Ralph Lauren’s Fall ’18 fashion show here at Vogue.com to see lots of sweatery, layer, texture-y greatness! We enjoyed the show so much that we decided to put together our own mini Ralph Lauren Tribute using favorite thrift store treasures. You may even spot some celebrities…

I was lucky enough to find this sweater at a second-hand boutique. The style is so classic that I don’t think it will ever go out of style! Those preppy stripes inspired me to wear the sweater in our  Fashion Challenge: Wannabe French post. The sweater’s best feature is a super comfy fit- not too blousy, not too tight, not too warm, not too drafty, and 100% cotton!

I styled the sweater with my vintage Levis from our Fashion Challenge: 1990’s Pants, cowboy boots, bandana, and a fav thrifted newsboy hat.

Lindee scored a Ralph Lauren sweater this fall! She couldn’t resist that preppy, patriotic flag! She paired the sweater with vintage high-waisted jeans.

Although the flag motif is classic, the cropped length of the sweater suggests that it’s from the 1990’s. Since cropped sweaters are popular again, Lindee’s find was particularly timely!

This next sweater is another thrift store score! I was super excited to find a wardrobe staple in such great shape! For this picture, I paired the sweater with a vintage wool skirt, but I regularly wear it with jeans and flats!

I looove that cowl neckline- it’s flattering while still not exposing one to too much cold or too much sweater warmth! Classics are classic for a reason.

Lindee first wore this vintage bear sweater for our Sweater-vember: Thrift Store Sweater Challenge! Although she wasn’t too sure at first, I convinced her to try this hand-knit, iconic piece. I love how she turned the preppy vibe a little more woodsy with the addition of a beanie, denim, and lace-up boots. 

Turns out, Lindee wasn’t the only one styling this sweater! WOAH! Kanye West was apparently trying to copy her style!!! Lindee discovered his picture here at Spott while researching this trade mark Ralph Lauren piece!

I may be biased, but I know who I would pick in a “who-wore-it-better” competition! 😉 Of course, new bear sweaters made appearances in the recent Ralph Lauren show! So Cute!

The next time you are thrifting, keep your eyes open for Ralph Lauren gems! They are sure to make appearances in your cold weather wardrobe for years to come. Just make sure the Kanye doesn’t spot that bear sweater before you do… 

Plaid Dress Re-Fashion!

Plaid Dress Re-Fashion!

I will admit that this dress was a bit of a project. I attempted the transformation for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I loooved the fabric! Yellow plaid flannel?! Whoa! Secondly, and very importantly, the dress was basically free. I found it while sifting through clothes at a stuff-a-bag-for-$5 rummage sale. Couldn’t go wrong, right?

At least the first step to dress improvement was simple. Remove those shoulder pads!

Since the dress came from a rummage sale, I wasn’t able to try it on until I got home. Upon try-on, I discovered that the cinched waist was a bit too tight and actually hit me below the waist at a poochy place. Uncomfortable!

I found that the waist cinch was created by a band of elastic encased in a tube of fabric. Using a thread ripper, I open the tube so that I could removed the elastic.

Once the elastic had been cut out, I had to re-sew the tube closed so that the waist wouldn’t hang strangely. In the picture, the tube to the left of my finger is still open. To the right of my finger, however, the tube has been re-stitched closed.

The next step was to trim down those huge sleeves! I realized that the shoulder seam was actually long enough to become a cap sleeve for me. I marked 2 inches from this seam to create a seam allowance.

I cut along my marks to remove the sleeves.

I tried on the dress and realized that the waist was still lower than my waist. In an attempt to fix that, I raised the shoulder seams. I used a ruler and disappearing pen to mark where the new seams should be.

After pinning, I stitched along the line I had drawn.

I laid the dress out flat, removing the wrinkles as much as possible. I then pinned the front and back of the bodice together so that they wouldn’t move, and then I folded the dress in half.

I placed an existing dress on top to use as a pattern. The pattern dress had a similar style and was of a similarly non-stretchy fabric as the flannel dress. It was also important that the pattern dress have a somewhat roomy fit, since I did NOT want to cut the flannel dress too small!

As a added precaution, I traced about an inch and a half extra around the pattern dress. I then cut according to my marks.

I pinned the side seams and stitched them closed, leaving the sleeve area open. (I will want to fiddle with those sleeves later.) Ta-da! The dress is getting whittled down to size!

After trying on the dress again to test the alterations, I moved on to hemming the sleeves. I rolled the hems, pinned them in place, and stitched. I also extended the side seams up into the hemmed sleeves.

Finally, the top part of the dress was fitting better. I left the skirt alone, since I liked the fullness and length! (I also didn’t want to mess with that button placket extending from the bodice to the skirt!)

I decided to try the dress with some fall layering! A wide belt helped adjust the waist, while lace-up boots and a plaid beret added highland flare.

The dress turned out to be super comfy and somewhat warm, due to all that fabulous flannel!

I played with the color skeme a bit by adding a thrifted corduroy jacket and vintage purse. I love how both pieces coordinated with my beret, which came courtesy of Scotland!

Freezer Paper Stenciling

Freezer Paper Stenciling

Customized T-shirt are some of our favorite projects, and what better excuse to make shirts than our Blogiversary?! Yes, our blog has officially turned one! Cue the music and bring on the cupcakes! Make the fanclub shirts and wear them shamelessly! Wha-hoo! 🙂

In order to make our shamelessly-worn-fanclub-shirts, we turned to a favorite technique, the use of freezer paper stencils! Freezer paper looks alot like wax paper and can often be found near the foil and plastic wrap at the store. Making stencils from freezer paper, while time consuming, allows you to get relatively professional-looking results for your fabric paint money. Once you cut a stencil from freezer paper, you can iron the paper to fabric and cause it to stick! When you apply paint to the stencil, the paint will only be able to stick to the fabric exposed by the stencil. The freezer paper will later be pealed up and removed, leaving the painted fabric underneath. There are lots of fun painting ideas available on Pinterest, but this tutorial was what first inspired me to give it a try! After making many shirts, I have developed a few tips for gaining that hard-worked-for professional look. Here’s what works for me! 🙂

Firstly, gather your supplies:

  • freezer paper
  • template 
  • masking tape
  • x-acto knife and/or small scissors
  • cutting board
  • iron and ironing board
  • fabric paint
  • paint sponge applicator
  • T-shirt- washed and dried
  • drop cloth.

As always, I washed and dried my t-shirt before doing any work on it. I then designed my template in a word processing program and printed it out.

Next, I cut a sheet of freezer paper a little bigger than my template. I laid the front of my template onto the SHINY side of the freezer paper. (The shiny side is what will eventually be ironed onto the fabric.) Recap: Front of template touches shiny side of freezer paper.

Tape that template down!

Flip the papers over so that the freezer paper is on top, while the template is readable underneath. (The dull side of the freezer paper should be facing you.)

Next, I used an x-acto knife and scissors to cut out the shapes and words. This takes patience, but a more accurate stencil will yield neater results.

Be sure to save the small freezer paper cut-outs from letters like “o” and “a.” We will replace those shapes back into the letters when the stencil is ironed to the shirt. Once the words have been cut out, cut the freezer paper down to the size of the paper stencil behind it. Note: Don’t miss this step! You will need the stencil to be a symmetrical shape for the next steps! You can remove any left-over masking tape.

Next, we need to ensure that the stencil will be ironed to the shirt with the proper orientation and alignment. These next steps show my way to find reference points on the shirt to help me line up the stencil. These steps don’t ensure perfection, but they lead to much better results than simply “eye-balling” the stencil’s placement! Note: Very cheap t-shirts have a tendency to shrink and warp in the wash. A higher quality shirt should be easier to work with! Start by folding the shirt in half, smoothing out any wrinkels, and marking along the center fold. This will give us a vertical line of reference. (I used a disappearing ink pen from my sewing stash for this part.)


Lay the garment as flat and straight as possible so that you can create horizontal reference points.  One way to do this is to place a rule from armpit seam to arm pit seam. Mark this line with the disappearing pen. Another horizontal line can be drawn from the top of each shoulder seam.

Next, measure the bottom hem and find the middle point.

Place a ruler between this point and the center of the neckline to make another vertical reference line. This line may differ slightly from the one drawn when the shirt was folded in half and can help you double check its accuracy.

Now that the shirt is marked, I also marked the middle points of each side of my stencil. It’s a bit hard to see in the picture, but I marked these points on the stencil with a Sharpie. Once that was done, I could then align these points with the reference lines on the shirt! Yay for a centered stencil!! (Be sure to do a visual double check to see if the stencil appears straight!)

Use a little masking tape to secure the stencil to the garment in the correct orientation. 

It’s finally time to iron the stencil to the shirt! I usually start ironing at one side of the stencil and work across. Once the stencil is secured in place, though, you can remove the masking tape so that you don’t accidentally iron it! Carefully iron down the edges of all the letters and shapes. You don’t want any paint to be able to leak under the edges of the stencil!

Once the letters are ironed down, add the small cut-outs that you saved from letters with inner shapes. Place these shiny-side-down, then use the tip of the iron to gently iron them in place.

Hurray! Now it’s time for painting! I use Soft fabric paint from Tulip, because this paint does not become bumpy or crunchy. I applied the paint with one of my painting sponges, but a foam applicator would work nicely. Before painting, line the shirt with cardboard, freezer paper, or wax paper to prevent the paint from bleeding through to the back of the shirt. Of course, don’t forget to protect your work surface with a drop cloth!

 Sponge the paint all over the cut-outs of the stencil, making sure all the details are covered in paint. For my shirt, I let the paint dry for at least half before adding a second coat. I wanted to ensure that my letter would be opaque and vibrant.

After waiting a several hours for the paint to dry, it’s time to remove the stencil! Carefully peal up the edges of the freezer paper and remove any small pieces!

Ta-DA! 

I was so excited about these shirts that I even made one for my husband! It was the least I could do considering all the photos he has taken for me! Of course, Lindee had to get in on the action too! 

We heart custom shirts and Partnersincraft.com! 🙂 Happy Blogiversary!