April 2, 2014

Dresser Update

You've seen my hand-me-down dresser on the blog before.  I painted it a few years ago so I could have a full matching set of bedroom furniture.  Well now that I have replaced most of the old set, the only piece that doesn't match is the dresser.  The piece is great, it just doesn't match.  So I went about stripping it.  I didn't think that I'd be able to do it while living in an apartment.  Sanding it with a power sander is out of the question.  It just kicks up too much sawdust and it gets all over everything.  In addition to inhaling all that stuff.  Next option is stripping it with a chemical stripper.  Also out of the question because of the enclosed space and dog, or so I thought.  I found a product while looking around online called Citristrip.  It promises to strip off layers of paint without the bad smell, the toxic fumes, etc.  I went to Home Depot and picked up a bottle of it, a pail, and a plastic scraper.  I already had drop cloths and sponges to use. 

The product is really easy to use.  You just wipe a thick coat on and leave it.  As you can see from the photos, the product bubbles as it removes your layers of paint.  My dresser had a few layers of polyurethane, paint, and then the original covering on it (I'm not sure what it was).

The package says to leave it on for 20 minutes to 24 hours.  I covered my piece and by the time I was finished covering, the first area I worked on was ready to be stripped.  I didn't have to use any force, just push the product off the surface. 

There was still a bit of reside left from the original finish that didn't come off, so I put another layer on those spots.  

This second layer got most of the rest off.  I'll sand the little bits that are left and it will be ready for my new stain!  

I can't believe how easy this product was.  And completely safe to use in an apartment, around pets, and it doesn't hurt you if you get it on your skin!  

March 30, 2014

DIY: Sewing a Swimsuit

I am a crazy person.  I thought sewing a swim suit would be a good idea since I cannot find suits that fit by body.  I am a "well-endowed" person so I need a piece that fully covers and supports.  So no triangle tops or regular halter ones.  I had one from Victoria's Secret a few years ago that had the support, but it was about an inch too short to fully cover what needs to be covered.  

I found a pattern online at Burda, and it was also the first Burda pattern I've ever bought.  It's this bustier top, Burda #127.  I designed the bottom, using another swim suit as a pattern. 

Sewing something that has to fit perfectly to your body is not an easy task.  I bought swimsuit jersey fabric and lining, and used an old bra for support.  You can buy the underwire and support pieces online, but it is a lot cheaper to just use an old one.  I cut out my pieces, sewed them all together, then ran into a problem where the lining kept rolling to the outside and I couldn't get the lining to stay on the inside.  I finally was able to figure out that since the lining had more stretch than the outside, it was pulling.  So I recut it to be a bit smaller, and that fixed the problem completely. 


I'm not one hundred percent happy with the suit, but it fits better than anything I've had before.  I even had enough extra fabric to make two bottoms, a regular one and a high waisted one.   

If I could do it again, I'd size up the pattern even more than I did so it would cover more.  I'd also like to figure out how to make the straps stronger.

This picture is from last summer... don't worry, I'm not swimming in March.

March 27, 2014

Rustic Curtains

These curtains are probably be biggest splurge in designing our bedroom.  I saw them and immediately knew that they would be perfect and my husband would love them (he usually doesn't care about any of my crazy decorating ideas).  And I was able to add another rustic element to the room.

I folded the fabric down the middle and cut a straight line.  Hemmed the sides and bottom, and sewed a casing in the top to slide the curtain rod through.  I know the rules say that you should buy twice the length of your window in fabric, but I couldn't spend that much on new curtains.  So these curtains lay flat when they are closed, but no one is looking at them at night.  

March 24, 2014

DIY Avengers Masks

I love when I get strange sewing requests from people.  Usually the requests I get are pretty normal, like will you fix a seam for me.  Not this time though!  I got a request through work to make a set of Avengers masks for a skit to perform in front of children. 

I had to find a way to make the masks recognizable while not completely covering the actors' faces.  I ended up using pieces of craft felt in different colors and different layers for effect.  It was all hand sewn, though it probably could have been sewn on a machine.  I was doing it at work, so I didn't have access to one. 

I also made a Captain America shield (it was for a synagogue, hence the different star in the middle), and a helmet out of cardstock for Thor. 

With a few other costume pieces, the skit went off smashingly.  Yes... I went there... Smash.

March 21, 2014

Painting Custom Art

My husband loves maps.  He spends free time just looking at maps online.  He even has a favorite map representation.  So for our anniversary this year, I knew exactly what I had to make him.  A gigantic map of the world.  I guess I can't really call it gigantic though... it's very tiny compared to the actual world.

I found a picture of his favorite map and printed it onto a transparency.  Luckily, the place I work at had a projector around that I was able to use.  I projected the map onto the canvas and traced the outline.  Once home, I painted the map with teal and copper acrylic paints.  To get texture in the paint, I applied the paint liberally, practically just globbing it on.  I had to do a few coats to get the canvas completely covered, but the paint dried fast so there isn't too much down time.  Now I just need to find a way to frame it on the wall!