DIY Upcycled Faux Fur Mittens and Tips for Sewing with Fur

“Let the peace of Christ [the inner calm of one who walks daily with Him] be the controlling factor in your hearts [deciding and settling questions that arise]. To this peace indeed you were called as members in one body [of believers]. And be thankful [to God always].” Colossians 3:15 (amp)

Hello Everyone!

Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope you all are enjoying your holiday.  This is my favorite time of the year.  I always look forward to the holiday meal preparations and family gatherings.

Today’s post is dedicated to the DIY gift makers.  A few years ago I made a bunch of fleece lined mittens from upcycled wool sweaters for the men in my family. They were a hit.  I thought about making them again when I realized that we might be in for a pretty frigid winter this year.  However, I wanted to give them a twist.  While I like how warm and economical it is to make them from wool sweaters.  I wasn’t esthetically feeling some of the wool sweaters that I was finding. They were a bit ugly or dated.

Then came an idea to try and source other kinds of wool fabric to make the mittens from.  I wanted them to still be warm and wondered if I could use an old wool suit or something like that.  I began to surf pinterest for ideas and tutorials but really couldn’t come across anything.  Then the other day the kids and I were in Target and I found these fun kids mittens made from bright blue, red and pink faux fur.  They were so cute.  They reminded me of cookie monster, elmo and cloe from Sesame Street.  The kids loved them.  So the idea eventually came to me to create my own furry version of a sweater mitten.

I found this beautiful black merino wool and angora sweater at the thrift store for $2.50.  It was the perfect weight and super soft.   

The faux fur I had in my stash from another project and I lined it with fleece that I had from some bath robes that I made the kids.

It took me a while to work out the design of this project and its still not perfect. But I liked the first go round.  I will say this project will work better with a short pile fur.  This fur is long and was meant to be used on a collar of a coat I was making.  But I didn’t want to spend a bunch of money on this project so I just gave the fur a hair cut.  They look like chubaka and pepe le pieu had a baby lol! But I think they are fun a bit glamorous and 100% warm.  Just what every single woman who has snow shoveling duty needs in her life!

I also thought is was a great opportunity to give a few tips for sewing with fur. Below are some pictures and quick tips.

  1.  Never cut into the fur. It will cause a lot of shedding. Instead turn the fur over so that the knit backing is facing you and the fur is touching the surface of your cutting table.
  2. Place your pattern on the knit backing and using a marker trace your pattern onto the backing of the fabric.
  3. Use the tip of your scissors or even better a box cutter and cut just through the backing of the fabric (not the fur) along the traced pattern line.
  4. Once done.  Shake out all of the loose fur and pin your pieces together trying to keep as much fur out of the seam as possible.
  5. After you sew your seams together you may have to trim some of the fur on the inside and outside of your fabric at the seams.
  6. Never press faux fur.  You will have to press the seams down with your hands or a hammer.

Thats it.  Super simple. The pattern maker in me wants to work out the kinks in my pattern and play with fabric ideas.  So stay tuned.  You may see more improved versions of my furry sweater mittens.  Until then enjoy the rest of your day!

xoxo!

❤️ Iris

DIY Summer/Spring Round Up

“But let all who take refuge and put their trust in You rejoice, Let them ever sing for joy; Because You cover and shelter them, Let those who love Your name be joyful and exult in You.”  Psalm 5:11

Hello Everyone!

I hope your week is going well! I’m a little behind on my post this week. I closed on my house last week Friday yaaay! And my children returned from their summer away with dad and I’ve been working on getting them ready for their first day of school. So It’s been a little hectic!

This week marks a benchmark for the blog. We made it through our first season! One of my blogging goals when I started The Modest Life was to have a place where I could develop and document my creative process.

So to have made it through our first season is a huge celebration for me. I’ve learned so much about blogging, but also about things like my personal style and photography. It has also challenged me to remain consistent and confident in what I create and share with you all!

So this week I thought it would be only fitting to post a round up of all of my spring/summer makes! I love them all but I definitely have a few favorites.  If you missed the original posts with the details of each make.  No worries!  I made sure to link to the orginal posts under each photo.  I’d love to hear in the comments which was your favorite look!

DIY Peplum Hem Skirt

DIY Top and Pants   

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DIY Evening Look

Upcycled Skirt Set with tutorial

Upcycled hi-lo top from a dress w/ tutorial

Sunday Wrap Dress

Denim Tent Dress

DIY Summer Dress

DIY Wrap Top

I also wanted to thank all of you for supporting The Modest Life. Your comments and likes of each post keep me encouraged to keeping going. I’m working on fall/winter and I can’t wait to bring you all what I hope to be really great content!

That’s it for now! Until next time!

❤️ xoxo,

Iris

DIY Fashion Remix Look#2 and Step by Step Tutorial

“Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name 

lead and guide me.”   Psalm 31:3

Hello Everyone!

Happy Wednesday!  I am so filled with joy today!  God is doing some amazing things in so many areas of my life especially in the area of the restoration of my hope and the strengthening of my faith. Things have been a little shaky the last couple of months but I made the decision at the beginning of the year to hold on to God and walk out His purpose and plans for my life no matter what it looks like.  I want to encourage any of you who maybe going through a storm or are walking out purpose.  Keep trusting God even if it looks like things in your life are dead.  I pray that God will breathe new life into every dead place and restore the joy of your salvation!!!!

Now on to the DIY portion of this post!

Let me just say!  I am loving upcycling!  It is very gratifying and a wonderful way to challenge your sewing skills and creativity! One of my design instructors would say that you can only create what you know how to do.  The more skills you have the more you can create!  So true!

Garment Inspiration/Description:This weeks DIY Fashion Remix is very easy and a beginner can do it as long as you have a sewing machine and can sew a line.  I found this cotton dress in yellow and blue at the thrift store and paid $4.00 each of them.

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At first I thought is was handmade because one of them didn’t have the brand label in it.  but then I found the second one and saw that it was made in Mexico by a label called Maria de Guadalajara (Maria from Guadalajara) not to be confused with Maria from Jalisco or Maria from Mexico City or any of the millions of Marias that exist in Latina America lol!  (a little Latina humor.  Maria is a very common Latina name. As a matter of fact its my middle name)  I took a picture of the tag because it had a vintage quality that I really like.

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I was originally attracted to the simple aline sillohuette and instictinctively new that I wanted to make it a hi/lo top and I’ve been wanting to play with this shoulder bow embelishment thing that I’ve been seeing other bloggers and sewers playing with.  And thought I could make a bow with the leftover fabric.

However after taking it back to the studio I began to appreciate this garment even more for its fabric (Its made from 100% cotton).  This dress was lovingly warn and washed quite a bit.  The cotton is so soft which is a sign that its a quality cotton.  Good cotton can stand up to a lot of washing and wearing and will soften with time.  This fabric feels like silk thats how soft it is.  At first I was going to just cut the hem and re-hem it with a clean finish.  Then I thought that the worn look of the fabric and the natural fading of the dye pigments from wear would look better if I left the hem unfinished and just frayed the edges.  So that’s what I did!

I love! Love! LOVE!! this top! Its a perfect example of how simple can be beautiful!

Below are the after shots.  For the tutorial of this make just scroll past the photos.

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Tutorial

Skill level: Beginner

Materials needed: scissors, ruler (preferably a curved hip ruler), sewing machine

Skills used: I drew in a new hemline, I cut , I sewed.

What I did…

  1. First I pressed the wrinkles out of the dress to make sure that it would lay as flat as possible when I cut the hem
  2. I then tried on my dress and measured down the front of the dress using a measuring tape from the center front neckline and down to wear I wanted the hemline at the front.  I then did the same for the back starting the center back neckline.  For me it was 18″ for the front and about 30″ for the back. I also added about 1/2″ extra for the fraying.
  3. I layed the dress flat on my cutting table folding the front pieces on top of each other and the back pieces on top of each other.  Making sure that the side seams were lined up on top of each other and in the middle of the dress. Below is a labeled picture. I drew in a redline to highlight where the sideseams of the dress are.

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3.  With your hand, smooth out as much of excess fabric from the hemline as possible and match up the hemline and pin both layers together.  This will help you to cut your fabric evenly.

4. Using your measuring tape, I measured from the center front neckline down to my desired hem length using the numbers I mentioned in step 2 and using a colored tailors chalk I marked the fabric with a small dot at my desired hem length (this is will be where my hi hemline starts).  I then did the same for the back using the back hemline measurement (This is where my low hemline will stop).

5.  Using a curved ruler (if you don’t have a curved ruler you can use a straight edge ruler and drape in the curve.) I began to draw a curved line from the hi point at the front to the lo point in the back.

6.  Carefully cut

7.  I then stitched two rows of straight stitches to control the fraying at the hemline.

8.  Using my finger nails and a seam ripper, I began to fray the hemline until it had my           desired look.

For the bow

9.  I cut 4 rectangles from the left over fabric. 2 were 8″x14″(the bow) and the other 2 were 4″x20″ (the bow ends).

10.  For the bow I took the 8x 20 rectangles and stitched them together leaving a small opening on one of the long edges.

11.  I then turned the bow right side out through the small opening being careful to push out the corners.  I edge stitched the opening closed.

12.  I then took the 4×20′ rectangle pieces and top stitched all the way around using a 3/8″ seam allowance.  Because I planned to fray the edges of the “bow ends” I topped stitched all the way around.

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13.  I then layed the smaller rectangle (bow) on top of the longer rectangle (bow ends) and scrunched the bow together at the center.

14. With a hand needle and thread I sewed through the scrunched center of the rectangles forming the bow.

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15.  I then cut a 3″x 8″ strip and sewed them together, turned it out and pressed it.  This is the strip for center of the bow.

16.  I then tightly wrapped it around the scrunched center of the bow, cut the excess fabric from the strip and turned under the raw edge about 1/4″ and handfinished the seam with a slip stitch.

17.  Finally, I stitched the bow to the shoulder strap after I frayed the edges of the bow ends.

That’s it!  I hope you enjoyed this post! Make sure to check out my instagram page later this week to see how I styled this new blouse.  If you’re enjoying what i’ve been sharing be sure to subscribe. all you need to do is enter your email under the follow me section.  You’ll be able to see future makes and I promise not to send you any junk.

Until the next time!

xoxo!

Iris

DIY Fashion Remix Kick Off and Upcyled Look #1 w/ Tutorial

“Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation.” Galations 6:15 (NIV)

Hi Everyone!

Happy Monday!  So I am super excited to kick off the DIY Fashion Remix!  For the whole month of July I will be cutting, sewing, remixing old looks into new ones.  This is not a new thing by any means of the imagination! People have been doing this for centuries.  But it is something that i’ve wanted to fiddle more with for sometime now.  and woohoo! the time has arrived! Praise God! Hallelujah! lol!

Just to give you a little preview of what to expect over the next couple of weeks…

Each post this month will feature upcyled pieces that i’ve created from either thrifted items or something that I have in my existing wardrobe.  Its also my goal to share a tutorial of each of my makes.  There are a few ways to approach upcycling and some require little to no sewing skills what so ever.  My makes will require some basic sewing knowledge.  My goal is to demonstrate various ways to upcylce garments while showing how basic sewing skills can affordably extend your existing wardrobe.

Each tutorial will feature the sewing skill level, materials needed and step by step photos of how I created my re-makes.

So on to my first look…

Garment Inspiration/Description: I absolutely love the 2 piece set that I created from this very oversized dress. I found it at Value Village and I think I paid like $4.00 for it.  The tags were still on it and at first I was like yuck!  Frumpy and outdated.  I heard Madea in the back of my head saying: “Hellrrrr!  I wants my dress back.” lol!Lol!.IMG_8513

It also reminded me of what plus size clothing was circa the pre- curvy girl revolution in plus size clothing.  Thank God for size equality in the fashion industry.  This garments saving grace was the pretty embroidered sweet heart neckline along with those very cute floral buttons and the inseam pockets.  It had a very vintage quality to it that caused me to think of the women’s playsuits of the 40s and 50’s.

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I already knew that there was enough fabric to size down the garment into what I wanted. So I decided to make a crop top and gathered skirt set.  I styled the look with bright pink pumps, gold hoops and I styled my roller set hair in a high pin curled bun and tied a brightly colored striped scarf around my head.  I wanted to continue to play on the vintage inspiration with the final look. Below are my styled shots.  For the tutorial continue to scroll down past the photos.

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And thats it.  I have to give my sister in law Tane Acevedo a special thank you for using her photography skills to take these shots for me!

Tutorial

Skill level: Advance Beginner/Intermediate

Materials needed: an oversized dress, metal jean or all-purpose zipper, scissors, dressmaker pins, bias tape, matching thread.

Skills used: installed a metal zipper, Shortened a skirt hem, created and attached a waistband, gathering, basic tailoring and alterations techniques, hemming using bias tape, topstitching.

What I did…

  1. I examined the dress and began deconstruct it, removing the things that I know I didn’t need.  For this project I removed the shoulder pads, cut the sleeves and the waist tie that buttoned at the front and tied to the back. I also unpicked the dress zipper from the skirt portion of the dress all the way up to about the mid back portion of the top.  I knew I could shorten the zipper and repurpose it to be used to close either the top or the skirt.  Since I had to gather the skirt and make a waistband I thought it would be easier use it for the top.

2. I cut the skirt away from the top just below the seam line.

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3.  Next I shortened the hem of the skirt by about 7inches (but you can shorten to your desired length). By simply using tailors chalk to mark the hem line directly on the skirt the length I wanted to remove and using my scissors to cut.

4.  From the fabric that I removed from the hem I was able to make my waistband.  I measured my waist which is 36″.  I added 1″ for ease and another 1/2″ for seam allowance which was a total of 37.5″ (note: because the skirt hem was already attached at the side seams I used one side seam to count as the fold of the fabric which meant that I only needed to add enough seam allowance for 1 seam which opened at the back of the skirt). I then devided this number by 2 which was 18.75″. This was for the length.  For the width, I wanted a 1.5″ wide waistband so I took 1.5″ and added 1/2″ to the top and bottom for a total of 2.5″ and I multiplied it by 2 for the facing for a total of 5″.

Once I figured out my measurements I used tailors chalk and a clear ruler to draw the waistband directly onto the fabric. and cut my new waistband.

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4.  I cut fusible interfacing 1.”x 37″  and fused it to the facing side of the waistband ( I don’t put interfacing in the seam allowance.  I find it makes my seams extra bulky and constricts the ease of my waistband)

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5.  I Put the waistband aside and took the skirt to the sewing machine and with a long running stitch (I put mine at 5 which is the longest stitch that my machine will make) I sewed along the waist end of the skirt leaving long thread tails at each end.  I then pulled on the thread tails and I evenly gathered the fabric until it reached the same size as the waistband.

6.  I then pinned the skirt to the waistband and sewed the waistband to the skirt. Once the skirt was attached, I folded the facing portion of the waistband over, pinned it down to the waistband and  pressed it flat. (note:  I serged raw edge of the facing side of the waistband.  If you don’t have a serger then you can just fold up the raw edge by about 1/2″.  This will give you a clean edge when you hand finish the facing to the waistband). Below is what it looked like once I finished.

7.  I serged the hem of the skirt first and then I thread marked the hem 1″ by running the skirt hem through my sewing machine along the 1″ mark.  This helped me to keep the hem even.  I then folded it up along the thread the basting as I ran the iron over the folded fabric (this helps to keep the fabric in place when you top stitch the final hem).  I finished the hem by topstitching at 3/4″ from the bottom hemline.

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8.  I finished the skirt by inserting a metal zipper at the back waistline (you could use any zipper application for this style of skirt but a metal jean zipper is what I had on hand and matched the metal zipper that was originally on the dress and what I used for the top). I then hand finished the waistband using a slip stitch.

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Top

9.  The first thing that I did for the top was to cut the sleeves.  The original sleeve seam was finished with a flat felled seam which was great!  This allowed me to carefully cut the sleeve off and still leave the seam finish in tack.  This made it so that I didn’t have to finish the sleeve hem and It now looks like a drop shoulder sleeve.

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10.  I then draped the top on my maniquinn and pinned the shoulders in place as well as lined the princess seams on my top with the princess seam line on my manequinn (pinning it this way ensures that the garment remains on grain when you begin to reduce the size of the top at the side seam).

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11.  I then pinned out the excess fabric at each side seam and cut off the excess fabric.  Making sure to leave enough excess fabric to sew the new side seams.

12.  Next I sewed the side seams.

13.  I shortened the zipper by carefully sewing across the bottom of the zipper back and forth several times before cutting off the excess zipper.

14.  I ended up removing 2 of the buttons from the bottom of the top in order to make room for hemming.

15.  Hemming the top using the self fabric was a little wonky for some reason so I ended up having to use bias tape in order to get an even and flat hem.  Once I attached bias tape to the hem of the top, I pressed out the seam and folded under the bias tape so that it was completely on the inside of the top and pressed it flat.  I then top stitched at 1/2″ from the bottom hem. Below is a picture of the finished bias tape hem from the inside of the top and the zipper from the outside.

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At thats it! From frumpy to modestly chic! I have a new outfit that I can’t wait to wear to a summer brunch or a day party with some of my lady friends!!!

Well I hope that you enjoyed today’s post!  I can’t wait to share my next fashion remix look!  Until next time!

xoxo!

Iris