September 15, 2010

2nd Make-a-Long and Skirt I made during the 1st one!

This Saturday, Sept 18th, will be the second official make-a-long, wooo yay!  The first make-a-long, in case you missed it, was April 10th, and I first wrote about the idea here, then posted about the various ways you can participate here.  Scroll to the bottom of this post (under the skirt photos) for a recap of how you can make-a-long this weekend and join the fun!

shirt sleeve skirt close-up

So, I realized when I talked about everything I made last time, I said I’d be giving this skirt its own post, and then with the move, a lot of planned posts never got written… so now’s better than never!  I absolutely love this skirt I made out of the sleeves of 2 shirts:


The concept is simple – detach the sleeves from 2 long-sleeved, button-down shirts, and sew them together, rotating shirt #1 sleeve, shirt #2 sleeve.  Because left and right sleeves are different (buttons/buttonholes on opposite sides), two of the joins will have a button and buttonhole together (perfect – no need to add a zipper or anything), but one join will have buttons on both sides, and the last will have buttonholes on both sides.  In the top photo, you can see how I handled the join with the holes on both sides, with a ribbon closure.  If you make a skirt like this, you’ll have to figure out how best to join all the parts together depending on your particular sleeves.

shirt sleeve skirt close-up shirt sleeve skirt close-up

I added one button of my own to make for a smooth join (sometimes things don’t automatically line up perfectly), and as you can see, I added a few bits of ribbon where things needed to be neatened up.  And I added some wavy top-stitching all over, just for fun.  I wavy-sewed all around the bottom edge, which was just cut and not hemmed:

shirt sleeve skirt close-up shirt sleeve skirt close-up

And then I sewed extra wavy lines along all the seams where the sleeves were joined (below).   I don’t have a good photo of me wearing this skirt, but it fits perfectly and I love it!  If you want to make a skirt like this, hopefully you’ll luck out like I did and find sleeves that fit around your waist perfectly when joined together, but you may need to play around with different sleeve arrangements, or join them differently, to make for a good fit.  I didn’t take step-by-step photos, and the construction would be different depending on your sleeves, but hopefully this is enough info to inspire you to try one of your own!

shirt sleeve skirt close-up

For this make-a-long, I will be focusing on wedding-related crafting:  my dress, shoes, fabric flower decorations, etc.  You can make anything you want!  Catch up on old, forgotten projects, try a new craft you’ve been wanting to explore, finish up all your work-in-progress pieces, open up a craft book you bought and haven’t used yet, as long as you have fun making!

The date and time are loose… if you have plans scheduled for Saturday, but are free on Sunday, then make that your making day!  I will be again attempting to make for a full 24 hours (didn’t succeed last time, but maybe this time I’ll do it!), so I’ll be trying to go from 7am-ish Saturday to 7am-ish Sunday, or as long as I can last.  Read the original make-a-long post for my initial inspiration and ideas about the make-a-long concept.

stitching during the make-a-long!

And then, to participate (the “a-long” part) – use whichever social media outlets you prefer: twitter, facebook, ravelry, blogs (commenting on mine, posting on your own), flickr.  Use hashtag #makealong on twitter, join the make-a-long group on facebook, I’ll be starting a thread in the leethal ravelry group… and then I strongly encourage everyone to add any photos you take to the flickr group.  I won’t be posting photos during the actual make-a-long day (probably just some twitter pictures), but I’ll be shooting throughout the day for sure, and uploading them to flickr within the next couple days.

Share what you’re working on, your making trials and errors, talk about the crafty fun you’re having, and get inspired by fellow make-a-longers!  You’ll find me mostly on twitter throughout the day, but I’ll be checking in on the ravelry and facebook groups, and blog comments of course.  Hope to see you making!

Filed under: clothing,general crafts,make-a-long,skirts — leethal @ 3:53 pm

April 17, 2010

Make-a-Long results!

Oh yeah, how did the Make-a-Long go?!  I’ve had to dive head-first into packing this week, as our moving day quickly approaches, so I kind of forgot to blog about it sooner…

I think many of you had fun with it!  I followed along on twitter and facebook a bit througout the day, but didn’t reply much since I was busy making!  Looking through the flickr group now, fibrouspics’ lemon ginger cheesecake looking amazing, I love notfroggiknit’s yellow/orange bracelet, and all of her food looks awesome, and esea’s soft ruffle top looks fabulous!

Plenty of blogging happened too!  Read about make-a-long fun at Craft Evolve (with the ruffled shirt), Big Girl Feet (love the colors in that granny square! and the tiki quilt is awesome), That Yarn Store, and again (about the cheesecake), Genuine Mudpie (shirt reconstruction!), Designed by Diana (cute PJs and apron), …Beachcombing Day, and Green Stockings Crafts & Design.  Hope I didn’t miss any!

As for me, how about first I’ll show you what I made, then I’ll tell you how it was and lessons learned… I got up around 8am, made some coffee, and started on an embroidery project first:

stitching during the make-a-long!

I worked on that till finishing around noon (more on the project later, which is related to my April club, with its fruits + veggies theme):

veggies stitching!

Sometime during the morning, I made myself a breakfast quesadilla, with asiago cheese, yumm!  I’d planned on food being a part of my make-a-long day, thinking I’d make a supergood dinner, and maybe bake something, but that ended up not happening because I was too immersed in the crafty stuff, so this is my only food photo:

breakfast quesadilla!

After the stitching, I headed into the studio, got it cleaned up, and finally did the sunny photoshoot I’d been needing to do forever (more on that later).  Once it was clean, it was time to mess it up again!  I dug through some old stash and pulled out a collection of partly done projects and to-be-done clothing repairs/reconstructions (these are some, there were more):

stash of in-progress projects

I decided to start with this top that I’d started sewing maybe 4 years ago – it was being a bit of a fail, so I’d set it aside with plans to fix and finish later.  Well, make-a-long day was later!  Ok so it’s still in the fail category, but I still plan to try to make it work, after which I’ll blog details (if I can’t, I’ll have to blog about it over here instead):

weird shirt worked on during make-a-long weird shirt worked on during make-a-long

So after giving up on that, I moved on to a black skirt I’d started sewing maybe 8 or 9 years ago and forgotten about – it’s the one in the top left corner of that photo above.  It’s super plain, I don’t know why I wanted to make it in the first place, but eh, it was still fitting, so I decided I may as well finish it.  I did so successfully, but man was it boring!  Definitely needed to be spiced up… Crochet Adorned to the rescue!  I’m not doing a project directly from the book, but I am using a pattern from the backpretty pineapples

crocheting for make-a-long!

This is as far as I got that day, and I’m sure I won’t have time to finish it till after the move; when it’s big enough (one pattern repeat maybe) I’ll hand sew it along the bottom edge of the skirt, and possibly make some more crocheted embellishments up the side or something.  See how boring the skirt is?  This is the back of it in the photo, with the zipper, since the front is just plain black (of course, once it’s all done, I’ll blog the finished skirt!):

skirt in-progress during make-a-long

After crocheting for a few hours, I moved on to what would become my only completed sewing project of the day.  Shirt sleeves skirt!  This one will get its own blog post later – I love it!!

shirt sleeve skirt made during make-a-long! shirt sleeve skirt made during make-a-long!

When that was done, I was well caffeinated and still getting so sleepy.  I had this in my to-do pile for like a year, so I decided to get it done, then crash.  It’s the alpaca applique I ironed onto a sweater back in November ’08, which was fine as it was, until the edges (especially the legs) started to come off.  So I needed to sew it on, but hadn’t ever gotten around to it – so happy it’s done now and I can wear it!

applique alpaca!

How did the whole 24 hours thing go?  Well, my main lesson learned was never to schedule a make-a-long for 2 days before a club mail-out day!!  I had been trying to get all the club stuff done early, but things took longer than I’d hoped and I stayed up later than planned Friday night trying to get more done, pushing my sleep schedule so I slept later than planned on Saturday morning.  But, much worse than that, being stressed about getting the stuff done right up until sleeping resulted in absolutely terrible sleep that night, so my intended 8 hours was more like 4ish decent hours and 4ish hours of tossing+turning half-sleep, or laying in bed not sleeping at all…

So, my main problem was sleepiness all day – if I had a full night’s sleep and wasn’t stressed out, I would have no problem at all staying up 24 hours.  Then on the other end of things, all for the same reason, I knew I had so much work to get done on Sunday (and really didn’t want to be working on the club during the make-a-long because that would be against the whole point of it!) so if I stayed up till 8 the next morning, I didn’t know if I could do it.  So I crashed around 6am, slept till 10, and finished all the club stuff on 4 hours of sleep.  Better than no sleep at all!

Those were the bookends of the day; as for the middle, there were some interruptions there as well… in between the crocheting and the sleeve skirt, there was a bit of a gap.  I took a nap for about an hour and a half, the only way I could make it into morning, and then Pete and I went out to dinner with friends – it wasn’t planned, but I didn’t want to say no to the invitation because of the making.  I knew I was already failing at the 24 hours straight plan, especially after the nap, and I had to eat something, so I got coffee with my food and had some social interaction thrown in there.  So from about 7:30 to midnight, the make-a-long was paused.

The only other problem I had, which wasn’t a huge deal, but I’ll be better about it next time around, was that my plan to not have any plans didn’t work out so well.  I thought, just planning to make stuff nonstop the whole day, and leaving what that stuff was up to whatever I felt like doing in the moment, would be the best way to do it; but it ended up resulting in all those still not finished projects, and gaps of time throughout the day that were wasted trying to figure out what I was in the mood to make… Next time, I’ll have a pile of projects ready to go, and I can still choose what I feel like working on, but with some limitations, there won’t be so much indecision, maybe…

Ok that was a lot of babbling, sorry about that.  In about a month and a half, something like that (maybe May 22nd?), I’ll arrange another make-a-long, on a weekend with no deadlines in front of me, and hopefully the date will work well for you too, and we’ll all give it another go!  Yeah!

Filed under: general crafts,lots of links,make-a-long,skirts — leethal @ 1:59 am

April 9, 2010

Make-a-Long participation details and making ideas!

Update 9/16/10: the 2nd make-a-long is happening on Saturday, Sept 18th – use these same links and info to participate again!

Ok this Make-a-Long (tomorrow, Saturday!) is getting a MUCH bigger response than I’d expected! Exciting!!  A couple of things have been asked about several times (and some fantastic ideas have been shared), so I thought it would be a good idea to do one more post about the event before it starts… First, exactly how do you participate (especially if you don’t use twitter)?

I’ve just set up a facebook group, a flickr group, started a ravelry forums thread, and then there’s the twitter hashtag, and there’s this blog, and the blog-world in general.  If there’s another place you think I should set something up, let me know… I’ll address each thing…

make-a-long on facebook

The facebook group is here; I’m not super facebook-literate (I kind of hate it, but eh, everyone uses it, so there I am), so I’m not sure exactly what you can do on the group.  Post messages to the wall, and share photos for sure – facebook people, you can go further if there’s more ways to interact through groups…  So, go ahead and post stuff there throughout the day, share photos of what you make during and/or after, and post later about how it all went!

make-a-long on flickr

The flickr group is here; it’s up to you how you use this group.  I will be waiting until a day or two after it’s all over, then sorting through and editing all the photos I took throughout the day and uploading them to flickr.  If you want to, you could post photos to flickr all throughout the day.  There’s also a discussion board over there, so feel free to use that!

leethal ravelry group

If ravelry is your discussion board site of choice, I started a thread there where you can post your progress throughout the day and talk about making.  Of course, if you have another forum (on ravelry or elsewhere) where you talk about making, get some members to join in the make-a-long and chat about it there!

my blog comments

You can also post about your making progress, links to photos, etc here in my blog comments, or do short posts throughout the day on your own blog!  If you are posting on your own blog, be sure to post a link to it either here, or on one of the other message boards – next week, once all photos are shared and everything, I’ll be writing a post with lots of links!


For me, I think twitter will be my main outlet to all you makers throughout the day, with the hashtag #makealong.  If you don’t know how twitter hashtags work, it’s very simple – a word with a hashtag (#) in front of it becomes a link to a search of all tweets with that same word.  To view all these tweets, without clicking on a hashtagged word, you can go to and search the word (makealong, in this case).

#makealong on TweetDeck

If you happen to use TweetDeck, you can search the word using that little magnifying glass icon at the top, which will create a column for all tweets with the word, so you can keep track of make-a-long tweets throughout the day!  Of course, when you tweet about what you’re making, or anything make-a-long-related, include #makealong somewhere in the tweet!


The other question I keep seeing pop up is “what should I make?” – whether it’s meant to be hypothetical or literal, I’ll try to help you out!

Personally, I plan to use a bunch of the craft books that I fall in love with, purchase, then let sit on my shelf collecting dust because I only design my own projects and never do crafts just for fun!  I also might be going back to some online tutorials that I’ve favorited and wanted to try out.  So, you could try the same – look at your bookshelf, bookmarks, or wherever else you have project ideas stowed away for later use…

japanese hat book Crochet Adorned weavingbook

As I said in the first post, making can include anything, not just crafts, and I’ve loved reading some of the things makers are planning on doing!  I hadn’t even thought about food!  It looks like many people will be cooking/baking during the make-a-long and I think I might join in!

beer bread into pan

Some other thoughts for genres of making besides crafting:

  • gardening – it’s Spring!
  • home projects – like furniture hacking, room makeovers, wall decals, painting a mural?
  • art projects – maybe you majored in art like me, but haven’t touched a drawing pencil or paintbrush since you graduated, like me…
  • computery – like redesigning your blog/website, or backing stuff up with the Archive-Along!
  • writing – or zine making, or book-making
  • photo-related – organizing old photos and putting them into albums, perhaps

I’m sure there are many more I’m not thinking of… And how about some craft genres?  Maybe you’ll see something on the list that will remind you of a project you were forgetting!

  • clothing reconstruction
  • clothing embellishment
  • home decor projects
  • jewelry making
  • yarn making (spinning, dyeing, recycling)
  • weaving
  • crochet
  • knitting (finishing old unfinished objects, perhaps?)
  • paper crafts
  • print-making (stamp carving, freezer paper printing, to name a couple varieties)

Ok those are some, but there are so many more, of course!  Just trying to get your creative juices flowing, or something…  I did a roundup on Threadbanger today with Spring sewing projects, and I also linked there to some other sewing roundups I’ve done.  Threadbanger is a great resource for project ideas, if you want to find some tutorials to use during the make-a-long (all the roundups I did in my first year are here, but I haven’t updated that for the last yearish because I suck! sorry!)… Here are some other great online places to find crafty tutorials:

(If you have other favorites, share them in the comments!)  Ok that’s enough listing!  If you’re making something that I didn’t mention here, or have more ideas, tell us in the comments to help out those having a hard time figuring out what to make!

Now I need to try to get sleepy, so I can go to sleep early, wake up early, and get making!!

Filed under: general crafts,lots of links,make-a-long — leethal @ 9:49 pm

April 6, 2010

Crafting all through the night? Yes please!!

Ok this is an idea I had way back around maybe July of last year… I kept pushing it and pushing it, thinking next month, next month, and now with the move happening so soon, I just really want to do it, finally!  What is it, you ask?


The idea is: 24 hour Make-a-Long!  The brainstorm came to me when Portland had a 24 hour zine making event – something like, everyone goes to a coffee shop in the morning, starts a zine, and finishes 24 hours later.  I loved the idea of a bunch of like-minded creative people all creating their own things, but together, and going through cycles of energy, sleepiness, caffeine highs and lows, creative weirdness that happens in tired states of minds and can be awesome….. and coming out at the other end with something rad to show for it!

06 07

So, for my 24hr Make-a-Long, the “make” part can be anything – I didn’t want to say craft-a-long because I don’t want to limit it to crafts only.  I’d like Create-a-Long, but it doesn’t sounds as good… So 24 hours of making it is!


It’s happening this Saturday (April 10th) – but the specific times are up to each individual.  Personally, I am a night person, and I know I’ll do much better staying up through till the morning than I would waking up in the middle of the night, so my times will be something like 7am-7am.  Maybe you’d do better with 3am-3am…

That’s just if you want to be hardcore and go for it all the way – but you can totally jump in as far as you want, which may only be 15 hours of making-a-long (8am-11pm?), or 10 hours even (11am-9pm?) – whatever you want to do, it’s up to you!  The idea is to have fun, not push your body too far and risk getting sick or anything, and to create things that you wouldn’t normally create!

t-skirt how-to 2

That brings me to the next part – what’s the point? Well, the idea is to spend this designated make-a-long time making things that you wouldn’t normally be making on a weekend day.  Either, trying new things you’ve been wanting to try, or devoting hours to things you normally rush through, or going back to projects you used to love and haven’t touched in years…… The point isn’t to sit on the couch and knit for 15 hours straight – the point is to really spend some quality time with things that don’t normally get your time.

my new cardigan! cardigan close-up

For example, I made a pretty rad reconstructed cardigan about a year and a half ago – I’d just gotten done with some really stressful projects or something, and I decided to just make something for me, for fun.  I actually devoted a decent amount of time to it and I was super duper happy with the finished result.  Well, I think that was the last time I spent any time on a project just for me (I’ve made things for me, but I always rush through them), and that was a year and a half ago!  Kind of ridiculous.


So, my plan for this make-a-long is to really spend some serious time with several clothing reconstruction projects I’ve wanted to do for so long but never find the time to even start.  Instead of rushing through a few simple steps, I’ll be taking my time, doing it well, adding hand-crafted embellishments and time-consuming elements that I normally don’t even think about.


On a side note – I’ll definitely be using up some materials that have been sitting on the shelves for years, and plan to buy zero new supplies for this make-a-long, which fits in perfectly with April Stash-Bust! Yay!

Then, the other step to participating is to document your making-a-long! There are no set rules, but I do plan to semi- stay away from the computer for most of the day, so no blogging or other time-consuming computing.  I’ll be tweeting throughout (hashtag #makealong perhaps?) and hopefully a bunch of us will so it feels like we’re doing it together… But the main thing, I will definitely be photographing everything I’m working on throughout the whole day, keeping track of it all, then doing one or several blog posts later about how it all went and what I made.


If you have a blog, you can do the same, of course!  If not, you can upload a series of photos from the day to flickr, with captions.  And/or you could post your projects on craftster, or other craft websites…  If there are several participants, I’ll probably set up a flickr group just for the make-a-long…  And then, it would be awesome if everyone participating makes sure I know – comment here, or email or tweet to me or something, and I can post about how it went for everyone and link to all the blog posts, pictures, etc.

UPDATE 4/9: I added another Make-a-Long blog post with more specific ways to participate, plus ideas on what you can make!

Red T-shirt Dress sweatshirthat2.jpg

I understand if there’s little participation in this first one, it’s pretty last-minute… I’ve just had this idea in my head for so long, I really want to finally try it out – I’m thinking of this one as a beta test… see if it works, if it’s fun, and then plan a “real” make-a-long, with more advance notice, in the summer.  And for the future one, I’ll make blog buttons and banners and all that fun stuff to make it more official!  For this trial run, any participation will be excellent – if you’re busy on Saturday, but are free on Sunday and like the concept, you could try it out then just for fun!  Let me know if you have any questions in the comments… Ok I think that’s all!

kitten on my kitten stash!

Oh yeah, except for something else – the winners of my 5 book giveaways were Rianaire, Nia, Kacy, iambunnicula, and mizzelle – congrats!  (You all should have gotten emails from me already – if you didn’t, let me know…)  Thank you everyone for all the great comments, I really loved reading them all!!  Yay!!

Filed under: general crafts,make-a-long — leethal @ 2:02 am
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