Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Bottom Line: The Cost of Competing in PR&P

Hello Everybody! - if you are newer to my blog there are a few blog posts that may help you understand my sewing background and why I upcycle/recycle/re-purpose (Here and Here).   But at the end of the day the short answer is that I am cheap.  I live on a tight budget with three kids under 2 and I started sewing for them to save us money - not spend a ton.  It can be a bit intimidating when you see the big blogs buying up all the awesome new fabrics and patterns; but don't think you can't sew amazing things without breaking the bank!!!

 Winter Wear-Wolf:  $0

OK, technically $2.50 (which is what I paid for the grey bias tape in the fall, but I only used half of it, and if I hadn't already bought it I just would have made my own from one of  the fabrics in the outfit).  All of the fabrics were upclycled; two skirts and two shepherds costumes.  The buttons came from an old coat, and the elastic loops were made from 2 hair ties I had.

Collegiate Cool: $.83

I never could have pulled this one off for $0 if it wasn't for my mom gifting me access to her stash as part of my Christmas present.  This outfit used the most yardage of any of the PR&P looks.  The jacket, jacket lining, shirt, and tie all used yardage from my mom's supply - but that's the thing, there are always people you know that have some kind of left overs hanging about that they are willing to share ;o).  The sweater was made from a men's sweater that I scored at Goodwill for 83 cents.  The pants were an upcycle from a women's skirt.  The buttons for the shirt came from a men's button up in my stash. *Oh and I won the pattern for Melly Sews' Basic Blazer.

Elephant Shoes: $7
I spent $1.99 on the fabric paint to print the Elephant fabric.  Another Goodwill score gave me a grey knit T for 83 cents.  I caught the teal corduroy and grey fleece on super Christmas sales combined with coupons and picked up a yard of each at about $2 a yard.  The black knit came into my stash in a donation from one of my friend's grandmother, the teal knit was a women's T, and the black lining of the pants was a women's skirt.

Butterfly Kisses: $0
Yep, every once of fabric on this one was upcycled.  The gorgeous butterflies were an old skirt, the velvet was a sleeveless woman's top, and the green knit was a T-shirt.  I stole a hook off a skirt and the two snaps for the jacket were in my button jar.

Mo-Squish-Le: $5.60
Once again, the fabrics were all upcycled - two button up shirts, one white dress shirt and one flannel plaid shirt.  All of the buttons on the top were from the original shirt.  But then there was the boots- they needed a special button to make the look.  Once I decided that I wanted cool buttons on the boots, I decided that I wanted to tie in the shorts with the same/similar buttons.  With the help of a couple coupons, I was able to get 2 large, 2 medium, and 4 small silver buttons for a total of $5.60.  Oh yeah - and those cool leather boots came from an old leather jacket of mine from middle school.

Gabba Ga: $5.30
I was actually willing to spend more to get this outfit 'just right'.  I was prepared to spend as much as it took to find the perfect green on green striped knit at the store for the Brobee hoodie.  But it didn't exist - nada in stripes.  Boooo!  I had gone through all the green in my stash and taken swatches with me of anything I thought might work.  I decided I could rework my design a bit and 'create' stripes using two knits.  The maternity top in my stash was the perfect fit, so I grabbed half a yard of the dark green knit to compliment it - I also had used up all of my 1 inch elastic and needed to buy more for the pants, a coupon came in handy for that.  Muno's outfit used the remaining fleece from Elephant Shoes, a grey knit skirt, a red Tshirt, a white women's knit top, and a women's sweat shirt.  That red sweat shirt had been my mom's and dearly loved - to the point that it became her painting sweatshirt.  The seamed bum was divine inspiration as that section of the sweatshirt torso had large paint splatters (the arms were too short to use as pant legs because this was a women's M/L).  Brobee used more of the grey knit skirt, the remainder of the women's white knit top, the maternity waffle knit top, the purchased  green knit yardage, the remainder of the red T, a curtain panel   and a separating zipper stolen from one of my pre-pregnancy sweatshirts.  Oh, and those cool zippered pockets on Muno's pants - the zippers were stolen from sleepers the boys wore last year.

So there you have it, a Grand Total of  $18.73
Yep, under $20 for 7 full outfits - I think that counts as saving my family money!!!

Now, you probably couldn't make exactly the same outfits for the same amount - but you'd be able to do similar things with what you can find and build into your own stash.  And yes there is always thread ;op
Where does my stash come from???  Well, it started with me going through my own closet and weeding out what no longer fits my larger body and my hubs' smaller body (yeah that isn't fair, but let's not dwell).  Then friends of mine read on my blog about my goal last summer to make fall clothes for the boys without spending a dime, and they started offering me first dibs on bags of clothes that were destined for Goodwill.  Then my mom started cleaning out her closets (both crafting and clothing), and the piles grew and grew.  Recently, I've started getting some yardage from friend's whose parents or grandparents are downsizing and cleaning out.
The biggest thing I do is start at my stash.  Yes I have a design in mind, yes I have a desired color pallet; but almost every time things work out better than I could have expected by starting with what I have and 'Making it Work'.
Now don't get me wrong - when our budget allows I WILL be buying some pretty fabrics and patterns - and I am already plotting exactly what I will spend my prize gift certificates on!!!!  My only birthday and Christmas requests this past year were sewing notions.  And someday soon-ish, I will need to purchase a newer sewing machine.  But until then, I will continue to use whatever comes my way to create cool new clothes for my three quickly growing babies ;o)

Huge hugs to all!!!
*oh and ask questions - I love comments and questions, I try very hard to answer them all via e-mail, so make sure your profile is set to receive reply e-mails!!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

PR&P Season 6 Recap

Hello faithful friends and dear readers.  As you probably know I won THIRD this season in PR&P!!!  I could not be more excited and have both my supportive friends and the awesome judges to thank for it!!!

There are a few very special people that I need to thank before I move on:
First, my husband - he has been supportive beyond words, has eaten the last minute meals I've thrown together without grumble, and hasn't said a word about the state of the laundry.  He has given me huge hugs and always told me my look was his favorite - he is the best!

Next is my mom.  Although she was gone for the last two and a half weeks of the competition, she was my personal Tim Gunn, my voice of reason, and my source of any random thing that my children decided to 'misplace'.  Hand sewing needle at 10pm, check.  Ribbon for baby girl's dress, check.  Provided of serger to use through the entire competition, CHECK!!!  My mom is always my loudest cheerleader and probably responsible for a large percentage of my public score each week.

Last but not least or my three angels of the blogging community: Heidi, Shannon, and Max.
Heidi was my constant source of tips and tricks to stay afloat.  She would comment on early ideas and images I sent her to make sure I gave it my all in a way that the judges and voters could appreciate.  Every week she told  me I deserved to move on - and did it in a way I actually believed ;o)
Shannon, oh where do I start with Shannon - she is honestly a God send.  As another mom of twins, she not only was going through the competition with me, but could also share life experience and encouragement.  She always has words of wisdom and truth to share with me when I was feeling down or overwhelmed.  And on top of all that, her talent is AMAZING!
And then Max/Ari - we 'met' when I started blogging, and quickly made a pact that we would audition for and make it to the final three of PR&P season 6 - HAHAHAHAH, neither of us ever thought it was actually a possibility.  She is such a light, an inspiration, and just that 'no nonsense girl' you love having in your corner.  I could not be happier that she won it all - YOU GO GIRL!!!!

Ok - and here is the season recap:

So which was your favorite look of all??? - any guesses as to what my highest score outfit was, you might be surprised!!!!

Throughout  the following weeks, I'll be posting tutorials from the different looks - if you have something you really want a tutorial on, leave a shout out and I'll make sure it gets included!!!

Tomorrow (hopefully) I'll be posting a break down of what I spent on each look... I want people to know that sewing can be affordable for anyone!!!

Friday, February 15, 2013

PR&P Signature Look: Gabba Ga!

 First I want to say thank you to everyone here for helping me make it to the finals, I really never thought I would be here with all the amazing talent this season and I am humbled and honored.

Ok - Signature style - I'm going to tell you a little secret here, but you have to promise not to tell anyone ok? I still don't know 'exactly' what my signature style is.  I know that I love classic lines, that I want clothes that are wearable, and that if I am going to spend time making clothes for my kids - I want them to LOVE them.  I hope my look is always a little classic, a little cool, and always evolving!!!
A few weeks ago, my husband asked me to make Yo Gabba Gabba shirts for the boys for their 2nd birthday (which is the 25th) because they are a wee bit obsessed with the show - which they call 'Gabba Ga!'.  I looked at him with a scowl, I am not a fan of 'character' garments - NOT my style.  But then I looked at my boys, dancing and singing along with their favorite show, sighed, and told my husband the following: 'If by some miracle I make it into the finals of PR&P, I will use YGG as the inspiration for my signature look'.  Well, here I am ;o)

I present to you my version of Muno and Brobee - in a non-character/costume way.  This week I was working entirely in real time - oh how fast it flies by!!! Each look has three pieces. They go together but are different - just like my boys!

Muno:   B's  pants were my first 'A-ha' moment and I love the way they turned out.  They are made of an old sweatshirt that my mom donated to my stash.  The two round pockets have functioning zippers - I wanted to create bumps without them being all over. 

The bum also has a curved seam that is top stitched that ties in the whole circle/bump theme that make Muno who he is.

That circle motif is continued with the half circle pockets on his hooded vest.  The pockets are made and lined with vermilion knit and match the lining of the hood and trim of the arm holes. (I honestly had to look up what color Muno is - Red or Orange, my husband is the genius who said he was in fact 'Vermilion' or Red-Orange).

The main body of the hoodie is made of grey fleece, but the hood is made of the same grey knit as the shirt yolk and sleeves, so the sleeves tie into the hood when worn together.

Brobee:  For this one it was always all about the hoodie.  The main green is made from an old maternity top of mine.  The dark green is the only purchased yardage used in either outfit, sadly I was a little last minute in making decisions about this look so I didn't have time to order any fabric and was limited to what my local fabric store has in stock - not so much, but it all worked out in the end.  The horizontal seams are top stitched with contrasting thread to tie into the lining using a twin needle.

The middle stripe forms a pocket for all sorts of treasures. The hood is lined with the same vermilion knit from B's Tshirt to allude to the horns and large mouth that detail Brobee's character.

His pants are so cool, they have double drawstrings that go up both legs so that they can be shortened in the spring for puddle jumping.  One side has a cargo pocket, and the other has two tabs for a stripe-y detail.  The bottoms of the legs have stitched on stripes to follow through with the main visual element of Brobee.

I wanted both boys to have matching T's and I created the piecing based on the head shape of both characters - I draw a lot of Munos and Brobees for the boys and I always start with an upside down U for their heads. The pieced seams are top stitched with the twin needle.

Roll the Credits:
Shirts - adapted from my basic long sleeve T pattern
Brobee Pants - I used the same pattern I created for the elephant pants, I added the side pocket, tabs, and stitching detail along with the super cool leg drawstrings.
Muno Pants - same basic pants pattern adapted to gave a separate waist band and  the bum seam.  Added the circle zipper pockets.
Hoodies - Both are variations on my basic hoodie pattern, the Brobee one adds the shoulder yolk and stripe pockets along with a zipper closure.  The Muno one becomes sleeveless and adds the half circle pockets.

More Photos!!!
I almost thought our photo shoot wouldn't happen as 3 inches of snow fell Wednesday night.  Luckily they are really quick at clearing sidewalks and streets downtown, and that was where this amazing mural is located - I KNEW this was the perfect 'Gabba Land' location!  B of course took off running and wiped out on some ice about 2 minutes into the shoot, but you can't tell too badly.  

(showing off his dancy-dance skills)

'Animal crackers want to go to the Party in my tummy, so yummy, so yummy'

 'You take some baby steps, baby steps... little tiny baby steps'

("Run run run, it's fun fun fun" - still running - yeah photographing 2 almost 2 year olds is fun ;op)

Running off side by side ;o)

Goodbye from all of us here in Gabba Land!!!  And don't forget to VOTE!!!

PS - thank you everyone for your well wishes, we are finally a healthy family again!!!