Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tuesday Tutorial: Boy Pants from Sweatshirt Sleeves

Rarely, do I sew for my boys. I know, I know, how aweful! I just find male clothing, well, a bit boring. However, my mind was changed when I worked with a really cool male client last year who wasn't afraid to think outside the box in terms of style and really appreciated my design aesthetic. Anyway, I digress, I'll write about that in another post. 

All this to say that for this Tuesday tutorial, I transform sweatshirt sleeves into boy sweat pants! Remember when I made my sweatshirt jumpsuit? I had a couple of sleeves left over and this is what I came up with; a really easy, fun, fast tute:

 I used a pair of Dan's pj pants to outline the shape of the pants. Four piecs make up a pair of pants, two front pieces and two back pieces. Each sleeve will make up a front and a back piece. 

I wanted to sew as little as possible, using the natural shape of the sleeves and the seams already sewn. I cut along the white lines making the shape of the pants.

This is what it looked like after I cut along the white line on each sleeve.

With right sides together, pin the center seam and then sew.

Now you can either fold and add an elastic or attach a waist band.

When I compared them to Dan's current PJ pants, I realized they were too short for me to add an elastic so I pulled out a waistband from another sweatshirt project, 

measured, cut and attached (sewed) it to the pants. I used the waist measurement from the PJ pants. This added a bit more length to them.  

There you have it: boy sweatshirt pants from two sleeves! They were still a bit too short but not as much as they would have been had I folded the waist down and added an elastic like I originally planned. Next time I will use sleeves from a 3X sweatshirt. 

Yes, Dan loves to play with cables! It's one of his little quirks
My model stayed put long enough for me to take a picture of him in his new sweatpants!

I hope you liked this refashion. I particularly enjoyed this one  because I finally made something for my boy. Now I have to make something for the other one to avoid any sibling rivalry!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Custom Order and Tuesday Tutorial coming soon

So sorry I have not posted since Monday! It's been super busy at home. My oldest was home all last week with the flu and then both boys were home this week Monday and Tuesday for winter break. So, I have not had time to take photos or sew. 

I did get a little time, this week, to start on a custom order for this Frida top.  I am making it in red and blue instead of brown and blue.  Can't wait to see the finished product. 

I also had a little time to work on my Tuesday tutorial which I really hope will indeed be available this Tuesday. 

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Sew and Tell: Sweatshirt Jumpsuit

I continue my obsession with jumpsuits. I made this one from three sweatshirts.

I, again, apologize for the quality of the pics. They came out too light for my taste. I will continue to try to remedy this.

The top is made from one sweatshirt

The top part of the pants are made from two sweatshirts. The bottom part of the pants are made from the sleeves of one of the sweatshirts. All that was left over from the three sweatshirts were the three waist and neck bands and two pairs of sleeves. I am sure I'll find something to make with them!

Here I am doing my best catwalk, lol. 

I am ready for my close up!

As always, I would love your feedback! 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Everyday is Black History Month at Nelesc Designs: BILLIE HOLIDAY

Available at Nelesc Designs for $22.00
Here's another installment of "Everyday is Black History Month at Nelesc Designs." Today I give you Billie Holiday.

Jazz vocalist Billie Holiday was born April 7, 1915, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was a true artist of her day and rose as a social phenomenon in the 1950s. Her soulful, unique singing voice and her ability to boldly turn any material that she confronted into her own music made her a superstar of her time. Today, Holiday is remembered for her masterpieces, creativity and vivacity, as many of Holiday's songs are as well known today as they were decades ago. Holiday's poignant voice is still considered to be one of the greatest jazz voices of all time. (Biography.com and Wikipedia.com)

Ms. Holiday is such an inspiration to me and I love this image of her inspired by Jazz photographer William P. Gottlieb's 1947 image. 

Here, she is just belting it out, like's she's singing for her life. Her expression is an emotional mixture of strength and pain. This is quite understandable as she died an untimely death at the age of 44, losing her battle with substance abuse. Her humanity is captivating and I imagine that singing, for her, was cathartic, healing, an expressive mixture of both pain and pleasure. 

I love to sing, and for me, as well as for many others, singing has become both joyous and a battle cry. I sing with my kids and it's joyous and fun and sometimes I sing out of frustration, a tuneful scream, if you will.

Another view of Billie Holiday t-shirt at Nelesc Designs

Life is a mixture of both joy and pain and we all need a "go to" playlist to reflect on those times. I know I have one. Going to download some Billie Holiday songs now. 

Happy Black History Month!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Tutorial Tuesday: Lace/Mesh Top Inspired by "Jasmine" from Parenthood

I started watching Parenthood when my son's former ABA therapist told me that, on the show, a young actor plays a boy with autism. Of course, I couldn't resist wondering how the show would portray an autistic kid since, hello, this is my life! Anyway, the show is amazing and they have done a wonderful job. Since watching the show, I have also become equally smitten by all the cute tops and dresses worn by the actors, particularly, "Jasmine" played by Joy Bryant.

I absolutely loved this Helmet Lang top she wore this past season and thought that maybe I could emulate it by using a reverse applique technique (sewing material on top of sweater and then cutting underneath). I also decided to use lace, which I have a lot of, instead of the mesh-like material from the original top.  

What I liked most about the top were the long strips on the side going across the bodice and the arms. I then had to be lead by the sweater I bought; there were some stains I had not noticed and needed to cover those. That's what I get for buying a $1.00 sweater.


-lace or mesh material
-sewing machine (you can hand sew but I have not tried it this way)

Here's the sweater I bought for this project. I wanted a lighter grey like "Jasmine's" but I couldn't find it in that color so I settled on this darker grey I found for a $1.00

It was a mens extra large so I re-sized it using a top that fits me well. I stitched the top of the sleeves and the sides.

 Now that's better.

I wasn't following "Jasmine's" top to the letter as I knew I wanted one of the lace pieces to go on top of my chest area. I love working with triangles so I chose that basic shape, placed it, pinned it, and then sewed it in place. 

 This is what it looks like when you turn it inside out.

Before cutting,  I grabbed the lace from underneath to make sure it didn't get caught when I started to cut the top part of the sweater.

 I always start by making a hole and then proceed to cut.

 Make sure to cut inside of the shape. Do not cut across the thread line.

More cutting

This is what it looks like when done cutting (from the inside out)

I used this technique on the arm and shoulder bands similar to "Jasmine's". Now I had to cover the stains on the bottom of the sweater. Do you see them?


I used another triangle piece to cover them, stitched in place,

turned it around, and cut the sweater part revealing the lace underneath.

Peek-a-boo, I think you can see my bellybutton.

Here's the long strip like "Jasmine's", although it doesn't cut across the bodice like her's. 

I like the way the arm lace band looks.

I made some lace cut outs in the back too. I sort of went a litle crazy with them. 

I think what I will do next time is,1.choose a sweater that does not have stains so that my design is not guided by the sweater and 2. cut the sweater apart at the seams, add the lace strips and then sew back together. It was difficult to maneuver the sweater, already assembled, through my sewing machine .  

All in all, I like the finished product and will definitely wear it out and about, especially when it gets warmer. 

What do you think? Do any of you watch Parenthood?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Everyday is Black History Month at Nelesc Designs: Angela Davis

At Nelesc Designs, everyday is Black History month. However, since February is the designated month to focus our attention on our African American brothers and sisters, I want to highlight one of the cultural icons I feature in my shop, Angela Davis. 

Also available in brown, red and grey.

Angela Davis is best known as a radical African American educator, activist for civil rights and issues surrounding the private prisons. She knew about racial prejudice from her experiences with discrimination growing up in Alabama. As a teenager, Davis organized interracial study groups, which were broken up by the police. She also knew several of the young African American girls killed in the Birmingham church bombing of 1963.

She is currently a professor at the Unversity of California-Santa Cruz, a job she was once fired from for ties to communism. In 1970, she was imprisoned for charges related to her involvement with three prison inmates.She later was acquitted of all charges. Davis is the author of several books, including Women, Race, and Class (1980) and Are Prisons Obsolete? (2003). www.biography.com

These are minimally reconstructed; crew neck is transformed into a scoopneck and sleeves were shortened.

If you've followed my blog since the beginning, you know that I have written about  Angela Davis before. Here, I talk about my decision to include her in my shop despite people feeling that she is too controversial. Here is where I talked about the documenary I saw with my aunt on Sunday, October 17,  MOUNTAINS THAT TAKE WING. It featured "conversations between Angela Davis, an internationally re-knowned scholar-activist, and 88 year old Yuri Kochiyama, a revered grassroots community activist and 2005 Nobel Peace Prize nominee." It was held at the Brooklyn Campus of Long island University.

This particular image, on the t-shirt, was inspired by Stephen Shames' 1969 photograph of Angela Davis. Shames is a New York based photojournalist.

While on assignment in Uganda in 2000, Steve ran into children who desperately wanted to go to school but couldn’t because they lacked school fees. In Uganda, children often got sent home from school because they don’t have a pen or paper. Steve realized a small amount of money could transform a child’s life. Therefore, a percentage of the sales from this Angela Davis t-shirt goes to Shames' foundation, LEAD Uganda, an educational leadership initiative for abandoned children affected by AIDS, war and poverty founded in 2004 by Shames. I wrote about my partnership with LEAD Uganda here

Angela Davis continues to intrigue me as a powerful, outspoken, feminist thinker. As a Puerto Rican woman, I relate to her, she speaks to me and I know she speaks to many women (and men) in this day and age. I honor her today.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Sew and Tell: Jumpsuit

First off, I apologize for these bad pictures. Hubby and I switched rooms with the boys and am struggling to find a new good spot to take my pics. Please make believe the pile on the floor is not there.  

Anyway...Here's a little sew and tell. This is a jumpsuit I made two weeks ago and I absolutely love it! I love jumpsuits because, like I said in one of my facebook statuses, they are like super-hero, must have attire for on-the-go moms like myself. Especially an -on the go-mom of an extremely active sensory needy child. When I am out with my little one, you don't know how many times I have to swing him, bend down to pick him up, hold him, etc. It's so good to know that I have a one piece garment preventing anyone from seeing my undies as I bend or my boobies as I lean forward (I always wear a camisole under anything that might pose a challenge like a criss-cross or  v-neck.  

Here is it without any accessories. 

Here, it's paired with necklace, bracelet and belt. 

I used a compilation of two patterns, the top is from McCalls 6083 and the bottom is Simplicity 2187.

It's made from wool jersey which a friend of mine gave me. It's really warm. I intended to add sleeves but didn't have enough fabric

Do you like jumpsuits? Let me know what you think.