Jul 072014
 

Here’s a different twist on wire wrapping beads to a frame. Instead of center drilled beads today I used top drilled teardrops and wrapped the wire around the tips between each wrap. The wire adds interest & texture and the spiky look of the beads sticking out from the frame is kinda cool.

Summer Skies Crystal Earrings

You don’t have to use all the same beads, either. How about graduating them in size from larger in the center to smaller on the sides? Or, you can place the bead ends pointing inside the wire ring, rather than outside.

This is a great design to use your imagination and come up with your own variations.

By the way, I’m trying something different in my videos, speeding up the action and doing a voice over. It makes the videos shorter, but perhaps the steps are more difficult to follow?

Let me know in the comments which way you prefer.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Materials:

  • 2 ear wires
  • 2 1 1/8-inch diameter wine glass charm hoops
  • 10 13mm x 6mm top drilled teardrop crystals
  • 2 20-inch pieces 24 gauge wire

Tools:

  • chain nose pliers
  • wire cutters
  1. Leaving a 1/2-inch tail, tightly wrap one piece of wire around a hoop four times, keeping the wraps close together.
  2. String on a crystal bead and hold the tip against the hoop. Wrap the wire one time around the hoop, then wrap four or five times around the hole area of the bead.
  3. Wrap wire four times around the hoop, again keeping the wraps close together.
  4. Repeat steps 2-3 four more times. Trim excess wire at both ends.
  5. Center beads on hoop if necessary.
  6. Bend down straight end of hoop approximately 1/8-inch and tuck into loop.
  7. Open loop of an ear wire and attach to loop of hoop. Close securely.
  8. Repeat all steps for second earring.
Jun 302014
 

Stretch bracelets are easy to make AND you don’t have to be quite so precise with the sizing, which is excellent for gift giving.

pearl & crystal stretch bracelet still

Using pearls & crystals gives this a bracelet a classic and classy look. Of course, you could use any beads you like: How about a rainbow of colors, several shades of your favorite hue or all mixed metal components?

Whatever you decide to use, enjoy the video and happy creating!

Materials:

  • 36 6mm glass pearls
  • 24 6mm bicone crystal beads
  • 48 4mm spacer beads
  • 4 6mm x 20mm 3-hole spacers
  • .5mm stretch elastic

Tools:

  • sharpie
  • super glue
  • scissors
  • ruler
  • bead stoppers
  1. Leaving stretch elastic on the spool string the following pattern four times.
  2. glass pearl> spacer bead> crystal bead> spacer bead> glass pearl> spacer bead> crystal bead> spacer bead> glass pearl> end hole of three-hole spacer
  3. When stringing is complete, trim elastic from spool, leaving a few inches extra for tying knots and secure each end with a bead stopper.
  4. Repeat steps 1-3, using the center holes of three-hole spacers.
  5. Repeat steps 1-3 one more time, using remaining holes of three-hole spacers.
  6. Tie ends of elastic into secure knots, pull into holes of three-hole spacers to conceal and add a dab of super glue to knots. Wait until glue is dry to trim excess elastic.

 

Jun 282014
 

This week I’ve been sharing with you the sewing I’ve done for my summer wardrobe. Wednesday I shared a skirt, Thursday I told you all about getting perfectly fitting pants and yesterday I showed yet more tops copied from a well-loved purchased garment.

pants & tops fuchsia & black

Here are the same crop pants in black. The top is a fuchsia crinkle double knit with the yoke in a yummy quilting cotton.

pants & tops khaki & purple

Aaaaand here are the crop pants in khaki with the top in solid purple. I also made black & khaki pants in a long version. Enough pants, already!

skirts & tops tribal skort & original black

Here’s a cute little skort. I’ve had this tribal print for the longest time, but never had enough to make anything with it. I solved the fabric shortage problem by making the shorts underneath out of a solid black fabric, and you can’t even tell. 🙂

You can find the free Sporty Sarong Shorts pattern here. In order to forego lumps around the belly (where I don’t need any more) I skipped the tie and attached the two sides with hooks and eyes. This also saved on fabric.

Oh, and that black top is the one that started all the copies.

skirts & tops leopard & black ruched

Finally, remember this leopard print skirt? I think we all agreed that the length was awkward, just too long. So, I pulled out the pattern and found I could easily cut the shorter version out of the longer. And I did. Much better, eh?

Now I actually like wearing it. 🙂

So that’s it for now. Hope you’ve been inspired to try something new, perhaps copy a garment you love, get a great fit on pants or redo something that isn’t working and make it just right.

Whatever you do, happy creating!

Jun 272014
 

Yesterday I told you my process for making a perfectly fitting pair of pants.

pants & tops swarovski & white

Here’s another pair made the same way. They are accompanied by yet another incarnation of them “top with rounded yoke,” as I call it.

(Last summer I started making copies of a favorite knit top, see details and other versions, and yet more variations.)

new tops pants & skirts turquiose swarovski

This top may look like the one I did last year, but it isn’t, I made another. I didn’t care for the length of the first one and also the crystals were a combination of hot fix and glue on. The hotfix crystals stayed on great through the wash, but the glue on ones were constantly falling off.

I finally ripped off the crystals to save and threw away the top. The new longer version with all hotfix crystals makes me much,  much happier. 🙂

pants & tops blue sparkle & white

This top has a cautionary tale for ya.

2014 04 23 woyww sewing spring clothes (3)

First, take a closer look at the fabric. See all those pretty raised sparklies? Aren’t they lovely?

Now imagine them on the inside of the garment, rubbing against your skin.

Yeowch, indeed. The first time I tried it on I instantly began to twitch, couldn’t get it off fast enough.

new tops pants & skirts blue sparkle

So what did I do? Well, if you look closely at this pic you’ll notice there are NO little sparklies on the folded over back neck & armhole edges. If I’d bothered to show it (seemed like a boring photo) you’d see NO sparklies on the inner yoke facing either.

That’s cuz I picked them all off with my fingernails. Ruined a thumbnail, too, but it was worth it, lol.

So the cautionary tale is this: Don’t put roughly textured fabrics on the inside of a garment, find something kinder next to your skin… unless you like to twitch. 😀

Check back tomorrow for the final installment in the summer clothes series.

Happy creating!

Jun 262014
 

Yesterday I showed you a skirt I made from Simplicity 1887.

pants & tops blue embroidered linen & black

Here are the pants I made from that same pattern… sorta.

You see, way back in December 2012 I made a custom drafted pants pattern using my measurements.  (The link will bring you to the blog post with details.)

I made fleece pants from that pattern and wore them all winter long. Both winters.  Comfy, squishy, warm, AND they fit well. LOVE.

But then it was time to make something that could be worn out of the house, and so I went looking for a pattern with pocket and waistband details I liked.

simplicity 1887 pants & skirt

Simplicity 1887 fit the bill perfectly. You can see my review of the pattern here. 

After making one pair I realized they were way too wide at the bottom, and so applied the helpful tips in Tapering or Widening Pants, a great article by Threads Magazine.

new tops pants & skirts blue embroidered linen

Here’s a close up of the pocket & front details. I was very careful of the placement of these embroidered motifs. Didn’t want flowers blooming out of awkward places!

I’m working on a white top to wear with these, I think it will look better than the black one.

For more of my summer wardrobe, check back tomorrow!

Happy creating. 🙂

Jun 252014
 

This spring I went a little wild sewing myself new clothes. They were mostly variations of the same few patterns, or ones I’ve made before.

Since I made so many clothes and have so many pics, I’m going to share them with you over the next four days.

skirts & tops pink denim & black ruched

First up is this cute denim skirt. I’d originally bought the hot pink stretch denim to make a pair of crop pants but upon thinking about it decided a) the hot pink was a bit much, and b) a skirt might be nicer.

new tops pants & skirts pink denim (2)

So I decided to use the wrong side, also known as “the other right side.” Here you can see the original bright pink, along with the inside part of my serged blind hem.

Btw, I’m VERY pleased with my new Brother 1034D Serger/Overlocker. The instruction books are great with all the details for doing different kinds of seams. Earlier this week it did nearly eighty yards of rolled hems, two hours at top speed, with no problem.

simplicity 1887 pants & skirt

I made view D of Simplicity 1887 and am loving it.

new tops pants & skirts pink denim (1)

Here’s a close up view of the waistband and pocket details. My review of the pattern follows.

Tomorrow I’ll show you a pair of pants made with the same pattern.

Happy creating!

 

Simplicity 1887 Pattern Review

Pattern Description: Pants, Shorts & Skirts with elastic back waist.

Pattern Sizing: I made the 18.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yup.

Were the instructions easy to follow? The instructions were fine, although I changed how I inserted the waist so to have a neater inside finish.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the yoke around the front with the rest of the waist elastic. The comfort of elastic with the nicer look of a smooth finish at the waist front is perfect. And, of course, pockets are awesome. 🙂

I didn’t care for the pleats and made mine into darts for a more flattering look. Also, I would never use the front ties. Who needs more lumps in that area of the body?

Fabric Used: A hot pink stretch denim from Stylish Fabrics. I used the lighter pink wrong side as my right side.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: As mentioned, making darts instead of pleats, eliminating the front ties and changing how I did the front band.

After step 10, understitching, press under 5/8-inch along one long edge of waistband, then sew unpressed edge to pants. Carefully pin the pressed edge in place, then stitch in the ditch from the right side to secure the pressed edge to the waist, making sure to leave an opening for inserting elastic. This gives a much neater and less lumpy finish to the waistband.

I also added six inches to the skirt length when I cut it out, but then had to chop some of that off after trying it on.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I HAVE already sewn it again, six more times! I frankenpatterned the pants pocket and waistband details onto a custom drafted pair of pants to make four pairs of crop pants and two pairs of long pants.

Conclusion: This is a great pattern with nice details and a wonderful wardrobe staple.

Jun 232014
 

Sometimes all it takes for inspiration is a lovely grouping of colors.  As soon as I saw Swarovski’s “Sea Breeze” assortment of 6mm bicone crystals, I knew what I wanted to do.

sea-breeze-crystal-necklace-still-down

(Click on either photo for a closer look.)

I have no idea of the name of the pendant shape. It was a free goodie tucked in with an order from Art Beads and I wasn’t able to find it in any Swarovski catalog.  If you know, please let us know!

sea-breeze-crystal-necklace-still-hanging

The chain is actual antique brass… it’s cuckoo clock chain from my friends who repair clocks.

You can watch the Sea Breeze Crystal Necklace Video Tutorial over at YouTube.

Happy creating!

Materials:

  • desired length 4-links-per-inch necklace chain with clasp (mine is 30 inches long)
  • approx. 6-inches 7-link-per-inch chain, separated into links that are 4, 5, 6, 7, & 8 links long
  • 1 package 15-6mm Swarovski crystal bicone beads in color assortment “Sea Breeze”
  • 15 daisy spacers for bicones (optional)
  • 18mm x 10mm Swarovski crystal pendant
  • 2 bead caps for pendant (optional)
  • 15 head pins
  • 1 3-inch piece 20 gauge wire

Tools:

  • two pair chain nose pliers
  • round nose pliers
  • wire cutters
  1. Slide onto a head pin: 6mm Swarovski crystal bicone bead and a daisy spacer.
  2. Use chain nose pliers to grasp wire just at point where it exits daisy spacer.  Bend wire at 90° angle.  Grasp bend with round nose pliers and wrap wire around pliers as far as possible to start to make a loop.  Reposition pliers to finish loop.  Slightly twist loop open and insert end link of one of the short pieces of chain. Close loop and hold with chain nose pliers. Use another pair of chain nose to wrap remaining wire around wire below 90° bend. Use wire cutters to trim, if necessary. Use chain nose pliers to tuck in end.
  3. Repeat steps 1 & 2 to add a 6mm crystal to one end of each of the smaller pieces of chain.
  4. Find center link of necklace chain. Repeat steps 1 & 2 to add a 6mm crystal to every other link on each side of center link.  (Five crystals on each side.)
  5. Grasp 3-inch piece of wire near the center with chain nose pliers; make a 90° bend. Grasp bend with round nose pliers about halfway up the round nose and wrap wire around pliers as far as possible to start to make a larger loop than usual.  Reposition pliers to finish loop.  Slightly twist loop open and insert other end links of each of the five short pieces of chain. Close loop and hold with chain nose pliers. Use another pair of chain nose to wrap remaining wire around wire below 90° bend. Use wire cutters to trim, if necessary. Use chain nose pliers to tuck in end.
  6. Slide on a bead cap, if using, 18mm x 10 mm Swarovski crystal pendant and another bead cap.
  7. Repeat step 2 to make a wrapped loop attached to center link of necklace.
Jun 162014
 

teardrop dangle earrings still (1)

I know I keep saying it, but don’t you just love how with a little wire, a few tools and some know-how you can make your own custom findings for jewelry?

In today’s video I show you how to make the above ear wires with attached loops for dangling beads.

teardrop dangle earrings still (2)

Make as many or few small dangles as you like. A whole bunch will give a rich, full look, but just a couple will have a sleek, elegant feel.

You’ll also learn how to wire wrap top drilled drop beads. The blue focals in these earrings look like turquoise but are actually some kind of enameled ceramic.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!


Materials:

  • 2 – 17x10mm top drilled tear drop beads
  • 4 – 5mm top drilled tear drop beads
  • 12 – assorted 2-4mm beads
  • 12 – 3mm silver plated round beads
  • 12 headpins
  • 20 gauge sterling silver filled wire – half hard, 8 inches
  • 26 gauge sterling silver filled wire – dead soft, 30-34 inches

Tools:

  • chain nose pliers
  • round nose pliers
  • wire cutters
  • crimping pliers (optional)
  • bail making pliers with 7mm and 10mm jaws
  • nylon jaw pliers
  • cup burr or file
  • ruler

See the video for all the directions!

 

Jun 102014
 

Hello and happy What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday, all! My workdesk today consists not so much of working, but unpacking and sorting.

2014 06 11 woyww fire mountain gems order (1)

Spread out before you is my rather, um, largish, order from Fire Mountain Gems. (No, I’m not going to tell you just how large, that would be the one time the hubs would read my blog, lol.) I got some new tools, pliers, clay, sterling silver wire, and lotsa beads.

I’m especially excited to try that metal thingie in the middle with the holes in it. It’s  draw plate, and if done right, one should be able to take large gauge wire, pull it through and get any finer gauge you want.

I’ve got tons of 12 & 14 gauge copper wire the hubby reclaimed for me from electronics, and I want to make it into more usable 16, 18 & 20 gauge. I’ll let you know how it works out.

2014 06 11 woyww fire mountain gems order (2)

They were having a sale on Swarovski crystals, so I got LOTS of those. I love using them in my jewelry designs.

2014 06 11 woyww fire mountain gems order (3)

Here’s a closer look at the draw plate, some glass pearls, copper beads, turquoise donuts, et al.

The calculator is out in the top photo because before I put things away, I’ll mark all beads & components with individual costs. This will help in pricing jewelry that gets sold later on.

So that’s my desk today. If you’d like to see what’s happening in the workspaces of other crafty creative people check out the weekly blog party over at Julia’s. It’s always a fun time!

P.S. FMG isn’t paying me to promote, I just think they’re a great company with excellent service and awesome prices. 🙂

Jun 092014
 

I’ve shown you other ladder weave bracelets before, but this one is interesting in that the weaving takes place through the links of lengths of chain.

ladder & chain bracelet still

Even though you string with elastic, the bracelet is not stretchy, but it does have a nice drape and some comfortable weight.  It’s fairly simple once you get the pattern down.

ladder & chain bracelet version 2

Here’s another version I made, this time using stringing wire instead of elastic.  The beading was faster and easier although a little trickier to get the tension right. To secure the ends I just passed each wire end through a crimp, one from each side and flattened the crimp.

Enjoy the video. Happy creating!

Tools & Materials:

  • triple loop clasp
  • 30 8mm beads
  • 30 metal spacer beads
  • 3 6.5 inch pieces chunky chain (make sure pieces all have exact same number of links)
  • seed beads
  • 2 yards 0.5mm elastic cord
  • sharpie marker
  • scissors
  • chain nose pliers

See video for detailed directions.