23 June 2013

My Frugally Creative Challenge

I have had an idea for a series of blog entries tumbling around in my brain for quite some time. I have wanted to do a once a week post about creative expression on a shoe string, but there has been no time for such things, since my #1 priority this time of year is the garden. So, I have been promising myself that I could indulge in some creative projects, as soon as the bulk of the early summer garden work was done. As of this week, the garden is planted, the weeds have been subdued, (for the moment), and it has rained for a week solid so I won't have to spend my day moving the sprinklers around the yard for at least a day or two... so I am treating myself to some play time!

I am challenging myself to create frugal projects that are not only inexpensive, but that also contribute to living green byusing re-purposed and recycled materials. I enjoy cruising Goodwill and local thrift shops for garments that can be turned into craft projects, altered couture, hand bags and decorator items. I don't really care what size they are since I am not going to wear them as they are when I purchase them. Actually the bigger the better... The larger the size of the garment the more fabric I have to play with!

This week I had some errands in Charlotte, so I added a stop or two to my list and went shopping at a few Goodwill stores along the way. I wasn't shopping for anything in particular, I was just expecting that I would  find something that would speak to me. The only criteria I gave myself was that I had to choose something that I could start and finish this weekend. My husband was going to be out of town with his folks, and I was going to be alone all weekend, so it was a good time to indulge in project.

At the first Goodwill, I found several things to add to my summer wardrobe, (which I am in great need of having gone down 4 dress sizes since last summer!). But there was nothing that tweaked my fancy for a project. At the second store I did find some items that I could use; some for this weekend's project, and some for my fabric cache.

For my project I found a wrap around skirt made of heavy weight brocade. There were three different colors and patterns in the skirt, one of which was a lightly beaded paisley motif that was the border along the bottom of the skirt; it appealed to me.

 It called to me saying that it would make a great "Hippie Bag", but I wondered if the colors were a little to subdued for that. It was $3.79 for the skirt so put it in my cart and went looking for something to liven up the earth tones a little and provide some sparkle. I found a dress in a complimentary color, that was burgundy Georgette, painted, beaded and sequined with a gold patterned over lay lined with a solid burgundy Georgette. I try not to take things for projects that might better find use as a nice addition to someones wardrobe, the dress was  very formal and well made but there were signs of wear in places so I felt OK about cutting it up. Since the idea for this blog post series is creative expression on a shoestring, I didn't want to spend the 6.99 they were asking for the dress, but it was Tuesday and there is a 20% off on Tuesdays, which would make the dress about $5.60, and it was a size 14, so I would get more than one project out of the fabric, so I got it.

I took my treasures home and drafted a pattern from one of my favorite across the chest style bags, which I will call a "Hippie Bag" for simplicity. I cut the wrap around skirt so that I would be able to get at least two projects out of it, using the majority of the beaded paisley section for my present project. From the formal sequined and beaded dress, I cut enough of the Georgette beaded overlay to cover the top section of the bag and the strap, backing it with the heavier brocade for added body a some durability.

The bag took 4 hours to make from drafting to cleanup, it would have taken even less time if I had thought about removing the beading from the seam area before I started sewing. I broke or bent 2 machine needles and ended up having to do the top stitching by hand since it was difficult to work around the beading and still get a nice straight top stitch. The total cost of materials was less than $5, (if you don't count the machine needles I ruined.). So for around $5 I got 4 hours of entertainment, (1 hour more if you count my shopping trip), a nice handbag that I intend to give as a gift, and I got to exercise my creativity to boot!

 I will continue to blog about frugal ways to be creative, ( as well as my regular posts), and have several projects in mind, but there is an exciting bigger project that I will be posting about very soon... I am extremely excited about it. I am going to keep it a secret for a little longer, but I will give you a hint...

Can you guess what my project is???

Until next time I hope that you all have a lovely day filled with things that make your heart sing! Please feel free to tell me about your latest project or leave me a comment. I love to hear from you!

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1 comment:

  1. Oh! Mama's got a brand new bag! :)) Very nice.


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