Saturday, March 25, 2017

Altering a bought dress, Spring equinox

Hello everyone, I hope spring has found you! The weather is warming, birds are out daily and flowers are sprouting up everywhere. After a long harsh winter I think we could all use some sunshine. Thinking of sunny days ahead, I am going to share how I've been altering a bought dress.

I think like many women, you sometimes find a beautiful dress but it just doesn't fit quite right. It could be too big in one area but too tight in others. The straps could be too long or short. Maybe the hem line isn't what you hoped for but the rest is a perfect fit! So what do you do when this happens? You go about learning how to alter the dress.

I bought this lovely dress from a store and it had everything I wanted: a navy blue color, soft embossed print, cinch at the waist but... it was too large in the bust and the straps are far too long for me.

Yes, that says 'police box' on the waist band!

If you didn't know before you sure know now - I'm a nerdy kind of girl. I love Doctor Who and was beside myself upon finding this dress! It resembles the TARDIS and has this lovely tulle at the hem line. As you will see in my photos it has black piping on the bust and that is where I decided to pin the bust in some. 

I have a dress form, it's a way to size clothing to your exact measurements. It's very handy and they frequently go on sale at many craft supply stores. I placed my dress on the form and pinned it in areas that were too large or baggy. I then tried it on to make doubly sure it was just right. I am stitching this by hand with a curved needle, sometimes sold as an upholstery needle. But they do make small ones for working on clothing and they are about 1 1/2"s in length or more. Using a curved needle while your dress is on the dress form makes this project very easy. I am sewing it at the black piping and the new stitches are not visible.

You can apply this method for most any bought clothing that you need to fit your measurements correctly. If you do not have a dress form you can carefully pin the article of clothing while you wear it. And this can be easier if you have a helper to pin areas for you, so you can stand up straight while wearing it. To add width is a different post I'm afraid and I do plan to share how to someday. It's often not as difficult as it sounds. But to take in clothing, this can be done by a novice with just a bit of guidance and practice!

As spring has sprung so has my desire to decorate for the new season! I have a mantle above my fireplace and was so pleased to decorate for the spring equinox. I included two faux birds in their nest, tulips and other brightly colored flora to welcome the new season. 

I hope you have sunny days ahead and April showers soon ~ check back soon for some new posts. And be sure to pay my new photography page on Facebook a visit, it is: Bertha Bee Photography. Stop by to show your support for us small photographers & artisans. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Spring in my back yard

Unlike some of my friends and family, we did not get a massive amount of snow this winter. We certainly are not under a three foot pile of snow right now, and it's nearing the end of February! It is warmer this year at this very time then last year. Last year we had an ice storm and temperatures so cold it was below freezing wind chills. This year we have had.... several 55°F (12°C) days a week now. 
So this post I am sharing spring as it is showing up in my back yard. I have many wildflowers showing up and some I'm not certain about. 

The above are Snowdrop flowers. They are perennial plants and begin to flower after being under snow for sometime. The flower faces stay facing downward and are a bright white color with green centers. 

A few patches of purple Crocus have also shown up! Crocus are part of the Iris family of flowers. They are the signal that spring is coming and bring a parade of colorful flowers. You might see them show up in yellows, white, purples or pink colors. The spice saffron is derived from a type of crocus that blooms in the autumn. 

I hope spring finds you well and you are eager for green grass, flowers in bloom and chirping birds!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Update your clothes, DIY top

Happy new year everyone! I hope it finds you well and enjoying the winter days. A project I have done is great for beginners and a DIY. You don't need a sewing machine for this one, it is hand stitched. If you can not sew, you can use fabric glue (but buttons are best sewn on). My local library has a wonderful selection of crafting books. I found one all about vintage inspired alterations!

The cute book is called 'Chic on a shoestring' and has an array of DIY simple projects. Many can be done in a few hours or an afternoon, depending how quick a study you are. Now what I worked on was how to add to a shirt you already own. I decided on a plain stripe boat neck top that I love.
I wanted to add some embellishment for this simple top. I started by playing with some dark navy ribbon and adding buttons. I suggest hand stitching but you can try glue if you prefer.

I have these big octopus steampunk buttons and random vintage buttons. So I just stitched the ribbon and played with it some. I added the buttons last then stitched them in place. If it helps your embellishment to stay in place better, try adding a piece of felt behind it, so the whole thing is attached to something. 

Now my top had buttons already by the wrist of the sleeve. I removed the buttons and added navy ribbon. And if you wanted to add buttons here (as I did) you can after the ribbon is on. I wanted my top to have a whole new personality to it and played around some.

After my sleeve ribbon and buttons where in place, I had to decide on the embellishment (with the octopus button). I did pin this in various places to see what I liked best. I ended up with it on one side, almost as if it were a brooch. Once you pick the placement pin in place and hand stitch to your shirt. It's really that easy! Other alternative ideas is ribbon down the center of a top and buttons by the neck line. You honestly can not go wrong when adding to a top!

I am sure to be sharing more books on clothing and patterns in the coming new year. I hoep you feel inspired to give new life to some old clothes you may have. 

Monday, December 26, 2016

Introducing my photography

I am pleased to share my new venture with you ~ photography!

my girl cat, Sophie

If you've admired my photos over the past year, it's due to my growing interest in photography. I have always taken my own photos for all my Etsy items for sale. And I've greatly enjoyed capturing photos to share with family & friends who live far away. But now my new veture is in selling my works. 

In the past I have offered my skills to animal shelters for their homeless pets. As I have learned, a well done photo (or five) of a homeless pet up's their chances of adoption. I would try to capture them in their most organic forms. Be it playing, sleeping, a funny quirk they have or how affectionate their were. I will continue to offer my photography for shelters at no cost, since it's a passion of mine.

I had the pleasure of photographing my niece's first homecoming this year. And I knew I wanted a nicer camera for the future. So after that I went hunting and picked my first 'nice' one in some years, a Nikon Coolpix. It is considered a 'point and shoot' with 40x zoom and a great first timer camera to work with. 

I will now have a button on my navigation here to go directly to my website just for purchasing my photography. I plan to offer more galleries soon, with animals and nature themes. I hope you go browse what I have up already and help support me, an independent photographer, on my new venture into 2017. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Seasons Greetings

Warm greetings in this winter holiday season! The snow has arrived and some biting cold temperatures on on their way here. I bundle up my dog in a 'coat' when the temp's get low. The cats have decided to sleep the cold days away and sunbath in the picture window.

My Etsy shop is open again and I highly recommend shopping now and not later. For those who do like to shop handmade, shipping can take 5 days to reach you. So be sure to stick to a tight time schedule if you are shopping online!

I've decorated out little home with a nature theme. My family gifted us a handmade faux tree years ago, so I can't just let it sit in the basement come December. I prefer to make some decorations, such as paper garlands.

I also have these pretty globes that are made with pine cones, dried berries, twigs and twine. I love ribbon so I added some and hung them up with wooden clothes pins. 

I hope 2017 brings you the best of health, bountiful gardens and happiness with friendships. So a very Happy Hanukkah, a very Blessed Yule, A Merry Christmas and Seasons Greetings!

image from