Thursday, August 23, 2012


for all of you that have a pinterest account, feel free to follow me!

I am always pinning away to save little bits of inspiration, fascination, and all sorts of other lovely things.  And as always, you are welcome to pin anything you find on my blog to your own pinterest account.

I hope you are all having a wonderful day!

Love, Alena (playing my mandolin today)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Painted Desk



 I know that we usually deal in clothes here at Comely Vesture, but I wanted to share another DIY project I've been working on.  I recently moved into a new apartment, and a new apartment means new decor!  However, being a poor college student means I have to find thrifty ways to be stylish.  So I make lots of my things, from clothes to furniture.

1. This desk was purchased at my local "indoor flea market", its basically a combination between a thrift store and an antique market, but they always have unique things for low prices. The desk only cost me 65 dollars. For an antique wooden desk with solid construction and drawers that moved with ease, it was a bargain.
2. As you can see, the desk was not in the best of shape, so I knew I wanted to paint it.  I took a drawer in to the local hardware store and asked what the best paint would be for the surface.  The man told me to first check to see if the stain on the wood was water or oil-based.  To do this, I rubbed the surface with a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol.  If the stain color comes off with this then it is water-based, if it just cleans the surface then it is oil based.  Unfortunately, mine was oil based, which means I had to do some sanding.
3. The oil-based stain on the desk has to be sanded off completely. I got some 120 grit sandpaper and began with a drawer (that's why there is one missing in the first pictures).  Believe it or not, it was easily sanded.  You only have to sand until the shiny surface goes away.  I sanded the whole desk in just an hour or so.
4. The man at the hardware store told me that the best option for paint is to go with a paint and primer in one.  If you are covering up a water-based stain then you don't have to sand if you use one of these paints, or a separate primer and paint.  If you do sand off an oil-based stain then you don't actually have to use a primer at all. I just bought the paint and primer in one because I did not know whether mine was water or oil based, but it worked well for both.  I also bought both a small roller and a large foam brush.
5. After the hardware is removed, and the surface is sanded, it is time to being painting. First of all, you should wipe off the sanded surface with a dry cloth.  Now I tried both the roller and the brush, but I found the brush worked SO much better.  It did take more time, yes, but it made a completely smooth surface, whereas the roller left the surface bumpy.  I had to sand off some of the bumpiness and go back over these surfaces with the brush.  Plus the brush makes it easy to get all the little crevices of the desk painted evenly.  Follow the instructions on the paint can, but mine told me to wait an hour between coats, and two coats seemed to be plenty.
6. After I waited overnight for the desk to dry, I installed some new knobs that I bought at the hardware store for two dollars each.  Then I put all the drawers back in and was done!
7. The chair was something I already owned.  I did the rubbing alcohol test and found out it was water-based stain, so I simply used the last of my quart of paint to paint over it without sanding.  I did run out of paint with the chair added, but it got a good two coats.  If I had more paint though, I probably would have done three.

So that is my new desk, and latest DIY project. I LOVE how it looks in my new bedroom.

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Curtain Dress

This dress is actually made out of an old curtain.  See the skirt I made with the rest of the curtain here.  It is a sexier style that I don't usually favor and I have only worn it once, but I got plenty of compliments on it!

1. I made the dress in two parts, the skirt then the bodice.  I started with the skirt.  There was a nice lace pattern on the bottom that I wanted to keep so I cut the fabric so it would fit from above my knee to my waist and fit around my hips.
2. I made the waist band by cutting a strip twice as wide as I wanted the band and a few inches longer than my waist.  After gathering the top of the skirt, I pressed the seam allowance of the waist band and then pressed it in half.  Then I sewed the gathered edge in between the pressed edge of the waistband.
3. Then I sewed the back of the skirt with the overlap of the waistband.  I only sewed up till about six inches from the waistband, then sewed each edge individually.
4. Now I hemmed the edges of the waistband and added two snaps to close up the skirt
5. Next came the bodice. I actually used one long piece of fabric, folded over, to make the whole top.  However, I would recommend taking the fabric in at the neck, because it tends to get bulky with all of the fabric up there.  I simply sewed the fabric into a tube, then sewed each end to the waistband, after adding the two rings first.  You may not need the rings if you take in the fabric though.

and that's all! it is a super easy design that could be modified in many ways to make many different styles of dresses. Even just a different fabric could make it more casual, or fancier.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Elastic-Neck Shirt and Dress

 This piece could be made from virtually any fabric and worn tons of different ways! Here you can see it makes a neat top and can convert to an off-shoulder dress.

1. Making this piece is super simple. Start with a large rectangle of fabric that when folded is long enough to be a dress and wide enough to fit over the hips and shoulders.  Sew this piece together to make a tube.
2. Now cut out the arm holes.  To do this I simply cut down the sides of the tube until the slits were large enough with seam allowances.
3. Next sew a small seam on each side of the shirt to be the shoulder seam. I sewed a couple of inches from the sides.
4. Next I hemmed the arm holes.
5. Now it is time for the elastic.  I sewed a tube around the neckline, leaving a small opening to string the elastic through.  Make sure the elastic is long enough to fit around the shoulders, then string it through the tube and sew it together before sewing up the tube.
6. Now just hem the bottom and that is it!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

T-Shirt Refashion 3: Gathered-Back Tee

This refashion is so simple and makes a great piece to wear to the beach.

1. Just find a tee, this one was slightly big on me.
2. Then cut out the sleeves.  Go all the way up to the collar, but don't go too far down the armpit.  Stretch the shirt out after you have made your cut and see if you need to cut more.
3. Then gather the armpits of both armholes at the back, and find a way to secure them.  I used a small chain bracelet, but you could also tie it with ribbon.

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Rose Tube Dress

              This dress was made in a very short amount of time.  It is incredibly simple, yet versatile. 

1. The first step is to acquire your fabric.  This fabric was a light, cheap poly.  I believe this pattern is better suited for a slightly heavier fabric, that would produce better draping.  Now just make sure you have more than the circumference of your chest, and cut it to the length you want the dress to be, plus seam allowance. 
2. Now gather the top edge of the fabric until it is approximately the width of your chest, its okay if it's a little shorter. I did mine by hand.  
3. Now sew up the back of the dress.  I left about a six inch opening from the top of the dress, but you could make yours slightly smaller, as long as you can get it on.  Hem this opening.
4. At this point you make the tie top.  You can use bias tape, or make your own.  Just press the strip first and make sure it is long enough to tie in a bow.  Then pin it on very well over the gathered edge, making sure the tails are even, and sew from one edge to the other, making sure the edges of the tie are also hemmed in the process.  I sewed over it twice, which you could do with a double needle as well, but it adds some extra strength.  
5. Then just hem the bottom and you are good to go!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

T-Shirt Refashion 2: the Crop Top

The crop-top is trending right now, but why spend way too much money on one when they are so easy to make??

1. To make this one, I started with a tee that was a men's medium.  It was slightly big but not huge.
2. First I cut about half of it off, to make it the length I wanted, keep in mind, it will curl a little bit.
3. Then I cut off the sleeves a tad bit, because they were far too long, you can see they are still fairly long, but you can cut yours however you like.
4. Next I sewed lace all the way around the bottom.
5. Finally, the shirt had a logo on it, so I cut a rectangle of fabric and hand-sewed it on with large stitches.  You can always write something in the box like the name of your favorite band!

I  have gotten a ton of compliments on this shirt.  People love it, and it is SO simple to make!

Also, I made the pair of shorts I'm wearing in the picture by simply cutting off a pair of stretchy denim jeans that were getting worn out.  Just cut right along the grain of the fabric, it is different on both sides, and you have shorts!