Category Archives: Generally Crafty

DIY Minty Fresh Maxiskirt

maxiskirt, diy, sewing

Oohlalaa…It took Finland of nearly two months but we finally got summer at the end of July. I was so excited about this that I actually made something for myself to wear! A maxi skirt! And it’s so pretty!

mint floral fabric, diy maxi skirt

I had 1,5mx1,4m sized piece of this floral viscose. Originally I had planned to make a couple of infinity scarves out of it, but my procrastination helped me to save the fabric for something better; a skirt. The construction for this is very simple and there is no cutting waste, which is a huge plus at this day and age.

First, I sewed the ends of the fabric together to create a french seam. Since the floral pattern over here is an all-over pattern, I didn’t have to worry about the direction. I wanted to save the selvages for the waistband and the hem, so I wouldn’t have to do unnecessary folding and pressing. I could leave them as is in there. Here’s an image of the french seam and the waist band fold:

a french seam, waistband fold, diy maxi skirt

The waistband was easy to do. I just folded the top, stitched it down leaving a few centimeter opening for the elastic insertion. I used 5 cm wide elastic to prevent ‘digging in’, which happens quite often with the narrower ones. After I had pulled the elastic through, I sewed the ends together with repeated zig zag stitch. Then I closed the opening with a straight stitch. It looks like this on the right side:

DiY maxi skirt, waistband

At this point I put the skirt on to see how much extra I had in the bottom. Since I’m 165cm tall, I had about 25 centimeters to work with. Personally I’m huge fan of wide hems. They look more expensive and in this case, as the viscose is very light weight, it added weight and pull. Again, I used the selvage, so I didn’t have to do an extra fold to hide an unsightly raw edge. I just used a quilting ruler to make sure I had an even fold all the way round, pinned it in few places, pressed it with my iron and sewed away. If you squint, you can see the stitching in the hem:

DIY maxi skirt

And here’s my finished look. I DID have a pictures of me wearing it but my friend, who is an engineer, takes so unflattering photos that I usually just scream with horror when I see them, so I decided to spare you from the trauma. But I’m pretty pleased with the look and the skirt anyway.

Minttuhame4

If you have any questions, or if you’d like to see a Burda-style flat drawing of this to help you make one for yourself, just give me a shout out in the comments. I have another maxi-skirt to show you but it’s a more complicated one and I’m posting it later this week. If I get around to it that is :D

-Thrifty Finn-

P.S. Funny story…I decided to wear this skirt the same day I made it. My friend (the engineer one) asked me to join him at a park in Helsinki for some sun and cider. I got a bike this summer, so I decided to bike to Helsinki. A breezy 10 kilometres (and further 3-4 kilometres to the park), nothing I couldn’t handle. Of course at this point I didn’t think of the possibility, that a maxi skirt is not the best choice of attire, when cycling. A not so tiny security risk of having the hem getting stuck between the gears. Lucky for me, that didn’t happen. But what DID happen…In one zebra crossing or another, I had gotten off the bike and when I’d gotten back on, I didn’t lift enough extra fabric behind me to allow my butt to move inside the skirt. There was tension. Which caused a rip. Which then showed my coral pink granny panties for god knows how many kilometers. I should have realized, when people kept passing me on their bikes and looking back at me smiling, that something might be amiss.

Why meeeeeeee???

Well, at least I made some people happy. And my friend had sewing kit, so I could mend the hole and continue our day at the park. But still. Yet another cringe-worthy moment in my life.

DIY Slipcover for a Seventies Chair

DIY, Ikea hack, slipcover

Few weeks ago a friend of mine called me enthusiastically about a chair he found at Kontti, a chain of thrift stores owned and operated by Finnish Red Cross. He went on and on about its lines and how he was planning to re-upholster it with some Ikea-fabric.

You know where this is going, right?

So, the other week I visited him and he showed me the chair and the fabric. He was right, the chair has nice lines and the fabric he had picked up was nice too. I’m especially happy by the fact, that he is FINALLY introducing patterns in his home decor. It has been an uphill battle but I got him there. Only a decade or two and we might even see patterns with multiple colours in there.

As you can see, the original material is rather “interesting”. Certainly a product of its time. But it’s actually quite nice to sit on, so creating a slipcover would be a good way to bring it up to date.

Tuoliprojekti5

We began by laying the cover on the material. We discussed on how to go on about it and since I had to go and pick up my phone I had left elsewhere, I left my friend to his own devices. Meaning, I assumed he was going to do what I instructed him to do. Wrong. When I came back two hours later, he had decided to clean up his balcony instead and was planning to leave the “actual sewing and doing” for me.

I’d like to pretend I stood my ground with this. He was the one who sewed but it was me who did the thinking. In the end I didn’t get back home until very late that day. But I did get a good meal out of it, so it wasn’t entirely terrible experience. Plus the chair looks pretty bitchin’ too. Here’s how we (and I use the term we here very loosely) did it:

First we cut the material in half lengthwise and I had Niko finish off the short ends with a double fold, while I pondered how to put the cover together. I knew it had to be some kind of envelope pattern but as the top and bottom were to be of different widths, I had to do some figuring out to get it to look neat.

The original material is still underneath as there is no way the Ikea fabric would support the weight of a person. We (I) decided the best way to get a tight fit, was to pin the fabric directly on the chair frame. This way we could also be sure that none of the original material would be showing and that we could see/test right away, if the cover would be easy to remove and put back on.

pressing, slipcover, Ikeahack

If you take second look at the prototype, you can see the shape of the finished cover. We left very wide seam allowances and used that to create nice edges on the narrow opening. The seam allowance isn’t of even width, but pressing it forces it to stay in shape. You can see the difference in the picture above.

ikea hack, slipcover

The little cut-offs on the original material are there to help to put the cover on the frame. We had to leave a gap on the new slipcover as well and it left a little of the orange fabric visible. I solved this by hand stitching small pieces of fabric on either sides of the frame as you can see here. Here’s how it looks when the slipcover is on:

ikea hack, slipcover

See, no ugliness in sight! The next step was the seat cushion…

seat cushion, ikea hack, slipcover

The original seat cushion was double-length, but my friend only wanted a cushion for the seat part. I cut it in half and crudely rolled the opening hem closed and stitched it up by hand. We then made another envelope cover for it:

envelope cover, ikea hack, slipcover

Very simple. First, finish off the short ends with a double fold. Then fold it around the cushion to see where you want to stitch, take it off and stitch the side seams closed. Here’s the finished cushion:

cushion, ikea hack, slipcover

And here’s the finished chair:

Tuoliprojekti18

I don’t know about you but I’m very pleased with myself. If you have any questions…Go ahead and ask!

-Thrifty Finn-

The Flea Market Season Is Open

Lepuski2

Today was my first day of outdoor flea market for this summer. The city of Espoo hosts a free park flea market few times every summer and this was my first time of participating. The weather was heaven!

I didn’t know what kind of stuff would sell, so I gathered a bunch of my better clothes as well as some vintage fabrics. Turns out I should have taken home decor and kids items with me. But my sales weren’t too terrible, plus on the bright side, I didn’t have to pay anything for the spot. Actually, that’s a huge plus. My name ain’t thrifty for nothing.

banana boxes, thrifty finn, flea market

As per usual, I got chatty with my co-sellers. Quite a few of them had attended these free flea markets before. Directly across from me, were a bunch of girlfriends, who came there with three cars (and 21 banana boxes) and they had a very nifty set-up. They had thought to bring rope with them and they strung it between trees and hung some of their better stuff on it. Next time I’m going there, I’m going to use that trick to display my vintage fabrics.

vila, lacy top, thrifty finn, flea market

Naturally I did some shopping myself. I bought this top in the hopes it would fit me and usually  size L from Vila does. Well, it DID fit me but just, and it didn’t hang prettily like this kind of top is supposed to. It wasn’t too bad as I managed to sell it almost right away to someone else. My other finds included Vans-sneakers (not in a perfect condition, but they were 2 euros and I can get one summer of use out of them) and a faux Tommy Hilfiger-purse. Personally, I’m not too keen on rip-off purses but it’s a perfect bag for the summer and will go with tons of my clothes, so I couldn’t possibly pass it up.

leppävaara, bulevardi, Alberga, thrifty finn, flea market, summer

The location was just perfect. This view is looking up on the boulevard park of Leppävaara and behind me here is the Sello-mall. The next flea market here is on 3rd of July. You can just show up and pick your spot, but you have to bring your own racks, tables or whatever you want to use to display your stuff.

-Thrifty Finn-

P.S. I was in a doggy heaven. I lost the count of how many doggies I gave cuddles to.

Crafty Exhaustion

Valentine’s Day was a month ago. I had this super-fantastic idea to make cards for everyone I know. Well, not everyone I know. For the people I know and care about at least on some level.

I’m a joy to be with.

Anyway, guess what happened? I managed to make cards for even less than half of my list, sent only half of those and I’ve been crafty burnt out ever since. Good times.

-Thrifty Finn-

P.S. It was not all wasted effort. At least I came up with the way to use my Instagram-photos in crafting.

DIY Love Lights

diy love lights, quick valentine gift, thrifty finn

Do you still want to make a Valentine’s gift for someone special? This one is cheap and quick to make but has a big impact. I know. I just sent the one I made to my god-daughter and she has been ooh’ing and aah’ing over it for better part of the day. Here’s how…

diy love lights, quick valentine gift, thrifty finn, materials, cupcake

You need bunch of these paperstock cupcake cups. And…

diy love lights, quick valentine gift, thrifty finn

One set of LED-fairy lights. Mine was a leftover from Christmas decorating. Then all you had to do is take your craft knife and do this:

diy love lights, quick valentine gift, thrifty finn

Cut a very small criss-cross pattern in the middle and push a LED-light through. Do this for all the lights and voila, you are done. No glue necessary! But if you want to fancy up the cups even more, you can take out your heart punch and do this:

diy love lights, quick valentine gift, thrifty finn

Punch away until you have a heart for every cup in your light string and do this:

diy love lights, quick valentine gift, thrifty finn

Very pretty! Now all you have to do is test if the set looks good:

diy love lights, quick valentine gift, thrifty finn

It does! Then you can wrap it in pretty pink paper and give it to your loved one.

diy love lights, quick valentine gift, thrifty finn

There are lots of ways you can decorate the cups with. I used a heart punch but you can go crazy with glitter, markers, buttons, cut words and letters from newspapers…Whatever you fancy. Total cost for this project was 5 euros, so it really is a thrifty craft <3

-Thrifty Finn-