Top Stitchers: Who Dun It??

Oh-my-gosh-oh-my-gosh-oh-my-gosh!! I CAN'T WAIT FOR YOU TO SEE THIS ENTRY!! (Hey, if you want a stoic host, this is not the contest for you ;)) As a boy-momma, and one completely unskilled in the world of upcycling, this week's sew-down both inspires me, and  KNOCKS MY SOCKS OFF!! Back up, you say? Tell you the prompt? or introduce the challengers? Alright. You've got a point. Here they are!

"Phat Quarters" AKA Gemia, and "Mae & K" AKA Maegen are dueling today with a prompt designed especially for their little boys, and their momma's love of upcycling:

 "Whodunits" are a popular form of detective fiction, in which the reader/viewer rides shotgun throughout an investigation, learning clues at the same time as the protagonist. Design an upcycled look with nods to these great detectives (or their kid-friendly spin-offs, like "Clue", Scooby Doo, or the Hardyboys) while engaging in a little "mystery" of your own. At least one article in your upcycle must be of unknown origin or content.

Gemia's Entry:

Who-dun-it?!? Who dun what? - you might ask. I am Gemia from Phat Quarters and I am here for my confession because I have gone and dun it this time. 'How fun would it be to be part of Top Stitchers?!?' -I wondered. 'How cool would it be to challenge my creativity and sewing skills?' - I asked a friend. How amazing would it be to converse with other really cool ladies who love to do what I love to do?!?

Oh, it is amazing, I feel pretty cool at the moment, and YES I stretched my creativity and sewing skills to get this project done. But the point is my friends, I DID IT! I put myself, my skills, and my creativity on the line and I have enjoyed every stitch of it! When I got the challenge of Up-Cycling for little boys I was thrilled! Not only could I sew for my little men but I could clean out our closets too- WIN, WIN!

I took 8 articles of fabric and re-purposed them into 5 clothing items. The only 'new' items used were FOE, a black pearl snap, and 2 scraps of fabric; red and blue & white stripes. We were also told we needed to use one fabric that was unknown to us. I called a friend...I got a chunk of an old Army Tent- grommets and all! Then we were given the theme of Detective Fiction and the mystery became how to tie it all together. Well, I have found a common thread and I hope by the time you are tired of listening to me ramble on, you will have unraveled the mystery for yourself!

It all started last Tuesday when two 'meddling kids' saw a stack of clothes by the sewing machine. This was the first clue that someone was working on a new project. While our little detectives enjoyed some scooby snacks, the pile mysteriously disappeared. All that was ever seen of it again were scraps in the garbage can. Just then a noise was heard by our crime fighting duo. Shaggy unzipped his vest, that once was the Army Tent, and pulled his flashlight out from it's cuff holder. The plot thickened as the boys ran from room to room searching for the source of the whining of motors and gears.

Soon they discovered the source of the sound. It was the "wrinter shean" that draws lines and letters on pieces of papers. From these papers a suspect list was created; with such names as Gracious Threads,Zone9Titchy ThreadsMelly Sews, and Phat Quarters. But, these master minds could not be fooled! They knew that these patterns were just a starting point and source of inspiration for what was yet to come. Truly baffled now Fred and Shaggy ran off to find the rest of the Scooby Gang for a little backup. Yet, these easily distracted kids did not approach the house again until the scent of such comfort foods as black beans, rice, and tamales beckon to Shaggy's growling tummy. On the dinning table more evidence was found....a can of Coke and a chocolate bar, Mommy's favorite stress snack! Quietly they hatch a plan to avoid Mommy and any of her attempts to check the fit of a new pile of clothes that looked strangely familiar.

A few days later everything came together for our favorite detectives- as Mommy pulled out her camera, shoved new clothes on the duo, and offers bribes of ice cream cones & shows in exchange for 'a few good pictures.' Duped by her beauty, or terrified by her empty threats of an early bedtime, our crime fighters fold, preform well and enjoy ice cream cones and their new up-cycled clothes. Fred sports his classy & comfortable look with a fully lined knit shirt with a lapel collar and flat felled skinny jeans. Shaggy hangs out by his side, in his lose fitted woven pants (that strangely look like dads old button up dress shirt), short sleeved raglan shirt and punk vest.  As sweet sticky kisses are exchanged it becomes clear to all that love is the common thread of this mystery. Love of creativity, love of sewing, and the love of a Mommy and her meddling kids!

Maegen's Entry:

Is there anything better than a good mystery? Not much. I am a mystery junkie and picking just one inspiration for my Top Stitchers "whodunit" look was a pickle. I picked a detective who just happens to be snarky and psychic. Psych's Shawn Spencer-- better known as Spawn Censor by my 4-year-old. I think Mack is well on his way to making assumptions, saying silly things and giving people ridiculous nicknames. I can hear it now, "Baden, don't be a gooey chocolate chip cookie."

Shawn's look is very classic and casual; tees, polos, button-ups and jeans. I pulled together a few different coordinating pieces for my little Shawn. The patterns I used are: Peek-a-Boo Classic Oxford, Winter Wear Designs Everything but the Kitchen Sink Henley, Sew a Straight Line Itty Bitty Boxer Briefs, and Titchy Threads Small Fry Skinny Jeans.

Button up: from one of my husband's shirts. He wore it in our engagement photos and I've been holding on to it for the perfect upcycle. The bottom button and buttonhole are green, and there's a tiny pineapple free-hand embroidered on the front. I love the way this shirt looks both over and under the tee.

Tee shirt: from a tee of mine, nothing special, but the perfect shade of green. I took the patterns from the EbtKS Henley and added bands to the sleeves and ditched the henley portion. After some poking around on the internet to figure out what the Psych font is, I came up with Dateline as a close match. I made afreezer paper stencil with my silhouette for the letters. The "o" pineapple was lightly stamped and hand painted to fill it in. Reference: Murder?... Anyone?... Anyone?... Bueller?

Boxers: from a women's tee left in the laundry lost and found. I blogged a bit about them here. Mack did wear these during the shoot, even though I didn't take any pictures of them. For the pineapple butt I made another freezer paper stencil by tracing this free pineapple vector.

Shorts: jean material from a pair of my jeans from high school, zipper from a pair of little boy's shorts that the butt was worn out of. Part of our challenge was to use a fabric of mysterious origin. My fabulous aunt gave me some bags of fabric a few months ago, and within those bags I found white fabric that was hemmed rather nicely, but had a few chunks missing. This fabric was at one point either a tablecloth or a curtain, and had been previously upcycled by my aunt, so I used it for the waistband lining and pockets. I made a stamp, using a bit of craft foam and wood, and stamped pineapples all over. The "psych" was traced from a computer screen and filled in by hand. I embroidered another pineapple on one butt pocket, I did it freehand, and it was a lot of fun and frustration.

#pineappleallthethings You know you want to.

Solving a mystery: 1) find mysterious tracks 2) follow them to the source 3) woah! Pineapple!

Shawn and Gus are always ignoring the rules when they do their detective work, so for our fun little photo shoot we ended up trespassing a little. What mystery could ever be solved without a little rule breaking?

I know you all can't get enough of these pictures. If you're absolutely dying for more head over to my blog. Aside from picture overload, I may or may not have a few fun extras to share with you.

Being a part of Top Stitchers has really been a blast. I can't say every minute of sewing was chocolate and rainbows, but the way things ended up is exactly like I imagined. Sewing is like my third best quality. Right behind awesomeness and humility. ;)

Don't forget. Voting is all about picking who used the most pineapples. 
Or whichever look you like best. 
I've heard it both ways.

Before you give your ratings, here's a quick refresher of the rules!

  • You will rate rate each challenger, and every category. Max of 5 stars, 5 is highest.
  • Challengers will receive an average score for each category, and an average score overall. (You can see an example here) New to Season 2 - 50% of the vote will come from 3 Top Stitcher Alumnae who volunteered to judge this season's creations!
  • Your feedback helps each challenger recognize areas that they can improve their craft, and celebrate those areas that they already excel. 
  • As such, please submit your feedback for each contestant only once. Admittedly, I cannot enforce this, but the objective is for each contestant to receive a thoughtful rating, not skewed scores. 
  • It is SUPER DUPER NERVE-WRACKING to put work on display for others to judge, so let's remember to leave some love and encouragement for our challengers in the comments!
Gemia's Technique *
Do garment(s) reflect a strong knowledge of the fabrics used, and the methods and tools use to sew them?
Gemia's Creativity *
Do garment(s) relate to the given prompt, and showcase the unique talents of the sewist?
Gemia's Presentation *
Quality photography is key, as is an overall vision for presenting finished work.
Gemia's Difficulty *
Sew many pieces, or very intricate ones? These points reward that challenge.
Maegen's Technique *
Do garment(s) reflect a strong knowledge of the fabrics used, and the methods and tools use to sew them?
Maegen's Creativity *
Do garment(s) relate to the given prompt, and showcase the unique talents of the sewist?
Maegen's Presentation *
Quality photography is key, as is an overall vision for presenting finished work.
Maegen's Difficulty *
Sew many pieces, or very intricate ones? These points reward that challenge.
Leave Some Love! *
Let this week's challengers know what you liked best from each look!