Sunday, October 30, 2011

No Sew T-shirt Refashion

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My daughter didn't take a great nap today.  If you have kids, you don't need a further explanation.

But if you don't have kids, just know this: tired kids are not much fun, and they crave attention.

So my great plans to spend an hour sewing on a Sunday?  Vanished when Cate woke too early from her 'nap.'

But my creative juices were flowing and I was keen to try out an idea.  I had a t-shirt refashion on my mind.  Somehow, I refashioned these shirts between Cate's tired whining.  I had the shirts & scissors next to me, and made the snips between our playing.

This refashion is NO SEW.

All you need is a good pair of scissors and a t-shirt that fits.

I made 2 shirts in less than 1 hour.

I bought the Red Sox shirt in 2004 when I went to a Red Sox game in Fenway Park.  And I found this Foo Fighters Australian Tour shirt in a thrift store.  Both shirts fit me well.  But I don't really like wearing t-shirts.
I love these shirts - go Sox! - but I needed to refashion them into something more... feminine.

First, cut off the collar.  Simply cut along the hem.

Next, cut out the hem in both sleeves.

Cut out the cuffs on both sleeves.  Cut a slit in the top of the sleeve from shoulder to end of sleeve.

Check on daughter: yup, she's looking at me while playing with her (napping) brother's trains.  She's fine, but I gotta hurry!

Now make the shoulder ties.  Take the cuffs from the sleeves and cut OFF the serging thread.

Last, pinch the shoulder sleeves together.  I folded them neatly in 2 folds.  Using the sleeve off-cuts from the previous step, tie around the shoulder into a bow.

All done!  Put scissors away and continue to play with tired child.
Take some photos - or ask your husband to take the photos for you when the kids are (finally!) sleeping.

Share your no-sew t-shirt refashion with me!  I'd love to see them!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tween Skirt to Easy Toddler Dress

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My 10 month old daughter is growing, and I don't have enough clothes to meet the demand.  And it's getting very hot in Australia.

Time for a refashion.

Cate has several gorgeous designer outfits from her grandmother & great-grandmother, but I don't feel right dressing her in those clothes when I know they're going to get dirty & grubby.  With 2-3 outfit changes a day + a humid summer, Cate needed a quick & cute dress for our climate.

I went to the local "Nik Nak Shed," a community thrift store in Port Douglas run completely by volunteers.  I found a cool box of airplanes (stocking stuffer!) for my 2 year old for 50 cents, and this cute tween skirt - size 10 - for 50 cents.

I knew I wanted to make another pillow-case type of dress for Cate.  It's easy, it's easy, and it's easy.  And, I've done a few in the past and have gotten lots of great feedback from other mothers, usually in the form of, "Oh wow, did you make that?!  It's SO cute!"

First thing to do is turn the skirt inside/out and cut out the zipper on the side.  Surge/zig zag stitch up the side, following the same straight seam-line that was already in place.  You'll cut off about 1 inch or so.  Leave the other side seam alone.

Next, fold the skirt in half to ensure an equal size arm hole.  Draw arm holes with chalk.  Cut them out.

Using matching bias tape, zig-zag attach it onto the arm holes.  I LOVE using zig-zag stitch with bias tape.  It looks cute on kids clothes AND leaves less room for error in missing catching the material.  

As you can see here, we didn't need to touch the top of the skirt because there was already a nice finish on it.  We're going to use this to our time-advantage: fold it over once (folded towards the inside of the skirt), leaving enough room to thread the ribbon through for the shoulder ties. Sew.

 Add your tag...

Thread the ribbon (once piece through the front, one piece through the back).  And you're done!
I'm so in love with the simplicity of this style of dress - am wondering if it's possible to make one in adult sizes???

 I think this dress may be a bit big for Princess Cate... for now...

Stellar Camera

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Thanks Andrea for your STELLAR recommendation on my new digital point & shoot camera, the Canon S95.
Coming in at $350 delivered to my door, it takes great pics and is very easy to use.
My husband & I bought a camera when we got married in 2005 (just celebrated 6 years on the weekend!), and the digital technology has improved so much we needed a new one... for the kids, for hubby's fishing, for my sewing.  It was our anniversary gift to ourselves.
I do not get any type of advertising from Canon - this is a GENUINE happy review by a THRILLED camera user.
This photo was in the movie theater - no flash!  Amazing!

Thanks again AJ!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Refashion Curtain to Girl Apron with Applique Teapot & Ruffles

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I feel like Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music!  I have a thing for cutting up curtains...
I made my son a cool Tonka Truck apron out of refashioned curtains a few weeks ago (see the photos and the aprons for sale in my Etsy shop).  I thought it would be cute to make some girl aprons because my daughter willl soon need one, too.
I bought this curtain at the historic Anglican Church in Mossman, Queensland.  (Tourist tip: every Saturday they sell donated items & host the local weekend market to fundraise for various community projects.  The little old ladies sell their homemade jams and still-warm baked goodies.  It's under the raintrees and is a charming community event that I love supporting.)

Can you see the bleach stains near the top?
I love this fabric for aprons because it's a heavy cotton - strong and durable.
And I fell in love with the buttons.

For these curtains, I wanted to use the base of the pink and add some embellishments.
First, make an apron template out of newspaper and trace it onto your fabric.
Also, I lined up the bottom to the existing hem on the curtains.  It's one less step to finish (I'm doing this while my kids are sleeping, so time is precious!).  Cut out.

Because the ends are raw (ie they will fray!), you need to do something to 'finish' them.  I added my home-made bias binding (very easy to do!  Check out MADE for the best tutorial I've seen for making your own) around all the edges.  I also went around the armholes EXTRA long to allow for the neck & back ties.
Next, find a teapot template & some fabric you'll use for the teapot (I used red with white polka dots).  I Googled "teapot outline template" and printed one of the designs.  (I'm not sure who the owner is, otherwise I'd give credit - thank you whoever you are!)  It was a little small, so I enlarged it on the printer.  Cut out your template.  Trace onto the right side of the teapot fabric.  DON'T CUT TEAPOT YET.
Now, cut out a piece of double-sided iron on adhesive, making sure it's a little bigger than the teapot.  As you can see from the photo, I used "Heat n Bond."  Iron the wrong side of fabric to the adhesive.   (while your iron is out, press the apron free of wrinkles.  If you're really keen, you can iron some work shirts, too.  But if you're like me, you don't buy clothes that require ironing, lol.)

Now you have a piece of fused fabric/adhesive.  Carefully cut out the teapot from this fused creation.
Peel away the backing of the adhesive - it's like a sticker now.  Place it on your apron (if you didn't iron it already, make sure to do it now).  Press the teapot in place.  (Note: the while teapot is the paper you just peeled from the back of the teapot).  I angled my teapot as if it was tipping out, but you could also center it.
Applique your teapot to the apron by zig-zag stitching around the outline.
Add embellishments as you prefer - I added two frills in matching red & white polka dots.
The curtain gave me 6 aprons - I've made two!  Which one do you prefer?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Double-sided Bunting Refashion from Shirt Sleeves and Cooking Twine

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A few weeks ago I was planning my market stall and decided I needed some bunting to hang from the sides.  I had seen bunting at parties, on craft sites, and in kids' rooms, but I had never made it.  Coincidentally, around this same time, a non-sewing friend had bunting made for her son's room and it cost her $30.  $30?!?!  Surely I could do it myself.
I investigated the various methods for bunting, and they were all pretty simple: triangles sewn together.
I had a look around my sewing cave room and *lightbulb!* I knew what to use.
Weeks ago I refashioned several dresses/art smocks/dress up outfits from button-up collared shirts and had a pile of sleeves that I had not yet used.
These would be my triangles.
And the string?  I had some cooking twine that I never use (what is it used for besides bunting?), and it would be perfect.
So here's what I did:
Gather your sleeves.  Pick a theme.  Mine is PINK.

Make a triangle template out of newspaper (or whatever).  Trace onto the sleeves USING THE FOLD OF THE SLEEVE AS THE BASE OF THE TRIANGLE.

Sew along the edges leaving about 1/2 inch seam allowance on the fold (and about 1/4 inch on the other sides.)  It doesn't really matter, just make sure you leave enough space to thread the twine through!
Or, if it's easier, you could fold the triangle OVER the twine and sew the seam.  
Either way, your sewn triangles should look something like this:

Thread the twine through and hang up.  Remember, it's double sided so it doesn't have to live on a wall.  Perhaps over a baby's cot?  Or entrance over a doorway?

I also made a blue (boyish) one:

This was very easy and frugal, and took less than 30 minutes.  Enjoy!
And if you know any teachers: While I was sewing, the thought crossed my mind that this would be a fun class project.  Like, each kid gets to decorate a triangle and the teacher can display it in the classroom.  
Your thoughts?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Refashion Woman's shirt to girl drawstring pants

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I apologize - these 'progress' photos did not turn out well, and I didn't realize it until after the sewing/photo process.  I was sewing/photographing at night (while the kids were sleeping, of course), but I now know I'll have to do photos in the natural light.  Oh well, next time.
Anyway, this was a dark blue embroidered shirt with a funky floral band on the bottom.  It wasn't a great shirt, but it had potential for an excellent refashion.  The best part was that the sides of the shirt had an open slit on both sides, which would look cool as ankle flare on little girl pants.

This is how I did it:
Turn the shirt inside out and using an existing pair of pants, trace the outline of the pants, making sure the outside ankle lines up with the slits.

Cut out the pant legs (leave the existing hem).  Sew pant legs together. (I admit... I've been known to sew the legs together when sewing too late at  Turn the top hem down and stitch.

To make the drawstrings: I love that this shirt has matching 'edges' on the collar and sleeves.  Cut out these edges on the collar and sleeves as close to the stitch as possible.  Or, if you are more of a perfectionist (I'm not), you can un-stitch and re-sew.  Take the strings (the 'edges' now removed from the shirt) and thread through the waist hem (note: you may have to un-pick a stitch or two so the drawstring will fit though the naval opening).

Finally, turn the pants right-side out and tie a nice bow.  Congrats on the drawstring pants - very funky!