As you might know, Mi Madre has a tiny quilting hobby, and that hobby creates a lot of mess in the form of fabric and thread scraps. Being the thrifty, eco-friendly (aside from her GIGANTIC PICK UP TRUCK) lady she is, she came up with a method to use all those scraps. I don’t create nearly as much detritus as she does, but I eventually had enough scraps to use for this project.
Loyal readers/stalkers may remember that my sweet, cutest-dog-until-the-end-of-eternity Flapjack already has a handmade dog bed. They may also remember that he once did this to my carpeting:
He basically did the same thing to the bed in his crate. So we’re going to start with a new bed, and toys while he’s locked up, because he obviously needs something to do other than dig.
You will need a thrift store or other unneeded pillow case, and a bunch of crap to stuff it with. If you are reworking some of your t-shirts, save the scraps for this type of thing. This is a great way to reuse holey socks, stained undershirts, or other fabric that is too messed up for the thrift store.
Stuff it with all that crap you’ve been saving (you can even store scraps in the pillow case while you’re hoarding them up), and make it nice and fluffy. Then pin it shut like so:
Sew that beast shut, and BOOM dog bed! I even wrapped Flapjack’s in another thifted pillow case so I can wash it:
What if you don’t have a dog, or all your dogs already have beds? Make them anyway and donate to your local shelter or pet rescue organization. Dogs can be destructive, as my sweet angel pie has shown, so they need that stuff constantly.
It should be no surprise to anyone that I, and most of my friends, are giant nerds. We love everything from Star Wars, to Harry Potter, to Doctor Who, to obscure, terrible sci-fi B movies. Some of them even profess to like Star Trek, although I really don’t believe anyone can actually enjoy it. In the spirit of nerdy friendship, I decided to make a magic wand for Kornberg. She made me this fantastic cross stitch to give to my surgeon after the Giant Fibroid of Doom. (Kornberg even sells the pattern on her Etsy, so you can make your very own uterus!)
Being the wonderful person I am, I made her an awesome gift, AND recorded the event for all of you wonderful minions. First, get a stick of appropriate length. Try to find one of durable thickness, with as few twigs coming off of it as possible. I used a knife to whittle down as much of the twigs stumps as possible, then sanded the lumps down viciously. I also peeled off all the bark. It helps to find a dog to pose with your future wand.
We had a tiny bottle of gel wood stain laying around the house (it was like $2 at Hobby Lobby), so I used that to stain it. I like that look because the wood grain shows through, but you could easily paint it instead. It also took awhile to dry.
Once it was dry, I used some shirt paint to draw magical symbols and incantations on it. Actually I just made pretty designs. I don’t know anything about magic or magick, and I was too lazy to research any runes or other legit stuff.
Before starting that step, make sure you have a way to prop the thing up to dry, so you don’t end up just holding it like a jackass. Which I did not do. I held it like a lady.
There’s the finished product! It was a fun project that took an hour, plus drying time. If you’re going to do this with kids I recommend preparing the sticks ahead of time, because that was the most time-consuming part. I love getting to trade crafts with my buddies!
I found this dress at the thrift store, and loved the pattern immediately. I grabbed it so I could turn it into an apron, but it actually fits me! And it fits really well (I mean, I know I’m gorgeous, but in this I look amazing!), I just wasn’t enamored of the neck line. It reminded me of terrible 1980′s, tacky, overly-tan people for some reason.
I used my seam ripper to removed the neck strap, and separate the two booby cups. I then ripped open the end of the strap (which was one long piece), and I pulled out the giant, terrible, uncomfortable beads that were inside it. Yeah, because I want giant chunks of plastic rubbing on my collar bones.
I folded the strap in half long-ways, then cut it into two pieces to be two separate straps. I sewed the ends shut, including the extra hole I made to remove the beads, which wasn’t actually necessary since I was cutting it open anyways. I see that now.
Once I had the strap detached, I put the dress on and pinned the cups until they were the same size and shape. My goal was to create a more 1950′s-style sweet-heart neckline. And I think I succeeded:
BAM!!! See, hotness! I told you! I took the two halves of the original strap and attached them to the top of each cup so I can tie it around my neck. Again, I acheived this by putting the dress on, looking in a mirror and pinning it, then wriggling out carefully, and swearing a lot when I stabbed myself on accident. If there’s a better way to sew, I don’t know it. Hopefully, I’ll learn soon.
I have lots of cool t-shirts that I love, but don’t love the fit. I’ve attempted to remedy this by turning several into tank tops, but I needed another option. If the design is too high on the chest, or the shirt is too small, the tank top method won’t work. I decided to make this t-shirt into a v-neck. You little minions may remember that I’ve done this before, but this time I’m doing away with the whole t-shirt collar.
This is the collar of my awesome shirt. I made one cut about an inch long in the middle of the front. On each side, right in front of the shoulder seam, I cut just through the collar. I did the same on the back, opposite of the fron cut.
I then tucked all the edges in, creating the v-neck, and rounding out the rest. Keep in mind, you don’t have to hem on this project because the collar edges won’t unravel, so you just plain old fold the edges under. I then pinned it all in place, and sewed it by hand while watching the old X-Men cartoon.
And viola! It is so much more comfortable now that the t-shirt isn’t chocking me to death.
I can comfortably, and atractively (if I do say so myself) show off my nerd cred. I’m getting ready for Star Wars Celebration VI! Who’s with me?!
Recently I thought to myself, “Maybe I can actually grow things. Maybe I’m not the Grim Reaper of plants”. I was both right and wrong. In the pic below you can see a cactus through the window. His name used to be Cornelius, until he was almost mauled to death by a squirrel. After some drastic surgery, the conjoined twins were separated, and I now have Corn and Elius.
In the foreground you can see some flourishing herbs. I’m glad I took the picture when I did, because they perished soon after this. These were cuttings of mint and rosemary. I simply put them in a glass of water and they started to grow roots. I was amazed at myself, and started to gain confidence. They had beautiful, numerous roots, and I should have planted them, but I put it off, forgot to water them, and they died. Curse you, procrastination!
This is an idea I found on Pinterest, and it worked really well. This is a large salad mix box I reused as a tiny green house to sprout lentils!
Look how adorable! I put one paper towel in the container, scattered beans on top, added another paper towel, and got it wet once. The lid keeps the paper towels moist, and the lentils sprouted almost immediately. They were incredibly easy to grow, even as neglectful as I am.
Some of you may remember my previous attempt to grow lentil sprouts, which definitely did not go well. This new way was super easy and low maintenance. The sprouts are tasty, and didn’t mold or anything. I will do this again in a heart beat.
Like most people, I have clothes laying around that I kind of like, but don’t “like” like. I have taken it upon myself to do something about this. Why are they taking up closet space, when they’re kind of “meh”? This one is a men’s button-up shirt I decided to turn into a tank top. Yes, I’m a huge fan of tank tops, but this is Texas; they’re a necessity, just like iced tea.
I used my seam ripper to remove the sleaves:
Then I used a ruler to cut the top off. I cut it above the top button I wanted to use, so I wouldn’t have to go back and add a button or button hole. You’re going to be hemming the top edge down, so make sure to leave extra fabric for that. I left about an inch.
Fold the top down and pin it, and make sure the front and back are relatively equal. To make sure your top seam is straight, measure the distance above the armpit on each side. I also used the front pocket as a guide. You can also use a light-colored, washable marker to make some guidelines for yourself. If you plan to do this, I would make small, light dots, and maybe even test it in an inconspicuous area, then run it through the wash, just to make sure it won’t stay on your shirt. Hem the top of your shirt.
I took each sleave and cut it in half length-wise:
To get these:
Then fold them in half, longways, inside out, and sew down the long edge. Flip this inside out and you have a tube. Two of these tubes are used for the straps, and you have the option to use the other two for tie-backs, if your shirt is a little too big, or you just like the look.
Here’s me trying it on, about mid-way through the process. I had pinned my straps too long, and the whole thing was too baggy. I’m nowhere near being a real seamstress, so I end up trying my creations on many times to get everything right.
Since it was too baggy, I decided to take it in along the sides. I just eyeballed it, and ran it through the sewing machine.
I used a ruler to make some dots to bring it in about an inch on each side.
The fit was much better after this, but I hated the neckline.
I folded the upper corners down and in to make more of a sweetheart neckline.
I’m much happier with this than I was, and it will look much better once I iron it. The good thing about getting most of my clothes at thrift stores, is that I don’t worry about experimenting on them. If you have a specific clothing item you want to alter, but you’re scared to try, try to find something similar at a thrift store you can gleefully destroy and use as learning experience. Finding something with similar material and cut would be the most useful, but altering anything will give you good experience. I just love how cute my hair was that day! Look at that instead of the wrinkles on the shirt. I know I am!
I recently realized I can’t stand wearing regular T-shirts; I always feel like the neck is choking me. When I’ve bought new clothes (and by “new” I mean from the thrift store, so it’s new to me), I buy v-necks or tank tops, but what about the t-shirts I already have that I love, but can’t stand wearing? This is an easy way to turn them into tank tops!
I used a ruler to cut a straight line across the top of the shirt. You want to make the cut as high as possible so you retain as much shirt as possible.
Cut off the sleeves, using the seam as a guide. Cut the seam off, but retain as much t-shirt as possible.
So you end up with this:
The tutorial I found online said to cut a strip off the bottom of the shirt to use as the strap, but I chose to use the bottom of an overly-large shirt I made into a grocery bag. I actually cut 4 strips from it for different shirts so I could retain the length on these soon-to-be tank tops. You can also use ribbon or a draw string from something else.
Roll the top edge down once, about 1/4 to 1/2 inch:
Roll it down one more time to get the raw edge on the inside. Since this is jersey material, you don’t really have to worry about it unraveling, but this is how I chose to do it. You can see that part of the outer design will now be inside the shirt. It didn’t matter for this one, but keep that in mind when you are cutting and hemming on this project.
Do the same for the back edge. Pin boths hems, look at it to make sure you like it, then sew it up.
Now that you have basically 2 tubes along the top of the shirt, feed your t-shirt or ribbon strip through it. The easiest way to do this is to put a safety pin through one end, then push the safety pin through the tube. Tie it in a bow once you have it fed through and you get this:
This is a different finished product, but same process. You end up with a tank top that is gathered along the top on both front and back. If your shirt has one central design like this one, it’s important to pay attention to how much space the design will have once the gathers are in place. This alteration process is easiest with t-shirts that are slightly too big for you, or don’t have an image, or have a pattern that won’t be affected by this process. I would practice with something like that first, like I did with the four leaf clover shirt, before you touch something as gorgeous as my “Dream Girl” shirt here. It’s got a unicorn pegasus on it!!
You know and I know that I’m amazing, but (hold on to your crochet hooks) I didn’t get this way on my own. I know, I know. “But you’re so unique and talented”, you’re thinking. “How could you be anything but a gift from the gods themselves?” That is a good question, and a valid point, but I can assure you I am a normal human being (I mean, cooler than most, obviously) and I was raised by a family just like the rest of you minions.
I was reflecting the other day on what made me so awesome after reading Mi Madre’s blog post about quilts that her grandmother made for me and my sister as babies. That sentence right there tells you a lot. Not only does my mom blog, (and my dad, and my sister, Beans), she taught us from an early age to value and revere handmade items, and to treasure things passed down through the family.
I have also learned some of my crafting skills from my family. My maternal grandmother taught me and Beans to crochet, and Mi Madre taught me the basics of quilting. We were always given free reign with arts and crafts as kids; maybe a little too free since Beans enjoyed biting the tips off markers. Mom taught us a lot about jewelry making, and sculpting beads, and just general crafts. Art, crafting, and DIY were always encouraged in our house. My dad has mad skillz when it comes to home repairs, which I’ve tried to exploit, but not that well.
Basically, since it’s Mother’s Day, I’d like to say thank you to all the women in my family who have not only passed down important skills, but have also passed down the knowledge to value these skills and their products. Thanks so much, and I love you. I hope you liked this blog post because I forgot to send a card! HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!!!
Back in college is when I really started getting crafty. I made my own purse, made some dorm decorations, and made my own body pillow cover. That body pillow cover finally gave out after lasting
ten three years. My beautiful stitches stayed in place; the fabric itself gave out. I had hand sewn the whole thing, and Mi Madre thought I had machine sewn it, that’s how awesome I am.
I decided it was time to make a new cover, and in fact I made two, so one could go through the wash. I also made them using two different methods, because I’m awesome, and that’s the kind of crafting that keeps you on the edge of your seat! The first one is just plain old fabric sewn together. Maybe “plain” is not the right word for this fabric. It is faux quilt fabric from probably the 70′s that I found at a thrift store years ago. I have hoarded it, and used it periodically, but this is the biggest piece I’ve used so far. This piece is a yard wide, and I just laid the pillow down on top to get the length.
I then hemmed one of the short sides to be the open end of the pillow case.
Next, I folded the fabric in half, inside out, and pinned along the back end and long side, a couple inches from the pillow. You want the pillow case to be snug enough to stay on the pillow, but easy to slide on and off.
I ran it through my magical sewing machine, and BAM! Look at that crazy fabric! It’s so amazing, and yet terrible!
So, pillow case #2 is MUCH tamer. For this, I’m using 2 normal pillow cases. This is a great way to do this, because you can easily match your existing bed sheets, if that’s a concern of yours. If you can see the picture above these words, and the one below, you can tell that is OBVIOUSLY not a priority of mine.
I decided to have the open ends of these pillow cases both facing outward. First, I used my trusty seam ripper to open up the short end of both pillow cases.
Now here’s the tricky part: I turned one inside out, and left the other rightside out, then stuffed one inside the other so that rightsides were against each other, and the insides were both showing. The one that is rightside out goes inside the inside-out one. lined up the long seams on the pillow cases first, then the open seams I had just made. I then pinned it to death.
This picture shows the two “right” sides of the fabric touching each other.
And this is after I had pinned it all the way around the circle.
I then did a running stitch, by hand, all the way around. After that, I turned the whole thing right-side out, to make sure everything had worked as I planned, then turned it inside out and sewed one end shut.
I then turned the whole thing back rightside-out, and put it on the pillow. Fabulous!
This is a great way to use extra pillow cases you might have, like I obviously did. The hand-sewn one took a little longer, maybe a total of 45 minutes, and the first one took maybe 30 minutes. These are both great projects for someone beginning to learn to sew, or learning a sewing machine for the first time.
I have this purse that I made more than 10 years ago. At the time, I realized that I had begun collecting purses, not out of the desire to have a collection, but because each one was not quite right. I was the Goldilocks of purses: this one was too small, that one was too big, this one didn’t have enough pockets, etc.
The only way to end the vicious cycle, and avoid being buried alive in purses was to make my own purse specifically to fit my needs. Also, I wanted to brag about it. And I still do. As you are witnessing right now.
The problem is after 10 years of hauling my crap around, the purse started to have some issues, like this gaping hole in the side:
I was worried the whole thing would give way, because the hole is directly under the strap. So what’s a clever chick to do? Fix it! By the way, this purse is made from a pair of pants that shrank IMMEDIATELY in the wash, and I never got to wear, a t-shirt that shrank after I wore it to death, a belt, a Batman I cut off a child’s t-shirt, and fabric scraps. See? I have always been this crafty and
A friend of mine happened to be getting rid of some denim scraps, so I gave them a good home. I think more of them will show up here eventually. I cut a long rectangle of denim, folded it in half, and tucked all the edges inside. (At this stage, make sure it’s big enough to cover the hole). I then sewed all the way around it. Doing it this way makes the patch extra strong, and seals the raw edges inside so you don’t have to worry about it unraveling.
Next, I pinned the patch inside the purse, over the hole, and sewed it thoroughly to the purse. I stitched the purse strap to the patch directly to make sure the weight of the purse is evenly distributed, and the connection is strong.
This is what it looks like from the outside. I know most of the time when you’re patching things, you don’t want to see the patching. To that I say, “Meh”. This gives it character, and anyway that hole is so raggedy I don’t have any idea how I could have patched it invisibly, other than getting a Robin patch to go over top. And come on, Robin is a dork.
Here’s the final view of the inside. I used lots of stitches, and short pieces of thread, so that if one breaks, there are others to keep the patch in place until I can repair it.
I have used this method for patching blue jeans, too. It works great if you can find a close color of denim, because then it looks intentional, like those super expensive torn jeans the kids are wearing these days. Those kids, with their Rock Music, and their terrible clothes they stole from my generation! *Shakes fist in general direction of youths*
In preparation for Hubby’s pirate themed birthday party, I decided I needed a little accessorizing. Fortunately I have some random crafting supplies (“You? No way”, “Yes, really”) that I threw together to make a bad-ass choker. I happened to find this giant bird pendant at the thrift store attached to a bunch of other beads, and I had this black edging stuff laying around. I bought the black knotted clasp, on the right, for about $2, I think, at the fabric store.
Here’s a close up of the giant medallion/cameo thing.
First, I hemmed one end of the lace stuff, and attached half the clasp. I measured the lacey stuff around my neck, and cut it with at least an inch extra for hemming. This stuff comes apart very easily once cut, so I folded the end in about half an inch, then half an inch again, then sewed it all through to keep it from unraveling.
I put the clasp back together, then measured the lace around my neck again to double check the comfort and the clasp placement. This is also a good way to make sure you don’t have a twist in your necklace. The package recommends sewing the clasp onto your project while it’s together, and that’s good advice to make sure it will line up properly when you’re done.
Test out teh fit again, and make sure it’s snug without being tight. This is also the time to test putting it on and taking it off. I found that it’s easier for me to have the loop part on my right, so my right hand does the more challenging part of closing the necklace. If I had to depend on my left hand, there would have been much pouting and tantrum-ing.
I sewed the camoe onto the choker in the middle to get as much support from the lace as possible. It’s solid metal, and as you can see, pretty large. It works great, and is probably the most comfortable part of my costume. It also took me about 10 minutes to put it together.