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!!
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 been having a lot of fun with my friend Kornberg’s sewing machine. I found this skirt at the thrift store, and knew I needed it in my house. I didn’t know why or how, but I needed it. What’s cool about it, is it was already repurposed by a company in San Antonio, Texas. I think it was a dress which they then transformed into a skirt, which ended up at the thrift store, and became a throw pillow at my house. I love it! Screw you, landfill!
Here’s the pillow form I used, that I happened to have laying around. Another thing you could do, is just re-cover an ugly throw pillow (which I’ve done), or even just make another cover for a throw pillow you like. Then you can change your look around without burying your couch in pillows.
I turned the skirt inside out, and sewed the top of the skirt shut. The sides were trickier since they were curved, so I used a ruler and drew dots as a guide.
I then pinned along the dots. If you use a washable marker, this will just wash out in the machine. I would still use a relatively light color, just in case.
Look at that beautiful seam! One thing I learned the hard way, was not to use a really tight stitch on the sewing machine. If you screw up, it is REALLY hard to pull out by hand. So I sewed down both sides, and left the bottom open to insert the pillow.
Here we are! Finished pillow:
I hand sewed a few snaps on the bottom so I can take it out and wash the cover if I need to. You can also use velcro, which is harder to sew on, but looks better in the end, in my opinion. Someday I need to take a picture of my couch to show you all the throw pillows I’ve made. It’s getting ridiculous. Flapjack is always losing his toys in them, and Hubby prefers sleeping on the couch to the bed. I guess I better get cracking on some bed pillows.
Hubby and I have a bunch of T-shirts floating around that we like, but never wear for one reason or another. I have been looking for creative ways to use them, from making throw pillows, to altering the shirts so I can wear them, to making purses. The ones for this project are just too big. I just happened to have the sewing machine set up, but this would be a very fast and easy sewing project for hand sewing, or for someone just learning to use a sewing machine. You only have to sew one straight line. Start with a cool T-shirt that you don’t wear, for whatever reason.
Flip it inside out, and sew the bottom shut. Flip it back right-side out.
Cut the sleeves off. I used the seam as a guide, and cut the whole seam off.
I then cut a rectangular area out of the neck, and you’re done!
Here’s a view of the inside, once it’s complete. They are very roomy on the inside.
Here’s the finished bag:
And I made a second one from a Ghostbusters: The Video Game T-shirt.
Total, they took about 5 minutes each. Not a bad sewing project!
Yes! Some crafts, finally! I was wandering around the thrift store the other day, despairing of finding anything cool, when I saw this fabric poking out from under a pile of clothes. Hubby and I have both been working on pirate costumes for Halloween/Renaissance Festival/random costume parties our friends have, and we need many more scarves.
Someone had split the whole booty area open, in what had to be a brutally embarrassing moment, but I still saw the potential. The fabric and pattern are also pretty close to historically accurate for the time period, which is always a plus.
First, I used my seam ripper to get the pants down to their basic components.
I then trimmed down the sides to make rectangles. I also trimmed off the torn booty area. Keep in mind, this is for a costume, and a pirate at that, so I just basically eyeballed everything.
I wanted it to be a bit longer, so I took some of the other scraps, cut them to size, and pinned everything together. I hand-sewed everything together. The fairly busy pattern of this fabric hides the fact that several bits of fabric form the whole scarf. I wouldn’t necessarily try this same method with a quieter pattern, unless it’s for a gypsy or pirate costume. Gypsies and pirates are supposed to look patched up, so it adds to the authenticity.
Once the bits were assembled, I laid it out, and rolled the sides over to be hemmed. The edges were not straight, so I just folded the extra cloth under to even it out. I pinned the edges down, and hand-sewed everything again.
Here’s the finished product! The ends were already machine-hemmed, since they were the ankles of the pants, so that saved me some work. In the picture, it looks like that end flairs out terribly, but that’s just the way I laid it down to take the picture. The scarf is now complete, and either Hubby or I can wear it for our costumes. I also have some extra fabric from this project, so it may reappear someday. Overall, it only took me a few days, even hand-sewing everything. With a sewing machine, it could have been done in an hour, easily.
So I’ve attempted to clean up my craft room before, but there has never been enough of a work surface in there. Crap just gets stacked everywhere! My Gram happened to have an extra table for me when I visited her, so I set it up in the craft room.
That’s right, I got a VINTAGE table for my craft room! It’s red formica, from the 1950’s. You can see I’ve moved my doll houses and sewing machine onto the left hand table, giving me an actual surface to work on. There are still boxes of crap under the table, but that will take time to deal with.
I finally set up the shelf for my Batman collection. Hubby got me the poster when he was working for a video game store. I love Batman!!!!
I created a pet net out of a Care Bears sheet I got at the thrift store to hold my stuffed animals. A couple in there are ones I made myself, that I may blog about later. This keeps them out of the way, but still visible.
I’m hoping that having this crap out of the way, and having a more comfortable work surface will encourage me to do crafts in there, but we’ll see. Something is wrong with my sewing machine, so everything has to be done by hand at the moment. Stay tuned!