I freaking hate winter. It’s the worst. In summer you can go to the beach, the pool, play in the sprinkler, or just lay around to cool off. There is (thankfully) no snow where I live, so there’s just nothing to do. We’re all just trapped inside, stumbling over each other, fighting over the best blanket in the house. On top of that, one of my FAVORITE pairs of Halloween socks got holes in the heels. If you know one thing about me, it’s probably that I’m a cheapskate. If you know two things, you probably know that I love Halloween more than all the other holidays put together. That’s right, even more than Washington’s birthday! I mean, look at these awesome socks:
When these socks became unwearable, I stuffed them in my scrap bag, awaiting an epiphany. I couldn’t just throw them away! Well, here we are, epiphany-had!
I didn’t even have to cut a thumb hole! I did hem it, however.
Then, I put it on inside-out, and folded the top down until it was the length I wanted. I then pinned it in place, took the sock off, and hand sewed the seam in place. Because these socks have stripes, it also made it easier to ensure I was folding it straight.
And we’re done! The whole thing probably took an hour or so, but it’s hard to tell because toddlers and dogs kept distracting me. But now I’m ready to kill some zombies in comfort! And I can keep my amazing skeleton socks! Honestly, I’m so happy with these I’m almost jealous of myself for having them.
Kids have an annoying tendency to grow out of things before they wear them out. My sweet baby Nacho is no different. He had these two adorable pirate onesies:
And of course he outgrew them. But they’re so cute! So we’re going to alter one of these into a t-shirt! I opted to use the longer one for this, so there’s enough fabric to roll up and hem.
Cut the onesie as low as you can, as shown above. Retain the pieces for an upcoming mystery project! Now roll the extra fabric up as little as possible so you can hem it. You want to leave as much fabric as possible for the t-shirt, but you need to cover up that raw edge so it doesn’t unravel.
Once you have everything pinned in place, just sew the hem down. I did it by hand since my sewing machine has forsaken me, and it didn’t take much time at all.
And now your little rugrat can look awesome for another few weeks, until his next growth spurt!
Our corgi, Flapjack, has been a bit neglected since my son, Nacho, was born. Neglected as in “no longer receiving endless attention”. To remedy this, his Aunt Lis brought him a new toy! Star Wars themed, no less! Unfortunately, Boba Fett is strong enough to withstand the Great Pit of Carkoon, but not the Mighty Jaws of Corgi. But Flapjack still loved his busted bounty hunter, even bringing him up to bed each night. I had to perform some armor repair.
You can see I very crudely wrapped denim around the torso, and sewed it shut. The denim is way tougher than the initial material, and has not lost a single thread yet. So maybe Boba Fett seems to be wearing a bath towel…and one arm is still attached a bit tenuously. Flapjack is happy, and Boba’s guts are protected.
I basically wrapped the fabric around, tucked the raw edges under, and whip stitched the whole thing. I mean, this is going in my dog’s mouth. I love him, but not enough to hand him a work of art.
See? He doesn’t care. He’s just happy to have Boba back where he belongs: begging for mercy from a giant beast.
I know a lot of people out there love their Moby wraps, and if this is you, you better skip this post now. I apologize, but brace yourself for an epic rant.
A friend of mine was kind enough to lend me a Moby wrap when I had my baby, Nacho. If you aren’t familiar with these, they are basically 87,000 yards of fabric you’re supposed to wrap around yourself in a configuration more complicated than an Enigma Machine. Your baby then supposedly fits right into the fabric without falling out the bottom or smothering to death. You can now carry your baby around with your hands free!
Here’s the thing(s):
1) There is too much damn fabric. There has GOT to be a better way to carry your child than 9 million yards of stretchy fabric. Women in pre-industrial countries wear their babies all over the place, and I have yet to see one using enough fabric to clothe the nation of Lithuania.
2) It’s hot. I was using the thing in WINTER, and my son and I were both coated in sweat after 30 minutes. I guess it’s to be expected with 18 billion yards of fabric piled on you, but it was ridiculous.
3) It’s overly complicated. I watched several videos trying to figure out how to use this thing. I got Hubby to watch and help. I prayed to both the old gods and the new (that’s a reference to a TV show, Gram, don’t worry), and I was still unable to get the thing on me how it was supposed to go. If you don’t get the tension exactly right when you put it on, you have to take the whole thing off and start over again. Lifting a wriggling baby in and out of the wrap 3 or 4 times before you get it right will test anyone’s patience, and I have very little to begin with.
4) It’s not really “hands-free”. You can sit in a chair, or walk around without holding your baby, sure. But forget bending over to do dishes or laundry. My son didn’t have neck control yet when we were attempting to wrangle the 8 cubic miles of fabric, so if I leaned over at all I had to support his head. If I tried to tuck fabric around his head, I had to worry that he was smothering to death, or his head would slip out and suddenly flop backwards (which happened, and was the impetus for me throwing in the 8,000 mile long towel). If I have to keep one hand on the back of his head at all times, it’s not that useful.
5) Getting in and out of it is nigh impossible. So let’s assume you succeed in finally getting your infant into the wrap. And then s/he poops. You’re now trapped, tied to a fussy, squirming baby and a poop balloon, just waiting to explode. Have fun untangling you both from 67^10 acres of fabric in a timely manner. If your kid is anything like mine, s/he’ll choose the moment s/he’s almost free to kick you in the chest and launch him/herself into oblivion (or, hopefully, the pack-n-play). Forget trying to feed a baby you’ve been mummified with also. There’s no room to get a bottle in there, much less get a boob out.
6) They’re expensive. $50 for some fabric? Come on. I’m really glad I got to borrow one rather than drop that kind of cash on some fabric I hated.
I do know a few people that like their Moby wraps, and I have a theory. All of the women I know who enjoy them, and who are shown in the tutorial videos and websites have fairly straight waists. I, however, have an hourglass figure, with big hips, so all the fabric slides up and bunches around my waist. Without such an exaggerated anatomy, the fabric seems to stay put where it’s supposed to. That’s just my hypothesis, based on a very small sample of data.
Wearing your baby is really fun and wonderful, but the Moby Wrap is not necessarily the way to do that. I was lucky enough to trick Mi Madre into making me a ring sling. She found a tutorial and the rings online, and used fabric she had laying around the house. We’ve used it a ton, and plan to keep using it for awhile. A fellow mom-friend of mine found a baby-wearing meet-up group that rents out different baby carriers so you can try them. She tried several before finding one she loves. Search for something like that before making any purchases.
I love popping my son into his sling and going for a walk around the block when the weather is nice. He’s fallen asleep in it several times, and it’s very easy to slide him out into his crib, or just sit down and let him nap on me.
If you’re like me, your significant other is about your same size, and likes to steal all of your pajama pants. Even the fairly effeminate Mr. Bubble pants, that are mostly pink. “His name is MISTER Bubble. That’s not effeminate!” is Hubby’s defense, but I still need something comfy to wear.
Enter the navy blue yoga capri pants. You think they’d be safe, right? Nope. My Hubby values comfort way over dignity. I had 3 pairs that are all identical, so I decided to make one pair into shorts. Sure enough, that was enough to keep him from adopting them! I used pink thread to hem them up, just to be on the safe side.
The best way I have found to do this is to cut off roughly how much you want cut off, leaving a generous margin for error. Then acquire a helpful friend or family member to pin them while you’re wearing them. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been overly blessed in the booty department, so if I try to sew things without trying them on, I end up short-changed in the rear. Just remember you can always make it shorter, but not longer.
Have your helpful friend fold the edge under once, and then once again to make sure the raw edge is contained in fabric. If you absolutely have to do this yourself, I recommend pinning with safety pins while the clothing is not on you, then try it on to see how you did. You may have to do this several times to get it right.
I hand sewed two rows simply because I thought it looked cute. I wore these CONSTANTLY while pregnant because they are so stretchy and comfortable. Now it’s winter though, and it’s ridiculously cold for Texas. I don’t even think I own enough layers to be outside in. I’m starting to doubt Canadians actually exist, because no human should be able to survive this.
And here I am writing a blog post about shorts when it’s less than 30 degrees F out. But, if you’re like me, you better start summer crafts now, or they’ll never be done in time. I’m still working on a scarf I started in June and I doubt it will be done for this winter. So many craft, so little time.
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?!
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!!
I love to crochet, but I have huge gaps in my knowledge of it. I can’t read patterns, and I have no idea how much yarn it takes to make what I want. For this project, I started out with 4 rolls of yarn from my Gram. I was trying to make a throw blanket, but it came out too long and skinny, and it looks ridiculous. I didn’t want to rip it all out and start over like I did with my giant blanket, so I stuffed it in a closet out of frustration.
Recently, on pinterest I saw a tutorial to make your own poof foot stool. I didn’t actually know that was a thing, but apparently it is. The tutorial it linked to was for knitting, but the gist is that you need a long skinny piece of fabric (I think. A lot of the site seemed to be in French). So the messed up blanket now had a purpose! I folded it in half, and sewed all down the short side. On one end I gathered the edges together like this:
Basically, I kept it folded in half, sewed one stitch in the middle to hold it together, brought the middle of each side in and sewed that together also. Once I had it divided into quarters in the picture above, I brought the middle of each loop to the center and sewed it all together again, which gives you this:
I hope I explained all that clearly. If not, send me ten dollars (enough for a box of wine!) and I’ll try again. Then flip your poof right side out, like this:
So you can see it gives you a nice, gathered look. On the tutorial I read, the creator got some blankets at the thrift store to stuff her poof. I think that’s genius, but I already have a plethora of blankets laying around; I just don’t want to permanently stitch them into a foot stool. What’s a Clever Chick to do? Drink. What’s a Clever Chick to do next? Use a blanket I want to keep, but find a way to make it still accessible. I used this comforter we have that is way too hot for the Texas summer.
I laid it out like this, then rolled it up, and stuffed it into my poof. I then closed it off with…a hairband! BOOM. I’m awesome. Since I chopped my hair off, I don’t need all these hairbands I have laying around, so this is the perfect solution. I can get to my blanket whenever I want, and it’s actually serving a purpose, rather than just cluttering up my linen closet right now.
Here’s the bottom once the whole thing was stuffed and poof-ified:
There was extra fabric on top where the hairband was holding it shut, so I just flared it out, and I have to say, it’s pretty adorable. It’s also very stable and solid. I think I stuffed an extra towel into the center of the poof once the blanket was in to make it more solid.
It came out super cute, and now 4 things that were just sitting around are being useful! Cause that’s how I roll.
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.