Tuesday, April 26, 2011

tissue holder

So my friend Joe drives me to work every day.  (He's a nice kid.)  And with spring in full bloom, his allergies are also in full bloom.  His idea of combatting allergies is grabbing a roll of paper towels with which to blow his nose.  By the end of the day, his nose is red and bloody.  Ick.

So I made him one of these:

These pictures aren't actually mine.  They're Elena Henson's.  (I used to teach her back in the day.   Now she's all grown up.  The idea is hers as well.)  And in case you can't tell, it's a tissue holder made out of a Starbucks cup (or any other type of coffee cup).  For the simple version, just cut an opening in the lid, stuff some tissues inside, and viola!

I changed it up just a little bit, because the tissues were getting caught on the sharp edge of the cup lid.  So I cut a large circle out of the top, cut out a matching circle out of plastic wrap and glued it to the inside of the lid.  After the glue dried, I cut a hole in the plastic wrap to allow the tissues to pull through.  That way they could slide smoothly through the plastic wrap.

And for those of you who are wondering, Joe loves it.

PS - Elena is headed to Thailand this summer to live in an orphanage for girls rescued from prostitution.  If you would like to help her out, she is selling t-shirts!  (I bought one) Check it out here.  Trust me, if you knew Elena, you would want to help her.  She's just that kind of girl.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


As soon as I saw this book, it immediately went to the top of my wish list.  Maybe I'll buy it for myself as an end-of-the-schoolyear present.  I would love to be able to make all of the beautiful things pictured in the book.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Grandview Bag

Have you ever read The Boy Trifecta?  Emily has some great tutorials on there. Mostly for boys, but sometimes she sew up something for herself.  I used this tutorial to make her Grandview bag. I LOVE LOVE LOVE how it turned out, and the tutorial was SO easy to follow.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Felt circles shirt

This project is easy enough that it doesn't need a tutorial.  I made this shirt for my daughter a few months ago by just cutting out circles in felt and hand-stitching them to the shirt (I'm sure you could machine stitch them just as well.)  I put them close enough together that they would bunch up and give it a little extra dimension.  This would be fun in different patterns on the shirt, or even all over the shirt for a scaly look.  I've machine washed it a couple of times and it holds up really well.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Ruffle cardigan makeover

Here's another thing I found at Target years ago on clearance.  It's just a brown cardigan that I was never crazy about.  As I was going to bed a few nights ago I started thinking about it, and I decided to chop it up.  Here's how it went.

 First I cut off the sleeves (then hemmed them, of course).  I don't have any short-sleeved sweaters, and they're probably pretty impractical, but I live in Texas, so I only wear the other kind a few times a year.  I also don't love where it buttons.  It feels like one of those super long cardigans that hipsters like to wear.  (Just so you know, I use the term "hipster" almost indiscriminately. Don't be offended.)

When I first tried it on after chopping the sleeves, I noticed that it fit weird.  Then I noticed that I wasn't wearing a bra.  Let me tell you, it makes a big difference.
 It just needed something extra along the neckline.  I cut 1" wide strips out of the former sleeves, did a ruffle stitch on them (remember, highest tension and longest stitch length) and sewed them down to the neckline.  I like it this way.

bedroom makeover

It really didn't take a whole lot to improve the look of my bedroom, considering I started with a blank slate.  (I'm a bit on the stingy side, so I have a hard time spending a lot of money on something that's just going to hang on my wall.)



The curtains, wreath, and some of the pillows are homemade.  The comforter was on clearance at Macy's (about $300 off) so I couldn't pass it up.

Book Wreath Tutorial found here.  (Instead of a foam wreath, I used a piece of cardboard that I cut into a circle.  It worked about the same.)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Homemade Nautical Dress

I am a huge fan of stripes.  So when I found this fabric on sale for $1.99/yard, I bought a lot of it.  I made this dress without a pattern, so if you look too closely there are definitely lots of flaws.  Overall, however, I love how it turned out.

I knew that I wanted a dress that fit like a pencil skirt on the bottom but did not require a zipper.  So I started by tracing a well-fitting pencil skirt just to the hips.  From there, I drew a line straight up (since hips are generally the widest part of your body.)  I cut out a front and back piece (with room for seam allowances), added some sleeves and a neckline, and viola!  

The skirt fits nicely around my hips and lets and is looser on the top so that I can pull it over my head zipper-free.  As a result, the dress definitely requires a belt.  Otherwise it might look a little bit maternity.  (Not really my style since I am not currently pregnant.)

I forgot to allow extra room for a hem, so the skirt is a tad shorter than I had wanted it to be, but not too bad.  I may add a strip of blue fabric to the bottom to lengthen it just a tad.

easy skirt makeover

I have had this skirt in my closet for about 4 years, and probably haven't worn it for the past two.  I don't hate it, but I just don't love it.  So when I lost my blue cotton skirt, I decided to transform this skirt into a plain blue skirt that I would wear much more frequently.  (I think I've already worn in 3 times in the past 2 weeks.)
The transformation was simple.  I hemmed the blue and orange fabric so that it was shorter than the blue lining underneath.Then I turned the skirt inside out, cut off all of the tags, and viola!  I have a brand-new skirt!  

Final Product:

(I'm actually a lot happier than I look in this picture.  Don't be deceived.)

repurposed life

My sweater-turned-skirt was featured on My Repurposed Life this week!  Thanks, Gail!

Stay tuned for more tutorials coming up this weekend.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

anthro tee knock-off

This weekend, I will post a tutorial for making this t-shirt from Anthropologie.  It ended up being way easier than I thought and is currently my favorite shirt in my closet.

easy craft

At Christmastime, I bought a bunch of Christmas tree bulbs to make a bulb wreath for my apartment.  (It turned out looking more like a bulb blob, but I hung it up anyway.  Our house needed a little Christmas cheer.)  And while I have been accused of listening to Christmas music in June, (I don't see what's particularly wrong with that) I am a firm believer that Christmas decorations come down after New Year's.

Unfortunately, the house looked pretty empty once all of our decorations were put away, so I took some of the bulbs and wrapped them in gray and green yarn.  So easy and so quick.  (I made all of these while watching an episode of Modern Family.)

Unfortunately, the white bowl belongs to Katelyn and she recently decided that being a teacher would be more fun than working in corporate America.  (I'm going to have to agree with her on that one.)  But she took the bowl off to grad school and my bulbs are now sitting in a blue silicone casserole dish.  It somehow just doesn't have the same effect.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The final dress

I finally finished the Easter dress and tried it on my little girl.  I love how it matches her blue eyes and yellow hair!

 For the sash, I just hemmed a strip of fabric and then stitched it along the zipper line, as you can see in this picture:
 I also stitched it down in other places so that it wouldn't sag, and added a gray flower to finish it off.  I was really surprised at how easy this project was.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Simple toddler dress

I can't resist cute little Easter dresses for babies.  I had never made a dress before but I found some cute fabric, so I thought I would try it out.  I started out by tracing a pattern from a simple dress that my daughter already has, with a few modifications. There were just 8 peices-- the front top and bottom, back left top and bottom, back right top and bottom, and the sleeves.  The dress I copied from didn't have sleeves so I just made these ones up.  If you want to do a really easy dress, just leave the sleeves out altogether.
 Then I stitched the tops to the bottoms. Now that I think of it, I probably could have just cut them out as one peice.
 My next step was to stitch the shoulders together, then hem the neckline.  This was a little tricky since the neck was curved, so it helped to cut small (<1cm) slits along the neck before hemming.
 I then hemmed the sleeves along the straight edge and ran a ruffle stitch along the curved edge.  I centered them on the sleeve openings and stitched them to the dress, then hemmed the part of the sleeve openings that weren't covered by the sleeves.
 I added the zipper to the back of the dress by stitching it to the inside of the back opening.  I then sewed up the rest of the back.
 After hemming the skirt, this is what it looked like.  I was surprised at how quickly it all came together.  I planned on making a sash for it, but I got sick so that will have to wait.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Book Art

I really, really love art made from books.  Maybe it's because I've always loved books.  But I would LOVE to make some of the creations found here.  Pretty incredible, huh?

I tried making one of my own:  It looks a little sad next to some of the others, but with practice (and with a real book - this was just a blank journal on sale at Michael's for 50 cents.) I'm hoping my skills will improve.

Sweater to Skirt Makeover

Over the years, I have accumulated a lot of sweaters.  (A lot.)  Mostly because I'm always cold, so I can wear them almost year-round.  I recently found one sweater in my closet that was sort of ill-fitting and I hadn't worn in years.  So I decided to make a skirt out of it.

Start by cutting straight across the sweater right at the armpit.

Your sweater will now look like a nice rectangle:

Next, cut the bottom off of a t-shirt (preferably in the same color as your sweater) and pin the cut side of the t-shirt to the cut edge of your sweater.  (Right sides facing, as always.)  Stitch the edges together, leaving a small seam allowance.

When you turn your skirt right-side out, it should look like this:

Now turn your skirt inside out and fold the top down about an inch.  Sew across the front and the back, leaving unstitched regions at the side so that you can insert elastic.

Cut a piece of elastic so that it fits snugly around your waist.  Place a safety pin on the edge to help pull it through the tube you have created.  Once it is pulled through, stitch the edges of the elastic together.  (Make sure it is not twisted first!)

Final Product:


Monday, April 4, 2011

Frumpy shorts makeover

When my husband and I were engaged, he found these shorts for me on clearance at Target.  We both thought the pinstripes were really fun.  Unfortunately, they make me look like a man.  They're a little too short to be bermudas, have super wide legs, and they're PLEATED.  Come on, who seriously makes pleated shorts for women?
Sorry for the vertical picture-- Blogger thinks it's smarter than me!
 Obviously they needed some adjustments.  I started out by unhemming them to make them the right length.  Then I sewed a straight stitch from the bottom of the side pockets to the hem to taper them a bit.  I did the same thing on the inside seam, starting from as close as I could get to the crotch and down to the hem.  I tried them on after every adjustment and had to unstitch once, but that's really the only way to know what they're going to look like.  It also helped to follow the existing stitches for awhile to help blend the new ones.
 I cut my extras to about 1/2" from the new seams, then hemmed the bottom to a longer length. 
 Here is the finished product.  Much cuter.