Tag Archives: Sewing

Knit to Woven: Dress or Tunic?

My mom sewed a lot of clothes when she was younger. Back in her teens or 20’s she bought some fantastic fabric and made a shirt (or dress) – and she LOVED it! Until she saw some pregnant chick wearing a dress/shirt from the same awesome fabric. And then she never wore it again. The moral of the story: There is a TON of really bland and horrible maternity clothing out there, and I refuse to wear it. I’ve decided just to buy larger flowy shirts/dresses and make it work. So, I’m sorry to any of you non-pregnant women out there who are wearing the same clothes as me. 

Target has some really cute dresses that are knit on top with thick elastic around the rib cage or natural waist, and either knit or cotton for the bottom.

Both from Target. Left is from fall (doesn't currently fit); Right is from this spring (currently fits).

These are super cute, and I’ve wanted to buy about 100 more (there are REALLY cute ones in the kids section too!), but as it turns out – some of them aren’t flowy enough to accommodate my expanding belly. So I decided to make my own.

Dress Ingredients: Husband's old work shirt, knit fabric (extra stretchy for my current figure!), elastic and optional pattern (for knit top)

First things first – lets get this knit top out of the way.

I still haven't mastered the art of knit hems, so the neckline was a little wormy. My solution was to add a couple of pleats, I think it did the job.

McCalls 6031

I used the top pieces from this knit dress pattern for my dress. You could use any dress pattern that had separate top and bottom piece – depending on where you want the waistline to sit. I wanted mine up high since I actually have no waist right now.  If you’re a seasoned sewer, you might not even need a pattern for the top part, I mean, depending on your talent, and how fitted you want it to be!

In a previous life, these pieces were sleeves

This picture above is one of the sleeves, seam ripped and cut in half. Brian’s shirt fit when I put it on, but I wanted room to grow, I’ve got two months left! So I decided I would add a couple of inches to each side – which really came out to about 8 extra inches, but that’s ok. The dress won’t be tight! Most of you wouldn’t need to add the extra panels so you can skip this step. Just lay the shirt out flat, and cut across from underarm to underarm – so you have just the body of the shirt. Seam rip the pocket off if there is one. Sometimes I like to resew them on when I’m done.

Close up. Don't judge my lines. Have you ever tried to sew elastic? Yeah. It's not pretty.

Here is a close-up of the top and bottom sewed to the elastic. 

The bottom was so large that I had to gather it before I could attached it to the elastic. Each is sewed on twice for reinforcement. 

The Dress, on the tiny manne.

The dress, covering the baby bump, or baby shelf.

The dress, doing it's job.

My mom reminded me (after I finished) that I need extra fabric in the front lengthwise to cover my belly! Thank you mom, but I took care of that one! I rarely re-hem the men’s shirts that I restyle – so it was already super long in the front (and back) by default (because I’m lazy). 

Matching brooch.

I can’t wait to wear this ensemble! Spring is *almost* here!

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December Snow Day

Today was an (un)official snow day! I love snow days, even as an adult. What’s better than enjoying a relaxing day at home, not at work? My office was open, but my street was not plowed. My Focus was not going to tackle a foot of snow in the street and win. Instead, I finished my Christmas presents for kids (if your name is Brooke/Jade/Ty/HayHay/Emma/Dalton/Jenny/Alanna or are one of their mothers, you are warned not to read past the recipe!), made a batch of Chex Mix, puppy chow, and a half batch of Candy Cane Oreo Truffles.

Last Christmas I was obsessed with dipping things in Chocolate and drizzling icing on everything. Neither are hard tasks and they really give desserts that extra appeal. Not that most dessert needs extra appeal 🙂 So last year I tried a couple of truffle-like recipes – Oreo Truffles and Peanut Butter Cups. The peanut butter cups were from a bar recipe, and my mom didn’t think they would work as well as balls, but they were awesome. So today I had half a package of Oreos, and half a package of cream cheese. And since it is December, plenty of Chocolate Bark and Chocolate Chips on hand.

Candy Cane Oreo Truffle

 

Ingredients

  • 1 pkg of Oreos
  • 1 pkg (8oz) Cream Cheese
  • Crushed Candy Canes (Optional)
  • Chocolate Bark or Chocolate Chips (to melt)

Directions

  1. Crush the Oreos! If you are lucky enough to have a food processor, this is a great time to dig it out. If you (temporarily) live with three boys who didn’t own a pasta strainer before you bought one from the D-Tree, a jar of peanut butter and a cutting board will work fine. I stacked three Oreos then used the bottom of the PB jar to smash them. If you’re careful, you won’t even make a mess. 
    If you are adding candy canes, make sure to crush them now. Mine were pre-crushed with food processor. I’m sure a hammer and zip bag will work just as well. 
    Also, get the cream cheese to a soft stage – melt if if you need, but it needs to be suitable for mixing. 
  2. Mix Oreos, 75% of candy canes and cream cheese together. Use a fork or mixer, whatever you want. Chill the mixture until it is easily shaped into 1 in balls. This may take an hour or so. 
  3. Put tinfoil or waxed paper on to a cookie sheet. Shape mixture into 1 in balls. Carefully melt chocolate – follow the directions on the package. Don’t just wing it. 
  4. Dip Oreo balls into chocolate, make sure to coat all sides, lets excess drip off as much as it can, and place on covered cookie sheet. Immediately sprinkle candy cane on top – get to it before the chocolate hardens. If you didn’t save out candy cane, use sprinkles. Make it pretty.
  5. Let truffles chill, then eat and enjoy. But you’ll probly need to try one as soon as they are done 🙂

Moving on.

I am making gifts for my nieces and nephews this year. Luckily they are all kids – ages 4-9 – so I mass produced the same gift for each of them – but personalized it for their personalities. So ummmm… don’t let them see this!

Monster Apocalypse

 

Yes, I used a pattern – McCalls 5826 – I found it months ago and fell in love with it. All of the fabrics were scraps, remnants, or old wacky dance wear knits that I had bought years ago and never used. There is a reason I never sewed on the shiny dance wears – they SUCK to sew! Machine or otherwise, it was not a pleasant experience. But I survived, with some help from my mom!

What I really love about the pattern was how easy it was to customize each little guy. There are two body forms, three ears, three arms, and like four legs. Then you get to make your face. I used felt for the face, buttons for eyes, and felt and embroidery floss for the mouths. I really just used two mouths – full teeth or a line and two fangs. And these are loving monsters, so most of them have hearts (except for the ones going to boys – I know boys don’t care for hearts!)

I’ve been working on these for a few weeks. It would have went pretty fast if I was making one or two – but there is a total of like 13 here, and that slowed me down. But it was worth it and I think the kids will really love them. I had to make a few extra for myself and some friends. And I know my sister will ask for one after her kids open theirs. Here’s some full body shots:

Cotton Monsters

 

Scary dance wear knit monsters

 

True story: The camo fabric was originally bought for my senior prom dress. But something political was going on and my mom refused to sew me a dress made out of that. So instead, she slaved and sewed it out of maroon pleather. She is a rock-star.

Fall Fashion

Market Day came and went… Thank you to everyone who came out! I’ll be back in October, but probly not again anytime soon. It was an interesting experience, but people just really weren’t buying. The majority of the crowd was 65+, not the demo to purchase recycled tote bags and clutches. It was a little disheartening seeing people buy items:

  • That have been on the market since my mom sold crafts (which was like 10 years ago)
  • fleece scarves
  • glass outdoor hangy things
  • strings of beads

Assuming that I don’t sell anything in October either, I’ve got plenty of tote bags to use as Christmas gifts. Also on a happy note, Now I’ve got lots of time to get to sewing clothes. Then Christmas gifts for the kids. And then it will be knitting/crocheting season!

So, I did get a chance to make this dress a few weeks ago. 

 

McCalls 9542

McCalls 9542

It doesn’t look as cute on the manni, but it’s pretty cute on the pattern. I can’t wait for it to cool off just a little so I can finally wear this and pair it with brown tights and gray boots. The pattern included some flowery brooch thing, but I just added my own leaf pins, which I think compliment fall very nicely.

The pattern was pretty easy. The pleats took the longest. What you can’t see in the photo is the back, there is a round bottom panel that connects the back body, sleeves, and collar. It contains two of them actually, to hide a bunch of seams. One of the panels called for slits on each side of the panel to a certain circle, but it didn’t make any sense when I actually sewed it, the slits were on the outside of the dress and visible. So, 75% done and I decided to take that whole panel out and switch it with the one without cuts. There was one other pattern issue with the main back panel and how it connected to the sleeves, but I worked around it.

The fabric is from Walmart. I feel odd purchasing fabric at Walmart, but it was exactly what I was looking for and only like $2 or $3 a yard! What’s a girl to do in that situation?! Anyways, I promise not to make a habit of it, I still buy my supplies mainly from the fabric stores. 

I ❤ this next one!

 

McCalls 8920

McCalls 8920

This is the second jumper I’ve made with this pattern. I used bright owl corduroy from JoAnns for this beauty 🙂 I fell in love with this fabric as soon as I saw it, it is SO fun and cute! I love this pattern, it’s really simple and doesn’t take long at all. I will be pairing this with pink tights 🙂

Hand-Me-Ups With a Side of Grilled Fruit

 

Brian gifted me this worn out work shirt, one of the arms was worn to threads. The sort-of-light purple color is fantastic – perfect for spring, summer or even fall (pushing it, but with the right accessories it could be done) I’ve been sitting on it for a few months, trying to decide on the perfect project. Then I received the latest CraftStylish Newsletter – and found a link for the perfect dress! [be impatient]

The Beginning

The Beginning

The Final Product

The Final Product

Want to make your own? Chic Steals: Don’t Buy DIY Men’s Shirt to Cute Summer Dress

You know me better than to think that I would follow the directions exactly. I didn’t. I used the seam ripper to take the arms and collar off the shirt, then cut across the shirt under the arms. The bottom of the dress was kept as-is. The top part of the dress is made from the sleeves and back of the shirt. I’ve made a few of these gathered shirts and the craftsmanship of sewing elastic ON to the fabric is not always great. So for both pieces of elastic, I just created a casing and pulled the elastic through with a safety pin. For the rib/waistband elastic, I made a casing right where I sewed the top and bottom pieces together. 

I will definitely be checking out her blog again! The dress is fantastic. 

You Grilled What?!

Tomatoes

Tomatoes

And Apples

And Apples - apples are in EVOO, brown sugar and cinnamon.

 

Lightly grilled to perfection

Lightly grilled to perfection

And topped with Swiss cheese

And topped with Swiss cheese

Grilled tomatoes and apples were AWESOME, this was the first time either of us had tried them! My dad is pretty good about throwing different things on the grill – we do sweet potatoes quite often, and sometimes pineapple. What other things have you successfully, or unsuccessfully put on the grill?

… And we’re back!

I promise I haven’t been slacking. It’s been just the opposite, actually. I’ve been sewing like crazy to get my Iowa State Fair (“ISF”) projects done. Also, I had to stop being FunEmployed AND I’ve been training for the Hood To Coast race at the end of August in Portland. Busy? Not at all.

Lets start with the projects that didn’t make it to the fair: 

 

Ok, this wasnt really in the running for the fair, I made it about a month ago because I wanted a new clutch to match a new dress. Its made with gray plastic bags and embellished with vintage buttons and rickrack. Also, glitter.

Ok, this wasn't really in the running for the fair, I made it about a month ago because I wanted a new clutch to match a new dress. It's made with gray plastic bags and embellished with vintage buttons and rickrack. Also, glitter.

Simplicity 2863. Knit Dress. Very cute and comfy. Pretty easy too.

Simplicity 2863. Knit Dress. Very cute and comfy. Pretty easy too.

So, I bought this fabric on clearance, Mom thought it was going to suck. She doesn’t tell me this until AFTER I start sewing on it of course, because she knows how I get resistant when she tells me I can’t do something. So, this knit sews like a dream. I didn’t serge the inside because it wasn’t raveling at all.

The dress doesn’t actually unbutton – the front and back are one piece each. The strip down the middle is just another piece of fabric with fusible interfacing on the inside, then sewn down the whole length of the dress, and buttons sewn on for decor.

The gathers in the middle? Just as simple – just a strip sewn on the inside of the dress that you sewed four lines to get three tunnels to put elastic through – like this : | | | | So the elastic isn’t actually attached to the dress. The neck was easy, but since I’m not fantastic at knits its a little warbly.

Anyways, I’m in love.

I will post more about the projects entered in the ISF when the fair actually opens. But here’s a sneak preview:

 

My 6 projects - five of them are new, you may recognize my first Chop Top Frock in there. And I forgot to take a photo of the recycled plastic bag I made. Whoops. You get the idea.

My 6 projects - five of them are new, you may recognize my first Chop Top Frock in there. And I forgot to take a photo of the recycled plastic bag I made. Whoops. You get the idea.

Super Summer Sewing

I have been sewing up a storm lately! Shirts for my nieces and I, recycled plastic bags and more. On Friday, July 3, my mom and I decided to visit some fabric stores, look at patterns and get inspired. We got some GREAT deals – between Jo-Ann’s and Hancock’s I got $208 worth of patterns (that would be 12 patterns total) for $18. It was a great day!

I’ve accomplished quite a bit over the last few weeks, but haven’t had a chance to get it all up and going, so this is going to be a mega-project filled entry.

First things first, sewing for kids!

 

This is my 8 year old niece, Brooke. Shes a hipster punk kid who loves farming and pink/black skulls. This pattern is current, but her mother remembers wearing similar tie-at-the-shoulder shirts as a kid.

This is my 8 year old niece, Brooke. She's a hipster punk kid who loves farming and pink/black skulls. This pattern is current, but her mother remembers wearing similar tie-at-the-shoulder shirts as a kid.

 

This is my 4 year old niece, Jade. Shes rocking the Spring Ruffle Top, with bugs. I had to adjust this pattern a bit for kids - made the straps 1.5in instead of 2.5in etc. I also skipped the ruffles because shes not really a ruffle girl. Theres bugs on her shirt!

This is my 4 year old niece, Jade. She's rocking the Spring Ruffle Top, with bugs. I had to adjust this pattern a bit for kids - made the straps 1.5in instead of 2.5in etc. I also skipped the ruffles because she's not really a ruffle girl. There's bugs on her shirt!

 

My friend Karri is packing her bags and moving from IOWA to NYC. Wow! Im so excited for her! I wanted to make sure to send her off in style with this recycled plastic bag. Our favorite side is the robot. What do you think?

My friend Karri is packing her bags and moving from IOWA to NYC. Wow! I'm so excited for her! I wanted to make sure to send her off in style with this recycled plastic bag. Our favorite side is the robot. What do you think?

 

Last but not least, this classic Stretch & Sew pattern. I found this in my basement a few months ago and have just been WAITING to find the perfect fabric to make it. Actually, I made one a few weeks ago on a double knit and painted on it, its too thick. Anyways, this is going to pair perfect with my new bike shirts and neon sports bra. This is the first time Ive sewn on knit, luckily these S&S patterns are pretty easy. I had to redo one of the arm holes because it was really wormy. In the end, I added a braided cord (same fabric) to the neck and it lays perfect now. Im hoping I make it onto LATFH.

Last but not least, this classic Stretch & Sew pattern. I found this in my basement a few months ago and have just been WAITING to find the perfect fabric to make it. Actually, I made one a few weeks ago on a double knit and painted on it, it's too thick. Anyways, this is going to pair perfect with my new bike shirts and neon sports bra. This is the first time I've sewn on knit, luckily these S&S patterns are pretty easy. I had to redo one of the arm holes because it was really wormy. In the end, I added a braided cord (same fabric) to the neck and it lays perfect now. I'm hoping I make it onto LATFH.

More Recycled Tote Bags

 

It’s true. I’ve been slacking the past few weeks. I was going to move across the country, now I’m not and more. But I did whip up a couple of tote bags for some lucky family members.

 

Side 1 of Tims bag.

Side 1 of Tim's bag. I think the "Thank You" bags are really fun, perfect for these recycled totes. I also cut shapes into some other plastic bags for background colors.

 

Side 1 of Tims bag. He brought me a plethora of bags and inside was this little gem with a man giving a thumbs up. I couldnt resist ironing it on to this bag!

Side 1 of Tim's bag. He brought me a plethora of bags and inside was this little gem with a man giving a thumbs up. I couldn't resist ironing it on to this bag!

 

This is Tims other bag. I used various shapes and plastic bags for the random design.

This is Tim's other bag. I used various shapes and plastic bags for the random design.

 

My dad is going to be the most bad ass biker in Iowa. He had saved Harley bags from various stores hes visited, and gave them to me to make into a bag for him. BAD ASS!!!

My dad is going to be the most bad ass biker in Iowa. He had saved Harley bags from various stores he's visited, and gave them to me to make into a bag for him. BAD ASS!!!

So, I’m unemployed, but lets look at the silver lining: more time for crafting! I spent a couple of hours browsing the Iowa State Fair premium books today, planning out the projects I’m going to enter. I’m gonna need a lot of time to get stuff done! Here’s a sneak peek of some upcoming projects:

 

The boy went garage saling over the weekend, without me, and bought these hideous Wrangler shirts for me to resew. They are so ugly, I cannot wait to wear them. If this isnt true love, I dont know what is.

The boy went garage saling over the weekend, without me, and bought these hideous Wrangler shirts for me to resew. They are so ugly, I cannot wait to wear them. If this isn't true love, I don't know what is.