Archive for the ‘sewing’ Category

Kids Swimwear Tutorial

June 30th, 2011 by zoe 4 Comments

Yesterday the boys went to the lake, I stayed home and sewed them up some new swim trunks. They are a tad picky about their swimwear. They don’t like baggy traditional trunks and instead prefer little Euro style shorts.  Mini Boden sells some that are crazy cute but I just couldn’t afford to buy them. Years ago, when I was a young thing, I  sewed all my own bikini’s – I had dreams of starting my own swimwear empire in California!  Ha Ha!

Recently some friends were ogling the cute girl’s swimsuit tutorial over at No Big Dill and I thought, hey, I can just sew up some boy trunks myself!  I’m not afraid of spandex!! So I traced out a  pattern and here are the new pirate trunks for my little mates.  98% of the boys clothes are hand-me-downs so it’s really rare to see them dressed in matching outfits – kind of adorable, no?

Matching the stripes, I cut 2 front and 2 back pieces for each pair of shorts. Next I stitched and serged the bum and crotch seams.

Then I added a little applique, stitched & serged the sides seams and inside crotch seam. I serged the raw edges of  the top waistband and the legs holes. Next I hemmed the legs with a zig-zag stitch.

I cut a strip for the waistband to measure about 2″  inches narrower than the finished shorts.  The waistband for a 4-5T measured about 181/2″ long by about 2 1/2″ wide, I folded it in half and stitched the ends together leaving a gap to pull elastic through.

I folded the waistband over to make a casing for the elastic and serged it around the bottom edge, pinned it to the shorts – stretching the waistband slightly while pinning to evenly disperse the waistband taper, and then stitched the waistband in place (ensuring my elastic hole faced to the inside).  Next I ran my 1″ elastic through the waistband hole and sewed the ends together. Lastly, I hand stitched the elastic hole in the waistband closed.

The striped fabric was purchased at a local fabric store but if you head on over to Katy’s blog No Big Dill you can find some links to find swimwear spandex fabric online.

The black waistband fabric was recycled from one of my workout shirts, it had a couple of funny seams but they aren’t noticeable in the finished shorts. If you are using a really thin fabric you might want to line the shorts, this stuff was really thick and just didn’t need it.

Next time I think I will choose a dark color spandex, the lake is kind of dirty this year and um… my boys are kind of dirty too!

Let me know if you have any questions, it’s a pretty basic pattern so I didn’t want to over word it  – I could also post up a pattern for the shorts (size 4-5T) if anyone is interested just let me know!

Now off to the lake!



Nature Hunters

June 29th, 2011 by zoe 1 Comment

We live at the edge of a big woods.  There are a lot of trails that snake and wind right out the back door.  Essentially, for the boys, the wild of nature is everywhere. Lately we have been turning our walks into nature hunts, we find clues and research what we find. The boy’s head out the door with their little tools and we see what we can measure, draw and document. It makes for lots of good questions – who ate here, who’s scat is that, what animal was this, and whoa look at that mushroom!

Here are some of this weeks findings ….

A dear friend turned 4 this week and we thought he might like a Bug Hunter Kit of his own. I sewed up a little messenger bag  loosely based on this tutorial from Fish Stick and Fries and filled it with tools of the bug hunting trade.

On another bug hunting note unfortunately the ticks seems awfully bad this year and we have to be extra careful to check ourselves after our woodsy expeditions.  Thankfully we rarely get bit. If someone does, I always write the date of the bite and location on the body on our calendar, then I write the same information a month later. That way we don’t forget to watch for fevers, rashes or other symptoms of Lyme disease during that time. That way this forgetful Mama doesn’t have to stress out trying to remember when that dreadful tick bite happened!



Recycled T-Shirt Baby Hat

June 23rd, 2011 by zoe 20 Comments

This sweet little baby hat makes a charming gift and can be stitched from simple stuff found around the house. All you need are a couple of old t-shirts, some dental floss, straight pins, a needle and an hour of time to spare. This Alabama Stitch Book inspired cap fits 4 to 18 months.

Click pattern, save to file, print, and start stitching to make your own hand sewn baby cap.

Welcome to the studio

June 15th, 2011 by zoe 3 Comments

Welcome to my studio!  We built the barn several years ago – meaning with our hands, we built it.  Meaning my Dad patiently taught, guided, and worked like a dog to help us build it. Thank you Dad. Oh and thank you for taking a deep breath and reframing the wall to put in those 3 little windows for me – I always look out them and smile!

As is always the case with big projects – we ran out of money, my upstairs studio lay in wait.  A year ago it finally got good stuff like lights, heat, walls. A year ago it became my home away from home, my sanctuary. I still feel like I am moving in – getting things figured out, finding a groove. Slowly I am beginning to fill it with little bits that make me happy. Slowly it is beginning to feel like me.

I wont lie, it is always a mess.  In all honesty,  love it that way. I love to be able to have 5 projects laying about without having to CLEAN up.  I feel so happy to be able to have a space to lay out yards of fabric and ponder.  I would like to fill it friends – get all crafty and laughy and sew up bits of fancy.  Feel free to visit and solder a bit of silver, add some snaps to a special project, take a whirl on the serger or just have a bit of tea and cozy up on Grandma Olive’s old sofa. I promise I will clean up a bit, come visit, oh please do.

Welcome to the studio – this is where the stuff is made.


Make a Dinosaur Shirt

June 13th, 2011 by zoe 1 Comment

I stayed up a bit late last night sewing Oliver a new dinosaur shirt. He and some friends at preschool are heavy into the “dinosaur phase” and washing his one dinosaur shirt for school each day was getting a little old! I like to keep a stash of  this high quality wool blend felt on hand for my stitching projects and when I see a good price on plain t-shirts I always buy them for making personalized party gifts. I love stitching a shirt with the birthday kids favorite animal or vehicle on it!

They whip pretty easy but half of the time is spent in making the pattern so I have included the template for this baby dinosaur below. Click pattern, save to file and print -!

Alabama Stitch Skirt & Market days

June 6th, 2011 by zoe No Comments

Lazy Saturdays are country market days. Romping with friends, choosing a pastry,  planning dinner with local ingredients, lounging on the hillside in the shade of a wild apple tree, melodies mixing with the breeze.  It really is this carefree and idyllic. So easy to chat the day away without a care for the chores awaiting you at home.  How I love the farmers who grow, harvest, pack up and haul their wares to town.  Yum!On a crafty note – this is a skirt I stitched as a gift for my sister from the Alabama Stitch Book by Natalie Chanin.  It’s two XXL t-shirts in grey for the top layer, and two black t-shirts for the bottom layer. All hand stitched with a rose stencil painted in black and then cut away to reveal the under layer.  The skirt and the stitching came out great but unfortunately I used too much spray adhesive in adhering the stencil and there is a bit of sticky goo left!!  Grrrr.  It has been washed to no avail so now I need to get more creative.  I thought perhaps to stick it in the freezer and try to scrape it off?! Idea’s welcome. Maybe just wearing it nonetheless would be the best option.  I can almost see it here on the hill with some flip-flops at the market.