Posts Tagged ‘sewing’

1$ Happiness!

July 4th, 2011 by zoe No Comments

On Fourth of July weekend our town hosts a big  Main Street tag sale. Yesterday, I found something I thought would be perfect for creating more organization in my studio. When I asked the price, they laughed at me – there was apparently a bet going that it would never sell.  I bought it for a $1 and spent the afternoon cleaning out the tinkering of its previous owner. That got me to thinking about the old adage …

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

So  true. The real trick is in finding the right person for the right trash!   Cleaning out the bolts and screws, carefully saving them in a jar for my tinkering projects, I got to wondering what the previous owner was fixing that required 1,000′s of tiny cotter pins??

One dollar and an afternoon of painting later – I am so happy to have this new project box in my sewing space!

Everytime I look up from my machine I feel giddy looking at my organized stitchy tinkery stuff.


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.

Needle Felting

June 20th, 2011 by zoe 1 Comment

I love needle felting.  I find the endless colors of wool roving, instant designing and incessant needle jabbing to be great fun. For me there is something almost therapeutic about using felting needles. The stabbing and poking of  wool roving into fabric becomes meditative, similar to knitters who find a calm zen in the rhythm and flow of needle and yarn.  If you have ever tried it you might agree, if not let me share.  Wool is shorn from the sheep, washed, dyed and carded, at this stage before being spun the wool is called “roving”. Wool roving is all cottony and fluffy with long fiber strands and just like children’s hair it loves to tangle. The needles used in needle felting have barbed tips that essentially tangle the wool fibers together making felt (with lots and lots of poking that is).  Wool sweaters can easily be ornamented with a rainbow of colors and pattern with this technique, wool roving can also be felted into 3D forms creating any sort of shape. The materials are simple and affordable – you can usually find them at your local yarn shop or online. The techniques are easily learned – the only hazard being the occasional prick from the needle. You may not be inspired to make sweaters in the heat of the summer but don’t worry, I will remind about you about needle felting again come fall!

I sewed these children’s sweaters with fabric reclaimed  from retired wool adult sweaters and embellished them with needle felted patterns. I have made several for my boys and sold mountains at craft fairs. But I had never managed to make one for myself!  Last week I finally finished a couple more of these sweaters.  One was a gift for my fabulous friend Erica, the computer mastermind that makes my tech dreams come true. Thank you Erica!  The other was for ME.  The fabric is a wool jersey knit and the pattern is my new favorite Simplicity #2560. Though nothing too wild or complicated the needle felted english roses are just enough to make me feel a bit happy and dolled up.  There are still a couple of yards of hot pink wool jersey sitting up in the studio, hmm… what to sew up next.

Oh, and I’m working on the cutest hand stitching tutorial, perfect for a baby gift, it’s just taking me a bit longer.  The children, the garden, the lake, even the bright stars are all calling my name these summer days and nights!

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 -!