Glider revamp

I’m kicking myself for not taking a before picture! But I did save a small pillow in the original fabric

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Pretty ugly. And not great for a boys room. But it was free, so, for the last 5 years, it’s been in my kids’ rooms. I had it covered with a red sheet, but I always wanted to reupholster it. I finally got the nerve, and I LOVE how it turned out!

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The original had no piping, but I think it’s a lot more fun with this print. The entire project took about 2.5 hours and cost $60!

April 12, 2012. Tags: , , , . Sewing and Crafts. Leave a comment.

Workout top

I ordered some fabric to make a sundress, but I got a knit with waaayyyy too much spandex!! So, I used an old exercise top for a pattern and came up with this!!

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I have a long torso, so I love that I could make it as long as I wanted.

April 6, 2012. Tags: , , , , , . Sewing and Crafts. Leave a comment.

Favorite Braided Tee Tutorial

I had this great shirt. It was gray, loose fitting, but still flattering, an interesting neckline, in fact, it looked just like this one I found one day while browsing Pinterest:

Image from: http://hernewleaf.com/2011/07/21/diy-banana-republic-braided-neck-tee-shirt/

Except, mine had a single braid, and I got it at Nordstrom. I would  add a picture, but its looking kinda haggard these days! But I seriously LOVE this shirt, so when I saw others were creating a tutorial to make one, I wanted to see if I could too.  Except, I wanted to make the entire shirt (not modify an existing tee), since I love the fit so much and the look of the unfinished top. So, I used the shirt to draw out a pattern, and voila, here is my version of the braided tee!! I’m happy with the outcome, but next time I think I’ll make the sleeves shorter so the braided neckline can be longer. But overall, I’m really happy with the outcome.


I’m not so good at these tutorials, but  I will share what I did. I used one yard of cotton jersey fabric (this particular one is from the April Johnson for Project Runway line). I started by sketching a pattern, using my existing shirt. Here are the dimensions, but I traced mine on a few sheets of computer paper:

There are really just three parts: The back, the front (which is a mirror of the front, except, you leave a piece of fabric attached at the top), and the sleeves (cut on the fold). You will cut two of these, just make sure the diagonal length on the sleeve is the same as the diagonal length on the front/back pieces.  All the dimensions I used are listed. This makes about a size medium (I’m 5’7″ and wear a medium or size 6).

Next sew your side seams using a zig zag stitch (I didn’t have any seam allowances, since it was jersey but feel free to add them!) with right sides together.

Next, you are going to sew each sleeve together at the smallest part (I have a notion on my “pattern”). Then, pin to your shirt. The seam that was just sewn should line up with your side seams, and the diagonal part should line up with the diagonals on the shirt.Sew the sleeves on, but leave about 1″ unfinished at the parts that attach to the back shirt piece, at the top. Here you want about a 1/2″ seam allowance.

Next, create a long strip of fabric to make your own bias tape, about one inch thick and long enough to wrap around the back and sleeves of shirt. Pin this to your back neckline and sleeves, right sides together, then sew. Fold it back onto the wrong side of the shirt, and top-stitch (sorry, no pictures of this part, my kids were playing angry birds on my phone:). The ends of your bias tape can be sewn into the sleeve seams (where you left the 1″ unfinished).

Now its time to do your braid. Cut small slits, about 1″ apart on your shirt where I drew the dotted line (on the front pattern piece). My shirt had 10 slits

Don’t make the slits too big, they will stretch. Then cut a long piece of fabric, about 1″ wide. How long depends on how tight you want your braid, and how wide your neckline is. I actually sewed two pieces together, but just made sure the seam was positioned in the back of the shirt:)  Also notice that I didn’t cut slits in that extra piece of fabric at the top (you need this to hide the holes you just cut).

Now its time to braid. Of course, I didn’t take pictures, but I recreated the process with some scrap pieces of jersey I had lying around. Start by folding your long strip in half, then threat through your second cut, and out your first cut.

Next, loop your end pieces through the loop. Then feed the ends through the third loop, then out the second loop.

Then the ends go through the fourth loop and out the third.

And so on.

At your last slit, feed the ends through to the back, and stitch to close lengthwise, where I drew the black line.

You will also sew on top of the first loop, making sure to catch the first slit you cut (so it doesn’t end up getting any bigger on you!!).

Next fold the top flap down, behind your braid. Sew each side to the inside arm seam, so it stays down. I left my sleeves raw, since I had a hard time creating a hem I liked.

To finish, cut 2  4-5 inch wide strips of fabric, slightly smaller than your shirt width. I think I did mine about 16″. Fold in half then sew side seams together so you have a tube. Pin raw edges (not the folded side)  to the right side of the shirt, matching side seams. Stretch band as you sew to create an even gather. Or, you could sew on some elastic, but I prefer the banded method for comfort. And that is it. I can’t say it was easy, but I am very happy with the outcome!

April 5, 2012. Tags: , , , . Sewing and Crafts. Leave a comment.

A simple maxi dress

So, my friend Sarah was out shopping at a local boutique and told me about this amazing maxi dress she found. She loved it because it was comfortable, but had a little band that covered the “pooch” area. Well, this got me interested, so I went to check out the dress.  It was a super cute dress, but for what it was, they were asking way too much money. I thought, I could make that for way less. So I did:) I actually made a short version as well, and took pictures of the process.

This dress is super easy to make (I think it took about an hour) and very comfortable to wear. And it hides the problem areas. Well, my problem areas!

Here’s what you need:

2 yards of stretch fabric (cotton jersey, or a polyester/spandex, just make sure its at least 4% spandex, you need stretch!)

1″ elastic

Coordinating thread.

For all seams, use a long stitch with a zigzag.

1. Start by measuring your waste . You want the band to be snug, so take your waste measurement, divide by two, then subtract 3-4″ (this will be the waist measurement). I just kept trying the band on to get the right fit. Cut out a 2 pieces that are8″ tall by waist measurement. Then, fold this piece in half, so now you have a double thickness 4″ x waist measurement (mine was 14″) .Sew the side seams of the two folded pieces so you now have a tube.

2.  Cut out your skirt. You want the length to be about the length of your hip bone to the ground. You can always make it long, then cut at the end to your preferred length.  Your width will be the same as the waist band (or a few inches wider depending on the fit you want) at the top, but as wide as possible at the bottom. Just cut out a trapezoid, with this fabric, it will drape nicely, so it doesn’t need to be perfect. Mine was 40″ long, buy 14″ at the top and 27″ at the bottom. Cut two pieces. Sew the side seams with right sides together. Attach the waist band to the skirt, again with right sides together (stretch the waist band if necessary as you sew if your skirt is wider). Now you have a cute maxi skirt, should you choose to stop here.

3. Cut out you top. You should make it the length of your torso, plus about 3 inches. Mine was 17″ long by 1/2 the width of my bust, about 20″. Cut two pieces, then sew side seams. Attach this to the skirt, again right sides together.You will need to pin the side seams, and make sure you stretch the waist band as you sew, since the top is wider than the skirt.

4. Lastly, attach some elastic. Just wrap it around your body, and decide how tight you want it. Then sew it into a circle. Pin the elastic to the inside top, matching the edges. Pin at the side seams and stretch elastic as you sew it on as close to the top as possible. Then, fold it over, to the inside of the top, and do a top stitch (not zigzag, but a long strait stitch) along the bottom of the elastic (this will be about 1″ down from the top). Pull the top so there is no gather as you sew.

And that’s it. Super easy. And very forgiving if you have some imperfections!  Here is a picture of the “mini” version of the dress.

March 30, 2012. Tags: , , . Sewing and Crafts. Leave a comment.

Tutorial: Make a Key Hanger using Stretched Canvas

Up until now, my husband and I were throwing our keys on the counter. But I HATE clutter, so it would drive me crazy. We have really been needing a key hanger, but I just never got around to buying one. So I made one! Here’s what you need:

  • Stretched canvas, any size will do, but I used 12 X 24.
  • Acrylic paints and paintbrushes or fun fabric
  • decorative hooks (I got these at Lowes)
  • Power drill

Start by painting a design of your choice, or if you are not an artist, buy some fun fabric and use a stable gun to attach it to the back of your canvas (I was going to go this route, but since I’m planning on painting some large canvases in our dining room, I wanted the practice!).  Next, drill holes in the wood frame of your canvas, then screw in your hooks. And that’s it!

I tried gluing the hooks on, but since the canvas is not very rigid, they heavy keys pulled off the hooks. Really, screws are the way to go.

Ahhh, all nice and organized. Now maybe my husband will be able to find his keys in the morning:)

February 2, 2012. Tags: , , , . Sewing and Crafts. Leave a comment.

Dusting off the sewing machine and breaking out the paint!

I used to sew when I was much younger, like Junior High. My mom sent me to “Barbara’s Sew Much Fun”, where I basically learned the basics. Then I never sewed again. Until now. My mom gave me her old sewing machine, and it was collecting dust and taking up space until I discovered Stumble Upon. OMG-I am obsessed with this site.  I stumbled upon this post, and decided I could create this pillow. She said it would be easy! And it was!! Here is the finished pillow.

I ended up making two of them. But then I saw this post. And I knew it would go perfect with my rosette pillows. But this time, I had a lot of ruffle strips to sew. So, I got help. This is my 5-year old son, insisting on learning how to sew. He did pretty good! I love how his toy jet is close by as he is hard at work:)

Here are all three together. I used an old dress shirt to make the pillow, as the tutorial suggests, but I wish I had dyed it a darker color first, since the white shows through. Oh well:) I’m still pretty happy with it!

But, now that I had new pillows, I needed some art to go with it. I found this post, and decided it would be perfect! This canvas painting was incredibly fast, I think I maybe spent 45 minutes on it.

Here are all three together. Its like a new bedroom!! And the best part, it was all done for under $40!! I still want to do some European Shams, but that will come later. I’m pretty happy with this for now.

January 25, 2012. Tags: , , . Sewing and Crafts. 1 comment.

CChalkboard Paint: Part 2

So, I guess I wasn’t quite done with the chalkboard paint. My husband is pretty sure the entire house will be a chalkboard by the time I’m done.

So, I had made chalkboard glasses, gifts, and a chalkboard for me, but I felt the kids needed one too. So, I had an old IKEA table out in our backyard. The kids had scratched it up, so I didn’t think it was worthy of being inside the house any longer. But, a fresh coat of chalkboard paint, and now they have their own chalkboard table, perfect to draw on, or do other arts and crafts activities.

I added some to the back of the chairs, so they could write their names, or anything else they thought was cool.

Alex hard at work
Jake making his own tic-tac-toe game board

January 14, 2012. Tags: , , , . Sewing and Crafts. Leave a comment.

My New Obsession: Chalkboard Paint

Talk about versatile! Its safe to say I’m obsessed! This stuff is amazing and can be used for so many fun projects around the house or for gifts. My first crack at chalkboard paint was for my father-in-law’s birthday gift. He’s into bbq and beer, so I decided to make him beer mugs. I added a strip of chalkboard paint to each glass so he (and his guests) can write messages or simply their names on their glass. No more guessing who’s who’s! I created my template using blue painters tape that I cut using a plastic stencil and an exacto knife.  I primed well and added two coats of chalkboard paint. Then I outlined each rectangle using a sharpie oil-based marker. And Voila! To make this gift even more special, I had the kids create some artwork for him, then I used mod podge to add to a 4×4 ceramic tile. Easy and personal birthday gift.

Now that I have a quart of paint and primer, I had to use it for more! So, I made some wine glasses for my BFF Sarah. I saw these on Instructables, and thought they were so much better than a wine charm! She used spray paint, but mine I brushed on. At first I didn’t like the brush strokes, but now I think it adds a little texture and interest.

The next project was to make a flower pot for yet another bday this month. I filled the pot with cake pops, but once the treats are gone, she can use the pot for flowers or herbs. I included some chalk so she can label the contents of the pot. I added a candle to one of the pops for the birthday girl!

Finally, a project around the house! I had scrap wood in my garage from a different project, so I applied some magnetic paint (skip this, it really isn’t all that magnetic) and some chalkboard paint, and made a message board for my pantry. I found some great, but very affordable, unfinished frames that come in virtually any size, so I picked those up at Michael’s. I busted out the power saw (I know, crazy!) and cut my board to the size of my frame. It was surprisingly simple to do.

To finish the project, I used binder clips and picture wire to make a space to store bday invites, reminders, or even the kids’ artwork (since the magnetic paint was a bust!).

I hope you enjoyed my very first blog post! I seriously need a new camera, since these photos leave much to be desired (my iphone ended up doing a better job with some of these pictures!!). I have so many more ideas running around in my head that I can’t wait to share with you! Thanks for stopping by!!

January 13, 2012. Tags: , , , . Sewing and Crafts. Leave a comment.