Friday, May 31, 2013

Summer challenge

May has been a crazy hectic month around here, and not much as gotten done as far as projects.  With school wrapping up, sick children, multiple trips away from home, and the biggest thing…..having the kids home with me full time made getting anything done for this blog nearly impossible.

Soon we should be settling into a new routine, and hopefully finding more time for projects.

I enjoyed doing the pinterest challenge because it made me actually get things done that I was wanting to work on.  So I will be doing a summer version starting next week with my inspirations to work on for the next 6 weeks.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Why are light fixtures so expensive?

We had this one in our dining room from the previous owners.


I looked it up online and to buy a similar one new it would be around $80.  It wasn’t a horrible light, but the chrome color didn’t go with the new color scheme.  And even though I thought about painting it, I wasn’t in love with the frosted glass over the lights.

New light fixtures I liked were running around $300.  I found one that would probably work for around $100, but I just wasn’t sure I wanted to spend that much either for something I didn’t love.

I had been looking on craigslist every once in a while.  But even then people had chandeliers listed pretty expensive, and if it was a decent price, it was going too quickly for me to get it.

But this past weekend I lucked out.  I found a light fixture that was supposedly original to a house and a vintage brass color listed for $25.  And when the first person didn’t show up to buy it, I swooped in and picked it up.

I didn’t take a before picture shot of the fixture, but it was very similar to this one (except a darker brass color), which is currently on sale new for $400.


My husband wasn’t thrilled with the fixture, but I thought it had great potential.  And once we decided to spray paint the white candle holders with navy paint….I was officially in love with it.


And we prayed that it would work once the fixture got hooked up.  Luckily after a few tweaks and figuring out I didn’t have the sleeves put on correctly after I had painted them….all the lights worked (although we still haven’t gotten out to get some remaining light bulbs to correctly fill all the spots).

So the moral of this story is….don’t be in a hurry to buy a light fixture if you can help it, look on craigslist and your local thrift stores for bargain finds.

Cost to buy this new = $400

Cost for our used fixture = $25 light + $12 gas to pick it up + $6 spray paint = $43

That is a huge savings!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

20 Minute Cheater Skirt

Last year I participated in skirt week hosted by Crafterhours.  I was using up fabric I had on hand and self drafted a pattern for a maxi skirt I was really proud of (go here to see my original blog post).

It’s time again for skirt week and at first I was excited to participate.  Then I realized that I don’t really need any new skirts right now.  Sure there are a few I have been looking at and wanting, but until my social life gets a lot more exciting (not going to happen), I really didn’t need to make any.

So in keeping with the rules of the contest, I thought I would throw this little number in there.  I made this skirt last July the day I left for Las Vegas.  Yes that’s right, it only took me 20 minutes to sew this thing up.


I happened to be in the fabric store buying some finishing touches on another dress I was making, when walking by the knit aisle I saw this printed fabric.  I really liked it and bought myself a yard at 50% off.

Now this fabric actually has holes in the print, so I had to line it.  I also wanted to make it semi adjustable so I could alter the length I wanted to wear it.  Shorter for daytime or going out, and longer for a more formal event (as seen in the middle picture).

So how did I pull off this skirt.  First off, it’s simply a tube, with a fold over waist band, and lining with elastic.

If you would like to learn how to make one…keep reading.

Let’s look at the right side of the skirt.


And here is a picture of the wrong side of the skirt.


Step One:  Create your lining if needed.  I actually used lining fabric, you could also use knit and then you wouldn’t need elastic.  Cut a rectangle 13” long by (your waist dimension plus 1”).  Sew the short ends of the rectangle to form a tube.  Cut a piece of 1” elastic to fit your waist.  Sew the elastic to one end of the tube (I used a zig zag stitch) and finish (I serged) the other end of the tube.

Step Two:  Create your outer skirt.  Cut your fabric of choice 16” long by (your waist dimension at top and your hip dimension at the center and then straight down to the bottom).  In other words follow the curve of your own body.  If you already have a fitted skirt, you can use that as a pattern.  Make sure to leave yourself a seam allowance in the width.  Sew the short ends together to form a tube.  Hem one edge.

Step Three:  Create your fold over waist.  Cut your fabric 9” long by (your waist dimension) again leaving a seam allowance.  Sew together the short ends to form a tube.

Step Four:  Sew the whole thing together.  Here is where you need to look at things to make sure you get the pieces in the correct facing.  Sew the right side of the unfinished edge of the outer skirt to the right side of the waistband.  Then sew the opposite side of the right side of the waistband to the right side (non elastic side) of the lining.

Step Five:  Congratulate yourself because you are all done!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Semi Harem Long Shorts w/Tutorial

I wanted to make my son a pair of harem pants.  It’s almost summer, so I wanted to try and turn them into shorts.  As regular shorts, it wouldn’t look right, and to be honest I wanted to cover his knees, since the poor kid keeps falling and hurting them so often.  So Semi Harem Long Shorts it is with his coordinating striped sleeveless shirt.



First I used a pair of skinny pajama pants that fit him well as the base to my pattern.


These pants happen to be made of two pieces sewn in the middle (meaning no side seam).  So I folded the fabric making sure the stretch went in the horizontal direction, and laid my pants pattern on top of the fabric.  I folded the pants up to where I thought I would want the length to be, keeping it a little longer knowing I could trim it later.  At first I kept a couple inches at top for a waist band.  I also knew I wanted them to have the drop crotch look, so I kept a little extra room in the crotch seam.


After I cut out both sides, I had decided I was going to add a different colored waist band, so I cut the legs at the top of the waist at a slight diagonal so that the back of the pants would be higher than the front of the pants.


I don’t have pictures of the next two steps in action, but I laid the two legs with right sides of fabric together and sewed each edge together to make the front and back seams. 


Then I sewed the inner seam of the legs.


The next step can be done in multiple ways.  You can leave the waist band longer and fold over the original color of fabric to created a casing and then add an elastic waistband.  You can add a different colored piece of fabric and fold that over to create a casing and then add an elastic waistband. 

Or my method was using a piece of black fabric that wasn’t as stretchy, it was more of an exercise type fabric (old yoga pants to be exact).  I knew it would most likely stay up on his waist without adding elastic.  I cut the fabric making it 2 inches wide and as long as the pant waist needed.  I sewed the band together making a loop.  I then tried the loop on my son, seeing it was still a little loose, I sewed it again making the loop smaller.

Then I placed right sides together and sewed the waistband to the pants.  My particular band was already hemmed, so I could use it as is.  If it wasn’t hemmed, I would have cut double the width similar to the next step for banding the bottom of the shorts.


Before I banded the bottom of the shorts, I did try them on my son to make sure they landed where I wanted them too.  I did have to cut off a couple inches on the bottom of the shorts.  Basically I liked where the shorts landed, but I knew I was going to add a two inch banding, so I cut off two inches.

For banding the bottom of the shorts I cut pieces that were 4 inches in width and the length needed to match the bottom of the shorts.


I then sewed the legs bands with the right side of the fabric together to make a circle.


Then fold your circle in half, and sew the unfinished edge to the bottom of the short leg, making sure you have the right sides together.

At this point your shorts are done.  You could just as easily make these pants, you would just make them longer!

My son loves them as they seem to be super comfortable for him.  I guess they have plenty of room for his diaper!

If you wanted to embellish the shorts (add back pockets, add fabric lettering, fabric numbering, etc), I would do that prior to sewing any of the leg seams, as with a toddler size, there isn’t much room to sew anything once they are put together.  I have plans to stencil some numbers on the leg with fabric paint, which can be done afterwards.


Please leave me a comment….if there is enough interest I will draft up a pattern.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Simple Sleeveless T-shirt for Boys

I had been wanting to use Dana’s pattern to make Oliver a t-shirt ever since she first released the pattern for free here.

I ended up using the sleeveless version for my first trial.  I printed out the pattern which is for a size 4-5 toddler.  I cut out the top half and put it up to a t-shirt that currently fits Oliver well.  The sizing seemed to work as is, so I cut it out but adjusted the length for a size 2 toddler.  I also made it a little skinnier because my child is on the thin side.


The new tank up close.


I made this shirt to match his new “semi harem long shorts”.  Yep that’s a lot to say for a pair of shorts, but you will soon understand why.  I am putting together a tutorial and will post soon.

But here is Oliver modeling his new long shorts for himself in the mirror.


He really really liked them.  So much he starting crying when I tried to take them off.  So he gets to wear them for the remainder of the day.  Really hoping the new tank fits, we will see after he wakes up from his nap!!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Dining Room Rug

We have been slowly working on renovating our dinning room over the past couple of months.  I did a post here that talked about our progress back in February.  It also talked about my wanting to put a rug in the room and not knowing which one I wanted.

Well after I wrote that post my husband brought up the point – why would you want to put a rug on top of a new expensive floor you just installed?

Just because – isn’t a good enough reason.

So I figured I had lost that battle and wasn’t really going to bring it up again.  But then as we were laying the tile, we ran into a few problems.  The floor wasn’t very even, and although my husband tried to correct it, it just couldn’t be helped.  But a rug would help cover up any inconsistencies.

You can’t really see anything from the picture, so it wasn’t anything too major.


But here is our new floor now with the addition of our new rug.


Yes that’s right.  I did end up getting the rug.  I completely lucked out.  If you do go back and look at my original post, you will see that this is one of the rugs I had first selected.  And right now Rugs USA is running a crazy good deal with 80% off their clearance rugs.  And this rug happened to be one of their clearance rugs, it also had free shipping, and no sales tax.  Huge score for me.  And my husband even said it looked great in the room.  Another huge score for me!!

And after some thought the number one reason I really wanted a rug in the dinning room.  It just makes it feel more cozy and warm.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Sewing for Boys

Today the temperature is supposed to be around 90 degrees.  It’s one of those days I look into my youngest child’s closet and realize I don’t really have many appropriate clothes for this upcoming season.  The good thing is that a few of the items he wore the last time it was warm, he can still fit into.  That makes me realize that his clothes can last a couple of seasons around here, which means I might be able to start making him things.

In looking around for inspiration ideas, I noticed I was leaning a little towards the Asian trend.  For some unknown reason, I really think the harlem pants for little boys are adorable.  I can’t wait to sew up a pair and see if I like them on Oliver.

harlem pants and t-shirtharlem pants

As far as shirts I have always been a fan of little polo shirts on boys.  Then again they get so dirty so quickly, that the staple around our house is t-shirts.  I think making a few sleeveless shirts for this summer would be a good idea.

polo shirtprinted tank top

I also have a sewing book from the library "Sewing for Boys", I have had it for many weeks and can’t seem to find the time to make anything from it.  I have renewed it a couple of times, and think that I have expired that option, so I really need to make something from it in the next week.  The pattern I am leaning towards making is called the Treasure Pocket Pants.  They have a large deep pocket for keeping all sorts of things in, I would like to make them into shorts, similar to this.

treasure pocket pants into shorts

Well that’s all for today.  Now to find the time to actually sew something!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Bridesmaid Dress into Lace Dress

With only a couple of hours to spare I finished up the dress for the wedding we attended this weekend.

To recap – here was the inspiration photo from Pinterest.

bridesmaid dress into lace

Here was the bridesmaid dress I owned in it’s original form.


Here was the dress after I altered the skirt portion to remove the gathering/pleating at the waistline and hemmed it up.


And here are pictures after I added the lace and coordinating trim/ribbon.


Here are a few pictures from the wedding.  The reception was held downtown on the 8th floor of an “industrial space” building.


Which made for some pretty incredible views.


Friday, May 10, 2013

Work In Progress

I have begun to alter the bridesmaid dress.  I thought I would show you the progress to date.


From the front, the original pleating looked better and if shortened the dress would have been cute.


But the big difference is from the side.  With the new changes, the dress looks 10 times better.

Now I only have two days to add the lace detail to the top.  Down to the wire!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Island Pictures

I have a few “in action” shots of the clothes I made/altered for our vacation.

I got to wear my Easter dress again, which is a success for a handmade garment in my book.


The second night I wore my remade dress/swim suit cover up.


The third night I broke out the new stripped maxi dress I had made.


And lastly, I snuck in this swim suit cover up I made using a self drafted pattern.  It’s hard to tell what it looks like exactly in this picture, so I will have to do a separate post on it sometime this summer.

This picture was taken at our favorite little dive snack shop on the island.  Definitely the best milk shakes!!


I did wear my other swim suit cover ups I had altered, but didn’t get any snap shots of them.  I will have to admit that even though I felt like I was running out of time, I really enjoyed being able to hand make or reuse items I already owned for this vacation.  I did not buy a single thing for this trip (In fairness I did spend $10 for the striped gray fabric you see above and $5 for trim to alter one of the swim suit cover ups).

If you would like to see the full post about our whole vacation trip to Cayman Brac….go here.