Re-Use

Batman Pajama Set

Not sure what is in the air lately (other than the obvious answer of “lots of pollen”) but I’ve been cranking projects out left and right the past few weeks.

Hot weather showed up here in Michigan out of the blue, as it tends to do, and it became quickly apparent that G didn’t have any warm weather pjs.  He jammed his now 4 year old body into his old, knit cotton pjs, but, as hilarious as the results were, they didn’t look terribly comfortable.

The next time I was at the fabric store, I was browsing the remnants baskets and found a roll of printed Batman cotton.  G is really more into Ironman and Spiderman at this point, but in his current mindset, any superhero is a good superhero, so I snapped it up and made these:

  First off, if you’re looking at that tshirt and thinking “wow, that looks grungy”, that’s because it is.  I hadn’t really intended to make a matching top to go with the shorts, but in the process of pulling outgrown clothing out of G’s drawers, I happened upon a beat up, ignored, plain white tshirt, and decided that it’d see more love if it had some Batman slapped on it.
  For the shorts, I went back to the pillowcase sleep short pattern that I’d drafted last summer.  To add the panel to the shirt, I cut a square, ironed the unfinished edges to the back and ran a single line of stitching as close to the edge as I possibly could.  It turned out surprisingly well.
  G lovvvves them and I keep having to remind him that, while he can wear them a couple nights in a row if he puts them under his pillow in the morning, they’re pajamas, not out in public clothes.
  As successful as this was, I’m absolutely going to be keeping an eye out for other themed fabric that I can use to update t-shirts for him!

 

How to Make a Leotard from a Long Tanktop

Man I haven’t been looking forward to publishing this post.  It’s been bitterly cold here and, despite brainstorming for weeks, I couldn’t figure out any way to show you guys the finished product without posting a, more or less, bathing suit shot of myself.  On top of the whole, “hey world, these are my thighs” aspect of it, getting this picture was FRIGID.  I’d be fairly pleased with myself if I didn’t know the only reason I look so toned is because every single muscle in my body was clenched in the act of shivering.  So without further adieu, ladies and gentlemen, my pasty self in a leotard:

  I may have photoshopped my legs to be slightly more tan to avoid actually blinding anyone.
  On to how to make the leo.
  First off, WHY am I making leotards, right?  Well, like I said in my post about the things we’ve been doing around the house, I’ve been doing a lot of aerial classes.  If you’ve ever tried aerial, you know that there are certain parts of your body you have to protect to keep from getting horrible rope/fabric burns.  One of those places is your lower back.  I’ve tried just tucking tight sports tops into tight leggings.  It only works if you want to tuck your shirt into your pants AND your underwear after every trick.  Not really ideal.
  I guess I could have gone out and found a dance shop and bought real leotards, but, uhm, I’m cheap, so I did this instead.
  I stopped by our local thrift shop and grabbed the longest, stretchiest tank tops I could find and dragged them all into a changing room with me.  I tried them on and made sure that I could pinch the hems of the shirt together between my legs.  With my crazy long torso, not many shirts made the cut.  I walked out with 3 that worked and spent like, $1.50.  You could, of course, do this with new shirts, but keep in mind that they might shrink, so make sure you leave yourself more than enough seam allowance at the bottom.
  When I got home, I used my seam ripper to pull out the bottom hem of the shirts.  Once it was out, I broke out my safety pins, threw the shirt on inside out and pinned it together where I wanted the crotch seam to sit.  …this was also a good chance to be certain I was going to actually be able to get OUT of the thing once it was sewn up.
  I stitched shut that portion of the seam and then put it back on.  Next I used my safety pins to “draw” a leghole, using my underwear as a general guide.  Obviously you want to start with more modest legholes and then cut more away if you want later.  Since I’m planning on wearing leggings over these (knee backs are another part of your body you want to protect) I didn’t get too finicky about it, just enough to make sure I was comfortable and not restricting my motion any.
  I rolled the leghole edges and stitched them down with a double needle and called it good.
  3 new, one-of-a-kind leotards for less than a cup of fancy coffee.  Not bad huh?

(Really) Last Minute Fishnet Fingerless Gloves

  Holy cow folks, Halloween is Thursday…do you have a costume?

  Obviously, living in Michigan and planning on taking 2 wee-bits out trick or treating in the predicted rainy, 48-60 degree weather, I won’t be wearing that, but I did wear it for the indoor masquerade party we attended this past weekend.
  My costume was thrown together at the last minute, and while the skirt was finished in a decent amount of time, when I finally put it all together I realized I needed something on my arms to complete the look.
  I was already wearing fishnets on my legs, so I wanted to keep some continuity there and decided fishnet fingerless gloves would be the way to do it.
  I grabbed a second pair of fishnets, snipped the legs apart and pulled them up my arms.  I made the mistake, with the first one, of clipping a hole for my thumb before making holes for my other fingers to fit through.  Don’t do that.  You wind up with a hole way down on your wrist that your thumb has no chance of ever reaching.  It makes sense when you think about it, I know…let me be the dummy for you.  Anyhow, clip holes (usually one string is enough to open it up) to poke your fingers and THEN thumb through and pull the stocking up your arm.  Chances are it’s going to reach further up your arm than you’d like, so cut a slash where you’d like the top to be, remove both stockings from your arms and cut them off at the same height.
  Next, grab some matching 1/4″ elastic and weave it through the netting at the top of your glove.  Your elastic should be long enough to comfortably fit around the portion of your arm where the top of your glove should sit with a small excess for joining the two ends.  Once your elastic is woven through, sew the ends of the elastic together and you’re ready to go!
  Obviously these aren’t going to add a whole heck of a lot of warmth to a costume, but if you’ll be partying inside and your get-up needs just a little something more, these get you more bang for your buck than is really reasonable for a 5 minute project!

You Won’t Believe What This Top Was

  I’ve been branching out in my workouts lately.  I’ve been doing zumba since the summer after G was born, and while I still love it, I wanted to find something else to add into my routine.  If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you know I’ve started doing aerial silks.
  One of the things with aerial silks is that you need to protect your armpits and the backs of your knees while you do it if you don’t want to wind up with fabric burns.  Pretty much all of my workout tops are sleeveless, and workout gear is EXPENSIVE!   Rather than going out and buying new stuff, I made this:
  Can you guess what that black top used to be?
  How about if I tell you it took me less than 5 minutes to modify it into this?
  No?  What about if I tell you that I’m wearing it on the wrong half of my body in this picture?
  That’s a pair of tights.  All I did was snip the feet off and cut the diamond shaped portion out of the crotch to make a neckline.
  I came across the idea a good year or two ago when I was browsing some runway show pictures.  The designer had done the same thing with nylons, purposely stretching them til they ran to create ladders through the fabric, and the idea stuck with me.
  I was cleaning out my closet and realized I had tights I wasn’t wearing…soooo…. a couple quick snips and my new shirt was ready!
  I’m really happy with how this turned out.  It was quick, easy, and, because I already had the tights, free.  It’ll keep my armpits from getting destroyed by the fabric, and even better, it looks cute.  This is an incredibly simple project, but if you have any questions about how I did it, please don’t hesitate to ask!

Flannel Lined "Zoom" Pants

    Look out everybody!  There’s a dinosaur in pants in my back yard!
  G needed some new pants.  Over the summer he shot up at least 2″ (I know this for a fact because when he pulled on his Owl Pants the other day I needed to let the hems down that far) and so none of his pants from last winter fit him anymore.
  We were at the fabric store picking up some material for a project I’m planning on making for myself soon, and G spotted this vehicle fabric.  Being the motor-obsessed guy he is, he had to have it, so I grabbed a yard and told him I’d make him some pants out of it.  Thing is, this is a quilting cotton…and it’s getting cold.  I wasn’t about to make him a brand new pair of pants he wasn’t ever going to wear cuz his knees got too cold in them!  
  So, rather than stashing this fabric away til spring, I dove into our drawer of baby blankets.  We have lots and lots of swaddling blankets and R is past the age where we can use them to, you know, swaddle him.  My “sentiment bone” is broken, so rather than holding onto those precious little blankets, I took my scissors to them.  …don’t worry folks, I still have more baby blankets than I can shake a stick at.
  I cut my pattern pieces out of the cotton and out of a matching set of flannel swaddling blankets (tan with white polka dots for those who are curious) and serged them together so the two fabrics would function as one, thick fabric.  I stitched in my pockets (we all know G has to have pockets in his pants) and finished off the waistband and hem.  Because he’s been growing so much lately, I made sure that hem was extra deep…there’s a good extra 4″ in there.
  They turned out wonderfully.  G says he loves the lining…that it makes them “cozy”.  Have to say, now I kind of want flannel lined pants too!

How to Fix a Bra with an Underwire that Pokes You

  I hate having to buy new clothes.  Since I make plenty of my own I always have a hard time not feeling ripped off, but some things I just don’t have the time, supplies or experience to do myself.  That means that if I can fix one of those items rather than getting a new one, I will.
  Bras are high on this list.  Maybe some day I’ll get around to making my own, but I haven’t the faintest clue where to find underwires or most of the notions one needs to make a bra (other than ordering them in bulk off the web) so for now I have to resign myself to store bought.  That means that when I have a fairly new bra and all the sudden the underwire starts stabbing through and poking me, I kind of want to scream.  Luckily, it’s an easy fix.
  Start by finding a small piece of fabric to repair your bra with.  Depending on where the underwire pokes through your fabric may not need to match if you don’t want it to.  For this bra, the wire was sticking directly out of the top so the fabric would be on both the back and front of it and needed to match.
  Make certain that the fabric you select is densely woven so the wire doesn’t immediately pop right back through.  I’ve found that selvages are a perfect material for this since, as well as being extremely tightly woven, they already have a finished edge.  The selvage is the portion of your fabric that typically has dye numbers and fabric information on it like this:
  When you’ve picked your fabric, cut a small strip of it.  Usually around 1″x .75″ is plenty.  You will want to be able to fold under any unfinished edges to keep things clean and from unraveling, but basically we’re just making a patch over the hole where the wire came through.
  Push the underwire back inside of the bra as much as possible and use a hand needle to stitch your patch tightly over the hole, tucking unfinished edges under as you go.  For this patch I moved a little off of the edge into the cup itself, but try to keep everything on the edge as much as possible to avoid changing the fit.
  Once your patch is sewn on, your bra is repaired and ready to wear again.  No more painful stabbing, hooray!
  Have a question?  Leave me a comment or send me an email!
  New to my blog?  Please take a minute to look around!  You can find more sewing projects, recipes, crafts or just general ramblings.  I hope you’ll say hi!

Lightweight Sleep Sack for Baby

  Tuesday I showed you the warm weather sleep shorts I made for G.  He’s not the only one whose sleeping wardrobe has been getting updated though.  R sleeps better for us when he’s in a sleep sack.  He’s past the age where swaddling is particularly effective, but he still does better with something around his feet.  All the appropriately sized sleep sacks we had were fleece though…obviously not an option in this weather.  Old pillow cases to the rescue AGAIN!

  To make this, all I did was lay one of his current sleep sacks on top of the pillowcase and trace around it, leaving the bottom of the pillow case sealed shut and cutting into it for the neck and armholes towards the open end.  Another option, if you don’t currently have a sleep sack, would be to use a onesie for a basic guideline on neck and arm size (though obviously your sack has to be significantly longer than a onesie!)  Once I had the pillowcase cut to the correct shape, I slashed down the middle of the front piece and installed the zipper.  Then I sewed up the side seams before finishing the armholes and neckline.  As a note…I install the zippers upside down so the pull tab winds up at the baby’s feet.  This is a little preemptive at this point, but becomes super important once you start using these sacks to keep little nudists from ripping off all their clothing and diaper in the night.  If you want to do it the same way you need a separating zipper for this to actually work.
  Because these are a quick and dirty project using old pillow cases they don’t ever turn out terribly pretty.  They’re not something I’m going to pull out to show off my sewing skills for sure.  The zipper always creates a pleat at the bottom using this method, and since I just fold over my arm and neck holes to stitch them, they’re always pretty warped and hideous.  I could do it the right way…separate the front from the back, put the zipper in first before reattaching them…finish the neck/armholes with bias tape…but, nah.  These are a practical item that I’m just making so the baby sleeps well for these few hot months, so I’m gonna stick with slapdash.
  Have any questions about how to make a bag to shove your baby in?  Leave a comment or shoot me an email!

Pillowcase Sleep Shorts

  G is quite the proper little gentleman.  Regardless of how hot it gets, he refuses to sleep in just his underpants and absolutely must be wearing a top and pants of some sort at night.  That’s fine…but unfortunately all of his pajamas that fit were long sleeved, full length flannel numbers.  Not exactly conducive to good sleep in 80-degrees-at-night kind of weather.
  Lucky for him, Mama had some old pillow cases that were just begging to be turned into shorts.
  To create these I used my usual technique for making my own pattern from a pair of shorts I knew fit him.  I actually messed up a little doing it…I forgot to stretch out the elastic in the waistband and so the first pair I made was, ahem, a bit snug.  No problem!  Just slashed the sides and put in a band of contrasting fabric.  He loves the “stripes” down the side anyhow.
  These are a quick, easy project and now he has a couple pairs of light-weight cotton shorts to snooze in.  Honestly, they turned out cute enough I’m probably going to have a hard time reserving them for pajamas!