Posts Tagged ‘de-clutter’

Now that it’s fall, I need swimsuits…

Of course, it’s logical right? It figures, as soon as the temperature drops and the leaves are on the ground I find myself in need of swimsuits for the kids not to mention, I had cleaned out their summer stuff a few weeks ago.  I put away what may fit next year, sorted out what can go to goodwill and what can go to consignment and lastly threw out what wasn’t going to fit and was not in any shape to pass on.  Their swimsuits were in that last category and I thought, oh well, it’s not like they will be going swimming anytime soon.  yeah. right.

My in-laws have generously paid for swim lessons for the kids.  We registered them at the beginning of the week.  Their first lesson is on Saturday, it’s now Thursday and I realized they have no swim suits.  So I set about making them some.

Patrick’s suit was easy.  Remember these shorts? If you missed the post, click the photo.
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I took a pair of Parker’s underpants and removed the elastic.  Then I stitched them to the waistband of the shorts on the inside.  There. done. swim shorts. lol!

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For Parker’s suit I used a kwiksew pattern for a dance leotard.  It’s discontinued but if you are interested in looking it up it’s Kwiksew 2263.  I left the sleeves off and I still have to put some elastic in it but it seems to fit her well and should serve it’s purpose.  I used some black poly lycra knit for the top portion and this ruffled lycra that a friend gave me a small piece of.  I lined the bottom with the same fabric the top was made out of.  I think both suits took about 1 hr to put together (that’s figuring in time to put the elastic in).

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And there it is.  The kids are ready for swim lessons!

Bowling shirt and Skinny jeans tutorial two-fer!

I promised and here it is.  Seriously you will laugh at the ease of these two projects.

First things first, the bowling shirt. This could work for any size, kids or adult, boys or girls.  My example is a shirt I made for my son.  It’s the same skull fabric I used for his first shirt but it’s white skulls on a black background instead! hehe! Fabric choices are totally up to you but crisp cottons work great for this project.
One thing I want to say on the subject of boys clothing is think outside the box.  We get so caught up with images that we can’t see past them.  One thing I hear complaints about the most when it comes to sewing for boys, and I’ve made this complaint myself, is the lack of boys patterns both in fabrics and in sewing patterns.  I’ve found that a lot of the girls patterns I have for pants, shirts and shorts can easily be transferred to boys with little to no alterations.  The pattern I used for the bowling shirt here is a ‘girls’ pattern but honestly, it’s such a basic pattern they could have easily made this unisex if they had just used a photograph of a little boy AND a little girl, instead of two little girls.  Anyhow, next time you are out shopping for patterns and fabrics for your little man, try to remember that just because it’s a little girl pictured or the sewing sample in the store is ‘girly’ it doesn’t mean that it is just for the girls.

On to the tutorial.

Things you will need:

shirt pattern – you don’t want anything too fitted and it doesn’t have to have short sleeves, fancy yokes, pockets etc.  The more basic the better.  I used Simplicity 4978.
Main fabric – in the amounts indicated for the size you are making
Contrast fabric – this will depend also on the size you are making so read the tutorial completely and you should have a better understanding of the amount you will need.
interfacing – again, consult your pattern
buttons (4 to 6, I used 5 for this shirt)
scissors
imagination :D

Start by choosing the size pattern you will make.  Last time I did a size 3 for my son.  It fit but just barely so I made a size 5 this time to give him some growing room.  I then decided to use red as the main fabric for his shirt and the black and white skull fabric as the contrast.
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I traced out the pattern pieces I needed onto waxed paper since I plan to use the pattern a few more times.  I cut the front, back and sleeves out of the main red fabric.  I cut the collar and pocket out of the contrast.  The thing that makes this a bowling shirt, for me anyhow, is adding a stripe of contrasting fabric down one side of the front.  In order to figure out how much fabric I need for this I measure from the highest point at the shoulder/neck point and down to the hem.  I cut a strip of contrast fabric that length (you can add an inch or two just to make sure) and I cut the width of it about 5cm (2.5 inches) plus 1cm (.25 inches) on either side to turn under.  Depending on the size of your shirt you can make this wider or narrower, it’s really one of those things that is up to you to decided what you think looks best.

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When cutting out your pieces, take note of the direction of the pattern in the fabric, if there is a pattern.  The skulls on my contrast fabric all go the same direction so when I cut the collar, I made sure that the skulls would be facing up when it’s attached to the shirt, same for the pocket.  Since this was a remnant piece I didn’t have control over the amount I got, so the skulls on my stripe actually go sideways.  Ideally, I would have bought enough fabric to cut the stripe so that the skulls were all going up.

Once the pieces are cut out, apply interfacing to your front facings and under-collar.  If you are doing long sleeves with a cuff, you will probably interface the cuff.  Follow the instructions on your pattern for this.  Next step is to add your pocket and stripe to the front pieces.  If you are doing a pocket and it’s not included in your pattern just cut a piece of paper into a square shape or whatever shape you want.  When you have something you like, add seam allowance and cut it out.  You can put your pocket on whatever side of the shirt you like, the stripe will go on the opposite side.

Next turn under 1cm (1/4 inch) of the long sides of the stripe piece to finish the edges.  Position it on the front of the shirt without the pocket and make sure that it is far enough away from the center front that it will not be covered by the buttons.  I could have put my just a little more to the side but it still looks ok.

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Pin everything in place and topstitch.  I used a contrasting red thread but you can use a matching thread if you like.

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And there you go!  Finish the shirt like the pattern instructs or however you might normally finish it if you are like me and don’t read the instructions.  :)

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Now for the skinny jeans!  Again, this could apply to kids or adult, boys or girls and you can adapt the info to re-construct a pair of jeans/pants you already own.

Things I used for this:
Pant pattern (I used Burda 9626 but any basic pant pattern can work)
Tracing paper
Old pair of jeans (you can use fabric yardage too, just consult the pattern for the amounts you will need)
knee, calf and ankle measurements
scissors
calculator (or lots of paper to write out your math equations. :D )

I chose the pattern size that closest fit my daughters hip measurement.  I then measured her knee, calf and ankle and wrote those down so I wouldn’t forget.  I traced out the pattern pieces I needed using waxed paper.  Wax paper is cheap and perfect size for most patterns I need to trace but you can use any transparent paper you have around, I’ve used old patterns that I know I will never use again.

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Next I prepped my jeans.  I cut up the leg seams and crotch seam.  I was careful to cut out the zipper so that I could re-use it.  I also took off the back pockets to reuse.  I planned to reuse the waistband as well but the button wasn’t in good condition so i used the waistband off of another old pair of jeans I had.  I pressed each piece flat and then I prepped my pattern.

Here’s my math.  To determine the width I wanted around the knee I added 2.5cm (1 inch) to the measurement I took.  I then divided that number in half.  I measured across the knee of the pant pattern front and subtracted the knee measurement I had just determined.  I can’t remember my exact measurements but for example, if the knee measurement was 20 cm (8 inches) then I added 2.5cm (1 inch) to total 22.5cm (9inches) for the knee.  Half of that would be 11.25cm (4.5 inches).  If the front pant pattern knee measurement was 20cm (8 inches) then you would subtract 11.25cm (4.5inches) from 20cm (8 inches) to get the difference of the two knee measurements.  Therefore I would need to remove 8.75cm ( 3.5 inches) from the knee.  Divide that number in half to get the amount to take off equally on each side (4.5cm (1 3/4inches).  Do the same for the calf and ankle measurement.  Mark on the traced pattern the amounts you need to remove from the sides to get a close fit and redraw your side seams.  Do this for the pant back as well.Make sure to re-add seam allowance.  If the fit isn’t close enough when you are finished you can always take it in some more.

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I forgot to take pictures of the rest but basically what I did was laid out my front pattern on my jeans front matching the finished hem with the actual hem on the jeans.  I then did the same for the back.  I re-cut the pockets to fit the new smaller jeans and re-used the original jeans zipper.  I cut new belt loops and re-used the waistband from another pair of jeans.  I cut it to the length of the waist of the jeans, keeping the original button and making a new button hole.

Here’s the finished pair (these are a size 5 for my daughter).

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Some thoughts on the skinny jeans:

-you may want to measure around the ball of the foot to make sure that the foot will fit through the ankle opening.

-I decided to distress the jeans a bit so I made use of a cheese grater, sandpaper and my scissors to create holes and worn spots.

- if you are wanting to make regular jeans into skinny jeans you can use the same math as above but subtract the difference in measurement directly from the jeans.  You can also put the jeans on inside out and pinch and pin out the excess.

-I had to add elastic to the back waist.  You can do this by cutting  slits in the inside waistband at the side-seams, making sure not to cut right through both layers of fabric.  Insert a piece of elastic and secure with stitching at one side.  Draw up the elastic to the whatever you need and secure the other side. tuck in the elastic ends and whipstitch the openings closed.  See my post about cut offs for the little lady to see pictures of this.

Remember Grade 9 Math? (a quick refresher and tute)

Me neither.  So when I decided to make hats for the kids I found myself pondering the mystery of pi.

Tools for this project:

a calculator or you can be brave and do this on paper
marking pencil
ruler
paper
old pair of jeans and/or some fabric scraps (you need about .5 meter of two different fabrics, one for the outside of the hat and one for the lining)
scissors (both paper and fabric)

First things first, measure the head of the person you are making the hat for.  I was making one for my son and one for my daughter.  Their heads both measured 20″ (50cm).

Write that number down for reference.  Next, using your calculator (or your significantly superior brain if you are doing this on paper) and divide that number by 3.14 (pi).  This will give you the diameter of the circle for the top of the crown of your hat.  I remeasured my circle circumference just to check and it was pretty close, but I suggest remeasuring before you continue to make your patter pieces just to make sure.

To make the circle for the crown top, I took my piece of paper and marked a dot in the middle, this is the middle of my circle.  If you happen to still have your old geometry set from high school (or may be you kids have one) you can use the compass to draw your circle.  If you don’t, just use your ruler, place ’0′ on the dot and keep moving it around to create your circle.  Don’t forget to divide your diameter in half so you get the radius, otherwise you will make the circle too big.

Here’s my math:  20″ divided by 3.14 equals 6 3/8″ diameter (radius = 3 1/8), or 50cm divided by 3.14 equals 16cm diameter (radius = 8cm).

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I added about 1/2″(1 cm) seam allowance.

Next I made the pattern for the crown.  The length is going to equal the circumferance of your circle and the width can be whatever you want it to be.  My measurements worked out to this: length equals 20″ plus 1″ seam allowance (50cm plus 2cm seam allowance).  For the width I measured 3″ (7.5cm).

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For the brim I cheated a little to figure out the measurment.  I have a chart in my college drafting book to help figure out meausrments for circles.  Here’s a little exerpt that should help you with figureing your own measurements. This is in inches.  I’ll explain converting inches to centimeters at the end of the post.

distance covered          1/4 circle          1/2 circle          3/4 circle          full circle
18                                         11 1/2                 5 3/4                  3 3/4                   2 7/8

19                                         12 1/8                6 1/8                    4 1/8                   3

20                                        12 3/4                6 3/8                   4 1/4                    3 1/8

21                                        13 3/8                 6 5/8                   4 1/2                    3 3/8

22                                        14                         7                            4 5/8                   3 1/2

23                                        14 5/8                 7 1/4                    4 7/8                  3 5/8

24                                        15 1/4                 7 5/8                   5 1/8                    3 3/4

25                                       15 7/8                 7 7/8                    5 1/4                   3 7/8

So I’m sure you are now wondering how the heck to use this chart.  Get a large piece of paper and mark the center of one edge.  I used the 1/2 circle since I was aiming for a not too floppy brim.  In the first column for distance covered I looked for the measurment that matched the circumference of the hat crown (20″) and then looked at the 1/2 circle measurement since I didn’t want a brim that was too floppy but not too straight.  The radius for the inside of my brim would then be 6 3/8 inches.  On the paper, using the mark you made as the center point, use your compass or ruler to measure the radius.  You should have drawn a half circle.  This is the inside of your brim and should match the circumference of the crown.  Don’t forget to draw in 1/2 inch (1cm) seam allowances.

Next I decided how wide I wanted my brim and marked down another 3 inches from the inside of the brim.  Again, dont forget to add seam allowance.

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So you should have the three pattern pieces needed to make the hat.  I cut out two sets of each pattern piece, for each hat.  The first set I cut from an old pair of jeans for the outside of the hat.  The second set I cut from a scrap of cotton fabric for the lining of the hat.

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Next I put the brim pieces together.  Fold your brim in half, right sides together and stitch across the end.  Do this to the brim lining piece as well.  Press the seam allowance open or to one side.

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Place your brim and brim lining together, right sides, and stitch around the outer edge.  Clip the seam allowance, turn right sides out and press.

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I topstitched around the edge after pressing.

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Next I took the crown piece and folded it in half, right sides together and stitched the ends.  I pressed the seam allowance to one side. Do this with the crown lining as well.

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I marked the crown in quarters using pins and marked the crown top in quarters as well.  I then pinned the crown to the crown top, matching the markings.  I stitched the two pieces together and then did the same with the lining pieces.

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You can clip if you want, I didn’t find it necessary though and I just pressed the seam allowance down.

Mark the crown in quarters again and mark the inside brim edge in quarters.  Put the two pieces together and stitch around.  I trimmed the seam allowance to even it up but you don’t have to do this.

Next I wanted to put the lining on in a way that reduced the amount of hand stitching I might have to do.  So I marked the crown lining in quarters and marked the inside of the hat in quarters again.  I put the right sides together and pinned it at the markings.  The hat should be completely inside the crown lining.  I stitched around the edge and left an opening so I could turn it out.  After pressing I was going to hand stitch but then I got an idea that would eliminate all hand sewing. :)

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I turned in the seam allowance on the opening and pinned it closed.  I then edge stitched around this seam line from the outside.  This closed the hole in the lining, keeps the lining from flipping out and looks nice.  yay!

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Finished hat!

Some thoughts on this project:

I might consider making the crown a little wider, maybe 4 inches.

You can do decorative stitching on the brim, add eyelets for vent holes, put pockets etc.  This is such a basic hat.

If you want a floppier brim, use the measurment for the 3/4 or full circle and you can make the brim wider too.

If you are using a lighter weight fabric for your hat, you may want to consider using a stiff interfacing to give it some body.

How to convert inches to centimeters.

Basically 1 inch equal 2.5 centimeters.  So to convert from inches to centimeters, simply multiply by 2.5.  To convert from centimeters to inches, divide by 2.5.  simple.  When dealing with fractions for inches  you simply divide the top number by the bottom one but here are the decimals to make things easier.

1/8″ = .125,   1/4 = .25,   3/8 = .375,   1/2 = .5,   5/8 = .625,   3/4 = .75,   7/8 = .875

T-shirt sleeves into shorts and a t-shirt scarf, mini tute

A few weeks ago I agreed to do a pay-it-forward gift exchange.   A friend had posted a note on their facebook profile that the first five people to leave a comment would receive something handmade by her.  The deal was there was no set deadline, but it would be within the year, no set value and no notification of when or what was being sent.  It could be something crafted, it could be a box of cookies or a full on meal.  The only stipulation was if you left a comment that you had to re-post the note on your profile and agree to do the same for the first 5 people who commented and so on.

I really didn’t know what to make and then I came across a tutorial on This Old Dress.  I didn’t want to buy anything new to make my PIF’s so I dug in my sewing closet (yes I actually have to dig in there) and pulled out two t-shirts to use.  The original tute shows how to decorate the fabric with fabric paints to create more interest but I didn’t have the time or motivation (or paint for that matter) to do that so I chose a navy blue and light blue tshirt and figured the two together would make it interesting enough.

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For this project you need one or two tshirts, the bigger the better, depending on how full you want your neck lush to be.  You can use tshirt fabric for this too, just sew up two rectangles with a zigzag stitch to create a tube.

Lay out your tshirts flat.  cut off the hem and cut off the body portion just at the underarm point.

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Set aside the top portions of the shirts for the next tutorial and hang on to the bottom hem pieces.  Cut the two body portions of your t-shirt into horizontal strips so that you have loops.  I cut mine about 1″ (2.5cm) wide.  Next come the easy part, take each loop and give it a good stretch.  The fabric should curl up and almost double in length.  Once you have stretched all your loops you will want to tie them together.  Hold all the loops in one hand and wrap one of your hem pieces around the bunch and tie a knot.  And that’s it!   fun, super soft, versatile scarf.

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Some thoughts on this project:

The bigger your t-shirt, the longer your loops will be, the more you can do with your scarf.

This will work best with cotton t-shirts (or cotton knit fabric from the fabric store) as it will stretch out and stay stretched out.  Any amount of spandex/lycra in the fabric will simply cause it to shrink back up to its original size.

Experiment with painting and dying your t-shirts to create a little interest in the finished product but do this before cutting your t-shirt in to strips.

If you sewed a piece of fabric into a loop for this project, be sure to wrap your hem piece (or extra strip of fabric) around the seamed area to cover it as it doesn’t look the nicest.

Now that you have finished your fun scarf and are looking pretty trendy right now, what do you do with the leftovers?

You can cut the sleeves and upper body portion of your shirt into strips and make some bracelets or whatever but if you have a toddler hanging around your house (or maybe one or two hanging out at your friends or family’s houses) make a pair of one of a kind shorts!

For this project I used the sleeves from the two t-shirts I make my tshirt scarf out of.  I also used a pair of my son’s shorts as a guide.

I used two sets of sleeves for this as I felt that one set would be a bit too short.  it really depends on the length of the sleeves of your tshirt so use your own judgement.

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I laid a light blue sleeve on top of the dark blue sleeve and used the ready-made shorts as a guide for length.  I then trimmed off the excess fabric from the dark blue sleeve making sure to leave it long enough to attach to the hem of the light blue sleeve.

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I then tucked the dark blue sleeve into the light blue one, lining up the cut edge with the edge of the hem inside the light blue sleeve.  Then I stitched over the hem stitch line of the light blue sleeve, catching the dark blue one on the inside, stretching lightly as I went.

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Next I used the ready-made shorts as a guide for cutting the crotch of the new shorts.  Lay the sleeve flat with the underarm seam as the new inseam of the shorts.  Cut the crotch shape.  It doesn’t have to be exact and the front doesn’t have to be different from the back since these are knit shorts.

Sew the crotch seam.

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To finish the waist I cut a strip of fabric from the leftover upper portion of the light blue tshirt.  I made it two times the width of my elastic plus seam allowance (approx. 2.5″ since I was using a 1″ elastic.) and the same length as the waist of the shorts.  I cut a piece of elastic to fit my son’s waist and stitched the ends together to form a loop.  I stitched the strip of fabric together to form a loop and folded it over the elastic.  I then stitched the encased elastic to the shorts making sure to stitch only through the fabric and not the elastic.

And then just trim the threads and put on your favourite toddler!

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Some thoughts on this project:

if the sleeves are long enough you don’t need to double them up.

I realized as I was adding the photo’s that I cut the crotch before I added the other sleeve to add length.  There really is no right or wrong way to do this, it’s all about getting the finished product. lol!

You may want to wash the face of the toddler you give your shorts to before taking their picture.

Wardrobe Refashion Challenge- I took the 6 months pledge!

I troll the internet constantly, checking out other blogs and websites, being inspired by the incredible creativity that is out there!  One site I’ve come across before is Wardrobe Refashion.  This site encourages participants to take the pledge to remake, refashion, thrift and otherwise make their own wardrobe for a set period of 2, 4 or 6 months.  I happened across it again today and I’ve decided to take on the challenge for 6 months and will be posting things here.  I’ll try to post ‘in progress’ photos and tutorials when I can as well.

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The Pledge

I Donna Giroux pledge that I shall abstain from the purchase of “new” manufactured items of clothing, for the period of  6 months. I pledge that i shall refashion, renovate, recycle preloved items for myself with my own hands in fabric, yarn or other medium for the term of my contract. I pledge that I will share the love and post a photo of my refashioned, renovoted, recycled, crafted or created item of clothing on the Wardrobe Refashion blog, so that others may share the joy that thy thriftiness brings! Signed__Donna  Giroux__.

Anyone else care to take the pledge with me? click here.

Closet Clean-out

My last post touched on what to do with your UFOs but what if you don’t sew?  A large majority of people have a closet stocked full of clothing that they don’t wear.  We keep things because we spent a lot of money on them, they have sentimental value, we think we will fit them again someday, and sometimes we keep things just because.  There are dozens of reasons to hang on to an item of clothing but unless you are actually wearing it, there is no good reason to keep them.

So lets clear out the closet.  Depending on how full your closet is, I would suggest setting aside at least one full day to do this.  The first thing to do is take everything out of your closet and dressers and lay them out.  It may be easier to do this in a large open room so if you have a small bedroom, take it all down to the living room.

The next thing to do is separate into two piles.  Be honest with yourself when doing this.  The first pile is going to be the stuff you wear regularly and by regularly I mean at least once every two weeks.  These items must fit and must be in good condition.  Don’t try to fool yourself by thinking that you might want to wear that item tomorrow when you haven’t worn it in over a month and it doesn’t matter if you are still 5lbs from fitting those jeans you wore every day before the kids came along.  Be honest and be harsh.  The second pile will, obviously, be everything else.  Once you have your first pile sorted, fold it up and put it away, keeping a mental stock of what you now have in your closet (or keep it set aside if you need the visual reminder).

Next we tackle that huge pile of clothing that is left over from the first sort.  This is where you need to keep in mind what is in your closet now.  Go through the pile and sort it out into one pile that fits and one that doesn’t.  It doesn’t matter if it’s in style, or if you haven’t worn it in years, just sort it out.  Set aside the pile that doesn’t fit, we’re now going to sort the pile that does fit.

Go through the pile and sort out anything that is not in good or wearable condition.  By this I mean anything that has holes, faded colours, is threadbare, has broken zippers or missing buttons etc.  Next you want to take a good look at each item and decide if it will fit in with your current wardrobe or not.  Try to set aside any feelings of sentiment.  If there was anything in this pile that fits with your current wardrobe and you will definitely wear, fold it up and put it away.  From what is left, if you have anything that would fit with your current wardrobe and all it needs is a quick fix, like replacing the zipper, you can put it aside in a fix pile.

Now it’s time to decide what to do with everything that is leftover.  The obvious would be to donate anything that is in wearable condition (no holes, fades or broken closures) to good will.  You can then flesh out your wardrobe with a shopping trip.  While I’m all for the shopping trip and who wouldn’t be, if you are trying to save some money you may consider going through the pile to see if there is anything else that is salvageable.  $10 + cost of zipper is usually way cheaper than buying a new skirt or pant.  Some things you need to take into consideration, however, are your sewing skills (if you plan to take this on by yourself), time, and necessity.  If you plan to do any fixing/altering on your own you will need to have both some sewing skill and the time to complete your projects.  Again, you need to be honest with yourself.  If you don’t see yourself being able to fix/alter on your own, then you have the option to take your stuff to a seamstress.  Also consider whether it is really necessary to fix that skirt or put new buttons on that jacket.  Just because it may fit in your wardrobe doesn’t mean you need it.  Who really needs 5 black blazers anyhow?

Tired yet?  Take a break, have a cold drink and something to eat.

Now that your closet is cleaned out you have three options for all the left over clothing.  Option one would be to simply pack it all up and make a trip to the local good will store.

Option two would be to have a clothing swap.  Never been to or heard of one?  It’s pretty simple.  Pick a night to get together with a group of your girlfriends, the more, the merrier and the better the clothing selection.  Tell everyone to clear out their closet of anything they aren’t wearing or don’t want and this can include shoes and accessories too.  It doesn’t matter if everyone is the same size, chances are someone has lost/gained weight and has something that will fit someone else in the group.  You can be organized and sort everything out by sizes/styles, draw number to see who goes first etc, or simply dump everything in the middle of the room and dive in, just make sure to have some wine and snacks available. :D  Once everyone has picked out what they want, everything else is packed up and taken to good will.

Option three is a little more involved so I’ll write a separate post about it but this is where you can get creative.  Take stock of each item of clothing you have leftover from your closet clean out and decide whether it can be repurposed.  Maybe you have a dinner party coming up and that old bridesmaid dress could be remade into a cute cocktail dress.  Perhaps you have children, the younger the better since they love anything you make for them, and that old pair of jeans or that huge corduroy skirt could easily be cut into a pair or two of  new pants for your toddler.  There are hundreds of options if you take the time to consider them.

I hope this has been helpful and if you are in the Kitchener/Waterloo area, remember I’m available to do repairs and alterations for you!

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