Take a Survey, get entered to win a custom kids bowling shirt!

In case you missed my previous post about this, I’m gathering some information so I can better understand what people may be looking for when they go shopping for clothing for their kids.

I’ve created a very short survey and would appreciate your input!

Click Here to do the Survey!

I’ll be keeping it open until midnight, October 31.  On November 1st I’ll draw a name from those that completed the survey (so be sure to enter your email address at the end!) and that person will receive a custom kids bowling shirt for their favourite little Punk’n.

In the meantime, if you are in the Kitchener/Waterloo area, be sure to head down to Rare Funk at 8 Duke Street (corner of Duke and Queen in downtown Kitchener).  Most of my Punkn’s stuff is 50% off until Christmas, or until it’s gone.  This is a great time to pick up something unique for Christmas presents, and they have lots of other stuff too so if you aren’t in the market for baby clothes, I’m sure you can find something to suit your fancy! 😀

For the Love of Buttons!

I love buttons.  I get excited seeing a jar of random buttons, all the colours and shapes.  I wonder what the buttons were on before they landed in my possesion.  I wonder how old they are, what their purpose was etc.  It’s a strange obessesion really and this morning I found a reason to get my buttons out to use them. 🙂

I had received a bunch of clothes from a friend, for my daughter.  one of the items in the bag was a pair of plain white tights.  My daughter wore them the very next day and promptly put a hole in them.

I let her wear them for a while like that and then decided today, as I was doing some mending, that perhaps I should attempt to fix them.  Embellished tights are really popular on the runways right now, though I have yet to really see them on anyone in the normal world.  I felt this would be the perfect thing to fix the hole in the tights and to use my buttons.  I googled embellished tights first to get some inspiration.  Cocorosa’s tutorial had caught my eye a few months back and it was one of the top hits when I did my google search.  Park and Cube has a cute one too.

Anyhow, I gathered my materials:

Parker’s tights with the hole in them
thread and needle
buttons
plastic water bottle
scissors

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I started by sorting out the buttons I wanted to use.  I have a thing for green and pink right now and I had lots of those button colours so I sorted them out and put the rest away for another day.

In order to start mending the hole I needed something hard to put in the leg of the tights so that it would stretch it out a bit as well as keep me from stitching through both layers of the leg.  This is where the water bottle came in.  I put it in the leg of the tights where I wanted to put the buttons.  Then I threaded my needle, made a knot and started stitching on buttons.

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Once I finished mending the hole and had more buttons on the leg I decided to have my daughter try them on so I could see how it was looking.  I then marked some more spots to put buttons.

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And voila! Tights are as good as new and they look pretty cool too!

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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!

Spider-Patrick and Witchy Parker (thrifty costumes since I hate spending money if I don’t have to)

The Halloween costumes are done! well, almost, I still have to put some elastic in the boy’s spiderman suit but otherwise things are done.

Patrick is gonna be spiderman.  For anyone that knows him, this will not come as a shock.  He is enraptured with spiderman.  It’s gonna be a cold Halloween so I wanted to make his costume warm.

I used polar fleece and a pyjama pattern that had a two piece, footed pyjama.  I had bought a remnant of red fleece at work and decided it was time to part with a royal blue polar fleece sweater that I had purchased at Old Navy ages ago.  I traced out the pattern for the pj’s on wax paper so I could work out the design and not destroy my pattern.

I cut out the blue and red pieces using a spiderman toy as guidance.  I then pieced everything together and other than sewing on the applique and doing the hems, I did everything on the serger.  I then used black paint to re-create the spiderweb design.

Since I’m planning for him to wear this overtop of his shoes, I left the sole off the bottom of the pj feet.  After Halloween, I’ll sew the soles on and he will  have nice, warm spiderman pj’s! (The pants will fit better once I have the elastic in the waist and ankles).

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Parker decided she was going to be a witch.  I had some variegated green satin with gold sparkles on it that was leftover from a dress I made a few months back.  I made her a witchy dress from that and a hat as well.  I bought some spiderweb fabric from work ($1.99/meter! and I only needed about .6 of a meter)

I used the spiderweb fabric to make a cape, sleeves and decoration on the hat.  I’m going to have her wear a long sleeve shirt and pants with her costume so she wont’ freeze to death but I don’t think that will detract from the outfit. 🙂

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All in all, I think I spent under $10 bucks total to make these. 

Cost breakdown:
Green satin fabric- $0 (on hand)
Blue fleece sweater- $0 (on hand)
red fleece remnant- $3
spiderweb fabric – $1.50
black paint – $0 (on hand)
interfacing for the hat – $1 (clearance)

Even if I had to pay for all the materials I probably would have spent between $15 and $20 dollars total.  Not too bad considering the costumes in the store are about that much each. 🙂

Fit to be tied.

So yesterday I visited Tamara at Rare Funk where some of my kid stuff is for sale.  I had some new baby bibs to drop off and I wanted to discuss how things were selling.

The bibs I make seem to do well.  I usually make them with recycled fabrics and scraps that I applique on them.  One design that does really well are the ones for the boys that have a tie on them.  It’s a cute way to dress up the little man and it keeps his clothes protected from drool and such.

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My problem is that the t-shirts and onesies I make are just not selling.  In order to clear out my stock to make room for new stuff, from October 1st to Christmas all my older stock at Rare Funk will be on sale for 50% off.  It’s a great time to get an original gift for your favourite little punk!

The shirts and onesies I make get lots of compliments but rarely any sales so I’m hoping that I can get some insight into why they aren’t moving and what you may be looking for when shopping for clothing for little ones, whether it’s for your own offspring or a gift for someone else.      As a thanks for completing this poll, your name will be entered into a draw for a custom sized bowling shirt.  The shirt will be made from black poly/cotton with a fun contrast stripe, collar and pocket in a boyish or girlish print (depending on who the shirt will be for 😀 )  I’ll make the draw on November 1st so the shirt can be completed and delivered/picked-up in time for Christmas.

Click Here to take survey

After my discussion with Tamara we both agreed that fun boy clothes are in fairly high demand so I tried out a thought last night.  Let me know what you think!

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How to squeeze one more year out of a kid’s t-shirt

So my Daughter started school today and was very excited about it.  She got herself dressed but when she came downstairs I noticed the shirt she was wearing was about 3 inches too short in the arms and body so in addition to her belly hanging out, she looked like she had gorilla arms! lol!  That and she had obviously worn this while painting one day and it was covered with little paint spatters.

I had her change her shirt and off to school she went.  When I got home I decided to see if I could get one more year out her shirt.  She has three of the same shirt (my mom found them on sale for a buck somewhere) and I knew they would all be fitting the same so I took the black shirt and the purple shirt and put them together to make a ‘new’ shirt.

Here’s the black shirt before:

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and here’s the purple shirt before:

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I love how the grease stains on the purple shirt show up so much more prominently in the photo than they do in real life.  Yeah, laundry is not my forte and my daughter has a hard time understanding the difference between her shirt and a napkin.

Anyhow, first thing I did was cut the sleeves off of the black shirt.  I didn’t measure anything, just eyeballed it and used the first sleeve cutoff to measure the second sleeve so they were even.

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I needed to add about 3 inches to the length of the sleeve which worked out that I could simply cut off the purple sleeves at the underarm point.

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I needed to add approximately the same amount the bottom of the shirt so I cut off the bottom portion of the purple shirt that equaled the length I needed to add plus the hem allowance of the black shirt.

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I then inserted the purple piece I just cut off in the bottom of the black shirt, matched the side seams and lined up the cut edge with the top edge of the hem. Then I stitched around the hem of the black shirt to attach the two pieces making sure to follow the stitch line of the original hem.  I used purple thread but you can use a matching thread.

Next I matched up the sleeve edges, right sides together and serged them together.  You can use a straight stitch instead, knit fabrics tend to be resistant to fraying so there really isn’t much need to finish the edges.

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So here’s how the shirt should look at this point.

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In order to give the sleeves the look of being layered I flipped the seam up and stitched a “hem” around the black part of the sleeve.

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I wanted to try and cover up some the paint spatters on the front of the shirt.  Reverse applique is my favourite thing at the moment so I decided to put some reverse appliqued flowers on the front.  It didn’t completely get rid of the paint splatter but I think it looks very cool now.

I cut the sleeves and front from the back of what was left of the purple shirt.  I used the back since it was less stained and slightly bigger than the front.  I turned the shirt inside out and pinned the purple to the front.

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Next I turned it right side out again and drew my design on the shirt.  Then I simply used a straight stitch and went around the design a couple of times.

I trimmed the excess purple from edges on the back and then cut out the black inside the petals.

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And voila! New shirt that should last at least one more year before she completely grows out of it.

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Some thoughts on this project.

To lengthen the sleeves you don’t have to cut the sleeves short, you can just add to the hem of the sleeves similar to how I added length to the hem of the shirt.

If you don’t have enough to lengthen the sleeves, just cut them off and hem them as short sleeves, that way they can’t be too short. 🙂

You can leave the front of the shirt plain, sew on an embellishment, iron on a patch, embroider something, it’s really up to you.  I just really like reverse applique. 😀

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 😀

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. 😀 )

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.