Sunday, December 11, 2011

Recycled Sweater Bag

I found a great site,, with great sewing tutorials. They had a diaper bag tutorial that I wanted to try for the first time. I've never made a bag or a purse before - but this was so easy! I took an old extra large beaded and embroidered sweater that I was going to throw away, and cut it up to make this bag. I used every bit of that sweater for this bag. The lining material was also left over from another project, so I only had to buy the interfacing.

At times with all the layers of interfacing, thick sweater, lining, pockets ... my presserfoot was all the way to the top! Thank goodness for my old extra heavy duty Janome machine. If you use regular cloth it shouldn't be so bad. You cant really see the beads on these pictures, but the cloth had white seed pearl type beads scattered over it. Definitely made sewing interesting!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Butterfly Skirt from Thrift Store Mumu

I made this cute butterfly skirt from a giant sized sundress I found at the thrift store. The cloth was cute and in good shape, there was plenty of fabric due to the large size, and it only cost a few dollars.

Making the skirt only calls for making two cuts, sewing one side seam, making a casing and inserting one piece of elastic.

I cut off the bodice of the sun dress below the arm holes, leaving a good length of cloth for the skirt, since my daughter wanted it long. At this point you have a skirt basically already -  complete with side seams already sewn and the bottom already hemmed. If I made a casing and inserted elastic in the waist right now, the skirt would be much too thick and bunchy at the waist for my tiny-waisted daughter. The skirt needs to be trimmed down a bit for a better fit.

I took her hip measurement and added two inches - this will be the width of the skirt at the waist (the waist measurement).  Starting at one side seam with your skirt inside out and folded at the side seams, measure out half your waist measurement at the waist of your cloth. (Half because the cloth already has two side seams sewn and is folded.)  Mark the waist seam measurement on the cloth.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Dress Recycled into Skirt and Top

We recently went through all our clothes and gave away to Goodwill a good portion of stuff we didn't need or wear any more. I kept a few things behind that I thought I might like to recycle into something else. I kept three dresses that I had really liked, but that no longer fit me since I had lost weight or that I just did like the style of anymore.

This first dress was one piece with a short 3 button placket in front. It was high waisted and really was always a little too big for me up top. After I lost weight the whole thing was just too big. I really liked the material though, so I decided to cut off the skirt right below the high waistline. I had to move a side zipper down a bit so that it ended at the waist. I also took in about 3 inches all the way up the side seam opposite the zippered side to make the waist fit in tighter. I finished off the waistline with a simple rolled seam and topstiched.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Headcoverings from Recycled Knits

Here is a picture of my first attempt to recycle some knit tops into headcoverings for church. We are using knit fabric for the stretch. The stretchy knit fabric really stays put on your head. Both patterns are like headbands, one, the headscarf, with a long tail that hangs in back. I like the two on the outside the best, but that may be because Claire insisted on wearing hers behind her ears! I also think Claire's isn't really tight enough. 

Mine is a wide headband, not really a headcovering, meant to be worn under a scarf to keep it from slipping. It worked beautifully and I did not need to clip the sides of the scarf anywhere to keep it from slipping in church. You will appreciate not having the distraction of a slipping scarf during church! The headband keeps your hair neat and makes tying the scarf behind your head easier.

It took me less than 15 minutes each, from cutting the cloth to trying it on, to make these one morning. I selected several knit tops from a pile we were giving away and let the girls pick the one they wanted for their headcovering. It was hard for me to cut up a good shirt, but I thought of all the hassle I was saving myself from by not driving 30 minutes to a fabric store and then not finding what I wanted at a decent price. Although, if you have knit remnants lying around those will work too.

What follows is some general how too. For detailed instructions click on the links I provided.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Second Sunday Hat, Trimmed

Back of Hat with ribbon.

Claire in my hat.

This time I crocheted the hat using a tweedy worsted weight yarn, and trimmed it with some toile ribbon. I just shaped the ribbon and pinned it to the hat. It was a bit difficult to get it to lie flat since the hat was floppy, so I had to have someone stand there with the hat on their head. I stapled a bit of ribbon in a loop for the two ends to go through. I have made a lavender colored hat for Claire, and Anna is making a beige hat for herself. I have found that after making three hats, all of worsted weight, that the different yarns were slightly different sizes anyway, so when making the hat add rows to the crown, sides and brim if you need to, to get it just the size you want.

Here is the pattern which I got from  Beverly Casey at
Dont join your rounds, you just go round and round. Use a small saftey pin to make the beginning of a row to help you keep track of where to start and end the next row.

My favorite Recycled Skirt

This is my favorite recycled skirt. I love it because it is so light and airy, plus it is roomy enough for my long stride. I got it at the thrift store for a few dollars and altered it to my tastes. First I got rid of the draw-string waist, which I hate because the knot or bow shows beneath your shirts, and I replaced it by running elastic through the draw opening instead. Then I added a side-seam pocket to one side to hold my reading glasses. I searched on the web for "How to sew a side-seam pocket", and just followed the directions. I like this skirt so much that I think I will make a pattern from it and make myself another one!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

A Skirt from two Pants

This is what the skirt will look like when it is done. I added some white lace all across the bottom after this picture was taken, and it looks real cute.

I am going to take these two pairs of pants that no longer fit my daughter, and make them into a long skirt for her. I chose these two because they are of similar weight and the colors match. You can use two pairs of blue jeans that are too short or too tight in the waist, if as a skirt the waist can slide up a bit and fit just fine.

I will use all of one pants and part of the other. I will use the entire pair of the solid colored pants for the skirt top and sides, and the striped pants will provide a panel to fill in the front and back of the skirt. (If you are making a shorter skirt you would only need one pair of pants and you would cut off it’s legs a foot or so to fill in the panel.) The top part of the second pair of pants that will be left over can also be used to make another skirt by sewing a length of cloth in place of the legs. 

Lay your pant leg out flat inside out so you can see the inside seam (the inseam). It is a waste of time to use a seam ripper to rip this seam, so we are just going to cut the seam right off! Start at the bottom of one leg. Cut up the inseam, cutting off the seam all the way up across the crotch and back down the other pant leg. This opens up the pants. If you put them on now they look like a skirt with a triangular piece missing from the front and back. We will us the lower part of the pant legs of the other ( striped ) pair of pants to fill in this triangle. The cat is not really necessary for the work, although she thinks she is helpful!

What the inseam looks like as you are cutting it off.