I adore upcycling!! And, there are a few reasons why. The one that stands out, of course, is that it’s environmentally responsible to make something new from something old, rather than throwing it out. There are some other great reasons, too, though! First, it’s a great way to save your pennies! I so often hear that sewing for your children can get expensive, and it can. Salvaging fabric from used clothing is easy on the budget! Second, the aisles of thrift shops are a great place to find fabrics that are hard to come by elsewhere. You might even find yourself buying and working with fabrics that you wouldn’t have considered using otherwise. Perhaps my favorite motivation, though, for re-using old clothing is that you get to see how the fabric wears! When you purchase fabric new and unwashed, it’s hard to know what it will look like twenty washes later. With used clothing, the fabric has already been washed and dried multiple times, so you can see how it’s holding up!This week’s challenge theme at Project Run & Play was the “Hand-me-down Makeover”. With last week’s disappointing loss, I wasn’t planning to continue sewing along, BUT on the last day of voting, Jamie came running into my studio and excitedly exclaimed, “I know you’re sewing for Charlie this week, but next week, can you make me an outfit with a bow tie?” Apparently, I’d gotten my boys really excited about having a new handmade outfit every week for four weeks. Without even thinking, I started explaining to Jamie that his Inspector Gadget outfit was losing, and I probably wouldn’t sew the remaining outfits …. and he cried. And, then I cried. And, then I promised to sew the rest of the weeks. So, here we are!
The very first time that I sewed along with PR&P, there was an upcycling challenge — using men’s button-down shirts, I think — and I made a beach outfit for Jamie. You can see that outfit here: the Upcycled Beach Boy. When I was scouring the racks of a local thrift store and ran across a navy blue button-down shirt printed all over with bright red crabs, I thought it seemed fitting to go Back to the Beach this time around!For the camp shirt, I began with three cotton woven shirts which I chopped up and pieced back together to create a casual, fun, beach-y top. I modified my Everyday Camp Shirt pattern by shifting the shoulder seam towards the front, narrowing the collar and adding a collar stand. I also drafted up a western-style yoke for each shoulder. I finished the top with metal snaps, at Charlie’s request. “So I can do it myself!”
The back has a pieced, straight yoke.Charlie was so excited about the crabs on this shirt! As soon as we got to the beach, he started telling me this story about a crab and his family who live under the sand and the water. He’s such a great story-teller!Under the camp shirt, Charlie is wearing a tank top made from my free The Tank pattern with the addition of the pocket from my Honor Roll Raglan.The tank started life as a red cotton interlock mock-turtleneck.
The shorts are my favorite part of this whole outfit because of the cool side zipper pockets! I upcycled the shorts from a men’s khaki twill cotton shirt. (I used every spare inch of the shirt fabric!)I used my Sand & Sidewalk Boardshorts pattern for these. I loved the way that last week’s zipper fly turned out, so I was going to do another, but Charlie begged for “pull-on pants”, so I went with the drawstring finish instead.I had the idea for this zipper pocket early in the process.I originally thought I would just work it into the knee panel, but after discussing it with a friend, I decided that it really needed to be on the side. So, I wrapped the knee panel all the way around and pieced the pocket into the center of it. (I can totally do a tutorial for it, if there’s interest! Maybe in the spring when those of you who don’t live in Florida are sewing shorts again?)It’s the perfect pocket for shell-collecting!I used the Everyday Camp Shirt pocket for the back pockets on these pants. (I actually did the same thing last week, and really liked the look.)This is a great Florida fall outfit! Charlie declared it just right for running …… jumping …… and bird chasing!Wait! One more … this is just before he got soaking wet from head to toe!Up next week, a denim bow-tie? My wheels are turning!
I am so excited that my Playhouse Dress is part of Perfect Pattern Parcel #5!! This collection includes six beautiful and versatile sewing patterns for girls from preschool to preteen.
Finally, you’ll need a sewable, paper-backed, iron-on adhesive for the applique. I used Heat ‘n Bond Lite.
Cut out the front bodice and back bodice of the Playhouse Dress using black interlock. Prepare your applique pieces following the instructions for the iron-on adhesive that you’ve chosen. Use pink fabric for the flowers and green for the vine. I traced my pieces onto the paper backing of the Heat ‘n Bond, then ironed the adhesive to the fabric and cut out the pieces. Once you have all of your pieces ready to be ironed on, place them on the front bodice piece, checking to make sure that everything fits well within the 1/2″ seam allowance and all the pieces are centered properly.Remove the flowers, and iron on the vine. Depending on the adhesive that you’ve chosen, you may be able to move on to the flowers from here, but the adhesive that I’m using requires that the edges be stitched down. We’re working with knit fabrics that don’t fray, so I’m just going to stitch all the way around 1/8″ from the edge. Those small curves can be tough to go around. Set your stitch length fairly short, sew slowly, and try not to make sharp turns on the curves. Turning the fabric a little bit with each stitch will give you a nicer curve. If you use a matching thread, this doesn’t have to be absolutely perfect stitching.Once your vine is done, add your flowers, one at a time.Set the bodice pieces aside so that we can work on the skirt. To create the faux sash, you’ll basically be adding a strip of fabric to the top of your front and back skirt pieces. I made my sash 1″ wide finished. The easiest way to do this is to go back once you’ve printed the whole pattern, find which pattern pages to print for just the top portion of the skirt, and print a second set of just those few pages. (You’ll need at least 2″ of the top of the skirt.) Measure down 1″ from the top of the full skirt pattern and draw a second curve. Use the partial skirt pattern to help draw the curve.Measure down 2″ from the top of the partial skirt pattern and draw a second curve. Use the full skirt pattern to help draw the curve.Cut the top 1″ away from the full skirt pattern and discard it. Cut the top 2″ from the partial skirt pattern and keep it. You’ll end up with a full skirt pattern that is 1″ shorter than it originally was and a 2″ “sash” pattern.Cut the full skirt pattern from royal blue interlock and the sash pattern from tan or gold interlock – two of each, one for the front and one for the back of the skirt. Pin the bottom edge of each sash piece to the top edge of a skirt piece with right sides together. Start pinning at the center, and gently ease the two curves together as you go.The edges of the sash will overhang a little. When you stitch the two pieces together, your stitching should go right down the center of the points on each side.Once these pieces are sewn together, press the seam allowances toward the bottom of the skirt. If you end up with any overhanging fabric on the sides, just trim it away so that the sides are straight again.From here, you’ll cut your remaining pieces and follow the instructions for assembling the dress. I added a decorative stitch just above the hem on my skirt pieces.When you sew the sides, be careful to line up the points so that you get two nice “V”s on both sides. I found that it was easiest to pin and sew those areas with a long stitch, check the alignment, then serge or sew with a tight finishing stitch once I was happy with how the sides looked.And, that’s it! Your sewing is done, and your little fan of all things Frozen is happy enough to twirl all day!! (Huge thanks to our friends’ daughter, E, for being such a beautiful model for me. I hope you enjoy your Anna Dress!)THE PATTERN PARCEL…
Parcel #5: Girls and Tweens includes:
Lily Knit Blazer by Peek-a-Boo Patterns
Everyday Yoga Pant for Girls by Greenstyle
Asymmetrical Drape Top by EYMM
Playhouse Dress by Fishsticks Designs
Mimi Dress and Shirt by Filles a Maman
BONUS PATTERN: Sunki Dress by Figgy’s
Choose a price of $28 or greater for Parcel #5 and you will automatically also be sent the Bonus Pattern. The Bonus Pattern for this Parcel is the Sunki Dress by Figgy’s. The pattern includes both size runs, so you get 18 months through a 16 tween sizing.
Follow the rest of the tour for more inspiration:
Friday, September 19: Pienkel || Cookin’ and Craftin’
Saturday, September 20: The Life Of A Compulsive Crafter
Sunday, September 21: Keep Calm and Carrion || Felt With Love Designs
Monday, September 22: Radiant Home Studio || Sewing Sober
Tuesday, September 23: Sew Fishsticks || La Pantigana || Amanda Rose
Wednesday,September 24: Shawnta Sews || Sprouting JubeJube || Knot Sew Normal
Thursday, September 25: Make It Perfect || Mimi’s Mom || Climbing the Willow
Friday, September 26: Needle and Ted || Our Family Four
Saturday, September 27: Froo & Boo
Sunday, September 28: Stitches by Laura || Vicky Myers creations
Monday, September 29: Cookin’ and Craftin’ || The Crazy Tailor
Tuesday, September 30: mama says sew || FABulous Home Sewn || The Inspired Wren
Wednesday, October 1: lady and the gents || That’s-Sew-Kari || Sewing Sober
Thursday,October 2: Gracious Threads || Blogs Like A Mother || SewsNBows
Friday, October 3: sew chibi || Lulu & Celeste || Made by Sara
Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner! I know, I know, I’m not sure that I’m ready to hear that either, but I love making handmade gifts, and every year I think if I just get started sooner, I won’t be sewing until 1 a.m. on December 25th! Maybe I’ll actually start early this year? At least I can help you start early! This tutorial is one that I shared at Skip to My Lou last year for the Holiday Bake, Craft and Sew-along, but I just finished putting the whole thing together for you in PDF form to make it easy to download, print and sew!
To download the tutorial, just click here: Holiday Kitchen Gift Set. Be sure to save the file to your computer before you print the pattern.
In case you prefer to read the tutorial here on my blog, here it is for you:
Are you looking for the perfect thank-you gift for all of those holiday party hostesses? The Kitchen Gift Set might be just what you need! The set includes fold-over, oven-mitt potholders (my favorite kind) and matching dishtowels.
You’ll be able to get two matching potholders and two coordinating dish towels from one yard each of two coordinating cotton prints. You’ll also need 1/4 yard of Insul-Bright or another insulating fleece for the potholders and 1 yard of absorbent cotton fabric for the backing of the dishtowels (diaper fabric, waffle weave, pique, huck toweling, etc.)Let’s start with the potholders! You’ll need the pattern pieces found here: Potholder Pattern Pieces. (Be sure to print that “actual size” and check the measurement of the 2 1/2″ square.) Cut out all of your pieces. For each potholder, you’ll cut 2 pocket pieces of Fabric A, 2 pocket pieces of Fabric B, 2 base pieces of Fabric B, 2 base pieces of Insul-Bright, 2 trim pieces – 7″ x 2″, and 2 ruffle pieces – 12″ x 2 1/2″.
Fold each of your ruffle pieces over with the wrong sides together and match up the long edges. Press well.
Sew two rows of basting stitches (the longest stitching your machine allows) along the long raw edges — one at 1/8” and one at 1/4”—leaving the threads on each end 2 to 3 inches long.
Pull the bobbin threads from each end to gather each ruffle until it is the same length as the trim piece.
Set one ruffle aside. Pin the gathered edge of the remaining ruffle to the right side of one trim piece along one of the long edges. Check to make sure that your gathers are evenly divided. (You can baste here if you’d like.)
Place one of the Fabric A pocket pieces on top so that the right sides of the trim piece and the pocket piece are together and the ruffle is sandwiched between. Line up the edges as shown and pin in place.
Sew the pinned edge.
Flip the pieces to the right side and press the ruffle towards the curved edge of the pocket piece while pressing the seam allowance in the opposite direction. Topstitch 1/4″ from the top edge of the ruffle.
If you find that you have small spots on each side where the ruffle sticks out. Just flip the pocket piece over and trim those off.
Pin the long edge of one Fabric B pocket piece to the remaining raw edge of the trim piece with the right sides together. Sew the pinned edge.
Flip the pieces apart and press the seam allowance toward the ruffle.
Fold the pocket over so that the wrong sides are together and the curved edges are all lined up. Press well. Follow the same steps to assemble the remaining pocket.
Set your pocket pieces aside for now. Take one of your base pieces and draw a quilting grid on the right side of it. I used one of my Frixion pens to do this, but you can use a washable or disappearing marker, as well. I placed my lines 1 3/4″ apart, starting from the center in each direction.
Pin this piece on top of the two layers of Insul-Bright.
Stitch down each line, starting with the center line and working out. (If your machine has a walking foot, use it for this step and the remaining steps to help keep your fabrics from slipping while you’re sewing.)
Place your finished pocket pieces on top of the remaining base piece, lining up the curved edges as shown.
Flip the quilted base piece/Insul-bright over on top of these so that the right sides are together and the pocket pieces are sandwiched between. Pin in place.
Stitch all the way around, leaving an opening for turning in one short end. Clip or trim the curves before turning right side out.
Turn through the opening and push the corners out neatly. Tuck the raw edges of the opening in and press well. Pin the opening closed.
Topstitch all the way around at 1/4″. (In addition to using your walking foot for this step, a denim needle will help to prevent skipped stitches when going over the thick areas.) Your first potholder is done! Now you just need to make it a mate.
Let’s move on to the dish towels!Start by cutting out your pieces. You’ll need a layer or two of absorbent fabric. (I’m using two layers of diaper cloth from Joanns. Be sure to wash and dry all of your fabrics before getting started!) For each dishtowel, you’ll cut these pieces: 1 or 2 layers of absorbent fabric – 23 1/4″ x 14″ (if you cut two layers, you’ll treat them as one from here on), 1 Fabric A main piece – 21″ x 14″, 1 Fabric A ruffle piece – 22″ x 2 1/2″, 1 Fabric B large trim piece – 3″ x 14″ and 1 Fabric B small trim piece – 1 1/2″ X 14″.
Follow the same steps that you used for the potholders above to create your ruffle.
Pin the gathered edge along one long edge of the smaller trim piece on the right side.
Place the larger trim piece on top so that the right sides are together and the ruffle is sandwiched between. Line up one of the long raw edges of the larger trim piece with the pinned edges of the ruffle and smaller trim piece and pin in place. Sew along the pinned edge.
Flip the pieces over to the right sides. Press the ruffle towards the larger trim piece with the seam allowance in the opposite direction, but do not topstitch yet.
Line up the remaining long raw edge of the smaller trim piece along one short edge of the main towel piece with the right sides together. Pin and sew.
Flip the pieces apart and turn to the wrong side. Press this seam allowance over the seam allowance from the ruffle.
Flip back over to the right side and topstitch 1/4″ from top of the ruffle.
Place the finished top face down on your absorbent layers so that the right sides are facing. Pin.Stitch all the way around, leaving a 4″ opening in one side for turning. Clip the corners.
Turn the towel through the opening. Push the corners out neatly and tuck the raw edges of the opening inside. Press well and topstitch all the way around at 1/4″. Your dish towel is done! Make a second one if you’d like, and your Kitchen Gift Set will be ready to gift to your favorite hostess!
I mentioned a few weeks ago that I’m working on adding a section to my website of “extras” that you can add to your Go Fish Series patterns. These will all be free downloads, and I think that sewing them will help you build skills that you can take to your other sewing, too!
My first Go Fish Extra is this quick tutorial for adding a zippered pocket to the front of your Go Figure Tech Bag. The GFTB is a zippered tote that you customize to fit your electronic device …. tablet, e-reader or laptop. There’s this perfect point on the outside for a giant zippered pocket. This is actually one of those things that I wanted to include in the original pattern, but since these are designed as tri-fold sewing cards in paper format, sometimes I just run out of room!I put this tutorial together in PDF format for you, and you can download it right here.