upcycle

5 Earth Friendly Sewing Projects

Happy Earth Day!

I’ll admit it… I’m a pretty crunchy mama. This is probably not surprising to you if you hang around my blog enough ;) I don’t like to be wasteful, and I don’t like to throw my money away on things that I’m just going to throw away. That is one of the things I love about sewing – using the resources around me and doing my best not to add more waste to the world. So I’m a fan of Earth Day, celebrating how we can be kind to our Earth and our future generations.

So I thought I’d highlight five of my favorite Earth-friendly sewing projects… a little upcycling, a little re-using… just what the Earth and I both love. ;)

5 Earth Friendly Sewing Projects

Sew your baby some prefold cloth diapers

How to make your own Prefold Diapers

Re-size a men’s button-up shirt for a kid

Re-size a men's button-up shirt for a kid

Sew a simple tote bag that you can re-use over and over

simple tote tutorial

Sew reusable baby wipes and burp cloths (or just wipes for kids who make messes of all.the.things)

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Sew a skirt from a vintage sheet (and add some doily pockets!)

vintage sheet skirt tutorial

Happy Earth-friendly sewing, friends!

Study Hall Jacket – Go To Patterns Tour!

When Andrea of Go To Patterns came out with the Study Hall Jacket pattern, I may or may not have squealed out loud. It is so.darn.cuuuuuute. And I bought it right away. Because after sewing up the Casual Lady [three times] and knowing how much I loved it, I knew I was getting a really, really good pattern. So when she asked me to join up with her pattern tour, it was the kick in the pants I needed to finally make it.

[Disclosure: I'm an affiliate of Go To Patterns. All opinions are, as always, my own.]


Study Hall Jacket  If Only They Would NapThis pattern has a bazillion options. You can girly it up with ruffles or keep it simple. Welt pockets, zipper pockets, hood… pretty much whatever you could want in a jacket.

DSC_0536I sort of mostly followed the pattern, but changed up a few details. I’ve never been a by-the-recipe kind of girl..

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I used a light corduroy for the main part of the jacket, and sandwiched a layer of flannel between the corduroy and the lining… because we live in Wisconsin, people. It’s cold here. Nearly all the time. [pants tutorial found here]

DSC_0531Then I lined it with the most fantastic not-actually-fabric ever.

DSC_0527This baby is an upcycled bedsheet from Target. It was on clearance. It was calling my name, obviously.

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The pockets were not in the pattern, but I wanted a print on the outside of the coat too. This was the other sheet set on clearance… it also called to me. I made the collar a little differently too. More like this jacket. The ribbing cuffs [which I made a little bit longer than the pattern called for] and waistband make this jacket so super comfy. Though there are options for these too if you don’t want to use knit fabric.

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I was pretty amazed at how quickly this pattern came together. I maaaay have freaked out before I sewed it, thinking I wasn’t going to have it done in time [since my sewing time is pretty unpredictable], and then I did it in a few hours. Which included me cutting the wrong size hood and not realizing it until I was trying to attach it and then scrapping it and going with the collar… which I like even better. I love happy accidents like that!

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And… what’s a photo shoot without a weird face, right? That means he likes it.

If you haven’t already, definitely check out all the other stops on the Go To Patterns tour over on Andrea’s blog. I have really loved seeing what everyone has been sewing. I’ve especially loved Stacey’s cowl neck Casual Lady and Justine’s comic Anywhere Dress. So cute.the-tour

And because Andrea’s so super awesome, she’s got a sale on her patterns this week –

Use code KCW10 to get 10% off your entire order

Use code KCW20 to get 20% off your order of $30 or more

Happy sewing, friends!

Casual Comfort: Sewing for Kindergarten

This year, my oldest started kindergarten. [cue the mama tears!] Yes, we are homeschooling… but that doesn’t make it any less “my baby is growing up too fast!!” But since I have a kindergartener this year, I get to be a part of the Sewing for Kindergarten series – hosted by Sewing Like Mad!

 

While we could stay in our jammies all day if we want to, I’m not usually that kind of mom. I like to get myself dressed and ready for the day – and the kids too. But we do like to keep it casual and comfy.
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Not only is this look comfy for school at home, but it’s also totally appropriate for field trips or our weekly homeschool group.
DSC_0982The sweatshirt is upcycled [if you're new here - that's my jam] from a thrifted sweatshirt. People.. this is the softest sweatshirt ever.in.life.

DSC_0029The pattern is the Paperback Writer Cardi from Shwin Designs. [affiliate link]DSC_0975

Shauna is the sweetest and sent me this pattern, just because she thought my boys would like it. She’s so amazing like that. I knew it had to be a part of this outfit. This fabric gives it an old-grandpa-sweater feel, which I totally love. The pattern is a dolman-style cardigan, so it doesn’t have separate sleeve pieces [even though it looks like it does here... that's just because of my upcycle]

DSC_0101The T-shirt is another upcycle, from a local band that sadly broke up. This boy was in my belly at many of their shows, little does he know.

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Now the pants… I have had these color blocked pants [my own pattern] envisioned in my head for quite some time.DSC_0060They’re fun and bright, just like my boy.

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I’ll admit that I’m not super crazy about this denim, because it’s a little on the stiff side until it’s washed a bazillion times. It’s the same denim I used on these shorts.
DSC_0057But obviously that doesn’t bother him. Still good for homeschool P.E.

DSC_0030Who are you sewing for this year? Mie at Sewing Like Mad has three different flickr groups for you to post your outfits for all different ages, then she’s giving away prizes! [Prizes!] Plus, isn’t it just fun to show other people what you’ve sewn for your kid? Says the blogger…

Thanks for letting me sew along, Mie!

When pajama pants make you feel successful..

I know I’m not alone when I say that getting to my sewing machine these days is work. Sometimes life takes over and babies don’t sleep and two-year-olds dump out every box in the cupboard and your sewing table becomes the catch-all for everything.

But when days like that come, pajama pants will rescue you. They will make you feel like successful and productive and like you do something other than wipe noses and bums.

DSC_0670These pants, upcycled from a tee that I loved for years but no longer fit, I had begun sewing months ago. [constructed using the DIY baby pants tutorial]DSC_0669Sometimes it’s the quick and easy projects, the ones that are practical and don’t require details, that give you the most satisfaction.
DSC_0229Because I may not sleep at night or have time to take a shower every day, but I made pajama pants. And that, my friends, makes for a good day.

**Psst… Peek-a-boo Patterns has a sweet Thrifty Thursday deal today! The Varsity Cowl Sweatshirt is only $4! [affiliate link]**Varsity_Cowl_Neck_Pullover

Coastal Craze Baggies and Lazy Days Romper [peekaboo pattern shop tour!]

Hi friends! Today I’m excited to be a part of Peek-a-boo Pattern Shop’s summer tour! Amy has an amazing stock of children’s patterns. There’s something for everyone in every season.

Disclosure: I’m an affiliate of Peek-a-boo Patterns. I received these patterns in exchange for my review. All opinions are honest and my own, and this post contains affiliate links.

coastal craze baggies and lazy days romper Click here to visit Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop.

As I mentioned in this post, my kids are in need of some more summer clothes. So I knew I needed to sew up the Coastal Craze Baggies for my older boys and the Lazy Days Romper for my littlest ones.

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Find the Coastal Craze Baggies here.

DSC_0627My five-and-a-half-year-old is super tall and skinny, so I made his with a size four waistband and a size six length. They fit perfectly. I upcycled an old sweatshirt for the shorts and the stripe fabric [which matches his brother's romper!] is from Girl Charlee.

DSC_0638My three-year-old’s are made from a woven [Michael Miller that I got from Anna awhile ago]. The 3T size was a perfect fit for him. This pattern goes all the way up to size 12, so we’ll be able to use this for a long time!

DSC_0645The romper went together really smoothly. It’s a little bit time consuming, with all the little arm and leg bands, plus the snap facings. But it’s worth it, because it is seriously cute. My son will be two at the end of July, and he fits nicely in the 24 month size. He wears cloth diapers, though, so it’s definitely a little snug. Since that is the largest size, I’ll probably extend the romper a little bit for him next time.

DSC_0632And baby got a romper too! This fabric [also from Girl Charlee] you might recognize from my Sew in Tune rockstar look.

DSC_0679He’s three months and fits perfectly in the three month size [even with cloth diapers!], though I’ll probably size up for the next one, just so he can wear it for the whole summer.

You can find the Lazy Days Romper pattern here.

DSC_0597Don’t they look set for summer? [some more enthusiastic than others...]

Make sure you check out all the other stops on the Peek-a-boo Pattern Shop tour! These ladies have all been sewing up some lovely things for their littles!

And what would a pattern tour be without a super fun giveaway? Peek-a-boo Pattern Shop is giving away a ten-pack of patterns to THREE lucky winners! So fun! Amy has designed such a wide variety of patterns for boys and girls, and every one has clear step-by-step instructions with photos that are easy to follow.
Click here to enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway!

Summer Brights [part of the Knock it Off series!]

Today I’m super excited to be part of the Knock it Off series at Elegance and Elephants.

I’ll admit, I have a hard time shopping for regular priced clothes for my kids. Not only do kids outgrow their clothes ridiculously fast, but seriously… $25 for a pair of shorts that they’re going to get mud all over in five seconds? Um, no thank you.

spring brights GAP knock offSo with a combination of upcycling and from scratch sewing, I knocked off this GAP outfit for my five-year-old [ahem, five and a half...].

DSC_0540I am loving the bright colors of spring! I had some green denim from JoAnn’s that was perfect for these simple flat-front shorts.DSC_0554And I added some faux back pockets, just for fun. :)DSC_0574The sweatshirt was upcycled from an XXL hoodie that I snagged at a thrift store a long time ago. It’s suuuuper soft. Upcycling tip: use existing pieces of the garment to create your own. I re-used the hood and part of the pocket. I also cut off the waistband and re-attached it onto the bottom of my sweatshirt. Such a time saver!DSC_0538The hoodie wasn’t a henley, so I added the placket and buttons. I did my stitching in a green thread to match the shorts… just because I liked the green so much.DSC_0592The gingham shirt was one that had been retired from my hubby’s closet. Have you ever sized down a button-up for your kiddos?

 

 

Re-size a men's button-up shirt for a kid

It’s so easy…. here’s how to do it:

DSC_0466Place a pattern piece [or a folded shirt] on top of the button-up shirt. If your pattern piece is for knit fabric [like mine was], give some extra seam allowance. Cut around the pattern piece, cutting through both the front and the back. DO NOT cut through the button placket or the collar. Leave those in-tact.

Note: Unless you’re making a shirt for something super formal like a wedding, you can most likely get away with leaving the collar in-tact for an older child. Or if you have a smaller child, use a smaller shirt. It will be a little big, but not so noticeable that you need to go through the trouble of messing with the collar.DSC_0470Cut off both sleeves and cut them to match your sleeve pattern piece [or use a shirt that fits your child]. Re-use the hem of the sleeve to make it an even easier sew.

Enter super fancy graphics…

vscocam2Unfold the body of the shirt and the sleeves – sew the sleeves on. vscocam1

Sew along the bottom of the sleeves and down the sides of the shirt. Seriously easy.

DSC_0612Thanks for popping in today! Happy sewing. :)

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Cuff Bracelet Tutorial: Because She’s Worth it!

When thinking about what kind of bracelet or zipper pouch tutorial I wanted to share with you as part of the She’s Worth it Campaign, the very first thing that came to mind was a simple cuff bracelet.

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Natural fibers, easy to make, and one that requires little to no sewing skills.
cuff bracelet tutorialSupplies Needed:

  • felted wool
  • twill tape
  • button
  • needle/thread
  • fabric paint
  • paint brush/stamps
  • sewing machine – optional
  • scissors

DSC_00031. Cut a rectangle from a scrap of felted wool that fits around your wrist snugly, but not too tightly. Choose something that’s soft and feels good against your skin – and make sure the fabric stretches horizontally [around your wrist].

DSC_00062. Cut a piece of twill tape that’s a couple inches long, depending on what word you are printing.

DSC_00143. Carefully sew the twill tape onto the center of the rectangle. This could be done with a sewing machine or by hand. [you may find this step easier to do after you paint your letters on - it's your choice] The two cut ends will fray, but I really like how this looks.

DSC_01324. Using fabric paint and either stamps or a paint brush, paint your letters onto the twill tape.

DSC_01365. Cut a small slit on one end that is just large enough for your button.

DSC_01386. Hand sew the button onto the other end.

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DSC_0150Awkward hand shot… definitely no hand modeling in my future, friends.

DSC_0155This one I cut smaller and cut the twill tape on all sides, so that it would fray all around.

DSC_0170Have you made a bracelet or zipper pouch to give to women and girls who have been rescued from slavery? Want to see some other tutorials to get more inspiration? Andrea has made a Pinterest board for the She’s Worth it Campaign, so be sure to follow and get involved. Because she is worth it.

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Cool Cardigan… with mix and match patterns

Have y’all seen Blank Slate Patterns by Melly Sews? This girl is a fellow boy-mama and a pattern making machine.

I recently sewed up the Cool Cardigan for my oldest. And seriously, this pattern is fabulous.

DSCF7507I used the size 5 and it was mostly a good fit. My dude is RIDICULOUSLY skinny, so when I make it again, I’ll for sure take in the sides.

DSCF7509I had ordered both knit fabrics from Girl Charlee, and I really like it a lot, though the sweater knit turned out to be much thinner than I had anticipated [only because I failed to read where it said "lightweight" - woops!]. So I upcycled an old sweatshirt and lined the cardigan.

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I love the combo of the argyle and stripes. The contrasting bands and pockets are a great feature. I omitted the buttons on the pockets, because I knew my 5yo would never use the buttons and they would end up just driving him crazy. Plus I only used three buttons instead of four, like pattern called for, because… well, I only had three matching buttons. ;)DSCF7525

As long as you don’t have prego baby brain like me, this pattern is a pretty quick sew. If you do have prego baby brain, just expect it to take a little longer, as you stare at the pattern instructions without understanding even the simplest of steps. [cut on the fold.. what does that even mean?! kidding. sort of.]

And p.s. don’t forget, today is the last day to buy the Sew Fab e-pattern bundle! I’ve never seen a pattern deal like this before, so if you haven’t scooped this one up, be sure to do it today!

The Grandpa Inspired Look – sewing along with PR&P’s boy week

Well I’m sewing along with another week of Project Run and Play! Really, how could I not sew along with boy week?

I decided to sew for my three-year-old, because honestly, I don’t do that often. Poor middle child. Plus, he’s my most reluctant model.

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As I lay awake the other night [seriously, pregnancy insomnia? I'd like to sleep while I can, thankyouverymuch], I knew exactly what I needed to make for my middle man. Inspired, once again, by this photo:

bumpa, dasche, jay, busiaMy grandpa seriously knew how to rock the plaid pants. Instead of going plaid this time, though, I went argyle. Argyle! I seriously love this fabric.

DSCF7400The pants are made from this yummy Kaufman 21 Wale Cool Cords Argyle Brown that I got from fabric.com. It’s a self-drafted pattern based on another pair of his pants, and they fit him exactly the way I wanted.

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The shirt is upcycled from a men’s tee and self-drafted as well, though I wish I had made the neckline a little bit higher. This dude of mine has a large head and since I don’t sew for him terribly often, I always overcompensate.

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Then to take the grandpa inspiration to the next level, I sized down a thrifted sweater. I used the existing neckline, which meant I had to move a button up. It ended up a little bit big, but he should be able to wear it for awhile.

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The pants also have a little flare at the bottom [which I could not capture for the life of me, since he was being oh-so-cooperative].

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Flat front, elastic back. Best style for a three-year-old.

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He really was a fan of the clothes. Maybe just not a fan of me….
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And then he realized just how crazy his mom is for making him stand in front of the open door in twenty degree weather.

 

Linking up with Make it Wear it on The Train to Crazy.

Handmade from Head to Toe [a new outfit]

Even though we’re in the midst of the Boys Will Be Boys… gift series [which I'm totally loving, by the way - I hope you are too!], I decided to break from the tutorial posts.

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If you are a sewing mama, you might be with me when I say that sometimes, you just have to sew for your littles.

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Even if that means letting your toddler rip apart your scrap bin so that you can do it.

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But when you come out on the other side, and you have an outfit that is pretty much exactly what you had in mind, it’s worth every second of clean up.

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With some tweaking of my overall pattern, I made these pants with soft, comfortable grey corduroy [that I've used before on these pants].

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The pants are fully lined with this fabulous fabric.

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He’s wearing the shoes I made from the pattern I shared this morning. Once again, he thought they were not worthy of photographing. I disagreed, but you know how it is arguing with a 16 month old.

DSCF7107At least the shoes are nice to look at, even when they’re not on baby feet.

DSCF7132The shirt is upcycled from a men’s XXL T-shirt snagged on clearance at Target. I modified the Lil’ Long Johns pattern to make the tee, since I really liked the fit. [ironically, the shirt I upcycled for those PJs was also found at Target on clearance... I scored the mother load of XXL T-shirts that day]

DSCF7114Hooray for new outfits!