Holidayeeeee! Celabrateeeeee!

“If we took a holiday,

Took some time to celebrate.

Just one day out of life,

It would be, It would be so nice!”

Thanks Madonna, 1983. Did I take you back a little bit? Did you sing along? I bet you did…don’t lie, come on now. ūüėČ

*sigh.

Here goes nuthin’ — WE ARE GOING on a Holiday— A Holiday Cut Out Blog tour¬† with Bella Sunshine Designs that is!

BSD holiday cut out blog tour

What does that mean? I’ve never been on a blog tour before! So let’s find out how much fun this will be…Are you with me??? You’ll find Clever Catastrophe on the blog tour right HERE¬†<<< click that link to get to the blog tour day 1>>>>.

Every day this week, the bloggers listed above will be telling YOU how much fun they have had with this NEW pattern that just released from BSD. Thanks for coming along! Be sure to read to the end of the post for a SPECIAL CODE to get you a discount on the new pattern.

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All ready for Easter!

 

 

HOLIDAYS! You either love them or hate them, but seriously….special holidays only come once a year. These special holidays we REALLY like to celebrate. What better way to celebrate than by wearing something festive? How about dressing your little one up in the CUTEST little things you can find for each holiday? That’s how I like to celebrate!

Well as you know, I love to SEW! That means that in general, if there is a big holiday coming up <<and I have the time>> I will be sewing something special for my little diva to wear. Sometimes the boys get something cool too….But my little one is just too easy to sew precious things for, and she is growing so fast…I’m trying to take advantage while I can.

Here goes— I had the chance a few weeks ago to test ANOTHER pattern from Bella Sunshine Designs. YES ANOTHER ONE! This gal is going to become a household name by the time I’m done here. I know my last few posts have been all about BSD but SO WHAT. You love it, I love it, so why not?!

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The bunny cut out.

 

This is the Holiday Cut-out Dress and Top pattern. It is so simple in the design, great for beginners and good to learn from as well. The pattern¬†ranges in size for 12 months to size 10. The dress has a loose fitted bodice so it will slide over the child’s head and shoulder straps to tie. The cut out in the back comes in 6 different shapes; star, heart, shamrock, bunny, pumpkin, and¬†tree. the same cutout shape can be used for an applique on the front of the dress. Great for all the major holidays! The dress is simple and a quick sew. ūüôā

I figured while I was testing this dress out I would whip up a few more holiday dresses….The fourth of July is one of my favorites because we love to be patriotic. This family s slightly obsessed with stars, military family, and Patriots football fans…so red, white, and blue all year round for us!

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I LOVE this star cut out!!!!!!! Perfect little sun top!

 

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Top/ tunic length star cut out, and bow tie shorts.

This is the top length for the cut out dress. I added 1″ in length for this to make it more of a tunic than a top. I made my girl some matching bow tie shorts (in knee length) to match the top— and when she is wearing something fitted I really prefer if she has a little more bum coverage.

Next up Halloween.

BSD phtoto shoot 9¬†Remember how I HAD to make matching bow tie leggings? YES this is what they were for! Here is little Miss Shelby showing off her bows and her little pumpkin applique. I love that this dress is so versatile that I can use this simple pattern for every holiday. Pair it with leggings or shorts…put it over a shirt if its cold outside!

I do have to say that the dress may look a little longer here in this pic. I honestly made this a TAD bigger because I am hoping that she will still fit into it by the time October rolls around. Honestly the fit was great if you go by the measurement charts of the pattern. I just went bigger because I made this dress 8 months in advance.

BSD phtoto shoot 8¬†Her little pumpkin in the back, aweeeeeeeee! She asked me if she could go trick or treating now. I had to tell her it was way to early for this! ūüėČ PS— when you purchase the pattern, you will notice there are different sizes for the cutout, I used the small cutout here and in my others on a size 3 dress, my personal preference.

Last holiday I tried….Oh Christmas tree!

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How sweet is this tree??

We actually had a semi-decent day! Even though there was snow on the ground it wasn’t frigid outside. I was insisting on getting Christmas dress pictures outside while we had snow on the ground. The snow was still pretty frozen on the top so she didn’t sink in her sneakers. Tee-hee! Oh— and here are those bowtie leggings with the snaps!

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So same pattern, 4 dresses —well, 3 dresses and one tunic— but so simple, so easy! I made them over just a few days time (stop and go between 4 kids and a life). The dress can be layered or not, tunic or top…lengthened if you need to (very simple to do the math) wear over leggings or shorts, and great for any holiday or occasion! I made my own matching bias tape for these dresses , which is NOT part of the pattern,¬† so you don’t have to make your own if it’s too much work.¬†Double fold bias tape is about $1.99 at the fabric store for one premade package.

****QUICK NOTE****¬†If you’d like to make your own bias tape I used¬†THIS tutorial. I made 1″ single fold bias tape with my bias tape makers I purchased on AMAZON, then I went back and pressed in half to make 1/2″ double fold, perfectly matching bias tape. I love that I make a bunch at a time and I have extra left over for the next fun outfit! If you don’t have bias tape makers, or don’t want to wait to get them, you CAN MAKE bias tape without them! It’s a little more tedious and takes a little more patience, but it can be done. Use this tutorial found HERE.

Back to our regularly scheduled program…I have to say that I think a beginner can handle this pattern and it’s just as much fun for an intermediate or advanced seamstress like myself¬†as well.¬† I didn’t get bored at all as you can see! I like the fun of the bias tape and the applique work. It teaches a few new skills for beginners without being complicated at all. This is a good basic pattern to add to any stash. If I need to¬† spiff it up a little it is a very easy pattern to add to. I can easily see myself adding a ruffle, or something shiny.

ONE PATTERN! Time to go— So here it is — Make sure to go to Bella Sunshine Designs to get your copy of the Holiday Cutout Dress and Top Pattern….use the code BLOGTOUR through¬†the end of the tour¬†to get 20% off!

Don’t forget to pick up your copy of the Bow Tie Leggings and Shorts pattern while you are there! Both patterns will be 20% off with your special code!

Thanks for stopping by my blog and happy sewing!

 

 

***This post contains some affiliate links. This blog post was not sponsored or promoted by anyone. All opinions are my own. No one asked me, paid me or told me to post this. I blog because I love to and I shared these links because I think you will love them too. ;)))

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snap-On Bows for Bow Tie Leggings

EEK! I’ve been mildly featured in another blog….LOL! I use the term mildly just because it was just a mere mention of my name…However I feel mildly famous. ūüėČ Ok, maybe that was too mild.

OK, Ok. Done with silly, so here goes.

The other day I post some CUTIE little bow tie leggings that I made. If you haven’t seen that¬†post you’ll find that post HERE.¬†I tested this pattern for Bella Sunshine Designs and during the testing I made a pair of black and white striped leggings that were just OH-SO cute. BUT I just couldn’t decide what color to make the bows. Shelby wanted pink or purple (of course), and I wanted either red or orange. To be honest— I was also testing a dress that has to go with some holidays ((((YAHHHHH — I cannot show you yet, but I PROMISE you will see by the end of next week— OMG pattern releasing Friday March 13th..;))) Did I say that out loud? OH, darn.

Anyhoo….So you see my dilemma? I needed two pairs of leggings….and they needed to match Halloween and Christmas.

I considered just safety pinning the bows on just for the photo and making a second pair of leggings later. But really— why bother. Why not make this more versatile?

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I whipped out my KAM snaps, my KAM pliers and VIOLA! Snap on, snap off! Halloween and Christmas leggings all in one. Who knew it could be this simple! If you would like to see the tutorial, please see the blog post at Bella Sunshine Designs right HERE. :))) Have fun with this!!!

The Halloween bows on the left are knit, and the Christmas bows on the right are woven. ūüôā

PS—- Did you know that using such a neutral color on the leggings¬†is the perfect addition for your little ones wardrobe. Now you can also use up a bunch of sewing scraps to make bows of every color….and another hint??? MAKE AN EXTRA BOW, stick it on a strip of fold over elastic and make a headband to match…;) Too much fun when you have a little diva….

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***This post contains some affiliate links. This blog post was not sponsored or promoted by anyone. All opinions are my own. No one asked me, paid me or told me to post this. I blog because I love to and I shared these links because I think you will love them too. ;)))

 

Knotty Barbie????

Hello? (TAP – TAP – TAP) Is this thing on?

Oh wait, let me clarify, NO THIS IS NOT AN April Fool’s joke, it’s me…and YES I’m actually blogging today. And yup you read the title right. AND YES I’m serious! Let’s just get to the point so you understand my title. I’m not messing around. But I got your attention didn’t I? Cha-ching, score one for Heidi. ūüôā

¬†SEW— How the heck are ya? Me—I’m doing fairly well, chaos per usual. I don’t expect much less than chaos really, 4 children, trying to run a sewing business and now helping my hubby with¬†his small engine repair shop….If you are a LOCAL¬† and need your landscaping equipment fixed you will find his shop HERE — YUP it’s CRAZY¬†busy! But I like it that way— If I’m not busy, I’m lazy.

My life has truly been a CLEVER CATASTROPHE this past year, and it has been quite some time since I have blogged. My how I have missed these keys! I thought it was about time I jumped in. No time like the present right?

So what have I been up to? I PUMPED out a bunch of KNOTTY dresses last summer, and hopped on the band wagon for a few craft shows just to get my feet WET. They came out SEW flipping cute!!

Knotty dresses
Knotty dresses

And here is my little girl sporting one I made JUST for her!

Say CHEESE Shelby!!!
Say CHEESE Shelby!!!

The fabric on these dresses were so much fun. I used recycled blue jeans up on top for the bodices, fully lined with recycled t-shirts that I tie-dyed myself just for extra COOLNESS. ūüôā The lower fabric on Shelby’s dress was this AWESOME fabric I had in my stash for probably a year or two….it was SOOOOO pretty that I was afraid to cut it. I was also saving it for a selfish SEW (AKA, something for ME), but that never happened. With a craft show around the corner I decided to cut into it. Once I envisioned it as a dress it was a done deal. There is NO GOING back as a seamstress….once I picture clothing from fabric I have to go for it.

Sew, anyhoo. The knotty dresses are neat because the knots are tied and pulled through the buttonholes in lieu of using buttons. Some people may think this is a¬†way of just being cheap, but it’s really KNOT. It’s a way of being more versatile for children. This dress will fit more sizes because you can adjust the height of the straps as your child grows.

In the boutique¬†world, knotty dresses are very popular. Cape Cod craft shows, not so much. Everyone LOVES my work, but I don’t think they really get it. I didn’t sell ANY dresses at my local shows. I wasn’t disappointed. Ok, well maybe a little, but I know I was testing my market—and well my local market just IS NOT IT. Handmade children’s clothing definitely sells better online!

Blue Jean Pockets
Blue Jean Pockets

These blue jean pockets were an easy sell. Whenever I recycle the blue jeans I kept throwing all the pockets in a box, especially the little ones with snaps and what not. My daughter came in my sewing room one day, picked one up and put her change in it. I said SHELBY you are a GENIUS! I added cool fabrics to the backs of them and turned them all into little change pockets! Or tooth fairy pillows for the tiny ones…

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As for the other pockets? These pocket organizers are AWESOME! How resourceful is this for using up some pockets?

DISPLAYING MY GENIUS WORK

First craft show, I dressed up my daughter’s “life- sized” Barbie to model my clothing. I thought it was a cute idea at first….but honestly it was creepy. I mean still kinda cute, but definitely felt creepy…:)

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By the way— This Barbie is not really life size…she is the height of a three year old….with the waist of LESS than a 2 year old….and the boobs of a 13 year old. Seriously. She doesn’t fit well into any of my clothing anyway….I had to pin it on her in weird ways…and it looks awkward because she’s really a teenager under it all.

So I designed my own little display model as seen in the photo on the right! I took two wooden dowels, left one long for the “body” cut one into three pieces for the “arms” and one for the middle cross bar “waist” one for the bottom cross bar. I won’t really call it feet….it’s really only to help center it across the bottom. If you want measurements, I don’t remember because I did this last summer and didn’t take notes— But I know the dowels were 1″ dowels and 4′ long. I may have even used 3 dowels? Just because of cutting that second one and needing three pieces.

I drilled small holes and then used screws to hold in the cross posts. The great thing about using screws is that I can twist the cross posts so that they all stand vertically for storage. This was an unplanned design that worked to my benefit.

Lastly on this cool design, I used PLASTER in the base. Just your normal everyday Plaster of Paris. Somewhere between 2-4 cups worth? Just enough to weight it down, but also to hold in the post.

I made two of these and they came out fabulous!

In the mean time, Please check out my shop!¬† These Old Blues. I have more KNOTTY dresses that I would LOVE to see little girls dancing in– THEY ARE SEW CUTE! And CUTE skirts all on¬†SALE this week just in time for SPRING. ūüôā

Follow me on Facebook to keep up with my daily turn of events…:)

Anyhoo, I know my prices are set just right. I am comparable to other boutiques that sell handmade clothing. My quality is fabulous¬†with professionally finished seams. I topstitch and serge just about everything, and I stand by my work. If someone is not happy, I keep working¬†until I get it right.¬†I impress myself sometimes ūüėČ toot-toot! Yes I just tooted my own horn. I love my work and I love what I do. I will just keep on truckin’ and building my business like I do! Maybe a few more shows this summer….we’ll see.

 

 

Refashion Runway Sew Along— Feeling Patriotic!

More upcycles! I know…am I killing you with my upcycle posts or are you loving it?? But come on— This is like my 4th post this week right?! That’s an accomplishment!

Sewwwwww, anyhoo, I finally finished my¬† sew along piece for the Renegade Seamstress’ Refashion Runway! This weeks challenge was : DENIM. Um hello<<<<< THAT”S MY THING! Right? I mean my business is “These Old Blues.”

So I have to tell you first that when I saw the challenge this week was Denim, I just about flipped. As you can see above that I’m ultra excited about it! My first thought was a CORSET. I have been DYING to make a denim corset. I know people say you shouldn’t make one from denim, the fabric is too heavy, and it tends to have too much stretch. I don’t care though. I want a blue jean corset!

I started the pattern work….Now I’ve NEVER made a corset from scratch. I have upcycled other corsets but never done this whole entire process. So I’m teaching myself how to do this and realizing this is pretty hefty project. I will not be able to do a great job on this if I rush it and try to finish it in a week. So once again my corset is on the back burner—but it is in progress! I have the pattern in my muslin so I can try it out and make adjustments before cutting into the denim. I promise I will share with you all when I have it completed. ūüôā

On to the project for the Refashion Runway Sew Along. I was doing laundry and thinking about what I could do that would really show off my talents. I was overwhelmed with the possibilities. As I’m folding clothes I came across this piece:

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So this cute little denim jumper was getting a bit too small. My peanut is finally growing!

This is an 18-24 month jumper that fits more like a 12 month outfit. Shelby is 2 remember?? Well most of her stuff is about 18-24m anyway because she’s tiny, but she is FINALLY starting to sprout. The last time she wore this little number, every time she moved the dress hiked up and I could see her diaper hanging out. The dress still fit her width-wise, so I imagined just adding a ruffle to it.

I’ve also been imagining an awesome 4th of July outfit for her—-and then it hit me!

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OOPS! Yup I cut it in half! I ¬†was sensing that it was time for an upcycle…or “Refashion”

I cut the dress in half and decided to make a 2 piece outfit. I’ve been dreaming about stars and stripes with chevron for months now. So first I handpainted stars all over the denim top and bottom. Then added red and white chevron to both the top and bottom. Then a blue patriotic ruffled edge to the top and more blue ruffle on the bum of the skirt. I also upcycled a pair of red shorts to go under the cute little skirt. For those little bend over moments. ūüėČ

IMG_1659 IMG_1662 IMG_1661 IMG_1660 IMG_1658I tried to get a close up of her cute little bow….she wasn’t happy at this point. She even pouted and told me no. I snapped the picture anyway. LOL. She really just wanted to spin around and play, but I was trying to snap pictures quickly before it started to rain again! Sorry sweetie! She IS getting better at this posing thing though.

The bow was NOT handmade by me. I purchased it from Princess Izzy Boutique on Facebook. SHE HAS FABULOUS ACCESSORIES, and is VERY reasonably priced!!! She is also on Etsy and you can find her shop HERE.

Excited! She really loves it!!!
Excited! She really loves it!!!

 

As Always ‚ÄĒ Don‚Äôt forget to visit me on ETSY, and LIKE my page on Facebook to keep up with all the goodies!!!!

Still coming up soon is my Purse Renew Tutorial! It’s in progress peeps!

15 Minute Sundress Tutorial

Have you seen these fabrics? Pre-made sundresses basically—- where the fabric is shirred on the top and flowy-like on the bottom.

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I used to HATE them, and I mean despise them. I refused to buy them, I felt like I was “cheating” to buy the pre-shirred fabric. Plus some of them the quality was pretty crappy.

Then one day (last week) I was in the fabric store, and my 2 year old screams “Hello Kitty dress!!!!!” Yes, she is slightly obsessed and it’s all my sister’s fault. Completely. She bought her some Hello Kitty clothes for Christmas and now she says “My Hello Kitty” with everything she sees. And ME? Well she’s so stinkin’ cute that I feed into it!

So aaaaaanyhoo, my little girl picked out some shirred Hello Kitty dress fabric. I thought, oh how I didn’t want to cheat and buy this, but seriously I could whip out a dress in 5 minutes. As an experienced seamstress this will honestly take 10-15 minutes start to finish if there are no hiccups with the machine. I’m sure a beginner can make this dress in 30 minutes or less (Maybe an hour -TOPS). It’s¬†seriously only¬†one seam right up the side, and then straps!

Alright, I know! Enough with the chat and on with the tutorial—-I just can’t help it I talk a lot!

So I purchased 20 inches of the fabric, yes they sell it by the inch….NOT the yard, so know your measurements. My girl measures just about 20 inches around her chest (she’s a peanut). I knew that with the seam and all it would be slightly smaller so the elastic would do it’s job and stick to her just right.

I didn’t even pre-wash the fabric, I got home and ran to my sewing machine. I stitched a single seam up the side, then serged, pressed,¬†and topstitched the seam. I just can’t help it, I’m obsessed with topstitching and making every seam lay flat.

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VIOLA! A dress in 5 minutes. But yes it needs straps—And the straps are the hardest part, yet not that difficult at all!

I cut 4 strips of a coordinating pink¬†fabric, 1-1/4″ X 16″ but next time¬†I will measure them about 1-1/2″ because they were just a little bit slimmer than I wanted.

I folded one end in about 1/8″ (this will be the “closed” end left out, not inside the dress), then pressed.

Then I folded the strips in half and pressed.

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Here you can see the end pressed in, and also the strip folded in half

I opened the strips back up and folded the outer edges into the middle to meet the center press mark, and pressed again. This is very much like making a paper airplane.

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Pressing to the middle

Then I folded the strips in half again (with outer edges folded into the middle) and pressed again.

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Pressing in half

I know there is a lot of pressing, but the same goes with quilting and any dressmaking with cotton fabrics, you must press every seam. It makes life so much easier.

So now you have four skinny-ish strips that you can use for straps. One end should be closed as you folded in the end, and one should be open with a raw fabric edge. Bring the straps over to your machine and stitch one row of stitches right up the middle of the strap.

Center stitching
Center stitching

Take the four straps and pin them to the inside of the dress. I honestly just eyeballed where I wanted the straps, but I measured just for you and it ended up being about 1-1/2″ away from the outer edge of the dress. ****NOTE**** Upon finishing the dress, I noticed the straps should be in a little further, so next time I will go about 2″

1-1/2" to 2" from side, for a size 2, use your judgment for whatever size you are making!
1-1/2″ to 2″ from side, for a size 2, use your judgment for whatever size you are making!

When I pinned the straps for stitching I pinned them across the first AND second rows of shirring. If I stitched across just one row, sometimes the straps get kinda floppy. I wanted them double stitched for extra security and stability. If you ever wear sundresses you will know what I’m talking about. I CAN’T STAND IT when the end of the straps poke out of the top of the dress.

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Stitched and backstitched across 2 rows of shirring

On to the machine! I stitched across one strap directly over the shirring, then backstitched—–lifted my presser foot without cutting the thread—–pulled right over to the lower part of the strap and stitched it down and backstitched¬†there as well. Repeat this with each strap.

and TA-DA!!!!!!

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Finished!!!

Now is this not the easiest dress you’ve ever made?? So much for not cheating—-I feel pretty well accomplished and not so much a cheater! Why did I put up such a fight over fabric that will make my life easier?? I guess I would compare it to store bought cookie dough VS homemade cookies. That just won’t happen unless there’s a killer coupon deal.

It’s so cute, and lightweight! Great for everyday summer sun dress or even a beach cover up. My daughter was so excited that I had a new dress for her by the time she woke up from her nap.

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As you can see where the side tucks down a little—-that’s why I needed to move the straps in a bit. If this were for a customer I would go back and re-stitch the straps over a bit, but it’s for my girl so she can live with it. ūüėČ

I am hoping to go back and get more of this shirred fabric— more than likely without the licensed characters so that I can sell them in my Etsy shop, or off my FaceBook page.

Happy sewing!!!

Let me know how your dresses¬†come out! As always– If I missed a step, don’t be afraid to ask me questions! I’m here to help!

**Heidi**

As Always — Don’t forget to visit me on ETSY, and LIKE my page on Facebook to keep up with all the goodies!!!!

Upcycled Blue Jean Basket – Tutorial

Upcycled Blue Jean basket!
Upcycled Blue Jean basket!

So here it is, I promised to show you how I made this cool basket!

This is not a simple task, but it’s not overly complicated either. It is a LOT of work with many little steps – so this is a LONG post. Pay close attention, and if I missed something, don’t be afraid to ask! I searched everywhere all over Pinterest, google, and Etsy, and NO ONE is making baskets like this! So this was my first and only attempt (so far) at basket making.

Lets start with materials.

You can always size this down for a different sized basket. I am considering making more in different sizes and shapes.

***Sorry I don’t have exact measurements of these items—I don’t work that way generally. I’m just a fly by the seat of my pants kinda gal. I did try to take pics for the blog but I didn’t think to measure the dowels, the zip ties, or the blue jean sections. I like to make most of my stuff flexible so sizes can be easily adjusted. Sewing is a completely different story so we won’t go there!

  • I started with 4-5 pairs of jeans
  • A good heavy duty pair of scissors for the jeans
  • 6 or so¬† large heavy duty/ industrial sized zip ties¬†¬†(*My hubby used to do A/C work and this is where I got these!)
  • clamps, clips, or clothespins
  • heavy glue that will bond plastic—I used 527 in this pic, but I ended up switching to Amazing Goop which holds plastics much better!
  • Pliers/ cutters for cutting the zip ties
  • Wooden dowels for side supports
  • needle¬†and thread for hand stitching
  • Some quilt batting for cushioning the handle

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I had the idea that I was going to make a basket, a rather large basket, and I wasn’t sure if I was going to¬†weave it or braid it. I had started a braided rug-like thing a while back with blue jean strips, and I thought this would make a great bottom for the basket. The rug was taking FOREVER, so it was sitting in my to-do bag anyway and I’m glad to get rid of it!

First I began by cutting the buckle end off of the zip ties. I knew I would be using the plastic bands for the bottom support, the top support, and the handles. Just FYI, it took two bands each for the bottom and top circumferences of the basket. Do not glue them yet!

Second¬†I began by cutting the legs off the jeans to get as much of the length as possible. I threw the top half of the jeans in a basket of jean scrap stuff that I will use later for another project. I don’t throw ANY part of the jeans away.

Then I cut one of the side seams open. This picture below was after cutting one seam so the pant leg is open. I cut the side seam out on the left, then the seam in the middle so that I was left with 2 strips of denim fabric with no seams.

DSC01663I was planning on cutting the bottom seam off the leg as well when I noticed that the seam was about the same width as my zip ties. So I threaded the zip tie through the bottom edge of the denim seam! It fit! I was super excited that I could leave part of the original blue jean look!

DSC01667How awesome is that?

Anhooo, moving on.

Planning on using this edge for the bottom of the basket—-Why not?—-I cut all the denim pieces¬†about 10 inches up from the bottom leg seam. (SET THE LARGER PIECES ASIDE, you will need these later!) I knew I wanted the basket to measure about 8-9 inches tall¬†and I needed the extra inch or so for the top seam too.¬†So the 10″ pieces with the bottom hem¬†you will be using now for the bottom of the basket.¬†I began threading these blue jeans strips onto the zip tie until it was full. I added a second zip tie, ¬†I overlapped the¬†open edges of the zip ties¬†through one of the seams. The seams were tight enough with 2 bands going through it that I did not have to pre glue them but¬†I did add a drop or two of glue on them before sliding them together just for added support later.¬†Once I had the diameter I wanted for the bottom of the basket I overlapped the two open edges of the zip ties¬†(another drop of glue) and threaded them together inside one of the seams again. This should form a circle or oval depending on what size basket you are making.

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Almost finished the oval!

I pre glued two of the plastic bands to begin the top edge of the basket. Leave one side open because you will need to thread the top edge through. These bands are so thick that they will NOT just glue together, you have to clamp them and walk away for at least 2 hours. The MFR recommends 24 hours for complete bonding, but it will be mostly dry after 2 hours.

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Next I cut the denim at 1″ intervals. Actually I snipped a starter piece at the edge and then proceeded to rip the denim lengthwise on the grain. Denim will tear into perfect strips very easily if you cut it lengthwise. ūüôā The tearing automatically stops when you get to the bottom seam. Perfect!

DSC01672If you don’t have the image going in your head of how this is going to turn out, it should start taking the basic form now.¬† These strips of fabric are going to be the vertical pieces of your weaving.

Next fold each strip down along the top edge about an inch(wrong side inside the basket)¬†so that you will form a tunnel at the top for the plastic band. Machine stitch 1/4″ away from the open edge of the jeans. ******I know this sounds confusing and I don’t know how to explain it better—-It is just like hemming the pants but you are leaving enough of a hem that the plastic band will fit through the top edge just as you did for the bottom. Check out the picture below to see if this helps!

DSC01675¬†Here I pre-pinned where I wanted my stitching. I folded the jeans over the edge of the plastic band so I knew how deep my seam needed to be. I took the plastic band out and then stitched the seams. I used a “chain piecing” technique, often seen in quilting, to get through the seams fast enough. This means I did NOT snip the threads in between each strip of denim, I just continued stitching onto the next piece as though it was one piece of fabric.

After all the stitching is complete, then go back and snip the threads in between the strips (if you want to—you may be fine to leave them stitched together).

Now insert the plastic band around the top edge of your basket. Overlap the edges of the band once you have the desired size you want. By this I mean—-Depending on your basket shape, mine is an oval and I chose for the top edge to be wider than the base. You may choose to have it the exact same size. It’s all about personal preference. ūüôā

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Place a little bit of glue on the plastic bands before you overlap them and make sure they are covered inside your seam. You may have to clamp the bands again  and allow to dry if your bands are not sticking together.

And now you can really see the basket taking shape!

Woo-Hoo!

Now add side supports. Cut wooden dowels (about 1/4″ or 3/8″ diameter?) into ¬†9 ¬†inch sections or whatever the depth of your basket is.¬†You need about 8 supports. Place them vertically along a strip of denim, evenly around the inside of the basket and stitch them by hand into the strips. Again I forgot to take a picture, but you are just whip¬†stitching around the dowel, and through the denim, over and over from one end to the other. Now you can really see the basket coming together.

Next you are going to go back to the big pieces of denim.

With your scissors snip just a tiny bit of the edges at one inch intervals; approximately—a little size difference won’t matter, in fact it adds character, so don’t bother measuring! Then grab the two pieces and RIIIIIIIIPPPPP! Down the length of the jeans, just as you did for the smaller pieces. My husband actually said OOOO that’s cool, let me try, I wanna help!<<<<Something about guys and ripping fabric, LOL.>>>>> So¬† I had a big helper to rip my denim into strips. I used all of the pieces from those 4-5 pairs of jeans. I ended up with a big pile of strips., but I forgot to take a picture. ūüė¶ Sorry— there are a few places I am missing pictures!!!

I took my denim strips to my sewing machine and stitched them end to end in random order. I made each longer strip about 3 pieces long in order to make my pieces that would be the horizontal strips of my basket. The three strip length was long enough to go around my basket with a little bit leftover.

Now to begin the weaving process—-the FUN part! I placed one strip along the bottom edge of my basket, leaving out about 4″ or so hanging out, ¬†I began weaving the rest in and out of the vertical strips already in place. When I got around to the beginning again I decided to knot the ends together, and I rather liked the tied look of it.¬† I was originally going to stitch the ends together by hand, but this came out so much prettier. Gosh I love it when things just happen!

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Here are the tied ends in the picture below. I decided to stagger each row as I began so that the knotted pieces each started one more row over for a pretty effect.

Detail of ties up close! ***and my label of course. :)
Detail of ties up close! ***and my label of course. ūüôā

Once all the rows were completed I was kinda stumped on the top edge. I could see some of¬† the plastic bands in between¬†the strips of fabric, YUCK. So I took some leftover strips and braided them—–with each turn of the braid I took one strip and wrapped it through the edge of the basket so I covered those ugly plastic strips poking through.

Now the basket has a beautiful braided edge all the way around the top. <<<And I think I just tied this one on the ends as well!

OK, for the bottom of the basket.

Here I used all my leftover “seams.” I have a box of seams from all the jeans I have recycled. You can use other strips if you don’t collect like I do. I sew these together end to end and then braid them together. Then I sew the braids together by hand in a round or oval fashion, like a braided rug. When I did this the middle of the “rug” puckered a little so I had to steam and press the finished mini-rug with my iron. DSC01692I used a little bit of homemade spray starch (water and a few TBLS of cornstarch) to get the fabric to stiffen a little and maintain it’s shape once I pressed it flat.

DSC01696

How cool is that? Hubby says, you should make a rug like that. I’m like really? No DUH, lol that was my original intent….but it takes SOOOOOOOOOO long and I only have a piece the size of a large basket….

After I was satisfied with the size and shape of the bottom of my basket I flipped the basket over and whip stitched it into place along the bottom edge of the jeans.

Ok, lastly, the handle! Ahhhh, I bet you can’t wait to be done with this project—-I know I was by this point!

I took four blue jean strips, about 8 inches long each (by 1- 1/2″ wide) folded them in half and stitched along each edge, leaving a strip in the middle that formed a pocket about 4 inches long now. ¬†I took two of the plastic bands. placed a little bit of glue on each end, and slid the bands into each blue jean pocket. You should now have two plastic bands that have each end covered with blue jean strips. You will be using these “pockets” to stitch your handles down. These pockets ensure that the handle will not just fall out when you lift your basket by the handle.

I cut a two inch wide strip of quilters batting and wrapped it around the plastic band. Then I took my leftover LONG blue jean strips and wrapped them around the batting covered bands for a nice cushioned handle. I hand stitched the strips at each end of the handle. I made two of these handles and criss-crossed them as seen in the finished picture here:

Upcycled Blue Jean basket!
Upcycled Blue Jean basket!

You can see in the picture how I placed the handles. It actually doesn’t show the cross at the top but oh-well you get the idea? I placed the ends of the handles through the weaving and hand stitched them into place.

Finished! Viola!

This is a OOAK basket—-If I make anymore they will be different I’m sure. I would love to make some smaller ones for fruit bowls in the kitchen, or decorations around the house. The plastic bands do not offer enough support for carrying laundry or anything, so I wouldn’t recommend this for anything other than decoration. I actually thought it would be a cute PHOTO PROP for a newborn baby……for all you photographers out there. ūüôā

This basket is being given away by Kelly Cronin Photography.

If you haven’t entered the contest yet please check it out HERE¬†for all the information on the giveaway! Hurry time is almost up!!!

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Patterns

So hubby and I have this deal, he takes the trash, and I do the recycling. Sounds fair, but doesn’t always work that way…lol.

Anyhoo, I’m pretty big with my recycling. If I can find a use for something I usually do. I have a hard time throwing things away if I even THINK I can reuse it or fix it. Hubbs hates this, (I think the tetm hoarder comes into play sometimes!) but I think I’m pretty eclectic with my collection. It might take me forever to actually be able to make a real cork board with my wine corks but in the mean time I’m drinking and saving them. ūüėČ Works for me!
I almost always seem to have what I need for my crafts or random kids projects. You never know what ideas these kids will come home with! I have a son who likes to build model airplanes with egg cartons….
So I thought I would share a quick little tidbit about pattern making for my sewing business. How does sewing and recycling connect?
First if all I recycle blue jeans, tshirts, curtains, tablecloths, sheets, and other fabulous materials that still have life left in them! Second of all I have tons of clothing ideas and yet I can never find patterns for what I want. So I make my own patterns!
I use tissue paper from the dollar store, a glue stick, a pencil, a pen, and a CEREAL box! What better way to reuse cardboard than for my patterns. This is especially great for smaller pieces that I know I will be using over and over.
I trace or draw what I need onto the tissue paper, put glue on the cardboard—-DO NOT attempt to put glue on the tissue paper or you will ruin your hard work—-! Then gently place the tissue paper onto the sticky part. I usually do this line by line —from one side to the other. If you do this too fast the pattern will be ruined. So only place one strip of glue down at a time and smooth the tissue paper down gently in rows.
And Voila! A reusable pattern or template! ūüôā

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“Octoberizing” my boys – KCWC days 3-5

Sebastian, Rockin’ his cool “new” shirt

So in case you have heard this term before, It wasn’t me who thought of it! Please read on to find the original owner…

So here I am a few days into the Kids Clothes Week Challenge, and I cannot for the life of me figure out what I wanted to make for my boys….My girls are so easy. What cool clothes could I make for the boys?

Here’s my story;¬†I’m searching, searching, searching¬†and I found this thing on Pinterest…. (don’t a lot of my sentences start this way???) HERE is the link. The¬†Pin was a picture of a long sleeved shirt. It was very simple and cute, just a matter of turning a short sleeved shirt to a long sleeved one. So¬†I followed the pinterest link to the blog page. This blogger coined the term “Octoberizing” T-shirts. I LOVE IT! Everything this blogger explained my thoughts exactly. I have to give this blogger¬†all the¬†credit as it’s not my term, but I’m definitely borrowing!

I went in my youngest son’s drawer…. and I started cleaning out all the summer items, a million T-shirts that he won’t fit into next summer…..and a bunch of long sleeved shirts from last winter that somehow became buried under the mountain of short-sleeved T-shirts. So all-in-all….bunches of size 3T t-shirts with short sleeves, and a few long sleeved shirts that were 2T and too small! The Octoberizing blogger used a full T-shirt and made long sleeves from the¬†fabric¬†to get that layered look. I HAD A BETTER IDEA!

I really LOVED the idea, but I had to simplify at….I really didn’t want to spend a few extra minutes making my own sleeves from random T-shirt fabric when I had perfectly good long sleeves on other shirts. Just one problem, all these long sleeved shirts were a¬†short on the arms and short on the waist. I could do two things, one: add sleeves to the short sleeved shirt, or two: add length to the long sleeved shirt.¬†Well my older son LOVES the layered look. You know those FAKE layered shirts at the GAP that look like one shirt under another but they are really just sleeves attached to a short sleeved shirt and a hefty price tag. Yeah, no thanks, I’m not paying for something I can do myself.¬†(I confess we bought some last year for school—- I never thought about making my own till now) But anyhoo—- I can SEW do this!

How ’bout a tutorial? Like to hear it? Here is goes—

I started with 4 long-sleeved shirts, and 4 Short sleeved shirts.

Too small long sleeved shirts

So I cut the long sleeves off and also cut about 4 inches from the length of the shirt to add length to the bottom of the T-shirt as well.

Cut the long-sleeved shirt like this

So did I measure or draw lines? Nope. I really just wing stuff like this. First with the sleeves, I know they are an inch or two, too short for my little guy, so adding them to the few inches of sleeve already on the other shirt will be perfect. Then for the bottom, I just eyeballed about 4 inches, snipped a small mark where I wanted to cut, folded the shirt in half to cut both sides at the same time.

fold in half to cut the bottom evenly across

If you don’t trust yourself to cut a straight line (sometimes I don’t- especially if it’s expensive fabric) you can mark a line with chalk, or use a rotary cutter.

But just for giggles I went back and measured to see if it was truly 4 inches.

Darn I’m good!

Ok so moving on…

Turn the short sleeved T-shirt inside out. Leaving the 4 inch¬†bottom piece (from the long sleeved shirt) right side out, as you will be pinning them WRONG sides together. (Yes I said¬†WRONG sides, I know it’s not the normal we usually do right sides, but that is wrong for this time, do wrong sides together if you want to be right. HAHA! Yeah, don’t trip on that, lol.)

For the bottom edge of shirt:

Turn the bottom piece upside down and pin like this:

Wrong sides together….bottom piece upside down.

****totally just flashed back to a Berenstein Bears book….Inside, Outside, Upside Down…..OMG you can’t tell that I have kids? haha

I used the T-shirt’s existing seam as my guideline and pinned the bottom piece just above it as you can see. Match up the side seams and pin together first. Then place more pins in between. You may have to stretch the shirts a little bit to get them to line up just right. The great thing about knits….

Sleeves:Placing WRONG sides together.

Pull the long sleeve over the short sleeve (kinda backwards–) ¬†like these pictures: Raw edge of the long sleeve should match the sewn edge of the short sleeve. Again using the existing seam as a guide pin the sleeves together. Mark the center of the top of the sleeve with pins, match up and pin together. Line up the sleeve seams under the arm¬†and pin. Then place a few pins inbetween to hold the sleeve for sewing.

marking the center on the top of the sleeves.
Wrong sides together on the sleeves.

You see how they are backwards? Looks weird I know…

Do this for both sleeves.

Then sew about 1/4″ away from the existing sleeve seam. **Tip: Make sure you are using a ball point needle on your sewing machine. This needle is meant for knits and will make your life easier. I’m not that great with knits, but I’m learning!

Turn sleeves and entire shirt rights sides out. Doesn’t it look great???? ALMOST finished. On the right side of the fabric you want to top stitch the sleeves and bottom part down. This will add a nice professional-looking touch to the finish of the shirt, but also keep the seams flat,¬† AND it will keep the edges from rolling in funky ways.

Top stitching

Looking at the picture: The seam on the right is mine from sewing the pieces together. The center seam and the left seam are the existing seams on the T-shirt. I followed the existing seam in the center for my top stitching. Sew all three seams and you are done!!!

Here are my finished products, but don’t look too close, I’m not THAT great at working with knits, some of my seams are kinda wonky looking.

I’m not going to lie, that white polo shirt was a pain in the rear….didn’t want to stretch as much. But it looks really nice. He wore that one today.

So that was days 3 & 4. Yesterday I was still pretty pumped with Sebastian’s shirts that I raided my older son’s closet and busted out 2 shirts and a pair of pants for him.

Big kid cool shirt

This one I did a little different, the polo undeneat didn’t stretch well either….So I took the T-shirt, cut the bottom and then serged the raw edge, to give it a little different look. Kinda funky.

I said smile Spencer….He really did love the shirt! And my dog wanted in on the action.

Please ignore the pile of fabric behind him….those are projects in the works. Yup I’m behind. lol

Cool pants.

These pants were a pair of shorts and a pair of sweatpants that were getting high on the ankles. Sewn together with the same method as the T-shirts. My hubby really liked these too…

Any new projects for you these days? What have you accompished this week for the KCWC??? I’ve finished 9 items so far and I haven’t sewn yet today!



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Easy Peasy Chicken Pot Pie

What to make for dinner??….that’s usually the million dollar question! The 2 million dollar question begins with, “Oh crap, it’s 3 o’clock and I forgot to take something out of the freezer,” and ends with, “So what do I do with these leftovers??” I have 5 durmsticks leftover from dinner the other night and there are 6 people in this house. Oh yay…

I’m probably one of the worst offenders when it comes to throwing out leftovers. I save the leftover food, put in the fridge and usually forget about it, either that or someone says they will eat it for lunch the next day and that never happens. The other part of me has trouble figuring out what to do with leftovers. ¬†Finding clever ways to remake leftovers is mostly out of my control. I struggle with this. And I hate throwing away food…..it hurts….SERIOUSLY.

So in the last year I randomly discovered chicken pot pies. I think it started after Thanksgiving with a turkey pot pie. I took all the leftover ingredients, threw them in a pie shell, and it came out fabulously yummy. Pot pies are similar to quiches, you cannot really go wrong with them, you can put just about whatever you want in them and they come out yummy.

First tip, I try to keep these ingredients on hand most of the time because it makes it easy to throw leftovers into a pie or quiche when I’m in a pinch. Pie crusts are the first thing on my list. I like to make my own crusts sometimes if I have the time, or even if I don’t have any in the freezer I will whip some out, but it can be time consuming. With 4 children, time is not a luxury I can afford most of the time. Between cub scouts, girl scouts, soccer, riding lessons, math club, drama club, chorus performances, plays, awards ceremonies, well you get the picture…I just don’t have time sometimes for big meals. Simplicity is my lifestyle! ¬†In all honesty you really just dump all the ingredients in a pie shell and it will come out perfect but I will tell you how I do this.

Ingredients:

1 (or 2) pie crusts- your choice

choice of meat leftovers

can or jar of gravy

bag of frozen mixed veggies

stuffing (a stick of butter, and chicken stock or broth to prep it)

garlic powder

This is how I roll my pie…Let’s begin!

Rolling the edge of the pie crust

Preheat the oven to 450. Then I roll out my pie crust and fold down the edges in whatever pretty way suits my mood. If I am rushed I will usually smush the edged with a fork, but the twisty thing looks nice for my blog today so it works right? ūüôā I won’t be using the top crust for this recipe so I can make the bottom crust the pretty one. Don’t forget to prick the crust with a fork all the way around the sides and bottom to keep bubbling to a minimum.

pricking the crust before baking

Place the crust in the oven for about 9-11 minutes, or until it’s just slightly golden. I hate pies with a mushy bottom crust. If you pre-bake them slightly this helps prevent that. While the crust is baking I prep my ingredients. I chop the chicken, precook the stuffing with butter and chicken stock—in the I use 1/2 to a whole stick of butter per half a bag of stuffing —I love buttery stuffing–mmmmm. Throw it in the nukelator —AKA microwave— for a minute or two and fluff with a fork until the mixture is kinda mushy. You almost want your stuffing a little mushy because it will get crunchy later, trust me.

You will also want to cook the veggies slightly. If the veggies are frozen and you don’t precook them they will come out a little crunchy. I usually put about half a bag of frozen veggies in a bowl, add a little bit of water—maybe a tablespoon or two, cover with saran wrap, and pop it in the nukelator for about a minute.

The pie shell should be done by now.

Perfect!

Turn the oven down to 400 after removing the pie crust.

Now I cover the bottom with my chopped up chicken and top it with about half a jar of chicken gravy. There is nothing like homemade gravy but this works in a pinch–something I keep in my stockpile on a regular basis. Then I sprinkle a bit of garlic powder over the gravy. YUM! We love garlic in this house. I always put garlic in my gravy.

Chicken, gravy and garlic powder

Moving on…

Add the veggies and then the rest of the gravy and more garlic powder. Did I mention that we love garlic??

veggies, more gravy, more garlic powder!

The next step is my favorite part, so I’m partial to say it is the YUMMIEST part….Cover the top with stuffing instead of a pie crust layer and pile it high!

Stuffing!!!

Bake for about 35 minutes, or until the crust and stuffing look done and you can see the gravy a little bubbly through the stuffing (if you can).

It’s DONE!!!

Pure deliciousness!!

Even my kids like it!

***Oh, and I made baked potatoes with it as you can see….a great side to put in the oven when you start this whole thing, they will bake during the whole process and be perfect when the pie is done too. You can even start them a little earlier if you like.

Looking at these pictures makes me hungry, I might just have to eat some of the leftover pot pie for lunch today. Yum!

What about you? Do you struggle with using leftovers up like I do? The people in this house get bored too easily and I have to keep a variety going. This has been just one way I have figured out how to make leftovers useful and also stretch a meal. Making  just a few pieces of chicken into a meal for 6 people surely is a miracle! But I still struggle with it and constantly find myself chucking out unrecognizable items from the fridgeatater (yes, say it with me:  fridge-a-tater, LOL- we might do things slightly different around here). Any tips for reusing leftovers for someone like me? What do you like to do with leftovers?

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