Another Homemade Back-to-School Shirt

The other finished top. Again, this one was sitting in this pile for way too long. Once I finally sat down to do it, it came together really fast! Except for one big thing – I cut the top too short! So I had to add the bottom fabric to lengthen it. But why am I telling you this? I should just let you think I planned  it that way. It actually made the hemming even easier. I am anxiously awaiting the 6th-grade-girls response on this one.

This is the pattern I used: Simplicity 3835. Don’t let the Cyndi Lauper inspired cover fool you. It is an awesome pattern! I was inspired by all the cute things Lera makes with this one.  I need to do more. The fabric I used is seersucker from the Sweet (or was it Swell?) collection by Moda that I found on clearance.

One other tidbit: Last Friday I was featured by AnneMarie of GenXQuilters. (When my husband saw that name, he thought it was genius.) Thanks again, AnneMarie! AnneMarie is starting a Christmas fabric swap. Check it out!

Easy Applique T-shirt

Back-to-School Shirt #1
This simple little project had been on my list for weeks. Last weekend I finally tackled it. SO EASY – and I love the finished result. Char of Crap I’ve Made has a great applique tutorial. For me it was WonderUnder and machine sewing. That’s it.  Fabric is from Valori Well’s Nest collection for Free Spirit. T-shirt is from Target – I think I got it for $4 on sale. Nice.
The shirt received rave reviews from the 6th Grade Girls, which is even more validating than 1,000 blog comments.
Linking up to Amy’s Sew and Tell!
I’m also linking up to Today’s Creative Blog.
Get Your Craft On Tuesday

Vintage Sheet Dress

I’ve been collecting vintage sheets for a little while now.  I went through them recently and realized, it was time to actually DO something with them. Last summer I planned to make skirts and dresses and quilts. Instead, we moved. SO HAPPY not to be doing that again this summer. So this year, I sew!
The new dress came from this sheet, which I really love.  It’s funny because I found a flat sheet and a fitted sheet in this pattern and different times and locations. (Isn’t it funny how often you find repeats of patterns when looking for vintage sheets? If you’ve been collecting a while, you know what I mean. Not as much variety 20+ years ago. Which is not necessarily bad. Okay, I’m waffling. . .) 
Anyway, I loved that bright pink edge. Then I had the brilliant idea to make that the bottom edge of the dress. No hemming required! I know, I’m a genius. (That, plus I’m lazy. I love shortcuts!)
I used this much of the sheet (I think it was probably a Queen size originally.) I measured and cut the finished length. For the width, I doubled the finish measurement. I hemmed the top edge and sewed one seam up the back. All I had left was the shirring (gathering the bodice).
I’ve wanted to try shirring every since I watched Heather Ross make it look so easy on Martha. (You can watch the video at this link too!)  Sandi Henderson also has a great tutorial.  The secret is elastic sewing thread. It’s pretty snazzy. I found it at a chain sewing store.

And here are the end results.  It takes a little bit of time to sew all those seams, but I basically finished this dress in one evening. My daughter wore it to church on Sunday and played in it all day. Perfect for a warm, sunny spring day.  The fabric is so soft and durable – I also love the thought that because it’s a blend, I won’t need to iron it. I will probably make more. Especially considering the fact that the whole dress (elastic thread included) cost less than $6. Nice.

Mending made fun – a mini tutorial

 As much as I enjoy sewing, I really don’t like mending.

But recently we’ve had an epidemic of holes-in-knees, to the point where children we running out of jeans-options in their wardrobes.  I really didn’t like the thought of buying replacements – especially for the youngest of each gender – just to get us through the last few months of pants-weather.

So here is what I came up with.
Start with the iron-on Dritz patches.
I discovered if all you do is iron them on, they fall right off.
Plus, rectangles are kind of boring.
This is the solution.  I cut out some hearts.
Then ironed, then stitched. 
(Plus, stitching and embellishments on jeans are so ‘in’ right now.
Think how cool and chic your kids will be.)
I used a heavier-weight DMC thread, a heavy-duty needle and a thimble.

Because it’s a little tricky stitching something in the middle of a pant leg, I suggest rolling the pants up to the knee first. (I know that sounds pretty obvious, but it took me three pant legs to figure that one out, so I thought I’d pass it on, just in case.)  It’s also pretty hard to work from the inside of the pant leg, so stick your needle through and pull from the top. (See picture.)  It’s tough stitching through that many layers, which is why I strongly suggest a thimble.  A little rubber grip to pull your needle, wouldn’t be a bad idea either.

Here’s another option.  (Actually this was the first one I tried.) This time I used the boring rectangle, but I embellished with a little wool heart.  The wool is easy to tack-down and came through the wash beautifully.

Hope that helps anyone out there having an epidemic of their own! I will admit that these patches are kind of ‘girly’ and I haven’t really come up with a good option for my boys. Feel free to share any favorite (or improved) mending tips of your own. My other hurdle is holes in knits (jersey) fabric. Any brilliant suggestions?