Thursday, September 26, 2013

Happy Fall, Y'all!


It's almost October, and I've been working on holiday shirts and outfits for the kiddos.  I decided early on that I did not want to spend a lot of time and energy on shirts that could only be worn for a few weeks.  So for the most part, I tried to choose styles that would be suitable for wear before or after Halloween, as well.  So far, so good!

I used my Cuttlebug and a die-cut to create iron-on spiders for the boys' shirts.  The hardest part was peeling the paper off the back of these tiny spiders!  I am hoping they hold up well in the wash... if not, I can make more spiders!  Don't you think they look realistic?

For Olivia, I took an idea I'd seen on Pinterest for a ruffled cat applique and put my own spin on it.  With a free, online template for a cat applique in hand, I used remnants of a polka-dot ladies camisole (purchased on Clearance at Wal-Mart) to create the body.  I used another remnant of black knit to create the tail... carefully cutting a strip into fringe and stitching it onto the shirt over the tail outline.

The outfits for Zola and Harper featured holiday cats.  I purchased a long-sleeved ladies knit top at the thrift store.  It already had the applique of the cat in the jack-o-lantern on it, so all I had to do was cut down the shirt to fit Zola. I used my handy-dandy 3T Toddler T-shirt pattern and followed the existing neckline.  The sleeves were cut from the bottom of the shirt so I could use the existing hem.

For Harper's outfit, I turned the long sleeves into leggings, and then I used scraps of the bodice to create the cat applique on a purchased child's t-shirt.  Pretty cute, eh?!

These are not for the kiddos, but in the spirit of autumn, I went in search of materials to add a couple of new pillows to our couch and chair for the season.  I saw this idea online for turning old sweaters into pillows... and I found some really great ones at the local thrift store.  This is the result of Sweater #1... whaddya think?

Happy Fall, Y'all... and BOO!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Aunt Debbie Made It!

When I was a little girl, my sister and I could not wait for the new catalogs to arrive each season.  We would pick out what we liked, and my Mam-ma Polly and my mother would do their best to make us something very similar.  I remember one year when I had an orange double-knit "shift" dress with a pocket near the hem that held a black and white polka dot scarf.  I also had a beautiful white knit peasant-style dress that featured button holes around the neckline and wrists.  Black velvet ribbon was threaded through these button holes and created an accent.  All of my friends coveted this dress!

So I guess it's only natural that I would want to create the fashions I see online for Zola and Olivia and the boys.  I have started saving photos of cute outfits and ideas (and of course, Pinterest is a plethora of material!).  The end results are starting to come to life.

Our high school mascot is the panther... colors are red and black.  So I made all of the children "panther" shirts.

Then I started on my stash of saved photos.  I went through the thrift-store t-shirts I had purchased... as well as a couple of polka-dot camisoles I purchased on clearance at Wal-Mart... and I started sewing.  I also bought several bandeau tops at Wal-Mart on clearance ($2-$3 each) and made skirts... zebra print and solid black.  Some of this material also became accents for other projects - and even a pair of pants for Zola.

This was a cute little outfit I saw on Zulilly. 
I got this knit shirt at the thrift store (it even had the flowers I used in the finished product).
And "Voila!"  My version!
This was a shirt I retired from my closet... a solid shirt from the thrift store... and an idea I got online...
... and these are my versions for Zola...
And finally... I took this thrift-store knit top, a screen-printed t-shirt from a local nursing center (also purchased at the thrift store)... and created my version of another little outfit.  I have a stack of ideas yet to come... but I may have to stop and work on Halloween outfits next!  Stay tuned to see what else my kiddos will be wearing.  I'm only limited by my imagination!
Oh, and Thank You, Mom and Mam-ma Polly... for your inspiration and for teaching me to sew!  I know that Mam-ma would LOVE these outfits... I can just see her fingering the details of each one... and it makes me smile.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Dress a Day?

Between Vacation Bible School, play dates for four-year-old cousins, and life in general... I've had little time lately to sew.  But boy-oh-boy, am I ever ready to get back to it!  The only thing I've done lately besides some mending is to create this dress for my 9-year-old cousin, Olivia.  But I'm gearing up... the counter is piled high with pieces to repurpose... I have fabric stashed in the closet... and I just bought a stack of vintage linens at an estate sale to create dresses, collars, bibs and more!  Whew!

Yesterday, I printed out all of the pictures of cute outfits that I have been saving in a folder on my desktop for months!  I had 7+ pages...9 pictures per page... almost 72 ideas!  WOW! Now if I just made ONE outfit per day... I'd have them all done before Halloween!  Yeah... probably not gonna happen!  But it could.....  Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!  Stay tuned to see how I did!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

The "Sewing Room" is Open!

It took me a while to get back into the "sewing groove" this spring.  My grandmother taught me to sew, and I took everything I made to the Assisted Living Facility to show her.  She couldn't say much, but she would carefully finger each garment or project, grin and shake her head with pride.  After she passed in March, I was pretty busy.  When I started sewing again, I wondered, "Who will I show the finished products to now?"  The answer????  YOU!
This is a fuzzy photo taken with a camera-phone, but I wanted
to show you the tunic I made for myself out of deep purple
"tie-dyed" fabric that features splatter accents of pink, lime
green, turquoise and yellow. My niece LOVED this fabric,
(which you can see better in the next photo), and so did Timothy!

Zola got a dress and matching knit pants (from an old t-shirt)
made from the scraps of my tunic fabric.  My niece liked the fabric,
so I bought more, and she got a summer sundress... can you
say "Mother-daughter"?  or maybe "Aunt/Mother/Daughter"???

Timothy loved the fabric so much, and he BEGGED for something
made from it.  I thought it was a bit "girly" even for shorts, so
I decided to make "muscle shirts" for him and his baby brother,
Nathan.  I can't wait to get a group photo of all of us in our "tie-dye!"

I purchased a beautiful vintage golden yellow linen
damask tablecloth at an estate sale.  It became dresses
for my nieces Zola and Kelsey.  The flounced pants
were made from a vintage lace tablecloth.

Back view of the dress and pants.  This outfit is
so much cuter on the little girls.  The pictures do not
do it justice.  This was a purchased Butterick
dress pattern.  I will be using it for lots of dresses!

Zola's mother asked me to make her a cape of her very
own so that Timothy could have his Batman cape back!
She is now "Princes Zola" or "Super Zola" - depending
on her mood.  This is pale pink taffeta and a scrap of lacy
pink overlay I had in the scrap bin.

Back view of the cape!

This is Timothy and Zola sitting with my mother (their great Granny)
on the porch at a restaurant - after a very long day!  Timothy has
on his "monster pants" that I made him.  Zola's outfit is striped
pants and a shirt I made by cutting down a ladies t-shirt that had
contrasting border trims at the neck and sleeve hems.

It was all cars one day last week... car shorts for Timothy and
my cousin Owen... longer shorts for baby Nathan, plus a t-shirt
to match.  I used my copy machine to enlarge one of the cars
in the print for a pattern, so that the "car" on the shirt would
match the cars on the pants.  I was pretty pleased with the results!

I think the contrasting striped pockets make these extra fun!

This watercolor outfit started its life as a ladies novelty knit top. 
The sleeves became pants, and the bodice became the skirt for
this little dress, trimmed with leftover black knit from a t-shirt
and complimented by a "scrap flower" on the front!  Zola looks
simply adorable in this outfit.  One caveat... the top was beaded
and sequined... our little 2-year-old princess picked the beads
and sequins off so much that we finally removed the rest!

This lime green and yellow hoodie was purchased at the
local thrift shop for $1.  The pants were made from the
scraps of a ladies x-large knit top... also purchased at the
thrift shop for a dollar.  Results?  Pretty cute outfit for pennies!

My cousin Owen outgrew some of his jeans,
including this pair, which was almost brand
new but had a hole in the knee.  The solution?
Cover that hole with a "monster face"!  Timothy
loves these and wears a red polo with them.  He
told me, "Aunt Debbie, you need to make me
more monster pants!"  I am thinking I will make
denim shorts out of thrift-store denim and add
a scrap "monster" to the leg!  He will love it!
One hint... little boy's jean legs are narrow and
hard to stitch.  My mother-in-law suggested that
next time I open whichever seam does not have
topstitching, do my applique, and re-seam the jeans!

I made THREE of these...found the pattern on you start with a boy's
t-shirt and use the main part of the shirt for the
dress.  The sleeves are cut from the sleeves of
the tee-shirt.  What MAKES this dress is the
red ric-rac trim on the sleeves and the white
trim at the hem. The pattern used plain white
trim, but I had plenty of ric-rac, and chevron is so
IN now that I decided to use what I had.  A red and
white polka-dot bow completes the dress.  Pretty
cute and comfy for the Fourth of July... right?!

My cousin Olivia loves things with her name
on them... but OLIVIA is a big name to
applique on a little girl's shirt.  Since her
nickname is "Livvy" - or "Liv" - we decided to
use this for her July 4th creation... complete
with a firecracker for the "I"!

You know my penchant for scraps!  I used the leftover
fabric from Liv's shirt to create this ruffle skirt.  The
base of the skirt is the bottom of a ladies' t-shirt,
once again purchased at the local thrift shop. 
I used the shirt hem as my "casing" for the elastic waist,
then sewed the ruffles to the other end.  She loves it! 
She calls it her "sassy skirt!"  It looks great with the tee!

I have so many ideas... and a closet-full of fabric - and still I sit and drool over several online fabric shops' offerings.  My cousin Natalie gave me a wonderful new book for my birthday... One-yard Wonders... and I cannot wait to try out some of the cute things that are featured.  Stay tuned... I'll be back to "share" again soon!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Ready or Not... a "Shoe Diva" Is in the Making!

Spring has finally sprung here (hopefully), and garage sales are starting to pop up every weekend.  This means the hunt is on for great bargains on barely-worn kids' clothing!  For the moment, Timothy's cousin Owen (who is six weeks younger) is just a tad taller/larger, so his quickly-outgrown hand-me-downs find a new home in Timothy's closet... and these are GREAT clothes!  The best part of this is that Nathan will wear them, a year or so!  Since the boys are almost the same size in shirts, I did have to supplement Timothy's shirt wardrobe... and it was Dollar General to the rescue!  Our local store was having a major close-out sale on boy's screen-printed shirts, so I racked up a great deal on several that Timothy loves... a bright-colored "T-Rex" roaring on one... the open mouth of an alligator on another, a camouflage print Batman logo, and even a Spider Man print that had Timothy reeling with excitement!

Zola is wearing one of her "garage sale"
outfits... Timothy's shorts and Nike shoes
came from his Cousin Owen, and I purchased
the t-shirt at Wal-Mart on clearance!
Not to leave out Zola, I discovered a table of great little outfits at a garage sale, and a wonderful Baby B-Gosh snow suit for next winter... for $3!

Then, someone locally advertised shoes for sale on a Facebook "garage sale" page... and I was IN!  I purchased all of the shoes shown in this picture - for $10.  Yes, that includes the Columbia snow boots, two pair of Skechers, a pair of Hello Kitty Mary-Janes, and a pair of Converse high-tops!  All it took was a gentle washing, some elbow grease and an X-acto knife to clean the soles, and a Mr. Clean eraser to get the white rubber topsoles shining like brand new!

Why anyone would pay full price for these clothes is beyond me... but I'm so glad someone does this and passes the savings along!  I know I'm creating a "shoe diva" by purchasing Zola so many pairs, but at this price, who can resist!

Finally, I promised my cousin Olivia a "monogrammed" t-shirt... and since she got ALL A's and made the Honor Roll, I thought this was the perfect way to congratulate her!