Thursday, March 31, 2011

I'm a contestant!

Hello readers, I have exciting news to share today! I'm going to be one of the contestants on the website 1 Month 2 Win It! The pics and profiles of the contestants went up today and you can see them all here. I'm the second to last one in the list.

So for the month of April I'll be doing a project a week for the contest. Each week the projects are voted on to see who gets to move on to the next round. The projects are top secret so you'll have to wait until after the voting is finished each week before you get to find out what project was mine and get the how-to.

There are 11 other incredibly talented ladies participating. You should definitely check out their profiles (linked above) and their websites. I'm a little nervous but excited to be doing this!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Upcycle! Hoodie into Cowl Neck Pullover

We have a lot of hooded sweatshirts at this house and I've always wondered if I could convert them into something else. There's a boy's shirt contest going on over at I Am Momma Hear Me Roar so I decided to give it a shot. Here's a great way to transform those hooded sweatshirts into a cowl neck pullover!

Start out with a sweatshirt that fits your child (or you!) comfortably with a little extra room because you'll be loosing just a little bit of the width. Make sure the hood fits comfortably over their head. My son normally wears 24 month sized clothes but I used a 2T for this project. *If you are using a different style shirt check out the tips at the bottom of the post.

First you'll cut out the zipper. It's easiest to do this from the inside of the sweatshirt and to cut as close to the zipper as you can.

Next cut off the hood and cut off the seam that connected the hood to the rest of the shirt. You may need to use a seam ripper to remove and bits still stuck to the sides.

Your cut up shirt will now look like this:

At this stage you'll want to remove any embellishments like the basketball patch on my sweatshirt above. Next lay the hood flat. If it is unlined like most hoodies you'll cut it twice the final desired so you can fold it in half. Add an additional 1/4" to that measurement for your seam allowance. I cut a strip 4 3/4" for my son's 2T size shirt.

 Now you're ready to start sewing! Fold the sweatshirt inside out and pin the seam together. I cut the pockets so they would be 1/2" away from the edge of the shirt. Next, sew along the edge with a 3/8" seam allowance. Start at the bottom so if the shirt shifts at all, at least that part will match up correctly!

Lay the sweatshirt out and press the seams open. Pin the seams down and sew 1/4" on each side of the seam. When you do this, fold the edges down over the sides of the pockets so when you stitch it up you'll close the pockets that you cut open when you removed the zipper.

Turn the sweatshirt right side out and pin the center of the neck strip (the piece cut from the hood) to the center of the neck on the back of the shirt. The right side of the hood should be facing out with the seam at the bottom.

Continue to pin around the curve of the neck.

Turn the shirt over and pin down the neck strip leaving a gap slightly larger than the folded width of the neck piece. My neck strip folded in half minus the seam allowance is 2 1/4" so the gap I left is 2 1/2". Sew the neck strip down all the way around the shirt. Do not stitch down the 1/4" at the edge where the Xs are marked below.

Next cut out the V of material between the neck strip. Cut along the edge of the neck strip on both sides and cut across where your stitches stop (1/4" before the edge of the neck strip). Click on the image below (or any image in the post) for a larger view. The smaller image is the same as the larger one so you can see how mine looked.

Fold the neck strip over so it resembles a dress shirt collar. Pin down the edges.

Sew the neck down all the way around as close to the edge as you can. Also, sew the front edge of the neck shut.

For the final step, turn the shirt inside out and line up the two edges of the collar with the opening. Pin it in place and stitch shut.

Turn right side out and the shirt is complete! You could easily add some extra character with piping around the neck or with contrast stitching.

*Tips for other shirt styles: If you're starting out with a lined hood you won't have to fold the neck strip in half like the example above. Below, using a 2T shirt, I cut the neck strip 2 3/4" for a final neck of 2 1/2" with 1/4" seam allowance.

With this style of pockets I was able to do just a single seam down the center and that closed the pockets back up. Because the graphic was misshapen after the cutting and sewing I just cut a patch from the extra hood material to cover it up. That also covered up the top of the pockets that became slightly mismatched after sewing! 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Easy Drawstring Tote

I made this tote to match the number bean bags from this post. They're just so cute together I can't resist posting a photo here of the whole set!

I wanted to do a separate post for the tote since it's such a versatile thing to make and it was really fast to whip up. Plus it's easy enough you could even make them to use as gift bags!

To make your own, first cut two rectangles, one for the front and one for the back. You'll be folding this in half later so take that into account when you decide on a size. For the bean bag tote I used a 23" x 13" rectangle. Put right sides together and stitch all the way around but leave a 3" opening.

Turn right side out. Next, use an iron to crease the edges of the opening so that the raw edges are inside. Then fold the top over 1 1/4" and iron that down. Put a drawstring inside the opening then pin down the edge. Stitch along the edge with a 1/8" seam allowance.

Fold in half so you're seeing the side that you want to be the inside. Stitch around the bottom and the open side, stopping 2" before the top.

Attach the drawstring toggle.

Turn right side out.

Ready to fill with goodies!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Great Kid's Gift: Number Bean Bags Tutorial!

My friend's son turned two yesterday and I wanted to make him something that a little boy (or girl) could enjoy playing with. I've seen variations of counting bean bags on different blogs and decided to come up with my own version. This set has nine beanbags plus a matching drawstring tote bag. You can find the separate tutorial for the tote bag here.

To make these, you'll want to download my pattern (free!) that includes the numbers and square for the beanbags. I didn't use a number zero but my husband was concerned that someone might want it so it's included in the pattern. First, print out the pattern and cut out all the paper numbers and 9 fabric squares for the beanbag fronts and 9 fabric squares for the backs. I did brown for the front and different colors and patterns for the numbers and backs.

Next, cut out nine fabric rectangles a little larger than your numbers. Iron those to a strip of fusible web. On the back, trace each number backwards then cut out each number.


Peel the backing off the fusible web and iron the numbers to the centers of your beanbag fronts. If you want more details on making the number appliques you can see my post on appliques here.

Next I did a loose zig zag stitch with my sewing machine around each number. The curves got tricky and so I had to turn the hand wheel for some parts and stitch very slowly. Then put right sides together of your beanbag fronts and backs and stitch them up leaving a 2" opening at the bottom. When you are done stitching, turn them right side out.

Then we took a break while my son played with them :).

Okay, break is over and back to work! I tried to fill these with a funnel but my funnel opening was too small so I used a rolled up paper plate to fill each bag with black beans. I filled each bag until it was 3/4 full and used a pound and a half total for all nine bags.

Next I sewed the openings up using a slipstitch. A slipstitch is a (mostly) hidden seam. Do do this you'll first fold the raw edges inside. Then knot your thread and starting at one end of the opening you'll alternate between the inside folds of the fabric stitching about 1/16" inch of fabric on each side then pull tightly.

Beanbags are now finished and ready to be played with!

And like I mentioned earlier, you can also make a matching drawstring tote to keep them in. Find the tutorial here.

Irish Cream Cheesecake

I don't normally share recipes but this one turned out so well I thought I'd let you all in on it! These two beauties are sitting on my kitchen counter right now and they look so good!! I used a recipe from Allrecipes for Irish Cream Cheesecake. Only changes I made were upping the Irish Cream from 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup. For the swirl on top, mix some of the cheesecake batter with chocolate syrup or cocoa powder. Put it in a Ziploc bag, cut 1/8" off a bottom corner and squeeze it like a frosting bag to make a spiral on the top. (I used straight chocolate syrup and that's why that area sunk a bit in my photo...oops.) Then, use a toothpick to make lines toward the center for the marbled pattern. I topped it with homeade whipped cream. If the raw batter is any indication, these are going to taste great!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Enter some giveaways!

Today just happens to be my 30th birthday so I thought this would be a good time to talk about giveaways since they're so fun and such a nice surprise when you win! In the past few weeks I've won three giveaways and the third item just arrived today, perfect timing! In the photo below you can see a Kona Cotton Color Card, a signed copy of Handmade Beginnings by Anna Maria Horner, and organic fat quarters from Harmony Art.

Feeling jealous and want to win some giveaways of your own? You're in luck! Now on Craft Buds (my other blog) we'll be featuring a collection of weekly giveaways for you to enter from a variety of blog sites. If you're hosting a giveaway you can link it up there. Check it out here!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Pillowcase Dresses for "Dress a Girl Around the World"

The last few days I've been busily stitching up a batch of pillowcase dresses for the "Dress a Girl Around the World" sew-a-long going on through tomorrow at Little Big Girl Studio.

The mission of this program is to provide as many little girls as possible with their own new dress made just for them. While you can participate year round at, the sew-a-long at LBG Studio ends tomorrow. This is a great cause and a great way to use up some of that fabric stash!

Here's a few shots of the dresses I made (and you can see in the photo below that I did two in each color combo):

LBG Studio has a PDF pattern you can download plus a tutorial on two ways to make the dress, with or without elastic. I followed her pattern and instructions for the dresses I made using the Fabric-Tie Casing (the non-elastic option). The only difference was that I added pockets to some, and rather than using one long strap with a bow on one side, I cut it in half so there would be a bow on both sides (and I used store bought bias tape rather than making my own). I also used this tip which you will love for the rest of your life:

Before I stitched up the casing at the top of the dress, I cut a piece of embroidery floss about 5" longer than the casing length. I tied a safety pin tied to one side and put the embroidery floss in the crease at the top of the casing. Then I sewed it shut, pinned the strap to the embroidery floss and pulled it right through in a matter of seconds. Saves so much time an frustration! Here's some photos of the steps:

1. Place piece of embroidery thread in the crease of the casing with a tail sticking out on both sides.

2. Fold over top and then stitch down.

3. Tie the safety pin to the embroidery floss, then pin it to the strap. Then pull it right through!

You can use the same concept for making straps or tubes that are sewn right sides together then turned right side out. Just cut the fabric for your tube about an inch longer than you'll need. Before you sew it shut, put the thread inside the tube running the whole length with a little extra sticking out on both sides. Stitch one end of the tube shut so the thread is attached. When you're done sewing just pull the thread and your tube is now right side out! Then just cut off that end off of your tube.