Monday, May 24, 2010

Memory Pillow

My LJ's BFF(best friends forever) was moving to Mexico.  I can remember when I was that age and how your BFF was everything to you.  I am saddened that both girls have to endure this.  ;(

On Thursday, with one day left of school, and my DD's BFF leaving, my DD wanted me to make something "special".  Thank you DD!  I had to come up with something quick, special, and hope that I had all the supplies I needed.  I went to bed that night not knowing what to do and knew I had to have it done by Friday afternoon!

Memory pillow.... that's it!  Pillows are generally quick to make.  I found some fabric leftovers I had from another project and decided to use that!  I asked my DD for a picture of her and her friend that I could place on the pillow!

Ady's Pillow 013

I used photo transfer paper that you print the picture on.  You then transfer it to fabric with your iron.  It was somewhat a tricky process as this was the first time I ever used this product.


Haste makes waste as they say, because the quality of it could have been much better.  User error on MY part, but I think it came out okay....

I also made the back of the pillow sham-like for easy cleaning.  Yes, you can machine-wash this in cold water.  It really is an amazing product!

Ady's Pillow 017

My DD just LOVED it!  I am making her a replica, as per her request!  Her friend LOVED it, too and said the pillows are the colors of her new bedroom! 

When your last-minute creativity works out, it is a good day!  Under these circumstances, not really.  It is a sad day and I have a strong feeling some tough days ahead....


Thursday, May 20, 2010

LJ's Shirred Top From Daddy's Duds!

I donated a huge pile of clothing yesterday-really!  My oldest DD, "LJ" has been studying all this week for finals.  I felt that she need a pick-me-up and nothing does it more for her than clothes-Hmmmmm, the apple does not fall far from the tree!
  She loves when I make her something and she has a matching accessory, too.  Her friends swoon over her outfits in amazement with her matching and personalized wardrobe. 
I all along had intentions of making my DH's sage green Hawaiian Top into a shirred one for LJ!  She LOVES them because they are summery and legal to wear to school because I make the straps thick.  No spaghetti straps are allowed at school.  A much limited summer wardrobe in Arizona where much of everything is thin straps!
Follow along for a fun tutorial!
Original Hawaiian Shirt
Lauren's Hibiscus Shirred Top 009
I cut the shirt just below the sleeves!  Save the rest for straps for the top and a fun accessory!
Lauren's Hibiscus Shirred Top 011
I like things really straight and it makes the outcome that much more professional-looking.  I took my straight ruler and squared the top of the shirt.  The already hemmed bottom I left untouched!
Lauren's Hibiscus Shirred Top 013
At this point you can make a narrow hem on the top.  I chose to attach white double-sided bias binding to it.  Why?  Honestly, I am not a huge fan of sage green clothing, but it suits my daughter really well.  I thought the crisp white contrast would make it pop and add that touch it needed.

Lauren's Hibiscus Shirred Top 014
Lauren's Hibiscus Shirred Top 015
IMHO the white bias binding was the way to go!  It is starting to look more feminine.
The next step is to hand-wind your bobbin with elastic thread.  Not TOO tight but somewhat firm.  Wind it 2/3 of the way, because when you let go, it will expand and this is normal.  Wind at least 2-3 at this point.  If you run out of elastic mid- way into a row, no worries.  Just place another bobbin in its place and backstitch and continue!
Elastic thread is awesome!  I also have it in black, too, which is great for darker fabrics!
Lauren's Hibiscus Shirred Top 022
I know it, but I crave perfection.  It does take a few extra moments, but SO worth it.  I take my disappearing ink marker and ruler and make straight lines.  I like 1/2" increments and I accurately made 8 lines, but you can do more if you like.  I found this is perfect for LJ!  If you are using a button down shirt as I did, allow enough room for your sewing foot to go across the fabric and not interfere with the button.  I actually made that area 3/4" to accommodate this.  Once shirred it will blend.....
Lauren's Hibiscus Shirred Top 019
Lauren's Hibiscus Shirred Top 018
Place the bobbin in the bobbin case.  I choose white thread for the top for the contrast.  Increase your tension to 8 or 9 and stitch length to 2.5 or 3.  You can practice on a scrap piece of fabric.  Once you have determined the numbers that work for you(fabric starts to gather) place the right-side of the fabric facing you under the foot of your sewing machine and follow your lines.  Make sure to back-stitch at the beginning and the end.  From buttonholes to buttons!
You will notice that your gathers may appear "loose" but as you gather row after row it starts to look like shirring.  After you finish all rows, it will look like this.

Lauren's Hibiscus Shirred Top 020
At this point, it is a good idea to cut all your loose threads and neaten up your shirring!  It usually is still a little "loose", but all you have to do is take a hot iron with steam and steam all your shirring.  I do the front and back and you will magically see it shrink!   Do not place the iron on your fabric-keep it a few inches away and steam blast!  I then spray it with a little water and it is perfectly shirred!  You can button up your top at this point!

Lauren's Hibiscus Shirred Top 023
Time to make straps, if you like!  As I mentioned earlier, wide straps are a must for my LJ to wear it to school!
I cut the fabric in strips longer than I needed.  I measured LJ to get this measurement.  I made hers 19 inches long each, because I wanted to criss-cross it in the back!  More is always a good thing.....
Lauren's Hibiscus Shirred Top 026

Lauren's Hibiscus Shirred Top 028
I cut the strips 19" long by 2.5 " wide.  I made an executive decision to add bias binding to the straps again for visual detail!
Lauren's Hibiscus Shirred Top 030
I had to find my LJ so we could do a fitting for the straps.  I wanted to strategically place the straps so her bra straps would be completely hidden!  While she had the shirred top on I carefully pinned the straps in place.  Front and criss-crossed the back!  Carefully remove top!
You can either serge or narrow hem the raw edges before sewing the straps in place.  Just keep your pin in place for the exact spot for your straps!
Easy, breezy, shirred top!

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Lauren's Hibiscus Shirred Top 032
Lauren's Hibiscus Shirred Top 036
Lauren's Hibiscus Shirred Top 037
She LOVES her matching headband!  Now, on the last day of school, she can be fashionable and a brainiac as she takes her last final!
Lauren's Hibiscus Shirred Top 041

Purple Just Jo.jpg

Flower Jungle Dress for DD!

Today's forecast is sunny and 99!  Yes, 99 degrees.  Piece of cake for us, really!  One way to feel cooler(and look divatastic) is too wear a flowy dress, such as this one.  Since I made my DD a top out of this same pattern, I decided to try the dress.  Easy and very rewarding in about an hour or so....

The pattern is Mccalls M6009!



I have the same pattern in my size and I would love to sew one up for me!  If you noticed this is one of the fabrics from my "fabric extravaganza" from last week.
With 2 days of school left, my DD's will be on vacation for the next 10 weeks.  I am hoping for some sewing extravaganzas and hope to NOT put my sewing machines on summer break.....  DD's permitting!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Hawaiian Top repurposed for DD!

Today I am really donating a pile of clothes that I have in my car!  When I come across the bag, it seems as if an article of clothing screams out to me to "save" them!  I LOVE hawaiian/tropical prints!  They are so casual and fun and bring me back to beautiful beaches and swaying palm tress... Yes, we have LOTS of palm trees here in AZ, but NO beaches.  Miss that....
Here is my DH's shirt he donated because he did not like what the fabric was made of!  It is very silky and flowy, not your usual cotton shirt!
Sierra's Hawaiian Shirt 002
I grabbed this shirt out of the pile(again) and decided it would make a great summer top for my DD!  She also loves hawaiian anything.
I used McCall's pattern # M6009.

This is one of their "easy stitch" patterns and I would definitely use this pattern again.  This sews up really fast and I love the swing top style!  I am currently sewing a dress out of this pattern as well.  Stay tuned!
Here is my DD modeling her new top!  She was so delighted that she wanted to try it on right away.   Usually when she comes home from school, she needs some moments to unwind.  When I showed her this new shirt, she grabbed it from me!
Sierra's Hawaiian Shirt 007
Sierra's Hawaiian Shirt 005
I am pleased that she is pleased! ;)  As I hear hawaiian music in my head and sipping a mai tai, I realize that my vacation is almost over.  3 days of school left= 3 days of vacation left....  Another mai-tai PLEASE.....

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Master Bath Valance Curtains(Finally)

The title of my post says it all-finally!  I mean a couple of years finally!  I had NO idea what to do.....until I read this blog.  She really is "centsantional" in every sense of the word.  When I saw this valance she made for her kitchen, I knew this was the long-awaited answer I was looking for!

When I purchased this bedroom comforter ensemble, it had it all.  Comforter, dust ruffle, shams, Euro Shams, decorative throw pillows and 2 sets of curtains and 4 valances!  WOW!

But I knew I had to make some kind of curtains for my odd sized windows in my master bathroom!

Bathroom Valances 001

home decor 025

Bathroom Valances 010

Bathroom Valances 008

Just in case you are wondering, my bathroom paint color is a subtle mustardy yellow.  It came out pretty vibrant in these pictures!

This is a very easy project!  It is practically a no-sew project( unless you want it to be) and you need a staple-gun!  Easy!

Please visit the link I posted for all the details!
Now, if I only could soak in my tub and enjoy my hard work!  Aaaaaaaa- okay, back to reality!

Friday, May 14, 2010

From Shirt to Skirt!

I have a lot of fabric, I do....  I had a bunch of clothes to donate and as I was placing them in the car, I noticed this lime green shirt of mine.  I really admire this color-but not the shirt!   I know my DD likes this color, too.
So with all my fabric, I just had to repurpose this shirt!  Why?  I don't know?  I knew it would be a fast and rewarding project, done just in time for my DH and DD returning from a school trip to the Grand Canyon.  Yes, they have been gone for a couple of days and projects have been flying out of my sewing room! (well, not really, but you get the picture) 
Here is the wrinkled shirt I took from the donation pile.  It is a ladies size small.
Shirt into Skirt 001

I saw a summer skirt for my DD, who I have been missing!  I miss DH, too!
I cut the shirt just below the pockets!
Shirt into Skirt 003

Next I cut the rest of the fabric just under the arms.

Shirt into Skirt 006

Shirt into Skirt 007

After ironing the seam toward the top of the skirt, it should look something like this!

Shirt into Skirt 009

Ahhhh, starting to look like a skirt!  I then serged the very top, again making sure to line-up the button seams,  I placed some pins to hold it while I serged.   If you look carefully, you can see my serged top of the skirt.

Shirt into Skirt 011

t this point, I turned the skirt inside out and folded the top down 3/4" of an inch.  I sewed this all around the waistline making a casing.  Remember to leave an 1 inch or so, open so you can insert elastic.  I used 1/2" elastic and used my DD's waist size (which is 25") to cut that size of elastic.  Insert the elastic and sew the casing shut!
Shirt into Skirt 012

I think it looks good enough to wear at this point, but the girl in me thought to embellish it further.  I decided a scarf belt and a flower appliqué would be perfect!  I just LOVE this fabric!  It is Amy Butler "Daisy Chain".   I purchased it from

I also appliquéd with my embroidery machine, my fav and quickie, flower appliqué.

Here is my DD's "new and green"(LOL) skirt!

Shirt into Skirt 021
I sewed the bottom button onto the skirt catching all the laye
rs to hold the skirt closed.  It also makes the buttons look more uniform!  (You could do a buttonhole first and then sew the button, but why?)

The decorative part of this skirt is endless!  This took about 70 minutes from start to finish!  Does that include cleaning up the sewing room before DD and DH return home?  No, but I guess I have to.  I can't leave it messy because then they will "know" I had way too much fun while they were gone!

I am cleaning up now and closing shop.  I am missing the sounds of my family around, but I hear in the background my sewing machines purring and missing me.....  ;(

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Polka Dot Tank Top Dress

Okay, I hate to admit it, but school is just about done!  My DD's have 1 week left- it is just insane how FAST this school year has gone.   It also means summer is just about the corner.   What female doesn't want(need) a fun, summery dress to flirt around in?  My oldest DD picked out the fabric I used.  I bought the tank-top at Target for a steal.  I liked the cinched-in bustline.  Yes, flirty! When I mean flirty, I mean fun and cute!
Here is the tank top I cut and attached to the polka dot fabric-heart it!

Lauren's Tank Top Dress 002
Notice the waistline above.  It's okay and could be worn just as is.  But, no..... I kept on going because I thought it could be more.
The tank top was cut to fit to the waist and I ruffled the white knit fabric scraps.

Lauren's Tank Top Dress 010
I also sewed a cumberbund-style belt.  It is 3 inches wide and ties in a fun bow in the back.
Lauren's Tank Top Dress 014
What is that dangling on my garment stand?  Girls=accessories. A ruffled headband was a must.
Lauren's Tank Top Dress 027
This headband ties and dangles in the back.  Fun and flirty!  My DD LOVES it!

 Lauren's Tank Top Dress 002

Last but not least, I must give credit where credit is due as they say.  The inspiration from this dress comes from this blog.  Thank you SO much for the tutorial!
Visit this blog for the how-to.  Easy-really!

I am now racing into my sewing room to make a dress for my youngest DD.  It will be a different style dress!  DD's NEED to have their own sense of style.....
If you read my previous post about the fabric shopping extravaganza, my dilemma is which fabric to use?  Ohhhhhhhhh, so much fabric, SO little time.....

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Fabric Extravaganza!

I think this may have cured me of my lack of mojo!  We seemed to have dodged colds and the flu this winter, but with that being said... we had the stomach flu visit our household recently-and it was NOT fun!  I seemed to have been hit the hardest.  It left me without energy and seemed to have stolen my motivation for sewing projects.  Until now.....

I was at Walmart yesterday and unfortunately they are closing their fabric section. :(   I'm bummed, but I got in on some great fabrics-at GREAT prices!

I purchased 63 yards of fabric, 21 yards of decorative trim, 10 yards of webbing for tote bags, and 4 smocked fabric for dresses.. All for 107.00.  I nearly had a panic attack picking out all the fabrics! Many I just took whatever was left on the bolts....

Here are my fabric finds!

Senior Night May 2010 062

There is a mix of cottons, home dec!, and knit.  Look at the yummy aqua/ beige stripe.  10yds of home dec for 9.99!  The light green Hawaiian is a rayon and would make a great dress... Love the red/white/flowers, also! 

Senior Night May 2010 074

Senior Night May 2010 073

If you shop Walmart for fabrics, I am sure you recognize some of these fabrics.  The black smocked dresses originally were $17.97 a yard.  Scooped them up for $4.49 a yard.  The princess smocked fabric was $2.49 a yard.... Unbelievable!

Senior Night May 2010 065

The home dec trim was .49 a yard!  Took the whole thing... I also bought the off-white webbing, which make great handles for tote bags.  At .24 a yard, how could I go wrong?

I could hardly cart these out the door at Walmart.  In fact, with all those bolts, they asked to see my receipt!  Wow!

This definitely has given me my mojo back to sew, but a sadness still looms that Walmart is closing their fabric departments.  I know that their have been mixed feelings about Walmart fabrics, but I have ALWAYS found quality fabrics at reasonable prices... I am deeply saddened that Walmart does not see the big picture.  Customers shop Walmart for tons of things and the fabric department was a draw.  For some customers, Walmart is all they have!   It is a shame that the 3 piece suits are NOT seeing this....

Believe it or not, I am returning to Walmart today, as I want to purchase some MORE fabrics that I tossed aside yesterday.  This is my last chance at Walmart fabric... 

Oh, did I mention how exciting it is coming home with all this fabric?  Also, bittersweet is telling Mr. Just Jo about my fabric extravaganza... He might call Fabricaholics on me and send me away until I'm cured!  (He should know-NEVER)

  Any ideas would be welcomed! ;)  Help! ;)





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