Thursday, February 25, 2010

The 45-Minute T-Shirt Makeover

Here's an easy 45-minute t-shirt makeover that you can do for any size shirt (kids or adults). Since this month is all about the boys, I couldn't resist a dinosaur themed shirt for my son.

What you'll need:

A pre-made plain t-shirt (I found mine at Target for $4)
Knit fabric for sleeves (the yardage requirement will vary based on the size shirt you're making. For a boys' size 5/6 I used 1/2 yard.)
Freezer paper
Fabric paint (like Tulip soft)
Water-soluble fabric marking pen

Don't forget thread, an x-acto knife, and a fabric paint brush. You'll also need another long sleeve shirt in the same size that you'll be making. You'll use this shirt as a pattern for your sleeves.

Check to make sure that your pattern shirt (here shown with stripes) fits nicely under the shirt you're making. (Tuck them inside each other to check the size of the sleeves.)

Fold the knit fabric in half and lay your pattern shirt on it matching the outer sleeve with the fold of the knit fabric.

Using a water-soluble marking pen, trace the outline of the sleeve.

When you reach the shoulder, fold up the pattern shirt along the seam line of the shirt and mark this line. You've now got your sewing line marked.

Cut out the sleeve with 1" extra around your sewing line.

With right sides together, sew along the length of the sleeve with an appropriate stitch that will allow for stretching. (I used an overedge stitch.) Make sure to leave the top and bottom open. Trim excess fabric.

Turn your t-shirt inside out. Insert your t-shirt sleeve into the long sleeve you made.

Pin sleeves together along existing seam from t-shirt.

Sew along the sleeve on the existing seam. (I used a straight stretch stitch and then an overedge stitch.) Make sure you don't sew in from the existing seam line.

Here's a view from the other side.

Turn sleeve cuffs up 1/4". Fold up again another 1/4". Pin in place. Sew around cuff (using a straight stretch stitch) 1/8" up from the edge. Repeat the above steps for the other sleeve.

Turn the shirt right side out. You're half way done.

Draw a design on your freezer paper which compliments the sleeve fabric. I chose a T-Rex skull. To get a copy of my T-Rex skull and a triceratops skull go here. Iron the freezer paper onto your shirt.

Using soft fabric paint, paint your design on. Remove the freezer paper when you're done. (I like to let mine dry a little so I don't get smudges.)

And you're done!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Men's Travel Bag

I wanted to make gift for my father-in-law for his birthday. Since I already made him a necktie for Christmas, I wanted to make something different. I made garden gloves for him, but I wanted to make something else too. He enjoys traveling the world from time to time, so I thought I'd make him a travel bag. I do love making bags!

The pattern I used came from Heather Ross' "Weekend Sewing". I used two fat quarters and fused craft-weight fusible interfacing to the outer fabric to give it added stiffness. I hope he likes it!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Garden Gloves

What better way to welcome the first signs of spring than by making garden gloves! Here's some great garden gloves I made for my father-in-law and son. The pattern came from Heather Ross' "Weekend Sewing" but this pattern can also be found on her blog. Check it out. My son picked out the dinosaur fabric for grandpa. I think they'll both enjoy wearing these while working in the garden this summer.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Fresco Secco

If you've ever played with plaster-of-paris, you know how much fun it can be. I stumbled across a tutorial on for a fresco secco and I couldn't wait to try it. You simply take a piece of burlap, spread a roughly 1/4" layer of plaster over it and allow to dry and then paint or draw your artwork. This technique gives you a secco fresco or "false" fresco, as a true fresco is achieved by painting wet-on-wet, versus wet-on-dry. I used watercolors to paint my grapes on. After your image is on the plaster, you age it by carefully breaking it to create cracks. Once you have your desired look, you use school glue to fix it. The best part by far was breaking it to get the aged look. I really like the final product. It was a lot of steps and I don't think I'll be doing it anytime soon, but it was definitely fun once!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Lil Blue Boo / Dharma Design Challenge #2

So, I finally decided how I was going to do this second Paper Doll dress for the Lil Blue Boo / Dharma Design Challenge this afternoon. Between taking care of the kids and making dinner for family and friends, I managed to cut all the fabric, applique the flowers and finish the dress tonight. I used three different plain fabrics in a dark pink, light pink and green. The appliqued flowers came from a really beautiful border fabric. I used two pieces of fabric for each half of the dress skirt (green and dark pink), then added the flowered applique which was cut from the border fabric before sewing the front and back pieces of the dress together. It goes all the way around the dress and the pockets hide where the applique pieces meet giving the fabric the illusion from far away that it is one piece of fabric.

Here's a close up of the front applique:

Here's the border fabric I used (before I cut it up):

Here's my little "punkin" modeling the dress:

You can see that the flowers go all around the dress.

Lil Blue Boo / Dharma Design Challenge

When I heard about the Lil Blue Boo / Dharma Design Challenge I was really excited. I loved the Paper Doll Dress and had lots of ideas. It's still cold here in MN and there's lots and lots of snow. Thoughts of summer are on my mind amidst heavy coats, boots, hats and mittens. I made this dress with soft green polka dots and climbing flowering vines thinking of sunny summer days. The pockets were embroidered with the same pattern as on the dress body. I have to say, my daughter loved the pockets!!

Here's a close up of one of the pockets.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Celebrate the Boy!

I'm sure you're well aware of Dana and Rae's month devoted to celebrating boys. Being a mother of a young boy, I absolutely love this idea. I thought I'd share with you an amazing dragon pattern I found on Etsy for "Yoki the Fat Dragon" by DIY Fluffies. It does take a little time, but it's so worth it. I loved it so much, I enlarged the pattern to make a mommy dragon too! Any young boy (or girl) would love it.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Oilcloth Mini Shopping Bag

I'm always trying to find ways to not waste the scraps of fabric from my sewing projects. One of the easiest things to do is to make a small purse or bag for a little girl. Here's a little tutorial for an oilcloth mini shopping bag for your favorite little one. (Note: Since I used oilcloth, I did not design the bag to have a lining. If you did make it with other types of fabric, I would suggest lining it to get a nice, clean look.) I used the scraps from this project. (This bag is sewn completely differently from the large one.) I think my daughter will love going to the farmers market with our matching bags.

So here's how you can make one! (This is my first sewing tutorial, so please let me know what you think.)

Cut the following pieces from oilcloth.

2 8" x 6.5" front and back pieces
2 8" x 4.5" side pieces
1 4.25" x 6.25" bottom piece
2 16" x 3.5" handles

You'll also need a water soluble marking pen, thread and low-tack masking tape (like painter's tape).

Tip: Put some low tack masking tape on the bottom of your pressure foot when you're sewing the oilcloth to prevent slipping.

Increase your stitch length to approximately 6 stitches per inch.

Start by sewing one of the side pieces to a front/back piece (right sides together) with a 3/8" seam allowance.

Continue adding the other side piece to front piece.

So now we have the front and two sides sewn on.

Then add the final back piece and complete the four walls of your bag.

You've now got a bag without a bottom.

Before we add the bottom piece, we need to trim the corners on the bottom of the bag. Measure 3/8" in from seam line and mark with a water soluable pen. Then from the bottom, measure 3/8" up along the seam line and mark this point and make a line to the other point you made and another to the edge of the fabric.

Trim this extra fabric.

The next step is to add your bottom piece. Making sure that your bag is inside out, pin the bottom on all sides.

Sew around the bottom with a 3/8" seam allowance. It's easiest to start sewing in the middle of a front or back piece rather than at a corner. When you reach a corner, stop at the seam line for the side (3/8" from the edge). Keep the needle in the down position.

Lift your pressure foot and rotate the fabric.

Lift the side of the bag from your sewing path

and lay it flat so you now have just your two layers in front of you (that you want to sew together).

Continue sewing and repeat at the other corners.

This should give you nice clean corners!

Turn right side out. We're almost done!

Fold down top edge 3/8" and pin in place.

Top stitch around roughly 1/8" from top edge. Then set aside.

To make the handles. Lay out a handle piece wrong side up on a table.

Fold in 5/8" on each end. (Short ends.)

Fold in half (lengthwise) making a nice crease in the center. Open back up and fold the outer edges to the center crease.

Fold in half again along that first center crease. Pin handles together and sew around edges to secure.

Attach the handles to the bag with a 1" overlap, lining the edge of the handle to the seam line of the bag.

And you're done! I hope you enjoy this!


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