Category Archives: Sewing

Using up what is there

When I organized my sewing closet the other day, I came across a HUGE pile of clothing in there, meant for refashioning. Honestly, it made me feel sad to look at that stuff sitting there, not being used, and I really didn’t want it to go back in the closet. SO, I took it out, plopped it down on my sewing table, and made decisions whether or not to keep each garment. I even took it one step further by deciding right there and then what the ones I kept would be made into.

Then I made them into things!

Most of them, I just need to make simple adjustments so that Falafel could wear them. I cut a lace dress and made a cute skirt, in minutes. One of The Bee’s old shirts, actually fit Falafel as a dress without any alterations.

The one I am sharing today was also super easy, and only really took about 10 minutes to make. It started with a pair of fantastic yoga pants made from organic hemp and cotton that someone gifted me. I could not allow myself to get rid of them even though they were FULL of unrepairable crotch holes. And although that fabric is super worn (I wore these all the time), it was too precious a fabric to let go. I mean how often do I get to buy organic hemp/cotton? Uh, never.

yogapants5m

I traced a pair of leggings that fit my girl. Left the existing hem on these pants. I added a yoga band at the top by sewing a few pieces together.

yogapants2m

The seam on the band doesn’t line up with the one on the pants, but I am OK with it due to the trickiness of salvaging fabric when refashioning. C’est la Vie.

yogapants6m

Then she had to try out some yoga poses.

yogapants3m

And made up her own.

yogapants10m

I cannot even tell you just how good it felt to reduce that pile in my closet, and to just stop procrastinating. I know that those kinds of projects usually get pushed until “later” because they are not as glamorous or fun as sewing something new (uh, like bathing suits). But “later” can turn into weeks, months, and years. It feels much better to be rid of that baggage.

yogapantsm

And now she has some very cute yoga pants, amongst other easy-to-wear-and-be-a-nut clothes.

yogapants9m

What have you done today?

Juice pouch tote tutorial

I am back to sewing with juice pouches. Ha!  I guess I am becoming predictable. You know you can either find me talking about that camisole pattern or juice pouches, lately.

I did get a request for a tutorial from a reader asking how to make the Juice pouch totes. I needed to sew up a few more, so I figured I would photograph as I went.

Let’s gather some materials to make a Juice Pouch Tote!

juicetutebagsm

To make one of the bags you see in the photo above you will need:

juicetutem

23 empty, clean juice pouches.

{Read here for some helpful tips on working with this funky material}

You will also need a heavy duty sewing machine needle, a sewing machine, thread, sewing scissors, AND scissors that are NOT your sewing scissors (for trimming the juice pouches), 1 package of extra wide double folded binding, strap material (I used 2 pieces cut to 39″ each of cotton webbing), and clips (such as clover clips)

juicetute2m

Because we collected these from a variety of sources, there are all different designs on our pouches. I think that makes it even more fun. So if you have choices, too, lay out a row of four in the order you like.

juicetute3m

Take just two, overlap one edge on top of the other, and sew with a zig zag stitch, securing them together. I always lay the one on the left on top of the on on the right, but this is entirely up to you.

juicetute4m

It should look like this when you are done.

juicetute5m

Continue on until all four are sewn in a line. Then repeat with another line of 4.

juicetute6m

Now that you have two rows of four, trim each row so that they are nice and neat, and you will sew them together with a zig zag stitch. I sew the one on the top, on top of the one on the bottom. Does that make sense? Maybe you can say “she sells sea shells by the seashore” 10 times fast. You know, just for fun.

juicetute7m

Anyhow, repeat the above steps until you have two panels of 8.

juicetute8m

Now grab that binding and cut a piece that will fit across the top of one of them. Clip the binding, sandwiching the top edge.

juicetute9m

Sew it on (I used a straight stitch, but you could do any that you would like). Repeat for other panel.

juicetute10m

Take one strap and clip on to one panel. I started at the bottom on one vertical seam and looped up and around (making sure not to twist) and down to the bottom of the other vertical seam.

juicetute11m

Sew down the entire length of the strap on each side of the strap. I even continued my stitches on the loop of the handle. Repeat for other panel. Then place both panels aside.

juicetute12m

Grab 7 more pouches to make the sides and bottom. Place them one on top of the other, but this time, vertically.

juicetute13m

You will sew 5 of them going in one direction, and then flip the last two upside down and sew them on.

juicetute14m

You will have a long line of pouches now.

juicetute15m

Cut a small piece of bias tape for each end. Clip on, then sew in place. Trim the excess off the ends.

juicetute16m

Grab one of your panels, and face it down. Lay the long strip on top facing up (so that wrong sides are together). Clip it along one side to start.

juicetute17m

When you get to the bottom, curve it around and clip in place. Do this all around until you reach the other side on top. Sew it down with a zip zag stitch. Start again at the top and go the length of the side. When you get to the bottom corner, stop and clip your thread. Pivot the bag so you can sew across the bottom.
juicetute19m

This part is a bit tricky. You will need to fold and hold it down in place to make this easier (the old fold n’ hold, eh?). Then sew to next corner, and repeat. juicetute20m

Yay! You have one side sewn on. Repeat process for the other panel. juicetute21m

You will have to learn what way to fold your bag so it is not so cumbersome and awkward going through your machine. Go slowly and stop when you need to. juicetute22m

It should look like this. Put it aside and grab the remaining piece of binding. Cut it in half. juicetute23m

Open up one side of one of the pieces. juicetute24m

Fold edge over. juicetute25m

Fold the ends back and now it looks neater. You will use this to wrap around the raw edges you just created. Start at the top.

juicetute26m

Clip in place. When you get to the bottom corner, turn it, and it will form a little mitered corner. Keep clipping around. juicetute27m

Sew with a straight stitch around the bag. Stop at the corners, and pivot (like you did in the previous steps). When you get to the top,  before you sew all the way, tuck in the end of the bias tape to make it neater on this side. Sew it down. Repeat for the other side of the bag. juicetutebag2m

You are done!! Get more juice pouches and repeat:) juicetuetebags3m

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! Please let me know if you make one using it. I would love to see your juice pouch creations, too. And as always, let me know if you have any questions!

Another use for that cami pattern

Just when you thought I was done, I made something else with that same pattern!

camisoleblue8m

This time, I lengthened the camisole pattern and made matching shorts.

camisoleblue6m

The fabric I used is some that I was saving from my trip to the Sewing Expo. I have no idea who made it, but it is so very soft and lovely. I wish I bought the whole roll!

camisoleblue9m

I made the knit bias tape from some scraps I had left over from this dress (another one of my favorite patterns).

camisoleblue11m

The Bee took one look at her sister wearing this and said “nice pajamas!”. Well, I actually didn’t make them as pajamas, and she will probably wear this outfit in public, but yes, I suppose they could also be sleepwear!

camisoleblue3m

For the shorts, I just traced a pair of bicycle shorts that she has, and made them slightly larger (so there is room to grow). Super easy!

camisoleblue2m

I think this child has some great Summer staples, now.

Do you like to sew clothing for Summer? What is your go-to pattern?

Camisole dress

Remember that Gold bathing suit I made using the Classic Camisole pattern *affiliate link* as a base?

purplecami4m

I made my girl a summer dress out of that same pattern!

purplecami6m

I started with sewing up the size 5/6 camisole pattern. I lengthened it first, but then decided to make a dress out of it, so I cut off the excess fabric at the bottom.

purplecami12m

Then I made a circle skirt. I just winged it! Please don’t think I am bragging, because in all actuality I think this aspect of my personality is a mixture of luck and crazy.

purplecami9m

Every time I have ever tried to make circle skirt (especially out of knit), I just eyeball it. I go conservative on the waist curve (because  you can always widen it later). The length, you can always shorten.

purplecami3m

I also made it so that there were two half circles, and again, the side seams were fully adjustable if I needed to trim a little off.

purplecami13m

The sides are cut a little higher which gives this dress a dance-y feel.

purplecami18m

purplecami10m

purplecami16m

purplecami19m

She LOVES this dress. Goodness, so would I! It is the perfect summer outfit.

pruplecami14m

What is a pattern you have changed to make into something else?

Princess Falafel and the Gold Tankini

I could not resist a little nod to Star Wars. Although this is far from that kind of suit.

I started with the Coco Cay Tankini pattern that I have tried for the first time before, here. I made it again, but still had the same shoulder problem. I have no idea.

goldbathimngsuit4m

I liked how the boy shorts came out though.

goldsuit6m

I thought I would try something different.

goldsuit3m

So I sewed up the Camisole Pattern (also by Peek-a-Boo Pattern shop) using swimwear fabric!

goldsuit2m

She LOVES it. The fit is perfect, and it was a super quick sew.

goldsuit10m

She even wore it to an Art Show at our local library (with a skirt) while she tried on necklaces made from different natural materials.

goldsuit12m

I think everyone needs a gold tankini!

goldsuit9m

Now, if it only came in MY size!

What have YOU made today?

9 inch quilt

 Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Over at Sew Can She, there is a new series with a contest going on and all you need to do is sew up one of these mini- quilts.

When I say mini, I mean 9 inches square!

quiltblock2m

How cute is that??!!

quiltblock3m

There is a tutorial with measurements. You just follow that. Super easy.

quiltblockm

I used a Unicorn, sprinkles and cupcakes for my theme. Oh so sweet in every aspect.

quiltblock6m

Mine came out a little wonky, but I really like it that way. Definitely a good project for using up scraps!

My Falafel has already asked to use it for her doll, but I may want to keep it in the kitchen as a trivet.

What have YOU made today?

What I have learned about juice pouch sewing

Yes, I am STILL obsessing talking about juice pouches.

I sewed up some more things to show you, but I also want to share what I have learned while experimenting with this strange material.

zippouchallm

  1. WASH the pouches immediately. I mean, as soon as they are empty. cut the top off, and wash them. You can store them after they are dry. I hand washed over 200 of these suckers, and a lot were moldy inside. While I appreciate the fact that people collected them and gave them to me, I did have to discard a fair few due to unwashable (not to mention unhealthy) black mold. *gag*
  2. Keep the pouch together as one piece. If you cut it open to separate the front and back, the edges curl because the material they are made of (foil? plastic? both?) is very thin. Keep it together by folding the whole thing flat. It will be sturdier this way.
  3. Make sure to have a heavy duty needle in your machine. When layering these pouches, it can get thick (especially at the corners). A needle that is used for denim works great. I can’t promise that you won’t break one, but this will at least reduce your chances.
  4. Always sew with one on top of the other, lining up the edges. NEVER right sides together. It may take a little longer for you to figure out how to construct a bag this way, but if you sew them the other way, once they are sewn together, it is darn near impossible to turn them rights sides out again (neatly). Believe me.
  5. Zigzag stitch works well. ’nuff said.
  6. Have fun and get creative! These juice pouches are incredibly sturdy and fun to work with. Save some from the landfill by giving them a new life!

zippouch8m

I made a few different sized zippered bags to give as teacher gifts.

zippouch9m

I think this one is my favorite.

zippouch10m

Big enough for a bunch of pencils. We were thinking of gifting this one to the school nurse to hold some first aid supplies.

zippouch4m

The smaller ones are nice to fit in a purse. I only made one with a handle. I like them better without.

zippouch5m

Have you sewed with these? Do you have any tips to add?

Not being perfect

I have seen many many posts where women debunk the “perfect image” that is portrayed on the internet. Does anyone really think that any one person has it all or is perfect?

I have always thought about those beautiful pictures and stories as people sharing the good in their lives. Sharing what makes them smile. Cause really, there are so many terrible things in this world, and I honestly would like to see some more pretty. It never has meant that the ugly or imperfect moments don’t exist. But do I want to see you when you first wake up in the morning or the dirty diapers that you cleaned?? Uh not really.

With that said, I personally feel a need to balance things out. I do show my triumphs as a sewist, but I also want you to see the stuff I mess up on. Not all of it, mind you. Just as I show only a glimpse of the good, I will show you a glimpse of the difficulties because I learn from every one of my mistakes..and maybe you can too.

To read more, hop on over to Sew Can She where I share a few not so pretty stories.

Juice Pouch Bag

I was playing around with sewing some of the extra juice pouches and came up with a handy little tote.

juicepouchbag3m

I am working on different ways to sew these things. They do not fold well and must be stitched wrong sides together.

juicepouchbag4m

The inside isn’t lined, but I think it still looks neat.

juicepouchbag2m

I also would love to explore different binding/bias tape materials. This was plain old black double fold bias tape for the edges, and single fold blue bias tape for the middle.

juicepouchbag6m

Perfect for Teacher gifts. You know, when they want to carry around a bunch of oranges and apples.

juicepouchbagm

I think I am addicted to sewing these pouches! It isn’t easy, but it sure is fun figuring it out.

What unusual recycled materials have you sewn with lately?

My very first swimsuit

I sewed up my very first swimsuit, The Coco Cay Color block Tankini by Peek-a-Boo Pattern shop.

squarecococay

*affiliate link*

I am still getting to know The Contessa. I make myself sew all knits on her because she has some awesome knit stitches. BUT I am very much still learning it all. With that said, this suit did not come out perfect. And that is OK. I am showing you anyway. Why not share the learning process?

swimsuit8m

It is most definitely wearable, but there are places that I could have been more consistent. I also didn’t hem it. I want to master the double needle (which I have never used) before I tackle that. Good thing this swimwear will not fray, so no rush.

swimsuit6m

You can see here where I didn’t pull the elastic tight enough in the shoulders, and a little too tight around her shoulder blades.

swimsuit10m

Overall, though, it is very similar to sewing a unitard (which I have sewn here and here).

swimsuit12m

She does love it in all it’s sparkly purpleness.

swimsuit3m

I do love Amy’s patterns. They are so easy to follow and she has so very many to choose from. I will be sewing this one up again.

swimsuit13m

Have you ever sewn a swimsuit before?