29 May 2012

Feeling crafty lately

I've had a productive week.   In the last few days I cut off a pair of ripped blue jeans, sewed buttons on two pairs of pants, repaired a hole in a sweater, and removed outdated shoulder pads from a blazer.  I also made two coupon file organizers (which people bought from me for real money!), and I stumbled across this gem on the internet:  http://psimadethis.com/tagged/fashion/page/5.  (The drawback of this website is that it doesn't have individual pages for individual projects; the project to which I'm referring is at the bottom.  Some of her stuff is a bit too fashion-forward for me, but a lot of it is cute.)

Basically, you take an old, stretched-out, pit-stained shirt, and turn it into an infinity scarf.  I had a t-shirt that fit the bill.  It had been a favorite of mine 30 pounds ago, but it now hung on me; it also had armpit stains, but it just seemed too cute to throw away.  (I tried to find a picture of the shirt in its original state, but no luck.)  After literally less than five minutes of work, I had a new accessory!

I've really gotten into this "up cycling" thing.  It's fun to take something old and turn it into something new and creative.

So, that leads me to my next question:  I've found lots of uses for old clothes, and I've also come up with ways to improve upon something old or worn.  I haven't yet figured out anything to do with old shorts.  I have several pairs that are too big for me now that I've lost baby weight, but they don't fit anyone else in the family either.  Do they just get donated to Goodwill, or does anyone have another idea of what to do with them?

What are some things you have "up cycled"?

22 May 2012

Birthday Gifts

I have made it a goal of mine to focus more on handmade presents lately.  (I did it at Christmas, too.)  A few reasons:  they cost less, they are more personal, and no one in my life needs more cheap plastic toys.  So when my little girl's second birthday rolled around this month, I chose two handmade gifts to make for her.

The first was a circle skirt from this website; I absolutely love MADE and find lots of my inspiration from there.  (I also did a shirt dress last week, but I don't have a photo of it.)  I read Dana's tutorial and saw her say how easy this skirt was, but I assumed that there was no way it could really be that simple, especially since her sewing skills are head and shoulders above mine.  But, really, the longest part was drawing the perfectly-curved line for the pattern.  The entire project took about an hour, and the only tedious part was the hemming.  I used a scrap of fabric I had laying around -- less than a yard -- and spent about $2 for some colored elastic at JoAnn's.  My daughter loves it; it's very feminine and girly and perfect for spinning in circles while we dance in the living room.

The second project took a bit longer and was much more involved, but I'm prouder of it.  The pattern came from the book Little Things to Sew, which I borrowed from a friend.  (The last thing I need is another sewing book sitting around reminding me of how little time I have to devote to sewing.)  However, if I was going to buy another sewing book, this would be it.  It's full of clothes, toys, and kid-sized useful items specifically designed for small children.  There are dresses, backpacks, art smocks...and a fabulous child-sized front baby carrier.  I spend a lot of times these days with my six-month-old son in a Baby Bjorn, and my two-year-old gets irritated because I can't then pick her up.  I kind of hoped that a carrier of her own, for her own doll (named "Baby", conveniently enough) might cheer her up a bit.  

The pattern itself is quite simple, and very little fabric is required.  However, some of the curves are tiny, and didn't come out quite as neatly as I'd have preferred.  She didn't notice, though!  In fact -- sadly -- she was kind of underwhelmed.  She was more interested in her new crayons.  Bummer.  So I couldn't get a picture of her wearing the baby carrier; I'm hoping it will grow on her.

The next three gift-giving opportunities I have coming up are both for my husband:  Father's Day, our anniversary, and his birthday.  At some point, I'd like to learn to sew a men's shirt, but until then, I'm not sure I have anything in my repertoire that will serve as an appropriate homemade adult male gift.  Any suggestions?