I was eyeing a t-shirt to revamp and before making yet another t-skirt I decided to try to make shorts out of it instead because it gets really hotand muggy here in the summer so even if I wear a skirt I'd wear shorts underneath - no amount of cornstarch between my thighs can keep me from getting uncomfortable in the heat. Sorry if that's TMI.
After consulting Generation T to no avail, I decided to wing it. It was a lot easier than I thought! For the first pair I tried I used a t-shirt that wasn't oversized on me and that pair ended up fitting me too tight that I gifted them to my daughter. For the second try I used a shirt that was more roomy, maybe a size or two big on me.For reference, I'm about a size 16-18 and used a mens XXL t-shirt to make these shorts that fit just right, leaning more towards the snug side than being loose like pajama bottoms.
I decided on a drawstring but you can use elastic instead if you want, or even if you didn't add anything to cinch the waist band I would think they would still fit fine, t-shirt material is easy like that. I took pics as I went so here's my tutorial!
First here is the t-shirt I used, front and back:
Step 1: Cut the bottom hem off in one long piece, making sure that it stays folded over and sewn. Set this aside to use it as the drawstring.
Step 2: Turn the t-shirt inside-out and cut off about 5 or 6 inches high from the bottom. This will later become the waist band. Cut straight across the chest as much as you can (I'm salvaging the neck band intact to use for other projects like if I want to put a black neck band on a white shirt) and cut the sleeves off on the inside of the sleeve seam but a little in, so the curve is deeper. Cut the sides of the shirt apart from the armpit down.
Step 3: Sew the areas that were formerly the sleeve holes closed just around the curve. Stop there. Don't go all the way down to the bottom of the shirt.
Step 4: Use this opportunity to sew the bottom hem of the shorts up. It will be easier to do it now while it's flat than later when the legs are sewn together.
Step 5: Match up the sewn seams where the sleeves used to be, which will now be the front and back center of the shorts. Sew the crotch of the shorts from one bottom end of the leg up to the center point and around to the other side.
Step 6: Take the 5 or 6 inch tube you cut off the bottom of the shirt and cut it to the same size as the waist of the shorts, plus a little extra for seam allowance. Eventually the waist band will be two ply, folded in over and sewn onto the top of the shorts.
Step 7: The next thing to do will be to make two holes for the drawstring to come out. Mark the center point left-to-right then plan for your holes to be about a half inch from this on either side, just one one half of the the strip vertically - like if your waistband piece is 6 inches tall then the holes will be about 1.5 inches from the unfinished side. I sewed two small buttonholes to finish the edges of the holes. You could also use grommets or just not do any finishing here at all, it would probably be fine because t-shirt fabric won't unravel much.
Step 8: Sew the waist band piece into a long tube, fold it in half with the right side out, and sew the open edges together just so they won't move around on you when you're attaching it to the shorts. If you'd rather pin it in place you could go without sewing it closed, but I prefer to sew with fewer pins so I sew it first to make sure I don't miss any layers.
Step 9: Make sure the holes of the drawstring are facing the right side of the front of the shorts and they're centered and all, and that the back seam of the waist band lines up with the back seam of the shorts, then sew the waist band on.
Step 10: Turn the shorts right-side out and use a bobkin/safety pin/your weapon of choice to feed the drawstring through the holes. Tie little knots in the ends of the drawstring and you're good to go!
I bought a few thrift store wool/blend sweaters to make reconstructed sweater mittens, then realized I had enough mittens, what I really needed was warm socks! I couldn't find a pattern or tutorial so I came up with my own. Turns out it's super easy, I can whip up a pair of these in about 10 minutes. So since winter's fast approaching, I thought I'd share.
Here's the sweater I'm starting with. This one's 100% wool but you could use pretty much any sweater that's a thin-to-medium thickness with some stretch to it.
Each sweater can yield two pairs of socks for me. I wear size 9 shoes. The sleeves can be used to make one pair, and I cut along the side seams like this to make the other. The strip I cut here is about 3.5 to 4 inches wide and about 13 inches long, but there's a lot of room for variation, these measurements do not have to be exact. The strip I cut is curved at the end opposite the ribbing of the sleeve or bottom of the sweater because this end will become the toe of the sock.
The other part to cut out is a set of two football shapes, about 2.5 to 3 inches at the tallest and almost as wide as the body piece of the sock. I use this part of the sweater to cut these pieces because then there's a bigger piece left in the middle of the sweater that could be used to make other things.
Lay the sock body strips out 2-ply and cut each across just one ply from the unfinished edge to the side seam. I make this cut about 8 inches from the toe. Sometimes with stretchier sweater fabric I later have to cut some off the toe end to make it shorter but it's better that they come out too big rather than too small. In this picture, the toe part of the sock is spread open to show where the cut is. Below that, the piece is folded over still.
Sewing the football shaped piece into the slit you make is what constructs the heal. Then all you have to do is sew the unfinished seams starting at the ribbed edge to make sure they match up, and around the toe side to where the sweater's already sewn together from the pre-existing side seam.
That's all there is to it. Turn it right-side out and try it on!
I'm saving all the scraps to stuff a pillow because for the past few years I've wanted a wool bed pillow but I haven't had the money. My kitty likes the scraps too.
I wanted to make a scratching post and instead of buying one. Instead of having to buy rope to wrap around it, I opted for burlap. I bought a couple big strong coffee bags for $1 ea. from a coffee house, and using an old round cutting board I had and a piece of wood I got from a bargain bin I came up with this. I sewed the edges of the burlap so they wouldn't fray, then used a staple gun to attach it to the post and base. I added a tassel of scrap fabric to entice the kitties to jump up on it, and put a slanted hole at the top to hold a cat charmer toy I made out of a chopstick and more fabric scraps. I also had enough burlap left to wrap two more planks of wood to make shelves for the kitties to sit on in the window. The two shelves and the scratching post cost me less than $5 to make, and most importantly the kitties are pleased.
I saw some reusable grocery bags online that were made from bags used to carry rice and other goods in Korea. I had this Dragonfly Jasmine Rice sack for a while, and decided it was time to make something out of it. It was a 25 lb. rice sack made of what seems like woven plastic. It is very crunchy but sturdy. The top of the bag had the dragonfly logo I made the tote from. There was a picture of twin Thai women on the bottom third that I used to make a purse, and still enough left over after making those to also make a wristlet. The tote bag has a cotton strap and clothesline ties, the other two have braided twine straps. Here's a closer view:
I was working alone for a while tonight so I didn't get a break until the third shifter came in. I'd already had a snack so I didn't need to eat, and I'd just dealt with crabby deaf people so I felt like I needed to do something to unwind.
We have a sign and banner center and there's a box of remnants of adhesive-backed cut-offs from rolls that go on a machine for making die cut lettering to put onto a sign. It's about the consistency of electrical tape, but not as stretchy. I'd used that stuff to make a wallet before.
An encouragement/care package type swap for those of use who love fussing over everyone but don't usually find ourselves at receiving end of the fussing. Come on, crafty moms, you know what I'm talking about. Send date would be May 1st or thereabouts so we'd all have a nice care package to look forward to. Whadda ya think?
My work switched to a new system and they gave it all to me, now what am I going to od with it all? I tried to freecycle some of it but the only taker was a no-show. My 5yo likes to draw on them, but she's barely half way through one roll and it's been over a month! Help!
I'm excited to have the opportunity to put together a program for artists/crafters in Milwaukee at Bucketworks, 1319 N. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. This Sunday (11/6/5) at 5pm we'll be having an open brainstorming session for anyone interested. The loose aim is to provide a series of regular Sunday night meetups for crafty artists where we make stuff, share ideas, swap, etc. Anyone interested, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 414-405-8674 or just stop by Sunday night at 5pm! Hope to see you there!
(Bucketworks is a community art resource based on membership at $35/year individual or $50/family where use of creative materials is free to members. It's really worth checking it out! www.bucketworks.org )
I would love to do a swap based on the sayings on www.engrish.com I'm half Japanese - my mother was born in Japan so I grew up in a household glittered with the lighthearted humor of broken English. Maybe some of the craftsters in Japan could send along authentic Engrish finds??? The rest of us could just look at the site for insipiration.... I would love to participate, but can't offer to organize this myself because I'm lousy at keeping track of things.
Here's some pics of a tube style sling in the making. Look familiar, afianto? This is my first try at using photobucket, so I really hope this works. I had problems posting photos from my Kodak gallery, some people said they could not see the pictures. Others said they could see them but only after they right-clicked and chose "show photo". Please let me know if these pictures don't load for you. I really hope this works OK. I hope it is not a crazy Mac thing or something.
Basically, this style sling is just a long piece of fabric with the long edges hemmed (the sides of the sling), and you fold it over and cut a curve along the open end that you then sew together (see the "frenching" technique for reinforcing this seam below). I prefer using medium-heavy weight cotton or cotton blend fabrics. Flannel works great, I've made many of these out of old top sheets. Regular sheets would work too.
I lost the notes I was jotting down when I made this, but I'm pretty sure I started with a strip of fabric that was 29 inches when folded over, and curved it in 2 inches, so the center of the curve is 29" and the shorter outside edges are 27". This is tall or very petite, then add or subtract 2 inches from this and it should work. It should be pretty snug on you when you wear it, because the baby's weight will make it sag a little, and you don't want it swing so low it's in front of your knees. It should be just above waist level.
Hem the long side edges first, then fold the piece in half like in the first picture and cut a curve across it. Sew the curve with a "frenched" seam to make it extra secure...to "french" the seam, first you sew across the curve with the RIGHT sides facing OUT (not in, like you would normally think you'd do). Use about a .25 seam allowance. The reason you do this is so you can then turn it inside out and sew it with the right sides together encasing the edges of the first seam you sewed, this time sewing with maybe a .5 seam allowance, so the edges are completely inside this second seam. This produces a little flappy piece, that you then squash down to either side and sew down flat. This is what I mean by a flap:
To use it, you fold it skinny-wise, so both open side edges are together facing up when you wear it sash-style. The seam goes in front of you, it is a little wider there because of the curve, so that's where the baby goes.
By the way, basically wherever the butt goes, the baby follows. So aim the butt for the seam of the sling, and the baby will be cradled perfectly. The same thing goes for if you're wearing an older baby/toddler, you put the butt in and let the legs hang down. They say the first few times you try putting the baby in, you should stand over the bed just in case, not that you'll really drop your baby, but just to give you peace of mind. The first time you put them in, it's good to take a little walk right away. Walking helps them get used to it, and you'll feel more confident too. If you're right handed, wear the sling on your right shoulder so your left hand will be available to lightly hold the baby, and your right hand will be the one that's freer to do other things. Vice-versa for lefties, of course.
If you use an infant carseat/carrier these slings make a great cozy to put over the baby when you're walking to/from the car, because you can wrap it around a baby and leave a little breathing hole. I live in WI where we'd use those fleecy carseat cozies with the flap--if you live where there's cold winters, you'll know what I'm talking about. But...an even better option is to wear the baby in the sling under a coat that is big enough for you both! Just leave the carseat in the car and put the baby in the sling! I figured this out fast because Sedra was born in September (a Labor Day labor) just before it started getting cold, and I had a nasty labor/c-section and didn't have the strength to carry the baby and the bucket both. One time I tried, and slipped on the ice and fell and could barely get up. That's the last time our carseat went anywhere with us. It was really a lot easier having her on my person. I was able to wear her in a sling until she was about 3 years old/around 35 lbs. Of course by then it was just for if we were out somewhere all day and her legs got tired or she needed to nap, to help save me from sack-of-potatoes syndrome.
Please let me know if you have any questions/comments/suggestions. I'm very glad to be able to share what I know about babywearing, breastfeeding, or other crunchy parenting notions!