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151  TUTORIAL: Arm/Wrist Band Purse in Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General by leah on: July 24, 2003 08:18:23 PM
Perfect for when you don't want to carry a purse but you need a place to store your ID and cash.  This is also a great project for leftover scraps of fabric that are too small for anything else.

Step 1:
Cut two 5.5" by 7.5" rectangles -- one out of outer fabric and one out of lining.

Step 2:
Sew a piece of velcro to the right side of the lining 1/2" down. Sew the other piece of velcro to the right side of the fabric 1/2" down.

Step 3:
Place the two pieces right sides together with the velcro at opposite ends and stitch almost all the way around about a 1/4" away from the edge. Leave about an inch unsewn.

Step 4:
Turn right-side out; iron flat, and stitch up the 1" open part. Now you'll have a rectangle with no showing seams.

Step 5:
Now fold the rectangle up, iron it, and stitch up the two side seams to form a pouch. Iron the flap down to form a crease.

Step 6:
For the arm-band part, you can use a wide ribbon like I did or sew a matching arm-band out of your fabric and/or liner. To figure out how long to make it, measure the part of your arm you'll wear this on and add about 1.5". Then just stitch on some velcro -- one piece on each end of the band on opposite sides.

Step 7:
Now just stitch the pouch onto the ribbon as shown. I also decorated the pouch with some sequins and beads.

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152  Dress - Pattern 6860 by New Look in Sewing Pattern Reviews by leah on: August 01, 2003 06:27:09 PM

Here's a link to the pattern:

OK, this was my first dress ever.  In fact, my first time sewing anything so complicated.

And it wasn't so bad!  Sure it took an entire weekend -- probably about 16 hours all together -- and I don't know if I'll ever want to sew again, but it wasn't that hard!

I think it helped that I had taken one sewing class where we learned how to follow a pattern.  So I knew what all of those markings on the pattern meant and knew how to match them up, etc.

The biggest problem I encountered was this... It has a "bodice" and a "skirt" that you sew together to make the dress.  So basically you have a top half and a bottom half.  By their measurements, I figured out that my bottom half is a size 12 and my top half is a size 8.  Not knowing how to deal with this discrepancy, I made the entire dress a size 12.  Bad move!  This meant that the skirt part fit great but I was totally swimming in extra room in the bodice.  (What I wouldn't give to have fit into the top part!)  So I basically just winged it and made the bodice smaller and still managed (quite painfully at times) to sew the whole thing together.

I'd still definately recommend this pattern.  It's a cute, flattering style.

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153  Resize & Resew a Giant T-Shirt to be Form Fitting in Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed by leah on: July 11, 2003 09:35:50 PM
Being somewhat petite, I've got a not insignificant collection of band t-shirts that are just too big and unflattering. Luckily I can now cut and resew them to fit!

I've only done one so far and here's the pictorial:

Lay your t-shirt out flat and iron it.

Use tailors chalk (easy to find at a sewing store) and a ruler to mark off how much you want to cut off the sides and underneath of the sleeves. I used a t-shirt that I liked the fit of as a guide and added 1 inch.

Pin all the way along those lines and cut the excess material away. Pinning helps you keep the t-shirt front and back from moving away from each other.

Turn the t-shirt inside-out and re-pin the front and back together evenly. Machine-sew the sides and underneath the sleeves with a strong stretch-capable stitch.

I then turned it right-side-out, tried it on and didn't like the way it fit so I made two more types of cuts. (1) Cut the stretchy neck cuff part out trimming it as close to the cuff as possible. (2) Trim the sleeves off all the way to just before the seam where they attach to the rest of the shirt.

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154  How to Make a Thriftstore Pillowcase Skirt in Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed by leah on: July 09, 2003 11:14:55 PM
This is a really satisfying and instantly gratifying sewing project. Perks include: (1) it's almost all sewn for you, (2) you have an excuse to visit thriftstores (to look for great old pillowcases), (3) the material is cheap and often nice and soft and worn-in.

These instruction are my own adaptation (for beginning seamstresses such as myself) of those found here:

What you'll need:
  • standard pillowcase
  • sewing machine
  • scissors, iron, tailor's chalk, pins, etc.
  • fusible webbing
  • liquid no-fray solution

step one
Pick out a pillowcase. Speaking from experience, I recommend using a scratch pillowcase for your first attempt at this. Just in case you don't get it right the first time...

step two
Turn the pillowcase inside out and iron it. I've learned that it's a good idea to always iron your fabric before sewing.

step three
Mark off at least three inches from the top by chalking a line. You will cut this off and make the drawstring out of it. If you want a shorter skirt, you can mark off more. Just talk into account that the drawstring hem will take up about two inches.

step four
Cut he top off along the line that you chalked. I usually put some pins along the line I'm going to cut to make sure the two pieces of fabric stay together as they are cut.

step five
Chalk a line directly down the center (lengthwise) of the 3" piece you cut off, pin and cut along the line.

step six
Now trim off the two sewn edges (one long one, one short one) and you'll have two long pieces of fabric.

step seven
For each piece, fold in half lengthwise and iron all along the length.

step eight
Next, you'll stitch the drawstring pieces closed. (And then sew the two pieces together end to end to make one long drawstring). The drawstring pieces look wider than they need to be right now but this is just for ease of sewing. If you line the fabric up with the foot as shown, you'll pretty much be stitching a line right down the middle. You'll trim them to be nice and skinny later. This is a cheat I came up with because I have trouble sewing close to an edge.

step nine
To make the drawstring skinnier, carefully cut off the excess fabric all the way along each piece. I cut a few millimeters away from the stitching. Then apply the liquid no-fray solution all long the exposed edge so it doesn't fray. (A big bottle of Aleene's "Stop Fraying" from a craft store is pretty inexpensive.) Then hand-sew the two pieces together to make one long drawstring.

step ten
Now for the drawstring hem. Your pillowcase should still be inside out. Fold down once about 1/2" or 3/4" and iron down. I use pins when I do this to try and make sure I fold and iron down the same amount all the way around. Remove the pins and iron this down with fusible webbing.

step eleven
Fold down another 1/2" or 3/4" and iron to make a crisp edge.

step twelve
Sew all the way around as close to the edge as possible for a nice roomy casing for the drawstring. I highly recommend pinning or doing a quick basting so the fabric doesn't move around too much as you sew it.

step thirteen
Now turn the skirt inside out. Decide which part will be the front so you know where to put the drawstring opening. To make the opening I find the center of the front of the skirt, apply a little no-fray solution, and when it dries, cut a vertial slit. Then I hand-sew around the edges of the slit to strengthen it. Then the drawstring can be threaded. To do this, attach a safety pin to one side of the drawstring and feed it all the way around.

That's it!
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155  Retro-Refinished Table and Chairs in Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: Reconstructed by leah on: August 01, 2003 08:08:18 PM

This kitchen set came with the house my family bought in the 70's. It was relagated to the basement where my siblings and I used it as a table for finger painting, spin-art, and other such messy activities.

The table and chairs were their natural brown wood color and the chair seats were covered in lovely mustard yellow vinyl. As yummy as that was, we thought it might have potential for refinishing. I wish I could find the pictures of this table and chairs set from before we refinished it!

This was my first such refinishing project.

We basically just sanded down the dried on finger paint and most of the varnish on the table and chairs. Then we put on about 5 gazillion coats of high-gloss, black latex paint. We learned:

painting with dark paint = lots of coats of paint

or you see all kinds of uneven-ness.

Then we coated the whole thing with protective shellac although we're still scared to death to put down a glass without a coaster!

For the chair seats... It so happens that these chair seats are meant to come off and be covered with whatever you want. So we unscrewed them, removed the mustard vinyl (under which we found a layer of pine green vinyl and a layer of maroon vinyl which we left there) and then covered the seats with 50s-style atomic bark-cloth (from http://www.reprodepot.com). The fabric is held on by small tack-like nails.

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156  Etched Bottle Vase in Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: Reconstructed by leah on: August 31, 2003 08:31:13 AM
Make an etched glass vase out of any old bottle!

The etching cream you buy will come with exact directions and safety instructions which you should read carefully.  Hydroflouric acid sounds like it can be pretty scary if you don't use it carefully!


  • bottle
  • vinyl stick-on letters
  • etching cream (I used Armour Etch)
  • sponge brush
  • rubber gloves, safety glasses

step 1:
clean and dry the blank bottle

step 2:
stick on vinyl letters using masking tape as a guide to get them on straight (although it's still really hard to get them exactly right!)

step 3:
here's how they look when they're all on

step 4:
now you put on the gloves and goop on the etching cream. you could make a nice border around your letters with masking tape so it makes a nice clean rectangle but I wanted a rougher look.

step 5:
wash off the etching cream thoroughly and peel off the letters

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157  Re: Coffee Tins, Glass Jars, Plastic Containers in What the heck can I do with THIS? by leah on: August 23, 2003 04:31:01 AM
Found this in an old craft book:

(I'm mildy obsessed with collecting vintage craft books!) Tongue
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