Quick and Easy Patch Fix

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I have one son who wears out the knees on every. pair. of. pants.  I think that is pretty normal for little boys who like to play hard, but I know I’m not the only mom to get frustrated when her sweet boy busts a hole in another brand new pair of pants. :)  And since not every pair of holey pants can become cutoff shorts,  we have started to just patch the holes.  Luckily, there are plenty of versions of patched- knee pants that are in style right now, so it doesn’t look too backwoods.

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My son brought his favorite sweatpants to me yesterday and asked me to fix them so sweetly, that I couldn’t resist adding a couple patches during quiet time.

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I drew out the shape I wanted for the patches, then I cut out two ovals (since I was patching with knit fabric and I want to avoid the whole patching the patch scenario. Hopefully another layer will add even longer life to the pants.). I made one of the ovals a little larger just to give some color contrast.

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I pinned the patches directly on the knees, making sure to only pin through the front of the pant leg. It was a bit tricky to sew around the whole patch, but I sewed one pass around each patch. I think it could also be cute… er, cool- looking to sew some horizontal lines across the patch or do some thread sketching. There you have it- a quick and easy patch fix. :)

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Hooray for favorite sweats being fixed!

 

Baby TOMS Shoes Tutorial

One of my favorite things about being a mom is dressing my baby boy up in beyond adorable clothes. Lately I’ve been itching to get him some stylin’ shoes. I mean, what’s more fun than tiny baby shoes… correction–tiny baby TOMS!?! Yes, you read that right, baby TOMS. I saw them on Pinterest and about died from the overload of cuteness. I absolutely had to make them right away!

I found the original pattern and tutorial from Homemade Toast. She has got some amazing sewing talent!

1. Cut out the pattern

You can find it on the link above at Homemade Toast.

2. Cut out your fabric

I used minky fabric for my inner lining for extra comfort.

3. Sew the back part

With right sides together, sew 1/4″ seam allowance in a straight line.

4. Sew elastic in back part

Fold in half and press. Sew a little more than 1/4″ seam allowance in a straight line along the top. I used 1/4″ elastic to pull through. Be sure to leave a little extra elastic sticking out of the ends when you are done.

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Pull elastic from one side to tighten fabric to your desired stretchiness. Stitch in place to hold. I did a zigzag stitch along the side to make sure the elastic didn’t go anywhere.

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5. Sew the center part

Cut and fold the triangle shapes as shown by the pattern. Press folds well.

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Place right sides together and line triangle shapes up. Sew along the top with 1/4″ seam allowance.

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Turn it right side out and press.

Sew elastic by inserting along top of center strap and stitching with 1/4″ and 1/2″ seam allowances (the “V” shape design).

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Place center strap over toe piece. This part may get kind of confusing, but meet the bottom of the center strap with the middle fold of the toe piece. Stitch with 1/8″ seam allowance.

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6. Baste the toe piece

This part is tricky, but just follow the pattern as close as you can. Fold along the dotted lines to create a nice smooth curve around the toe. Pin and sew 1/4″ seam allowance. Don’t fret if you can’t get the pleats perfect. Personally, I don’t think it needs to be perfect.

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7. Sew front to the back

Sewing along the same two lines on the center strap, attach the front to the back.

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8. Attach the sole

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Before you start pinning, make sure the entire shoe is inside-out. Now pin the sole to the top and back. Pin like crazy. You can never have too many pins, in my opinion. The more you have the easier it will be to keep all the pleats and seams in place, especially since it is such a tiny shoe.

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Sew with 1/4″-1/2″ seam allowance.

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Now turn it right side out and admire your awesome work!!! The best part is putting them on your little baby’s feet! Enjoy the cuteness. :)

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Diaper bag and baby accessories

About a year ago, when I was getting ready to have Lacey (and in serious nesting mode), I decided I wanted to make my own diaper bag.  I was inspired by Rochelle’s diaper bag that she made for her sons a few years ago, and wanted one of my own! She kindly held my hand every step of the way as we made it (It was my first big-girl sewing project)! (See tutorial links at the bottom of the post.)

I found some cute canvas at JoAnn Fabrics, and got to work.  Rochelle had the great idea of reinforcing/protecting the fabric with clear vinyl – in fact, most of the vinyl we used actually came from a couple bedding bags that Rochelle had been saving…genius!  We felt pretty good about ourselves for recycling what could otherwise have been thrown away. (Although I will say, that after nine months of use, the plastic is starting to rip a little…I’d recommend using clear vinyl that is thicker and has a little more give – the kind that you use for tablecloth liners…oooh or you could use a clear shower curtain liner… I’m brilliant!)

 I also made this cute diaper/wet wipe holder (very nice so I don’t have to bring the entire diaper bag with me for a quick diaper change):

Because I had quite a bit of fabric left over, I decided to make myself a Boppy cover to match! I’m very happy with the way it turned out, and I love having the two different fabrics – so fun!

I had fun learning how to sew a little better with these projects, and I love having high-quality (and matchy) baby accessories!

 Pattern sources:
Diaper Bag: A Mingled Yarn
Diaper Holder: Jan Andrea
Boppy Cover: Vanilla Joy(she saved it from economical baby blog, which had been removed)

 

30 Minute Wetbag Tutorial

I’m kind of embarrassed that this project has been complete, with pictures and everything for almost a year… I don’t know what I was waiting for!  This is a pretty simple, small wetbag that works great for mamacloth, nail polish, toiletries or cosmetics.  You could of course do this on a larger scale for cloth diapers etc. although I have not done that. (If anyone has done it, maybe you can share the dimensions in the comments section.)  In mine, I use fused plastic bags as a liner (do a google search to find tons of tutorials on how to do this safely) but you can also use clear plastic, oilcloth, vinyl, or skip the lining altogether.  These make nice gifts, and they are sturdy and functional!  You can bust one of these out in about 30 minutes or so.

Materials needed:
Lining
Fabric
Zipper
Sewing Machine and Notions

First cut your fabric and lining into equal sized rectangles (choose your dimensions to fit whatever purpose you have in mind- this one is about 9″x13″).  Then lay your fabric on top of your lining, right sides together.

Pin the top and bottom in place.

Sew or serge the top and bottom, leaving the side edges raw.

Turn it right side out so the seams are hidden.

Pin the zipper to the edge of the  fabric right on the seam as shown in the picture- no turning or folding necessary, since the raw edges are hidden inside.  Sew along the edge with a 1/4″ seam allowance.  This is basically just a topstitch.

It will look like so!

Now fold up the other side and pin it to the other side of the zipper just like you did in the last step.  It might be a little easier to do this with the zipper unzipped.

Now go ahead and sew the remaining edge to the other side of the zipper.  You’ll probably need to fiddle with the zipper pull a bit- just move it when the sewing machine foot gets near it by zipping it past the foot while the needle is down.  That will keep the fabric from moving and messing up your stitching.  Then continue on to the end.  You now have a tube shape.

If you want a loop handle on the side of the wetbag, cut a piece of fabric into a rectangle about 8″x3″, and make a casing by folding it over on itself with right sides together, turn it right side out and topstitch both sides as in the picture above.  Set this aside for a minute.

Ok- back to the bag… now turn the bag-tube inside out, and pin the raw side edges together.

Take the handle you just made and place it between the two edges, right under the zipper.  So the loop will be poking back inside the bag.  Let the raw edges poke out a little so you can be sure to catch both sides when you sew it up.  The zipper should be completely unzipped.

Sew or serge up both sides.

The next part is optional, but I like it because it allows the bag to stand up on its own, and gives it a nice shape.  Starting at the top left picture above, going left to right, you’re going to pinch the corner, top to bottom, measure in from the corner about 1 inch, and mark a line perpendicular to the seam, about 2 inches long.  Sew along this line.  Repeat for the other side.

Turn your new wetback right side out!

Enjoy it from a few different angles, then go fill it up with… stuff!

No-Socks Slipper-Mocs

I am so excited to share with you a tutorial on how to make these simple, cozy, moccasin- style slippers… a perfect gift idea for Christmas for your husbands/ fathers/ sons/ brothers/ friends!  Of course, you can use more feminine fabric and make these for the women in your life too!

The basic slippers are made from just two pattern pieces.  It doesn’t get much simpler than that!  Let’s get started.

Click to download the 4T pattern

Make Your Pattern

I am sharing the pattern I made for my son (approximately size 4T- click the picture above to download), but you’ll have to make your own pattern for any other sizes you might need.  Don’t worry; it isn’t hard- here’s how.

Sole Piece
1. Grab a piece of paper large enough to fit your food and then some.
2. Trace your foot (“your” foot meaning whatever foot you want to make these slippers for!)
3. Round out the toes.
4. Measure and mark 3/4″ to 1.5 inches out from the toes (the smaller measurement for kid sizes, the larger for adult sizes).  Draw a line 1/2″ to 1 inch behind the heel.  Draw a 2″ to 3+” line extending out at about a 170 degree angle (again, depending on if it is child sized, or adult sized).  You may need to experiment a little to get the kind of fit you like.

5. Measure and mark 1″- 1.5″ out from the widest part of the foot, and connect to the 2″ line you just drew.
6. Following the contour of the toe, draw a curve connecting the three measurements you have marked out.

Upper Piece
7. For child sizes, draw a 3.5″ line, with perpendicular lines on the top and bottom- the top line measuring 2.75″, and the bottom line measuring 3″.
8. Connect the lines to make a trapezoid, then round out the corners as shown above.

The picture above shows the abbreviated process for making an adult- sized slipper- for the gals.  The upper piece above includes an option for a longer upper that can be folded up to get the effect shown in the gal’s slipper picture at the top.  For men’s sizes, I would use the upper range of the measurements listed above, and make the sole piece at least 4″ wide depending on the foot measurement.

Gather Materials

Pattern pieces, fabric (I recommend something heavy duty, like an old pair of jeans), scraps of faux- sherpa (or other suitable lining), and fabric of your choice to reinforce the soles (this is optional, but it will really lengthen the life of the slippers.  Alternatively, you can put puffy paint or something on the soles to give it grip and make it last longer), pins, scissors, sewing machine.

I made this pair of slippers for my 2 year old, and I already had this anti- skid gripper fabric, so I went ahead and used it for him.  You could obviously use any other material you wanted, including another layer of denim, perhaps with puff paint on the bottom.

Cut Out Pieces

Cut two each of the sole and the upper in both fabric and lining.  If you are using denim, decide if you like the look of right side in, or right side out better.  Make sure you are cutting out a left and a right foot- flip the pattern or fold the fabric to get two opposite feet.  Also, if you wish, use the tracing of the foot that will be wearing the slippers, and round out the toes a tiny bit to come up with your pattern for the sole reinforcement piece.

Assemble Sole

1. If you are adding a sole reinforcement piece, pin it onto the right side of the fabric, with the heel of the reinforcement piece almost touching the back edge of the fabric.

2. Sew the reinforcement piece down using a wide zig zag stitch.

3. Sew the matching lining fabric onto the sole piece, wrong sides together.  See my skillfully drawn dotted lines on picture 3 above? Sew around the sole piece as shown, from one corner to another, with a 1/4″ seam allowance.

4. Sew the back heel seam by matching up the side corners, lining sides facing each other.  Yes, the seam will be “inside out”.

5. Sew the upper of the lining to the upper of the fabric, wrong sides together. (pictured below)

Attach Upper to Sole

First, pin the middle of the top of the upper to the middle of the top of the sole piece, as shown.

1. Working from the middle, make small, even gathers, pinning after each one.

2. Do the same number of gathers on each side.  Try to make sure they are all the same size.

3. This is what the top looks like.  Stop pinning right before the upper piece starts to curve in.

4. Carefully sew the upper to the sole piece, sewing on top of the existing stitching on the upper piece.

Finishing Touches

You could be done now if you want- the raw edge has its own appeal, especially for the grown-up guys; continue if you like the fluffy edge going around the heel.

1. Cut a strip of your lining fabric that extends all the way around the heel from one side of the upper to the other.  Fold it over the raw edge.

2. Pin the strip at intervals and sew in place.

3. Trim the raw edges so they are even- the strip you just sewed and also the gathered area around the toes.

And, repeat from the beginning for the other slipper!

Now you’ve got some pretty dude-ly moccasin slippers (or sweet, if you made ’em for a gal).  Either way, they are sure to keep toes toasty and happy!  Happy slipper sewing! If you make some No-Socks Slipper-Mocs, I would love to have you share them on our facebook page!

Baby Girl Refashions

Here’s a quick share of some baby girl refashion ideas…

This set is made of an old maternity shirt (pink stripes) and a bit of an old white Tshirt. (Pardon the phone pictures.)

I made the onesie using an old onesie that I cut apart as my pattern.  The scratch mitts were made from my Infant Scratch Mitt Pattern and Tutorial here, and the tie-top hat was made from Tie Dye Diva’s pattern found on Sew Mama Sew.

Don’t forget the ruffles!  Lots and lots of ruffles.

Flannel burp cloths- yeah, these are not refashions, although some are made from scraps of fabric used to make jammies, but I am including them anyway, because they are a great way to use up small pieces of fabric, and you can make them out of old flannel shirts, pants, even jersey Tshirts.  They can have batting in the middle or not.  I made my own pattern for these, but there are several free versions on blogs- just Google it or check Pinterest!  These tend to be more absorbent than the ones you can buy from the store, so these make nice gifts.

Baby leg warmers made from Dollar Tree socks.  Again, there are several free tutorials out there to make these.

This is a peasant skirt that I tried so hard to like, but it was just too generous in adding bulk around my hips, and… I just don’t need any extra volume in that general area.  So, my hip- fluffing skirt became a sweet little summer dress for my niece who should be arriving in the next few weeks!

The extra material made a nice diaper cover- tutorial found on MADE.

Can’t wait to meet my niece in the very near future!  😀  Think happy, positive childbirth thoughts for Marissa if you will- good karma, right?  Maybe soon I can post pictures of the little miss wearing some of these outfits!

A Wendy Dress

A couple weeks ago, a friend of mine called me up and asked for help in creating a costume for her daughter, who had landed the role of Wendy in her school’s production of Peter Pan.  We couldn’t find a reasonably priced costume, a nightgown that looked like it could be altered, or a pattern
specifically for a Wendy dress, so I semi-cautiously decided to make a pattern myself. (How hard
could it be? No matter that I mainly sew little boy stuff… hahaha.)

We opted to follow most of the stylistic traits of Disney Wendy’s dress, with a change or two of our own.
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started by taking measurements and drafting the bodice pattern (I
actually didn’t start completely from scratch on this, but I radically modified
an existing girls dress pattern- including resizing it and pretty much
changing the entire shape, so… yeah, I’m going to count that as drafting.).  Thankfully, I made a muslin
first, because I needed to make several changes to my first draft to make it fit correctly.

 

I altered a simple cap sleeve to become a perfect puff sleeve using this technique on Vani’s blog.  Thank goodness for Google searches and awesome people who put up random super-helpful tutorials.

The skirt is just one rectangle, 1.5x the width of the waist measurement.  I know there are other, probably better ways to do this, but this is what I knew and felt comfortable doing, so I went with it.  The bottom ruffle is 2x the width of the skirt.  I sewed the zipper in first, and then sewed the rest of the back seam together.  Oh, and I added a hook and eye above the zipper.  The ribbon belt is tacked on at the side seams to keep everything together in the wash.

I used a little extra ribbon to make a matching hair bow.  (I have to admit that because I don’t have daughters, this is actually the first bow I have ever made- and I really didn’t know what I was doing- so don’t judge too harshly!)

I lined the bodice of the dress for 3 reasons: First, for the “seamless” look on the neckline; second, for a “no-itch” feel- which apparently is really important to eight year olds.  Third, lining the sleeves gave them a little more volume.

I do have to say that the puff sleeves might be my favorite part of the dress.  Aren’t they just adorable?  I’ll just answer my own question- yes!- they are about as adorable as the eight year old wearing them!

The dress isn’t perfect, but it makes a pretty good Wendy-bird costume for the play and for Halloween!  I have to say that I am relieved that it turned out and I didn’t mess the whole thing up… whew!  Has anyone else taken on a project they weren’t sure they could deliver on and how did it turn out?

Camping, and Kiddie Sleeping Bags

I grew up in a camping family.  Not so much your ordinary campsite camping, but the backpack in a few miles in and stay a few days kind of camping.  Every summer, usually around mid-August, we would pack up and go.

My dad was there too, but he is taking the picture!

There was usually some of this…

sometimes some of this…

and we certainly did this…

After I got married, we went with my family a couple of times, but then life got busy, and we had kids.

Last week we went camping for the first time since we have had kids; in actuality, it has been about 7 years.  We were excited to let the kids experience it (even though it was your standard campsite kind of camping) and let them play with rocks and sticks and dirt, but we were also a little concerned about how to keep them warm at night (with temperatures in the low 40s) since our kids don’t stay in sleeping bags or keep their blankets on well.

What ended up working for us was to layer as much as we could.  So, each of my boys had on an undershirt or onesie and socks, pajamas I made for them out of my husband’s old thermals (pictured above), and zippered footie pajamas on top.  Each of the boys had their own little sleeping bag (made by me) and their usual blankets they sleep with on top.

I made this sleeping bag a few years ago for my oldest son.  I used 4 matching quilted pillow shams- I just sewed them together, leaving one side partially open and adding velcro for functionality.

Fully extended sleeping bag

Velcro closures

The end of the sleeping bag folded up for more warmth

I also made this sleeping bag for my younger son in preparation for our camping trip.  It is made from a hodgepodge of different fabrics I had laying around.  I figured if I had to go buy fabric I might as well just buy a sleeping bag, so I made it work with what I already had and busted some of my stash in the process… win!  (I used two different kinds of batting, two different kinds of fleece, and two different jersey knit fabrics, and and old 24″ zipper- a real mish-mash).

Well, the kids didn’t keep their sleeping bags on too well, but that might partly be due to the fact that they were so excited to be sleeping in a tent that they could barely hold still.  Once they fell asleep we had readjust the sleeping bags/ blankets a couple times but they stayed warmer than me! (I checked, and while I had ice cold ears and nose, they felt nice and toasty warm.  I obviously should have implemented the same layering strategy for myself.)

I forgot the camera on this camping trip (shame on me) but we have a couple more camping trips planned, including a backpacking trip with my family later this summer!  Woot!

Has anyone camped or backpacked with toddlers?  What advice do you have?