Tutorial: Kids flared pants to tights

Have you heard of Freecycle? It’s a website where people post their unwanted items for others to have for free in the interests of keeping unnecessary stuff out of our landfills. It’s an international organisation, but you just sign up for the posts in your area.

Recently I scored a huge bag of girl’s clothes in size 4 – 7. There was all kinds of good stuff in there. A lot of it was covered in paint but that just tells me that the little girl that used to own these clothes was very creative! There were also a few homemade knitted and sewn jerseys in there too.

About half of it is in good condition and has gone into a bag to wait until Squish gets a little older. The other half is stained or stretched beyond repair or just not my taste, and so is destined to either be altered or cut up and used for something else. Luckily I have a little while to work on it all since she is no where near fitting any of it! But do keep a look out for a few tutorials on altering kids clothes in the near future.

Right, back to today’s tutorial. Altering these lovely purple flared pants:

into something a little more to my taste:

I’ve altered my straight jeans into skinny jeans before, so I figured this would be no trouble. Got a pair of kid pants that need a restyle? Let’s get into it.

Stuff you will need:

  • Rotary Cutter and cutting mat, or scissors
  • Ruler
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron

Step 1:

Using your ruler, check the outside edge of the leg. If it is already straight, great. If not, like these ones, put a pin in where the flare starts. Put another pin in the bottom to mark where your line of stitching is going to end. I guess if you have chalk or a suitable pen, you could draw a straight line to show you where to sew.

Step 2:

Starting a little before the pin, sew along the original line of stitching and when you get near the pin slowly start to veer away from the edge, sewing in a straight line towards the pin at the bottom of the pant leg. This is where a drawn line would come in very handy! Must get me some chalk.

Step 3:

Repeat for the inseam. Using your ruler, straighten the inseam. The top of the leg on these pants was fitted so I just continued that line all the way to the bottom. Using pins mark your start and finish points as before. Sew as for the outside seam. Trim excess fabric and finish edges by zigzagging or overlocking. Repeat for the other leg.

Step 4:

Iron your seams. If you are working with knit fabric like me, this step is definitely a must. Just press and lift, don't drag the iron.

Turn in the right way, and you are done! One pair of tights that I will happily dress my child in.

Next up, a pair of Hi5 pants that I can’t stand! Shorts anyone?

Nicola x

The problem with t-shirt scarves

See it? No? Here’s a better look:

FLUFF! Maybe it was the t-shirt I used, but it left little fluffy bits EVERYWHERE. I’m a little put off making these now, which is annoying because there are a million cute versions all over Pinterest. I think maybe I will try again, with a bigger tshirt too so that it makes a more full-looking scarf.

I’ve been super productive today. Not only have I attempted the t-shirt scarf, but I’ve also finished off some wool-wrapped bottles that I started the other day and a braided bracelet that I started about 4 or 5 months ago! Loving this lovely tidy craft room, makes me feel happy.

My version of wool-wrapped bottles

5 strand braided bracelet with zip flower

As well as all that, I’ve also been working on a few things that will be posted with tutorials when I’m done.

Hooray for productiveness!

Nicola

Me and the lady at the shoe store

The lady at my local shoe store is my new best friend. And not because she supplies me with large amounts of gorgeous shoes (I wish!) but because she saves shoeboxes for me.

You see, I like to organise. Probably too much, but when one hoards craft things or even non-craft things that may be incorporated into craft things, one needs a sensible way to sort these things.

I’ve been spending the day sorting out my craft room. At Christmas time we took my cutting table out and have been using it as a makeshift outdoor table which messed with the order of my room. Well, I’ll be honest, it wasn’t tidy before but at least I knew where everything was! While it has been gone I’ve hoarded a whole bunch of new stuff and it all just got shoved in there. It’s time, it needed a good sort out.

Here’s where the shoeboxes come into it. They are good for storing all kinds of craft things. This is what I’ve got so far:

box for storing things I haven't finished yet

The work-in-progress pile. I'm hoping that the limitations of the shoebox will help to keep this pile under control.

Shelf storage

Storage on my shelf: Painting stuff, drawing stuff, wrapping stuff, cards/tags, anything really.

Smaller fabric scraps sorted into types.

More storage in the wardrobe. Plus a whole pile of shoebox lids to be dealt to at a later date.

And then there are the other places that shoeboxes have snuck into:

My wardrobe shelves: socks etc

Stockings,

and my scarf collection.

And lastly, cleaning products. We have a big laundry cupboard where I keep all kinds of stuff hidden away from little toddler hands. But the shelves are really deep and dark so having everything sorted into shoeboxes makes it really easy to just pull out what I need.

Sorted into types and easily accessible.

I picked up a whole pile of shoeboxes yesterday and they are all being used already. I think I’m going to have to visit my friend at the shoe store again soon. And decide what to do with all of those stray lids!

I love shoeboxes. And I love everything having a proper place to go. One day I’ll get around to covering the fronts of them in pretty fabrics with clear labels. The vivid isn’t quite cutting it.

N xx

A little something

The first no wrapping paper gift to head out the door is this:

Gift bag

First one out the door.

Featuring a brown paper bag which was given to us at Christmas time with some lovely handmade goodies inside, pink tissue paper from a present someone gave me, pink ribbons that were tied around an easter egg last year, a little blue with pink polka dots card which was cut from a larger card I received for my birthday, and an embellished blue felt flower I was given in a little kit a while ago. FREE. All stuff I had stashed away thinking it would be useful some day. I feel better already.

Sorry I can’t tell you what’s inside. I’m not sure whether the person receiving this reads my blog or not. But it’s pretty cute so I can see another version being made sometime in the near future :)

Apologies for the shocking lighting. It was 9:30pm when I took that.

Nicola

Tutorial: Gift Bags using a Book

When I was younger I was a Brownie and a Girl Guide. I remember learning all kinds of great things there, but only a few have stuck in my head: how to cook pikelets with a tin can and a candle, and how to make gift bags using a book.

I haven’t made these for years. But since the vow to never buy wrapping paper again, I’ve found myself trying to come up with alternative ways to wrap gifts (even though I don’t have any gifts to wrap just yet, the mind just wanders!). This handy little piece of info was filed away in the back of my mind and decided to come floating back. Very considerate of it!

Gift bags using a book

I’ve used my some of my daughter’s drawings for these, she’s 18mths old and LOVES drawing. We have piles and piles of her drawings already, I can only imagine how many we are going to end up with over the years. But I can see that in my quest to replace wrapping paper with recycled and reusable alternatives her drawings are going to come in very handy.

Ready to learn how to turn your kid’s drawings/magazines/newspaper etc. into reusable and recyclable gift bags? You can click any of the pictures for a larger image.

Stuff you will need:

  • Paper or similar, whatever you are wanting to make your bag out of
  • Tape
  • A book (or two or more depending on your desired bag size)
  • Holepunch (optional – for adding ribbon)

Lay out your paperStep 1:

Check your paper size. Tape 2 pieces together if neccessary. I have used 2 A4 pieces to make my bags (approx 20cm tall).

 

 

 

Fold top of paper downStep 2:

Make a fold of about 3 – 4cm on one of the long sides. This step is optional depending on what look you want. It will provide a sturdy top to thread ribbon through like the one with the red ribbon. If you want a bag like the one with the pink ribbon, skip this step.

 

 

Wrap bookStep 3:

Wrap paper around book and tape all the way along. If you joined 2 pieces of paper together, you may like to make sure that the join is on the side.

 

 

 

Push book to desired positionStep 4:

Slide book up or down until there is just enough to fold the bottom of the bag nicely. Too little and you will have a hole, too much and it will be too bulky.

 

 

 

Fold bottom of bagStep 5:

Fold the bottom of the bag as if wrapping a present. Top first, then sides, then the bottom. Tape in place.

 

 

 

Slide the book outStep 6:

Slide the book out. It looks like a bag, you are nearly done!

 

 

 

 

Step 7:

Using your finger and thumbnail pinched together, crease the four sides of the bag. Don’t worry about the bottom, we will get to that.

 

 

 

Step 8:

Bring the two edges on one side of the bag together, forming in inverted fold in the side of the bag. Repeat for the other side.

 

 

 

Step 9:

Flatten bag, folding the base towards the back of the bag. Crease all edges.

 

 

 

 

Using your hole punch, punch holes in the top and embellish as desired. You could make little ribbon handles, tie a big bow, add a tag, get creative!

And you are done! One gift bag made from recycled materials, which can either be reused or recycled.

Let me know by commenting here if these steps don’t make sense. I’ll be happy to help.

No more wrapping paper!

Nicola xx

A little something for me. I hope.

I’ve been sewing for me. I love when that happens! I should do it more often.

What I don’t like is how I just dive right into things without planning. I’m a visual person, so I tend to just start cutting and putting together without much time to think. Sometimes that works out fine, especially for Squishy’s clothes since kids don’t have curves to consider. But for me it usually means sew a bit, go to the bathroom to try on and look in the mirror, try to work out how much to take in, sew a bit more, add a pleat here to hide my gaping neckline, back to the bathroom to try on again, unpick and resew… you get the idea.

I know, I need a dress form. And an overlocker. OH YES! I would LOVE an overlocker. I have an overedge foot on my machine that finishes edges nicely but it takes FOREVER. And yes, I’m aware that I’m blaming the equipment. But I still want an overlocker and a dress form. Please and Thank you.

Light cotton singlet top

The top.

See how there is a band across the bottom? That’s what happens when you don’t think before you cut. The straps are also supposed to tie at each shoulder, but I didn’t make enough bias tape and barely had enough to join them with a zigzag stitch. I do give myself credit for MAKING bias tape though, I’ve only done it a few times but it makes such a difference.

I think I’ve managed to save this top. Maybe a little fabric flower or two on the front there and a piece of elastic in the back to bring it in just a bit. We shall see.

Nicola xx

The $6 dress

When we first moved to this area around 6 months ago, I spotted an awesome looking Salvation Army op shop. Since then I’ve been driving past thinking “I must go in there one day” but forgetting to go back and have a look.

The other day I finally ventured in and discovered a beautifully laid out store with so many brilliant things. Old records, sports equipment, kids shoes, vases etc. I was very well restrained and only came out with 5 things:

  • A set of badminton racquets – $5
  • A bracelet – $2.50 (which actually doesn’t fit me, whoops, I’ll donate it back)
  • 2 doilies – 50c (not sure what for yet, but I know they’ll come in handy for something)
  • “I am a duck” children’s book by Mike Wilkins and Jeff Wakefield – 50c
  • and this dress – $6:

The $6 dressThis dress is super comfy and I really like it. It’s a little puffy but I can deal with that.

The only problem is that dresses are usually too short for me, and this is no exception. I’m not really, really tall, but obviously taller than the people who decide on dress length are used to. The other problem is that I ALWAYS forget to do the bend over and sit down tests when I try stuff on. Note to self – start remembering.

Good news: I had a quick look at the hem to see what could be done, and found this:

Hem of the $6 dress… a super giant 10cm hem! I did a quick check to make sure that the fold hadn’t left a faded line, nope, all good!

A little unpicking, a little ironing and a little sewing back up and we are done. All ready for our trip to the beach next week, keep your fingers crossed for sunny weather for us (not looking good at the moment…).

I often forget that with a bit of investigating I can try and fix things to fit me better. Off to search my wardrobe to see what else needs altering…

Nicola xx

I vow to never buy wrapping paper again

Christmas has been and gone, and we had a wonderful time. But what I hate to see is the huge pile of wrapping paper and other non-reusable (well not after little fingers have ripped through it all) gift wrapping things that are left over.

I’ve decided that I will no longer purchase wrapping paper, cards, tags or labels to wrap gifts. I will blog my efforts and I encourage you to join me. Help me cut down on all the crap heading into our landfills.

Luckily for me, I’m not the only one who thinks this way and there is loads of inspiration around the place. Cue Pinterest:

DIY Fabric ribbon

DIY Fabric ribbon

Woven paper gift topper and newspaper

Woven Paper gift topper with newspaper

Salt Dough gift tags

Salt Dough gift tags

Alternative gift wrapping ideas

Ideas using things from the hardware store

I  can’t wait to give some of these a go. I have a few birthdays coming up so I’ll get a chance pretty soon.

Has anyone got any alternative gift wrapping ideas? I think I’m good for embellishments but there is probably only so many gifts I can wrap in newspaper so I could do with some more ideas there.

Nicola xx

Homemade Pizza

Ok so I know that this is mainly a craft blog, but food is going to turn up here occasionally because I like it. And that pizza really was as good as it looks. If you can manage to take your eyes away for a bit I’ll let you in on my pizza making secret.

Ready?

Just chuck anything on it. There. That’s it. What’s in your fridge? Throw it on. Homemade pizza is by far my favourite meal to cook because it doesn’t really involve any thinking. You just put on whatever you have and call it food. One time I didn’t even have cheese but I didn’t realise until it was too late so we cooked it and ate it anyway. It was really yum!

This particular pizza has on it, in this order (not that order is important here!):

  • Tomato Paste
  • Honey soy chicken leftover from the other night
  • A sausage leftover from last night
  • Bacon
  • Red onion leftover from… not sure
  • Roasted pumpkin leftover from ages ago (from the freezer I promise)
  • Peas and corn leftover from last night
  • Gherkin (always in my fridge, love it)
  • Masterfoods Italian Herbs seasoning (always a good idea)
  • BBQ sauce
  • Mozarella cheese (bought when it was cheaper than our usual colby or edam, frozen)
  • Edam cheese

Each time I make pizza it comes out different depending on what’s in the fridge. But that’s kinda fun, you never know what it’s going to come out like.

I should also point out that there is a range of random frozen things in my freezer to make life easier for me, we will get to that in another post, but that’s why I have tomato paste, bacon and roasted pumpkin just hanging around for pizza emergencies.

What do you put on your pizzas? Do you like a more traditional style or are you a throw-it-all-on type too?

Nicola

Repurpose: Pallet to Wall Art

Something you will notice about me is that I am so very CHEAP. Meaning, I have no interest in paying for things unless I have to, or at least not full price. Repurposing things is great for this particular trait, because not only does it cost me nothing, it also reuses something I wasn’t using!

A few weeks ago, a lady came to my door selling oil paintings. The paintings were gorgeous, but I just felt like saying “but I have a pallet in my garage”. Of course she would have thought I was crazy, so I politely declined and decided to finally get on to turning said pallet into the beautiful piece of wall art floating around in my head.

You see, I had seen this on Pinterest:

Pallet Artwork - youngancrafty.blogspot.com

Again with the Pinterest obsession. Gotta love it.

Cute right? And I had this mini pallet sitting in my garage, which came with something we had had delivered. As soon as I saw it I was in love as the wood was all weathered and awesome looking. It deserved to be more than just a pallet, it was too pretty.

So when I saw that picture on Pinterest, I had an Aha! moment (as I hope will happen for all of my hoarded posessions). I got to work and this is what came out of it:

To make the wooden base, I simply deconstructed my pallet, used two of the thinner pieces for the back and nailed the larger pieces on in strips (using the original nails too by the way, yeah I know I’m cheap).

For the actual painting, I freehanded some random tree-looking shapes (don’t plan, just jump right in there) and added some burgundy coloured circles. The burgundy colour was chosen because it was origanlly supposed to go in our master bedroom, but we have since decided we’d rather not risk having it fall on our heads during the night. I then drybrushed some white over top of the burgundy for interest, just so the colour wasn’t completely flat.

I’m really pleased with how it turned out. The only problem I have now is if it isn’t going to be hung in our bedroom, where should we put it?

Hmm.

Do you love pallets as much as I do? Or do you fall in love with things because you can see their beautiful potential?

 

Nicola xx