Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas Jammies

Just so you're not worried, I will say that these were done in time for Christmas.  As a matter of fact they got quite a bit of wear the week beforehand as well, but my kids have not felt like posing for any photos in addition to all of the family-holiday related pics I've made them take, so I haven't posted these yet.

You want us to do what?  We're not listening!

Fine, we're looking at the camera.  Happy?
There are also two upcycled sweaters to post about, in addition to a blouse-skirt outfit made for Christmas Eve wear and refused, so that also hasn't been photographed yet.  I'm hopeful that now that actual events have slowed down, the kids might prove more cooperative in front of a camera so I can show you some of these things.  Oh!  And!  I used my Christmas money (combined with the assumed future sale of my current camera) to get an upgraded camera!  So I'm excited to try it out once it arrives.

So, the pj's.

Ok, those pj's are pretty cool now that we look at them.
I used the exact same pattern that I made for this striped pair of pj's to make The Boy's set.  Once again, it worked out great.  This fabric had slightly less stretch than the stripe, so the fit is a little more snug, but there was enough room to accomodate.  I loved this festive fair-isle knit, as did many others out there in sewing-blogger land--I've seen lots of holiday outfits made with this!  It reminds me of the Hanna Andersson pj's that the kids have grown out of since last year.

Unhand me, Sir!
Little Sister chose a long-sleeved nightgown for her jammies.  I adapted a basic t-shirt pattern I had made, puffing the sleeves a bit and cutting it off at an empire waist, and then used the same skirt pattern I drew when I made this Leah dress a few months ago.  She likes 'em long and flowy, and I think that steered it more towards "nightgown" and away from "dress."

Since you're grumpy, let's photograph the back, shall we?
I bought 2 yards of the fair isle print, and 1 yard of the coordinating solid red knit.  I'm glad I didn't order less!  I had to cut the back panel of Little Sister's nightgown skirt in two pieces, but otherwise my amounts were perfect.  The fabrics came from Girl Charlee, my favorite online shop for knits.

OK, we love them! And each other!

And the most important thing--I got the Christmas morning matching holiday pj photos I wanted :) 

Checking under the tree

Opening up the stockings
I hope you had a happy holiday too!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Raglan Sweatshirt Dress

Sometimes, you just want to wear your pajamas all day.  But, even though some days I don't venture much further than my son's school bus stop, I am a member of a society, so I usually make the effort to put on actual clothes.  This dress is my attempt to feel like I'm wearing a housecoat without actually wearing a housecoat:

I think it was moderately successful.  While I do love wearing it, I have a sneaking suspicion that I do look like I'm wearing my pajamas, or at the very least loungewear.  And I would unabashedly love this dress on a child (my daughter asked me to make one for her, which I will totally do), I'm just not sure if it works on a grown-up.  I also really enjoy the slightly asymmetrical distribution of the print--I think it helps keep the little pink roses looking a little more cool.

But it's so comfortable, snuggly, and warm, that I will not stop wearing it.  Especially on the days when the grocery store is my major outing.

Taking pictures in the cold!

For those who wonder about these things--I made the pattern by copying a sweater-dress that I already own, except that I finished the neckline using the same method I have used for the raglan tees I've made for the kids--from this Craftiness is not Optional tutorial.  If I were to use the pattern again I would lengthen the bodice, probably by 4-5 inches, since I think the empire waist is one of the things that push it into the children's-wear category.  And I added side-seam pockets, because the only reason I don't wear the sweater dresses I already own even more, since they are a slightly more respectable version of this dress, is because I don't have sweater dresses with pockets.

I didn't take a picture of the back, because I wasn't happy with the way it turned out when I did a slight gather across the top of the skirt.  Because of the thickness of the fabric it didn't hang well and wasn't flattering.  I took it apart and turned the back into a reverse pleat where the skirt joins the bodice, and it's much, much better, but I didn't get a picture now that it's fixed either.  Just for description, I should tell you that the neckline dips down a bit in the back which helps it look slightly more adult.

This sweatshirt fabric came from Girl Charlee, and it's a great weight.  Slightly thinner than a standard hooded-sweatshirt fabric, but with that nice fleecy inside.  Nice stability for the pockets, not too stretchy.  I was thrilled to pick it up during their Black Friday sale when it was under $3 a yard.  The trim was also in the Black Friday sale, it's the pink baby rib knit (like this one, but in pale pink, which they appear to be out of) and it was lovely for the cuffs and neckline--nice and soft and stretchy but not too thin.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Upcycled Sweater Stockings!

While we were home for this "snow day,"...

The kids and I were all productive.

I FINALLY finished the stockings I have been planning since I got Christmas sweaters for 75% off at Goodwill after the holiday last year,

All hung by the chimney with care

And many forts and bear caves were built.

There are lots of stocking tutorials online, and I did get some inspiration there but ultimately ended up doing this my own way, as usual.  Since I made four of them in a row, by the time I was about to start the fourth one I thought I probably had enough information and expertise to do a tutorial.  So if you want to make stockings like this, read on!

Or if you  just want a better look at the end product, here you go:

The Boy was primarily excited about the new stockings because that meant he could take his old one up to his room for Christmas decorations.  I hope he realizes that he does not have a chimney in his room, meaning that Santa will not be filling up his secondary stocking.  Honestly though, he just loves the holiday decorations and wants to spread the cheer into his bedroom--he asked me if he could bring some of the nutcrackers up there too; they are his favorite.

I had not anticipated how much more fun Christmas would be this year.  Our kids are now 3.5 and almost 6 and there is a huge difference between how a two-year old reacts to the holidays and how it is for a three year old.  Little Sister is SO EXCITED!  About EVERYTHING!  And it's not even about the presents--she is asking Santa for a Rapunzel doll, but other than that she told me that she doesn't want anything.  I asked her if her family should just choose something that they think she would like, since they know her pretty well, and she said "Yeah!"  She is way more interested in dancing in front of the lights, playing I-Spy with ornaments on the tree, and singing Christmas songs.  And The Boy had an opportunity to "shop" for his family at school, choosing presents carefully for all of us (nothing costing more than $1.)  He can't wait for us to see what he chose, and he was so thoughtful about it!  He has been making snowflake garlands and pictures of reindeer to put up around the house, and he can't stop talking about playing The Angel Gabriel in the annual church Christmas play. It is fantastic.

Snowflake garland.  In the center he cut out the letters to spell "WINTER."

He adds a new reindeer every day--he's up to Cupid, I think.

My personal favorite decoration--when he saw me about to recycle the scotch tape wrapping, he said "Don't throw that out!  I can use it to make Santa's sleigh!"  And so he can.

Is he my kid, or what?

Alright!  Ready for the stocking tutorial?  Great!  These is such a Beth project:  Upcycled?  Check!  Clearance? Check! Figuring it out as I go?  Check!

You can easily find a printable stocking pattern online, but I just used our old stockings as a guide for cutting out my shape.  I had to be strategic about where to cut, since most of my sweaters were cardigans or had zip-fronts.  It's a lot more straightforward if you find a crewneck to start with.

I cut two main stocking pieces (one facing each direction for front and back), two lining pieces, and two cuff pieces cut from the hem of the sweater so it has a finished edge.  I then cut my letters out of felt and sewed them to the cuff piece that would be the front of the stocking.

Attach the letters towards the bottom of the cuff piece, close to the finished edge.

Sew the cuff pieces to the top of the stocking pieces.  Make sure that you attach the cuff piece with the name on it to the stocking piece that is facing the direction you want the stocking to hang.

Do the same with the back piece and blank cuff.

Now lay your lining panels on top of the stocking pieces, right sides together, and sew across the top of the cuff.

My lining was a thin curtain panel, also from Goodwill.
 Flip the lining pieces up and lay flat,

Then lay one on top of the other, right sides together, and pin.

Leave an opening in the lining between the heel and the top of the stocking.

Before sewing, make a little loop for hanging.  I used ribbon and tied a knot in one end.

Insert the loop with the loop tucked in towards the middle of the stocking, close to the top of the cuff.

Pin the loop in place so that you will sew the knot or raw edges into the seam.

Sew around the outside of the stocking and lining, leaving the gap to turn the stocking right-side out.  Trim the edges, being careful not to get too close to the seam.  This is especially important for the sweater portion, since a cut sweater edge can unravel if not handled carefully.

To close up the hole used for turning, I just sewed it shut on my machine, but if you'd like it to be invisible you can do it by hand.  I just thought that nobody would see the lining so it didn't matter.

You could be done here, but depending on the thickness of your sweater/cuff, the lining may stick out.  This bugged me, so I decided to do a topstitch around the opening to tuck the lining down inside the stocking.


After topstitching
 And here they are!  I love them.

Dad and Mom

The kiddos
 Here's how they look on the mantle!  The pets didn't get new stockings.

And luckily, each member of the family chose their own stocking as their favorite.  Phew!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Striped Raglan Jammies

Well, this is kind of embarrassing.  I haven't posted in three weeks, and the last time I did it was about saving a couple of bucks on Papa Murphy's Pizza?  I guess it's about time to get another sewing project up on this page, at the very least so that when I abandon the blog again for the holidays, then people stopping by won't wonder what the heck is going on around here.

The boy has been growing like a weed, and all of his pajamas leave his wrists and ankles (and sometimes his belly button) hanging out.  I've been putting off getting him new ones, because he is shifting into big boy territory, and a lot of the brands I like start making only loose pajama pants for kids his size, whereas I still like to put him in cute matching sets.  PLUS, pajamas get much more expensive past size 5T, AND it's near impossible to find them on clearance.  And I know that pajamas aren't that hard to make, but I have had trouble finding the time since I've been doing craft shows for the first time.  But, like most things I make for the boy, once I got around to it I couldn't believe I waited so long.

He's worn these jammies practically every night that they aren't in the wash.  I got the striped knit from Girl Charlee, and it's really soft and stretchy.  I love this style of pants, because he likes a looser fit now that he's getting bigger, but the cuffs at the bottom allow me to leave a little extra length so that he doesn't grow out of them so quickly while keeping the bottom snug so he's not stepping on them all the time.

Do not adjust your screen. You are just experiencing some
amazing gymnastic action.
 The raglan top is based on this tutorial from Craftiness is not Optional, and I've made it several times before.  I left the ends of the sleeves unfinished, since jersey doesn't fray, and I figured that when the sleeves start getting too short I can add cuffs like the ones at the bottom of the pants.

The pants, I just based off of the one pair of pj pants he has that fit.  I made the legs slightly wider than your typical little-kid snug fit pj's, and added a little extra length, then made the cuffs from the same rib knit I used for the body of the shirt.  I used this method to put in the elastic waist, except that I do add a topstitched seam at the bottom of the elastic because I actually like the look of it.

I have some seriously cute reindeer fair-isle printed jersey that I'm going to make Christmas pj's out of soon.  I'll use this same pattern for The Boy, and Little Sister has requested a long-sleeved nightgown.  They are going to be so stinking cute, I can't wait!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Random Thriftiness: Papa Murphy's Pizza

Years ago, our local Fred Meyer had Papa Murphy's coupons printed on the backs of the receipts.  They were pretty much the same deal as the Papa Murphy's coupons that came in the weekly coupon mailers/newspaper, so I didn't pay too much attention to them, but then I noticed that while the mailer coupons were inching up in price ($7 for a one topping, for example, and only $2 off of a large pizza), the ones on the back of the receipts still had a $6 one-topping coupon, and $3 off any size pizza.  They didn't have an expiration date, so I started hoarding them.  Good thing too, because eventually the receipts caught up with the regular coupons, and then they quit printing them at all!

I am also terrible about pulling receipts out of the bottom of the grocery bag after putting the groceries away. I'm already tired from buying the groceries, hauling them home, and putting them away--dealing with the receipts is just a step too far ;).  The benefit of this is that for a while,when cleaning out the basement or the pantry, I would find old receipts with coupons on the back tucked into the bottom of old grocery bags. Score!

But.  I'm not satisfied with JUST having the lowest possible coupon price for my pizza.  Because I have a problem.  The Boy likes Hawaiian (Canadian bacon and pineapple) pizza.  Little Sister will only eat cheese pizza.  If you order half-Hawaiian, half-cheese, you pay for a two-topping pizza.  So here's what I do--I order a half-Canadian bacon, half-pineapple pizza.  I pay $6 for my large one-topping pizza, then before baking, I move all of the meat over to the pineapple side.  Well, actually I spread out the pineapple a little so that the Hawaiian side is a little more than half--The Boy eats more than Little Sister does.

So!  That's how I get my $12.00 pizza for six bucks!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Upcycled Elastic-Waist Skirts

Guess who wasn't in the mood to have pictures taken of her new skirts?

Good guess.
My friend gave me a few of her old maxi-dresses, which easily made skirts for Little Sister with plenty left over in case I want to make myself a matching skirt or possibly summer dresses for Little Sister.

There's another one too, but I wasn't getting photos of that one today.

No pictures, please.
A condition of me taking any pictures at all was that she would wear this pink sweatshirt dress on her head, long-hair style.

Don't even think about removing my sweatshirt hair!
It was a really simple skirt to make--I just cut panels out of the dress (the little ruffle between tiers was already there) and the lining, using the existing hem, and attached them to an elastic waistband using this easy method.  I made the top layer a little longer than the lining.

She did cooperate for a second and almost gave me a smile.

She wanted to try out an updo.
Before deciding she'd rather look at the pictures than be in them...

Let me see!

Attack of the pink-haired monster

Aaaaand we're done here.

Maybe I'll get pics of the other skirt at some point too?  She pretty much just wants to rotate between the two of them for her wardrobe every day.  The length is a perfect compromise between the "long-long to the floor" skirts she really wants and the practical short skirts I will let her wear so that she doesn't trip on them, and it's a hard length to find in store-bought skirts.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Upcycled Infinity Scarves

One of the types of items I had for sale at the craft show that I did were upcycled infinity scarves.  I have made several of these before, but these were a little different.  One, because I used a different fabric on the inside and outside of the scarf.  This was great because I got to play with coordinating fabrics, which I love, and also this was great because I could use smaller sweaters, AND I could have leftovers to make matching armwarmers.  When I made scarves all out of one sweater, it had to be a pretty big sweater and I had to use all the material from the sleeves as well to get the scarf to be long enough.  But this way, I could save the sleeves to make into cute snuggly matching armwarmers!

So, want to see some examples?  And my fantabulous modeling skills?

I threw in that upper right one of me gazing into middle distance for some variety.
Note to self--iron the wrinkly bedsheet if you plan to use it as a photo backdrop.

This one's the only one that's not upcycled from an old sweater--this is the same vintage sweater knit I used to make my stretchy pencil skirt with pockets.  But the black secondary fabric is an upcycled nightshirt!

These actually all had matching armwarmers, but some of the photos looked ridiculous didn't come out so you'll have to use your imagination.

A friend suggested I photograph these sets while sitting on a swing, holding the chains.  That would be perfect!  Now if I could only get one of my kids to take pictures of me swinging, instead of whining for me to push THEM on the swings when we're at the park! But really--it would be a pretty great way to get a scarf and armwarmers both in the shot in a little less awkward-looking manner, if I could just figure out how to get that picture taken.

The scarves are all slightly different sizes, since they were cut from different sweaters, but the range was that I cut two panels that were each between 7.5 and 10 inches wide and between 52 and 60 inches long.  Both of those panels were usually pieced together from cutting up sweaters and t-shirts, but when I used jersey sheets or yardage of knit fabric on the back, I was able to cut one long panel for the non-sweater side.  I assembled my two panels into an infinity scarf using this tutorial--the explanation for joining the two ends together is SO MUCH EASIER TO UNDERSTAND than the way I have been doing it!

I've been working on a big new batch of these, since I'm going to do a couple more shows before Christmas and I sold all but three of the 13 I made for the last craft fair!  I'm really excited about some of them--I will not be sad AT ALL if they don't sell and I have to keep them.  A girl can never have too many scarves, am I right?  Or I guess I could give them out to my friends as Christmas presents, if I decide not to be selfish.