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Category Archives: Sewing

Play Stroller Re-do

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Play Stroller Re-do

The Little Monkey got this doll stroller for her birthday last year. She loved it. Pushed it around constantly. Then the big kids got a hold of it. And they thought it would be fun to sit in. Well, let’s just say that it’s not build for a 3 and 4 year old to sit in. The seat cover was pretty much torn to pieces. So I decided, why not just make her a new cover for it? I found this fabric while digging through a box in the garage that I had completely forgotten that I bought. I bought it years ago to make something for my niece (which I obviously never got around to doing). It’s this precious Peter Rabbit print that I just adore. So I had a mission. Stroller re-do.

First, I deconstructed the stroller. Pulled the cover, basket, and canopy off.

Before the canopy came off.

Basically all there was to this thing was a layer of fabric with a bias tape trim. Nothing terribly difficult. I reused some of the pieces from the original stroller, like the seat buckles and straps and the little mesh pieces from the basket (mostly because I didn’t have anything else to use at my house already. Why leave the house if I didn’t have to?). So I took the deconstructed pieces, pinned them to my fabric, and cut them out.

         You get the idea.

At this point, I pinned the bias tape around the seat cover (being sure to stick the buckle/strap pieces in where needed) and sewed it on.

Then I folded it into a “seat” shape, pinned it in place, and sewed it down.

   As you can see by the lighting, we hit night time!

Next I worked on the basket that fits under the stroller. This part was a little trickier, mostly because of the shape I had to sew it into. It was just a bit fiddly, trying to work it on the machine.

The original basket had this hard cardboard piece in the bottom of it, so I reused that. I just sewed it between two layers of fabric.

The cardboard piece is in there. Promise!

This is when I had to attach the mesh pieces I reused from the original stroller.

Here was where I had to do a little experimenting to see how I needed to fold it, etc. to get it to line up correctly. But in it the end, it wasn’t too difficult.

Now the original stroller used snaps to attach the basket to the underneath bar. But I don’t have a fancy snap press. Or even pliers. So I just used good ol’ velcro.

And all attached.    

Now it was time to do the canopy. I cut the pieces just as like the original, then pinned everything into place, and sewed.

On the original, they must have sewed the canopy into place before they assembled everything, because unless I wanted to sew it on by hand (and I didn’t!) there was no way to do it how it had been originally done. So I improvised. I attached some velcro again. Three little spots on the small fabric flap and their coordinating pieces on the actual canopy. Then I strapped it on.

I think it turned out pretty well!

And the sleepy Little Monkey was thrilled to have her stroller back in working condition this morning!


Shirt to Dress refashion

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Shirt to Dress refashion

I’ve been seeing all of these t-shirt refashions on Pinterest lately and decided to do one myself. We have a TON of t-shirts in this house. A ton. But most of them aren’t terribly cute. They’re just solid colored shirts, some of which have some sort of logo or saying, etc. But I found one that I had worn just after giving birth to the little monkey. You know, before I was back to down to pre-baby weight. It  had a little more style and was striped! (And definitely too big for me now.) So I decided it would make the perfect dress for the Little Monkey.

Now, had I been smart, I would have found one of the tutorials out there that gives step by step instructions for turning an oversized t-shirt into a dress. But who said I was smart? I mean, how hard could this be, right? First, I started off by cutting the top of the shirt off right under the arms.

I wanted to use the bottom hem of the shirt as the hem of the dress. You know, save myself a step. Plus my hems never come out as nice as the factory ones. Especially on knits. And I was thinking I would do a sort of braided band at the top. Maybe make it kind of a boat neck dress. So I tried that. And it just came out a bit silly. I should have taken pictures of it on the Little Monkey so you could see. But I didn’t. But this was my process, in case you were wondering.

So I cut some fabric off the sides and then cut in at the top. I hemmed the top cut in part (thinking it would be my arm opening) and then sewed the sides together.

Then I attached the band and sewed it on. Ta-da! Ummm, not so much. I realize now that I probably could have just cinched my fabric in on the front and back and given up on the boat neck idea and it probably would have been fine. But I don’t like to do things the easy way. Ha!

Anyways, what I decided to do at that point was just use the existing neckline in some way. So I took the top part of my shirt (I had already cut the arms off at some point thinking I might use those for something) and made a neck opening that would work for the Little Monkey.

It’s hard to see, but I stitched it right across the shoulders there.

So at this point, I took the braided band off of the other piece. Then I took this piece, lined it up with the other piece, and cut it down to size. I then hemmed the arm hole openings, just as I had done on the other piece. I fitted this piece into the other piece and sewed it on. Then I took it in on the sides so that the arm holes weren’t ginormous. I thought I was done, but I didn’t really care for the seam across the front. And then I remembered the bands that were around the arms on the original shirt. So I cut one off and sewed it across the front. All done!


I know, not the best pictures. But by the time I got it all finished it was dark outside. So boo for night time lighting. And boo for a model who refuses to stand still! I’ll have to try to get some better pictures at some point because it did turn out pretty cute after it was all said and done.



The Funny Bunny

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The Funny Bunny

With Easter coming up, I decided I wanted to make something for the kids. And since I’ve been on a sewing kick lately, I thought I why not sew them a little plush lovey of some sort. Well, I had a little bit of the stripe fabric I used on the bottom of this dress. And it was one of my absolute favorite prints when Monkey Man was a baby. He had cloth diapers in that print, a shirt, some slippers, and even a pair of knit shorts. So it only seemed right that he get something made out of my last scraps of the fabric. I didn’t have much left, only about 2 9″x9″ squares and a few other scraps, so it couldn’t be anything too elaborate. So this is what I did. I decided to make a bunny. First, I sketched out a general pattern for the body of the bunny.

I pinned it to both layers of my fabric and cut them out together. Then I pinned them together, wrong sides facing.

And sewed around the edges leaving the top of his head open and flipped it right side out. Look how silly it is!

And stuffed him full.

Then I made him some ears. I cut out two pieces of my striped fabric and two pieces of a coordinating solid I had on hand.

I pinned one striped piece to a solid piece, wrong sides facing, and sewed them together. Then I flipped them right side out and did a little gather at the base.

At this point I hand stitched the ears in place and then sewed his head closed. By this point I was fed up with the incredibly thin, flimsy striped fabric and I just threw it back on my machine to finish, not caring what the top of his head looked like. If you read my post about the t-shirt dress, you’ll remember me ranting about this fabric then, too. It’s impossible for a fairly inexperienced sewer like myself to work with. (I can’t say that I’m really sorry that it’s all gone!) Needless to say, if I wanted it to look a bit nicer, I would have finished it up by hand. I figure that’s what I’ll do on the next one I make for the Little Monkey. At this point, I stitched little eyes and a nose on him using embroidery floss. Seeing how I have never embroidered a thing in my life, I just kind of winged it until they looked decent. Any way, here he is. The Funny Bunny, as he’s become known around our house.

I went ahead and showed him to Monkey Man, mostly because he saw me finishing it up when he got home from preschool today. It made me super happy when he saw it and asked hopefully if it was for him. I think he’s in love.

Is it terribly mean that I took it and put it away a little while after this? Maybe. But it’ll make for a super Easter gift!

Retro print tunic

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Retro print tunic

I stumbled upon this post over at Craftiness is not Optional, which is an amazing blog for anyone interested in sewing children’s clothes. She has some fabulous patterns. Anyways, I decided Cordelia NEEDED one. And I had the perfect fabric in mind.

Don’t you think this fabric was just dying to be turned into this adorable tunic??? Me too!

I’m not going to rewrite the whole tutorial, because well….why? She did a pretty great job. But I will tell you about the few alterations that I made.

So I was going along following her pattern. I had done my reverse pleat in the front and created my button closure in the back. (This is like my new favorite way to do buttons on blouses now. So easy!) And suddenly I realized, “Wait a minute. She made some bias tape somewhere in there and didn’t tell me about it. And then she sewed around the neck opening.” Well I didn’t have enough fabric (or a fancy, smancy bias tape maker) to do that with, so I came up with a different solution. I cut a couple of pieces to mirror my front and back pieces and used them as a facing. At this point I also decided not to put sleeves on it. I figure this way the little monkey can wear it all the way through summer (unless we have a big growth spurt, which is doubtful). So I sewed my facing in, pressed my seams and finished them with a zig zag stitch, and then finished the blouse by following the tutorial.

Oh! For the back closure, I also made a little variation. Instead of using white elastic (as that was all I had on hand) for the loop, I dug up a black pony tail holder. It worked brilliantly and matched the fabric much better. I just adore the way it turned out, and the little monkey seems to like it, too. Every time she sees it out, she says, “That’s mine! Mine!”

And here is my finished product.

And being modeled, of course.

She wouldn’t put the snack down to take pictures. Sometimes you just take what you can get.

This was her posing. And notice the red shoes. Completely her choice. The girl definitely has a mind of her own. And she LOVES shoes. She’s constantly picking out a new pair to put on.

My little fashonista.


T-shirt Upcycle

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T-shirt Upcycle

I saw this on Pinterest recently and knew I had to make one. When I first showed the picture to my husband, he kind of turned up his nose, which gave me pause for a moment. But I found myself at a thrift store a few days later and decided to pick up some supplies and give it a whirl anyways. I found a t-shirt for around $1 and a coordinating tie for about $2. The most expensive thing was the button. My husband couldn’t believe it was $4.50! So all said, I got a cute shirt for about $7.50. Not bad, in my book.

First, I took my t-shirt and pinned the tie in place.

The tie was significantly longer than the neckline of my shirt, so I just let the tail hang down low and figured I’d cut it off later.

Then I sewed it into place. Once I decided I was happy with the placement and ruffles, etc., I cut off the excess length and zig-zagged the raw edge.

Now it was time to attach the button.

After seeing it on, my husband decided he likes it. Yay! I might just have to hit up the thrift store for some more shirts and ties. This was so easy and fun to do, and I loved the way it turned out!

Daddy Shirt Refashion

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Daddy Shirt Refashion

Several months ago, my husband (finally) went through his closet and purged some clothes. This is huge in our house. Like major event. Worth throwing a party over. Because the man owns enough shirts to outfit a small third world country. But in the donate/throw away pile there were a few dress shirts that I salvaged to eventually use for dresses for the little monkey. I did a simple white sun dress a few weeks ago from his favorite old dress shirt that he had worn  so long there was a hole in it. And today, I did this little number.


(Pardon the terrible picture, but it was night and she wouldn’t stand still.) I had seen several different tutorials online for making dresses out of shirts, but I just wasn’t in love with any of them for THIS particular shirt. I already have a shirt in mind to do this dress, which I love, but nothing was screaming “Me! Me! Me!” for this shirt. So I decided to just wing it.

First, I found a dress that fits the little monkey fairly well and I traced the bodice to start my pattern. I usually trace onto wrapping paper because it’s big enough and flimsy enough to work well for a pattern.

Then I just drew the skirt the way I wanted it to look. A simple A line is always a win in my book. Be sure to add 1/4″-1/2″ seam allowance before you cut it out. Oh! I folded my paper and only traced half of the dress so that it would be symmetrical. I don’t exactly trust my tracing skills very much.

Then I pinned my pattern to my shirt, being sure to center it with the buttons, and cut it out. You could also trace the pattern onto the shirt and then cut, but that’s just an extra step in my opinion, and I usually skip it.


I went ahead and cut out a couple of facing pieces and a couple of pockets.

At this point I sewed the shoulder seams of both the dress and the facing. Then I pinned right sides together and sewed around the neckline, attaching the facing to dress.

Be sure to clip around the curves so that it lays nice and flat when you turn it. Turn it right side out and iron it down.

Pretty, right? Of course I realized at this point that I had sewn the top closed so that the buttons wouldn’t function. Oops! So I went onto plan B for an opening. Because lord knows that neck hole certainly wouldn’t fit over the little monkey’s noggin. (I also decided somewhere in there to use bias tape for the arm openings.) This is what I decided to do on the back for an opening/closure.

“How did you do that??” you ask? Well, I’ll tell you! First I cut out a small rectangle of fabric. About 3”x6” or so. And I zig-zag stitched around all four sides. You could also serge it. That would probably be ideal. And one day I’ll dig my serger out of my garage and finally teach myself to use it. But not today. So I zig-zagged.

I then pinned the little piece of fabric to the center of the back, right sides together. Draw a line right down the middle, stopping about 1 1/2” from the bottom.

At this point, sew down one side of your line, about 1/8″ over, then across the bottom and up the other side, moving your seam slightly further out. About 1/4″ or so. Stop about half way up and place a little loop of elastic (loop side in, towards the line). Be sure your loop isn’t too large (or too small) for the button you are going to use. Pin it in place and then finish sewing the seam. I always backstitch over my elastic, just to give it a little stronger seam, since it will be pulled on. Once you’ve finished sewing your seams, cut right down the line you drew.

At this point, flip the little fabric piece to the back and iron it down nice and flat. I like to do a little top stitch, just to hold it in place. It should look something like this.

Okay, now that I fixed that little problem, I decided to do my pockets. What’s that you say? Wouldn’t that have been easier to do BEFORE you sewed your front and back together? Well, yes. Yes, it would have. But I am not one for doing things the easy way, as I’m sure you’ve noticed by now. So, I took my pockets that I had cut out and decided to do a little gather on them before I attached them. To do this, I set the stitch length and tension each at their highest setting. Then just sew and like magic, the fabric will ruffle. So easy!

I happened to have some white bias tape lying around the house, so that’s what I used for the tops of my pockets. Just pin it on, then sew.

Then I folded the edges of my pockets under, making them the shape that I wanted and ironed them down. Next, I pinned them to the front of the dress.

Then sew them down.

So the front and back of the dress are all finished at this point. Except the sleeves. So I attached some bias tape around my sleeve openings. I didn’t take any pictures of this step, but I did it just like the pocket. Pin the tape in place, then sew.

Now it was time to finally sew the front and back of the dress together. So I pinned right sides together (making sure to line up the underarms so the bias tape would match up on the finished garment) and sewed. After I sewed the seam, I zig-zagged the seams. Again, serging would be ideal.

Turn your dress right side out and press. Now it’s time to hem the bottom. Just turn up and press about 1/4″ all the way around. Then turn it up and press again to hide the raw edge of your fabric. Now sew. (I didn’t sew the bottom together.)


And here’s the little monkey modeling it. Forgive my less than stellar photos. By the time I actually finished it and got it on her, it was rather dark out so I had no natural light.

It took me pretty much all day to finish this little project, although it wasn’t difficult in the least. What with feeding kids and reading books here and there and stopping to referee the inevitable fights, it’s a wonder I finished it at all! But I must say, I’m glad I did. This might just be my favorite dress I’ve made to date.

T-shirt Dress

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T-shirt Dress

So the other day I decided to dig around in one of the boxes in the garage labeled “fabric.” Turns out I had TONS of stuff in there that I completely forgot I had. And some of it that have no recollection of ever buying. Is that the sign that you have a problem?? In any case, I dug some of it out and washed it up (because I have no idea if I washed it the first time around). Who would have known that I had so many knits in there?

If you’re familiar with Goodmama diapers, you’ll recognize a number of those prints. I’ll admit that when my son was a baby I got all caught up in buying trendy, cute, and EXPENSIVE cloth diapers. This time around with my daughter, I went more for convenience and function. Bum Genius for the win! I sold off most of my Goodmamas and made a pretty penny (that’s a whole OTHER story), but I still adore so many of the old prints. Good thing I bought a bunch of this fabric years ago, huh? So, what to do with it all? Some of the prints I only had very small pieces, so I decided why not make a t-shirt dress. I had recently seen this tutorial and figured I could do something similar with the fabric I had on hand.

First things first, I found a t-shirt to use that would coordinate with the fabric I was using.

Then I cut the bottom off the shirt.

Next I cut my fabric into strips and decided in what order I wanted them. At this point, I went ahead and attached the first layer to the shirt. Mostly because I wanted to make sure it was going to fit okay. This shirt was a little tricky to work with because of the pleats. The darn fabric just didn’t want to lay flat.

I forgot to mention that I switched to the satin stitch foot on my machine and used a zig zag stitch.

Next I sewed the front layers together and the back layers together, then sewed my side seams.

At this point, I slipped the top of the dress inside the skirt and pinned right sides together.

Now sew it together, flip it right side out, and ta-da!

I left a raw edge on mine because the bottom knit is SOOOOO thin it’s really hard to work with. Next time I attempt a project like this, I will definitely be sure that my knits are a little sturdier. All but the white knit with roses and swords on it were really light weight. So as hard as I tried, there is definitely a little puckering going on. I will probably go back and topstich each of my layers, but the little monkey hasn’t wanted to take it off long enough for me to do that.

I know it’s a little less than perfect, but it still makes my heart happy to see all of those prints I loved so much on my son’s diapers. Kind of sends me back a few years. Awwwwww.