March 29, 2011

boy's shorts

I love Goodwill. I love men's dress shirts. I love buying men's dress shirts for 99 cents at Goodwill and using the fabric to make all sorts of awesome stuff. The current project is summer shorts for my 4-year-old son.

While "researching" the internet for new ideas, I found this great shorts tutorial at Saltwater Kids. While I've done the shirts-to-shorts repurposing before, I really liked the idea of using the pocket from the shirt as a back pocket on the shorts. Because I messed up my pattern placement on the first try I had to remove the pocket, move it down two inches, and resew it on. Before moving it, the top of the pocket barely cleared the waistband. After fixing the pocket, it looked much better. . .

The tutorial shows you how to make a pattern using an existing pair of shorts. I used a purchased pattern (Simplicity 2627) because it was cheap and easy and I'm all about cheap and easy. I've continued using the same pattern for a few years now that I finally found one I like. The first summer I made shorts for my son the poor kid ending up wearing what turned out to be toddler boy daisy dukes because I made the mistake of borrowing one of my mom's "vintage" patterns from the 1970s. Apparently boys' shorts were a lot shorter and more fitted back in the 70s. Fortunately, these homemade shorts aren't nearly as embarrassing. Now to get to work on reconstructing this growing stack of shirts .

March 25, 2011

baby bibs

I have a friend who is expecting a baby boy in July and I want to give her a whole stash of handmade baby goodies.  I figured I better get started now.  I found this great pattern for a baby bib at chickpea studio.  After deconstructing thrifted men's dress shirts for various other projects, I had several leftover shirt sleeves which were perfect for the bib fronts.  (I only buy the 99 cent shirts, so using both sleeves you can get two bib front for less than $1.)  So I went into baby bib production. . .

I used some clearance bath towels I found at Target ($1.34 for a 2-pack) for the backing (except for one that is backed in flannel because I had my layers in the wrong order so the towel ended up on the inside).  I added a layer of flannel (scraps from my stash) in the middle to make the bibs a little thicker.    

I added ties to a couple of them using the tie template from Crap I've Made.  So cute!

I don't have closures on them yet.  I finally broke down and bought the Kam plastic snap pliers and a supply of plastic snaps.  I'm just waiting for everything to arrive.  I tried using the metal snaps from the fabric store but it didn't work so well.  Velcro probably would have been a less expensive and easier alternative, but I'd already decided I really wanted a snap closure.  The only problem with all this baby sewing is it really makes me want another baby. :)

Thanks for stopping by!

March 24, 2011

a dirt shirt

Have you heard about the contest over at I Am Momma Hear Me Roar?

It's all about the boys and the contest is to create a shirt (or two) for a boy.  And you know I love contests.  And I have a 4-year-old boy.  And it is so hard to find awesome clothes for boys.  So I'm also looking forward to the contest linky day just to see all the great ideas.

I'm cheap so I like to stock up on clothes for my son.  The only problem is my son won't wear plain shirts (which I discovered last year after I had stockpiled a bunch of clearance shirts).  Even though my son won't wear plain shirts, I still can't pass up a good deal when I find one.  So when I found a plain brown shirt at Goodwill I knew I could transform it into something totally cool like this. . .

I made an applique using this construction stencil template at Spay Paint Stencils. I used Heat N Bond lite to fuse it to the t-shirt then machine stitched around the applique twice with white thread to make it stand out more.

The fabric is leftover from a thrifted men's dress shirt I had used to make an art smock. I have a hard time throwing away any of the leftover pieces--I know they can be used for something. The shirt tails were also leftover from the original shirt so I cut them off and attached them to the inside of the t-shirt for a layered look.  (I totally didn't measure very well when I cut my "tails" pieces so they're a little narrow.  I'm sure it will turn out better next time!)

I used my Cricut and the Plantain Schoolbook cartridge to make a freezer paper stencil with the phrase "i like dirt." I painted the letters with Ceramcoat Georgia Clay (one of my favorites), a little bit of white paint, then another light coat of Georgia Clay for a distressed look.

I added a pocket made from a scrap of fabric and replaced the original plain brown buttons with some orange ones.  (Of course I didn't measure the original buttons before I went to the store so the orange ones are actually a size too big but I was able to force them through the existing button holes.)

For the finishing touch, I used white thread to make a couple of wavy lines stitched around the hem on the sleeves and the bottom of the shirt.

Not bad for a couple of bucks!

March 1, 2011

St. Patrick's Day t-shirt

Since St. Patrick's Day is right around the corner, it's time for another holiday-themed shirt for my son. (On a side note, I really don't think he minds the holiday-themed shirts. Last Monday he wanted to know why he didn't have a President's Day shirt to wear.) I found a clearance green t-shirt at Target and removed the pocket. This is shirt #2 since shirt #1 was a crafting disaster. Fortunately another Target had another 4T green shirt on clearance. For a good tutorial on freezer paper stencils, check out this post at Crap I've Made.

I have a love/hate relationship with my Cricut. It was a Christmas gift from my husband at least three years ago, and it has been in the box in the closet for over a year. I unpacked it again because I was determined to make this work. After a frustrating hour resulting in a ton of destroyed freezer paper, a trip to Michael's for new blades and cutting mats, and a lot of research on the internet--success!

I found some good Cricut/freezer paper advice here. I used the Jasmine cartridge to cut 4 inch letters for the word "Lucky" and the Plantain Schoolbook cartridge to cut 2 inch letters for the word "boy." I set both my speed and pressure to "medium" and the blade depth to "5." I used the "flip" feature since you put the freezer paper shiny side up and need to cut the letters in reverse. When using the "flip" feature to cut out words, be sure to enter your word in the reverse order. (So I typed in "ykcuL" for "Lucky" and "yob" for "boy.") Also make sure "Real Dial Size" is not engaged.

I then inserted a piece of cardboard into the shirt so paint wouldn't soak through and folded the sleeves under the shirt. Because somehow I managed to get paint on the sleeve of craft disaster shirt #1.

I used white Tulip fabric paint and a foam brush to paint the letters. To avoid getting paint under the freezer paper stencil, I used a "dabbing" motion rather than brushing the paint on.

After one coat of paint. . .

After 4 or 5 coats of paint. (I lost track.) I let it dry at least 45 minutes to an hour between coats.

After my final coat of paint, I let it dry overnight. Carefully remove the freezer paper.

There are a few areas where some paint seeped under the freezer paper, but it still turned out pretty good. Hopefully it still looks this good after washing it.

And because you're all dying to see it, craft disaster shirt #1.

Even though it is tempting, do not remove the freezer paper while the paint is still wet. You'll get paint everywhere. Thanks for stopping by!