No-Sew Child’s Apron

I think I’ve mentioned here before that Eli loves to cook. I have long planned to sew him his own adorable apron. There are all kinds of tutorials and free patterns online (such as here and here), and I will one day get around to doing it. I may even make my first Spoonflower purchase to get a fun fabric of Eli’s choosing for it. But enough daydreaming of future projects.

Eli helping me make play dough. He mixed for about 20 minutes using all utensils in his reach. Yep, he needed an apron... especially during this phase where everything becomes an instant "construction site".

Eli helping me make play dough. He mixed for about 20 minutes using all utensils in his reach. Yep, he needed an apron… especially during this phase where everything becomes an instant “construction site”.

Right at the moment not a lot of sewing is being done by me, and Eli really needed an apron, like 6 months ago, so I grabbed an old t-shirt from the recycling pile and a pair of scissors and within about 3 minutes an apron was born.

No-Sew T-Shirt Apron

Yea, it’s dirty. I didn’t think to take the picture before we made the play dough. Oops!

I can’t claim credit for this idea. I saw it on the cover of a magazine in Barnes and Noble while walking a fussy teething baby around the store in the Ergo. I’m sorry, but I now can’t remember which magazine it was. It’s a simple enough design. Basically this is cut out much like the No-Sew Bibs that I made a while back, except the entire length of the shirt front is used and a strip across the back is left attached to create the ties. Cut around the neck and down the front from the top, and up the sides from the bottom. Just below the the arms of the shirt leave a strip going straight across the back from one side to the other. This you will snip apart in the middle of the back to create your two ties. Since the knit fabric of a t-shirt won’t fray no sewing is needed.

T-shirt apron cutting diagram

An adult medium sized shirt is more than ample enough for a preschooler.

Zoe wants an apron

“Hey Mom, where’s my apron?”

Thanks for reading!


Eli’s Pocoyo Hat

When I began this blog over a year ago one of the first sewing projects I posted about was this Up-Cycled Boy Hat I had sewn for Eli. I followed the tutorial I found on I Am Momma Hear Me Roar. (The link can be found in my original post.) It is constructed from fabric from old t-shirts and pajama pants.

Unfortunately Eli was decidedly less thrilled with it than I was. It wasn’t personal. He firmly held the belief that all headcoverings were evil instruments of torture. There passed many a winter day when I reflected upon the fact that our decision to move to Southern California from the Chicago area before he joined our family might prove to be a key factor in his reaching adulthood with ears still attached to his head in a form not grotesquely mishapen by frostbite.

He doesn't look so happy, but he really does like his hat (I promise!)

He doesn’t look so happy, but he really does like his hat (I promise!)

A couple of weeks ago I found the hat languishing in the back of a closet and pulled it out. Eli saw it and declared “my Pocoyo hat!” (The Pocoyo connection had never even occured to me… in fact when I made it I had never even heard of Pocoyo.) In that instant I found that I too loved Pocoyo. The next day he wore it to preschool and refused to take it off all day long.

Eli's Pocoyo hat

No Sew Stash Buster: Lighted Fabric Garland Tutorial

I saw a lighted garland here at ADD Housewife  a few weeks ago and thought it would be a perfect way to further decrease my overwhelming stack of fabric for repurposing. After Eli left for preschool I quickly gathered my supplies.


An old sheet – There are a few pieces of shirting fabric left over from long ago quilt projects and as I worked I included a couple of contrasting fabrics as well.

A strand of lights – I later added a second alongside to make it extra bright and colorful. My stands were 100 light strands as I wanted to hang this around the patio doors If you are making this for a mantle go with a 50 light strand or fold your 100 light strand in half.

A method for cutting– I wanted to use pinking shears but couldn’t find them (grrr!) but was so glad later when I saw how much cutting was actually involved to be using a matt and rotary cutter)

Step 1

Cut strips of cloth. Since I didn’t have the pinking shears and didn’t want tons of shedding I cut my cloth on the bias. Actually I was too lazy to find the actual bias, I cut  it in a generally diagonal fashion. It worked. I cut most of the strips 2″ wide and of varying lengths from 5-10″ long. I didn’t measure the lengths… just eyeballed and hacked. I later cut other fabric 1″ in width to fill in bits of wire along the length with the thinner pieces as needed. I also chose to add some other fabrics of contrast as I got going. The darker of these I also cut to 1″ width.

Step 2

Fold a strip of cloth in half, bring it around the wire and pull the tails through the loop. I worked along the length of wire by putting the fabric on, jumping ahead a few inches before adding more and then doing the same thing back and forth again down the wire. This way I could better gauge where I wanted to put thicker verses thinner strips and longer verses shorter. I was also able to work in my accent fabrics a little more regularly than if I had just started at one end and worked all the way to the other.

Step 3

Excuse the off center photo. Our tree’s lights at the very top decided not to light this year and we are only midway through rectifying the situation. I didn’t really want to showcase our tree in it’s current state on the blog.

When the garland is as full as you want it to be hang ‘er up. Yeah, three steps. It really is that easy.

I may go back in later and further cover up the bits of wire that still show. Once you step back it’s not so noticeable though and I was out of fabric from that particular sheet. The jury is still out as to whether the strips of darker fabric will remain or not.

Now you can really vary your look for these garlands through fabric choice, light color choice, using uniform length strips verses untidy multi length strips. ADD Housewife mentions on her blog that she has made many of these corresponding to different holidays…  because of course, garlands aren’t just for Christmas anymore!

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At the Picket FenceFingerprints on the Fridge, One Artsy Mama,


The Gingerbread BlogToo Much Time On My HandsHello Weekend,

Six Sisters StuffSerenity YouBe Different Act Normal

Sewing Again… Pajama Bottoms

Please excuse the fact that my blog’s appearance may be changing fairly frequently for a little while. I’m feeling the need to tinker, but am slow and inexperienced so it may be  a while before I settle upon something I absolutely love and decide to stick with.

I finally felt up to rescuing my sewing machine from beneath her 4 month layer of dust this past week as thankfully it seems that most of the morning sickness has fled! Eli has been in rather desperate need for more pajama bottoms for quite a while now. In fact I had cut out the pieces for the green pair just before I got sidetracked by early pregnancy. I’m using the pattern for the Kickin’ Back Sweats found in Sewing For Boys. (The green pants were made from a men’s t-shirt and the blue from two men’s button down shirts with incurable cases of ring around the collar. On the back side of the blue pants I used the pocket from the printed shirt as a back pocket on the light blue side.)

It turns out Eli was just fine waiting. It has been so hot lately that he’s been sleeping in shorts and, as you can see in the picture, these size 2/3 pants are still rather large on him… 4 months and pre-recent-growth-spurt ago they would have been way too huge! I’m glad they are on the large side though because I’m sure these will see him through next Spring even if he continues his incessant rapid rate of growth.

My boy is growing up in more than just stature! Whereas before he’d run away from me whenever I’d try to get him to try on something I’d just sewn for him, now he is so excited to do so. Also, he will now actually stand there and let me take his picture! No more chasing a little whirl-wind taking 237 shots just to get one that isn’t blurry of the newest Mama-made project. Best of all, as soon as I helped him pull the pants up he turned around and kissed my cheek! Really, there is no better thank you. 🙂

And for those who’d like a sneak peak at the little one… Here she is last week at the end of her 15th week of gestation. I say “she” as the doctor was 75% sure that’s the case. It is still early to tell gender though, so I’m not getting rid of Eli’s more boyish baby clothes and any baby sewing will stay pretty gender-neutral until after a more definitive report next month (if the baby decides not to be too bashful.)

A Little Something to Keep Me Warm

Lately it seems I am always cold. I have a throw blanket that I really like. I love the colors and the design. It is also very soft on the darker side.

Unfortunately it is just a little too small. You know the type, can’t quite cover both the feet and the shoulders at once. Not even when the person seeking maximum coverage is only 5’2″. Sigh…

So it was time for a change. The blanket would have to be sacrificed. I got out my trusty freezer paper and taped together two pieces. I used an oversized shirt I really like as a guide to make a pattern for my new sweater. For the front and back pieces I pushed the sleeves back inside-out to get the curve of the arm hole.

Then I added 1/2″ seam allowance.

I cut out the pattern pieces and ironed them onto the blanket. Then I cut them out using pinking shears to minimize the unraveling of the woven fabric.

The front piece was just like the back piece except that the neckline dipped down.

The two pieces were pinned right sides together then sewn and the seam edges zigzagged. I like the bolder color of the red, but that was also the softer side of the blanket. Since my main motivation for making this is that I’m feeling so chilled as of late, having the sweater fuzzy and soft on the inside won out. This is my hug-in-a-garment sweater.

To make the sleeves, I traced the sleeve onto the freezer paper.

Added the seam allowance.

Cut it out and ironed it onto a folded piece of the blanket fabric. The fold is along the upper edge of the sleeve. When I made the pattern piece I added extra length to fold up and hem at the cuff. I then decided to use the already finished edge of the blanket so the excess length of the pattern piece is hanging over the edge in the photo. Because the piece is on a double thickness of the blanket, I also pinned it in place after ironing the freezer paper on to prevent any shifting about as I cut it out.

Then it was time to sew down the seam at the underside of each sleeve.

Adding the sleeves to the sweater made me very nervous. I had never done this before and I had read that it was a difficult thing to do. Fear of attaching sleeves is the main reason I haven’t sewn sleeved shirts before (other than a raglan PJ top for Eli). It went so smoothly! I’ll be sewing many more shirts in the future.

At this point all that was left was to attach bias tape around the neck and the bottom of the sweater. I was happy to find I had this wide double fold brown bias tape in my stash bought back when Joanne’s was having a big sale. I was happy I didn’t have to run out an buy anything for this project. I have enough left that if I decide I want to also change the way the ends of the sleeves are finished I can.

Behold my new ultra-cuddly, wear a blanket in public, sweater. This is what stands between me and the ultimate humiliation of wearing a Forever Lazy. I know everyone around me is thankful.

This was all that was left of the blanket that gave her all for my obsession with getting warm.

Thanks for reading!


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Get Outta My Head PleaseSkip to My LouThe Gunny SackSew Can Do,

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Craft-O Maniac, Sew Chatty, Artful Rising,

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Mom On TimeoutThrifty DecoratingBear Rabbit Bear,

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Shabby NestFrench Country Cottage, The Charm of HomeThe Grant Life,

At the Picket FenceFingerprints on the Fridge, One Art Mama2805


The Gingerbread BlogToo Much Time On My Hands,

Six Sisters StuffSerenity YouBe Different Act Normal

Greeting Card Ornament

I saw a tutorial at The Space Between Blog where Karah made Christmas tree ornaments from her wedding cards. I have been saving the birthday cards Eli received for his first birthday this past year and thought this would be a great way to use them. I think I will do this every year. It will be fun to pull them out and remember as the years go by.

First I took out the cards and traced a circle around the part I wanted to cut out.

I was bummed not to ba able to use this handmade card from his cousins, but 3D wouldn’t work here.

Then I cut out the circles which I then folded in half.

The resulting half circles were then glued together to form the two halves of the ornament.

Before gluing the 2 halves together I glued in the ends of the ribbon hanger.

Here it is hanging on our tree.

I like how Karah’s ornaments look with the glitter on the edges of the circles. I will probably end up doing that too, but I have to buy the glitter first!

This project is a quicky. I think it took me about 20 minutes start to finish.

Baby Sleep Sack from Quilt

This was one of the first quilts I attempted to make. It contains a mixture of new cloth (some bought in thrift stores) and cloth from worn out clothing. I had been making it for a young cousin, but it contained so many flaws that in the end I could not bring myself to give it. I stopped working on it just shy of finished  and packed it away in a box where it has sat forgotten for the last  seven or eight years. I pulled it out over Thanksgiving and decided I should either bind it or get rid of it. The flaws that bothered me before bother me even more now, but I hate to waste something potentially useful so I decided to make a baby sleep sack.

Here are directions if you would like to make a sleep sack of your own. If you find any of the instructions unclear, feel free to contact me for clarification.

Get a sleep sack  and fold it in half. Trace onto freezer paper. You could use a shirt and freehand draw the sack part but I wasn’t sure how large to make the sack part. Add seam allowance to the shoulder the side edge and the bottom. I added 1/4″ out of habit. I would suggest at least 1/2″ due to the thickness of the quilt. This is the back piece. The edge going down the center will be placed on the fold when cutting the quilt fabric.

Now for the front pieces. Use a new piece of freezer paper. Trace the shoulder and arm hole. Make a mark where the front neckline falls. Remove the sleep sack from the paper and draw a slightly curved line from that mark up to the shoulder.  Put this paper on top of the back pattern piece and trace the sack line. Add a seam allowance to the center line this time.

Place your back pattern piece on the fold of  the quilt you are repurposing. Iron it down so it won’t slide while you cut. Pin it to keep the folded layers together. Cut it out. Repeat for the front piece, but this time place it a little bit off the edge of the fold and cut all the way around. You will now have 3 pieces.

This jacket was fairly new, but the sleeve had an unfortunate encounter with adhesive that couldn’t be remedied. Originally I was going to use the zipper, but I’ve never done a zipper before and feel a bit intimidated. I found this strip of snaps around the collar to use instead.

I cut it out,  put it alongside the middle edge of one of the front pieces and marked the point to which to sew the seam from the bottom up the front.

Sew the center seam to that point. Here is where I wished I had larger seam allowances. I wanted to sew the seam open on each side and continue sewing the fabric folded over all the way to the top. This wasn’t possible so I trapped the raw edge under a strand of ribbon on each side of the front of the sleep sack and stitched down both sides of the ribbon.


On the front side attach one side of the snap strip. One edge was already finished so I turned it over and sewed the cut edge down. I also folded down and sewed the raw edges of the top and bottom of the strip.


The black snap strip looks rather ugly on this pink and purple sleeper so I wanted to cover the top snap strip with matching fabric. I took some cloth from one of the side borders of the quilt.  Trim the top and the bottom of the snap strip so that they line up perfectly with the other side. Put the snap strip and fabric right sides together and stitch up one edge. Fold the fabric around the back side of the snap strip. Fold over the fabric on the top and bottom of the snap strip and pin. Sew all the way around all 4 edges of the snap strip using a zipper foot to ease by the snaps.


Fold over the remaining raw edge twice and press. Snap the snap strips together. Sew down the long edge of the snap strip flap to attach it to the front to the sleep sack.

Pin the front and back pieces of the sleep sack right sides together at the shoulders. The photo shows pins all the way around, but I ended up having to remove pins from the sides to be able to work on the shoulders.

After sewing the shoulders cover the seam on the inside with a strip of knit material. I sewed on a piece cut from an old sweatshirt then trimmed off the excess.


Now pin the sides and bottom and sew all the way around from the bottom of one arm hole to the bottom of the other. Use a walking foot as there are many layers of fabric and batting here. I found I needed to go slow, remove pins before the walking foot reached them, and tug the material gently to release any little tucks beginning to form.

Turn it right side out. Almost done!

Now cut a strip of knit material to bind the edges around the sleep sack’s arm and neck openings. A 1″ width strip cut from the bottom of a large t-shirt worked well for me. It was just long enough to bind all three openings with the one strip. I sewed it around the arm opening and then cut the excess instead of measuring lengths. Lay it alongside the edge of the sleep sack arm opening and stitch it down with 1/4″ seam allowance. Once you cut off the excess length fold in the end. Turn the sleep sack inside out. Fold the fabric in through the arm opening, fold the edge under and pin all the way around. Sew it down on the inside. Follow the same process for the neck opening.


Here is the finished binding.

While sewing up this sleep sack I found a couple small tears in the quilt. I cut out two heart shapes from the white t-shirt and sewed a patch with embroidery floss to cover each hole.


Finally, the finished sleep sack from a repurposed quilt!

Yay! I’ve been featured!

Confessions of a Stay At Home

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Lovebirds Wreath

I had so much fun making this wreath for my Etsy shop. I can’t wait to share the process with you. All of my materials were things I had on hand other than the wreath form.

I was going to use an old bed sheet for the fabric, but I found a piece of muslin left over from a long ago project and I liked the off white semi-speckled color better. Tear your fabric into strips a couple of inches wide.

Attach the end of a strip of fabric to the wreath form with a glue gun. Wrap it around the form and tack down the end with another drop of glue. Attach the next strip and continue until the entire wreath is wrapped.


To make the nest take a few pages out of an old book and cut into thin strips. Scrunch up the strips to form a loose ball.

Cut a small circle of fabric to use as a base. Spread hot glue over it and press the paper ball onto the glue.


Find a couple of sticks that appeal to you. I glued one to form the branch for the nest to rest on and placed the other in the position that seemed best to me.

Glue the nest onto the wreath.

Now it is time to make the birds. I like to draw the pattern for each bird freehand so that they are a little bit different from each other. Here is what a simple bird pattern looks like. (Note, this notepaper is 4″ x 6″.)

I did see a bird pattern here from Spool Sewing that can be printed out. I didn’t print it out myself so I’m not certain about the size. You could reduce it on a photocopier if need be.

Sew your birds and stuff them. This fabric came from one of my favorite shirts that is no longer wearable. I used buttons for the eyes of one bird and beads from a broken hair clip for the other.


Glue the bird into the nest.

Glue the other bird wherever it looks best to you.

Now it’s time to add a bit more texture and decoration. I wound some twine around part of the wreath, and added a few beads attached with glue.


Attach some method of hanging to the back. I used a bit of leather cord knotted at the ends and glued.

Update: I found that gluing the branches and hanger wasn’t enough. I went back in and sewed them onto the muslin with invisible thread for added strength.

Thanks for reading!

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Elfin Hat from Sweater

Here is the original sweater. I used the sleeves for fluffy-bottom sweater pants and the third photo is what remained.

I cut out the back panel. I cut strips out of t-shirt material to add as stripes. I wanted a kind of whimsical appearance to the hat so I cut the stripes a little bit wonky.

Then I pinned the stripes to the sweater back.

Next I sewed these down using a zigzag stitch.

I folded the now stripey sweater back in half and cut out my hat shape with a rotary cutter. I made the base of the hat 9″ across and didn’t begin angling the sides to the point until the first stripe, 5″ up from the bottom. I marked the lines I wanted to cut with a sliver of soap, visible on dark fabrics yet completely washable.

Now I put the hat pieces right sides together and pinned along the side edges.

Using the zigzag stitch on the sewing machine I sewed the pinned sides. I used a tight zigzag and went over it more than once to make sure there was no uncaught yarn ends.

Time to turn it right side out and think about embellishments.

I decided to put a patch with an airplane button below the first stripe…

and a tassel made from strips of the same t-shirts as the stripes.

Here is the finished hat!

I also had a lot of sweater material left from this pair of sweater pants, so I made this hat. It was a birthday present for a lovely five year old friend of ours this past weekend.

I’m honored to have been featured here:


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Upcycled Slippers

My recent foray back into the world of baby shoes reminded me that Eli is needing some slippers for this winter. We don’t wear shoes in the house and when he wears socks alone he slides and falls on the hardwood floors. The only thing is that my baby shoe pattern has been long outgrown, so I set about trying to figure out how to draft a new pattern for upcycled slippers his size. (When I was almost done with this project Gwen of Gwenny Penny left me a comment that just enlarging the existing baby shoe pattern has worked for her, even for her 3 year old. Who knew? (Well, Gwen for one. Thanks for letting me in on the secret!) So while life could have been easier for me in the sewing nook this week, I still think I learned a lot.)

First, I took a pair of his current shoes and traced around them, later adding 1/4 ” for seam allowance.

Next, I measured the length and the width over the top front of the shoe.

I then used these measurements to draw my next pattern piece, free hand drawing the curve of the toe.

I measured around the heel and sides to get the length of the heel piece and also measured for it’s height. These then were drawn on the freezer paper with added seam allowances.

Okay, now I ironed the sole pattern pieces to the leather and cut them out. (This came from a neighbor-discarded broken recliner a few years back.) Repeat for the lining fabric. (In this case my brother’s old sweatpants. Thanks, Kev!)

I continued to cut both outer and liner pieces out for the back and the top of the slippers using discarded jeans and a men’s plaid shirt.

The next few steps I did in a series of stolen moments while Eli was awake but distracted with other things. It seems he was not the only one distracted, I forgot to take photos as I worked. I’ll just have to briefly describe.

* Put toe liner and top piece right sides together and sew along the straight line.

* Do the same for the heel pieces.

* Fold on seam, right sides out and press.

* Top stitch along straight edge of all 4 pieces, 1/4″ from the top.

* Sew the lining fabric to the top of the sole. I used a little Heat ‘N’ Bond between them to keep them from slipping.

(Sorry for the lack of photos. If this isn’t clear feel free to contact me.)

Next I took the top piece and the sole. I lined up the middle of the toe of each and sewed from that point down each side.

I attached elastic to one end of the heel piece by sewing back and forth a few times. I folded the top over to create a casing and stitched along the edge, being careful not to catch the elastic on the inside. Then I pulled on the elastic until the heel gathered and felt like the right amount of tension to hold the slipper on the foot without being too tight. (Unfortunately using this method I have no idea how much elastic I actually used.) Then I tacked the elastic to the other side as I did the first and trimmed it.

I lined the heel up around the back of the sole with the lining facing out and sewed it onto the slipper.

I turned it right side out. It looked a bit funny to me so I folded the top part back.

I had to wait for Eli to wake up from his nap to try them on.

He was pleased! They fit with a little room for growth. In the couple of days since I made these he has asked me to put them on him several times. Once on, he doesn’t try to take them off, so they must be just fine as far as comfort is concerned.


Thanks for reading!