Happy March folks! It’s the month of my birth! The days are getting longer and my schedule is becoming more manageable. Sewing is happening on a weekly basis. The temps are rising above 30 degrees. And life is good. Actually, life is so good, that I have two Sew Thrifted posts lined up for you! The second one shall come soon, I promise. For now, you get a good eyeful of this red beauty. Remember this oversized red blouse when I took four before pictures so that you could hold me accountable? Umm…no one held me accountable…just saying. That oversized red blouse turned into a lovely sleeveless shirt. Can you tell how smitten I am with this top?

red thrifted button up turned sleeveless before and after

This top was not supposed to be sleeveless. A rather tragic sleeve incident prompted a complete redesigning of the final product. But I’m so glad I went the sans sleeve route, because a few days later this pin popped up in my Pinterest feed.

pinspiration

 

And since I don’t trust any sources other than my peeps on Pinterest, I was one happy camper. One very important skill that I learned with this project? How to sew bias tape on correctly! It’s sad, I know, but I always thought the raw edge of the fabric was meant to be sandwiched between the folded bias tape. It turns out that it’s not meant to be sandwiched folks, not at all. It’s meant to be delicately sewn on the front and then topstitched on the back. I would go as far as to say I consider bias tape an art…that I have not yet mastered.

red thrifted button up turned sleeveless collage

My favorite way to wear my new sleeveless blouse? Under a blazer of course. No one even knows its sleeveless until I have a hot flash and start shedding layers…in February.

red sleeveless button up with blazerDon’t forget to sign up for my shirt resizing class at Fancy Tiger next weekend.  We’ll going to be drowning in bad button ups turned fitted casual tops!

Heya friends! It’s a blizzard in these parts. A white wonderland outside, that looks beautiful from my bedroom window. Beagle thinks so too. This, my friends, is a day to get things done…inside. I’m catching up on schoolwork after an insane week of all things website related. I developed and launched a website for a music festival that’s very near and dear to my heart. It was a total labor of love. I could not be more proud.

I’ve also nixed the possibility of being web developer as a career. Not happening.

What is happening? Sewing classes of course! Back by popular demand, we’ll be resizing button up shirts to our hearts content at Fancy Tiger this month. Check out their website to see the class offerings and call 303.733.3855 to register!

fancy tiger sew thrifted class

Have you seen this? It literally puts me into a trance. I want all of that wool!

Speaking of Pendleton, I thrifted a most awesome navy Pendleton high waisted skirt at Saver’s 50% off sale yesterday. It fits like a gem, and will be featured on the blog soon!

Until then, here are some other thrifted beauties in their “before” state for your enjoyment. The cringe factor is off the charts with every one of these shirts.

four thrifted shirts before transformation

Hold me accountable, readers? I will complete these four Sew Thrifted transformations soon, I promise. One might even be featured on a giveaway! Also, a big blog overhaul (with a new moniker!) are coming down the pipeline. Hold on to your hats, ladies and gentlemen. Things are about to get real crazy.

It’s nearly that day where the nation turns into lovey, dovey mushballs. Where we all profess to our latest squeeze how much we love and cherish them. Flowers, chocolates, terrible sappy cards are delivered. Those without a love interest in their lives are left with a sense of disdain and frustration.

But why does Valentine’s Day have to be about professing your love to your partner? Why can’t it be about celebrating each and every person and thing we love? My sweet, dear mother makes a point to do just that on Valentine’s Day by sending the most thoughtful art cards. Case in point:

valentine heart art card

Have you heard of artist trading cards? They’re pretty bomb. And when you have the fabric/button/embellishment stash my mom does, you’re bound to create something pretty darn epic. And she does. Every single holiday. My mom’s art cards are made entirely out of fabric (and some heavy duty interfacing), thread, and whatever else she chooses to adorn them with. She’ll print a cute saying on the back of the card. It’s so much better than Hallmark. I’m telling you, it tugs at those heart strings.
valentine hear art card texture

My favorite part of the art cards is how much texture they have. I could sit and run my fingers over the various stitches for hours. It’s not creepy when the card was made with love.

So my love list, for your reading enjoyment (feel free to bow out now):
1. My family (especially a newest addition that I just cannot wait to meet!)
2. My friends. They just keep getting more awesome.
3. My beagle.
4. The retractable cord on my Janome Sewing Machine pedal. Everything should have retractable cords.
5. Wearing leggings.
6. Endorphins, and the exhausted feeling from a long day of exercise.
7. Down comforters.
8. Ketchup. Yup, I’m that person.

I’m on a new kick. Maybe it’s because the start of a new semester has granted me this thing called “free time”. But, seriously, I literally cannot stop thinking about sewing. Sometimes I walk into my sewing room just to stare at the projects I have on my list. I think about photos and backdrops and blog content constantly. And there are some epic projects coming friends. I think I caught whatever sewing bug Whitney has, because I literally want to sew all. of. the. time.

And look what she’s showing us today! Only the cutest Oliver + S Messy Kid Bibs you’ve ever laid your eyes on. Feast my friends, feast.

Oliver + S bibThe facts, straight up:

Pattern:  Oliver + S Messy Kid Bib from Little Things to Sew
Size:  one size
Fabric:  various ones from my stash (fat quarters work great)
Notions:  colored snaps
Difficulty:  2 scissors out of 4 (advanced beginner)
Make it again?:  not the way it’s done in the book

Her words:

“I made this pattern exactly once the way it’s written.  It felt like the most labor intensive bib on the face of the planet.  Between laminating the cotton and sewing on the bias tape the proper way, it took eons longer than any bib should ever take.  It also takes a ridiculous amount of bias tape.  Then I put one of my hard earned bibs in the washing machine and failed to realize hot water would render it completely unusable. 

Oliver + S bib melted

Lesson learned.  Back to the drawing board.

 My new version of this bib is quilting cotton backed with washcloth material.  I omit the little pocket at the bottom for the tidy eaters out there.  I don’t laminate because I would want to be able to wash these with a normal load of towels.  I sew the two layers right sides together and leave an opening along the bottom to turn them inside out.  I’m now using snaps for closures because I bought an assortment of bright colors and it’s fun to find ones that coordinate with the fabric, but the pattern calls for velcro.

One final tip:  If you see yourself making a lot of bibs (and why wouldn’t you?), transfer your pattern to something durable.  Some people use poster board.  I like to iron my traced pattern onto really stiff interfacing (the stuff that doesn’t crease nicely at all and feels like cardboard) and then cut it out.  Here’s what my bib pattern looks like after cutting out two dozen bibs: 

Oliver + S bib template

Have fun!”

Oliver + S bib cherries

 

 

****This giveaway is now closed. The winner will be announced soon!****

Oh my gosh, you guys. I have been giddy for, like, three days. Absolutely, annoyingly, anxious-happy. And it’s over a little bitty named Roxanne. I managed to use a sewing pattern all by myself and it turned out wearable, one might even say, darling? My new favorite pattern company, hands down, is Victory Patterns.

Roxanne by Victory Patterns made from thrifted fabric

I swear the pointer finger claw comes out in 90% of my photos.

I bought this e-pattern over Christmas break after perusing some online patterns with my mother. I had about four yards of some awesome teal fabric that I had thrifted about a month earlier; a georgette, according to my mom. I cut out the pattern and read the beautifully designed instructions before starting. Not usually my thing. About four hours later the mutant death virus took over my body.

Those cut-out fabric pieces laid folded, alone, waiting to be assembled for nearly a month. In fact, I almost entirely forgot that I had a shirt to sew. Then I deemed last weekend and recuperate-and-sew weekend, and I stumbled upon the makings of my shirt. I set to work with that miraculous, not-at-all-like-me patience.

It was the pleats, friends. Those pleats captured my heart. The topstitch on that yoke? I couldn’t take a break without thinking constantly, without being totally obsessed, with finishing this shirt. True story, ask my friends, refer to my tweets.

It was finished. And then this happened. Envision angels singing, okay?

Roxanne top and beagleNow this pattern. It’s really something to write home about. There was not a single missed step. It was easy to understand and conscise. And never once did it make me feel totally inadequate. Most sewing patterns do that to me. Victory patterns are amazing. And there are two versions you can make!

roxanne both versionsSource

Roxanne by victory patterns meadow rue giveawayAnd guess what?! You can have one too! The sweetest Kristiann (the mastermind behind the patterns) has agreed to let me give one pdf version of The Roxanne pattern (a $9.95 value) to one of you. Just leave a lovely, little comment. The winner of this giveaway will be chosen at random and announced Monday, February 4th here on the blog.

Godspeed, good friends, godspeed.

Since the new semester of school has started, I’ve had a surge of requests for alterations from my classmates. Interviews, spring cleaning, or maybe just a renewed mission to look good has prompted my friends to clean up their wardrobes. Of course, I’m excited about this. It means people are trying to fix their clothes instead of replacing them. And when the seat of your jeans is a little too saggy? I’ll put some more belt loops on your men’s designer jeans. Hell yes I will.

Tutorial time! Yes, it’s the most obvious fix ever, but sometimes photos help. Right? Please tell me they help.

measuring existing belt loops1. Measure the length and width of the current belt loops on your jeans. Write down those numbers, adding 5/8″ to the length and double the width plus 1/4″.

How to Sew Belt Loops onto Jeans2. Cut a rectangle of denim in the dimensions you noted above. I used a pair of old jeans I never wear anymore.
3. Serge the long end of the fabric with a dark color thread. Try not to cut off any fabric while serging.
4. Iron your belt loop so that the serged seam runs down the center. Serge the top and bottom edges.
5. Edge stitch at 1/8″ seam allowance down each long edge of the loop with a coordinating thread.

find and mark the center point between the two belt loopsNow you’re ready to sew the soon-to-be loop onto the jeans. For this project, I added two extra belt loops between the back middle and the side loops.

6. Measure the center point between the two loops and mark with chalk. Pin your belt loop to the waistband with 1/4″ folded under.

sewing belt loop onto jeans7. Sew a straight stitch that lines up with the waistband’s topstitch. Back and forward stitch several times.
8. Sew a tight zig zag stitch over that straight stitch. Back and forward stitch several times.
9. Repeat on the bottom of your loop.

Now go thread a belt through those loops and admire your handiwork.

The most epic Sew Thrifted post is coming your way after I clean myself up for some photos. It might be my proudest moment yet!

She’s done it, folks. Whitney has written a full tutorial on the most adorable matryoshka finger puppets you have ever laid eyes on. Enjoy!Finger Puppet Tutorial

The facts, straight up:
Pattern:  Full tutorial below
Fabric:   “Bright” from Little Kulka by Suzy Ultman for Robert Kaufman Fabrics, Kona solid
Notions:  Fiberfill
Difficulty:  easy
Make it again?:  Oh heck yeah

Her words:

“I found an adorable fabric and have been making everything under the sun from it.  I really wanted a set of finger puppets and searched the internet for some sort of tutorial to make them.  I came up short.  There were plenty of great ideas for felt puppets, but nothing that called for fabric ones with a little dimension to them.  Let me share my process.  Hopefully you’ll find it helpful!

Start by picking an appropriate fabric.

Finger Puppet Tutorial

This is from the Little Kulka line and I LOVE it.  I multiple-purchases-12-yards-total-plus-extra-coordinates LOVE it. 

Basically what you’re looking for in a fabric is an image with a definite border that stands somewhere in the neighborhood of two to three inches tall.  You could use animals, people, fictional characters… you name it.  While you’re at the fabric store, buy a coordinate for the back.

Start by cutting out the image with some extra space on the sides.  You’ll probably want at least a ¼ inch overhang, but if you have more room, by all means, use it.  Do not feel like you have to cut around the image exactly.  A rectangle or a square is perfectly fine.

Once you have that piece cut, use your coordinate fabric to cut out a second set of pieces that are exactly the same size.  For your third set, fold a large piece of your coordinate in half, iron, and cut a final set of pieces the same (folded) size as the first two.  The fold will ultimately go along the bottom of the puppet, so in my photos, the fold is along the short end of the rectangle. 

You should end up with a pile that looks like this:

Finger Puppet Tutorial

What you’re ultimately aiming for is a small stuffed puppet with the image on the front, some fiberfill in the middle, a single thickness of the coordinate to contain it, and the folded thickness to go around your finger.  Your finger will end up between the folded thickness and the single thickness.  Hanging in there?

Stack your fabrics like so:

Finger Puppet Tutorial

Start with your image face up.  Then layer your folded coordinate on top of the image, but slightly above the bottom of the finished puppet.  The fold goes towards the bottom of the puppet.  Finally, layer your unfolded coordinate on the very top, lining it up with the original image on the bottom.  The final photo shows your finished sandwich of fabrics.

Now pin your little stacks of fabric together, image side up, and get to sewing.

Finger Puppet Tutorial

Start at the bottom edge of your fabric and sew around the image, leaving the bottom of the doll open.  Backstitch at the beginning and end.  I sewed slightly outside the image, leaving a thin whitespace around the doll.  Experiment and see what works best in your situation.  Once you’ve sewn around three sides, cut the excess fabric away.  Snip small cuts in corner areas.  In this case, there is a small snip between the doll head and body on each side.  Be careful not to cut through your stitches.  You just want to facilitate turning the puppet right side out.

I did not draw any lines to follow on my puppets.  I was able to see the image well enough through the fabric to be able to follow it with my presser foot.  If your fabric isn’t as transparent, you may want to trim that layer with a uniform edge to help with the sewing.

Turn your puppets.

Finger Puppet Tutorial

I like to use a knitting needle to run around all the edges.  I also like to iron the puppets at this point.

Edgestitch (sew closely to the edge) your puppets.

Finger Puppet Tutorial

This step is optional, but it reinforces the seam and means that when you close the bottom of your puppet, all the edges will match.  Make sure you’re still only stitching three sides.  You want to leave that bottom open for the next step.

Fill your puppets and sew them shut.

Finger Puppet Tutorial

I used a small handful of fiberfill in each puppet.  The knitting needle helps get the fiberfill into tight spaces.  Turn the bottom of your puppet in, pin and sew it up.  Make sure your seam allowance is scant enough to avoid sewing the back folded piece into the puppet.  You need a spot for your finger.

All done!  Sit back and admire your handiwork.

Finger Puppet Tutorial

Finger puppet tutorial

Finger Puppet Tutorial

Hi lovely Meadow Rue readers. How are you? Happy to be back in a routine? Sad that the bustling holidays have left us all somewhat…befuddled? Me too. Meeee too.

sick Allie

I apologize for what I’m certain was my longest absence from blogging since starting this endeavor. This little thing I’ve named the mutant, death virus attacked by body last Sunday. By Monday I was immobile and it wasn’t until Friday that I started to feel normal again. It left me with a lingering, hacky cough as its souvenir. Really a thoughtful bug. I’m warning you folks, it’s going around. And it’s mighty contagious. You might consider wearing a mask. Just think about it.

But I’m recovered and way past due for a Year of Nothing New update. Agreed? So far, six months of Nothing New has been a real party. And I mean that seriously. I’ve saved money in the retail arena and I have several new pieces of clothing that I absolutely love! One question I’ve been asked over and over is if I’m going to go on a shopping spree on July 1st, 2013. The answer is no.

makefixborrow

First, this project has literally transformed the way I think about what I buy. I’ve become that opinionated hippie who is annoyed and saddened with the capitalist culture we live in. That’s not to say I don’t indulge often in consumer tendencies (I have to eat after all), but I’m so much more concerned with who I’m giving my money to now. It was a pleasant realization to understand the power I have in choosing where my dollars go. Please choose wisely, people. Make sure your monetary transactions reflect your values. It feels so much more honest to live that way, I’ve found.

vintage thrifted loafer shoes

Second, recently, having too much “stuff” is driving me absolutely batty. I’ve started to politely refuse useless gifts and free swag (a girl does NOT need 15 metal water bottles). I plan on doing a major purge of most of what I own in the coming months, simply because my soul is craving it.

gift

Finally, what’s probably the hardest for me, is the guilt of not being the perfect “nothing new” blogger. My Christmas gifting performance was dismal, mainly because I had too little time to make special, handmade items for each person I care so much about. I know in my heart that the my family and friends aren’t concerned with how much money or time I spent crafting the perfect gift for them. But I feel like I continually fail in this arena, and buying gifts is just so much easier. I’m not sure where to find a sense of mental balance for myself here. I’m still looking for confidence when it comes to involving others in this Year of Nothing New.

Like everything else in life, I’m still working on figuring out this whole endeavor. What it means for the blog, for this year, and how it fits into my life as a whole. What’s most exciting, is that my values are becoming startling clear. Especially after a dark period of my life where I never really knew what I wanted or who I was. That isn’t to say it’s easy, but it sure as hell is a lot of fun. Join me?

Did I ever tell you about the time my mom bought the Sew Liberated Schoolhouse Tunic Pattern? And how my sisters, my mom and I each made a version (or two) for ourselves? We love tunics. We’re a tunic family. Whitney? She’s no different. And this little Sadie Tunic…that bicycle fabric…those little spoke buttons? To. die. for.
The Sadie Tunic in Bicycle Fabric
The facts, straight up:
Size:  2-3
Fabric: Lucy’s Crab Shack by Moda in green and solid coordinate
Notions:  Fabric button cover maker (mine’s a Dritz one)
Difficulty:  Easy
Make it again?:  Um.. possibly with the little pockets, maybe…

The Sadie Tunic with Covered Buttons
Her words:

“I’m clearly a sucker for a tunic.  This one nearly did me in though.  I figured I would have a quick little project on my hands since I was omitting the buttons on one side and the pockets entirely.  Nope. 

First, I sewed on both facings not realizing the button placket should have been sandwiched between one.  Then I realized I should have serged the facing edges so they didn’t fray.  Then I attempted to fix that problem by pinking the edges and managed to cut through the front of the tunic…  By the time I got it all put together, attempted to mask the slice in the fabric, and started working on the buttonholes, I thought I was going to throw in the towel.
 
The buttons took forever because I wanted those little wheels centered just so.  Never mind actually making the buttonholes – that was an exercise in patience because my automatic buttonhole maker sometimes doesn’t like to make the second long leg of the buttonhole as long as the first.  Grrr.
 
Do you ever have one of those days?  It was no fault of the pattern, which was easy to follow if you read the directions.  I was just not on top of my game this time.  I do think that serves as the motivation to sew it one more time – just to prove I can get it right.”