Tag Archives: sewing

We have a new site!

First off,

happy-valentines-day-hearts

 

Second, we have launched a new site!!!! Dedicated specifically to our sewing adventures. Yaaaaayyyy! I will certainly keep this page alive and active, as I still get daily visitors. I will continue to post my deep and wonderful ponderings here. If you want to keep up with our handmade life, please visit us over here. (pic below takes you there also)

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Knock it Off – peplum top and cropped sweatpants

What a pleasure it is to work with the lovely Heidi of Elegance & Elephants in the return of her Knock-Off Series. Well, let’s get right to it. We are here to create and share fun clothing for younger ones inspired by designer fashion that is either available today or has a vintage feel and is no longer available. I like to think of this series as giving a nod to other designers while showing how looks can be recreated at home.

Whenever I am inspired by a photo, I tuck it away in folder. This happens to be the case for the look I created for my daughter.

Peplum top and cropped sweatpants by designer Rachel Roy
Peplum top and cropped sweatpants by designer Rachel Roy

I like that this design was not difficult to create pint-sized and translates well for a wide range of ages. This particular look features a color-block short sleeved peplum shirt paired with cropped drawstring sweatpants.

 

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How fun is this little outfit?  For fabric, I went with a sweater knit fabric in two colors similar to the inspiration pic, but decided to swap the dominant color.  I thought the lighter fabric would best suit my little one.  It cost me about $12 to create both pieces.  Curly Cutie loves purses and bags, so I couldn’t help but make a crayon tote out of linen and faux leather using a modified version of this pattern.

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If you have a basic t-shirt pattern on hand, or can draft one (from an existing shirt or by other means) you can create this top. For help drafting your own t-shirt pattern, Melly has talent that cannot be denied and will walk you through every step. You’ll need to take your basic t-shirt pattern and modify it slightly.  Bellow is a pic of the modified pattern pieces for my daughter’s size (5).

DSC08408bA FEW THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO BE MINDFUL OF:
(If anyone is curious, I have included my daughter’s modified shirt measurements where necessary – size 5)

– your original shirt pattern (front and back) will need to be shortened to account for height of peplum. (shortened to 9″ from base of front neckline, she has a longer than average torso I believe. peplum = (waist*2)x 3-3/4″)
– you’ll need to add seam allowances for both front pieces (either while creating modified pattern or while cutting fabric). (To create my color-block line for front, I measured in 1-1/4” from top of armhole and 3-3/8″ in from right side of pattern at waist and placed a mark. Connected dots and added 3/8″ seam allowance)
– you’ll need a short sleeve pattern and a neckband. (for neckband I cut a long strip of fabric that was 1-1/2″ wide and attached with 1/4″ seam allowance. I used a flat construction method, so I didn’t have a set length for strip)

If you, like me, are a continual recipient of the generosity of the online sewing community, then you may know that Heidi of Elegance & Elephants has made a retro sweatpants PDF pattern available for free download. This pattern can be used to create the cropped sweatpants.

DSC08404b E&E PATTERN MODIFICATION w/construction changes FOR CROPPED PANTS:

– I added 2” to waist of pattern to accommodate 1” elastic waistband. I did not want to attach waistband separately, so I simply incorporated it into the pattern. I made sure to follow the gentle slanted line for the pants BACK.
– I serged elastic to waist, folded down and used a stretch stitch to complete waistband.
– Instead of adding button holes for a draw string, I opted for a faux tie at center front of waist band.  Completely non-functional, but cute to boot!
– Pant sides were sewn first to add stripe before being fully constructed. For the love of all things good, I could not sew the stripe to the pant without funky things happening, so hand-sewing has never failed me yet. I attached the stripes by hand. Such a small sacrifice for a great return.
– I cut a size 5/6 with the length of a size 3 and it worked out great hitting CC right below the knee.
– I used 9” of 1/4” elastic for casings at pant bottom.

For Fun:

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The series is wrapping up, but it’s still not too late to enter your Knock Off into the Flickr pool for a chance at some pretty nice prizes.   Did you happen to catch the other creations in the series?

Elegance & Elephants

Thanks again for having me Heidi!

Top 10 posts of 2013

I thought I would share the posts that received the most views in 2013.  Now that I look back, they all have to do with sewing.  Specifically children’s items.  Interesting.  If you’re into this kind of stuff, hopefully you will enjoy going back down memory lane with me.  The pics will take you to the post if you want to read more about the item (except for update pics).

TEN – Denim Quilt

quilt layout

Update:  So, I never made the quilt.  My husband put in a request for a pillow cover for his huge euro, and I thought this denim would fit the bill.  I stayed with the ombre idea and came up with a pillow cover that he is well pleased with.  Each side has a different design.

Before

denimAfter

denim pillow cover

NINE – Fleece pants & t-shirt refashion

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Update:  We I liked these ruffle bottom fleece pants so much, I made another pair for this winter.  I made a long sleeve top with an XL cowl neck and incorporated an old sweater of mine for accent.

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EIGHT – My chocolate drop

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SEVEN – T-shirt refashion (high-lo peplum)

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SIX – Fab collab

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FIVE – Patchwork stripes

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FOUR – Sophisticated romper

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THREE – T-shirt refashion (handsewn edition)

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TWO – A gift for Curly Cutie

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THE MOST VIEWED POST OF 2013 – Men’s shirt refashion

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I’m officially excited for the new year.  Oh what fun this year has in store.

There is a time to dream and there’s a time to walk it out.  I’ve spent this year dreaming.  So  you know what time it is.  Lol!  Who’s with me?

Roots Sewing Series

Heidi over at Elegance and Elephants is the mastermind behind the upcoming sewing series Roots.  She wanted to combine her love for different cultures and sewing clothes for her children, thus the series was born.  She also reached out to other sewing bloggers to join in on the fun.  Every weekday from January 13-31, a new culturally inspired design will be featured.  Ladies representing twelve countries and five continents will be sharing.  How fun is that?

I was excited when the invitation came to participate, so you know I jumped right on board.  I am even more excited to experience the creative cultural designs from these other women.  If you decide to keep up with this series you will not be disappointed.  In the spirit of sharing, Heidi has opened up the series for others to sew along as well.  And I hear that the prizes will be pretty nice.  If you do happen to make a culturally inspired design for a little one, please don’t forget to add it to the flickr group.

My design will be featured on Jan. 29, 2014.

Is anybody else excited for the new year?

From moo-moo to matron

So, my friend was getting married and I needed a dress.

I would be the only one standing with her and she wasn’t picky about what my dress should look like.  She did make a request that it be strapless and floor length.

I decided to make my dress.  Now, at this point I had only made myself about a few items like a maxi dress, maxi skirt, circle skirt…..you know, the easy stuff.  I had no clue what to do for something more elegant, and the last thing I needed to do was mess up a dress.  My friend was definitely on standby.  She encouraged me to give it a go, and if it didn’t work out, well, we would have been shopping for a dress once I got into town.

It was an outdoor wedding that ended up being inside due to rain.  The color scheme was turquoise and gray with orange accents.  She also wanted her day to have a beach feel to it.  Lots of shells, stones and colored sand were part of the decor.

I thought about making an all turquoise dress until I remembered my Mother-in-law love giving me a moo-moo a while ago.  I realized that the colors were the same as the scheme for the wedding.

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It was a bit bold, so I didn’t know how my friend would feel.  I sent a picture over to her and she loved it.

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I was like, “ok, here we go.”  I didn’t have much room for error.  There was no way I could get another moo-moo, so I decided the fabric would be used best as some type of long skirt.   For the bodice I used Simplicity #1606.

simplicity 1606I didn’t have enough fabric for a long semi-circle skirt, so I made it an A-line.   Of course, I made a muslin.  I mean, this thing had boning and everything.  I didn’t know the first thing about it.  Sometimes you just have to jump in and not look back.  I was able to use most of the moo-moo by cutting it right under the neckline.  I used some of the remaining fabric to decorate the guest book.

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Things got a bit difficult in trying to cut the skirt pieces.  It was different from the skirt in the pattern so I kinda had to do my own thing, which would have been ok had I not cut the material a hair to short.  I needed also to account for the back zipper to be put in.  Either way, it wasn’t bad enough to throw the project out, but I did need a solution.  So, here’s the dress with bodice and skirt attached.

pics45 014There was a slight slant of the back zipper to the left side of the dress, and I couldn’t figure out how to remedy that.  I would not be wearing it with that slant, trying to make sure the dress was twisted just right all night.  No sir, no ma’am.  My solution, add a removable peplum belt.

pics45 003As the young(er) people would say, “That peplum is everything!”  Lol.  It was such a welcome addition to the dress.  I was comfortable, felt beautiful, and no one knew that up under it my zipper was on tilt.  Lol.

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pics45 011This dress form does not do it service.  It looked really nice steamed and on me.  But hey, this is what I could make happen for the sake of the blog.  And for about $11 (moo-moo = free, bodice fabric = $6, boning = $3, thread = $1.50) and a little bit of my time I’ll take this dress any day.

I thought I could make it with the whole sleeveless thing, but alas I could not.  The night before the wedding I made myself a bolero.  I didn’t have my machine, so it was a hand-stitching type of situation.  I couldn’t believe myself, but I was desperate.  No pic of that, but if I get one I’ll update the post.

I’m starting to see things in a whole new light.  We’re told that we have to do things a certain way……..walk a certain way, talk a certain way, spend our money a certain way.  Who makes up this stuff?  Before I started cooking from scratch (which I don’t do ALL of the time by the way….matter of fact I’m in a cooking rut even now, lol), I could only buy food prepared in some way by others (boxed or fast).  Before I learned how to sew, I could only buy clothing items made by others.  I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with those two things.  I just want to emphasize that my options were limited, and I knew no other way.  It didn’t even dawn on me that I could make my own spaghetti sauce instead of buying it in jars.  My thoughts on our capabilities are changing, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to just go along with what’s normal, because someone says it’s normal.  My normal looks quite different than it did a few years ago.  I’m ok with that.  I’m ok with this journey, and looking forward to dropping even more of the stinking thinking I’ve been accustomed to.

Didn’t plan on the post being this long.  But, hey, if you’ve made it this far you might as well go ahead and tell me something that you do now that, at one point, you thought was impossible.  Or one area where your eyes have been opened, and you no longer see things the way you used to.

Tshirt refasion tutorial (high-low peplum)

One evening my husband brought home some t-shirts from an event.  I immediately knew I wanted to cut them up and make something for Curly Cutie.  After a couple of wearings and washings the hubby finally handed them over, and I got down to business.

Neons are just not a set of colors I gravitate to, but since these shirts just fell in my lap I decided to make them over.  Neon is in.  Peplums are in.  Why not combine the two?  How about a cute little shirt.  You know I had to keep it simple.

I thought I would fill you all in on just how simple it is to create this shirt.  Like I said, I’m making this one for a child but the steps can easily be used to create one any size.  First, I’ll show you the final product, then we’ll jump in to the process.

peplum1

1. Gather the t-shirts you want to refashion.

-I used (2) medium shirts.  I could only use the lower portion because of the advertisements at the top.

basic orange tees

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Use a nice fitting tank as a pattern for making the new shirt.  This step would look different for an adult shirt. 

-Fold the tank in half and lay it on one side of the t-shirt matching up the folded edge.

tank pattern

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Cut around the edges of the tank making sure to leave about an extra 1/2″ on all edges.  This will keep the shirt from being too small once it’s sewn.  This will be the back bodice of our top.

shirt pattern

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.  Once your 1st t-shirt piece is cut, you can use it as a pattern to cut the 2nd piece.  Take your 1st cut out piece and flip it over to the opposite fold on the t-shirt.  Make sure folded edges are lined up again.  Cut around t-shirt pattern, but there is no need to leave extra  room this time.  This will be the front bodice of our top.

tank pattern2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5.  Cut the lowered front neck hole on the 2nd cut t-shirt.  In order to do this we need to place our original tank (blue) onto the t-shirt to see how far down we need to cut.  Again, you want to cut 1/2″ larger than our pattern tank.  Notice the green arrow pointing to my scissors (kinda hard to see).  It is about 1/2″ above the front neckline of the tank.  Do not cut through your tank, just move it out of the way as you cut up that curve.

front neckline

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6.  You should have a front and a back cut out now.  Notice the difference in neckline area.

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7.  Now we can sew the front and back bodice pieces together.  Make sure the pretty sides of your t-shirt fabric are facing.  Pin and sew the shoulder and side seams together (dotted lines).  Working with knits can be tricky for some.  I don’t claim to have mastered it, but from reading others’ experiences it seems like different things work for different people.  I suggest doing some reading  and practicing with what you have.  What has worked for me is sewing with a stretch stitch.  It looks like a slanted zig zag stitch.  For an in depth look at sewing with knits you can check out this post from Prudent Baby.

shirt assembly

 

 

 

 

 

 

8.  Let’s work on the peplum.  I pulled out the 2nd orange t-shirt in my possession.  I cut off the top portion with the lettering.  I used the bottom portion to create the peplum.

fabric from 2nd tee

 

 

 

 

 

 

9.  You will need the waist measurement of the person the shirt is for.  I folded my tape measure to the size of CC’s waist which is 20.5″.  I slightly curved the tape and placed it on the shirt like you see below.  It did not give me a perfect semi circle, but there are sewing tools out there that do bend and stay in position.  I just don’t own any, and this is what worked for me.  This will allow you to cut the curve of the waist without having to do a bunch of math.  You can also take a fabric marking tool and draw a curved line for you to cut out.  Do whatever you are comfortable with.  As you can see, this is still the bottom of the 2nd shirt and the fold is on the right while the top edge is open because that’s where I cut it from the top portion of the tee.  You could replicate this technique with yardage fabric.  It does not have to be from a t-shirt.

peplum waist

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is the waist cut out.

peplum waist cut

 

 

 

 

 

 

10.  You will need the lengths of the front (high) and back (low) of peplum.  How far down do you want it to hang?  For CC, her #’s were 6″ (front) and 9″ (back).  You can see these measurements in the pics.  This technique leaves the seam of the peplum in the back of the shirt.  So, you have a one-piece peplum with a back seam.  Make a snip with your scissors at those two marks. 

high measurement

low measurement

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can once again use the tape measure to create a curve for you to cut, or you can use a marking tool to draw a curved line.

low peplum

 

 

 

 

 

 

Go ahead and make your cut.

higg low cut

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remove the peplum skirt, and place scraps to the side.  The folded edge is the front, and the two cut edges will meet in the back.  This will give you a preview of what the peplum will look like attached to the shirt top.  This is also the time to make any necessary adjustments.

peplum

 

 

 

 

 

 

11.  Sew seam of peplum.  Again, I used about a 1/2″ seam allowance.  Make sure the pretty sides of your fabric are touching.  Pin and sew the raw edges together.

peplum seam

 

 

 

 

 

 

12.  Connect peplum to shirt.  With the right side of the shirt facing out, place the peplum around the outside of the shirt matching raw edges.  Remember to line up the peplum seam with the center back of the top.  You can also mark the center front and sides of the peplum with a pin before attaching it to the the shirt so you can get an even match up with the front and sides of the top.  Pin the shirt and peplum in place.  Sew around the waist using the same 1/2″ for seam allowance.  You can see my line of stitching around the waist in the pic below.

attach peplum to shirt

 

 

 

 

 

 

13.  Hem the bottom of peplum.  You really can do what you want at this step.  You can leave it without a hem.  You can turn the hem up one or twice to your desired length.  I turned the hem up one time at about 3/8″.  The seam will not fray when washed, so this step is just about aesthetic preference.

hem

close up hem

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’re done!!!!

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Oh, the white capris were refashioned from a t-shirt as well.  I used an old pair of CC’s capris for a pattern.  I used a wonderful tutorial from Dana to construct the bottoms.  If you guys aren’t familiar with Dana you should check her out.  I can see myself making more of these in the future.

white tee

Curly Cutie adores this outfit.  She looks comfortable and can move with ease.  And the fabric was free.  This is how we’re clothing CC for the summer.

Bubble Pocket Top and Spin Skirt

I had the pleasure of testing a pattern for the talented Heidi who is the brains behind the blog Elegance and Elephants.  She makes the most adorable clothes for her children,

e&e picsand has decided to share her talent with the world by releasing original design patterns.

Heidi’s newest pattern up for release (afternoon on 7/3/13) is the Bubble Pocket Top and Spin Skirt.

The bubble pocket is a really fun detail Heidi has been adding to her designs.  This top/skirt combo does not disappoint.  Such cuteness for a little girl.  I had a great time sewing this up!  Had an even greater time seeing it on my lovely model.  Thanks T for letting me borrow your sweetie pie.

So, here’s my spin on the Bubble Pocket Top and Spin Skirt.

testtest toptest skirtFor fun I added a handmade fabric flower to the top.

The outfit in action.

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If you have a moment, you should hop on over to Heidi’s site,  have a look around and get the scoop on this new pattern.

The handmade community is alive and well my friends!  It doesn’t matter what you make with your hands…..just create!  Hope you are enjoying your Monday.

Easy cloth napkins

We have been using cloth napkins for several years now and we absolutely love them.  There is no fuss to them.  We just use them, throw them in the wash and use them again.  Repeat.  I’m not quite sure how much money we’ve saved by using cloth napkins, but I do enjoy not having to purchase paper towels.  I have no problems with paper, but when I didn’t have the resources to purchase them I needed another option.

We have slowly been making changes that help us cut back on spending.  This is definitely one change that has stuck.  One day I had a thought to make my own napkins.  It didn’t seem hard, it’s just a rectangle.

I bought some simple cotton fabric from the craft store.  Cut four rectangles size 18″x20″.  To create the side hems, I folded each side over .5″ and pressed (sides first then top and bottom).  Then, I folded the sides over another .5″ and pressed again.  I sewed around the rectangle starting at one corner and ending up at that same corner.  Project done.  The yard of fabric was $1.50 and I used maybe $.10 worth of thread.  Finished size of my napkins are 16″x18″.

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These could even be done by hand.  Would take a little bit more time, but it can be done.  I remember before I started learning how to sew, I made a satin pillowcase for Curly Cutie’s bed.  All seams were sewn by hand with a needle and thread.

If you are familiar with natural hair that has a very curly/kinky texture, you know that this type of hair can tangle and break very easily.  I was determined to do my best to protect CC’s delicate, growing strands by making sure she could put her head on something that would not snag them.  There was no way I could keep a scarf on her head during the night, so this was the next best option.

satin pillowcase

I guess I shared that because some people can be intimidated by the thought of sewing like I was in the very beginning.

Back to the napkins.  Here is how I used them in a simple tablescape for a nice dinner.

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table2

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Aren’t they so fun?

Side note:  We still have that bottle of grape juice.  Could not bring ourselves to open it during the meal.  It was made locally and will not be sold anymore.  I have no clue why we are still holding on.

This past Valentine’s day I wanted to dress up the table a little, but realized I didn’t have any coordinating napkins.  I used my handy dandy serger to whip some up in about 10-15 min.  Seriously.  I even used some fabric a friend had given me from one of her curtain projects.

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Yep, Curly Cutie made name tags.

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vdaysetting

And yes, this is our drumming baby boy.  We decided to give him a place setting too and come away from the highchair.  That lasted about 10 min.  Lol.  He went right back.  Good thought, nice gesture on our part though.

And there it is my friends.  Easy cloth napkins.

Fab Collab

Are you kidding me?  It’s the final week of season 6 over at Project Run and Play.  I made it through the sew along.  This is huge for me.  I set a goal and I achieved it.

I have a teench of joy to share.  So, my shirt from week 5 won the sew along judges vote.  That means I won a little prize.  Yaaayyy!

This has been so much fun, and let me tell you, the other women in the main competition as well as the sew along are amazing!  So many different styles.  So many beautiful fabrics.  It was just great.

front

Well, I guess I’ll finish this thing up by sharing the look I created for my signature style.  Honestly, I have no clue what my style is at this point.  I feel like I’m too new in the game.  I don’t know.  Maybe some kind soul out there can shed some light.  I will tell you this, I am particularly fond of a few things.  For this design, I decided to use a collaboration of things I’ve found to be fabulous.  Black & White, denim, lace, and pearls.  Not to mention, my appreciation for upcycling is growing exponentially.  Oh, and I love the art of layering.  If you can make any sense of this please do, and then tell me.

The items upcycled for this look were a pair of denim capris and a vintage lace curtain.

denim and lace

Put these two together and what do we get?

cropped jacketPattern was self-drafted for this project.  I took my inspiration from a cropped jacket given to me by one of my dearest friends several years ago.  Thanks Sally!  Collar can be worn down, but for Curly Cutie I went ahead and popped it!  Aggghhhh!  Lol!  The knit tank underneath was store bought last summer.

denim and lace2

I have been itching to try my hand at a circle skirt.  I have wanted to make one since my look for week 2 when I found out I didn’t have enough fabric.  I thought this would be the perfect time to crank one out.  I found a tutorial from Dana to be quite helpful in making this type of skirt.  I opted for a fabric waistband in place of the elastic one in the tutorial.

circle skirt top view

I can see why these skirts are well loved.  Simple and cute.  This certainly will not be my last.  CC gave me a huge hug after we put on her outfit.  She was soooo happy.  She told me that she is very proud that we made it all 6 weeks and that we make a great team.  *Cue waterworks.  I didn’t really cry, but my heart was deeply moved.

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signature collageHow about those purple and pink footies?

And that’s a wrap!  I am linking up to Project Run and Play and The Train To Crazy this week.  Thanks to all that left me such sweet comments and words of encouragement throughout the sew along.  It is truly appreciated.  Why am I sounding like I just won an award?  Well, maybe I have in my own mind.

Goal #1 – Join sew along and upload a design weekly – check

Goal #2 – Do not purchase any items to complete designs – check

P.S.

Goal #3 – Keep up with house chores – epic fail

I’m off to clean.  Onward sewing soldiers!!!!!

 

For the young artist

One of my dear friends asked me to come up with a gift for her twin nephews who like to draw.  I knew I wanted to make some type of roll-up.  I was inspired by Lotta Jansdotter‘s Tool Roll from her Simple Sewing book.  Lindsay over at Lindsay Pindsay made a roll-up for her knitting needles inspired by the same pattern.  Hers is similar to the one in the book.

lindsay pindsay roll up

I slightly modified the pattern to come up with a design I thought would work for the boys.  So, here’s my take on it.

rollup1

I filled them with some random items I have here at the house just to give my friend some ideas of what they can put in their roll ups.  For the colored binding strips I just used some material from cut up t-shirts.

rollup2

The outside fabric is from……..wait for it…………a curtain remnant.  Let me guess, you weren’t surprised.  I used the music print because, if my memory serves me correct, they are a part of a musical family of singers and musicians.

rollup3

My friend just told me that the boys have been enjoying their roll ups.  They love to sit and draw.  That is all I can ask for.  It feels so good to create an item that others will enjoy and are able to use.  The boys have a birthday coming up in April and I will be making them messenger bags to hold their things.

Done any upcycling lately?