Category Archives: Sewing


2009-08-17 18.19.40

This pattern is cool. I wanted to fill the frogs with rice so they could be both a toy and baby-warmer. Because lately I’ve been paranoid and can’t even imagine how any small child can survive a Utah winter. All the babies are going to die of frostbite unless I can keep them warm with rice bags.

Anyway, I forgot that last week our last box of rice was infested with wee little bugs, so all I had were some really old lentil-like things in a mason jar, or unpopped popcorn. I went with the ambiguous beans. Anyway, next time I make this pattern I’d like to make the frogs a bit more hefty, because right now they seem kind of malnourished. And I’d use rice. And I wouldn’t use beads for the eyes, because they will most likely be torn off the frogs’ heads and swallowed. And then all the babies will die of frostbite and suffocation.

Also, the green frog was made from an old vintage blouse that I’ve had for years but maybe worn twice. After chopping up the back of the blouse, I noticed that it was by Judy Bond. And I can’t remember if that’s a vintage brand that I’m supposed to worship or not. So I’m confused and guilty. The red frog is just made from thrifted scrap fabric.

2009-08-17 18.20.08



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How to de-frouf a children’s dress.

At least once a week, I dig through my bin of things to finish sewing, and unearth a children’s dress to diy (which is new a verb).

I was thinking I’d give you a basic tutorial on how to make a children’s dress wearable; the directions would be very general and indirect, because each dress is different. Anyway:

1. Find a children’s dress that suits your fancy. Take it into the dressing room to see what possibly could be done with it – the most important thing is that the torso isn’t too small for you. Also, the shoulders should be appropriately loose, and it shouldn’t be shorter than you’re comfortable with. Don’t worry if the armholes are too tight – that’s an easy fix if you’re willing to part with the sleeves (which I almost always do).

2. Decide what you want to do with it. It’s not necessary to draw out your plans completely (I never do), and sometimes just going with the flow with it is fun. But you should at least know if it needs to be shortened, taken in, if the neckline needs changing, and if the sleeves are staying or going.

3. This particular dress actually fit me pretty perfectly, but I wanted the waistline to be a couple inches lower, the sleeves had to go, and I was thinking of re-creating the yoke entirely. Crew necks do not please me.

4. Off with the sleeves. Since this dress was machine-made (and had serged seams), it was easiest to just turn the thing inside out and cut off the seams altogether. Also, I knew that the bodice was going to be changed dramatically, and I could just fix the armholes later.

5. It’s also important to decide whether or not you want to keep the attached ties that come with so many children’s dresses. In this case, I don’t really want them. So, I’ll have to undo the entire side seam to get rid of them – if you just cut them off you still see the little stubs, and that’s not pretty. I usually like to get rid of the ties, because a nice sturdy belt usually does the trick in making you not look like a cupcake.

6. Since I wanted the waistline to be lower on this complicated dress, I either had to lengthen the shoulders or Use different means to lower the bodice. So, I just cut off the top of the dress haphazardly.

7. Then give up for a while. I’ll continue the tutorial later; it will include re-shaping the bodice, re-purposing the waist ties, and deciding whether I want the buttons in front or back (which will be a struggle, I can tell).

I know my tutorials are all kind of half-assed, but if anyone wants to see how to do something specific, don’t hesitate to ask.

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My first sewn stuffie! It’s from a book that I can’t remember a single thing about. It had a bunch of really non-specific monster patterns. And was from the library.

I quite like this one, despite his face being too high up on his body.

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Well, crafty content.

I’ve been taking a bunch of poor quality photos.

Vintage beads

I’ve also been beading … very little. I want to make beautiful things like these, but I might need to take a class or something. There aren’t good books on beading or jewelry making in my local library.

Simplicity 5435

Smocking! Pockets! Belted at the waist! I want it in red gingham or a 90’s floral. And I might shape the pockets like hearts.

McCall's 5490

I want the dress second from the left in that exact color. And yes, these patterns were $0.25. And they’re all my size, or close to it. I flipped out when I saw them! And if I liked maxi dresses (which I don’t), I would want the white on on the right.

I’ve been crafting up a storm, but taking pictures of the things I make just make me sad. I was spoiled with that DSLR, and now nothing else even comes close.

Phew, now I don’t feel so bad about posting another meme!


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And now, for more fabric.

All of these samples are from old thrifted bedsheets, which I washed vigorously (of course). I’ve already cut the pieces for shopping bags from them, and with the leftovers, I will probably just make bag linings and pencil cases. We’ll see. But, if you’re broke and in need of some cute fabric, thrifted bedsheets are definitely the way to go.

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Fabric Fix

I know, I’m posting like a madwoman. But I’m just trying to catch up! Actually, you know what? It’s my blog, and I can do what I want with it, ye invisible curmudgeons. So deal with it.

I’ve had this batch of fabric (all thrifted) for ages and ages, but it was all wrinkly and ugly. So, I got my iron on, and here are the results:

That last one is my favorite. Roosters and houses and flowers and birds! I just adore it. I have more (unironed) pictures to post, but I think I’ll do that after I post another College Times article.

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I decided to (saying “decided” still stings my Comedy Sportz roots) actually allot some money for my spring/summer wardrobe. I also wanted to prove that there is no reason in the world that a person should spend $100 on just one piece.¬†Anyway, here is the loot:

1. Boy pants

A nice, leg-stumping, figure-ruining pair of jeans. Just how i like them.

2. Brown floral skirt

I know, it looks totally fug now, but it will be fabulous. It’s actually a somewhat-new piece, but to me it looks like an 80’s skirt that was soaked in walnut dye. But here are my plans: change that big wide hip-hugging strip into a big wide waist-cinching strip. And then I will stop listening to Kansas.

3. Yellow sweater

To be worn with cigarette pants and black heels a’la Rizzo from Grease. Or shorts, wool tights, and wellies. I love it.

3. Preppy sweater

The picture isn’t nearly so inspiring as the real thing. But it’s just so … collegey! I want to wear it next year with jeans and a flappy hat and talk to people in the halls about papers and theories. Plus it’s a lovely lovely wool.

4. African-ish printed skirt/dress.

I was so undecided about this. I love wearing skirts as dresses, and so I was on the lookout for prospective hybrids, and this one jumped out at me mainly because of it’s fabulous pockets. So I kind of want to tailor it to be a dress, but then the wonderful pockets are at a very silly place. So I was thinking of making it a high-waisted miniskirt, but … It just doesn’t work! We’ll see what happens. Well, actually there’s no chance of me posting about it again, so only I will see what happens.

5. Pleated white skirt

I’ll probably make this into a dress, to be worn under things or over things. And yes, that tag does say $5. DI’s prices have gone up SO MUCH. $20 for a piece-of-crap bookcase? It’s just ridiculous. And I’m afraid that Savers got a new greedy manager, too. Sigh.

6. Sunglasses

I might just give contacts a second chance for these. They look so good!

7. Dress that needs a lot of work

To do: Chop off sleeves, make a decision about the neckline, take in the bodice a few inches, cinch with belt, wear with aforementioned glasses, a sunhat, and either garden boots or bare feet.

8. To-be chopped skirt

Oh, the waist on this monster fits me PERFECTLY. To do: Chop off about 2.5 feet, to make a nappy miniskirt. Perhaps leave edges raw. Use the leftovers to make pencil cases. Wear with either black tights, black warrior heels, and a black concert tee, or bare legs, surprising heels, and a white men’s tee. Tucked in, of course.

9. High-waisted shorts

These also fit me really well. They make my tummy look totally flat. (And I’m not saying I’m fat AT ALL. I’m just saying that I have that mid-tummy bulge because I have a uterus.) They will be the perfect shorts of summer. I really need to get some fabulous perscription sunglasses!

10. The miracle swimsuit

I saw this on the way out, and just grabbed it because I love a vintagey swimsuit, fully expecting the torso to be far too short for me (especially since it’s technically for little girls). But oh, how great it looks. Of course, it totally flattens out what chest I have, but I really can’t ask for much else from one-pieces. I love it! More than the brown suit of last summer? Perhaps.

11. Mustard cardigan

I LOVE THIS. SO MUCH. It’s not wooly at all, so I’ll be able to wear it all spring (and next fall and winter, natch). And I love the color so! And the shape! It’s a welcome replacement for my boring too-long brown cardigan.

12. Navy floral skirt/dress

I never had any qualms about this one. The pattern may be a bit iffy, but the drape is fantastic. To be worn belted with sandals, puttering around the garden.

13. Blue striped jumpsuit

A few months ago on one of my favorite livejournal communities, someone posted a picture of themselves wearing a very similar jumpsuit, and it was absolutely gorgeous. Surprising and different and wonderful. Of course, that person was six feet tall with Aggyness-Deyn-legs, and the jumpsuit wasn’t two sizes too big for her, and it didn’t have an ugly elastic waist. So I doubted whether I should even try this on. But I did, and I really liked it. I like the 20’s-men’s-swimsuit vibe.

14. Black floral skirt/dress

I was really divided on this piece. On one hand, I love the silouette. On the other, It’s covered in pastel tulips. If you don’t look too close, it’s an absolutely beautiful dress (I would only ever consider wearing it as a dress – never as a skirt). But the print! Then I realized that I’d just have to make it punky and grungy. Leather and mussy hair is exactly what this needs.

15. Big ol’ floral print skirt/ dress

Okay, I’ll admit that I didn’t notice that it was a size 20X until I got into the dressing room. But it was folded in half on the hanger. Turns out, it works out better that way. I’m going to ruche the life out of it, and make it into a dress (it will not be too short, even though the pictures look that way).

16. Red floral dress

I didn’t doubt this at all in the dressing room, but I am now. That print! I just don’t like it. It’s another one of those great-from-far-away things. But of course I’m going to shorten it. I just want to find a way to do that without losing any of the chorus-line swingy-ness of it. Also, it has a really neat waistline. It … smiles? I don’t know. It’s just neat.

17. White floral dress/ skirt

It just cracks me up that I bought something with a “Talbot’s” tag. But it will make a really lovely summer dress. And it matches my walls!

18. Gold pleated skirt

I love pleats. And I love swingy skirts. And I love waists that fit me. And I love it when a piece is just enough of a color to be interesting, but not so much that it distracts from the person wearing it. And this has all of those things! I didn’t notice the stains on the back until I brought it home, but I’ll just shorten it a twee bit and fix that.

19. Kid’s floral dress

I’m going to admit something to you, and you’re not at all allowed to tease me for it. Just before I went a-shopping, I was watching The View. So I still had their voices in my head. And I bought this dress because I imagined that Joy would tell me to not buy it. But it fits really well, and it could be un-terrible if I accessorize it correctly. (What am I talking about? I don’t accessorize.)

20. Green flats

I’ll admit that they do need some serious baking soda action. But then, garden puttering! Park skipping! I love them dearly. Even if they are a bit too big.

21. Warrior heels

I really don’t like studs. Or toe-bearing things. But I love these. And they’ll be the perfect anti-climax to all of those florals.

22. Leather wallet

I love distressed leather, and I needed a wallet. For that, I can forgive the Roxy-ness of it. In fact, I might just distress it a bit more, at least on the front, to downplay the branding. In other news; violets!


I was teaching kitty-care 101 to a friend, and we went to Wal-Mart to get his new kitten some condensed goat’s milk. And while I was there, I just couldn’t avoid getting a few crafty things. I love these buttons, and I think they’ll satisfy my recent “MUST HAVE BUTTONS NOW!” craze.

24. Thread-holder

I recently acquired a sewing machine (thank you, dad!). Hence, I need a thread holder.

25. Thread

I recently acquired a thread-holder. Hence, I need thread.

26. I lied about the end of the thrift content.

Shopping bags! I love them. The colors are just as pungent as the picture makes them look


Filed under Fashion, Sewing, Shopping, Thrift