The Frankenpants Saga

Kids have a really incredible innate ability to destroy things in ridiculous ways without even trying. The most frequent victim of this destruction: their clothes.

Sometimes I will get lucky with a tiny hole that just needs a couple stitches, or a busted seam that requires a quick trip through the sewing machine. Other times, I’m faced with challenges like this:

That is pretty much a new seam where there wasn’t one before. But that also means there is no extra material to create a seam. There is actually a lack of material. So I first attempted a flat seam with just a zigzag stitch. This worked…while the pants were in the drawer. So I grabbed some twill, used my new serger to create a patch.

Then I used three rows of zigzag stitches to cover the color and old stitches. So far this has worked, and isn’t too noticeable. Here’s hoping it works for a long time.

Crayon Holder!

You have no idea how long I’ve wanted to make one of these things. It’s just never seemed very practical seeing as most packs of crayons have at least 16 and that is a lot of little slots and a long roll to lug around. But these are dry erase crayons that only come in eight colors, making it actually practical and necessary.

I even included space for the cleaning cloth and the crayon sharpener. Much neater than the plastic bag everything was just thrown in before. Plus, I labeled it so it won’t get confused with all the non-existent crayon holders.

(Sorry for the blurriness. I could’ve sworn that was in focus when I took the picture.)

I used some of the leftover fabric from the bicycle I refurbished a few weeks ago, some elastic, and some buttons I had taken off a pair of shorts that had to be retired to the trash can when they ripped to pieces. The words are just written in my trusty chalkboard markers, with a few layers to make it actually stand out.

Quick DIY: Mini Heart Pillows

One would think it would be impossible to forget a holiday that is advertised everywhere for the month and a half leading up to it, but one would be wrong. That is how I found myself desperately making four Valentine’s at 8:00pm Thursday night. At first I attempted to knit some little heart pillows. I found the perfect tutorial and had set about on the knitting, when I looked at the clock, realized it was 9:00pm now, and saw that I was only about a quarter of the way through Valentine #1.

Change of plans, and quick. I don’t have much in the way of craft supplies just lying around. Sure, I could draw up some cards in no time, but these are for little people who are pre-reading and would really rather have something tangible. So I dug through my meager closet stash and found a piece of purple, a piece of yellow, and a large piece of green felt in my “leftovers” basket.

With just the felt, a pair of scissors, some embroidery thread, and a minuscule amount of supplemental yarn to add to the padding, I managed to whip up some cute little love pillows.

Mini Heart Pillow DIY

Materials

  • Colored Craft Felt
  • Scissors
  • Embroidery Thread
  • Stuffing (can use fiber fill, left-over fabric/yarn, basically whatever you have on hand to fill the pillow with)

Instructions

  1. Cut two matching heart shapes from the felt. This can either be done with a template you create on paper or, my favorite method, by folding the felt in half while cutting to keep the hearts as close to each other in shape as possible.
  2. Using all six strands of embroidery thread (to make it stand out; use less if you want a more subtle effect), back-stitch the name of the recipient or your desired message onto one of the felt hearts. This tutorial from wikiHow can help if you have never done a back-stitch before. Note- I don’t knot my thread, i just leave a bit hanging at the beginning of my work on the wrong side of the fabric.
  3. Holding both hearts wrong sides together, take all six strands of thread and a running stitch around the edges to hold the pieces together. Be sure to stuff it as you go so you aren’t trying to push a whole pillow’s-worth of stuffing through a tiny hole at the end.
  4. Bring the end of your thread through the middle of the pillow, putting the needle in between the felt pieces at the edge and taking it out the same way at the opposite edge and cut the thread close to the pillow.

And that is it. You have a nice little gift to show your love and appreciation of a loved one in a very short amount of time. I think each of these took me around ten minutes from start to finish. It may take you more or less time depending on how proficient you are at sewing and embroidery, of course.

What kinds of gifts did you give for Valentine’s day?

Quick DIY: Patch Your Skinny Jeans

Everyone has that one pair of favorite, worn-in skinny jeans. Unfortunately, those are usually the ones that get torn up beyond “fashionably distressed.” That is where my pair ended up a few weeks ago, with the left leg ripped halfway from the knee to the ankle.

The main problem was the high spandex content in my jeans. The rip happened from my knee poking through the original hole, so I didn’t want to patch it with something stiff. I was fairly certain I had seen spandex/cotton patches at the store. Apparently, that was something I imagined.

For those of you in the same situation, I’ll give you a simple solution. Go to the thrift store and find a cheap pair of jeans with the same fiber content. That’s the most important part. Seriously, you need to check the tag in your jeans, right down the exact percentages of fiber, and then search through your store for a pair that is the same. You want it to stretch the same amount.

Your next step will be to find a part of the thrift store jeans that are in tact and the same width as the area you wish to patch. I had a pair of jeans about three sizes smaller, but with a slightly flared leg that worked perfectly below the knee to reach slightly longer than seam to seam.

Flip your jeans inside out and lay your patch on the space you need to cover, wrong side facing up (like above). I wanted to leave the original hole open, so I set it just at the edge. Sew the vertical edges of the patch to the seams of your jeans, then flip them inside out again.

Starting from the top, use an elastic stitch (it usually looks like a dotted zig-zag stitch on your machine) to create horizontal lines about 1-1.5 inches apart. It also helps to start and end each line with a few straight stitches (and backstitch them).

Try to match your thread as much as you can. The elastic stitch helps to hide it a bit, too. Or, you could always use a very different color of thread to make the patch a design element. Another tip, you don’t have to sew directly along the top or bottom edges. Your first and last lines will hold the piece in place well enough, along with it being stitched along the edges, that it won’t fold over when you put your pants on.

WIP Wednesday: Planning Stage

I don’t have many pictures this week. Mostly because I don’t really have much of what I’m working on started yet. Most of it is still in the planning stages. But I do have the yarn for my knitting projects.

But that is for a secret Christmas project. My Christmas projects are usually secret just in case I don’t get it done. That way no one is expecting something that can’t get completely finished by Christmas.

One thing I know I am getting finished on time are some hats I am making to put in the Operation Christmas Child boxes. Really, they are finished but I am adding these care tags to them, to make them look more legit and less “home-made.”

Also, tangentially related as my laundry is currently in progress, I found this on a clothing tag as I was separating clothes for the dryer or the hanger:

I wonder how many people on the line noticed that and yet said nothing. Or if it really got all the way through without anyone catching the typo.

DIY Friday: Replacing Buttons

To some, it may be a simple concept to replace buttons on bedding or clothes when they break or fall off. Others will use the item until all buttons are gone, and still others will pass on an item when it’s lost even one button. This afternoon I replaced all 12 buttons (some broken, some still fine, and some completely non-existent) on the bottom of the duvet cover on my bed. I could have just replaced the four missing buttons and waited until the rest of the buttons fall off, but I decided it would be better to have all the buttons matching.

Because it’s how I spent my afternoon and I want to get a little more practice at writing tutorials like this, I’m going to show you my method for replacing buttons.

First, you have to remove the old, broken, button. Simplest way is just to cut the string right between the button and the fabric:

Next, thread a needle and tie a knot in the end of the thread. Then place the button where you want it to go and bring the needle up from behind through one hole of the button:

Go down through the diagonal hole, then back up and down through the remaining two holes in the same manner (If you only have two holes, just continue in a circle between the two holes):

If the old button pulled through the fabric and left a hole, it may be helpful to put the needle back through the knot to secure the button the first time going to the back of the fabric:

Once you’ve gone through each of the holes three to four times, tie a knot at the back and you are finished.

Hopefully this is helpful. Let me know if anything is unclear. Also, what do you repair instead of giving or throwing away that others might just get rid of?

Bonus tip: Make sure you have fairly sturdy needles before sewing. It’s never a good thing to break a needle while you are hand sewing.

In fact, that was the first time I have ever broken a needle that wasn’t attached to a sewing machine.

DIY Friday: Halloween T-shirt

One of the little ones I watch is at the age where he is really starting to get into holidays and recognize their signs. This leads to a lot of, “I know why they have pumpkins/ghosts/skeletons. It’s almost Halloween!” every time we are out. Not just once a trip either, but every window or yard we pass that is decorated.

All this talk of pumpkins and Halloween gave me an idea:

Halloween T-shirts for both boys. And they were so fast to create, I thought I would share step-by-step instructions. Click here to download a PDF complete with templates to cut out the felt pieces.

All you need is a plain, dark t-shirt, some craft felt, embroidery thread, scissors, and a needle. If you know how to do a basic running stitch, you are good to go. If you don’t know, here is a good tutorial.

Let me know in the comments if there are any issues with the file. Also, leave a link in the comments below if you make one of these or tweet me pictures @caseykayb. I’d love to see your version.

P.S.: I’m thinking of starting a weekly series of posting either my own DIY tutorials or links to some I’ve found that I’ve done. If you have any suggestions of things I should check out, let me know!