Wedding Gift

It might seem like a small thing, but the young couple is moving to California, where there are no plastic bags.  A set of shopping bags is a practical gift that will help them get started.
DSC01453And remind the bride of time spent playing with chickens in our back yard.  We wish them the best.

Dog Toy Tutorial

Some time ago I posted the dog toy created for our new pet, LuLu.  LuLu is doing well and goes through a lot of dog toys. She likes to play tug-o-war and shake things and chase and fetch.  Good thing I have a way to give her cheap entertainment!


Finally, for your entertainment, here is the tutorial link many of you asked for:

I used 8 strands of jersey knit 1-1/2″ wide cut from an old t-shirt rather than fleece.  It was what I had and seemed to work really well.

Sorry it took me so long to answer.  Life has been crazy.  I just resolved to carve out a few minutes this weekend and here I FINALLY am.

RECYCLE: Three More Bags

The first feed-sack-to-grocery-bag transformation was so successful, I made three more.


Now I will have bags in both the car and the truck and will use them more often.  I am not opposed to plastic bags, exactly, and I definitely don’t think they should be banned, but….I only need so many for household use.

These should last a long time and they are good conversation starters.  The first time I used one, the person behind me in line asked where I got it.  When I said I made it, they replied, “I didn’t know a person could do something like that.”  I wanted to invite her over to play.  How sad to not know you can at least try to create.  There will be failures for sure, but there will be successes, too.  It is worth it to me.

RECYCLE: Feed Sacks To Grocery Bags

As we have chickens, wild birds and a cat, we purchase animal feed in bulk.  The sack the feed comes in is a sort of woven plastic fabric.  Very sturdy.


What could I use them for?  It seems a shame to just throw them away.


So, I decided to try for a grocery bag.  Using a technique similar to the tutorial HERE, we now have this cheerful item.  We even have a buff orpington hen so I can say it is a picture of one of my animals.  🙂

I am stopping at one for now, because I want to try it out and see if any changes are needed.  Then I will probably make more.  I have the feed sacks,  and it didn’t take long.

Two more days before Christmas holiday ends.  While I love my job, it has been a pleasure to have time with family (and fabric).  Creating memories (and useful objects)  is what holidays are all about around here.

Happy New Year!

Refashion Runway: Emerald Green

Emerald Green?  There is a wide open Refashion Runway challenge.  But,  emerald green items were hard to find.  Perhaps because it is the Pantone 2013 Color of the Year, in fashion and snapped up in thrift stores.  Our friend, Doug, found this piece for me.  Let’s just say it had lots of potential.



1. Correct Color

2. Lots of fabric to work with

3. Fit Daughter reasonably well


1. The open back

2. The footballer shoulder pads

2. The “jeweled” front

3. That bow…and bustle.


Not what I had in mind…but if you have shopped for fancy dresses lately, you know that the prices can be mind blowing.  As Daughter moves through her teens she seems to need nice dresses for more and more occasions.  Can we make this one work?

It was a fairly complex re-fashion, because so many things needed to change.  I still wanted a dress when it was done, but  a dress Daughter could wear to her winter band concert, not an 80’s revival party.

The first step was a lot of picking out:  shoulders, bustle, skirt.


Then it was time to start putting it all back together.


The bodice needed new sleeves, a new neckline, no deep V in the waist,  and some detailing.


The skirt needed to be shortened. And the bustle and bow?  All that extra fabric needed to come off.

I really wanted to build a whole new back to the bodice, but just filling in the gap with fabric from the v-shaped bustle left a keyhole opening that Daughter liked–modest but interesting.


The finish is a winter dress with a 50’s vibe.


Such a nice change from Before…


To after…


Take a minute to visit Refashion Runway Season Two and see the Week 2 work of all the contestants.  And, take a minute to VOTE for your favorite. Even though I was eliminated this week, I’ll sure be browsing  and voting for the remaining contestants.


Off to work on Week 3: Peplum.  Who knows?  Maybe this one will even be a refashion for ME!

ps–I didn’t mean to lead anyone astray with my earlier post about a curtain dress.  It was the resourceful use of green that I found inspiring.  And the reminder that refashioning isn’t really a new idea.  But, I do have some home-decor items in mind for a future challenge, should I get there.  Hmm…doilies and tablecloths? ddt.

Refashion Runway: Plaid

Refashion Runway Season Two is underway,  and the challenge is plaid.

Refashion Runway Season Two3

Emma, a baby of my acquaintance, needed a new outfit and I had this shirt that came in a hand me down bag, but it didn’t quite fit.


Please, can’t you do something about this?

She might have a point, it is a little big.


Time to alter-with-scissors. I liked the idea of a short play dress using the front of the shirt for the back.


The yoke became the bodice,  and the back of the shirt became the front of the dress.  Using the natural cut of the shirt gave a nice curved shape to the skirt. It seemed a bit plain, so I dug through my big pile of junk (odds and ends that I keep in a dresser drawer) and came up with eyelet.  A sweet, feminine touch.


So, Emma, what do you think now?


Time for the runway!

She likes it!  And that is what matters.






Refashioning is FUN!


You can visit the Renegade Seamstress to see the other plaid refashions and, if you like, to VOTE on your favorite.  I am off to address the next challenge–Emerald Green.

Refashioning Those Shorts

A little over a year ago Husband’s favorite shorts were sent to the fabric-in-the-shape-of pile.  And there they sat.


Last week, Daughter’s swimming pool bag was declared dead, too, and not even good enough for the pile.


Today, in a sudden burst of inspiration, the shorts became a swim bag.  With flair.


She likes it.  Tomorrow…to the pool!

ps–A few notes.  The cuff from the bottom of the legs is the lining for the handles.  Very sturdy.  And a good length.  I had some pre-made piping that helps to set off the boundary between the denim and the new bottom fabric. The bag is fully lined and has a zipper on the top.  There is also a zippered security pocket on the inside made of the legs, what little there was left. The pockets are all fully functional.  Good for holding bottles of sunscreen. I should have pictures of the process, but I was more focused on creating than picture taking.  Bad blogger me!


Refashion Passion: Skirt Update

My friend Brittany recently gave us a few  hand-me-down items.  Daughter immediately claimed a particular skirt.  “I love the fabric,” she said.  “You can do something with it.”


I agreed on the fabric, but some of the length had to go and I wanted a look better for a 12-year old girl.

Snip! Snip!

I cut it to the top of the slit in the back.  Almost too short,  but it would still hit her knees. The length cut off was turned into a ruffle and reattached.

This was her church outfit on a chilly Sunday last week.  Brittany recognized her old skirt and was glad it  had a new life where it would be loved.

Total time:  About 1 hour 15 minutes.  And we made it to church on time. Hey, service on a Sunday is good works, right?

And One For Me

In the flurry of holiday sewing and holiday makeovers, I decided that it was time to try one for me.  It is a lot more fun sewing for others.  It is much easier to be comfortable forming fabric to their bodies than to mine.  Issues? Oh, well, yes.  Maybe.  A few.

But, the desire for something new outweighed all other considerations.

This fabric object came home with me from the neighborhood clothing exchange in August.

The print was so much fun and felt a bit Christmas-y with the bold jewel-tone colors.

So, with just a few cut-and-snips it became a wrap skirt for me.  I wore it to church on Sunday and felt festive.

Free fabric and half finished before I started!  Can’t beat it!

Another Holiday Makeover

Ah, but I do love makeovers. Economical. Fast. Satisfying.

This rather shapeless and oversized jumper was made of warm. soft stretch velvet in a lovely color–BLUE! (Yep, that’s Daughter serving as my model. Young Son, as agreeable as he generally is, just didn’t want to.)

I separated the top and bottom, shortening the skirt section but otherwise leaving it alone. That will help with the twirl factor.

Using an existing pattern, I cut a new bodice. Sleeves came from the excessive skirt length.

It turned into this nice little girl’s dress for a 7-year old in our neighborhood.  By using the existing hem and back ties, which don’t show in this picture, and preserving the button holes, buttons and finished neck seams of the bodice, over half the work was done for me. In all, it only took about 1-1/2 hours sewing time. 

The photography needs help, but, hopefully, you get the spirit of the thing. Merry Christmas!