Showing posts with label sewing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sewing. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

DIY Upcycled Blue Jean Kitchen Towels

Perhaps in going through your fall clothes you have found some jeans you no longer want to keep. Instead of donating  or tossing them, perhaps you can re-purpose the sturdy denim fabric into something else useful.

There are so many great uses for old blue jeans, and these upcycled blue jean kitchen towels are one of them. Sturdy and absorbent these are been great for both hand towels and dish towels.

I think these could even make great gift for a college student or young working adult starting out on their own for the first time!

DIY Upcycled Blue Jean Kitchen Towels

  • Old blue jeans or other denim clothing (I used a bunch of different blue jeans in a variety of weights and sizes for these towels. I also like the look of the flat felled sea
    ms, so is doesn't bother me at all to have them in the middle of my towels, but if you didn't want seams you could reuse denim skirts or something else with more seam-free material.)
  • Coordinating thread
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine, preferably with a sturdy jean needle
  1. Cut the denim into a square or rectangle in the size you desire, adding 1 inch around the entire perimeter for the hem allowance. I basically used the entire width of whatever jean legs I had and made rectangles. I had smaller size jean legs that I made smaller (and closer to a square like shape) towels for drying our hands, and larger jean legs that I made large rectangular dish towels out of. I also chose to use lighter weight denim for the dish towels and heavier weight denim for the hand towels, and I'm happy with all of these choices, but of course choose what is best for you out of what you have to work with. Cut a 4 by 6 inch piece to use for a loop for hanging the towel.
  2. Fold the edges of the 4 by 6 inch piece in 1 inch and then in half to make a 1 by 6 inch strip with finished long sides. You can iron the strip before you sew if you like. I don't in part because I don't have an iron, and mostly because I hate ironing.
  3. Now you want to sew a double rolled seam around the perimeter of your towel, inserting each of the ends of the strip a couple inches from the edge of one corner. You may want to clip small squares out of the corners and some of the seam allowance out of the flat felled seams where you will be sewing over them to reduce the bulk and make it easier for your machine to sew over them. Just make sure not to clip to far and end up with a fraying hem. Again you can iron ahead of time if you like.
  4. After you round the last corner and back tack, simply clip any loose threads and your ready to enjoy your towels!
Such a quick, easy, and useful project.

I'm loving having a whole new set of coordinating kitchen towels that go great in our blue and white kitchen. :)


Friday, October 4, 2013

DIY Upcycled Ruffle Seam Sweater Blanket

As we head into fall and you start getting out your sweaters, perhaps you find some extras (like I did last spring), that are still in good shape, but just don't fit right or you don't need anymore. This Ruffle Seam Sweater Blanket is a great way to upcycle them into something really useful. It is a quick and easy project that you can do with a standard sewing machine as long as it has a zigzag stich.
The colors of the sweaters can be chosen to match your home decor, especially for a certain holiday, or just happy favorite colors of that cute kid who likes to cuddle under blankets in the winter. I made this blanket last spring and it has held up remarkably well through lots of use and washing.

 DIY Upcycled Ruffle Seam Sweater Blanket

  • 4-8 discarded sweaters
  • Coordinating thread
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine
  1. Cut the body of the the sweaters into uniform size squares or rectangles based on your desired final size and shape. Decide if you want to use long strips or small squares from the sleeves as well (or you can save them for sweater butt pants or another project). I used the body of about five sweaters, but the arms of two and a half.
  2. Pin pieces together right sides out and sew edge securely and heavily using a zigzag stitch, stretching the fabric as you go. Stretching while zigzagging the knit will create the ruffled effect of the seam and keep it nice and secure through lots of use.
  3. Continue sewing pieces together with right sides out until the entire blanket is assembled.
  4. Sew around the entire edge of the blanket in the same way, using a heavy zigzag stitch and streching as you go.
  5. Cuddle up and enjoy the warmth of your favorite sweater in blanket form!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

DIY Baby Sweater Pants

Many sweater pants, baby jeans, and baby black skirt
Another item I made quite a few of for the new baby's wardrobe are these sweater pants. I used this very basic tutorial which tells you all you really need to know is you cut off the arms of a sweater about the length you want the pants, sew a crotch seam, and make a casing for an elastic waist at the top. It is a really simply and fast project.

I don't have any of our tiny size baby clothes with us, so I used the patterns from here to guesstimate the correct sizes. In the picture of the pants you also see a little pair of jeans I made using the 0-3 size pattern. I tried to make the size of the sweater pants so with the sweater cuff folded up the pants would be about 0-3 length and down about the 6-12 month length. So far we've have big babies who have grown incredibly fast, and with cloth diapers the bum area really does need to be about the same size through all those sizes. So hopefully these stretchy sweater pants will last awhile. We discovered grow cuffs on baby clothes with our second, and thought they were amazing.

Anyway, I made a bunch of similar pants from upcycled sweaters, leggings, and knit turtlenecks. Save the other parts of the sweaters and turtlenecks for making infant gowns, onesies, hats, and even socks if you like. These will hopefully make some more great free (save the cost of thread) additions to our newborn wardrobe.

For this pair I used the hem of the sweater
to make a separate casing for the elastic.

For this pair of pants I just folded the top over
to make the casing for the elastic.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

DIY Baby Quilt

I used some odds and ends to make two quilts for the new baby recently. One is decidedly boy colors and one girl colors. I simply cut a lot of 4 inch squares out, alternated designs to form a pattern, and sewed all the squares together with 1/4 inch seems. I sewed on a backing and top stitched the edges, but didn't bother to quilt the whole blankets since they are so small. I think they turned out cute. :)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

DIY T-Shirt Blanket or Quilt

I re-purposed a bunch T-shirts into a large blanket for Aaron's birthday and a small blanket for Andrew's half birthday, both coming up in June.

I simply cut out large squares, all the same size, from the front and back of all of the T-shirts and sewed them together quilt block style. I really like how bright and cheerful Aaron's color-block blanket turned out. This is a great project to turn unneeded items into something really useful.

For these blankets, I made both the front and back T-shirt blocks. But when I was in college I recycled the high school T-shirts that I no longer wanted to wear but didn't want to completely get rid of into a quilt that had the T-shirts with designs on the front, quilt batting in the middle, and strips of old blue jeans for the back. This quilt was warmer and sturdier of course. This was also a good way to actually use some sentimental T-shirts a little longer.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

DIY Mei Tai Baby Carrier

Finished carrier hanging
in our entry way
I mentioned how we like the baby carriers here, and that I made two to carry our two boys. This is a pretty easy sewing project in general. However, positioning the straps so you don't sew them into a side seam can be a little tricky. I consulted this pretty comprehensive pattern and a few others and then worked out what worked well for us. I think these could also make a nice unique gift for new parents, if you knew the parents would like this type of carrier. Here are some general instructions about how I made these carriers and how you can make your own.*

Mei Tai or Bēi Dài (背带) Baby Carrier

  • 1 1/2 yards sturdy woven fabric (60" width)
  • 12" square decorative fabric for pocket or applique (optional)
  • thread
I cut 3 straps (11" by 60"
and body (18" by 48")
  1. Lay out you fabric on a clean flat surface folded width wise. I wanted a finished body size of about 17" wide by 23" and 5" wide straps and used a 1/2" seam allowance.  I cut 3 strips 11" wide by 60" long (the whole length of my fabric). This is a good length of strap for me, and I am almost six feet tall. You may want shorter straps if you are shorter. I cut one of these strips in half (to make 2 strips 30" long) to use for the short waist straps. Then I cut a rectangle 18" by 24" doubled over, making it 18" wide by 48" long. I cut this with the 18" width on a fold so that I didn't have to sew the top of the carrier shut or worry about sewing the straps into the top seam. But if you don't want to cut on a fold, then just make sure to cut two pieces (18" by 24").
  2. Cut a 12" square of decorative fabric to use for an applique or pocket if you wish.
  3. If you wish to make a pocket, sew a double folded hem along the top of the fabric. Sew a single folded hem around the other three sides.  Center the decorative fabric on the right side of the front piece of body of the carrier. Pin in place and top stitch around the applique/pocket.
  4. For the straps, I folded the 11" strips in half right sides together and sewed lengthwise. I finished one end of each at a 45 degree angle to make a point. Turn straps right side out. I did not choose to top stitch the straps, but you could at this time to give them a more finished look.
  5. Now for the one tricky part: positioning the straps. Lay the front piece of your body fabric right side up. If using one piece for the body like I did, mark the fold line with pin and the whole piece flat. Position the straps at each corner—long finished side in towards the right side of the body, short unfinished end out (at least 3" to use for reinforcing the straps) at each corner. You may want to angle the straps like she shows, but I did this on one and sewed the other straight out perpendicular, and, personally, I didn't notice a huge difference either way.
    All straps pinned securely
  6. Fold and pin the long straps securely to the front of the carrier so that you don't sew them into the side seams. Place the back piece of the body right sides together with the front and pin around all side, leaving a gap for turning at the bottom. Sew around all sides (unless the top is a folded edge), leaving a gap for turning at the bottom. Make sure to stitch all the straps securely; back stitch over them, or sew additional seams to make sure they are secure.
  7. Turn right side out, and unfold the straps.
  8. Pin the bottom seams closed, and top stitch around the whole body. Sew reinforcing rectangles at each corner, over each end of the strap, and then stitch through the middle of the rectangle or make an X through each rectangle. You really want to make sure that the straps are really well reinforced and stitched securely to the body of the carrier!
    Body sides sewn securely
  9. Look over the whole project for any mistakes or weak areas that need attention. Trim any hanging threads, and you're done with the sewing!
  10. Learn how to tie your baby securely to yourself. I found the these instructions helpful. Now you're ready to go hiking with baby.

*This is what worked well for me and my husband (who is the same height but with wider shoulders) and our two toddler boys. This doesn't mean this is the best design for every adult and baby combo out there. Personally, while I see these used all the time here for even really little babies, I don't think they are the best type of carrier for infants. I am sharing these instructions with the hope that it may be useful to someone wanting to make their own carrier, but use your own judgment as to what would be best for you and your baby. I am no baby wearing or baby carrier expert and take no responsibility for how you choose to make your carrier. Our children are obviously the most precious cargo there is, and we should take great care when transporting them.


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