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T-shirt Quilt

4 Jan

T-shirt quilt


We had acquired about 3 zillion t-shirts over the years. While it’s impossible to wear all of these, it’s also hard to get rid of them because many are fond reminders of schools, races, and great friends. So I made a patchwork quilt.

Using a template (a coffee table book, not the best option really) I cut out the logo/design part of the t-shirt with a circular quilting blade. Then I sewed the rectangles into strips, and sewed the strips together. This is the time to use your machine- don’t bother hand quilting. Rather than using batting and backing, I just purchased a large swath of fleece and quilted the fleece and patched t-shirts together, bringing the fleece around to the front to create a border.


Lacey Clutches for Spring

10 Apr

knitted portion of purseI was inspired to create lacey, spring clutches when I purchased white and cream vintage yarn. These delicate clutches turned out to be almost more trouble than they were worth.

To make these, I knitted three rectangular swatches, then folded them in half and sewed the side seams. For one of the purses, I threaded silver and clear beaded onto the yarn and knitted the beads into the pattern. This was the easy part.

Next, I sewed the lining’s side seams and sewed the zipper onto the lining. I used filmy, pastel fabric for the lining which was difficult to cut, sew, and even pin. Finally, I simply sewed the lining into the knitted purse.

finished pursesFor the  third knitted clutch,  I will make a double lining and hopefully disguise the stitch-work around the zipper better.

For future purses, I will make the lining first, then make the knitted part to fit the lining. This is easiest because I have more expertise in knitting and this fabric was difficult to work.

closeup of beadwork




A New Adventure

28 Feb

Adventure may be a slight overstatement, but it is an exciting new craft for me.  This past week, I learned how to embroider.

embroidered initials

I am in the very first baby steps of this, so I simply was attempting to learn a few basic stitches. I stamped my initials and did backstitch on the piece a right. Below I practiced some stitches and labeled them.

practice stitches

There is an adorable embroidery shop in Savannah that I need to check out, French Knot. Once I get some proper supplies, I want to try some samplers. But I don’t want to do traditional samplers. I want to stitch my favorite snarky sayings.

“The early bird catches the worm, but the early worm gets eaten.”

A few years ago, I saw an adorable sampler that was outlined in flowers and simply said, “Bite me.” Any suggestions, tips, and, sayings from readers would be greatly appreciated!


A Tale of Two Dresses, Part Two

6 Jan

The tale of two 60s vintage dresses found at a goodwill store continues below.

Olive green dress

Just like the brown print dress, I began altering the olive green dress, by sewing in the brown print triangles at the base of the skirt and at the neckline.

I decided this is entirely too much olive green polyester. The sleeves had to go.  Also, the brown print triangle at the neckline was not working because of construction differences.

After the chop

Sleeves and neckline altered.





I hand sewed a small hem along the sleeve edges and the new V-neck and finished the dress by ironing the seams flat.

dark olive dress

Finished dress

dark olive green dress
back of finished dress


Dammit Doll – DIY Craft Project Instructions

5 Jan

Everyone (well, every adult) needs one of these:  Dammit Doll – DIY Craft Project Instructions. This site has too many annoying pop-up ads, but this project is worth the aggravation.

A Tale of Two Dresses

5 Jan

Brown Print DressOlive Green Dress

I found these two dresses at a local goodwill for $5 each. Judging from the construction details, these dresses were homemade in the 1960s. They are very similar and approximately a modern size 14 or 16. I couldn’t resist trying to make them into something wearable.


Cutting triangular sections from the dresses

Cutting triangular sections from the dresses



I started by cutting large, triangular sections from the bottom of both dresses.  Then I sewed the opposite print triangles into each dress.


Sewing the opposite print triangle into each dress.

Sewing the opposite print triangles into each dress.


Next, I cut a small triangle out the front neckline of each dress and reversing prints, sewed the opposite triangle into each dress.



Since I added seams, which took in the material, I had to compensate by adding a seam up the front of the dress, connecting the two triangles. This prevented bunching.


Seam sewn up the front of the brown dress.

Inside view of the seam sewn up the front of the brown dress.







I cut open the seam and ironed it open so it laid flat. The back seam was more tricky, because it was near the zipper. I tucked a fold and tacked the inside as best as possible.  I could have redone the entire zipper, but honestly, I’m too lazy and this dress is still pretty ugly.

At this point, the dress is still way to big for me, so I tried it on and measured how many inches I needed to remove. I greatly exaggerated the existing darts at the back of the dress and made new darts in the front.


enlarged darts at the back

enlarged darts at the back



Finish darts by cutting out the excess material from the darts and ironing open the seams. To finish the dress, I cut 3.5 inches of length from the sleeves and added a 0.5 inch hem. The shorter sleeves lightened up and modernized the dress.


Finished dress

Finished dress










In true freestyle fashion, I made it up as I went a problem solved along the way. The finished dress is a vast improvement over the old one, but is still pretty funky/ugly. Stay tuned for my post on completing the other dress.
back of the finished dress

back of the finished dress



Sew your own Swimmy Seatsaver

1 Nov

To make your own swimmy seatsaver, You will need two yards of vinyl fabric (like the cheap picnic table-cloth) and two yards of knit cotton or jersey.

1- Cut the fabric in half longwise. You will be able to make two seatsavers with 2 yards of fabric. Alternatively, you can buy one yard, cut it in half and stitch together the two halves to make a two yard length.


2- Lay out the material so the knit is right side down on the bottom, and the vinyl is right side down on top of the knit. Trim the fabric so the vinyl is approximately 2 inches smaller than the knit fabric. Fold the knit fabric excess edge in half twice so it overlaps the vinyl without folding the vinyl. Pin the edge in place every two inches on the two long sides and one of the short sides. I know pinning every two inches seems excessive and annoying, but it’s necessary.


3- Sew the three edges that were pinned. This is not a project to handsew! The materials are thick and tough. Sew slowly and keep a good grip on the fabric. It will want to twist, and it will shift easily. Double seam the edges for extra strength.

4- The next step is to shape the end of the seatsaver to fit your headrest. You will be cutting four triangles into the end of the fabric. The size of the triangles will be dependent on the size of you car’s head rest. Mark off the unfinished edge of your seatsaver in four portions. Use safety pins to pin the marked points together (first to second point; second to third point, etc…). 

Experiment with tucking the seams and hang the seatsaver over your car seat. Once you have a comfortable, natural fit, mark the edges of the creases/future seam. Then cut along your marks, through both layers of fabric, removing four triangles.


5- Match the “right’ side of the fabric back to back and pin the edges. Sew a double seam on the edge. I find it is easier to pin and sew them one at a time.

6- Finally, finish any rough edges around the head rest. This “clean up” is usually best done by hand.
All four seams are sewn

the finished product, ready for you favorite swimmer

swimmy seatsaver: true freestyle fashion crafting

30 Oct

I got tired of soaking my car seat with chlorine water four or five times a week when I finished swim practice. So three years ago, I crafted my swimmy seatsaver, a two layer seat cover that completely blocks the water but is comfortable on my bare skin. I sling the seatsaver over my seat after practice and remove before I leave for work. This way I keep my car seats clean and my work clothes dry.  This is what freestyle fashion is all about- using your craft skills to make beautiful and practical handmade items for yourself, family, and friends.

My original was light pink, but it’s now faded and stained from river water and archaeology dirt. It also has a cheesy ribbon that holds the top over the head rest.


My new and improved version has four pleats that curve around the top of the head rest and hold the seatsaver in place. The lack of elastic, ties, and snaps makes it easy to use and remove.  The seat saver will work for kids, pets, or adults. It’s perfect for swimmers, surfers, kayakers, paddleboarders, pets, kids… anybody who loves water and mud! Swimmy seatsavers are available on my etsy shop here.

Stay tuned for a future post in which I give tips on making your own Swimmy Seatsaver.

Pet costumes are hilarious!

8 Oct

After cataloging train wreck photos (really) at my museum day job all week, I needed a laugh. So meet, Opie, my Aunt Beth’s long-suffering dog.

Squirrel pet costume

Opie dressed as a squirrel for Halloween.

Opie loves squirrels, so Beth decided to make him a squirrel costume. Opie’s sister, Taylor, was dressed as a devil/angel, but I believe that costume was purchased. Opie’s costume is a beautiful example of Freestyle Fashion. Beth bought a $2 gray sweatshirt at the thrift store and with less than one yard of furry material, made this adorable costume. The ears and tail were simply sewn into place.
 One caveat on pet costumes: Beth had to pin up the lower part of the sweatshirt when they were outside. Dogs will pee whenever they want whether their costume is in the way or not!
Opie patrols for squirrels without his costume.
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