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Sewing tutorial that made me laugh so hard I had tears coming out of my eyes…

Swants tutorial
Make pants out of sweaters!

Tonight as I was perusing recent Facebook posts, I noticed that an acquaintance of mine posted a link to an on-line sewing tutorial.  This is a woman who is married to one of my husband’s former colleagues, so I don’t know her all that well, but I didn’t think that she was into sewing.  I had to check what she had posted.

The tutorial that she posted provided instructions on how to make “swants” – pants from old sweaters.  It had detailed instructions re: what type of sweater to choose, how to cut it apart and then piece it back together to create a pair of crazily patterned but toasty warm sweater-pants or swants.

To be honest with you – as I started to read it – I was actually thinking that maybe I should try making some. They sure looked cozy.  But then as the pictures got more and more ridiculous I realized that as much as I am all for repurposing clothing –  I would not be caught dead wearing a pair of swants.

While the swants models try very hard to sell the concept via pictures… I just don’t think this is a look most of us can pull off.  But maybe for a kid??  Anyway – if you are looking for a laugh – check out the pictures and accompanying video in the swants tutorial.  I laughed os hard I nearly wet my pants.

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1 Halloween costume down. Just two more to go. Introducing my little bat!

Bat girl halloween costume
Bat girl halloween costume

Halloween is still a month away – yet tonight – the project at hand is to make my daughter a bat costume. Why the rush? You may be wondering. Well…. this weekend she has a bowling / costume / birthday party to attend – and since she wants to be a bat anyway, why not get a jump on things?

My older daughter was a bat about five years ago and I made her a costume by cutting up a cheap umbrella and attaching the pieces along the side and under the arms of a black hoodie sweatshirt. I also put little ears on the top of the hoodie, and got her a simple black mask. This worked okay but the metal umbrella pieces were not comfortable at all. And with the umbrella being a cheap umbrella, it sort of fell apart. This was the bat costume tutorial that I followed to make bat costume #1.

For bat costume #2 I found a different tutorial on-line. Instead of using a black sweatshirt, I sewed the bat wings onto a long sleeved black t-shirt.  I cut the wings from black felt and added some boning for structure.  To hold the boning pieces onto the wings – I sewed on black felt strips onto the wings and fed the boning into the pieces.

I got the bat mask pattern from a different site.  We had to significantly modify it as the mask was designed for a kids with eyes and nose a much greater distance apart then my little blondie.  To make the mask more rigid – we cut it out of cardboard and glued felt on the front.  I sewed black elastic onto the mask to hold it on her head.   (Yes – I sewed through cardboard… and I liked it! )

My husband suggested that we add some more “bling” or color to the costume but Ilse does not seem to care.  She loves it.  In fact, when wearing the costume around the house, she folded in her arms and declared that she was going to hang from her knees on the jungle gym and “go to sleep.”  Talk about a costume putting someone into character!

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Ain’t no party like a link party… especially if they are links to sewing blogs!

Join the Sew Mama Sew Link Party
Join the Sew Mama Sew Link Party

One of my favorite blogs is called Sew Mama Sew!  It is a blog about modern sewing ideas, tips and tricks, etc… Anyway – this week they are having a link party, which means that they are inviting other sewing bloggers to submit a link to their own blog after they have written something that pertains to a designated theme.  This link party is about everyone’s favorite sewing tool.  Of course I had to participate.

A few months ago, I learned about how binder clips work very well in holding back your fabric while you are embroidering, especially in tight spaces such as onesies or small t-shirts.  Who would have ever thought that binder clips could be so useful for sewing? Even the Brother web site sanctioned this technique.  (So it’s legit!) I started using binder clips and now keep a stash by my embroidery machine.

Hopefully some sewers will benefit from my submission… But the greatest thing about this link party is reading what others have posted as their favorite tools.  So far my three favorites are:

1) The glue stick.  This blogger demonstrates many, many ways to use a glue stick while sewing.  I am thinking that this may be a good way to keep applique fabrics in place while tacking them down.

2) Medical exam paper for tracing patterns.  I try to trace off my patterns so I don’t destroy them for different sizes.  This is a very economical solution.

3) Flat iron for pressing short seams.  I am not a quilter but I just might start.  This would give my top-of-the-line hair flat iron something to do! (I never use it.)  What a great idea.

I hope you enjoy all the tips on the Sew Mama Sew blog. I encourage you to submit your own.

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A New Dress Each Day – Check out this Inspiring Blog

New Dress A Day
New Dress A Day

If you have been following this blog for a while, you may know that my goal this year has been to blog about machine embroidery every day in 2013.  So far, so good.  (Okay, okay, I am two days behind, but ANYWAY…) The results of daily blogging have been pretty remarkable.  Although it has been a TON of work, I have learned so much about my craft – far beyond what I would have learned otherwise.

The idea to blog every day came from a few different people who took on a similar challenge.  Of course, the “Julie and Julia” story was an inspiration – but complicated cooking everyday… polite pass.  Another inspiration came from a book I read called “Sleeping Naked is Green” where the author did something “green” every day for a year and blogged about it. She even gave up Cheetos!!  (Is no orange the new green???)  Again, no thank you.  While these examples planted the seed for my blogging mission, my motivation was not to blog just to blog.  I wanted to learn as much as possible about machine embroidery and appliqué and by writing about it everyday for a year – I figured I would.  And I have.

Since starting my own blog, I have paid less attention to other blogs, because maintaining my own takes so much time and energy.  But the other day – thanks to the magazines I read in my gym – I read an article about a blogger named Marisa Lynch who set up a unique challenge for herself. In 2013, she limited her clothing budget to $365 dollars and each day she restyles discarded clothing or items she bought from thrift stores with her paltry budget. Check out her story and her great ideas.  I can’t wait to get over to Goodwill and see what I can recreate with some spare change and my sewing and embroidery machine.

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Five great blogs about sewing and machine embroidery

As a blogger, there are definitely other blogs out there that I admire and strive to emulate. And, I assume that if you are reading this, you like blogs about sewing and embroidery – so – maybe you will enjoy these as well.

1) Deep Thoughts by Cynthia  – I am a borderline stalker on this one.  She has such a fresh, honest and down-to-earth voice.  Plus here designs are TO-DIE-FOR.

2) Hawthorne Threads Blog – FAN-TAS-TIC fabrics and great ideas of what you can do with them.  I love even though they rejected me as a guest blogger.

3) Patty the Snug Bug – Great sewing tutorials with attitude.  I mean she named herself the snug bug!

4) Sew Mama Sew! – While the fabric store part of the site is closing (check out the great bargains) – the blog is thriving and it’s full of great tutorials.  I could have used the tutorial on how to insert grommets last summer when I made some curtains, and Richard from Project Runway could have definitely used the tutorial on how to sew French seams. I mean, come on dude, you are on Project Runway!

5) Whipstitch – Want to make a dress that makes you look like Audrey Hepburn?  Check out this blog and get inspired to make yourself some cute retro clothes!

I hope you find these blogs to be as inspiring as I do.  Happy reading/sewing and embroidering