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Craft Re-fashion Tutorial: T-shirt to Girls Tank Top with Rosette

If you read yesterday’s post, you realize that I had a partially ruined purple shirt that I didn’t know what to do with. So, after mulling over that problem for a couple days, I decided to re-make it into something wearable for Chloe. A craft fail to a craft fashion, if you will.

The easiest item to make would be a tank top or tank dress. I wanted to do the least amount of sewing that I could get away with. After sketching a few ideas, I decided on this style that I had made for Chloe before. I’ll mention right now that this was my first time sewing knits, and could tell almost immediately that something wasn’t right. The material would get all bunched up under the needle. Some quick internet research revealed a special “stretch” needle is required to sew knits. Ah.

After returning from the craft store with a pack of “stretch” needles, I hesitantly began again. As long as I took things nice and steady it worked great. And now Chloe has a super cute tank top to wear this summer. I couldn’t be happier with the result. Yay! Craft Fail to Craft Re-fashion!

Have a t-shirt that needs a little make over? Here is all you have to do.

What you need:
T-shirt
Matching color thread
Elastic thread
Sewing machine
Scissors

  1. Cut your shirt. One straight horizontal cut right beneath the arm pits and then another straight cut about two inches below the first cut. The bottom piece will be the body of the tank top and the piece above that will be for your straps.
  2. Wind your bottom bobbin with the elastic thread by hand and insert it into your machine. Excellent directions on how to do this can be found here. Thread your matching color thread on top.
  3. Starting at a side seam on the body piece, sew a straight line horizontally one-half inch from the raw edge. Sew all the way around until you are back where you started and backstitch at the beginning and end (alternately, you can tie the elastic together where the ends meet). Repeat this step 3 more times, a half inch below each previous line.
  4. Steam your stitches with an iron -or- mist with water and gently and quickly press with a hot iron. This will cause the elastic to draw together, giving that puckered, shirred or “smocked” look. (If your girl is small like mine, you may need to stitch once more down a vertical side to take in some of the width).
  5. Replace your elastic bottom bobbin with regular thread. Using your little model (in this case, it was Chloe), measure and pin the shoulder straps in place and stitch them on. I used a zig-zag stitch here for stretch.

To make the rosette:
I followed a couple different directions online, but basically, the rosette shown is a lot like this video except I made two layers – a larger bottom layer and a smaller top layer (the rosette was an after thought – you’ll have to cut your fabric strips from the leftover neckline piece). Another interesting rosette tutorial can be found here and here. I pinned ours on with a safety pin, so I can pop it off and onto something else, if we want.

And that’s it! Chloe loves it and so do I. It is almost like it was meant to be. Maybe failing isn’t so bad after all. What do you think?

And here is one final photo of that face I love so much. My little sweetheart.

If, at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again. – Old proverb


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Christmas (Yuletide) Camellia

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Our christmas camellia is beginning to bloom! Must mean we’re getting closer to the big day! This is our first winter with this little bush – we bought it at a local nursery this summer for its glossy evergreen leaves. But seeing the little red beauties with their bright gold stamens pop open at this unexpected time of year is really a treat! Now I wish I had chosen one twice as big! Wouldn’t it be nice to someday dress a holiday table with fresh cuttings straight from the yard? Such a neat way to add to the holiday magic. :-)

 


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Flower pinwheels

When we added the third bedroom to our two-bedroom house, the middle bedroom did not fare well. Not only did it lose a window (and lots of natural light), but the remaining window looks out at a blank fence that partially obscures the house next door. Someday, I’d like to do some landscaping on that side of the house, but until then these pinwheels spruce up the view nicely. And Chloe likes them. A lot.

Total cost: $7 at the dollar store. (And a special thanks to the cable guy who left his u-shaped staple gun here).


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Lavender

Our lavender is in full bloom, making all the bees and butterflies around here crazy happy. It is such a beautiful color. And the smell… gorgeous.

At the end of summer I’ll dry the stems and place the scented buds in my drawers or hanging in fine mesh bags in the closet. I didn’t get around to it last year, so I want to be extra good about it this year. There are about a million things that can be made out of lavender, too – from salt or sugar scrubs, sachets, wands, to even ice cream. So many choices, so little time.

And here’s a whole long list of lavender recipes and projects from Martha Stewart.


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Valentine Idea: Day 5 – Free Printable Cards

Print your own card – I had a little extra time to whip up two cards that are free to download and print! The “Your love means the world to me” flower card measures 3.5 x 5 inches and the diagonal label card that reads “Thoughts for you, my love, on Valentine’s Day” measures 4 x 6 inches. There are two versions of the flower card, one with the flowers printed on the cover and the other with the flowers printed on the side. The side flowers are there so you can cut them out separately and adhere them with foam tape for a 3-dimensional look (like in the photo). Enjoy!


Download version 1 | version 2 (3D)


Download Valentine Label Card

Need some more kid-friendly cards? Try this free Light-up Valentine printable.


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Showing off my sparklies

This winter I’ve been a very lucky girl in the necklace department. I was perusing Etsy for Christmas gift ideas when the Ice and Snow necklace popped up. I hemmed and hawed about buying it for myself, since I was supposed to be looking for gifts to give, not to keep. A while later I found it again, but the price had gone up. I hadn’t realized that it had been on sale! A quick convo to a very understanding Erin brought the price back down, and that pretty much sealed the deal for me. I love the balanced trio of coin pearl, white topaz briolette and the handstamped silver snowflake charm.

The center Skipping Lilies pendant was given to me by my soon-to-be sister-in-law, Aundrea. I am looking for a chain to wear with it, although it would look equally good on a simple leather or silk cord. The style is based on a stained-glass technique and seals tiny dried botanicals within its casing. I know it will get a lot of wear, plus the solder is lead-free which makes it safer around baby.

The third necklace was handmade for me by my sister-in-law, Liza. You can see some of her other lovely jewelry creations here. This particular necklace is moonstone with pearl and iridescent grey beads. It is quite elegant and unlike anything else I own. I always feel good wearing it, which is the point of nice jewelry, don’t you think?


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Making Freezer Paper Stencils (free pdf download)


What do you think of Chloe’s new tee shirt? See below to download the dragonfly stencil.

Freezer paper stencils are awesome! Not as “perfect” as screen printing, but easy and fun for single projects just the same. Watch out family, you may all be getting stenciled items for Christmas this year…

Wading through all the tutorials available, I found this one to be pretty helpful. Originally, I hadn’t been able to find freezer paper at my local supermarket (although I did see it recently at Fred Meyer). I opted to go with the large freezer paper sheets from Dharma Trading Post, since I was going to order some t-shirt blanks anyway (1,2,3,4). The nice thing about the rolls though, is you can make your stencil any length, but I think I read somewhere that craft freezer paper may have a better bond.

I’ve tried two brands of ink so far – Speedball Fabric Screen Printing Ink (which my husband already had from previous screen printing projects) and Jacquard Professional Screen Printing Ink. I don’t know if the Speedball ink was just too old, but it took two applications to get good coverage. Afterwards, the directions say to iron for 3-5 minutes on each side to set, which seemed like a really long time. I prefer the Jacquard. It applied better, nicely staining the fabric, and just needed one application for full coverage. Plus, it only took 1 minute to heat set.

While some of the ideas shown above are mine, others came from places like Arthur’s Silhouette Clipart Plants and Animals and Briar Press. I’d love to hear in the comments section if anyone has a favorite, because sometimes I just can’t decide. Also, Greta was sweet to post a photo of the yellow butterfly top and matching socks I made for her daughter Ava’s first birthday. Want to make your own butterfly, dragonfly or flower shirt?

**Click here to download the free stencil pdf.**

Postscript: I also have bird silhouette templates available to download that I made for another project, which would also work well as freezer paper stencils.

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