Posts Tagged ‘upcycling’


Blame it on the Ovaries

29 May, 2010

(I apologize for the gap in posts- I recently got a summer job in the next town over. I don’t mind the 10-mile bike ride everyday; it just leaves me really tired by the time I get home, and I haven’t had the energy to put together a coherent post. Also, this one took me a good three days to put together.)

Today, I bring you something that I blame entirely on my ovaries- kid’s crafts. No, not finger painting and pipe cleaner people, though I will admit, those were some of my favourites in preschool.

Alright, I can’t blame this post entirely on my ovaries. That would be unfair. No, this is partly due to the fact that I recently finished my final research/opinion paper for World Civilizations II, on “The History of Childhood Through Fashion”, which followed fashion trends and their relationship to the prevailing cultural, religious and political views from the 1700’s to present day. This paper topped out at 12 pages, and the process of writing it was remarkably similar to reading Nabakov’s Lolita. In fact, it was almost exactly like reading Nabakov’s Lolita. There were several times that I had to save my paper and walk away from it for several hours, just out of sheer outrage at what our society deems “appropriate clothing” for children. A small excerpt is below:

“This is from the nationwide chain store Abercrombie&Fitch’s children’s collection, which sells clothing for children ages 7-14. This is from their – and I emphasize this- children’s line, which came out in the summer of 2002:

Yes, dear reader, this is a thong. This is a thong sized for a 7-year-old girl. If that’s not disturbing enough, look closer. That little green tag in the top right? That says, “Wink wink”.
That little red heart in the bottom? “Eye Candy”.
Excuse me? Labeling a 7-year-old’s groin as “eye candy”? I was under the impression that that sort of thinking is what got a person their own page in the Sex Offender Registry. Apparently, I was mistaken”

Also included in this paper were push-up bikinis for 7-14 year olds, push up bras for 9 year olds, children’s pole-dancing kits, and children’s lingerie sporting the slogan, “Why should adults have all the fun?”.

I fear for the future of children’s fashions, I really do. I fear for the future’s children in general. So, with this post, I like to feel that I’m doing my part to combat the “prostitot” phenomenon that’s been taking hold of the world.

Sparing you from what could easily become a long, drawn out, opinionated rant, I present: free patterns and project ideas for children’s clothing, toys, accessories and even some cool stuff for moms.

Children’s Clothes

Fact of life: Kids grow really, really quickly. Faster, sometimes, than a family can afford. Here are some easy ways to expand your children’s wardrobes without shrinking your bank account.


Touching Little Lives’ Newborn Sleeper (fits up to 8 lbs) and Preemie Sleeper (fits 4-6 lbs)

NICU Preemie Hospital Vests from

3-Seam Baby Booties from (Oh my goodness, these things are adorable!)

Free Patterns for Infant’s Clothing up through the first year

Cloth Diapers! from This site includes basic cloth diaper and diaper cover patterns for free, as well as tips and tutorials for making a variety of different styles.

Comfy, quick and easy baby pants from (I really love her blog.)

Quick and Easy Infant Romper from a T-shirt via

Toddlers, Preschoolers, and Young Children

Market Skirt from While you’re at it, check out the Tutorial page over there, she’s got some great kids clothing ideas and easy-to-follow tutorials, like this one on making Puffed Sleeves.

Disney over at has some fantastic ideas for lengthening the life of kids clothes, while still keeping them fashionable. Check out her posts: Making Her Clothes Last, Part One, and Making Her Clothes Last, Part Two.

Pillow-Case Dress from

Twirly Skirt Variations from Corn Patch Creations and Going Sew Crazy

Tiered Skirt from

Girl’s Dress from Men’s Dress Shirt (I know I’ve meantioned this one before, but it is absolutely adorable. Forgive me.) from

Tunic Dress from a T-Shirt from Quilting In Cornfields

Children’s Toys

Personally, I’m not one for all the new wave of electronic games and toys for kids- I think it’s really destroying kids’ natural abilities to imagine. It’s becoming too much of a hassle to imagine the sound of a toy truck when for $XX.95, you can get one with lights, sounds, and a remote control. Why try to imagine, when they make so many video games that do all the work for you? I think kids are too dependant on electronics, televisions, and video games for their entertainment, and don’t know the power of their own imaginations any more. Again, saving you what could easily become long, drawn out, and highly opinionated, here are some easy to make toys for kids.

Plush Doll Pattern and Tutorial – a great beginning for making personalised kid’s dolls! (And for gamer’s kids, they have an adorable Moogle pattern as well)

How many little girls didn’t want to be a ballerina at some point, even if just for a short while? has a great no-sew tutorial for making a tutu out of elastic and toule. Check it out!

And who, boy or girl, didn’t want to be a superhero? Come on! has some great ideas for SuperKid capes (the pattern isn’t free, sorry, but it’s pretty close to it- $3.99 USD. Or you could make your own.)

Okay, I’m 21 years old, and I want one of these things! Who wouldn’t want an 8-foot-tall giant squid body pillow?! Thank you, Philadelphia Weekly!

Again, 21. Still intrigued by these grab-ball things. (Courtesy of Debbie Colgrove at

Did I mention how I love She’s got some great craft ideas over there, like these Waldorf-esque Felt Crowns or the Roll-up Kitchen Placemat (Brilliant!) has a great solution to that ever-famous question that has nagged parents since the invention of travel: Are we there yet? (Answer: I-Spy Bags!)

How about home made scratch-off tickets using silver acrylic paint?

Children’s Accessories

Any parent can attest that kids come with things. Stuff. It’s all over the house. Aside from clothes and toys, there’s bibs, diaper bags, blankies, burp clothes, lunchboxes, piggy banks, towels, car seats, carriers, cribs… *gasp* you get the picture.

Bill and Weeks from over at have a great solution to the “antsies”- those restless, “sensory-seeking” muscles that send kids running around, kicking things, squirming in seats. They’ve created .pdf instructions for creating weighted quilts for sensory seeking kids and adults, using weighted poly pellets.

Kristena Derrick at has an excellent solution to buying expensive plastic bibs or cheap, effectively one-time-use bibs- use that one pair of maternity jeans that you cannot stand (or, inversely, that one pair of regular jeans you KNOW you’re never going to fit into again) and turn them into easy to clean, durably and fashionable baby bibs! has a gread tutorial, too, for homemade burp-cloths, and for preemie baby beanbags (a great little invention for those special little ones who unfortunately came a little too early- check out her site for more info on these.

Oh look, it’s again. Tell me you didn’t see this coming. She has some great ideas for turning old, outgrown or stained kids jeans into a child’s wallet, or for making a lap-desk for colouring or homework.

For the environmentally-conscious mom or dad with a school-aged kid, why not brown-bag it with style with Chica and Jo’s fused plastic sandwich wraps (puts those plastic shopping bags to good use!), easy shopping-bag based lunch sacks from, or an embroidered cotton lunch bag from

I’m drawn to the simplest of things. I really want one of these hooded bath towels (from in my size. ( has a variation for the littler ones too!) And to go with those awesome bath-wraps, how about some homemade Snow-Globe Soap from or some natural hand-sanitizer from

For the bedroom, has a great tutorial for making your own crib and tot bed sheets, and of all places has a tutorial for making your own crib dust ruffle, to add a little extra storage space to your child’s room.

Halloween! Halloween! Halloween! (Dude, it’s a holiday entirely dedicated to playing dress up! Come on!) Old Fashioned Living has some great ideas for making easy animal costumes for kids.

Stuff For Moms

Gotta give props to Moms. ❤ I love you, Mom. has a great tutorial and some really helpful tips for moms who want to switch over from expensive disposable menstrual pads and tampons to washable, cotton cloth pads, whether to save money or the environment.

Ever hear of a Moby wrap? I hadn’t, but when I saw this faux Moby Wrap tutorial over at, you guessed it,, I thought they were just the coolest things ever! (Totally serious about that, I want one for when I have kids.) Edit: One of the professors here at school has one. Still the coolest things ever.

Speaking of baby carriers, how about this Mei-Tai carrier pattern and tutorial from The pattern is free and basic instructions are available on the webpage- the special notions such as buckles and comfy straps can be bought from for  $18, or salvaged from an unused backpack. (If you’re feeling really adventurous, you can try to make the straps with fabric and camp foam, but I take no responsibility for your sewing machine’s reaction to camp foam.)


Great Things to Do with Men’s Dress Shirts…

19 May, 2010

… other than, you know, give them to a guy and make him wear it. You know, silly stuff like that.

But in all seriousness, almost everyone has either a man in thier life who will, inevitably, outgrow a dressshirt, or have one shrink on them, or will, for some reason, get rid of one. Yeah, you could send it to a Salvation Army/Goodwill/Thrift Store, but why would you when you can put it to a much more fun and immediate use?

This week I bring to you the “What to Do with an Oversized Men’s Dress Shirt” collection, courtesy of the internetz.

Women’s Ruffled Top by Carly J. Cais at Threadbanger

Refashioned Men’s Top #3 (Shirley Pintucked Tunic) by CleverGirl

Refashioned Men’s Top #2 (Babydoll Top) by CleverGirl

Refashioned Men’s Top#1 (Women’s Dress Top) by CleverGirl

Peasant Blouse by MadeByLex

Belted Skirt by Christine Haynes at CraftStylish

Super Cute Babydoll Dress by Chic Steals

Adorable Child’s Halter Dress by Gezellig-Girl

Toddler’s Dress by Cheytown at Craftster


Open Source Unmentionables!

16 May, 2010

Yeah, I don’t like the sound of that either…

Today, I bring you DIY underwear. Yeah, you heard me. Underwear.  You know, the one article of clothing that everyone needs and most crafters (myself included) don’t even think to make? Yeah, here’s a heads up: you can make those.

I think my favorites have to be Colette Patterns’ free Madeline Mini-Bloomers.

Colette Pattern's Mini Bloomers

Made from a yard of fabric, elastic and ribbon, they’re really simple to make: really, the only skills required are the ability to run a straight stitch and to be comfortable working with elastic and buttonholes. I’ll probably make a pair for myself soon! The pattern is available for free through the Colette Patterns’ website.

Got any old t-shirts lying around that don’t fit or you just can’t wear, but you can’t find the heart to throw out? (Yes, you do.) Well, now, with a little work, you have really cute, one-of-a-kind panties. has a free downloadable pattern for bikini-cut underwear that’s great for everyday wear- just scale the pattern piece to correspond with your hip measurement.

SuperNaturale's Kitty Tee Panties

This guy here at get’s the award for A) having the most varied collection of FREE underwear patterns I’ve ever found- for both women AND men, and B) for writing relatively easy to follow tutorials in thier non-native language. Mad props to you, sir.

This place has it all- every style and flavor you can imagine is here, with free pattern (designed to be printed on A4 paper- you may have to do a bit of slicing and dicing in Photoshop to get them to fit on multiple sheets of 8.5 x 11 paper.) up for download.

How To Make Underwear

Basic Lined Bikini-cut Panties

“Big Soft Panties”

Simple Unlined Bra

Woman’s Camisole Top

Classic Men’s Boxers

Men’s Boxer Briefs

Classic Little Boy’s Briefs

Classic Little Boy’s Boxers

Classic Little Girl’s Panties

Little Girl’s Swimsuit

Not-So-Classic Men’s Bikini (can easily by modified to fit a woman)

Men’s Pink Lace Thong (can easily be modified to fit a woman)


And what about bras? What if you’re someone like me, who suddenly discovered one morning that she, in fact, wears a 34C (not the 34B she’d worn the previous WEEK) and lives in the middle of nowhere. In case you were unaware, they don’t sell 34C’s in the Middle of Nowhere Wal*Mart. Or maybe you’re like my roommate, the rugby-playing LARPer in a 35B- 34’s are too small, even on the widest setting, 36’s are too big, even on the smallest settin, or like my friend in a 32E…

How is it that women can actually buy bras anymore?! And why would you want to, at $10-$15 each for a cheap one?

This is a rant I go off on a lot. Thanks to Threads Magazine, however, you won’t have to hear it.

The Bra Dilemma Solved!

Okay, so it’s not the be all and end all of bra sewing. It’s just some pointers and construction notes, and where to find these purchase patterns.

THIS is the be all and end all of bra sewing… and underwear sewing… and pajama sewing… and lingerie sewing… and I could go on and on. This is a pretty extensive list of free patterns- bras, underwear, camisoles, robes, slippers, teddies, nighties, slips and boxers.

75 Free Lingerie Sewing Patterns

Congradulations, I have completely rocked your world. You now have absolutely no reason to ever go bra or underwear shopping again. Ever.

Unless, you know, you like that sort of thing. I’m not gonna judge.