Posts Tagged ‘recycled’

pjs from t shirts

pjs from t shirts

I said I would and look! I actually did: I made summer pajamas from a bunch of thrifted tees.

pjs from t shirts

And the kids actually like them! There is no Iron Man or Perry the Platypus or Elmo or whatever character they’re into this minute in sight. I’m not against the odd licensed character, but I cannot deal with the weird, plastic, pajama fabric they are printed on. When they’re new the fabric feels like slimy alien skin, and after a few washes it turns into pill-y, old, molted alien skin.

pjs from t shirts

Obviously I have some issues with kids’ pajamas. Not these suckers though! They are all 100% handmade from 100% second hand clothes.

pjs from t shirts

Here are all the sewing details:

fabricthrifted tees pictured here

pattern: For the shorts I used the sleeping johns pattern from Growing Up Sew Liberated. I made the sleeping johns a few years ago and they still fit my daughter. So the fit is obviously pretty generous. My 7 year old daughter is wearing a size 5T, my 6 year old son is wearing a 4T, and my 3 year old son is wearing a 3T

The shirts are made with Rae’s Flashback Skinny Tee pattern. The only time I actually followed the pattern was for the gray shirt in the middle. For the other two shirts I used the pattern more as a guide. The tank top is far from perfect, but it works for pjs.

sewing: The shorts went super fast and were not a problem at all. The shirts were a bit more fiddle-y, because I chose super soft, super thin material. My sewing machine prefers to eat material like that rather than sew it. Arg!

pjs from t shirts

The plan was to have two pairs of pjs for each kid, but only the youngest got two (the second pair is pictured above). For that gray striped top, I used Kristen’s Flashback Tee –> Tank Top tutorial and blatantly copied her style while I was at it. There are two more pairs of pjs in the works. Both are half done, but I think I hit a pajama making wall. Maybe I’ll climb over it this weekend :)

pjs from t shirts

kcwc spring 2012: day six

red stripes, red balloon

Sometimes the idea is much more exciting than the actual outcome. But still matching, stripy pants and shorts are pretty cute


the pattern: same as these pants, letter o from Happy Homemade vol 2 in two sizes. This was totally the wrong pattern to use for the shorts, but the perfect one for the pants.  The idea I had for the shorts was something more like this, but then I got all wrapped up in saving the pockets from the original pants (see below). The front pockets were nice, slash pockets, but the back ones, I discovered later, were fake. It was a waste of time and energy and screwed up my plan.

original pants

the fabric: those pants up there. They were mine, but I felt like a fool every time I walked out of the house in them.

dancing stripes

the sewing: I didn’t intend to get two garments out of one pair of pants. I was only going to make shorts and really to make the shorts I wanted to make–bloomers with a contrasting band–I shouldn’t have made the pants. Oh well. The little pants turned out super cute and the shorts are fine, I guess.

stripy pants and shorts

The flickr pool is bursting with amazing garments, many of them upcycled ones. Of all the discussions on flickr this week, my favorite has to be the one about all our mistakes and straight up sewing failures. Late at night, when I’m screwing up every possible way, it’s good to know I’m not alone!

kcwc day six mosaic

1. pinafore made reversible 

2. top naii

3. raglan tee

4. stripe and color block top


paper christmas tree ornament tutorial

paper christmas ornaments

a paper christmas tree ornament

This as simple as it gets. A few scraps of paper, one seam and in minutes you’ve make a pretty, handmade ornament. I used paint chips (in lovely martha stewart colors) from the hardware store because I had them on hand, but cardstock or thin cardboard or old christmas cards would all work well.

an ornament from paint chips

Cut out one star and three to five strips of paper.  If you’d like to use the same measurements I used, you can download the pattern pictured below. If you would rather do it freehand, cut progressively longer strips for the tree, as wide as you like, and cut a good size trunk.

paper tree pattern

You are going to sew a seam down the middle of everything on your sewing machine. Sewing on paper is really not that much different than sewing on fabric, except that you use a slightly longer stitch and it’s ok to use a dull needle. If you are anything like me, there is one in your machine right now! Make a bunch of paper tree ornaments with that perfectly dull specimen and then do yourself a favor: take it out! And get a nice, new sharp one in there for the rest of your christmas sewing.

First make sure you have about three inches of slack from the bobbin and past the needle before you begin sewing. Then place the star under the presser foot of your machine take one stitch forward and then one stitch back (a little sewing dance!) to secure the thread and then sew down the middle of the star. Before you get to the bottom nudge the shortest strip of paper under the presser foot and sew down the middle of it.  And so on, with the rest of the strips and the trunk.

sewing paper trees

When you get to the bottom of the trunk, sew back and forth a few times to secure the thread again. Tie the ends on top of the ornament together, so it makes a loop for hanging. Snip the thread ends on the bottom of the trunk and you’re done!

christmas tree ornament made out of paint chips


I included a pattern for a snowman in the PDF pattern as well, but a million other things are possible: candy canes, bells, santas, pretty much anything you can think of to cut out and sew together!

snowman ornament made from paint chips

a christmas present for my lovely readers: a week of handmade ornament tutorials!

I will be accepting advertisers  on Elsie Marley starting January 2011. If you would like to reserve a spot please email me and we can discuss the specifics! Thanks!

kcwc: day two

I got these two pairs of PINK! and YELLOW! cords at the gap this summer for 3 bucks each and knew right away I wanted to turn them into pants for my kids. Last year I made pants for them out of my husband’s old jeans (sort of like this) but the rise was too low and they never wore them–my son called them, without any malice, his “falling down pants.”

I wanted to get the fit right this time, but the stinkers were sleeping when I made these so I got all fancy with the pockets while I waited. There are two patch pockets on the back of each pair and a little pocket in front–a star for my son and a heart for my daughter.  When they tried them on they both complained that the pocket was too small. Wouldn’t you be excited to have a star pocket on your pants? Whatever. They fit.

I used a pretty bit of printed corduroy for the elastic casing on the pink ones and this crazy awesome vintage scrap I had for the yellow pair. This is a super easy way to make use of those jeans you never wear, but can’t get rid of for some weird reason. Cute recycling. My friend Mary Jo over at Five Green Acres put a little upcycling twist to kids clothes week; check it out if you are making big clothes into small clothes this week.

Made by Rae Giveaway!

Today’s giveaway is from the fabulous Rae from Made by Rae. She is hilarious and down to earth and a damn fine seamstress. She kindly offered up two patterns for kids clothes week: the big butt baby pants and the toddler backpack. Both patterns are PDFs, so you could even add them to your list for this week (ha!). Just tell me which one you would rather have in the comments and I’ll choose two winners! The toddler backpack is full of nice details: pockets and piping and padded straps and little loops for hanging. And the big butt baby pants, while also being extremely fun to say, are versatile and useful and super cute. Decisions, decisions.


The winners are

big butt baby pants: #10 Shannon

toddler backpack: #55 Stephanie from neuroses galore




Elphanso it is! thanks to the woman behind the bird bath for the great name.  He’s up in my shop and entered in the 2nd annual softies awards too.  Wish me luck!  And because I can’t muster up the energy to get off the couch I will play along with a little meme that I have been tagged for by fiona of fede (blog and shop). She makes some pretty fantastic soft hammer rattles, that you should go see.  Okay here goes:

4 jobs:

bed and breakfast manager (mostly cleaning toliets and ironing! sheets)

4 favorite movies:

fight club
grizzly man (and everything by werner herzog)
pirates of the caribbean

4 places I’ve been:

the corn palace

4 places I’ve lived:

athens and
rome, briefly
bodega bay, ca
a little cabin with no running water and no electricity

4 favorite tv shows:

law & order in all their many incarnations
lost, when it’s on
the office
30 Rock

4 favorite radio programs:

this american life (who doesn’t like this?)
all college radio programs and their awesome college hosts
a prairie home companion, because if you were born in MN you must listen to this
marketplace on npr

4 favorite foods:

chicken livers
french macarons
nueske’s bacon

4 places I’d rather be:

in my sewing room
in a bar with all my old friends

I’m supposed to tag 4 people, so I’ll tag the first four people with blogs that commented on my last post (suckers!).