Posts Tagged ‘upcycled’

winter kcw: outfit #1

upcycled jacob pants on elsie marley

Yes, I know, KCW is over–very much over. But hey I went in cold and started too many things (as per always) so I needed another week to finish things. Plus, dear Lord! the cold! and the sickness! Will winter ever end?!

upcycled jacob pants on elsie marley

No, it won’t. At least not for 2 more long months, which is why I made these warm pants for my son. They look like wool, but are actually polyester, and they’re lined with flannel. I used the Jacob pattern by Zonen 09 and some lady’s very stylish slacks from the 70s to make these cozy dancing pants. She must have been a very tiny lady, because the waistband practically fit my 7 year old!

upcycled jacob pants on elsie marley

I had to reuse the waistband, because I barely had enough fabric to eek out the rest of the pants. It looks a little weird with the [fake] fly opening one way and the [fake] closure opening the other. But I’m 99% sure no one is going to notice.

upcycled outfit on elsie marley

I had a different top planned for this outfit, but then I found this striped sweater I had cut out already. I realize he looks a little crazy…

upcycled flashback on elsie marley

…but he loves it (the crazy and the shirt). The shirt is upcycled from a ladies sweater and made with the Flashback Tee pattern. Both the pants and the sweater came from this crazy thrift store called the Dig&Save. All the thrift store rejects go there. You have to dig around in giant bins to find anything and everything is priced by the pound.

upcycled outfit on elsie marley

It’s an odd place, but a treasure trove of fabric. You really have to dive in (almost literally) and trust your instincts. I was drawn to these polyester pants, but as I was sewing them I had a moment of fear: Is he going to be teased because his mom so obviously made his pants.

upcycled outfit on elsie marley

Do you worry about this? Cherie from You & Mie started a great conversation on instagram about kids dressing themselves–do you let them? do you edit the craziness? do you encourage it? do you feel pressure to dress them just right? I think the hashtag was #realkidsrealclothes if you want to join the conversation.

I obviously encourage the crazy, but maybe it’s time I pulled back. Grade school is tough. As a parent, it’s hard to know when to lead and when to let your kids figure it out on their own. They are little, but they’re big, but really they’re little. Agh! All of this from a pair of polyester pants.


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

the making cycle

raglan tee


I get caught in this kid clothes making cycle (it’s a long cycle, so stay with me):  When the season changes, I get really excited about making my kids clothes and make them like crazy. Then usually burn out a bit and take a break from all the making. While I’m taking a break my children either A. refuse to wear the clothes I’ve made or B. destroy the clothes I’ve made by wearing them.

raglan tee

This sends me into a “why do I make their clothes by hand anyway?” downward spiral. Meanwhile my children have grown and now actually need clothes that fit–rather than “need” clothes for the new season.

raglan tee

Inevitably, I end up at Target, where the pants are on sale for 8 dollars. Pants, mind you, that have zippers and pockets and belt loops–all of which take time and patience and way more than $8 in effort. I swear off making clothes forever!

raglan tee

Despite myself, I see something (again probably at Target, damn you Target!) so stylish and so simple, that I think, “well, I could make that.” And the whole cycle begins again.

orange and blue raglan tee

the fabric: two old shirts from the thrift store. The blue one was a V-neck. See the little part of the V peeking out? Even though it’s super wonky, it’s my favorite part.

the pattern: Tee for Two. The good ol’ raglan pattern from Figgy’s. It’s in the book, Sewing For Boys.

the sewing: I sewed this at the beginning of winter and it came together super fast, but now it’s been worn and washed and loved so much it’s coming apart a bit at the seams. ARGH!

fabric stacks

a pile of fabrics that will soon be girl clothes

My creative process often involves simply staring at all the fabric in my stash. Then after much staring, I make lots of little piles. I am particularly excited about the pile pictured above. Many adorable things are potentially in that pile–if all the sewing goes smoothly, of course.

a pile of fabrics that will soon be boy clothes

This pile is for things my children actually need, so it’s less exciting, but I still like it. Look at me making little piles of fabric and then telling the whole internet about them. Don’t call me crazy, I know you do it too :)


kcwc fall 2012: day four

kids clothes week challenge day 4

1. cardi 2. kcwc pants 3. wings for my little girl 4. glitter dot dress

I know I express my sheer amazement at your sewing ability every year, but seriously! do you see those clothes up there? It’s like art. You guys are amazing! Amazing!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

a cashmere sweater and purple pants

I am not so amazing today, as my youngest–mr. big belly pictured here–woke up at 2am throwing up. Why do children only get sick in the middle of the night? Argh. Blerg. I am mostly incomprehensible because of it, so we’ll keep this short and sweet.

upcycled cashmere sweater

the sweater

the pattern: Rae’s Flashback Skinny Tee! I made it a little wider in the body (i.e. not so skinny) because the fabric didn’t have a ton of stretch.

the fabric: a shrunken cashmere sweater that was once my Nana’s.

the sewing: There is nothing easier than sewing with felted sweaters. I was going to add a blue pocket and maybe blue cuffs, but it was looking too trendy and really there’s nothing wrong with a basic cashmere sweater. I wish I had one.

purple pants pockets

the pattern: the pattern I always use from Happy Homemade Vol. 2 and to be honest, I think getting a little sick of it. I did change it up a bit this time with a long pintuck down the front of each leg–you can see it in the first picture. It makes for nice “little man” pants.

the fabric: I think it’s called no-wale corduroy–the weight of corduroy without the bumps. Purple, obviously.

the sewing: Easy peasy, except the back pockets are totally uneven. Little boys move so fast, that no one will notice, I’m sure (I hope).

fall and cashmere days