Condo Blues: sewing




Showing posts with label sewing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sewing. Show all posts

Sunday, May 2, 2021

The Best Ever Quick and Easy Sewing Pattern Storage and Organization Idea

I store my sewing patterns in a recycled shoebox because it is the width of a sewing pattern envelope.

Also, with a husband who is a long distance runner, I can get a replacement shoe box when I need it on the regular.

It worked for awhile - until it didn’t.

As I’ve done more costuming work, my pattern envelopes are  in all shapes and sizes. On more than one occasion I plopped the whole pattern into a gallon size zipper baggie because the pattern pieces won’t fold to fit back into its envelope. I try to store my sewing patterns by category but they quickly return to their natural disorganized state – a pile busting out of its shoe box(es.)

how to store and organize craft and sewing patterns
Please excuse the carpet that needs vacuuming. That’s what prompted me to move the pile and find a better solution.

This is not working. I need to find a better way to store and organize my sewing patterns that fits in a small, limited craft room space.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

10 Zero Waste Craft Projects that also Save Money

I recently read an article claiming that zero waste living doesn’t have to be expensive.

That immediately said to an interviewed college student who said that they couldn’t afford a $20 zero waste made from adopted unicorn tears deodorant that the student just needs to change their attitude because they are buying better and more expensive stuff. Because the superior feeling of spending more money on low waste deodorant outweighs the reality of then not having enough money for school books or tuition, I guess?

The author also said that no one who wants to go low waste (which is a more accurate description than the search engine friendly term zero waste) does it to save money.  It really burns my cookies that when confronted with the reality of price, a zero waste expert ignores it and tells you to buy it anyway. That's how zero and low waste living gets the (wrong) perception that its only for the privileged!

10 ways to make zero waste save money

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My family is practically debt free because we don’t waste things. As I started switching from disposables to reusables the amount of trash we make plummeted and extra dollars accumulated in the bank. For example it cost zero dollars to stop using plastic zipper baggies and plastic wrap for sandwiches and leftovers and start using the containers with lids (many repurposed) I already had. I had no idea how much money we wasted on that stuff until we didn’t need to buy it anymore - and you could see a serious dent in how much landfill trash it kept out of our bin.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

How to Sew a Retro 1940's Polka Dot Top

I bought all of the materials to make a cute vintage short sleeve blouse to add a little diversity to my normal t shirt and polo shirt summer wardrobe. I let the project fall to the bottom of my To Sew list as the  costuming I'm most confident in making took priority because I very rarely, almost never make day to day clothing from scratch. Mending and tailoring I can do with my eyes closed but I'm almost ashamed to admit that until I got a computerized sewing machine two years ago I have never sewed anything with my nemesis - buttonholes - in my life.

I figured it is about time I sew a little bit outside of my comfort zone and make this cute summer blouse.

how to sew a vintage pinup style short sleeve blouse
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Thursday, April 1, 2021

DIY Harlequin Jester Costume and Friday Favorites Week 575

Happy April Fool's Day!!!

As a professional jester in the Before Times, I consider April 1st to be My Day.  I don't play tricks or jokes on people, I just walk around extra happy and foolish. See?

how to make a harlequin jester costume
This costume is my first and probably last quilting project because it took four months to build!

Time to link up your favorite projects, recipes, and posts! 

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Easy Embroidered Coaster and Friday Favorites Linky Party Week 564

It seems like I am always cleaning little drips of soap or water that collect under and around the soap dispenser. 

I whipped up a couple of quick cloth coasters to catch the soap dispenser drips so I can swap them out when I need to toss the dirty one into the wash. I also took the opportunity to try out the embroidery features on my new sewing machine.


how to make a quilted cloth coaster
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The construction is very simple. After embroidering my design on the top piece of fabric, I traced a round object onto the top, middle terry cloth layer, and bottom fabrics and cut them out. Next, I made a top, middle layer, and bottom fabric sandwich and sewed it together with bias tape. 

I showed you my project, now you show me yours!

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Quick and Easy DIY Sleep Mask Gift Idea and Friday Favorites Linky Party 553

The time change is this weekend. No matter how well I think I close my bedroom curtains, the early morning sunlight shoots through the curtains like a laser bean and directly into my eyes waking me up hours before my alarm is set to go off.  I fight back by wearing a cute handmade sleep mask at night to thwart Mother Nature's attempts at shortening a good night's sleep.

I make sleep masks out of super soft flannel which is nice on the eyes. I've also made sleep masks from scrap cotton fabric that are comfortable to wear during the summer because they aren't hot like the unbreathable silky masks sold in stores. Sometimes I embellish them with embroidery. Most often I leave them plain to show off the fabric. 

how to make flannel sleep mask gift idea

If you are looking for quick and easy handmade holiday gift ideas, follow my simple how to make a sleep mask tutorial here and make them for yourself or someone you love!

Time to link up your best projects, home improvements, recipes, and creative ideas!

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Monday, October 19, 2020

How to Make Comfortable Padded Headphone Covers

I found a set of headphones with a microphone I forgot I had in that random box of cords you’re supposed to have when you hit 30. The foam ear covers where deteriorated but the microphone windscreen was fine. What good luck I thought! I don’t have to by a new pair! I used them for my next Zoom meeting. 

Of which, the last half an hour was the longest of my life because the bare headphones hurt my ears. OW!

 

how to make replacement headphone covers
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I  went into my craft studio, gathered materials, popped on an audiobook (I use Audible. You can Try Audible and Get Two FREE Audiobooks here,) and started to play. In the end I had new cute and comfortable ear covers for my headphones. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links in this post for your convenience.)

 

Let’ do this!

How to Make Replacement Headphone Covers

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

How to Sew a Skeleton Skirt with POCKETS

I plunked a bolt of skeleton print fabric on the store’s cutting table.

 

Fabric cutting lady: what are you making?


Me: A skirt


Fabric cutting lady: Oh! Are you getting ready for Halloween early?


Me: No. Just making something fun to wear for every day.


Fabric cutting lady: (Gives me a blank stare because she doesn’t know what to do with this information and says nothing. This isn’t the first time I’ve gotten this response from her about one of my weirdo projects.)

 

That doesn’t matter because I made a cute, twirly dirndl skirt that has pockets!
 

how to make an A line skirt with pockets

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And you know what?

 You can make one too!

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

How to Make a Halloween Mini Tote Bag

I bought a Halloween themed color your own mini tote bag kit (similar to the color your own tote bag kits here) thinking it might be a cute to hold allergy free Teal Pumpkin project treats during Trick or Treat. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links in this post for you convenience.) 

I wasn’t too jazzed with the colors or quality of the three markers that came in the kit which is what I expected since it came from a dollar store. No big deal. I planned on coloring it with craft paint and adding a few easy embroidered accents and outlines for fun.

 

how to embroider a Halloween candy bag
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Wednesday, August 12, 2020

How to Make Button Hair Ties

My hair is growing out and is now long enough to put up into a proper ponytail as long as I use these exact Goody no slip hair elastics because for the first time in my life I haven't had to use a ton of clips, barrettes, bobby pins, and a gallon of hairspray to hold flyaways when I put my hair up. It's a miracle! (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links for your convenience.) I've tried other hair ties that claim to be for sports or no slip and they often slip out of my hair or slip enough that I have fly aways mid day. The same goes for the thin hair ties that look like this that I used as a teen. Bleah. I think they are better put to use around my thread spools and bobbins in sewing room to keep them from unwinding.

So while the no slip Goody hair elastics work fantastic, they are super thick and don't look as cute or subtle. Yeah I could hide the pony hair tie with a ribbon or barrette but it’s been so long that I’ve had hair long enough to use them, I really don’t have any. Besides, I’d like the option of wearing something a little more sleek when I have to be a grown up.

 Let's make a hair elastic cover up with buttons!

how to make pony tail holders from buttons

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Most of the buttons in this tutorial are vintage buttons from my Grandmother’s button box. I also made a button pony tail holder from a large flat button to see if it would work. It did! 

You will need:

Sunday, July 5, 2020

1950’s Wrap Sundress

A good long while ago, I fell in love with the 1950’s vintage wrap sundress sewing pattern Simplicity 8085 (you can read about it in detail here.) I bought a super cute cotton cherry print fabric with the intent to make a dress for myself. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links in this post for your convince.)

 Two years later I still  had a sweet vintage sewing  pattern reprint and super cute cotton cherry print fabric  in its shopping bag in my sewing room.  *sigh*

I need a dress for a wedding reception (hopefully? maybe? We’ll see how group events play out when the time comes) later this summer for a wedding my husband and I attended on Zoom. That’s all the incentive I need to finally sew my 1950’s wrap sundress. I made a few tweaks to the pattern because as my husband observed long ago, I always hack a sewing pattern in one way or another. 

how to sew a 1950's wrap sundress

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How to Sew a 1950’s Inspired Wrap Sundress

Sunday, June 14, 2020

How to Make an Insulated Growler Caddy

My husband and I have a couple of glass growlers for those times we want to bring home a local craft beer from a brewpub that doesn’t put it in cans or bottles. We only tend to use them when there is a BBQ or party where a group of friends will be there to help us drink a little under 2 liters of beer (an open growler goes flat more quickly than a 2 liter of pop) over the course of a long afternoon into the evening with a bonfire. In other words, not very often.

No to mention in Ohio to go growlers have to be made of glass, which are hard to keep cold and carry if you are also juggling pot luck food as you walk from your car to the party spot. There are a lot of wood growler caddies out there but I really want something insulated. That way I can also use the growler as a water jug to refill our sports bottles  from the car when we are out and about.

When I can’t buy, I DIY! I dove into my fabric stash, grabbed some leftover corsetry fabric,  and sewed an insulated growler caddy. If you are looking for a handmade gift idea for men, based on my husband's reaction, this is a good one.  He liked the idea so much that he encouraged me to make a second insulated tote bag for the other growler.

Let’s sew!

how to make a craft beer growler caddy


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How to Make an Insulated Beer Growler Tote

Monday, May 11, 2020

20 New Sewing Tips, Tricks, and Hacks for Beginners to Professionals!

The first thing I ever sewed was a pair of potholders for my Kindergarten teacher’s Christmas gift and I’ve been sewing in one way or another ever since. I’ve picked up a lot of tips and tricks along the way through formal classes, fellow sewists, and the good ol’ trial and error (and error and error) and I’m pretty good at it. Or at least good enough that other people pay me to sew things for them from time to time.

Lately I’ve been fielding questions from folks who are breaking out their old sewing machines after a long hiatus – a quarantine will do that, you know. I’ve also been brushing up on new sewing hacks from fellow sewing and costuming friends as we dive into sewing cloth face masks for our family and friends. I figure it is my turn to share what I know to help you make your sewing projects go a little easier, a little quicker, or allow you to make that one little unexpected tweak that takes your sewing project from OK to Wow!

 20 best sewing tips tricks hacks and ideas
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20 Sewing Hacks That Will Make Your Life Easier!

Monday, April 20, 2020

How to Sharpen Scissors and Rotary Cutting Blades at Home

There is nothing like cutting fabric with a pair of sharp scissors or better, yet a rotary cutter.

Unfortunately using them to cut fabric also dulls the blades on your scissors and rotary cutter. Have you tried to cut fabric with dull scissors? It’s more like chewing fabric than making nice, crisp, clean cuts.

As a kid, I vaguely remember fabric stores holding fabric scissor sharpening events to draw shoppers to the store. In all honesty, I’ve never heard of one now that I’m an adult with a drawer full of dull fabric cutting tools and blades that need a little sharpening love.

What to do?

Easy! You can sharpen scissors and rotary cutting tools yourself!

how to sharpen scissors and rotary cutter blades
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How to Sharpen Fabric Scissors and Rotary Cutting Blades the Easy Way!


Tuesday, April 7, 2020

8 Reusable Cloth Face Mask Tutorials


When I visited Japan it wasn’t uncommon to see people wearing a simple face mask when out and about because in Japan (and other Asian cultures) when you are sick with the cold or flu. In Japan it is polite to wear a mask when you are sick and  out in public so you don’t accidentally pass it on to anyone else around you. That is something I wish we had in American culture (how many times has someone given you their cold because they weren’t wearing a simple face mask?)  but I really hate that we have to go through a deadly global pandemic to adopt it.

As of April 7, 2020 the United State Centers for Disease Control (and well as the Governor of Ohio) recommends that everyone wear a cloth face covering when out in public. The idea behind wearing a face mask in public is not what a someone yelled at me for falling for “pandemic panic” or a “false sense of security.” My reply was just as less than kind because I'm battling an allergy related sinus infection that never seems to end and don't want to pass this misery to anyone else (unlikely but I get horror looks when I sneeze with and without the mask.)


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The idea is that by wearing  even a simple, non medical grade cloth face mask when you are in public is so you may be less likely to unknowingly pass a virus to someone else when you aren’t showing symptoms and don’t know that you are sick. This precaution leaves the medical grade and N95 filtering face masks and respirators to our front line COVID 19 heroes who need to be protected from known viruses in the air around them in a front line setting. 

How to Sew a Reusable Cloth Face Mask

Friday, February 7, 2020

How to Make a Teapot Cozy

Sometimes when I want to drink more than one cup of tea on a leisurely afternoon, I’ll make it in a teapot. Unfortunately, leisurely drinking the tea in my cup usually means the  tea in the pot turns cold by the time I’m ready for a refill.

Which pretty much negates the reason for making a small pot of tea.

The solution is to put an insulated tea pot warmer on my hot little pot to keep the tea inside it nice and warm as I slowly sip the day away...

Oh, who I am I kidding? I’m usually sewing and forget I made the pot of tea that is sitting on a table across from my sewing machine until hours later.

Either way, a tea cozy is a super simple sewing project to make and is a fantastic fabric stash bust project. I added machine embroidery from a file that came with my machine to get a little more practice in on hooping the embroidery fabric – easily the most tedious, difficult to get right, and important step in machine embroidery.

Let’ s make something!

How to Sew a Simple Tea Cozy



how to make a quick and easy teapot cozy
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Sunday, September 22, 2019

How to Make a Jester Costume

One of the things I love about sewing costumes is the challenge and I try to do that with every jester dress I make. Normally I cut each piece of my sewing pattern out of a different color fabric to create a color block jester costume, I load it up with jingle bells, and I’m good to go with a costume that’s close to jester’s motley.

I need a new jester costume for renaissance festival and historical performances and when I want to dress to empress on Halloween.

This time, I went for the Crazy Person Challenge of sewing a jester costume with a homemade diamond pattern quilted fabric. I made new everything from the skin out:bloomers, hoop skirt, skirt, bodice, and hat. This project took four months to complete.

Which just goes to show you I don’t just play a fool on weekends, it’s more of a 24/7 lifestyle. I’ve never quilted before and after this project I may never quilt again!

how to sew a jester costume
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Photos by Jay Robinson and Checkmate Photography

How to Make a Female Renaissance Jester Costume

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Costume Sewing Bee

My renaissance festival performer friends and I recently got together for a sewing bee of sorts. We all have slightly different costuming, prop making, and sewing skill sets which is a fantastic resource when you aren’t quite sure how to make the item you’ve drafted on paper or, like me, its been awhile since you’ve built a particular garment and a second pair of eyes would be massively helpful before you cut fabric incorrectly and hope the store has more.

Or is that just me?

ren fair garb sewing bee
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For one glorious afternoon we turned a condo clubhouse into a dressmaking workshop just like in the movie Cinderella but without the birds and mice helping with construction.

But let me tell you I totally would have taken Fairy Godmother’s help with her wand. Just sayin’.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

The Everything Guide to Sewing Jersey Knit Sleep Shorts

I need a new pair of summer pajamas for a marching band trip. A cute pair of sleep shorts fits the bill since I will be sharing my hotel room with roommates. An easy thing to buy, right?

Well not if I want a pair of pajama shorts that are long enough to cover my but, otherwise I risk a sleep wedgie. Have you ever been woken up by a sleep short creeper? Trust me, you don't want to if you can help it.

tips for sewing jersey knit fabric

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DIY Music Summer Pajama Shorts

Sunday, January 14, 2018

How to Make a Hanging Mittens, Gloves, and Hat Closet Organizer – Winter Gear Storage Made Simple!

My coat closet is a big, hot, disorganized mess! Hats, gloves, mittens, and scarves play hide and seek way too often. I can’t tell you how many times I took Lacey outside wearing non matching gloves because I couldn’t find a pair in the hall closet.


Disorganized coat closet BEFORE
I am not proud of this


I resisted organizing our hats and gloves using a hanging shoe organizer on the back of the closet door for many years because the pockets aren’t large enough to store scarves (hand knitted courtesy of my mother in law. Thanks Mom!) and they rip easily with heavy use.

The solution was to sew my own custom hanging closet winter hat, glove, and mitten organizer. If you can sew a straight line, you can make this project. It only looks complicated but it is not. I promise!

How to Sew a Closet Door Pocket Organizer