Saturday, December 24, 2011

Thrifty Gifting Part 3: Embellished Cowl Tutorial.

Fabric Flower Cowl
Yoyo Cowl

These cowls are one of the easiest items you can make. They're great as inexpensive gifts or as a treat for yourself! First, head to Target or Walmart. Peruse the $5 scarves, and choose the color/pattern you want.
$5 Walmart Scarf

I was able to score this one for $3!

Next, remove any tags.

And any frills...
or tassles.

Fold ends together so the right sides of your fabric are inside, and stitch together about 1/2 inch from the edges. 

That's it! Your cowl is finished. Embellish with a fabric flower, or yoyos.

Remove any leftover cats from your gift boxes, and place your awesome gift inside!

 Gift giving made easy.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

{getting crafty} Fabric Flower Tutorial

Like yoyos, fabric flowers make a great embellishment to all kinds of sewing projects. I love them because they're quick and easy to make.  They can even be a no-sew project for those who prefer using craft glue.

Note: I have an updated and improved hot glue fabric flower in this post. 

The first step is to determine how big around you want your fabric flower, and find a circular item around the house that's about the same size. I find that a regular soup can makes the perfect size to embellish a lot of different items.
Yeah I eat spaghettios; wanna fight?

Lay your fabric out flat, wrong side up, and trace 9 circles using a water soluble pen or chalk. Cut them out carefully.

After they're cut, take 8 of your circles and fold each in half, right side out.

Fold in half again. Your circle will look like the photo above.
For the ninth circle, fold so the wrong side faces out.

Now, choose your own adventure. You can secure each folded circle with a few stitches on the inner corner, or with a dab of craft glue. Repeat until all nine are secured in this fashion.

Set aside the circle with the wrong side out for later, and line four of your circles up like the photo above.
Overlap the inner points slightly, and secure all four pieces together. If you're using glue, you may find it easier to trace a felt circle and glue your petals down to that.

Your flower should look similar to this.

Repeat this step with your other four petals, so that you have two disc shapes.

Stack the two discs, alternating the side gaps, and secure by hand-sewing or gluing.

Top View

Take your last petal (wrong side out), and set it straight down into the top of your flower. The pointy corner should be pointing to the ground. Stitch or glue it in place.

Now you have your finished flower. If you like the edges frayed, you can rub it briskly against your palm or a pair of jeans. The flower in the next photo has frayed edges.

That's it! Now hurry up and pin it onto something cute!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

{getting crafty} yoyo tutorial.

Fabric yoyos are a great way to embellish almost anything. They add color and texture to sweaters, shoes, pillows, scarves... cats, you name it. They're incredibly quick and simple to make too!
Start by deciding how big you want the diameter of your yoyo to be. You will need to cut a circle of fabric approximately twice as large as you want your yoyo. So for a 4" yoyo, I would need to start with a circle that is 8". You can use a compass if that's your thing. I prefer to find things around the house that I can just trace.


This large soup can works great.

 Once you find your circular item, you can do one of two things. You can trace it on to paper, cardstock, or old cereal boxes to use as a pattern in the future, or you can just trace it directly onto the wrong side of your fabric. I clearly prefer the latter.
 Once you have your circles traced, cut them out carefully and start stitching all the way around the circumference of the circle, about 1/8 of an inch away from the edge. You will want to use enough thread so that there is at least an inch of "slack" left over on each end.

For a closed center, these stitches are about 1/4 inch long.
Determine what type of yoyo you want before you determine your stitch length.  Longer stitches give the yoyo a closed center, like the ones in the title photo above. If you want an open center (see below), use shorter, closer stitches.
Shorter stitches will result in an open center, similar to this one.

Get the stitch all the way around your circle...

Then pull the loose ends together so that your yoyo starts to close like a drawstring bag. Make sure the right side of your fabric is on the outside when you do this.

Continue pulling to your desired tautness, and smash the yoyo flat. Sometimes you will have to reach through the hole in the top in order to get it just right.

Once you get it to your desired shape and tautness, tie the loose ends together tightly as close to the fabric as you can, and cut off the excess thread. 
And there you have it: your finished yoyo!
Just sew, pin, or duct tape onto whatever you want to embellish!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Thrifty Gifting Part 2: Bath Scrubber and Peach Scented Bath Soak

Total Cost: $2

I originally saw this tutorial on Flaming Toes and decided to give it a go. I had an empty bottle and lots of fabric in my craft supplies, and my pantry was stocked with all of the Oatmeal Green Tea Bath Soak ingredients, so all I needed was a new washcloth (I'm nowhere near thrifty enough to give away a used one). I picked up this grey cloth at walmart for $2, along with a 50 cent measuring spoon. Bonus: I only needed half of the washcloth, so I can make a second set for myself!

I didn't have all the teas in the bath soak recipe, so I just used some that smelled good to me: A white tea with peach, and some plain green tea.

I threw them in the coffee grinder with some oats, and then into the food processor with a bit of cornstarch and some dried milk. The end result was looking pretty and smelling like peaches!
I just dumped it into the jar I had on hand:
And put some coordinating fabric on the jar to spice it up:

For the bath scrubber, I sewed a tube for the handle, inverted it, and attached it to my backing fabric. I ruffled the wash cloth by running a stitch through 2 sides and gathering, then sewed the washcloth to the backing, right sides together, leaving a space to invert it. After inverting it, I closed the space with a top stitch. And voila! Finished bath scrubber: 

I added some fabric to pretty-up the spoon, and am now the proud owner of a thoughtful and thrifty gift for my mom. 

 Of course it just wouldn't be right to give it away without making sure it works, so I'm off to the tub!
(not with the washcloth, obviously. Ew.)

Thrifty Gifting Part 1: Baby Sweater Boots.

Total Cost: $0, plus fabric I had on hand.

I absolutely love giving gifts. However, my husband has been laid off for almost two years now. Needless to say, we don't have a lot of cash after we pay our bills, but I didn't want that to stop me from giving thoughtful gifts that the recipients will (hopefully) use.

Personally, I love handmade gifts because they take a lot of time and thought. I'm hoping the people on my Christmas list feel the same way! The first thrifty gift I made was inspired by this photo I saw on pinterest.
This pattern is on sale at I Think Sew for a pretty decent price, but as I am trying to keep costs down I decided to make my own pattern. Hopefully, I can perfect it and post it here someday. From the photos, it appears that the sleeves of a suit coat were used to make the boot tops. I wanted my baby boots to be sweater boots, so I figured why not use the sleeve from an old sweater? This one to be exact:
Rescued just in time from my trusty "to donate" box. Lately I've been feeling the grey and yellow, so I had a few coordinating fabrics to choose from for my boot liners.

Once I chose my color, I constructed the liners and outers separately, and then attached them at the toes and the "rims" of the boot tops. I wanted a bit more color, so I rolled the outer boot top down a half inch and let the liners show out the top. A couple of yoyos (tutorial here) in contrasting colors made a great embellishment.
Bonus: Little Z was more than happy to be my chunky baby leg model.
Finished baby sweater boots: may be coming to a Christmas tree near you!

I had a lot of sweater left, so I made a second pair for my Etsy shop. I can't wait to try this pattern out with my old worksuit coats.