Tag Archives: handmade

“Mission: Parachute Pants” is Complete!

I trust you all had a wonderful long weekend. I know what you’re thinking: “It’s already Thursday and the long weekend is long gone“, right? I suppose you’re right. Although the long weekend officially ended three days ago, I’m still recuperating. I was camping so I needed a little extra time to catch up on my sleep and to clean up a little bit (I’ll admit it, I didn’t shower for four days).

Anyways, I am very exited to finally be able to share some photos of this project with you! As you may or may not know, I recently learned how to sew. No, I should re-phrase that. I recently started to sew (I am not experienced enough to say “learned”). I finally found a great fabric store close by so I decided that I wanted to take on my very first sewing project. After rifling through stacks and stacks of pattern books, I (for some bizarre and completely naive reason) chose my very first project: a pair of Aladdin-inspired pants!

If you are an old pro at sewing and are reading this, you are probably thinking to yourself “What in the heavens is this crazy nineteen year-old amateur sewer thinking by choosing to make a pair of pants as her first project!?”. I don’t judge you for asking that question. I considered this multiple times myself throughout the process (just add in a few “stupid”s and “freaking”s for a more accurate portrayal). I hit some discouraging moments and misunderstandings in the pattern, but as you can see, I kept going, asked lots of questions, pushed through, and finally finished!

I started the pants about a month back but hit a road block when the pattern called for “fusible interfacing”. As expected, I had no idea what that was. As a result, I packed up my gear and ignored the project for a little while. When I resumed, I quickly got stopped once again when my mom’s sewing machine broke. Luckily, my wonderful grandma lent me hers so I could get back at it. This morning I woke up, ate some breakfast, and said to myself “Today is the day that I am going to finish my pants!“. And what do you know…I did!

When I finished, I eagerly grabbed my camera and grabbed my sister and we did a little photo shoot. It may or may not have taken place in my neighbour’s backyard. (Linda, if you’re reading this, we are sorry for using your backyard. But you should take it as a compliment–we love your gardens!). We had some good laughs in the process.

Just as one last thought, I want to quickly bring up my purpose for attempting to make handmade clothing. If you have been following my blog for a while now, you are probably familiar with my “no-buying-new-clothes-for-a-whole-year” challenge. I am not buying any new clothing for a variety of reasons (you can read more about that here). As a result, I have been on a major thrifting and refashioning mission. I understand that making your own clothing is not the most environmentally friendly or ethical approach to clothing (unless you extensively research where your fabric is coming from and how it is produced), but I did find the process of making my own pair of pants very enlightening. I now understand the amount of effort and time that goes into producing a piece of clothing. By personally turning a flat piece of fabric into something wearable, I have saved someone else from doing that for me–someone who would most likely be a young child, forced to work under harsh working conditions. I have a whole new appreciation for the material-to-clothing production process. So in a way, making my own clothing from scratch can be sustainable. In the future, I am definitely interested in seeking out ethically produced fabrics and materials to make that much more of an effort to be sustainable.

I guess I’ll leave it at that. What was your first sewing project? If you have never tried sewing but are interested, what would your first sewing project be? I just want to encourage you to give it a try if you never have but are interested. It is definitely intimidating but it is also rewarding! Join in on the conversation below–I would love to hear about some of your sewing adventures. Thanks for reading!

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DIY: Braided Bracelets

Please excuse my lack of DIY posts as of late. I have some great projects lined up but I got set back a little bit because my sewing machine broke. Luckily, my grandma was more than willing to lend me hers, so I’ve been back at it. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to re-fashion a shirt that I have been meaning to do for some time. You can expect a post about it shortly (I just have to get around to getting some photos of it). But, in the meantime, I did whip together a very quick DIY that utilized the scrap materials from my re-fashion. That excites me (hip-hip-horray for recycling)!

Once again, I am thrilled to say that these cute little feminine bracelets are made of completely recycled materials. I grabbed a few of the scraps from the t-shirt I cut away at and a scrap of a floral fabric that I already had and then simply braided them together. The braid is then hand-stitched to an old stretchy hair tie.

MATERIALS 

For this project, you will need: three strips of scrap fabric, scissors, thread (in your desired colour), a needle, and a stretchy hair tie.

PROCESS

ONE: Tie the three pieces of scrap material together in a tight knot. TWO: Begin to braid the pieces tightly. Continue braiding until it is long enough to wrap around your wrist (with a little bit extra). When you have reached a desired length, sew the pieces together to secure. THREE: Begin sewing the braid to an old hair elastic. Ensure that the elastic is stretchy enough to fit comfortably around your wrist. Sew all the way around until the entire braid is attached. Voila!

They make great little bracelets that have a wonderful Spring vibe! They are so quick to make that I made a few of them at one time. I now have them on hand to add pizzaz to any casual outfit or to give as a sweet little gift. I also think they pair quite nicely with pearls (but I’m a bit biased because I love pearls with anything)! In terms of variation, you could sew your braid to a stretchy headband or even attempt a four-piece braid. Either way, they are simple, recycled, and very cute!

Thank you for stopping by and reading! I hope that you have a reason to find a smile today (you deserve it)!

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Knitting 101: Slipper Mocs

For the first time, I attemped knitting in the round. I have always been very intimidated by the process and was determined to avoid it at all costs. However, I came across one of the most adorable knitting patterns for little baby moccasins. Much to my dismay, the pattern required double pointed needles. The baby mocs were so cute that I just couldn’t pass them by. So I pulled up my big-girl panties, drove to Michaels to buy my first set of double pointed needles, and sat down with enough determination to make a cute little pair of baby mocs.

Much to my surprise and delight they turned out absolutely darling! I was left on such a knitting high. My knitting hands felt unstoppable! I began to scan the interweb for a slipper pattern that I could adapt into a pair of knitted slipper mocs for myself. I came across a great slipper pattern that seemed do-able from the search for awesomeness but made a few adaptions to turn the slippers into Native-American inspired moccasins. I made note of all my adaptions and decided to share them with you!

Before I lay out the pattern I just want to make a couple of notes. First of all, this pattern will make a woman’s size seven slipper but it can be adjusted to make them larger or smaller. The pattern will note when these changes can be made. Secondly, this pattern requires using a double strand of wool. I have found it easiest to do this by using two separate balls of the same wool and joining the strands from each ball. However, if you only have one ball of each colour, you can still do a double strand by combining the two separate ends. This may just require a little bit of organizing and un-tangling beforehand. Finally, you may find it useful to have a scrap paper and pencil on hand to note how many rows you have done. Since this project entails making two separate slippers, you want to ensure that they match exactly. This requires that you follow the pattern precisely. Now let’s get ready…

  •  1 ball of wool in a main colour (MC) (I used Loops and Threads Impeccable brand wool in Topaz)
  • 1 ball of wool in a contrast colour (CC) (I used Loops and Threads Impeccable brand wool in Aran)
  • scraps of additional colours of wool for the sewn in design (I used Loops and Threads Impeccable brand wool in Chocolate and Vanna’s Choice brand wool in Brick and Silver Blue)
  • one set of US 8 (5mm) double pointed needles
  • large sewing needle
  • scissors
  • a stitch marker

Now let’s get to the knitting…

CUFF
Using two strands at a time, cast on 36 stitches in the CC. Place the stitches on three different double pointed needles, (12 stitches on each). Join the stitches to work in the round. Be sure that the stitches are not twisted.
Row 1: K1, P1, continue to repeat to the end of the first round. Place a stitch marker at the end of this round to mark the start of the round.
Row 2-12: Repeat Row 1 for the next 11 rows, for a total of 12 rows.
Change to your wool to the MC.
Row 13: knit.
Row 14: purl.
Repeat rows 13 and 14 an additional two times each, making a total of 6 rows.
HEEL
You will now prepare the needles to work on the heel component. Re-arrange the stitches so that the needle you will be working with next has 18 stitches on it. This can be any stitches, just be sure that the working strand is at the end of this needle. The other two needles should each have 9 stitches on them. These 9 stitch needles can be ignored for the next little while. The needle with the 18 stitches on it will form the heel. On this needle, you will be working the following back and forth:

Row 1: *(s1 knitwise, k) and repeat from the * until the end of the row. It will end on a knit.

Row 2: s1 purlwise, purl until the end of the row.

Row 3-15: continue alternating between these two rows for the remaining 13 rows. You will end on a Row 1 pattern.

Now you will do some decrease rows so the three-dimensionality of the heel will begin to develop. Follow these rows exactly.

Row 16: s1 purlwise, p9, p2tog, p1, turn

Row 17: s1 knitwise, k3, k2tog, k1, turn

Row 18: s1 purlwise, p4, p2tog, p1, turn

Row 19: s1 knitwise, k5, k2tog, k1, turn

Row 20: s1 purlwise, p6, p2tog, p1, turn

Row 21: sl knitwise, k7, k2tog, k1, turn

Row 22: s1 purlwise, p8, p2tog, turn

Row 23: s1 knitwise, k8, k2tog.

This will leave you with 10 stitches on your needle and the three-dimensionality of the heel beginning to show.

PREPARING FOR THE SOLE

Next you will have to pick up some of the stitches along the side of the heel that you just knit. To do this, hold your slipper so that the cuff is on the left, the back panel you just knit is down, and the heel shape is on the right. On a separate needle, pick up 9 stitches along the side of the heel panel. This new needle will be NEEDLE A.

Transfer all of the stitches that are on the two needles that have been ignored while creating the heel onto one needle. Do this by slipping 9 of the stitches knitwise onto the other needle. This needle will be NEEDLE B.

On the opposite side of the heel panel, pick up 9 stitches with another needle. This will be NEEDLE C.

Knit 5 of the stitches from the heel needle onto NEEDLE C. Please note that this will require you to break the working yarn and re-position it. Slip the remaining 5 stitches onto NEEDLE A. This will leave you with three needles (A, B, and C). NEEDLE A and C will each have 14 stitches and NEEDLE B will have 18 stitches.

  BODY OF SLIPPER

The total number of stitches will be 46. What you need to do is get back to the initial number of stitches (36). This will require you to decrease the number of stitches on NEEDLE A and NEEDLE C so that each needle contains 9 stitches. To do this, follow this pattern:

 Row 24: NEEDLE A: knit to last three stitches, k2tog, k1; NEEDLE B: knit across; NEEDLE C: k1, ssk, knit to the end.

Row 25: Knit entire round.

Row 26-39: Repeat these two rows an additional 4 times each. When this is finished, NEEDLE A and NEEDLE C will have 9 stitches each and NEEDLE B will have 18 stitches.

 Now you will begin just knitting in the round to build the body of the slipper. This section will affect your sizing. The following will create a Woman’s Size 7 slipper, but for larger or smaller slippers, adjust the number of rows. Note that the toe aspect of this pattern will be approximately 2.5 inches, so take that into account when adjusting the number of stitches.

Row 40: Knit the entire round.

Row 41-65: Repeat Row 40 an additional 24 times for a total of 25 knitted rounds.

NEEDLEWORK

This step really could be saved for the end, but I prefer to do it while the toe is still open for easy access to the inside of the slipper. You can now sew in a custom pattern to give your mocs a Native-American flare. I chose to use a light blue, rich red, and dark brown to create my pattern, however, the possibilities are endless. There is no rhyme or pattern to this, you just have to sew in whatever you would like. This is an image of the pattern I sewed in if you would like to use it or you can come up with your own!

Thread your needle with a long string of your desired colour. Sew in the desired pattern. Leave long tails to be sewn in when the slipper is complete.

TOE

When your needlework pattern is complete and you are satisfied, it is time to return to knitting. Using your A, B, and C needles, follow this sequence:

Row 66: NEEDLE A: k to the last 3 sts, k2tog, k1; NEEDLE B: k1, ssk, k to the last 3 sts, k2tog, k1, NEEDLE C: k1, ssk, knit to the end

Row 67: Knit

Row 68-75: Repeat Row 66 and Row 67 an additional four times.

Row 76: Repeat Row 66. This will leave you with 3 stitches each on NEEDLE A and C and 6 stitches on NEEDLE B. Knit the stitches from NEEDLE A onto NEEDLE C so that you only have two needles.

FINISHING

Using a Kitchener Stitch, finish off the toe. Do this by threading your sewing needle with the working strand (double) and using it to finish. Look online for instructions on how to complete this stitch. It may look difficult but it really is not hard at all.

Flip your slipper inside out and sew in any loose strands. Flip to the right side again, fold over the cuff, and try on your new slipper!

Repeat for the second slipper.

There you have it, friends. A lovely little pattern for your very own pair of slipper mocs. Please notify me if there are any corrections or issues. If you make this project and use your own needlework pattern, please let me know! I would love to see how you personalize your own pair. Now to leave off, I thought I would show you the cute little baby mocs that inspired this project. If you are interested in making a pair, you can access the pattern from The Purl Bee.

If you would prefer to reference this slipper moc pattern in PDF form, you can access it by CLICKING HERE.

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DIY: Recycled Candle Holders

When the day is cold and the mood is lazy, something about candles just helps to warm the soul. But who says that your candles have to lack style? I completed this DIY project a few months ago, but I finally decided to post it in celebration of my appreciation for candles on this cold and lazy Saturday…

My Mom is a candle enthusiast. I like to think that my love of candles comes from her. I light candles whenever I can…in the bath, on my desk (I choose to believe that lit candles help you get those gruelling essays done in a more efficient manner), when company comes over–and the list goes on. They create such a wonderful warmth and ambiance!

I came across this DIY project while scanning the web. It was inspired by a post on Fellow Fellow (the original post can be found by CLICKING HERE) that used old glass jars. Instead of using up all of my Mama’s jam jars, I took a trip to my local thrift store instead. The glass pieces I picked out had unique shapes and were the perfect size for a little tea-light candle. The best part is that they were only $0.50 each!

While at the thrift store, I also scanned the clothing section. I won’t go into too much detail about thrifting fabrics (you can expect a post exclusively about that soon), but I will just say that by doing this you can find some awesome cost-efficient fabrics. “Grandma Shirts” (as I prefer to call them) often possess delicate floral prints and fun bright colours. I scanned through the racks and came across a few shirts that I knew would be perfect for this project. If you decide to thrift old fabrics for this project, look for light fabrics that aren’t too thick.

Now let’s do some crafting!

  • Glass jars or thrifted pieces (pictured above)
  • Thin, recycled fabric of choice (whether it be thrifted or scraps)
  • Scissors
  • White glue
  • Water
  • Cup or plastic container
  • Old paintbrush
  • Tea-light candle

ONE: Start by preparing your materials. Wash out your jars or thrifted glassware with warm water and soap. Dry the glass really well. Measure the approximate height of your jars/glass so you know how long to cut your fabric strips. After laying your fabric out flat, cut strips about 1″ wide and the appropriate height for your glass. Mix about one part white glue with two parts water in your cup or container. The mixture should be fairly watery.

TWO: Dip a fabric strip into the glue-water mixture so that it is covered with glue. Ring out all of the excess glue by squeezing the fabric strip between your fingers. Lay the strip vertically on the inside of the jar so the pattern of the fabric faces out. Using the paintbrush, push out any air bubbles that are trapped between the glass and the fabric. Repeat until the entire surface is covered.

THREE: Double-check that all of the air bubbles are out of the fabric. Allow the glue to dry over a couple of days. The thicker your fabric, the longer it will take to dry. Ensure that the glue is completely dried before you use the candle holder.

FOUR: If desired, add any additional details to your candle holder, such as a ribbon bow tied around the outside. Pop in your tealights and you have a completely customized (and recycled!) candle holder!

There you have it, bloggers–a completely adorable way to upcycle some old candle holders, jars, or other glassware! I would just like to conclude with a couple of thoughts. First of all, be logical when lighting your candles. If the tea-light candles are too close to the edge, consider using a battery operated candle instead. Secondly, if you didn’t check out the Fellow Fellow post that was linked above, you should consider clicking over that way! She has some adorable examples and the photos are stunning. It may inspire a little more creativity in you when you take on this project. And finally, these make awesome gifts! Do a few at a time. They are great to have on hand or to show someone a little appreciation and love. With that said, I’m off to conclude my lazy Saturday with a few candles, my knitting, and good a movie (Breakfast at Tiffany’s, anyone?)

As always, my friends, many blessings on your crafting endeavours. Check back for more posts coming your way. I hope you are inspired to find your smile today!

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DIY: CORNER BOOKMARKS

Do you love to read? If so, this is the perfect DIY project for you!

These adorable little corner bookmarks are quick and easy to make. They require:

  • any colour or pattern of cardstock
  • scissors
  • ruler
  • pencil
  • glue stick
  • additional decorating materials (such as extra cardstock, decorative paper, glitter, etc.)

For a complete step by step guide (with easy to follow pictures), visit I Could Make That. These little creations were inspired by the I Could Make That blog, and I hereby take no credit for the design of this DIY project.

I hope you can put your book down for at least the 10 minutes it takes to make this DIY project. Happy crafting!

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