Posts Tagged ‘cotton’

One of the most common requests I receive via my Etsy shop goes a little something like this, “Can you make me one of your Team Spirit dresses except with sleeves?”  This request is usually preceded or followed by a derogatory comment regarding the requestors arms.  For some reason, women tend to hate their arms.

Well, tonight, after years of turning customers down … I can now say YES!  YES, I can offer you the Team Spirit Dress with SLEEVES.  I’ll even double your order by adding in-seam pockets if you want.

I am swooning over this jewel-toned if not total LEMON hued cotton fabric!

I am really really excited about this.  In the off chance that we experience winter in Texas this year, I think having one (okay, FIVE) of these long-sleeved versions will be awesome!

While, of course, my photos are ridiculously lousy (and I’m not ashamed about this because I have three lovely children who call me mom and not photographer…), here are a few shots of the details of this dress.

The bodice is exactly the same - except, of course, for the pleated sleeved shoulders.

I moved the ruffle to the bottom of the sleeves. No need to worry - the ruffle is still there!

My second highest request is for pockets - so I've added them as an add-on option as well. If you want to save money, leave them off and get a cross-body stachel for your lipstick!

I just might pretend it's cold here tomorrow so that I can wear this. I'm thinking ... gray patterned tights and dark gray peep toe booties. No wait ... no tights, knee high socks and fabulous leather boots. No wait....

All in all, I’m really excited about creating a “new” version of the Team Spirit dress.  It was a fun day!


Read Full Post »

I have had this project logged in my brain for about 2 months now.  I was “visiting” an Anthropologie store back in July during a huge sale.  Of course, very few things were yet in my price range, but I really enjoyed browsing around.  One of the things I saw on the sale rack was a huge scarf.  It was on clearance for about $50 – and it was 110 degrees outside.  Even if I had the bucks, there was no way I was walking out of there with a SCARF!

I didn’t take a picture, but I remember that all it was was one very long row of very lightweight fabric with ruffled sides.

Here is what I made as my version of what I remember.  (Admittedly, mine is quite a bit bigger – but such is life in Texas!)

Confession 1: This is not your average scarf. Confession 2: This is NOT a scarf for wallflowers!

If you like this little ditty …. read on….here’s how I made it for $5!!!

Start with 2.5 yards of lightweight fabric. Since I live in TX, I chose cotton because wearing scarves is more like playing house here than it is for keeping warm!

Cut 2 identical strips the entire 2.5 yard length of the fabric. I think my strips aer about 5" wide .. but make them however wide or narrow that you want. It's YOUR scarf.

Then, cut 8 identical strips across the crossgrain. To determine length, figure out how long/big you want the ruffle. Double that measurement and add 1" - 1/2" seam allowance on both ends)

Now join those 8 strips into 2 long strips. Meaning, sew 4 strips together twice.

For each of these two long strips, fold wrong sides together and press.

Tuck in a small seam allowance at both ends of the two long strips. Press. Sew ends closed.

Sew a long gathering stitch at the bottom of the long strips. (meaning the side opposite the fold) Gather the ruffles, and pin along one side of the main strip. Be sure to start and end about 1" away from the edge as shown. (to make it easier to end up with a uniform ruffle, I marked the middle to both the main strip and the ruffle strip)

Sew the ruffle to the main strip with about a 1/2" seam allowance. Then, fold up the ruffle and pin the center.

Repeat ruffle, sew, roll steps on other side. You'll end up with this concoction!

Now you're ready to get this scarf rolling! Put your second main strip on top of the "concoction" right sides together.

Pin all the way down to hold the strips and the ruffles in place. Sew down each side using about a 5/8" seam.

Now, very carefully, begin turning right side out. Remember, there are a TON of pins inside that tube - if you pull too fast you'll either stick yourself or rip your fabric. I may or may not have done both!

Now press that little baby ... you're almost done .. you just need to do something with those two ends ...

So tuck them inside the tube..

Press and sew shut.

Press very well ... and you're done!

It's big - but I think it's awesome!

It's just sooooo soft and so confident! I'm seeing this with a beautiful gray cape for winter.

And this much wow factor at your neckline - don't even bother fixing your hair - pull it back and you're done!

So, yeah, like I said – this is not a scarf for the faint of heart.  This scarf is powerful.  It’s feminine. It is NOT discreet!  =)

Of course, you can use the same tutorial and make it quite a bit smaller.  But why!?!

Cost: $5~ I got the fabric on clearance at Hancocks for $2/yd.  I used 2.5 yards.

Time: the only bad part about this project is that it is not a quick piece.  Give yourself anywhere from 1 t0 2 hours.  But I don’t think you’ll regret it!  Invite some friends over and make them together!!!

Anthropologie’s version: about $50.  sort of plain.

Handmade version: $5 – NOT PLAIN.

Take that!

Read Full Post »

Rosamund has just the sweetest, simplest little pink dress that was a hand-me-down from my aunt’s grandbaby.  It really is super simple, but I just LOVE the way it fits Rosamund….so I decided I want more just like this one.  Rather than rummage through pattern books (knowing full well that I’ve got something in my pattern hoard stash), I decided it would be faster to just copy the dress itself.  So I did.  And I love it.  She wore it to her Baby Dedication at church last Sunday.

Since I like it and I like the process, I kind of think you might too…so here is a tutorial on how to do it.  It is easy breezy because I used a dress that is simple.  Note two things – 1. it would not be as easy if the dress I was copying was not as simple, and 2. I’m copying a baby dress but it works exactly the same with a “grown up” dress!

Here's what I'm talking about ... started with the dress on the left, copied it, made another one!

So to get started, pick your dress.  Duh.

Fold your fabric and fold the dress - both down the center. I should note that for this dress, both the front and back were almost identical, so I was able to cut them out almost identically. You'll see the only difference in a little bit. (You'll need to do this step separately for the front and back if your sides are different.)

You can see if positioned the fold of the dress about 3 inches away from the fold of the fabric. This is so that my dress will be gathered at the bodice. You can see the gathering on the pink so i want that on the green, too. Also, you'll see that as I cut the curve of the skirt I created a seam allowance.

In addition to making sure to create a seam allowance, I cut the new pattern quite a bit longer than the original so that it's a dress and not a tunic. I totally guessed on this measurement - feel free to measure your little munchkin if you're into that sort of thing. Be sure to cut 2 of these skirt sections.

Now that you have your front and back skirts, it's time to make the front and back bodice sections. Lay out a double layer of your fabric, and cut around the dress - again leaving a seam allowance. For the curved portion, I just carefully tucked my scissors in between the dress and the fabric and sort of guessed where the curve is. It's much easier and much more accurate than you'd think.

Here is where you have to make the change for the front and back. The front section of the bodice needs to come down lower to get over the head. So, I just cut it down lower. I didn't trace the dress or anything, I just guessed ... as long as you cut carefully, this will work out nicely. The left photo shows 2 identical sections, the Right photo shows how I cut the front section.

Disclaimer … Warning… Whatever you want to call it.  I did make a mistake here.  The dress I copied is made out of stretch knit fabric.  I cut my new dress from quilting cotton.  What’s the big deal??  Well…this dress, if made just like the original will not fit over her head because there is no stretch to the new dress.  I should have caught this and extended the shoulder sections about an inch at the top to accommodate snaps or buttons.  I was still able to do that, but the dress won’t fit her very long because it’s tight at the arms.  Anyway, let’s move on!

Run a basting or a gathering stitch along the top of both skirt sections. Pull to make the gathers.

With right sides together, attach the skirt to the bodice. Repeat this for the other skirt and bodice pieces.

Press your seams, and you'll end up with 2 sections like this...by now it's getting exciting!

Sew your side seams.

You're going to attach bias tape all the way around the top of the bodice sections including the shoulder sections. To make this easier, I suggest curving the shoulder straps. Bias tape works gorgeously around curves!

Cut a long strip of bias tape (or use purchased bias tape). I suggest beginning at an underarm seam, but it's your dress. Start wherever you want. I'm not that bossy!

You can attach bias tape from the front first or the back first. I wanted my tape to be a design element, so I first sewed it to the wrong side, pressed it to the front, then sewed it down with a topstich. Here you see how I used my tailor's ham to help the pressing process. I don't have a photo, but once I finished pressing, using about a 4.5 stitch length, I sewed along the edge of the bias tape to attach it to the front of the dress.

Then I attached snaps to the shoulders and hemmed the dress. Almost done! Hollah!

I felt the dress was lacking a little something schnazzy, so I added a little yoyo. Love it!

And of course I added a matching headband!

And then I put a baby inside! It was IMPOSSIBLE to get a non-blurry photo of this little darling of mine, but hey - you can still tell the dress turned out! Look at the armholes - you can tell that I got lucky that my oversight turned out okay. Those armholes are tight, but perfect for about a month! Okay, maybe 2 weeks!

Truthfully, this is not a project for novice … unless you’re okay taking it slow and/or making a few mistakes.  I would say this is really more along the lines of an intermediate project…as much as I HATE saying that!  It’s still cheap though, so give me some props!

Here’s the breakdown:

Time: realistically, about an hour, depending upon how comfortable you are with bias tape.  Some of you will need 2 hours for this dress if you need to take your time cutting and applying the bias tape.

Cost: I calculated right at 1/2 yard of fabric for the whole dress, so you’re looking at about $5!!!

Go ahead y’all…sew yourself up something that you already have!!!  I dare you!!!

Read Full Post »

My little Rosamund is growing.  For some reason, with this baby, I’m very much aware of how fast this season slips away.  I’m tearing up as I type this – quick, somebody mention the weather!  Anyway, Rosamund was a surprise baby after a long discussion that we were very happy with our two children.  We were STUPID!  Rosamund is the absolute most wonderful gift any and all of us could’ve ever received … we are all grateful for her … and for her smiles in the morning!

Anyway…to the reason I sat down to post…what to do with a bored baby.  Where was I?

My little Rosamund is growing.  She is growing and she is getting bored!  Because we got rid of all things baby about 3 months before I found out I was pregnant, we have nothing for her to “do.”  No cool toys dangle over her while she lays on the floor, no rattles, no shiny things.  You get my point.  Poor little three-month-old has nothing to do.

So what do I do?

I make her something! I decided to start with something to dangle from her carseat.  (Confession:  I’m not a homebody!  Rosamund spends a lot of time in her carseat … but I’m convinced she loves it!)

This is the boring photo ....

This is proof that they really do entertain that bored baby!

These are really very simple to do, and I think they look awesome!  (is that bragging?  I hope not!)… The neat thing about these is that they can do all sorts of things – hand from a carseat, serve as a rattle, hand from a doorknob to welcome those who enter, serve as a sachet if filled with lavender, hang from a bath towel in the guest bath, a pincushion, etc, etc, etc.  I can’t wait to make more – I think I’ll make different shapes next time.  I’m not typically a heart person…but these were for Rosamund whom I heart!

Here’s how YOU can make them too:

Cut out your shapes. You'll need two cutouts for every piece. I was making 3 hearts, so I needed 6 cutouts.

For dangling toys, cut strips. Again, i was making 3 so i cut 3 strips. (If you're making pincushions or sachets, you can omit this step)

For each strip, fold it over right sides together and sew up the length, leaving both ends open.

Turn the tubes right side out and PRESS!

Put your tubes aside for a moment and locate your shapes. Mine have probably disappeared underneath a pile of laundry at this point. Anyway, once you've found them, fuse interfacing/stabilizer to EACH piece. (This keeps the fabric firm when you stuff it)

Add your rick rack or any other type of embellishment now.

Next attach the tubes. You can see I've extended the tube outside my shape so that I can be sure to catch it with my needle. Also, I've secured the tube inside the shape with pins so that I don't catch that part with my needle. Do this with all your shapes.

Sew all the way around but leave an opening for turning. (Yep, this is exactly like making a pillow!)

Turn them all right side out and PRESS! (Be sure to remove the pins before turning - otherwise OUCH!)

Now stuff with fiberfill.

If you're making toys for babies, put a couple of bells inside before closing it up.Put a pin to close up the opening and handstitch it closed.

Put them where you want them and mark where to put the snaps / buttonholes.

Finally, attach the closures of your choice (snaps or buttons and button holes) and trim the tube straps. Then, place on the carseat and watch in awe at the amazement of your little darling! Oh that this would last forever!

These really do look adorable.  I put Rosamund in her carseat this morning and she literally grinned.  REWARD!!!

I think these would make awesome Ring-Bearer pillows…can’t you just see a darling little boy carrying one of these dangling hearts down the aisle!  Dreamy!

Here’s the Breakdown:

Time: hmmm.  I didn’t do them all at one time because I didn’t have rickrack or fiberfill..so I’m going to guess about an hour.  I know, an HOUR is an eternity…but this one was worth it!

Cost: CHEAP!  Use scraps for the shapes, so the only cost is Rick Rack – about $1.50, fiberfill – about $2 for the bag but you’ll have tons left over, and snaps – about $2.  Total cost: $5.50!

That’s all for now – I really enjoyed making these!

Read Full Post »

I’ve been operating my Etsy shop, Parsimony (meaning: frugal, thrifty), for almost 3 years.  It’s been a ton of fun, and I’ve sold over 400 dresses.  If you had to look at that number twice, so did I!  I can hardly believe it myself.  It seems like I’ve only made a few dresses, but I have the records and the feedback to prove that I truly have sold over 400 items.

By far, my best seller has been and continues to be my Team Spirit Dress.

In case you're wondering, that's me on the far right! Thanks J Cota Photography for such an awesome photo!

Why am I saying all this???

Well, I’m pretty sure that I’ve sold about 200+ of this style of dress…and today I mailed off a version in ORANGE  – and would you believe I have NEVER made it before in this color?  I show this color in my Oh So Cute Tuxedo Dress photo, yet no one has ever ordered it in orange….until now.  I liked it so much, that I took a few photos and thought I’d share with you all.  Furthermore, it got me thinking about the history of this little dress…so I thought I’d share some photos of a few of the different ways I’ve created this little number.  So,  yeah, this post is for me.  A little bit of memory lane strolling.

And here are a few other options that have been created … mostly at the request of Etsy customers.  If you’re one of those women who’ve purchased this dress – THANK YOU!  I really do enjoy making each one!

I just mailed this one off to France, I believe.

Wait...maybe it was Tahiti...

Eggplant version - featuring the lovely and talented Tiffany Schwedland.

Team Spirit Hook'em - commissioned by the super fabulous and fashionable Melissa Navarro!

Canary - featuring the gorgeous bombshell Jeana Hansen!

And the original photo that started it all - Team Spirit in Cobalt.

Funny little sidenote …  in the winter time, I get about as many convos regarding my boots as I do about the dress!  Thanks hubs for the great boots from San Francisco!

So there you go – there’s little bit about my Team Spirit Dress.  Thanks for obliging me!

Read Full Post »

Well, if you read yesterday’s post then you understand why I haven’t posted much in the way of actual created pieces … I’ve been hard at work on a new non profit!  It’s super exciting, and I can’t wait to see what comes of it.

Although this fun new project has kept my mind very busy the last few months, I have actually been busy with  my machine too…several Etsy orders have been and are being completed, and I finally put my scissors to one of my favorite fabrics…I had less than 2 yards, so I resorted to none other than yet another strapless number.  This one is a tunic / mini dress.  I have to be honest – I LOVE IT!  I’m not sure I can sell it.  Still thinking about that … I think I’ll say that if it doesn’t sell by Sunday afternoon, then YAY FOR ME, I’ll pack it up and take it to Vail, Colorado with me!

Size small, hits about mid thigh. Price: $75

Isn't this just the happiest fabric you've ever seen!?!

I really like how the yellow polka dots add a little flair to the belt!

Belt doubles as a scarf!

I’ve also been working on a few things for the girls, a dress for my trip to Vail, Colorado … and my summer project – recovering these:

I found 2 of these on Craigslist for $45 total ...

Hoping they'll look something like this one from Anthropologie by the end of summer! Can. not. wait!

Okay friends … go to sleep.

And don’t forget to check out the City-Wide Sewing Class if you live near Austin!

Read Full Post »

Somewhere and somehow I got it in my head that for Mother’s Day it would be so fun to wear something with my children’s initials.  Most people would choose a necklace or a bracelet, right?  What did I choose?


This skirt won't be for everyone, but I really really loved wearing it!

I decided that a skirt bearing the initials O, E, and R was the only proper way to identify myself as a proud mom on my special day….so I used a technique known as Reverse Applique to make it happen.  Basically, reverse applique means that instead of placing something on TOP of something, you instead cut a hole out of the main piece and sew fabric underneath.

Read on for more specifics:

Start by making your favorite (ie. the easiest!) skirt pattern. Finish it up, including the hem. Then, go to the computer and play with different fonts, select the size and style you like. Print out the letters you want to use. Place them on the fabric and trace.

Squint your eyes and move your entire face to the screen - you'll see the outline of the letters. I used a good, old fashioned ink pen. Some might suggest a fabric pen, but blah blah blah. You're gonna cut outside the lines so it doesn't matter! Just be sure you don't use anything that bleeds!

Now, just start cutting right outside the lines. You'll want to use a pair of scissors small enough to not get in your way! I love my little tinies.

You can see here that I'm cutting outside the drawn line.

After you've got it all cut out, place it on your workstation (mine is also referred to as "an ironing board") and try out various different fabrics for underneath. You might be surprised what ends up being your favorite. For instance - I just KNEW i was going with this combo....

...But then again...maybe not! I thought the pattern on the blue was too large to make the letters clearly identifiable...keep trying...

I decided on a nice cinnamon solid fabric. After you decide, pin the skirt to the underfabric very carefully. You need to pin around each letter, making sure that the underfabric doesn't shift around.

Then, with a short stitch (about 2.5 or 3) sew around all the edges of the letters. You can lower your feed dogs if you like, but I keep mine up. Who has time to press a button?!:!

When you're all finished, turn the skirt wrong side out and trim away the excess underfabric. I used pinking shears, but hey, it's underneath- do what you want!

Here's my subtle little tribute to my not-so-subtle little darlings!

One more thing - I chose to use buttons for the holes in the R and O rather than cut out the little buggers and sew 'em on. I like the vintage vibe it gave the skirt.

So, that’s it!

It really was that easy – the hardest part was getting the courage to make the first snip with my scissors.  After that, it’s breezy.

Cost: the fabric was $3/yd on Etsy – so about $6 since I used scraps for the underfabric and had elestic on hand for the waistband.

Time: Oh gosh, I forgot to keep track…I’ll guess about an hour.  Maybe a little more.

I hope you’ll make one … and yes, send me pictures!!!


Read Full Post »

Today, Sew, Mama, Sew is sponsoring/hosting “GiveAway Day” and I’m participating – woot, woot, hollah, hollah, let me hear you say YAY!!!

Leave me a comment below between now and 11:59pm May 25th – and you could win a FREE STRAPLESS DRESS!

Here’s how it works: simply leave a comment below.  On May 26th, I’ll tally up everyone who commented between the hours mentioned above, and I’ll randomly draw a winner.  (you’ll need to check back to see who won, or leave me your email address to contact you if you win.)

***If you are the winner, we’ll chat about your sizing.  I’ll give you a few fabric options.  Then I’ll make your dress and ship it within a week of us chatting.  Easy as PIE!  (actually, pies aren’t easy for me, but you get the point!)

Here are some samples of what you could win:

****You can enter to win a SECOND TIME by visiting Parsimony, my Etsy shop.  I’ll be giving away another strapless there, too.  The same time frame applies!

***Also, you don’t have to be a subscriber to win.  However, you might note that I post a lot of sales and give aways here on my blog, so feel free to come on board!

Good luck – and visit Sew, Mama, Sew’s blog to find tons more blogs doing giveaways!  That’s what I’m doing right now!

Read Full Post »

CONFESSION:  I’ve never used a set of these before.  However, after playing around with some fun fabric options, I will start using them TODAY!  I admit it – I used to think they were a little ridiculous and unnecessary.  I created them only because I needed a third item to add to the receiving blanket gift pack.  However, as with anything in my life, the right fabric can convince me that I need ANYTHING!  These are no exception.

How to Make Washable / Reusable Nursing Pads – No longer just for the Granola types!  (But granolas – you’re included too!)

Here is our finished project - a pair of Nursing Pads. These here are made with flannel fabric, however you can use cotton as well. Just be sure to use soft fabric (for obvious reasons!) and fabric that is also absorbent.

What you’ll need to get started:

Fabric – definitely scrap pieces are perfect.  It requires such a small amount of fabric, so you probably won’t have to purchase any.  If you do, 1/8 yard will be enough!

Cotton Batting – NOT polyester!  Remember, you want these to be absorbent.  They’re keeping you from embarrassing yourself (or yourhusband!) so don’t skimp on this!  Again 1/8 yard is enough.


Someone in your life who is nursing a baby!

If you squint, you can see the difference here between cotton batting and polyester batting. Cotton is soft, kind of like a blanket all by itself. It cuts just like fabric and is super absorbent. (Polysester, on the other hand, is sort of like webbing - it's all netted together and has lots of plastic - NOT absorbent! Excellent for quilts, not for nursing pads)

For starters, find something round to use as a template so that all the circles are the same diameter. I used the lid to a can of peanuts. I personally don't think there's a "rule" to how big or small the circles should be - so long as they're large enough to provide sufficient coverage and not so large that they stick out. There are like thong underwear - they should be the wearers little secret!

Once you have your template, cut out 4 circles from the fabric and 2 circles from the batting.

Lay 2 fabric circles right sides DOWN.

Place your batting circles on top of the fabric circles.

Then add your final 2 fabric circles on top - right sides facing UP.

Pin well. (As you know, I only require you to pin when it's truly necessary - let's save as much time as we can, right!?! For these, the circles all move around when you sew, so you'll definitely need to pin these little darlings!)

Lastly - serge these ditties together! If you don't have a serger, use your zig zag stitch, making sure the stitch both catches all the layers AND extends just outside them. AND YOU'RE DONE!


Remember - these are slippery little suckers! Before you package them up and give them away, be sure to check the edges on front and back. Or....you'll end up with something like this. If this happens to you, just resew over the edges one more time.

These are really quite relaxing, and they’re another excellent way to use up scraps.  Plus, I think they’re really thoughtful gifts.  Do keep in mind – some women don’t like gifts that highlight their….well… you know!  Be sensitive!

As you can see from the following, I have surprising really enjoyed this project.  Of course I would, though, right!  They’re FREE, FAST AND EASY!  Love it!

You may have noticed, I can't get enough of this fabric! You can see more projects with this Amy Butler fabric here and here!

I had forgotten how much I enjoy this fabric until I pulled from the depths of my stash. See another project with this fabric here.Oh my sweetness! This is the second flannel fabric I purchased to make yesterday's receiving blankets. Soooooo soft and happy. I might have to keep these for myself.

These are made from scraps from a strapless dress I just made for a pregnant friend. It's the sister fabric to this fabric. Hmmmm. Maybe I should send these to my pal as a "happy pregnancy" gift!

Well, now I can’t figure out how to get out of this dialogue box, so we’re stuck with the gray back ground for a bit longer….

Oh, there were go!

Where was I???

Time: 5 minutes to complete ALL FOUR sets!  Honestly!

Cost: FREE if you use scraps and have batting on hand.  If not – not more than $5 if you purchase no more than what you need!  (I’m not sure if anyone ever does that, but hey, I gotta mention it as a possibility!) Woohoo!!

Read Full Post »

I’ve got a few tutorials in the works for the Under $5 & 15 minutes series .. but I’ve also got some Etsy orders that need to be cranked out.  So, for today, I thought I’d show you what’s being mailed today.  This order is a custom order.  The lovely lady loves the original “Ruffled Shoulder Dress” from my Etsy shop.  However, she has a little bit of “artwork” on her arm that she wanted to cover up for a wedding.  So, she asked for longer sleeves.  Also, she wanted something in emerald green to accommodate a ‘fascinator’ head piece that she’d already picked out.  So, I did my best.  I’m delighted with the outcome and just might need on of these myself!

The actual green of the dress is brighter than I could get to appear here. I'm not so great with photo editing ... or photo-taking for that matter! But I do love the longer sleeve length!

And here is the version from my shop:

That’s all for now … can’t wait to chat again!

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 959 other followers