A Pirate’s Life For Me

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About a week ago an adorable little face knocked on my door and then screamed at me through the door. She had a message in a bottle for me. An invitation to her birthday party. And she also screamed, “You make me a dress?” I knew she was coming over, but I didn’t know how funny the greeting at the door would actually be. This particular punkin head just turned 3 and is celebrating her birthday with a pirate pool party this weekend. Her mom, my boss, had asked me if I would help turn her pirate shirt into a dress for the party. How could I say no to a cute toddler screaming through the glass door on my front porch because she was too excited to wait for me to open the door? I can’t say no to that.

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Here is the original shirt. It was ordered too big on purpose so it could be made into something, but it wasn’t super gigantic. I looked at it for a while trying to come up with a plan. As I was sitting here pondering I realized I had a red and white striped shirt in my stash to cut up. Like most crafters, I just have some extra random things laying around like a bin full of t-shirts that are whole and cut up.

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This would be the perfect addition to the pirate outfit. I just needed something extra so the bottom would be long enough to make a skirt, but as I started working, it became more than just a skirt.

I started measuring and cutting the pink shirt first. It would be one shoulder so it needed to be fitted at the top and wider at the bottom. I used a seam ripper to take out the seam on the bottom of the pink shirt so I had a little extra length, cut off both sleeves, and brought the sides in. I used the red and white shirt to make layers on the skirt part of the dress. One was sewn on the outside right under the belt and the other was sewn on the inside so it hung out the bottom. On all 3 layers I cut a zig-zag design. The shirt was rolling up at the points so I ironed them down and used a zig-zag stitch over the edge. I also made one short sleeve out of the red and white with a zig-zag design at the end. I used the hem off the bottom of the red and white shirt to make a finished edge around the top of the dress and a strap on the the other side.

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Here is the finished pirate dress. I know she liked it because when I went to deliver it she immediately stripped down to try it on.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere is the detail on the bottom of the skirt. I so wish I had a serger at times liked these when I want to finish the edge of something. Lucky for me this didn’t need to be totally perfect.

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Of course there was a hair bow to match. What good is a pirate without a bow?

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Here are the left over scraps. I almost used every single inch of both shirts. It do feel quite accomplished when there isn’t a lot of waste at the end of the project. Most of this is super tiny pieces that I won’t be able to use anyways.

I’ve worked with t-shirts a bunch over the years, but I still have a few problems sometimes. T-shirt material rolls and warps. It is so aggravating. I usually iron it a little bit and that helps, but it doesn’t make it perfect. You just have to be aware so do don’t cut or sew something that is rolled up. T-shirt material is also stretchy. If you sew with a straight seam, the seam will bust when you go to put it on. I sewed all most all of this dress with a small zig-zag stitch. It allows for a little bit of stretch. You can use a stretch needle to if you want, but I never have. When I started this project I had accidentally left a denim needle in the sewing machine and it didn’t do well at all on t-shirt, so if you aren’t using a stretch needle, make sure it’s sharp and thin. One last thing when it comes to crafting with t-shirts: you can always cut more if you need to, but you can’t add back what’s already gone. Don’t go too crazy with the scissors at first.

 

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Scalloped Potato Shirt

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I have a confession. There is actually no potatoes involved in this post, but the shirt does have a scalloped design and it makes me think of potatoes.

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This is one of the few times I had a plan when I purchased an item. I thought this would make a cute tank, but once I started working it took a little more time than anticipated. I’m not sure why this before picture is so blurry and crazy looking, so sorry for that, but the shirt really isn’t all that horrible. It has some great elements.

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I started the same way I often do. I removed the shoulder pads and the sleeves with a seam ripper.

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I then took a little more fabric out of the shoulders so it wouldn’t be such a boxy tank top. I then finished the arm holes. They were a little ruffle-y looking, so I ironed them down and it took care of most of the problem.

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I used chalk to draw where I would cut out the back of the shirt. It was just a rough sketch at this point, but I made sure I cut in smooth lines. After I cut, I turned it under and sewed it down.

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Here is where the problem always lies. I don’t know why I can’t get it though my thick skull that if I buy a big shirt to turn into a tank, the arm hole will be too big. Lucky for me this time, the shirt was large enough around that I could take it in under the arm pits. I tried to make a smooth transition with the already existing seam. It was getting better, but the arm holes were still a little ruffle-y looking.

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To get rid of the last bit of ruffle in the arm hole I put a dart on each side where I am pointing to. At this point I had to figure out what to do to the back. The front of the shirt was so much heavier than the back it was pulling it forward. I added a strip of fabric across the very top back of the shirt. It is attached with a hook and eye on one side you you can get in and out of it.

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Here is the final product. I’m not going to lie it wasn’t the easiest thing I’ve ever made. This material is slippery and it likes to move when you try to sew. Some of my seams look more like snakes than lines, so you aren’t allowed to inspect this shirt when I wear it.

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I think it also looks pretty good with my pink faux leather jacket that I got for super cheap because I purchased it in the middle of the summer. Can you tell I’m already ready for fall. I think it might be my favorite season, and I think that is because fall clothes are my favorite. I’m so ready to put all my layers back on and start wearing scarves again. Lucky for me I now have this cute tank to layer. I think it would also look great with leggings and a cardigan.

Cutest Little Farmer

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Like most small towns, mine too has a wonderful little holiday that seems a little silly from the outside, but super fun from the inside. It’s called Farmer’s Day. Vendors set up on Main Street to sell various handmade goods, to pass out water bottles, and to show off farm equipment. There is all kinds of junky fair food, but the kettle corn and homemade ice creme are my favorites. Bands and singers play all day on 2 stages. It’s basically just a fun little small town festival like thing and everyone in town comes because it’s tradition.

At one point during the day they have a “Cutest LIttle Farmer” Contest. And I’m sure you know that tater-tot had to be entered. And I’m sure you know that means I got put to work on the outfit. Alex, my sister, kind of picked out some things she liked, we adventured to the fabric store, then we adventured to some thrift stores, and then I got put to work.

I started with a pair of denim overhauls. I cut off the bottom and then began making a skirt. There were 3 layers. The top was a red bandana. I found the center of the bandana and cut a circle that was the size of the bottom of the overhauls. The second layer was cow print fabric. I cut a big circle and then a circle in the middle for the waist. At this point I layered to 2 together and sewed them to the overhauls. Then I made a tutu out of red tulle for underneath. It had about 6 layers of fluff attached under there. Then there were the details that include me making little tucks in the bandana at 4 places to draw in the top to little points and adding lots of white and black polka dot bows.

Farmer's Day Costume

It turned out to be one of those things that I can’t decide if it’s super tacky or super cute. I think maybe it’s both.

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There were ruffle bloomers to go underneath. I don’t have a surger so I used a zig zag stitch on the edge to create the red border. I went over it twice. It looks a little crazy up close, but from far away you can’t really tell.

charley cowWell, tater-tot won. I think it might have had a little something to do with the fact that she sat on a rubber cow and bounced like she was riding it. I had to steal this picture because I was too busy laughing to take one of my own. I may be biased, but I do think she made an adorable little farmer. Now just because she was super cute and won doesn’t mean I will help my sister do anything to put her in real pageants. I’m not saying they are bad, I’m just saying I’m not a huge fan and don’t want to be sucked in to making lots of outfits that aren’t of my choosing.

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Here I am with the little farmer. She deserved a cookie because riding a cow is hard work.

Navy Blue Polka Dot Shorts

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Family pictures can be really good or really bad. My family decided to take family pictures at the beach during our vacation. I thought, “Please don’t make me purchase khakis and a white button down shirt.” Thankfully white and khaki wasn’t the color scheme. I know plenty of people do it and they have lovely beach pictures, but I’m just not a huge fan. Tater tot had gotten a gorgeous white smocked dress with with blue sail boats on it so the color scheme was white, navy, and an almost carolina blue color. Well guess what, no store on the freaking planet had anything white and navy for me to wear. That’s what it seemed like. I didn’t go to a bazillion stores or anything, but I was a little on a time crunch to get my stuff together before the trip. I decided to hit up my local thrift store (don’t know why I didn’t do that first). I got lucky. I found a perfect white shirt and some navy and white polka dot giant mamaw pants with huge legs and pleats.

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They are actually quite disgusting, but I swear this was the only navy pant I could find that even kind of fit me. I removed the waist band and seam ripped out all of the pleats. I cut off some of the length so it was easier to work with. I made the legs smaller by taking a seam up both sides. Then to bring in the waist I made darts instead of pleats. I ripped out the back seam and installed an invisible zipper. This might be easier if one day I actually read the instructions on how to do this instead of guessing. I then created a wide waist band out of excess leg fabric and iron-on interfacing. After I attached the new waist band to the top I used hook and eyes to make a closure. I’m not a huge fan of hook and eyes but they were already at my house, which means they were free. Lastly I decided on a length and hemmed the bottoms.

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Here are my cute little retro blouse-y polka dot shorts. I think they will be perfect for beach pictures.

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Here is the back. You can kind of see the zipper and hook and eyes.

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There I am all ready for the picture. I added a belt on top of the shorts and borrowed a navy necklace from my sweet boss because I couldn’t find any matching jewelry either. Navy must not be a popular color this summer.

Baby Gifts

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One of my best friends from college is having a baby. I’m so stinking excited for her and her husband. I started collecting baby gifts basically as soon as I found out. I love giving baby gifts. They are always just so adorable. She is also a sewer, and dancer, and basically really creative. They are a pretty eclectic couple so I wanted to make sure they got something unique and creative.

The first thing I made them was burp cloths. My sister made a ton of these when she was pregnant and now that her baby is 10 months old she is still using them. They are actually something that is practical, but also super cute.

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Here are the ones I made. I won’t tell you how to make them because there are a bazillion other tutorials very similar to these online. You can click here for a tutorial on how to make these. They are easy, adorable, and practical so they make a great gift. Plus they are kind of fun to make.

I also made a funky sock monkey. Who doesn’t love a good sock monkey? I think monkeys make a great gift for boys and girls from baby to big kid.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI like to use a tall sock so the arms and legs are really long. Click here for a sock monkey tutorial. In my true style I don’t always totally follow the directions. I don’t put anything in the tail. I leave it floppy and tie a knot in the end.

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Here is a close up of his cute little face. I always find good funky socks at Target. Just make sure you pick a pattern that can go upside down because the main sock is upside down.

My friends came for lunch last week and I had such a great time with them. We walked to a small Mexican restaurant and had a yummy lunch. I gave them all the presents I had been hoarding. I think they liked them. I hope you like them too, and get some good ideas for baby gifts.

Happy 4th with Swimsuits and Stuff

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original swimsuit

I ordered this swimsuit from dealfind for $15 and with shipping it was about $25 total. I love the high waisted because I’m a little chunky, but of course I loved the vintage feel. I thought it would be cute for summer, but especially for Independence Day. Well it wasn’t quite right when it came in. Of course it didn’t look like the picture because my body is nothing like hers. I’m not crazy enough to think that it would look like that on me. It didn’t come up as high on my body and the waist band had a tiny piece of elastic at the top that squeezed the ever living daylights out of my tummy. Yuck… I don’t need an extra roll. The buttons were so far to the sides that they were almost on my hips, the removable straps were kind of crappy, and it was black not navy. Basically you get what you pay for. A cheap bathing suit was exactly that, but lucky for me I can fix some of this stuff.

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I cut off the top striped part of the waist band and created a new waist band out of red lycra. I used the matte side out so it would blend better with the existing fabric on the bathing suit. It was about 3.5 inches wide and I sewed it to the bottoms with a zig-zag stitch for stretch. I then moved the buttons about and inch and a half closer together. I also used the red lycra to make straps for the top. I placed them farther to the sides than I usually would, but I liked the look. I then added a bow to the center top.

I definitely ended up with the vintage-y feel that I was going for. It did feel a little like a dance costume though. I guess I could add rhinestones and a hat. Then I could do a dance to “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.” Maybe I’ll save that routine for another day. I ended up wearing it with a red bandana tied in my hair and red sparkly earrings. At the pool I said I didn’t have to go under since I had a hair accessory and earrings. I don’t usually mind swimming, but a certain host likes to snap pictures at their 4th party so I tried to not look too much like a wet rat while I was there.

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Of course I needed a selfie to document the day. What would the internet be without selfies?…Probably not too much of anything. JK. It would probably be way better, but oh well.

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Here is another picture from my fabulous 4th of July. It’s my dad and my sweet tater-tot of a niece at the fair. We went to see fireworks. It was a wonderful night!

Moral of the story: My holiday was wonderful and I hope yours was too. Also, chunky girls can wear 2 pieces too. Sleep well tonight everyone!