Football Fashionista

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Every once in a while artists and creators hear some great words that sound a little bit like, “Make whatever you want.” For real? I don’t have limits? Maybe a few limits, but I was granted creative liberty on this particular project, and I was so freaking excited! (If you couldn’t already tell.)

I love up-cycling and I love making children’s clothing. I think both can be super creative, fun, and don’t have lots of rules! Children’s clothing allows for much more cuteness and freeness than adult clothing. I was commissioned to make some pieces of clothing for a little nugget and here is the story…

There is an uncle who is a high school football coach and there is a niece that attends almost all football games. The uncle has lots of t-shirts representing the school so the mama asked me to make some cute stuff for the nugget to wear to the games out of the old t-shirts. Most specifically she wanted some warmish items (for chilly nights) and maybe some dresses (because that’s kind of my specialty).

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Here are the starting supplies. Tons of shirts from her uncle and 2 jackets from her mama. I made 4 pieces and here they are.

1- For the first piece I used the most vintage looking t-shirt and the corduroy jacket. I felt I could play on the vintage feel with these 2 items.

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Along with the vintage feel of the fabrics I tried to choose a classic shape. Fitted at the top and looks a little bit like a jumper and then more full at the bottom. I thought it was kind of classic/preppy/football seasonal looking.

Check out these cutie details – ruffles and elbow pads!!!! Makes me smile!

2- For this dress I used a shirt that was designed by her uncle, so I wanted to used the whole design of the shirt and include the last name on the back.

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I’ve made lots of t-shirt dresses so I kind of kept my usual shape with this one. It was easy to pull from knowledge I already had, plus I was able to keep the full design of the shirt. It’s basically an A line dress with short sleeves and a ruffle bottom. I wanted at least one short sleeve item for her to wear while it’s still warm outside. You can always layer later.

I attached the sleeve almost like a baseball tee would have the sleeves attached. I was able to make the best use of my supplies by doing it this way. And the ruffles – a perfect addition to all little girl clothes.

3- This is where I went wild and totally didn’t follow the guidelines, but it’s my favorite of the 4 pieces and I’m glad I veered off track. When it’s chilly outside you have to cover up your cute clothes with a jacket, so why not make a jacket?

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I mostly used one of the jackets for this project. I sized it down from adult to basically a 5T, created a stand up collar, used excess for a ruffle bottom, and lined the sleeves for a pop of orange as they roll up. For the back I used iron on interfacing to make a giant stiff patch that was then sewn into place. I made bows for the front and used the original buttons from the jacket.

I know I’ve already told you how cute ruffles are, but seriously??? I can’t even handle this. It really is one of my favorite up-cylce projects that I’ve ever made. I don’t want to be a cougar, but I would totally rock a jacket like this in my size! I’m very proud of this one. (Okay…I’m proud of all of them, but this one really is the best!)

4- This was the most simple of the pieces and it was created from the same t-shirt used in the jacket and then scraps from the navy dress.

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It’s a simple, sweet, elastic waist pull on skirt. It’s soft comfy and will look great pulled up high on her waist or sitting more on her hips. It would look pretty with the jacket or just a plain t-shirt. Tights look adorable with skirts and so do suspenders.  It’s mainly just a little something that she can probably wear this year and next.

Hello football fashionista! This kid might be the best dressed cougar at the games. My mom made clothes for me and my sister growing up, but not too many kids get the opportunity to have someone make custom clothes for them. I always felt so special having my “own” clothes that no one else had so making kid’s custom pieces is so exciting. You get to allow a child to feel super special and unique! I heard she put them all on for a fashion show at the house and modeled like a champ! I know she will be knocking everyone’s socks off at the games!

I know you already know from my previous excitement that this was fun for me. Seriously it was a blast! One night at around 1 am I had to force myself to go to bed but I didn’t want to stop working. It’s been a while since I’ve really thrown myself into a project with that much gusto. Maybe this was just the change up I needed to get me re-excited about all my projects. It really has been a bit of a kick in the butt to get me going again. I’m thankful for a friend and her daughter who trusted me to “make whatever I wanted”. It’s always nice to have someone trust your judgement and it’s always nice to let loose and have fun with sewing. This project was definitely fun! There were some t-shirts left over, so maybe there is more of that in my future. ; )

Carolina Girl-Game Day Ready

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In my last post I had made a dress out of one of my dad’s old shirts. I wore it to church last Sunday and had tons of compliments. Some of those even came from people who hadn’t seen the blog post or known that I had made it. I don’t know about you, but it makes me feel good when someone compliments my outfit, and it makes me feel even better when the compliment is directed at something that I have crafted myself! I really loved wearing it. It is super comfortable, but not sloppy. It was a little bit structured and a little bit loose and still had some girly elements to it.

I had an event coming up (which has past now because I just got home from it) and I wasn’t planning on making anything to wear. I didn’t really think I had time and I figured I could just wear something I already had. But like always…the crazy kicked in and I knew, while I was at church, I wanted to make another of these dresses to wear. I left church, checked the time, and hurried over to the thrift store. I knew exactly what I wanted. Well, almost exactly. I knew it needed to be a shirt that was carolina blue and big. They had exactly what I needed, and I actually headed home with 2 shirts.

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Here we have the 2 lovely shirts. Please ignore the wet hair and pretend I look decent in this photo. I was on a time crunch and had to take the photos when I could.

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First things first – cut off the collars and the cuffs and store them for an awesome project one day. I actually have a whole little tote container of them. Let me know if you have any ideas. I’m still waiting on something great to pop into my head.

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I cut off the sleeves as close to the seam as possible as to save material. I didn’t take them time to seam rip it because I knew I would make a new arm hole anyways.

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I put the shirt on and determined where the new shoulder would be. I also put some pins under my arms to try and figure out where the bottom of the new arm hole was going to be. This is honestly the hardest part because….men’s shirts have gigantic arm holes and women do not typically have quite as giant arms or need as much room. The smaller you make the arm hole the tighter you are making the shirt across your chest. It’s not too bad for me because I don’t have much in the front to consider, but I also didn’t want the shirt bulging open at the buttons. Unfortunately I didn’t make them the correct size. I pulled the shirt too tight, but keep reading and you will eventually see the solution.

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After marking the new arm holes I cut the seams down the sides of the shirt. I used the cut off sleeves to create a new more feminine sleeve. It attaches more at an angle instead of straight out and has more of a curved line than a men’s sleeve would.

After the sleeves were sewn to the shirt I then sewed the sides back together all the way down. I sewed on an angle down the side of the shirt so the bottom of the dress would still be full and the top more fitted. It I guess was kind of an a-line.

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I used fabric from the other shirt to create a cuff for the new sleeves. It just gave it a cute little finished touch on the sleeve and some contrast.

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Because button down shirts are curved at the bottom they make awfully short dresses when you hem them straight across. I used fabric from the other shirt to add a few inches of length to the bottom of the dress. I loved the blue and white accents on the bottom and on the sleeves.

After I finished the bottom. I finished the neck line by just turning it under and stitching it down. I worked great on the last shirt dress and this one also.

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Here is the finished project. The event was a Carolina Tar Heels football game and my dad’s fraternity reunion weekend. (I’m sorry for the quality of this picture. I took it in the hotel room and thought it looked fine until it was on my computer and it didn’t look very fine at all, but it’s the only fully body pic I took this day.) I wanted to make a dress for this because I knew it would be a hot day and a dress would be cool and comfy. You can see that my solution the the tight armpit holes was to just add a tank underneath and leave a few buttons open. I like how it turned out and I even liked how it looked with open buttons at the top.

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This dress went great with morning Bloody Mary’s…

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And this dress also went well with afternoon pre-game beers!

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We made it to the game and I took a stadium selfie to prove it. It was hot and I was a little sweaty at this point, but feeling comfy in my dress. I did sneak in a little nap during the 2nd quarter. Football is long and I was tired from partying with the guys from the night before. You might not should be jamming to Janis Joplin with your dad’s fraternity brothers at 2:15 in the morning when you know you have a long day the next day. It was fun though!

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Here is one last picture to prove that I was actually at a live sporting event since at least one person was convinced that I would not go. Haha. Maybe I shouldn’t tell people how much I dislike sports. I’m not big on sports at all but this entire weekend was great and even the game was fun. It’s always more fun when you win!

Plaid Shirt Dress

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It’s been almost a whole year since I’ve last blogged. It’s not because I don’t care any more or haven’t though of it…I just haven’t done it. It seems like every time I’m working on a project I’m finishing it last minute and don’t have time to photograph it. Basically I’m just a slacker in the crafting, and then writing about it, department these days.

After coming back from this long hiatus I should be full of insight or have something great to tell you, but I don’t. Over these past long months I’ve learned a lot about myself and others. I’ve learned that I’m much stronger than I thought I was, but that I also still need someone to hold my hand sometimes. I’ve learned that people don’t always do what you expect and sometimes it’s in a good way and sometimes it’s in a bad way. I’m working on “putting myself out there more” like someone suggested. And that will hopefully be leading to new friendships and new opportunities…But I’m not really ready to talk too much about all this stuff. I might be ready to share in time, but now it’s not the right time.  So let’s get to the craft part.

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Here we have the before pictures. This is a lovely shirt that I inherited from my dad. I know its a super nice shirt and I might not should have chopped it up, but it doesn’t quite fit me and I don’t think giant preppy man’s shirt is the best look for me. But I do love this shirt!

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I started with my usual process. Disassemble all the pieces! I took off the collar and the cuffs and stored them with all the other collars and cuffs that I have no idea what to do with, but one day will have a brilliant idea. I also cut off the sleeves.

Sometimes when I up-cycle I kind of used the item as fabric, but this time it was more of a sizing down process. I also didn’t take any more pictures of the process after this one. I forgot I should be snapping pics when I plan on blogging. I’m out of practice. I will just tell you what I did instead. After I cut the appendages off I put the shirt on and measured where the new shoulder should be and I created smaller arm holes. I used the sleeves I had taken off to make short sleeves for the dress. I turned the neck under so it would just be a round neck dress without a collar. I made a straight hem at the bottom of the shirt and realized I had made a really short dress. You know how the sides of button up shirts are shorter? Well, when the whole dress was that length all the way around it was a little much. It could have been a tunic, but I wanted a dress so I dug through some scraps and found a scalloped lace piece to add to the bottom.

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Here it is. Front view. I actually really like the finished product!

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View from the back.

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Get a good over the shoulder look too!

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I love looking down to see these fun patterns and cute (almost warn out) boots!

IMG_1320In the past 6 months I have probably put on make up like 5 total times. I just stopped wearing it. Today was one of those times. I hope you are impressed with this effort! It was all for you. I need to wash my face now.

This dress can also make a super cute fall outfit….

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Bring on the colder weather. Tights and cardigans are my favorite clothing!

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Now if you would please stick a marshmallow on this stick for me to roast. I need the fall to be here soon, but not that pumpkin spice crap everyone else wants. I want crisp air, scarves, and bonfires.

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One last pic. I hope you have a lovely evening and that fall gets here quickly so we can all enjoy the best season there is!

An Ultimate Up-cycle

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I’ve been dropping hints about this project for months and am beyond excited to finally write about it and share it. This was the most daunting project that I have ever taken on, but it might also be the most rewarding. I probably have just as many emotions about this dress as I have when I watch “Steel Magnolias”. I cried over it a little, but ultimately I am extremely happy about the outcome and very proud of myself. This was not an easy task and it’s not just something I would do for just anyone.

You see, I love Kat. She is an amazing person and friend. As she was planning her wedding she approached me with a task that she thought I could take on. At the time she obviously had more faith in me than I had in myself. She wanted me to turn her mom’s wedding dress into a reception dress for her. Ahhhhhh……… I knew it would be very difficult. My biggest fear was that I was going to mess up. You can mess up anything, but when you are up-cycling a wedding dress you have a limited amount of fabric. If you ruin the fabric, you are screwed. There is no more to work with!!! I don’t know how many days I looked at it and thought, “Maybe tomorrow I will be able to cut it.” I had to really work on my confidence before I started this bad boy.

I’ve been thinking about this blog post for a while and trying to figure out just how to write it. I often think in spider web form instead of in a linear fashion, but I want this blog to make sense. I believe I will just tell you what happened chronologically and try to leave out as many unnecessary things as possible. This is not really a “how to” blog because I truly believe you could never do 2 dresses like this exactly the same. It wouldn’t really be that important to give you instructions. I do however want to share with you the process, so let’s start at the beginning.

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The first thing we did when she brought the dress over was play with the veil. A crown and floor length veil aren’t for everyone.

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For real though, this thing was massively long and massively fluffy. Totally over the top! I actually didn’t end up using anything from the veil, but it was too fun not to share.

dress 1This is the front of the dress. As you can see, it was damaged during the preservation process. My advice to every bride now…Don’t preserve your dress. I have actually heard of many horror stories about preserved dresses being ruined when they opened them up again.

IMG_0067Here is the back. Can you imagine that train with that veil? It would be a little overkill now, but when her mom originally wore it, I’m sure it was quite lovely.

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The beauty of this dress was actually in the detail. These lace appliqués are actually very very gorgeous.

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This is the lining that was worn under the dress. You can’t see it in the picture, but this part actually feels a lot like plastic. I have no idea what it was made out of, but it was a little bit yucky.

After I had the dress and looked at it for about a week I decided to come up with a plan. One issue with this was that this dress was super tiny. Kat is very fit and athletic, but the waist of this dress must have been like 10 inches around. That might be an exaggeration, but you get my point. I couldn’t use the bodice of this original and change it. I had to create whole new dress from scratch. The good part though was that this dress was super long and I had plenty of fabric to work with even though I panicked at the beginning.

One day I was at Hobby Lobby and their patterns were on sale for a dollar. I don’t usually use a pattern, but I figured it would hurt to look through and see if there was something I couldn’t live without.

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I found this pattern and I knew it was perfect. It would show off her awesome legs and her tattoos, just what she wanted. It also has a very fun vintage-y feel to it that would make it fit with her personality and the rest of her wedding. You can see where I drew on the pattern. I didn’t love the back and ended up changing it.

Time to get to work….

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The first thing I did was disassemble the dress. I took off every piece of appliqué with a seam ripper. It was very time consuming because I didn’t want to ruin the appliqués or the fabric. I knew I would need almost everything.

dress 3I told you the beauty was in the appliqués. These things were gorgeous and I just wanted to stick them all over my house because they made me smile.

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After I took all the lace off I realized the dress was actually pretty dirty. Once again, it shouldn’t have been because it was preserved. I had to enlist my mom for some help on this one. I didn’t know how to clean everything with out ruining the pieces. One Sunday night after family dinner we gave all the pieces a Biz bath.

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This Biz stuff is pretty awesome. It took off almost all of the dingy stuff. I loved seeing all of the pieces laying out to dry. It was quite amazing how much detail was put into this dress.

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That night at home, the dress and lining got a Biz bath in my bath tub. I couldn’t believe how dirty the water was once I took the dresses out.

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It took them quite a while to dry. My bathroom floor got really wet.

So far what I have done was pretty easy, but I knew the hard part was quickly approaching. Not too quickly. I had a few months to get this completed, but I couldn’t hold off forever. There were many days when I pulled out the dress and the pattern and decided it would be a good day to start. Then I would think, “If I had just one glass of wine I would be a little more relaxed and probably way more focused on cutting straight lines.” Then I would perhaps have that glass of wine and think, “What was I thinking. I can’t drink and sew. That’s absurd.” So another day would pass and I wouldn’t have started.

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I got the giant dress all laid out and pinned the pattern pieces to it. It was like a puzzle trying to figure out where to cut the pieces from. I knew there could potentially be some weird seams different places in the skirt, but I managed to line it up so there was only 4 seams; the two on the sides and one front and back center.

IMG_0099After cutting and sewing this together I swore of ever working with slippery fabric again. Not only does it move, but there were 2 layers to cut and sew through so it moved way more. I might have used an excessive amount of pins to hold everything together. I couldn’t be too cautious while working on this project.

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I also had to use the liner to be the liner of the new dress too. It did feel like yucky plastic, but I was determined to only use this dress and not add any new fabrics to this project. I cut off the tulle underneath and puzzle pieced the pattern together on this too. It was more difficult because this dress was shorter and had much less fabric to work with. I had to get creative and ultimately the liner of the new skirt was not quite as full as the outer layer.

After I made the initial shell of the dress, I installed an invisible zipper. Zippers are the most difficult thing in the world to me. I feel like I can do so many things, but not this, no matter how hard I try. It only took me 2 tries to get it lined up correctly and I was thankful for that. I might have given up if I had to try again.

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Now it was time for the interesting part. I started to put the appliqués back on this dress. I pinned them to the front in a shape that I thought looked nice and I had Kat come over for a fitting. At this fitting I made sure the bottom of the dress was even all the way around and I made the straps for the back of the dress. At this point it was totally backless and I pinned appliqués together to make it almost like a racerback, but kind of like and “x” shape.

After this fitting I carefully sewed all of the appliqués together. I also added snaps various places to make sure she could get in and out of the dress. And I added the scalloped trim from the bottom of her mom’s gown to the bottom of her fun dress. Since the dress was so short, it helped weigh it down a little bit, and it also looked great.

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The last thing I made was headpieces. The small one was for her wedding dress, to be worn with her birdcage veil, and the bigger one for the reception dress.

I was finished and sworn to secrecy. Many people knew I was making this dress, but I wasn’t allowed to show anyone. I didn’t even take pictures of it because I knew I was too excited and I would slip. The bad part is she didn’t end up keeping a secret. She showed her mom the surprise. I guess I wasn’t the only excited one.

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Before I show you the finished product, I just wanted to show her mom from her bridal portraits. She is still just as lovely today!

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Ta-Da!!! Here is the dress from the front and the back. I loved how it turned out.

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Here we are at the wedding. I love these pictures of us. She is such a special friend!

The wedding was absolutely perfect. It was an amazing (and hot) day, but mostly amazing. It was so much fun celebrating with her, her new husband and daughter, and her awesome family and friends. I wish everyone this easy of a wedding day. I also wish them the amount of love shown.

Granny Kimono

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I saw this awesome DIY vest on Pinterest. It is so stinking cute and I want it! The only problem is that I’m too short for it. The tassels will hang almost to my ankles. I know long and baggy is trendy, but I don’t think excessively long is very popular. Also, I couldn’t really figure out how I would have finished the arm holes to make it look good.

So, I didn’t make this vest, but it was totally the inspiration for my latest project. I’ve seen girls wear these little kimono jackets around lately. I’ve thought they were kind of cute, but not cute enough to spend my money on. I figured out a way to make a vest/kimono like jacket thingy out of a scarf. I will apologize in advance for crummy pictures. I couldn’t find my camera so I used my computer. Here goes the up-cycle…

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Here is the before picture. I chose this scarf because it’s been with me a few years. I’m kind of tired of it, and it’s a little bit dressy so I thought it could be a cute jacket thingy.

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I stretched the scarf out flat on the floor. They like to move when you try to cut them so be careful. I cut off both ends and cut 2 arm holes. I used a shirt of mine to kind of figure out where to put the holes for the sleeves. I cut ovals instead of circles because I thought it would make it hang better. The holes needed to be the same size as the sleeve, so they can be attached easily. I cut the circumference of the hole to be the same as the width of the scarf.

Since this fabric will fray and ravel quickly, I zig–zag stitched over all the cut edges. On the ends I rolled the hem 2 times and sewed a straight stitch. For the sleeves I used the ends of the scarves. I folded them in half and sewed the opening together to make 2 tubes (or sleeves). I then lined up the opening of these tubes with the holes I cut and sewed the sleeve to the jacket.

Photo on 10-12-14 at 11.33 AMHere is my jacket.

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Front view with a not so goofy pose.

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Back view. You know the combat boots set it off.

If I were to do this project again, which I probably will, I would change a few things. I would actually cut circles for the arm holes instead of ovals. At first I thought the oval would make the sleeve hang better, but I think I was wrong. Also I would cut my arm holes closer together. I used a fitted t-shirt for measurements, but I think it needs to be cut more like a vest and the sleeve should start farther into my back. I would make the sleeves shorter. Last thing I would do is lower my arm holes so there is more draping material around the neck. That part is just for aesthetics.

I thought it was cute, but when my sister arrived at work today she told me it looked like something a grandma would wear. So be it if I look like a granny. I don’t care. Granny’s don’t wear combat boots with their kimonos!

License Plates For Lovers

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Using license plates to make signs is pretty neat. I know it’s not an original idea, but this project definitely has my spin on it. I’ve made a few in the past, but someone requested one for a wedding gift so I pulled out all of my rusted up/cut up license plates and got to work. I figured you might like to see the process too. The hardest part is finding plates that are unique and not too expensive. You really have to search.

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I began by laying out all of the letters I had previously cut to see what I was missing. I was missing a few letters, but not too bad. I searched junk shops and antique malls to find license plates with the missing letters. I try to find all different types of tags with different colors and fonts.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere I am ready to cut some license tags. I use a little Dremel Saw Max that my step dad got for me about 2 years ago. My first power tool (and only one to be exact). I am also wearing goggles because my step dad said he didn’t want to drive me to the hospital when I got scrap metal in my eye.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI use clamps to hold a board down. I use this as a guide to make sure I’m cutting in a straight line. I then use another clamp to hold down the license tag so it doesn’t move while I cut. I use gloves because the metal gets pretty hot while cutting, and there are sharp edges. Some tags throw off a lot of sparks so I try to work quickly and accurately to make a smooth straight line.

After all of the letters were cut, I found a big frame. I painted the frame black. Then I cut a piece of cardboard to fit into the frame.

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I covered the card board with fabric and then used hot glue to glue the letters to the board.This is what the sign looks like before it is put into the frame. It could say anything you wanted it to say, but this is what was requested this time.

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Here is the final project from the front. I put the cardboard piece into place and then use a little bit of hot glue to hold it in the frame. It will be a great present for an eclectic couple.

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I then used brown paper to cover the back so it has a nice smooth surface and you can’t see the covered card board. I also added a little hangy thing to the top so the picture can be hung on the wall. I might be most proud of being able to put that little thing into place. Holding a nail that tiny is very tough.

Word got back to me that the couple loved their frame. I get so excited when people enjoy my work! I also recently made one for my best friend’s birthday, and he liked his too. I think this ends up being a pretty cool project that both males and females appreciate.

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

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I like to give themed presents. For instance, at baby showers it’s fun to give a whole tub of bath supplies and some books about bath time too. Everything goes together and the presentation is so cute. This time it wasn’t a baby shower, but a 3 year old birthday party. (It’s the same 3 year old that is having a pirate party.) It all started with a puzzle. A giant Dr. Seuss floor puzzle. At that moment I knew I had to have a Dr. Seuss theme. In the present there were also multiple books, a cat in the hat bag, a water bottle, and a dress/tunic (thats what this post is really about). I’ve been gathering items for a while now, so when a super cute “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish” shirt came into the store I knew I had to do something with it. It couldn’t go as is because most 3 year olds don’t wear juniors size XL.

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Here is the shirt. It’s actually very cute. The fish are metallic and in general, it’s just fun!

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I laid the shirt out flat and started by measuring out how wide the top of the dress needed to be.

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I then drew a rough outline of where I needed to cut, and cut out the shirt. I had to make some tiny adjustments as I went, but when I work with t-shirts I feel like they don’t have to be exactly perfect and it usually works out just fine.

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I sewed down the sides and sewed the shoulders together on the inside. I used a small zig-zag stitch to make sure the seam would stretch a little bit. I used the same zig-zag stitch for this entire project.

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I turned under the neck and the arms just once and pinned them down. I stitched them into place.

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The next thing I did was make 2 bows. I used the scraps from the sleeves of the shirt. I cut 2 rectangles and folded both of the long ends together to make a little pocket like the photo above. I sewed down both sides. I then flipped this little pocket and turned it over. I used other scrap material to gather the middle together.

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Here are my 2 finished bows. I just tied the material around the middle and sewed it into place and I was sewing the bows onto the dress. I gathered both shoulders of the dress and sewed a bow onto each shoulder.

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Here it is. It’s kind of a dress, kind of a tunic, and it kind of looks like it would be a great pool cover up. It’s pretty comfy so it might even be a night gown. Either way, I liked it.