Valentines – Upcycle love

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I can’t get no loving anywhere else so I guess I’ll love up on my clothes! I’m just kidding. There is tons of love in my life, just not currently coming from a romantic relationship. I know I’m where I am supposed to be. I’ve learned that love is far too complicated to understand and that I’ll just keep loving how I love and it will be the right thing. I know my plan is far bigger than I can even wrap my head around and I know that I’m not the one in charge. So for now I’ll get my love where I can get it and a whole lot of it comes from my family and friends.

This is an up-cycle post, and I will get there, but I want to start somewhere else first. I have to admit that I am one of those crazy women who are all about the LuLaRoe craze. Now I don’t have 35 pair of leggings or 25 shirts or anything to that extent, but I am a fan of the brand and have multiple pieces. Yes I think the leggings are incredibly soft, but no I don’t think they feel like butter. Butter is gooey to me and leggings are solid and not melty. My entire life I’ve been told that my clothes don’t match and then here comes LuLaRoe. They encourage pattern mixing and crazy prints and colors. I’m over here like I’ve been trying to show you how cool these crazy patterns and colors are for years now. I’m glad the rest of the world (well a lot of people) are finally on board with pattern mixing. I feel like I’ve been trying to get these weird trends going for years now or at least getting people to accept my personal style and now it’s finally happening. People are embracing and celebrating their inner wacky style and I love it. And one more note…If one more person tells me that $25 is too much for leggings I am going to hand them a mirror, turn them around, and let them see their underwear shinning through their $15 dollar leggings. And for someone who doesn’t really like to wear jeans, $25 isn’t that much for what is essentially a replacement for them in my particular wardrobe.

I told myself I wouldn’t buy Valentine’s leggings and that holiday leggings were ridiculous, but I was having a rough day and I was perusing some online groups for what was maybe a little bit of a retail therapy session. There they were. The red leggings with white hearts. The only Valentine’s leggings that I’d seen that I really liked. I didn’t have to fight for them. They were just there and no one had claimed them yet. I made myself wait 5 minutes. Was I being ridiculous? While I was waiting I came across an oversized black and white stripe classic t-shirt. This was actually something I’d been looking for for about 2 months. I didn’t feel ridiculous about quickly typing sold in that comment box. I’d been waiting on that. Then I realized how cute of a pattern mix that top and those leggings would be, so I bought them both. My best friend informed me that it had been a full moon and she had done some retail therapy that night too. Maybe it was the moon, maybe it was my blue feelings, or maybe it was just the most adorable outfit fell onto my computer screen and I hadn’t done anything for myself in a while. Either way I scored both items.

They arrived and I was super happy with my decision. As I was digging around my craft supplies I found a black and white stripe maxi skirt that I had purchased for $3 at a thrift store. It was super cute, but a size small. I mainly got it for the fabric, but when I saw it I knew it would be a part of my Valentine’s outfit. I would use it to make a long vest that is similar to the LuLaRoe style joy. I don’t own a joy because they are mainly lace and I’m not a huge fan of lace vests. It’s odd because I love lace.

(Please forgive my pictures in this post. They were all taken on my phone and not with a camera. Also, it’s really hard to see the details on such a dark piece.)

bw1Here it was in the beginning. Pretty simple. Basically a straight skirt with a roll down waist. It was soft and stretchy and perfect for my vision.

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The first thing I did was remove the waist band. Then I cut the skirt all the was down the front. Here it is laid all out on the floor.

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I used a vest I already had to help measure where I wanted the arm holes to go. I actually cut the holes bigger than the original vest because I wanted this one to be a little bit baggier and looser of a fit.

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This is what it looked like after I cut the arm holes. Now onto some sewing…

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I started by finishing the edge that would be the opening in the front. I turned the hem under and sewed all the way down the front (where the red lines are). Make sure if you are sewing with stretchy fabric you use a stitch that will stretch. I use a zig-zag stitch and a needle specifically for stretchy fabric. At this point I could have turned the arm holes under and sewed them, but I waited. It may have been easier at this point.  On the diagram there are two purple circles. These are around the fabric that will be the front of the vest. I wanted this fabric to be ruffled. I sewed a straight seam across the small section and pulled the thread to scrunch the fabric.

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After I scrunched the fabric, I lined up the top of the vest at the shoulders. I sewed the pieces together and created the shape of the top.

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Next I turned under all the fabric around the arm hole and sewed it down. I also did the same for the back of the neck creating a bit of a rounded edge.

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To finish this vest I wanted it to have 2 slits in the sides that went to the hip. I used a seam ripper to take out the current seem and then just folded the fabric down and sewed along both sides to finish it off.

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Here is a side by side of the before and after. I think I will get a lot of use out of this transformed piece.

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I really liked this vest with my 2 LuLaRoe pieces I had purchased to wear for Valentine’s day. Not too many things are better than black and white stripes, but I think 2 sets of stripes is pretty snazzy!

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Check out my date for the day. This girl is my love!!! In true girl fashion she insisted on me buying her dinner for the holiday. Honey please! I buy your dinner every day.

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Feeling a little something-something in this vest. A little feisty-ness perhaps.

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And of course a kiss to send you off. I hope you had the most lovely of Valentine’s days. I hope the day was filled with love, hugs, kisses, candy, and kindness. I love you all!

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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!

Ole Little Red Bird

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This project has been on my mind for a looooooonnnnngggg time! This is not a finished project and will never be finished. It will hopefully be an ongoing process that I keep around for way longer than I’ve been thinking about it. I opened a shop on Etsy recently. For years people have told me that I should try to sell things on Etsy. I have really been intrigued by the process of this online marketplace since I first heard about it when I was in college. There were so many parts of it that seemed so simple, but there were other things that made me feel very apprehensive. Shipping scared me, and it still does. I think it might take me a while to figure out the best way for me, but living approximately 2 minutes from the post office eases my nerves a little bit. Then there is also always nerves about how people will receive your creations. Will they be good enough to sell? Will people like them? Will they be comparable to other sellers items, but be unique enough to be purchased? Will they be priced fairly? etc…… I think those fears will probably never totally go away for any artisan. I have also really, really had to think about the finances of this thing and what was the best way to keep up with everything and make the most of what I had. I know all the kinks aren’t worked out and I’m sure I will find unseen problems along the way, but it’s a process, not a final project.

After I finally convinced myself (with a little help from some people who love me) that this was a good idea I had to figure out exactly what I wanted to sell. I’m a little bit all over the place with what I like to make. I bounce around and try all different kinds of projects, so I had to dig deep and determine what craft I would be willing to repeat over and over for a period of time and not get bored or want to abandon.

Ta-da I chose up-cycled children’s clothing. Up-cycling is economical for cost of goods, it’s good for the environment because you are using someone else’s waste, and it constantly forces creativity. This way I would not technically ever have to make the same thing more than once, and if you’ve been around enough you know I get tired of making the same thing over and over again. It’s also a constantly evolving field with trends changing seasonally so I will have wiggle room to create lots of things. I do hope that this grows and evolves and becomes more than just children’s clothing and accessories, but for now I think it’s a good place for me to be in.

Next I needed a name. Maybe that didn’t happen totally next but it did eventually have to happen. I ended up with “Ole Little Red Bird”. There is a song called “Winter’s Come and Gone” and it starts like this:

Oh, little red bird come to my window sill Been so lonesome, shaking that morning chill Oh, little red bird open your mouth and say Been so lonesome, just about flown away

So long now I’ve been out In the rain and snow But winter’s come and gone A little bird told me so

I love this folk song for many reasons. It always seems to give me comfort if I’m feeling bad about anything because it’s a reminder that you can move on from whatever is happening. The red bird brings good news of times changing. In some round about way it can be applied to my clothing too because the old worn clothing/fabrics are gone and are turned into new items just like the winter turns into the beautiful new spring. With the combination of lyrics from this song and conversation with my sister the name became “Ole Little Red Bird”. Just think of a fat old red bird bringing you good news and good clothes.

I had been collecting supplies for a while now so I did some more shopping and started creating. I would wake up early and stay up late washing supplies, making patterns, researching, and sewing. All these cute little things were starting to appear in my house, but I still had other things to do.
Luckily my sister and her husband are really great friends with an amazing Graphic Designer/Artist. I had ideas of what I wanted, but he made them amazing. After a few emails with poorly drawn and cut and paste art he created this banner for the top of my Etsy shop.
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He also created this button, which ended up being the tags in my clothes.

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They make fabric that you can print on. How freaking cool is that?  I got mine at Hobby Lobby, but I’m guessing it’s at multiple craft stores. That is what I used to make the tags and then I sewed them into the clothing.

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There is my tag in a skirt. I was so extremely proud after I sewed this first one in. It seemed so official and professional. It felt more like a real thing at this point than it did at any other time.

I still have have so much to do, or that can be done. I still have items that haven’t been listed or photographed. I’ve already started thinking about what I need to make for the fall season, and I think I’m behind on that part. This is just a side thing, but and important side thing. A side thing that makes me smile really big. I do wish I could be a little more super girl like and do 500 things at once. Or maybe I need a time travel device so I could keep going back and giving myself extra work time. The thing thats good about Etsy is that you can have as much or as little in your shop as you want, so I don’t feel as pressured with needing inventory right this moment.

Please wish me luck and hope that people will buy my stuff. It might seem like junk to some people, but I think it’s very cute junk! I’m very thankful to all the people who pushed me to do this!

Tater-Tot Tar Heel

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Football season is upon us. Sometimes we learn to follow certain teams later in life, but sometimes we are born into a fandom. I was born a Carolina Tar Heel. No if ands or buts about it. It’s just how it was. (Quite frankly now that I’m older I could really care less about football, but if I do cheer for a college team it is Carolina.) Tater-tot, my niece, was born a Tar Heel also. She was at her first football game before she was even a month old. She toughed it out through the entire season of home games and even had a Carolina Blue fuzzy bear suit looking thing to keep her warm. She was definitely the cutest thing in Keenan Stadium last year.

I had her an amazing first Birthday present, but I also like to give a handmade gift too. It needed to be a good one. A really cute light pink Carolina t-shirt came into my store, but it was a junior’s large. No problem for me. I enjoy a challenge.

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It’s cute, but it definitely needs some bling, so I took care of that problem.

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I used E600 glue and size 20 aquamarine ab stones. I got them at Hobby Lobby, but other fabric stores might carry these stones or anywhere that has dance costume supplies.

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I filled in all the letters with these pretty stones.

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I used a shirt she already had to cut this one down to size and then I sewed the sides and shoulders together with a slight zig-zag stitch.

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I just rolled the fabric in the arms under once and sewed it with a slight zig-zag stitch. Then I reattached the neck of the t-shirt to the new neck of the dress.

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I used what was left of the bottom of the shirt to make the bottom of the dress. I set my sewing machine on a zig-zag setting and lined up the bottom of the hem with the needle. I then stretched the fabric as I was sewing right over the edge. The stretching creates the ruffle. I stitched around twice to have a good amount of blue on the edge. (Confession: this ruffle technique isn’t my idea. I saw it on a tutorial once. I would really love to give the other person credit, but I can’t figure out where the tutorial is. I swear I pinned it on Pinterest, but it’s not on any of my boards. If I find it again another day, I will share.)

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I then sewed with a wide straight stitch on the other side of the ruffle boarder and pulled a thread to make the other side have a bit of ruffle too. I sewed this ruffle piece onto the bottom of the dress.

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I then used excess sleeve material to make little ruffle sleeves/wings.

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I used the same technique on these as I used on the bottom of the dress. I then sewed these over the shoulders of the dress.

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Here it the front.

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Here is the back.

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Here is a silly little girl modeling. It’s kind of long because I didn’t want to cut off any of the design on the front of the shirt. The length makes it look a little bit like a gown, but she is still precious in my opinion.

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Crazy girl.

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Hello kitty cat. So nice to see you here.

I did make her try this on after her birthday party. I’m sure she was exhausted, but I still think she is the cutest little tater-tot in the whole world!

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.