Fabric Keychains

Ever dig into the depths of your purse trying to find your car keys, while simultaneously juggling groceries and a wiggly toddler? Well I have. One too many times. Today I would love to share with you how to make these fabric keychains that can be worn around your wrist for easy access. Let’s get started.

For this project you will need:

First, cut your fabric so that you have a strip of each material that measures 2.75 (2 and 3/4) inches by 13 inches. Cut 1 strip of your fusible interfacing to measure .75 inches by 12 inches.

Iron both strips of coordinating fabrics a 1/4 of an inch down both sides with the right-side of the fabric face down on your ironing board.

I use a piece of card stock paper to fold the material over to give me a nice even hem line.

When both fabrics have been ironed, fold the material in half length-wise and iron. Be careful to match the edges up nicely.

Take your strip of fusible interfacing and place it evenly between your two coordinating fabrics. I make sure the folds of each ironed fabric are on opposite sides.

Iron these together. This will temporarily fuse the top and bottom materials together so they are easier to sew, and will make your key chain a little sturdier.

Now sew along both edges of the key chain. I sewed mine fairly close to the edge which was about an 1/8 inch seam.

Now, take your purse clip and slide it onto the key chain. Be sure that the clip is on top of the material you want to be on the outside of your key chain. Place the two raw edges so that one is overlapping the other one about 1/4 of an inch (or to the fusible interfacing).

Sew these together using a zig-zag stitch several times back and forth so that it does not come apart.

Take your strip of 4 inch ribbon and burn the edges with a lighter or a match to seal it so they do not unravel. Do this very carefully! Move the purse clip around the key chain until the seam is about 1/4 to 1/2 an inch above the clip. Take the ribbon and wrap it around the area where the two ends have been sewn together. Tuck both ends of the ribbon to the inside of the key chain.

Pin in place and sew the top and bottom of the ribbon. I changed my thread color so it matched the ribbon and was less noticeable. Remember to reinforce your seam. I went over it twice so it will hold up.

And there you have it…a cute and functional key chain.

 

Make a Cute Flirty Apron


I have seen some cute aprons all over the internet and have been wanting to make me one to replace my stained and UGLY old one. I used this pattern which I was able to purchase from Ben Franklin (with a 40% off coupon) and love it. My daughter is modeling it for you. My husband absolutely refused and the pictures he took of me wearing it, made me look as if I had been the victim of some serious accident involving the loss of some major limbs.

If you would rather use a free pattern there are a bunch of links TipNut has already found and compiled for you here.

The material was purchased at JoAnn’s and is called “Sweet Cherry” from Alexander Henry Fabrics Collection from 2004. Having a cute apron makes me want to be in the kitchen just so I can have an excuse to wear it.

Girls Dress Made From a Man’s Shirt

Here is the tutorial I promised you before I left for Summer Camp.

I came across this super cute tutorial for making a man’s button down shirt into a girls dress and knew I would make one.

I followed her tutorial and made the dress body. I wanted the bodice to come up a bit higher than just under the shoulders, so I cut out two round notches under her arms and using my daughter wearing the bodice to eyeball how much of a half-circle to cut. I of course then sewed a seam on these new arm notches.

Then when it was time to make the sleeves (shoulder straps), I improvised and came up with something that would give my daughter more coverage on her shoulders.

I cut out two peices of material to cover the front and back of her shoulders. I used material that measured 8 in by 7 in. You will have to decide what will work for your needs and for how it fits your daughter. Remember to leave a 1/4 to 1/2 inch extra for a seam allowance.

Next I cut two peices of material for the ruffle sleeve. I made this just like I did for the Pillow Case Night Gown here. I made my cap sleeves so that they were cut in the shape of half of an oval with the length measuring 9 in and the widest part of the oval measuring 3 inches.

Take your square peices and fold over a 1/4 seam on two opposite side and iron flat.

Take your half oval (cap sleeve) and pin it on top of one of your ironed down seams like the picture below.

I wanted a few ruffles in the sleeve, so the lengths did not match. Pin it so the ends match up. There will be some wrinkles where you pin it. This is what you want. If you do not want it to be ruffled, make your lengths the same size.

Now fold the end without the cap sleeve pinned on, over and line it up with the other end of the sleeve. Add some pins to hold in place. When it is pinned, sew them together.

Now try your dress on your model and pin shoulder straps in place. (I forgot to take a picture of this. If you need a picture, I took one that was similar in my pillowcase nightgown tutorial). When shoulder straps are pinned in place, sew them onto the bodice of the dress in the front and back.

Now you should be finished! This dress is so simple and cute. My daughter has already worn it several times. I have plans to make another slightly different one when I can find some time. I thought summer would slow us down, but I have not sat still for a long time and its not looking like I am going to get there any time soon. Any one else feeling the same way?

Kids Pet Carriers

My girls both wanted one of those fun little stuffed dog pet carriers that you see everywhere. I could not find any that weren’t all glitzed out and all hot pink and furry, which is not really my style (and therefore not my girls style :)). So for Christmas this past year, I made them each a pet carrier. I found this pattern on ebay for $3. It was BRAND-NEW! Wahoo! The pattern is McCall’s M5151. I made the carrier that is pictured on the bottom left. My girls love them! I am scared to death of real sewing patterns when someone isn’t there or there isn’t a picture detailing every step. But they were actually pretty easy to figure out. I did get a bit confused on sewing the lining in, but I (and the bags) came out unscathed!


How to Applique Shirts…or Anything!

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I have seen applique tutorials all over the internet and decided that I too wanted to give it a try. I made my new little neice and my baby some cute appliqued shirts. But really, you can put applique on pretty much anything.

You just need a pattern/picture, something you are going to attach the applique to (ie. a shirt), fusible webbing (found most craft stores and fabric stores), an iron and a sewing machine.

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Cut out your pattern in the material of our choice. Cut a peice of fusible webbing out of the same pattern. Place the material cut in your pattern directly on the webbing and then iron onto your garment. (I ironed my pattern peices directly onto the webbing and then cut out each peice and then ironed them onto the garment).

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Ironing should hold the pattern in place temporarily. Then sew around all the edges of the applique. A zig-zag stitch will usually work best to hold the applique firmly in place. And there you have it. Super simple.

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I enjoyed it so much I had to make more than one item.

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I even made a fun birthday shirt for my baby to wear on her upcoming birthday, even though it is still not for a few months. How cute will that be in her 2nd birthday photos?

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Rice Bag Tutorial

Make-Your-Own-Rice-Bag

When I was pregnant with my 5th child, I started getting “tennis elbow”. It just got worse after she was born with all the nursing and carrying those darn car seats. It flares up every once in a while and if I cycle a series of hot and cold treatments, then the pain and tenderness really ease up.  You can make your own by following this easy rice bag tutorial.

I have a hard time sitting still sometimes and so I needed something that would allow me to be fairly mobile while heating or icing my elbow. So I decided to make a rice bag with a removeable cover. This allows me to change out the rice bag for a fresh cold rice bag straight out of the freezer. Or to put it a nice hot rice bag straight from the microwave.

I added a tie that is attached to a couple of “D” rings that can be adjusted to fit snuggly where needed. Now I can move around, type on the computer, put the kids in bed, do the dishes, etc., all while getting a treatment. How cool is that? I am a multitasker at heart.

Here is what I did:

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Cut out 2 peices of muslin (or other 100% cotton) material that measure 10×5 inches. Pin the right sides together and sew a 1/4 inch seam around three edges leaving one of the 5 inch sides open. Turn right sides out and fill with rice. I filled the bag only 3/4 full so that it will fold easily around a knee or elbow.

**I made 2 rice bags so that one would always be ready to go. I keep it in the freezer. If you want two rice bags, you will need to cut 4 peices of material.

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Then fold in 1/4 inch seam and sew the top of the rice bag closed. You are now finished with the rice bag insert.

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For the outside cover of the bag, you will need to cut out three pieces of material. You will need a piece that measures 10×5, 6×5 and one that measures 8×5. Take the two smaller pieces of material and on each one, of the 5 inch sides, sew down the side with a 1/4 inch seam.

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Pin the material with the right sides facing so that the 10×5 peice in on the bottom and the 6×5 and 8×5 match up with the ends and overlap in the middle.

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Take two peices of ribbon. One should be about 13 inches long and the other 5 inches. Place the ribbon between the top and bottom layers of material, one on each end. Make sure they are centered in the middle with about a 1/2 inch of ribbon hanging out from the ends of the seams. Pin in place.

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Sew 1/4 inch seam around the entire bag. Turn right side out. You are now finished with your bag. All you need to do is sew on your velcro for your “D” rings.

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Cut a piece of velcro that measures about 1-1/4 inch. Take the shorter length of ribbon and fold down the top edge. Separate the velcro and place one side at the top of this ribbon. Place the other piece of velcro 1-1/2 inches away from your first peice. Pin in place and secure to the ribbon by sewing a square around each piece.

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Take your two “D” rings and slide the ribbon through them. Fasten velcro so that the “D” rings are between the two peices. I burned the ends of the ribbons to prevent them from fraying (do this with caution and very slowly). Now you are all finished!

Now, before heating your bag in the microwave (about 1 minute), REMEMBER TO REMOVE THE “D” RINGS!! You do not want to put metal in your microwave or your rice bag might get too hot…Flaming Hot! When heated remove from microwave and replace the “D” rings. Thread ribbon through rings and adjust till it’s a perfect fit.

One night I had a really bad headache. I pulled a rice bag out of the freezer and placed it into the covering and placed the bag on my forehead. It actually worked really well at relieving my headache. Now I need to make another one for my husband who has a bit of carpal tunnel. We are falling apart over here!

Make-Your-Own-Hot-Pad

Make A Child’s Artist Smock From A Man’s Shirt

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I found this artist smock and loved her creative idea but decided to come up with my own version. Here is how you do it. Take a man’s button up shirt.

 

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Then cut up each seam on the front of the shirt. This will be up both sides and across the shoulders. You should have a front panel that is now separated from the back of the shirt.

 

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Then repeat, by cutting off the seams on the back of the shirt. You now have two panels, a front and back. The back of the shirt, will become the front of your smock and the front of the man’s shirt will become the back.

 

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Cut off the entire collar (front and back) and unpick any buttons used for buttoning the collar down. Save the buttons that button up the front of the shirt. These will be the buttons on the back of your artist’s smock.

 

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I then took two lengths of ribbon (measure on child before determining how long you would like it to be. I attached my ribbon to the front (button-less) panel and then wrapped the ribbon around the back and tied it in the front of the smock. You can choose to make it so that your ribbon ties in the back if that is your preference. If I remember correctly, I made my ribbon 2 peices at 30 inches a piece.

*Take the new front panel and iron a 1/4″ seam around the entire shirt panel. Fold over another 1/4″ seam and pin in place. Take one ribbon and place it inside the seam and pin it in place. I placed mine right in the armpit of the original shirt. This is where the shirt material comes out into a peak on the side.

Sew around the entire panel. When you come to sew in the ribbon, sew it into the seam and then also sew a square in the top of the ribbon to secure it to the panel.

Repeat the same process beginning with the star now on the new back panel. (You will want to make sure that the top button is about 1/4 to 1/2 inches below your FINISHED seam line, so that it does not pull apart at the top).

 

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Pin the front and back shirt panels with the right side of the material together at the shoulders only. Sew together using a 1/2″ seam allowance.

 

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Now you are basically finished. Only the shoulders of the smock are sewn together. The sides are left open so that the smock can just go on right over the head. When you tie it, the sides just naturally tuck in around your kid.

I did however add a few flourishes so that it did not look so plain. I carefully unpicked the pocket that was originally on the front of the man’s shirt and just sewed it onto the new front of the smock. I also added a pink iron-on flower that I had left-over from a previous project. Ta-Da! An adorable artist smock for your budding artist.

Stay tuned for a recipe for some homemade paints and a homemade easel to complete your artist’s ensemble.

**If I were to make a boy’s version, I would sew the tie onto the back panel and then wrap it around the front so it can tie in the back.

 

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This bird was right outside the window for a long time while I was working on this smock. He made my day!

Drawstring Backpack and Matching Swim/Beach Towel Tutorial

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Take one of your towels (the other one will be left alone and will be the matching towel) and cut 2 squarish shapes. My original towel measured 30 x 60 inches. (I found mine at Target and they were $5.99 each). You can get two backpacks out of one towel. I cut my 2 squares about 15 inches x 14 inches. I used a 1/2 inch seam allowance unless otherwise noted. I also made sure that I had a 3 inch strip of material the length of the towel for the backpack straps.

 

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One peice of material should have a raw edge at the top (the other peice should already have a seam from the edge of the towel). Fold raw edge over at top and sew seam down about 2 inches from the top of the towel.

Fold the tops of each peice and sew a 1.5 inch casing to thread your pull string (rope) through. Do this by turning the seam into the inside of the back pack so your seam in on the inside of the finished backpack. Do this to both peices separately.

 

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Now take the long 3 inch strip and iron the edge on both sides in about 1/4 inch. Then iron again in half length wise. Sew these two edges together as close to the edge. Sew from one end to the other. When sewn, cut strap in half, so you now have two straps.

 

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Pin your straps on one of the squares of material, so that they are inside of the backpack and come to the outside on the top and the bottom of the backpack. I had the longer 15 inch length be the vertical direction of my backpack (I hope that makes sense).

 

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Now pin the two squares together, right sides together, and sew around all three edges leaving the top edge open. DO NOT sew through the casing. Stop right at your seam so that you can get your rope through without sewing the opening closed. I also added a zig-zag stitch just inside of my straight stitch to keep the terry cloth from unraveling (or your can surge it).

 

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Now, reinforce the strap you have just attached. Sew right on your previous seams so as not to close your casing opening.

 

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Do it on the other side of the strap as well. I went back and forth a few times to make it good and strong.

 

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Now cut a length of rope to about 20-22 inches.

 

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I tied a tight knot in one end and used a long knitting needle to help me thread it through my casing. (My son wanted a knot on each side of the back pack??? so that is why you see one on the other side too).

When you have pushed it through both sides, you should have the two ends of rope hanging out one end. Tie both ends into knots and then burn the ends of the rope (carefully) with a match to prevent them from fraying. Yeah! You are finished! Now get out there and enjoy some of that warm sunshine.

 

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If there is some part (or all) of these directions that is confusing or written poorly, please let me know and I will try to improve them. Please feel free to ask if you also have any questions on any of this. I realize I am not that great at explaining things sometimes. I would also love to see pictures of yours if you end up making any. So send me a comment with a link! Happy Sewing.

**There are probably easier ways to make these, this is just how I made it being an unprofessional seamstress and all. I just really started trying to sew this past fall :)! If you have a better way, please let me know!

To make a swim bag and matching towel for little girls (or mommies) go here.

 

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Diaper and Wipes Case

Add some glamour to just one of the most “unglamorous” aspects of parenthood…diaper duty! Make a cute carrying case for your baby’s diapers and wet wipes.

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I found a great tutorial for making the fabric covered diaper wipes case here.

I found the tutorial for the diaper case here. Her directions are so clear and easy to understand.

For my diaper case, I did not make my flap curved, I just made mine square, so that the initial material I just cut into 2 rectangles.

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These are so cute and are perfect to grab quickly out of your diaper bag, car or purse and carry to where you will be changing a diaper. Everything is right where you need it all together. Perfect for organizing when a diaper change needs to happen quickly.

Swim Bag and Matching Towel Tutorial

DIY Swim Bag and Matching Towel
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Are you tired of packing EVERYONE’S stuff to the pool or beach? Want to make someone special their very own sling swim bag to carry their essentials (matching swim towel, sunscreen, and goggles) to the pool or beach this summer? Now you can. These cute swim bag and towel combos can run a pretty penny in the stores, but I am providing you with a tutorial to make one for half the price and more. Can’t beat that!

All you need are two matching beach towels. I found mine at Target(of course) and they were only $5.99 each. I have also seen some beach towels in some dollar stores as well and at Wal-Mart for about $3.

You can make 2 swim bags out of 1 beach towel. So buy three matching towels if you have a sibling that needs one too, or give the other away to a birthday girl. (Or make a pillow to match your towel out of the left-over material). The beach towels I used were 30 in. x 60 in. If your towels measure differently you will have to adjust your measurements accordingly.

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One towel you will leave alone because this is the actual matching towel you will carry in the bag. The other towel we will be cutting out two large “U” shaped patterns.

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I do not know how to link you to an actual pattern you can print so I posted a picture with the shape and measurements you will need.

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Cut out two pattern pieces. Use one end of the towel to cut out both pieces side by side so that the other half of the towel can be used for another swim bag.

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Pin your two pieces of cut material together with the right sides facing each other. (Sometimes with terry cloth it may be hard to tell. I chose to have the softer side as my right side so that it was on the outside of the finished bag).

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Sew together starting on the outside top edge all the way around the outside of the bag to the other side. (Do not sew the inside or the tops of the U shape yet). I used a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

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Turn bag right side out. The top of the inside of the bag should still be unsewn. Now turn the seams that are unsewn into the bag so that you are making a hem line all the way around the top portion of the bag. I turned mine in about 1/2 inch so that your sewn portion will be inside the bag. Make sense?

Your bag is now all sewn except for the shoulder strap. Pin the shoulder straps right side together and sew.

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Now cut two pieces of velcro (I do not recommend sewing on sticky back velcro. It really messes up your needle). Sew around each piece onto one side of the middle of the bag where you would like them to attach to one another. I did mine just below my seam for my hem.

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After my bag was all sewn, I went back and sewed a heavy duty zig-zag stitch close, but not on, my straight stitch. If you haven’t noticed, terry cloth unravels easy and is messy. Because I do not have a surger, I wanted to ensure my bag stayed together and doesn’t unravel, the zig-zag held it all into place.

Swim Towel

And there you have it! Super easy and cute!

I know most of the things I have sewn have been girl related, sorry about that, I just have three of them. But since my son wanted something that he could carry his towel in, I decided to make him a drawstring backpack. So if you have boys, that tutorial can be found here.

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