Upcycled Sweater Pants

Sunday, January 31, 2010

I am seriously IN LOVE with upcycled sweater pants...they are just so good all around. Good for the environment, good for getting rid of old sweaters, good because they are cozy for your kiddos...just good!
*Yes, I am aware the pants are wrinkly in the pic...but my little girl really wanted to wear them right then...I can't say no to such enthusiasm over homemade pants!*

Here's what you need:

-An old sweater (I used a V-neck but it is MUCH easier with a crew neck. I used a "medium" ladies sweater, which is fine for a 3T or smaller---but if you are dealing with a bigger kiddo you'll need a man's sweater probably)

-sewing machine

-elastic (I used 1" wide)

-measuring device

Here's how I did it:

1. Take measurements of your child...fun stuff, right?! Or just measure a pair of pants that already fit well. You will need measurements around the waist, length and inseam. I divide the waist measurement and add an inch for the seam allowance and an inch and a half to the overall length for elastic allowance.

2. Lay your sweater out on the floor, inside out. Measure and cut your sweater up, two pieces at the same time! Make the bottom of the length measurement line up with the bottom of the sweater. The waist measurement is the top of this weird shape, then it widens with a curve as you get to the inseam length measurement to about 16-17 inches. That makes for a pretty swanky wide leg. There's no science to the curve from the waist measurement to the 17 inches...just draw a curve. Here's what it should look like:

3. Sew up the little curved parts at the top ONLY. Then fold it the opposite way so that now your two seams you just sewed are touching, like so:

What's that?? Oh yeah, PANTS!

4. Now you're going to sew up the inseam. Just start at the bottom of one leg and go all the way up and around until you get to the bottom of the other leg. The middle will be a little thick...just power through it, don't be a chicken!

5. Elastic is next! This is the SUPER EASY, possibly lazy way...I have done it many other ways that involve poking things through places...but this way is faster. Measure the elastic to the size of the waist, PLUS an inch. Sew it together so it forms a loop, overlapping by just a little. Then put that loop over the pants, which are still wrong side out.

6. Fold the top of the pants over the elastic so it covers it all the way plus a smidge more so you will have room to sew. Now, the pants are still wrong side out, but the right side is visible on the top, just like this:

7. Sew it almost all the way around. Leave a little opening so you can still pull the elastic out because now...here's where I really cheat! I pull a little out, sew it straight across to take up some of the elastic and make it "fit" your kiddo and gather up the waist a little. Then, cut off the excess elastic.

8. Here's where I would have my little one try these on...because if you need to take the elastic up a little more or add a strip on, you still have that little opening to work with it easily. If everything fits ok, then sew up the little opening you have PANTS! I also go back and put a line of stitching at each hip through the elastic so it won't go wonky in the wash.

Here's another pair I made:

Now, there are, what you might call "rough edges" on these puppies. If you are giving these to someone, you could always double fold the top...just make sure when you are measuring and cutting you allow for that.

There you go...cozy, comfy, FREE pants! Just in time for the end of winter, when you don't really want to buy a bunch more winter clothes but the old ones are just that...old! I plan on taking some of the scraps from the arms of the sweater and maybe doing some applique on a shirt so it has a match. A good idea, especially if the sweater you use doesn't match anything already in their wardrobe. These pants can't go to waste...they are too great!

Can you tell I am enamored with these??

Quick and Easy Sort of Cinnamon Rolls

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Well, cinnamon rolls were requested---we had none and I thought a truly homemade one might take more time than I was willing to put in to breakfast this morning....
So...SORT OF CINNAMON ROLLS were born! Here's how:

Equal parts brown sugar and reg. white sugar (I used about 1 1/2 tbsp of each)
1 tsp cinnamon (we like lots cinnamon)
Croissants from the tube

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix the brown sugar, white sugar and cinnamon up in a little finger bowl.
Unroll a croissant and sprinkle cinn/sugar mix over the length of it. Roll it up.

Bake them for about 10 min.

My kids thought I was AWESOME for making these! Also, I felt slightly better about serving these rather than actual cinnamon rolls bc there isn't a huge glob of icing on the top. I think next time I'll wrap up a slice or two of apple in each one just to take the nutrition factor up a notch. I seriously can't believe I have two cooking posts on here and only one sewing post...I'm usually not this innovative of a chef...I guess tapping into that creative side makes you creative all around!
I do have a sewing post...but this one was easy and the other one is more involved...I'll post it later, I promise!!

Cute-ing up the coat rack

Sunday, January 24, 2010

We have an ugly laundry room, with ugly old brown cabinets and an ugly hollow-core door which we have a coat rack on. Well, the coat rack fell down one too many times which prompted my dear, sweet husband to put a 2X4 on the door and then screw the coat rack into the door. Up to this point I had been able to ignore the ugliness...but that was the straw that broke the camel's back! So, I took on the task of making the laundry room, and primarily, the door with the wooden coat rack abomination...CUTE! Yes, I painted, but that's not the cute part. I made a fabric-wrapped coat rack. I reused the old hook system, because I don't believe in throwing away perfectly good stuff just because it's not "perfect" for the project. But, if you don't already have a coat rack...you could definitely take the cuteness factor up a notch with a better looking hook system!

Here's what you'll need:
-2X4, cut to fit the space
-white fabric
-cute fabric
-hook system for coats
-drill, for driving in screws
-Hot glue gun and glue to match

Here's how I did it:

1. Cut a 2X4 to fit your door or area. If you're doing it for the inside of a door, like mine, make sure you allow space on either side for the door to close! Typically about an inch on each side.

2. Lay the wood down on the white fabric and cut basically like you would to measure wrapping paper for a present, only it doesn't have to wrap the back all the way. PS--If your are using a completely opaque, thicker fabric you don't need the white...I was using a pretty thin cotton so I used white as my "base" so the super ugly stuff on the wood wouldn't show through!

3. Cut the cute fabric the same size as your white fabric.
4. Using a staple gun, staple the white fabric to the "back" of the wood going down one long side and then pulling taut and stapling down the other long side.
5. For the ends, fold them like you would to wrap a present and staple it down. (There are LOTS of different ways to do this...I just chose this one this time)
*When I stapled the cute one on ALL the staples were on the back...none on the sides as I did with the white fab in this pic.
6. Repeat for the cute fabric.

7. Using a drill, screw in two screws on each of the short sides of your now beautifully wrapped piece of wood and into the wall or door behind it. (Your fabric will probably twist a bit, but it looks intentional because of Step 8!)

8. Then screw in the hook system you chose.

9. Hot glue some sweet little buttons over the four screws you can see on the short sides of the wood.

No more hideous piece of raw wood with hooks on it. Now, a gorgeous, fabric wrapped, buttoned-up piece of art that also happens to hold your coats! Ahhh...much better! (Ignore the many nail holes in the door still, it's a work in progress...)

Nursing Cover

Friday, January 22, 2010

This is the nursing cover I made for my dear cousin who just had a beautiful baby girl. I used the tutorial from Little Birdie Secrets here. I saw this Batik fabric in olive green and robin's egg blue and thought it was just perfect for my free-spirited cousin! I kept it pretty simple because I kinda figured if I made it TOO super cutesy it might draw some attention. As a former nursing mother myself, I just wasn't sure how cool she would be with someone coming up to her, while she was nursing in public, to ask her where she got it from. Sometimes, blending in a little bit is nice! Anyway, very easy project...highly necessary item for nursing mommies. It has two D-rings to keep the strap in place, flannel corners on the inside to wipe a wee mouth, and boning across the front so you can peek in and see how things are going (love that!!).

I WISH I had one of these when mine were nursing...all I had was a little blanket and the desperate hope that they wouldn't fling it off and expose me to the world!

Still not a sewing project post...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ok, so this is not a sewing project, it's a cooking project. I LOVE banana bread, but my oldest isn't that into it. She LOVES apples though. So, I made a "Cinnamon Apple-Banana Bread." TADA! We all like cinnamon...so that one was a given. I have already eaten a small sliver (or a large chunk) and it is yummers! I think it will please everyone in the fam AND it has some extra fruity-vitamin goodness! Enjoy! This recipe may be out there a million different ways already, I just made this one on a whim. Let me know if you change it up and make it even better!!

Cinnamon Apple-Banana Bread

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1/2 c sugar
1 egg
2 very ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 c oil (veg or canola)
1 tsp cinnamon (see footnote)
1 c flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1 apple, peeled and chopped (I used a Braeburn)

Cream egg and sugar together. Stir in mashed bananas, vanilla, oil and cinnmon and mix well. Stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Fold in apple. Bake in a loaf pan (mine is a 9"X5") for 50-60 min. Makes one delicious loaf of morning goodness!

*This would be a normal amount of cinnamon for a normal family who likes medium cinnamony-ness. We like LOTS of cinnamon...so I kinda shake some in there...keep shaking...keep shaking a little more...and then, viola, lots of cinnamon--just the way we like it!!


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Hobbies are interesting things. Hobbies are mostly thought of as things we do "on the side." Though, it seems that our hobbies usually take over our whole lives at some point. For instance, I have considered sewing/making things my hobby. Yet, I sew, go to fabric stores, write in my sewing journal, develop patterns, read about sewing/patterning, have a blog about sewing, talk about sewing and do other sewing related activities EVERYDAY! I am starting to realize that this "hobby" has become something more. My kids are now incorporating sewing and going to the fabric store into their pretend play. The other day I even heard my 2 yr old remark about "a beautiful fabric..." To say this was still a hobby would be an understatement, apparently it is now a lifestyle! And I'm ok with that...