Friday, September 28, 2012

Baby "coture" Headband

I was sifting through my "Crafts" Pinterest board looking for something I could make with the supplies I had on hand and came across this photo:
as well as this one:
To my chagrin, neither photo linked to a tutorial, but instead to sale pages, Snugas on Etsy for the top picture and a site called VeryJane for the bottom. The braided head bands I knew would be easy to re-create, but I had so hoped for something good from the top picture. Those almost hat-sized head bands are just too precious! I looked around the site and believe it or not, those little beauties actually go for $30 plus! Never, would I pay that much for any single item of clothing for my daughter, much less a hair accessory! I knew that I could make something just as cute though and here is my first attempt:
This is made from the same Gerber sleepers that I used in the previous post:
I cut three strips about an inch wide and about 18 inches long.
Then, as in the previous post, I stretched them to curl the edges and get more length.
Then I braided the pieces together. It was a tight braid but not overly tight. I still wanted it to have a little give so that it wouldn't be too tight on my daughter's head. It might help to use a straight pin to hold the strands together on one side as you braid.
At this point I hand sewed the ends together instead of knotting them as I intend to cover the closure the same way as in the previous post. If you have a sewing machine, a quick pass under that will do the trick and keep it in place.  
Then, cut a small square of coordinating fabric and wrap it around where you sewed and stitch it in place to hide your ends. I used the cuff of the sleeper. This was my finished product:
But I wasn't done there! Now it was time for some embellishments to bring in more of the feel of the first photo. I had another fabric flower tutorial pinned that I wanted to try and it was so simple. Twist a long stirp of fabric tightly, fold it in half so that it twists back on itself and then roll it into a flower. You can either hot glue it or hand sew it in place so it keeps it's shape. I made a couple in different sizes and attached them to the head band. Then I took a cue from the picture above to finish it off. A couple of the pictures had this sort of abstract looking ruffle/flower that I tried to copy. I took a rectangle of fabric and did a stitch down the middle and then pulled it tight so it looked like an accordion. I stuck a couple of these on to resemble leaves. I may play around with them more in the future. Here's my little cutie pie modeling my creation:

Celtic Knot Jersey Headband Pin Test

Here is another Pin Test, but sadly I do not have the original link for this one, just the Pin itself:
It was very easy to follow, much better than any written directions I could do for something like this. I had some old Gerber sleepers that I will not be re-using for a future child (not a good fit). I held on to them for the fabric because they were pretty colors and very soft. 
I took out the zippers and saved them for later use. Then I cut two fat strips from the shoulder to the heel. The Pin shows you using a loop of a t-shirt, so, not being sure if that was necessary I cut a slit down the middle of each strip. It did make the process a little easier, but your pieces do not have to be attached for this to work right. You don't even need 4 strips. Any even number could work. Being perfectly neat is also not necessary because of what you will be doing next.

 When working with jersey (t-shirt fabric) for a project like this, it is important to stretch it. Take both ends and just pull it as hard as you can. This will make the fabric curl and you won't see the un-hemed edges. You will also have a lot more to work with. See the difference:
 Now, just follow the picture directions above! This was so simple and came out looking very cute! I like it because I don't need to add an extra embellishment, it's already there! I might add just a few stitches to the inside to help it keep it's shape. My 1 year old pulled it off of her head and played with it and it took quite a bit of maneuvering to get it back how I wanted it again. A few stitches will keep her from having her way with it again. Also, if I make this again, I think that I will start with one side that is longer than to other so that the knot ends us a little off center and then the part with the closure will be centered at the back of her head.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Walmart Bag Holder Pin Test

Want to go from this:
 to this?
This Pin-test will show you how! I had a ton of bags taking up valuable real estate in the cabinet under the sink and had been looking for a solution. I pinned this and finally had an afternoon to give it a try. I started by organizing my bags by type. I wasn't sure if you could roll different sizes together, but after completing the process I don't think it would make a difference as long as the sizes were similar.

Once you have gathered your bags start prepping them by flattening them and folding them in half, getting as much air out as possible.
Then, lay them end to end so that they over lap slightly. Turn up the handle of your first bag so that you will have something to pull on when you want to "dispense" a bag.
Then start rolling! Don't worry about being super tight (that will make the bags hard to pull apart) but do try to get as much air out as you can. I found that I had to pull a few out and start over because they kept mysteriously getting air in them. Keep adding bags as you go until you are out of bags or have the size roll you need to fit your container.
I reduced a mountain of bags into just two little rolls! Now if I can just try to remember to take my re-useable bags with me when I go shopping. They are only sitting perfectly positioned in a basket right by the front door.
I didn't want to leave my wipes container plain so I got some fabric that I liked and pulled out the glue gun. I cut a piece that was the circumference of the container but a little longer so that I could fold it over the bottom.
Then I just hot glued it on. I wasn't worried about perfection here as this was going to get tossed in the car. I have TONS of scrap fabric lying around, so I just figured, why not? Here is the bottom:
I took an extra strip of the material and covered up the seam and the opening on the bottom. You could also use a piece of ribbon, I just didn't want to go in Dida's room to get it and risk waking her up from her nap!

Friday, September 21, 2012

$1 Vera Bradley Refurbishment

 I picked up this Vera Bradley back pack for $1 a few weeks ago when I was out yard sale shopping with a friend. It was in pretty rough shape though.
Check out these straps!
It seemed like it was very well loved (there was a young teen girl at the sale that I am guessing took it to school every day) but for a dollar I thought I could at least try to fix it. I started by Googling "How to wash a Vera Bradley Bag" and actually found quite a few results. All the articles said that they were machine washable so I knew that would make the process a lot easier. I couldn't tell if the bag was faded or just really dirty so I got out my favorite Dollar Tree stain spray. It works AMAZINGLY well for just a buck! I heavily sprayed down the entire bag.
I tossed it in the dryer for about half an hour and then let it air dry the rest of the way. Next, I got out the scissors and trimmed off all the strings that were hanging off. Then I dug into my ribbon box to find something to cover the straps with. They were just too frayed to leave as-is. I ended up choosing this amazing vintage lace that I had grabbed out of my grandmother's craft stash.
I started by adjusting the length of the straps to where I liked them best because once I was finished, they would not be able to move. I wrapped the lace around the top of the of the strap and pinned it down and then started hand sewing it in place.
Once the top was secured I wrapped the ribbon around the strap so that it over-lapped in the back and pinned it and sewed it down as well.
The ribbon had a more open section down the middle which was almost exactly the same width as the straps so that the color and pattern of the bag were still visible. It was a nice effect. I repeated the process on the other strap and then it was time to move on the the front. There were a few obvious thread bare patches near the zipper and I wanted to cover those up so I pulled out some buttons.
I needed three in a row so I played around with the configuration until I found one that I like and then sewed them down.
I may end up taking off the daisy one and replacing it with another plain white one.

At this point the look of the bag was improved immensely, but it just needed one more thing: a hand made flower! I safety-pinned it on so that I could change it up later if I want to. You can learn how to make it with my tutorial here.
I was really pleased with the outcome. I really like Vera bags and this was a great way to add another one to my wardrobe!

Re-useable Dryer Sheets Pin Test

I have been toying with the idea of making my own dryer sheets ever since I came across the idea on Pinterest. I never liked the idea of spending money on something that seemed a little pointless to me. I felt the same way about fabric softener as well until I started using the Downy kind pictured above. That was acquired by accident in one of those "buy these 3 things, get a $5 Target gift card". I wasn't paying attention and thought I was buying detergent. I think I even washed a load or two with it until my husband pointed out that it wasn't laundry soap! I ended up liking the way it made the laundry smell though.

So, back to the dryer sheets. I finally ran out of the ones I had (I tear them in half and still use them for two loads sometimes, hence a box will last me a long time) so it was finally time to try the DIY method. I went on Pinterest to look for instructions and found this site and this "earth-mama-ish" site and ended up doing a combination of the two. The first site called for old wash cloths and Fabreeze. I have an abundance of wash cloths so I picked out 4 matching ones but I did not cut them up as the site suggested. The other site called for fabric softener and an old baby-wipes container. I really liked the idea of the baby wipes container because it was super easy to open and close. 

 All I did was place my wash cloths in the container and pour some fabric softener over the top. Don't use enough to completely cover them, just enough to get them wet.

Then I added enough warm water to cover them and then shook the container. Water is needed to help the rags absorb the solution. Use warm water to help the fabric softener dissolve. When it is time to dry the laundry I just ring out the rag slightly and add it to the load. Once the load is finished I pull the rag out and add it back the container. I don't add fabric softener to my wash any more so now I am saving money that way too! I did notice that the DIY dryer sheets didn't take out the static cling so I may do some experimenting and see what I can come up with to fix that. If I find something that works I will post an update.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

10 Petal Fabric Flowers

This is probably one of the first pins I ever tried on Pinterest. I came across this while looking for patterns for baby shoes and thought I would give it a try. My own efforts came out cute but my daughter only wore them once or twice. Cute but kind of weird.
The wonderful thing that happened though, was that I learned how to make the flowers themselves. I have made about 100 of these and have tweaked the method here and there until I got it just right. To make a ten petal fabric flower you will need:
Fabric - any kind will do, I have yet to find a texture that doesn't work as long as it doesn't fray like crazy when cut
Needle and thread, it does not matter what color
A 2 cm square of a thick fabric like canvas, denim or felt
A straight pin
A pattern

First, make your pattern. Fold a scrap piece of paper in half and then in half again.
Then, cut out the shape of your petal from one folded edge to the other, making sure to keep it even. You may want to open it several times to check and see if it looks like what you want and then make adjustments as needed.
Once you get it how you want it open it up and it should look something like this:
You will be able to use this pattern over and over again! Once you have your pattern finished get your fabric and a straight pin. I like to cut multiple layers at once. Because I was using a thin bandanna, I cut all 10 layers at the same time. If you are going to cut multiple layers at once make sure that you give yourself enough excess on the sides. Pin the pattern to the fabric and start cutting!
This next picture is just to show you about how much fabric it takes to make a flower that is about 2 - 2 1/2 inches. You could get about 4 flowers from a piece of fabric the size of a bandanna. You could get many more if your pattern is smaller. Scraps left over from other projects are perfect and mostly what I use to make these.

Next, get your needle and thread and your small piece of coarse fabric. It does not have to be big, just whatever you have on hand. You do not want it to be big enough to show.
To start assembling your flower, take your first petal and fold it in half so that it is a off center a little. Doing this with each petal will make your flower fuller. Also, if your fabric has one side that is darker than the other make sure that the darker side is on the outside for the next 8 petals.
(Sorry about the camera strap!)
Fold your petal in half again so that you have a triangle.
Now, grab your needle and thread. Starting from the underneath, line your petal up at a 90 degree angle on your fabric square and stitch it down. I have found that one stitch is fine.
Continue the same process going around the square with the next three petals until you have one on each corner. The folded edges of each petal should touch.
Now, keep going with another layer of petals on top of the first layer. For this layer, stitch your first petal down so that it is overlapping halfway between two petals on the bottom layer. As you add the petals to this layer continue to make sure the sides of each petal touch. I also like to make sure that the thread is pulled tight so that the fabric gathers more and the flower is fuller.
Once you complete this layer, if you like you can add a button or bead to the center and be finished. Your flower will be a little more 2-D, however. If you want it to look 3-D, grab your last two petals. This last step is a little hard to explain. Basically, you are going to want to pinch them in the middle and then twist them a little. You will also want the darker side of the fabric to be on the inside of the last two petals.
Push your needle up through the center of your flower and then thread it through the twisted part of your last two petals and then back through the middle of your flower again. You can opt to only use one petal in the middle, but I have found that 2 makes it much fluffier and prettier.
Fluff your flower and if you like how it looks, tie off your thread and you're done! If you don't like it, add another stitch or two to the middle until it looks right.
At this point you have several options. You can stitch it to a head band or hair tie. You can also hot glue it to a hair clip or barrette. My mom likes to use a safety pin to attach them to her shirt or purse. If the material  you are using won't fray (like t-shirt material), you can even sew it directly onto a garment. 

To make your flowers more interesting, try combining different prints and textures of fabrics. Use 5 of each and alternate them as you go. You could even combine 3 fabrics using 3 petals each of two kinds and 4 petals of the third. Lace or tulle looks really pretty when mixed in with a solid fabric. Be creative! Feel free to leave me a comment if you have any questions.