The Deconstruction (And Reconstruction) of Hello Kitty

The Deconstruction (And Reconstruction) of Hello Kitty

Let’s same I’m thrifty, shall we? I like shopping at the Goodwill, and I’ve been known to make my way over to the clearance section in the clothes department of a non-Goodwill store. It’s a theme that’s pretty easy to spot if you look through my posts from the past. I reuse material, and updating my sewing supplies is something that I found reason to put on my 2017 goals list because I haven’t invested too much into it. I can be a bit of penny-pincher if the situation calls for it, so it’s no real shock that so much of my sewing experience involves reusing and repurposing.

Today, I offer you yet another example of that reusing and repurposing.

The bottom half in particular caught my interest.

The bottom half in particular caught my interest.

You see, I have a niece who had this Hello Kitty dress. Personally, I don’t get the interest in Hello Kitty—I’m more of a Tinker Bell kind of girl—but after the dress ended up getting ripped, my thoughts got to rolling about what could be done with the material that was left over. The bottom half in particular caught my interest. Even if I don’t particularly care for Hello Kitty myself, the material was colorful enough and in good enough shape, if you overlooked the rip, that it seemed a waste to just toss it out. My niece, after all, deserves her Hello Kitty attire!

In the end, the answer seemed simple. If the bottom half of the dress was salvageable, then a skirt was the perfect option! The white material underneath it was still in decently good shape, so I could use that like it’d been used for the dress itself. All I needed to do was plan, cut, figure, and reassemble.

Cutting was relatively easy when it came to the bottom half because I didn’t worry too much about getting straight edges. If I needed straight edges, I could do a touch-up job later. As it turned out, I wouldn’t I have to because the material was designed in a way that there wasn’t one side that specifically needed to be on the top or the bottom. See how Hello Kitty is in two different directions in the earlier picture? I could just use the more raggedy-edged side to fold over the elastic I would eventually use, and no one would see it anyway. The bottom part of the dress could be the actual line that was company-given by design.

The raggedy edges where the tear had been, I felt, could use hemming, so I saw to that. I wasn’t sure if I actually needed both sides to be hemmed, but since I was figuring it out as I went along, it seemed better to be safe than sorry! Once both sides were hemmed, I was ready to pin the Hello Kitty material onto the underlying fabric.

I opted to tack the end of the colored material to the section of Hello Kitty material beneath it.

I opted to tack the end of the colored material to the section of Hello Kitty material beneath it.

So I did! But as I’d already noticed, there was a bit of a design issue that would require an executive decision. You see, this Hello Kitty material was asymmetrical, meaning if I pinned it evenly at the top of the white material, the bottom of the Hello Kitty piece wouldn’t be even. My options then included either hemming the bottom for a symmetric look, or embracing the quirkiness of the not-so-symmetric hem.

In the end, I decided to go with the easier but more distinguishable option of letting the hem be asymmetric. I also made another executive decision to not cut off the extra side-to-side material once the white material had been completely covered. Instead, I opted to tack the end of the colored material to the section of Hello Kitty material beneath it, so the final result would seem more like a wrap-around skirt.

Once that step was finished, the top looked something like this.

Once that step was finished, the top looked something like this.

Once I’d made those decisions, sewn the raggedy edges where the tear had been on the dress, sewed all layers of material at the top, and tacked the material for that wrap-around look, all I had to do was add in the elastic. The process involved a one-section-at-a-time strategy of folding the top portion of material over the elastic, sewing so that the material overlapped the entire width of elastic, then moving to the next section—bit by bit, and at times pushing and pulling the elastic and/or fabric so that the entire top portion of the skirt was encasing that tiny piece of elastic. Once that step was finished, the top looked something like this.

And there you have it!

And there you have it!

And with that step completed, the skirt was done!

And there you have it! A Hello Kitty skirt from the remnants of a Hello Kitty dress! I still have the top portion of the dress that could be used for something, but who knows? Maybe it’ll become a part of a project, and maybe it won’t 🙂

What do you guys think??? Like? Hate? Something in between? Let me know!

The Zen of Making

The Zen of Making

I’ve been a professional tailor and pattern maker for twenty-five years. Some days I love my job. Some days I hate it. Some days everything goes together without mishap. Other days needles break, threads knot, seams bunch, the sewing machine makes crazy bobbin art for no reason, and garments with alteration tags that read, “drop a lining in” hang on the to-do rack. (please see ‘drop a lining’ rant at the end of this post). All of these things sometimes make me forget that I actually really do like to sew, to make things, to create from a pile of fabric a new complete garment.

The hard part about ending up in a career that involves doing something you love is that, every once awhile, you end up hating the very thing that you know you love.

Which is a shame. Thankfully, I always get over it. Sometimes the getting over it as easy as finishing an annoying project and moving on to something new. Occasionally, I need to have a little talk with myself, take a deep breath, and slow down (even if there are three people asking me when I’m going to be done.) I have to block out outside distractions and focus fully on what I am doing. That is when the ‘flow’ happens.

…my alterations motto is: leave no trace.

Currently I’m working on a show that, though it involves endless multiples (lots of stunts so actors usually need four to five of the same outfit plus one for their stunt double), never really sends me to the “I hate sewing” place of darkness.

One of the characters, new to this season, wears high-end clothing that usually requires quite a bit of alteration. I love taking apart a designer dress and figuring out the best way to alter it without anyone being the wiser. As in hiking, my alterations motto is: leave no trace. I can get happily lost in such a project.

Go with the Flow

The same goes for when I’m patterning or building something from scratch. I find that I’m in the flow of making. I forget about everything else going on and just concentrate on the thing I am doing.

Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi says that Flow is the secret to happiness — a statement he supports with decades of research. During a 2004 TED talk, he said “When we are involved in (creativity), we feel that we are living more fully than during the rest of life. You forget yourself.”

A study titled, The Neurological Basis of Occupation, found that music, drawing, meditation, reading, arts and crafts, can stimulate the neurogical system and enhance health and well-being. And this study concluded that computer activities; craft activities, quilting, playing games; and reading books were associated with decreased odds of having MCI (mild cognitive impairment).

What this all adds up to is probably what most of us who sew and create already know: making things is good for your psyche and your soul (and your memory!). However you do it, wherever you find your flow is important and necessary to your well being, to you being you.

Drop a Lining In Rant

“Just drop a lining in,” they said, “It’ll be easy. No big deal. Shouldn’t take you that long.”

Anyone who tells you this really doesn’t know much about sewing or patterning. “Dropping a lining in,” is no easy task and certainly not as simple as dropping, well, anything. Unless your garment is a true honest to god couple of rectangles sewn together (and believe me it very likely is not) there isn’t anything ‘just’ about it. To line a jacket, or skirt, or dress, or anything, you really need to make a pattern and it’s going to take more than a couple hours to do it correctly. On Boardwalk Empire, we would regularly end up with vintage dresses literally hanging on by thread with the note, “Drop a lining in!” attached. None of us wanted to do them. We’d shuffle them to the end of the rack until we couldn’t put it off any longer and finally someone would say, “Ok, ok, fine, I’ll do this one if you’ll do that one.”

Express Yourself

Express Yourself

Express yourself.When shopping in a department store or online, you’re stuck with today’s fashions and color trends. If these suit your body style and personality, count yourself lucky! For the creative types among us, these can often feel confining. Sewing your own clothes and accessories is a great way to express yourself.

Fabrics Galore

Whether you like cottons, silks, man-made blends or a unique combination there’s a dizzying array of colors, prints and patterns available online and at your nearest fabric shop. If you like bright, bold designs or something more earth-toned, there’s a multitude of choices available.

Patterns and Freehand

If you’re one of those super talented folks who can create your own patterns, count yourself lucky. You’ve got an additional way to express yourself with your wardrobe. If you’re not one of those people, don’t worry about it – you can still express yourself with a pattern. There are so many patterns available, ranging from simple to complex.

Scarf Dance

Ok, you don’t really have to dance if you don’t want to, but making a scarf, or a number of them, in fabrics that compliment and enhance your existing clothes is and easy and fun way to express your personality with your wardrobe. Scarves aren’t terribly expensive to make and they’re so much fun, you may actually want to dance and spin with them. If you’re not one for scarves, the same project can also be used to make a fabulous belt.

If there’s a fabric or pattern that’s calling to you, go with it.

Go Wild

You don’t have to be a fan of animal prints or bold colors to express your wild side. Polka dots, swirls, paisley and other patterns in a variety of muted hues give your wardrobe the personality and zing it’s been lacking. They work well as scarves or other accessory pieces, or larger projects such as shirts, skirts, dresses or pants. You can even bring your style into the office by using these fabrics to create a business suit or sport jacket.

Don’t Hold Back

If there’s a fabric or pattern that’s calling to you, go with it. If it seems outside your normal style, all the better. Having one or two pieces that stand out from your usual wear means you can express your wild side when it needs to be freed without feeling pressured to show it off all the time. Days you want to stand out from the crowd, you’ll have a couple of unique pieces to show off.

Find Your Balance

We all have a wild side and a more conservative side. Create pieces that allow you to express both sides – or anything in between! If you have more conservative days than wild days (or vice versa), create the appropriate number of pieces and accessories to give you the right balance for your style and your life.

Share some of your favorite pieces – the ones that you feel express the real you.

Cashmere Wall Art

Cashmere Wall Art

Blank Canvas

Cashmere wall art.

Cashmere wall art.

I really dislike drab walls. I’m always looking for cheap, out of the box ways to splash up my walls. I’ve never attempted any type of fabric wall hanging before, so I thought, “Throw caution to the wind and dress up that naked wall!”

I was given some really awesome cashmere materials in vibrant colors. Sadly, the pieces weren’t big enough to make a nice blouse or skirt out of. I’ve been searching for a great creative way to showcase this amazing material. This wall art turned out to be the perfect display piece.

**Tip: Wash all new materials prior to use to avoid shrinkage resulting from later washes.

**ProTip: Iron cut pieces before sewing and in between each step. This helps in the sewing process as well as setting the stitches to lessen unraveling with age. Often the end results tend to look more professional as well.

Level: Beginner

Time to Complete: 1 – 2 hours

Sewn By Machine: 1/4 in. straight stitch

Materials

  • 9 – 16″ W strips, varying lengths
  • 5 – 20″ L strips, varying widths
    • **I made 1″, 2″ and 3″ strips. I didn’t want a basic uniform checkerboard pattern and varying the strip size helped add some uniqueness to the finished design.
  • 1 – 14″ W x 18″ L Canvas Frame
  • 1 – 14″ W x 18″ L Cardboard for back of wall hanging

I measured an extra 1″ on all sides of the frame. I’d rather it be a little big than too small. It can be quickly cut down to fit the frame if too big.

Let’s Get Started

  1. Cut out strips and iron.
  2. Iron the 1/4″ seam on all four sides of the strips. Since this material is 100% cashmere, it doesn’t hold well when pinned, moved quite a lot during sewing. The pins were also falling out the second I moved my material to the sewing machine. I found ironing each seam on a wool heat setting helped secure the seam without using pins.

    Fabric strip seams.

    Fabric strip seams.

  3. Sew around all four sides of all fabric strips using the 1/4″ ironed seam.
  4. Arrange the fabric strips in lines down and across. I arranged them, then put the frame over it to help visualize. It took me several times to find an arrangement I was happy with.
  5. Once you have the strips set up the way you want them, put them under and over each other to create a more defined checkerboard look.
  6. Start sewing the fabric strips together. I pinned the various short strips to the first long strip. It took awhile to sew each individual strip onto the longer one but it paid off in the next step.
  7. Sew on the remaining long strips. Remember to keep the over/under pattern. This step went much easier. Since the smaller strips were already attached to the first and in order, all I had to do was sew around the 4 sides of the long strip. The smaller strips were all sewn on in one, quick easy step.

    Piecing together.

    Piecing together.

  8. Take the fabric piece to the frame. Place on the cardboard back piece. Cut the fabric on all sides about 1/4″ past the cardboard edge.

    Fit to the frame.

    Fit to the frame.

  9. Sew around the piece using the extra 1/4″ seam you just measured out.
  10. Attach fabric artwork to back of the cardboard. I used staples around the edges.
  11. Place into frame. I decided not to use the glass for the frame. I felt the way the fabric flowed without being pinned down by the glass really added some splashy appeal.
  12. Hang on your wall, plop into a chair, sip a cup of tea and enjoy the vibrant new addition to the room!

Stacey’s Stitches

Hi all! I’m Stacey Martinez 🙂
I love to design imaginative custom items for my active, crazy family. Bright colors and beautiful fabrics sing “Stacey, Stitch Me!” Let your imagination inspires you to breathe personality into every stitch!

Please feel free to comment with questions, suggestions, and pictures of your own creations. I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Nature Tomorrow – NATURA DOMANI

Nature Tomorrow – NATURA DOMANI

I am so happy you stopped by. In my last post, “Nature Babe” I discussed finding different types of fabric to construct some little things for babies. Since then, I have been working on Bamboo Baby Wash Cloths as well as using Organic Cotton products.

I have been working on Bamboo Baby Wash Cloths as well as using Organic Cotton products

Bamboo. It’s Not Just Panda Food

I am always looking for ways I can trim things with lace or ribbon.

I am always looking for ways I can trim things with lace or ribbon.

Can you see and feel the softness? It is tiny baby loop Bamboo. I edged it with an overcast stitch on my machine, so it gives the finished product a spa-quality look rather than serged edges. I prefer sewing a seam right sides together and reversing the fabric for larger articles, then I top-stitch for durability rather than using a serger. Plus, I am always looking for ways I can trim things with lace or ribbon. I should have lived in the Victorian era!

Research shows these products are becoming popular as there are many things that are being made in these environmental friendly fabrics. For instance, the softness of bamboo is exceptional for making burp cloths, diaper inserts, blankets, mattress covers and plush animals. Many companies that sell bamboo have great information on this fabric. According to the Bamboo Clothing website (a clothing line in the UK) there are many good points about using bamboo fabric.

Bamboo Fabric Facts:

  • Good for sensitive skin
  • Antibacterial – bacteria does not live well on the fabric
  • It acts as moisture wicking
  • It is 100% bio-degradable
  • Is the fastest growing plant and yield the same volume as cotton in only 10% of the land
  • Bamboo requires very little water or rain

Did you know bamboo is a species of the grass family?

And Now for Something Completely Different…

Tiny Towels.

Tiny Towels.

Next, I did something quite different. I used Organic Cotton knit and made what I call “Tiny Towels”. These itty-bitty towelettes are 5 x 4 inch wipes perfect for small messes. They could be used for washing baby faces, freshen up wipes or makeup application. I used a few myself and they are a wonderful change from shredding cotton balls or pads – and the great thing is these dry quickly!

Thinking of the Future

The reason I titled this blog post Nature Tomorrow is that while traveling in Italy and on a recent trip to Connecticut, I came to realize that there are just so many different ways to conserve our environment. Unfortunately, I just don’t think enough people are doing everything they can. Our beautiful green Earth is fill with so many beautiful forests, lakes and streams. So much waste and harmful chemicals drain into water from the production of products for our world. My only hope is that there will be Nature Tomorrow for our changing world. NATURA DOMANI… IN ITALIAN.

Back to Baby Basics

Diamond Soaker Thermal.

Diamond Soaker Thermal.

Next, I made a pad that provides extra protection for baby in the crib or just relaxing playing on the floor. It is made from Diamond Soaker Thermal. It is extremely soft as well and has three thin layers for warmth. It is made so that if water drops on it, it stays on top, however, pressure makes it absorb into the top – just not so much on the bottom. Its wicking quality is very good for under layers of clothing. The fabric is definitely water holding but not waterproof. Back in the day, I used a rubberized type of pad with a flannel top to keep the crib sheets and mattress from becoming wet. This is so much softer. I believe it would be good for diaper inserts as well, but I am not ready for a diaper business just yet. Baby steps to start!

I would love to hear your comments about bamboo and organic materials at the bottom of my blog. Ciao, Ciao!!

Picking the Perfect Sewing Notions

Picking the Perfect Sewing Notions

You’ve done it. You’ve got the pattern and the fabric to make a sewing project you’ll love. There’s just one more challenge remaining – picking the notions to compliment it. Whether it’s buttons, zippers, lacey bits or other accent pieces the right notions will give your finished project the final pop it needs to be truly special.

Zippers

It may seem like picking a zipper that matches your material, maybe even an invisible one is the best idea. And in many cases it may be. However, depending on the project and fabric, choosing a zipper that stands out can give your finished project some flair and style. If the fabric has a bright pattern, picking a zipper that matches one of the colors in the pattern can look really great when it’s done.

Buttons

ButtonsButtons can seem like just an easy way to close a shirt or jacket, but they also impact the look of your completed project. A fabric with a simple pattern can sometimes benefits from fancy or flashy buttons while a fabric with a busy pattern may look better with simpler buttons.

Button size also matters. Bigger buttons will draw more attention than smaller ones. If you’re trying to bring focus away from something, say a floppy collar, using big buttons can help. On the other hand, if you want people to see your great shirt or jacket, using smaller buttons will ensure their eyes take in the entire piece.

Lacey Bits or Ribbons

Even if the pattern doesn’t call for them, lacey bits or ribbon strips can add interest to your project. Sometimes cutting apart a larger lace work for specific shapes works really well. You can use these smaller pieces to accent the points of a collar, cuffs of sleeves or pants or the hem of a skirt.

Ribbons can be used in short or long strips to add some color and interest. A long ribbon can go around the edge of a collar or cuffs. Longer ribbon strips also look great as an accent belt around waist lines or as accents on short or pant leg cuffs.

Smaller ribbon bits can be tacked on to the body of the project to create a pattern or letter. You can also use ribbons to create cute bows and strategically place them to add charm to your project.

Other Notions Notions (Ideas)

See what I did there? Haha. But seriously, there’s other cool notions ideas too. Beads or sequins strategically placed can add a bit of sparkle and glitz. Embroidery whether hand- or machine-done adds personalization. And, if you happen to also be a yarn worker, combing your knitting or crocheting skills with your sewing skills creates a totally unique piece. Instead of the fabric collar, you could knit or crochet one. Same with cuffs, waists and hems.

What other notion and accent ideas do you love to use on your projects?

A Few of My Favorite Things

A Few of My Favorite Things

I’m a bit of a dorky geek when it comes to sewing and pattern making (I’m actually probably a dorky geek when it comes to a lot of things). Here are a few of my favorite sewing related things.

The Double Needle

Twin needle in machine.

Twin needle in machine.

One of my favorite sewing related things is the Zwillings Nadel – or, if you prefer, the double needle. (Zwillings nadel is German for double needle.) A double needle is the perfect solution to hemming anything knit (or with any amount of stretch) if you don’t happen to own a machine that can do a cover stitch. I use them all the time to hem t-shirts, ribbed knit shirts, sweatshirts, sweaters, even jeans with an excessive amount of spandex.

Zwillings Nadel.

Zwillings Nadel.

Any domestic machine can use a double needle. How they work is with two top threads and one bottom thread. This creates a zig-zag in the bottom thread that allows for stretch. I often use a double needle and a stretch stitch at the same time. I find the stretch stitch produces a result with minimal puckering.

My trick for hemming most anything, but especially things that require a double needle, is to cut after I sew.

First, mark a nice clear line for your hem on the right side of your garment using wax or some kind of marking pen that will disappear when heat is applied. Press the hem along the line you have marked. Do not trim any excess away. Next, using a double needle, stitch up an inch from your pressed line, or whatever is your desired hem depth. Once you have sewn, trim the excess fabric away. Try to trim as close to your zig zag bobbin line as you can. The ziz zag will keep anything from raveling and fraying if that is a concern though many tightly knit fabrics won’t really fray (Sweaters and some loosely woven ribbed t-shirt knit will of course). I press the hem at this point as well to get rid of any puckering. If the hem is still a bit wavy, try spritzing with water and pressing dry with a press cloth.

Zwillings Nadels

come in varying widths, meaning the two needles can be further or closer together. I keep a variety of widths around. They are also sized like regular needles, 12/80, 14/90, etc.

Bias Tape Makers

Bias tape makers are one of the most brilliant inventions in ‘modern’ sewing. If you don’t own any, buy a set now. They are these cool little devices that you feed a strip of fabric into on one end and get a beautifully uniformly pressed bias tape out the other end. They come in varying sizes – ¼” ½” 3/8”, and on. I use bias to bind necklines and armholes. Pretty much every single slip we made on Boardwalk Empire has a bias bond neck and armhole.

Loop Turner

Ever tried to turn a very thin spaghetti strap? It can seem virtually impossible. Unless, you have this really cool thin metal rod with a hook on one end. Insert the loop turner all the way through your strap and hook the little crochet hook into the seam allowance at the very end of your strap. Then pull gently from the other side, turning the strap inside itself. Once you are able to pull the hook through the other end, you can hand turn the remaining part of the strap.

Wooden Dowel

A simple, 1/8” or ¼” round wooden dowel is very useful for pressing belts, straps, and ties that you are bagging out. Put the dowel inside your strap or tie before you have flipped it so you can press open your seam allowances from the wrong side. This will give you much nicer and crisper finished edge when you turn them right side out.

These simple, inexpensive tools will not only help you achieve cleaner more professional looking results, but will also (I think, anyway) make your sewing life a little easier.

Do you have a simple, favorite tool you think others would benefit from knowing about? Write about in the comments section.

What I Do at Work All Day (Part 2)

What I Do at Work All Day (Part 2)

(As promised) The Dart and Drop

Pinned side back seam.

Pinned side back seam.

I do a lot of suit alterations. Sometimes I alter up to eight suits in a single day.

Often, suit jackets fit well in the shoulders but are a bit too roomy in the body. Because of the inner canvas and the inevitable front pocket, you can’t really successfully alter the front of a suit jacket. You need to take in at the center back or side back seams. While pinning, you’ll usually notice that you need to take in the side back seam all the way into the armseye.

This presents the conundrum of:

  1. Should I also take in the sleeve so it will still fit?
  2. Do I need to get into that seam at all?
  3. Do I really need to take the sleeve out?

The answers are no, yes and yes. Do not take in the sleeve. Do take the bottom part of the sleeve out.

Men’s suit jackets are traditionally cut without an actual side seam. The place where you really want/need to take a jacket in, though, is often in that invisible side seam. The way to accomplish this is by using the dart and drop method.

The Dart

Dart pinned into side seam.

Dart pinned into side seam.

Take the lining out and the underarm sleeve apart from the side back seam to a few inches in the front of the side seam. There should be a notch in the jacket to indicate where the side seam would be if there were one. If no notch is present, lay the jacket flat on a table, buttoned up. Where the jacket naturally folds will indicate basically where that side seam is. Mark with chalk on the wrong side of the fabric in the coat body and in the sleeve.

Next, from the wrong side of the fabric, fold on the notch. At the top, measure in the amount you need to take in (as you determined by pinning your side back seam). Then draw a dart from that point down about 3 or 4 inches (or until you run into the top of the pocket). Sew the dart. You can put the same dart in the lining or you can simply do a tuck. Either is fine.

The Drop

The next step is to redraw your underarm seam. The armseye should remain the same size as it originally was. To do this, drop the underarm seam. I suspect there may be some actual formula for this but I’m more of an intuitive sewer. Dropping an inch is usually a good place to start. Use a curved ruler

to draw the new line making sure the connections are smooth. Pin your sleeve at your new side seam an inch below the original seam line. Then pin the rest. You might have to undo more of the original seam if the sleeve isn’t fitting. Do this in the back until you can easily fit the sleeve back in without any excessive easing.

Don’t Worry

Pinned underarm seam.

Pinned underarm seam.

If you end up having to undo part of the shoulder pad and sleeve header, that’s fine. Just reattach them once you have put your sleeve back in.

You can apply the same principle to jackets (or really anything) that have side seams. Unless you want to narrow the sleeve, dropping the armseye is a more accurate way to accomplish this alteration.

At this point I also want to add a little something about the idea of ‘a right way’ to do something. I don’t believe there is only one right way to do things.

Sewing jacket with side seam.

Sewing jacket with side seam.

I ran the costume building shop for Boardwalk Empire for four years. It was a shop full of talented tailors from all sorts of backgrounds and places (Russia, Uzbekistan, Turkey, Tunisia & various U.S. states). We had a running joke about people who insist that their way of doing things is the only way (We even had a little song called, “There’s only one right way to do things. The other ways are wrong…”).

Walk Your Own Path

You need to figure out the way of doing things that works best for you while accomplishing the desired result. Sometimes someone can show you a whole new way of doing something that makes it easier for you. Sometimes not.

The tips and tricks I write about are the things I’ve learned work best for me over the years. Hopefully they will prove to be useful to someone else as well.

Missed Part 1? Check it out here!

Doggie Leggings Pillowcase

Doggie Leggings Pillowcase

Awesome doggie leggings!

Awesome doggie leggings!

“Mom, my doggie leggings don’t fit anymore!! I love them, Mom, don’t throw them away!” To save these precious doggies for eternity, my daughter’s distress signal turned into the Doggie Leggings Pillowcase.

Leggings are a very popular fashion trend today. I’ve seen hundreds of unique, bright designs on websites, in stores, and worn by passers-by. I’ve admired many of the designs and agreed with my daughter that creating something with them would preserve their awesomeness 🙂

Fair warning, everything except the zipper was measured, cut, and sewn by my 7 yr old daughter. The pieces aren’t straight, the stitching is all off, the corners look funny. But that’s ok, it’s awesome the way it is because she made it. It turned out to be a great learning project for her. She’s super proud of it, and so am I.

Level: Beginner

Time to Complete: In An Evening

Sewn By Machine: 1/4 in. straight stitch

**Tip: Wash all new materials prior to use to avoid shrinkage when you wash it.

**ProTip: Iron cut pieces before sewing and in between each step. This helps in the sewing process as well as setting the stitches to lessen unraveling with age. Often, the end results tend to look more professional.

**All measurements based on a craft pillow I already had. Measurements should be adjusted to fit the size of the pillow you are working with. I typically add an extra 1/2″ to measurements when I do a zippered pillowcase to allow for the extra bulk of the pillow.

Materials:

1 – 13″ L x 13″ W  Leggings (side 2)

1 – 5″ L x 8″ W Leggings (side 1)

2 – 4″ L x 13″ W Pink/Purple Material (side 1)

2 – 6″ L x 3″ W Pink/Purple Material (side 1)

1 Zipper, Cut to Fit After Pillowcase is Finished – measuring for zipper after pillowcase is assembled helps ensure the zipper isn’t too short

1 Zipper Foot – to use when sewing on zipper

  1. Sew top strip to top of side 2 Leggings, right sides together. Repeat for bottom strip.

    Step 1

    Step 1

  2. Sew right side strip to right side 2 Leggings, right sides together.
  3. Sew top of side strip to bottom of top strip. Make sure corner with Legging is sewed shut.

    Attaching sides.

    Attaching sides.

  4. Sew bottom of side strip to top of bottom strip. Make sure corner with Legging is sewed shut.
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 for left side strip.

    Zipper foot.

    Zipper foot.

  6. Sew side 1 and side 2 right sides together on three sides only. Leave one side open for zipper.
  7. Trim corners. Turn right side out.
  8. Place open side of zipper on one open end of pillowcase and extend zipper to other end. Cut zipper about 3/8″ – 1/2″ past end of pillowcase. In this case, my zipper measured 12″. I usually buy longer zippers and keep several on hand so I can cut to fit for any project.
    Finished zipper.

    Finished zipper.

    Attaching the zipper.

    Attaching the zipper.

  9. Sew across zipper end several times to make sure the bottom of the zipper never unzips all the way.
  10. Switch to zipper foot on sewing machine.
  11. Unzip zipper.
  12. Place under side of zipper to right side of pillowcase, teeth side outside. Non-tooth side should be end to end with right side of pillowcase. Zipper will be upside down. Pin and sew.

    Naptime!

    Naptime!

  13. Do the same for the other side of the zipper. The placement will be the same, with the underside of zipper to right side of pillowcase, non-tooth side matching end of pillowcase.
  14. Stuff pillow inside the pillowcase, zip up, pop on the bed and take a nap!
Hi all! I’m Stacey Martinez 🙂
I love to design imaginative custom items for my active, crazy family. Bright colors and beautiful fabrics sing “Stacey, Stitch Me!” Let your imagination inspires you to breathe personality into every stitch!

Please leave comments, questions, helpful tips, or pictures of your pillowcase creations. I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Sew Fine Dress Making

Sew Fine

Need the perfect dress for an upcoming special event? Instead of perusing rack after rack of unimaginative, pricey finery consider making it yourself. Not only will you get exactly what you’re looking for, it’s a sure thing that no one else will be wearing the same dress as you.

Points for Originality

Even if you’re not a someone who designs her own patterns, making and wearing your own dress will definitely get you noticed. You’ll look stunning and you’ll be wearing something completely unique. In this day and age when everyone wants to be recognized for their personality and individual contributions, you’ll certainly earn points for wearing something stunning that you made yourself.

Your Choice

Rather than trying to find something that shows off your style, fits your budget and looks great on you from the limited selections in department store – making a dress yourself means you’ll be able to choose the style, fit and fabric that’s best for you. Show off your natural beauty with a dress that accents your coloring and body type.

Works for Formal Functions Too

Formal events like galas or weddings may not seem like that best opportunity to make your own dress, but it’s actually a great time to do so. Making a more formal dress may take a bit longer, but the results will amaze everyone. If you’ve never taken on something like this, trust me, it’s not as hard as you think!

There are some extra steps like creating the tulle under layer(s), feeding the whale bone (plastic) bodice pieces and/or adding lace or other details. Although these seem intimidating, anyone with basic sewing skills can do them – you just have to be willing to try.

Show It Off

Show It OffAfter all the hard work you put in to making your amazing dress, show it off at the big event. Get up, dance, strut your stuff to and from the buffet table, and when people start complimenting you on your attire, don’t be afraid to say you made it. Although you don’t want to overshadow the guest of honor (unless it’s you, of course) there’s nothing wrong with showing off your finery.

If you can, add some handmade accessories to complete the look. Items like hand made, one-of-a-kind jewelry, scarves or shawls will give your dress the final splash and pizazz it needs. If you don’t make any of these items yourself, maybe you’ve got some crafty friends who do and would like to contribute to your amazing look.

Remember

A few points to remember:

  1. Hem with shoes in mind. If you’re wearing heals to the big event, make sure you have those shoes on when determining hem length so the dress will fall correctly.
  2. Event location. If the event is going to be indoors or outdoors, you may need incorporate layers or a cover up depending on the time of year and your sensitivity to cold/heat.
  3. Make a muslin first. If you’re at all unsure about the dress you’re going to make – how well it’ll fit or will look on you – take the time to make a muslin demo piece first. It does extend the length of time it takes you to arrive at the finished product, but it can also mean the difference between a project you love and one you don’t.