10 Minute Super Lightweight DIY Pin Board Tutorial

Not only is this board easy to make, it’s easy to mount: it’s so lightweight you only need a few Command strips to mount it on the wall – no drilling into studs, etc.

The secret is using foam insulation that you pick up from the hardware store in 8’x4’ sheets. I used Foamular that you can pick up at Home Depot for around $15 a sheet. I didn’t happen upon this all by myself…I saw it in my neighbor’s garage and asked her what she was going to do with it. She planned on making drape cornices with it. There’s a whole world of possibilities with it.

It’s stiff, but easily cut with just a box cutter. So no need for wood working tools. The pictures are from a second such pin board I made, so I had to tape two pieces together to make a 3’x4’ board.So you can make a few projects out of one sheet. I still have a little piece leftover and I think I’ll make a smaller pin board with it. And despite my initial concerns, pins stay very securely pinned into the board: the foam has good gripping strength.

I used carpet tape to stick fabric to it, because it was on hand, but you could probably affix it with something else…on the previous board I made, I used an upholstery gun, with mixed results: most of the staples stayed in, but some came out of the foam.I used upholstery/outdoor fabric because I had it on hand, but you can use any type of fabric for this.

The upholstered board:The whole thing weighs probably less than 2-3lbs it seems. But I used 3 command strips. On the other board I used the picture frame mounting strips because that is what I had on hand then. Those are rated for weight, so you can figure out how much weight the board and what you will be pinning on it will weigh and then use the appropriate amount of strips. Since we only plan on pinning my kids’ artwork on there, I’m thinking the three will suffice…I may be wrong, and if so I will update again.I wish I had a super cutesy kitchen and you didn’t have to see my hand vac on the wall and basket nearly tumbling down from the craft cupboard…but it is what it is!From beginning to end I spent less than 10 minutes making this board…I did have the experience of making the previous one, so it might take you 15 minutes!


Mens’ Dress Shirt to Girls’ Romper

So this week’s Project Run and Play challenge was to transform a dress shirt into something wearable for a child. A few months ago I had purchased Burda 9491, and I thought I might try to make a romper based off that pattern. The original pattern has cap sleeves and a pleated front yoke; you can see a lovely interpretation here.

I changed the romper to include two layered ruffled sleeves and ruffles going down the front next to the buttons. I also made the shorts a little shorter and reduced the circumference of the leg bands so the shorts are a little puffier. I’m not a huge fan of the pattern’s elastic waist band (a little too 1970s Ralph Furley reminiscent) and would probably do it differently if I made this again. But I made a little sash and it tied everything together nicely and covered the waistband.

But as usual, my model loved it!


Valentine’s Day Outfit

I really meant to sew along in this season of Project Run and Play, but I was really disappointed in what I had made for the first week (and never finished), that I kind of lost interest for a bit. But on Monday when I saw the great projects that were joining the link party for this week’s Valentine’s Day Outfit Challenge, I was inspired to whip up something myself! I decided that I wanted something that was made up of a few stand alone pieces, so that Elle could wear these pieces any time, and not just on Valentine’s Day. So I came up with this leggings, top and shrug combo.

The shrug is a refashion of a sequined top of mine purchased at H&M about 10 years ago, while I was still living in Germany. When I pulled it out of my donation scrap bag, I actually had second thoughts and was thinking it should go back into my closet…but then decided it was time to pass on the torch of the sequin top to my daughter. I sewed it into a simple shrug:I made the chartreuse polka dot leggings using one of her leggings as a pattern, and I made the top using Alida’s Nautical Diva tutorial, using one of my daughter’s shirts as a guide.I changed it a little by making the front bottom curved upwards. I sewed an applique of a winged heart using the knit print from the tights and the sequined fabric from the shrug, pulling it all together.

Then I made her a little knit bracelet using scraps from the chartreuse knit following this tutorial.

The outfit had a little bit of a modern 80s vibe to it:

Overall, I think I had a happy customer!

Las Vegas Show Girl Costume and Headdress DIY

Every year my family hosts an Old Years costume themed party. Past themes have been 70s disco, White Trash, and James Bond. This year’s theme was Las Vegas. I’m not always home to celebrate the holidays and the last two times I came I was pregnant…and not very much in the whole costume mood. Even this year I was toying with flaking out…except my brother called me a few weeks earlier and asked if I could make him and a friend Siegfried and Roy costumes.  And since I was making them costumes I thought I should get in on the fun as well.

For my showgirl costume I used a 80s prom dress that I had purchased many years ago as a costume, but never used. It was truly hideous.
I mean, hideous in a glorious way…how could someone have possibly thought this was flattering? It was like Charro meets Dallas! Don’t know who Charro is…what? You never watched the Love Boat? Sad.

I took the dress, cut away the front ruffles, and all the back ruffles except the top one…leaving a bustle of sorts behind. Yeah, it almost seems wrong to chop up a dress like that, but it’s not like I was ever going to wear it…I bought it off of eBay a few years ago, and if this was your dress once back in the day, I’m sorry I’m destroying your awful dress…but you would probably too!

I hemmed the edges using some leftover fusible webbing…my new best friend!

I sewed some awesome fringe trim to the front.

Cut off the awful cha-cha sleeves and sewed halter like straps such that they would exactly cover the straps of my halter top bra. I made the straps out of fabric I cut from the skirt of the dress that I had just cut off. Totally upcycling here, people! The white tulle isn’t visible when being worn, as it is hidden under the bustle in the back.

I found an awesome tutorial for making your own serious belly baring top seen here:


…but I wasn’t that brave…
Then in was on to the headdress…now this was simply spectacular. This is what took the costume from over-enthusiastic dancer all the way to show girl…I mean, there was no question about what my costume was once I put on that headdress.

I got a cheap black visor, ordered loads of feathers from amazon.com. There are a lot of online feather sources, but I chose amazon since I was in a hurry and wanted to make sure the fathers were delivered in a timely way. And used my trusty glue gun. Now, this isn’t my idea of course…I found a few online tutorials using a visor, including the one I linked to above.

This is what my headdress consisted of:

The pricing on Amazon seems to have changed since I ordered…for example, the 13-15 inch black feather were shipping under amazon Prime, so I didn’t have to pay shipping on those. I ended up paying just under $35 for all the feathers. Pretty pricey, but I felt like the splurge was worth it, since I was hardly spending anything on the dress. At first I was just gluing them straight up, but the headdress was starting to look very much like an Indian headdress. So I realized the trick to the Vegas Show Girl Headdress was gluing the edge feathers at more than a 45 degree angle outwards, so as to let the plume from the feathers fall down. Here’s a shot from the back of the visor:I covered the bottoms of the feathers with some sequined trim and the rest of the fringe trim (I had purchased a total of ¾ of a yard), so that it fell covering my forehead.Here’s a shot including the tall peacock feathers:

And I finished the look with some feather eyelashes. By the way, the secret to perfect eyelash application according to my bff and eyelash guru is good quality eyelash glue. Duo is what she recommends and what I use. Oooh la la. My daughter called them butterfly lashes!

And for all of you fake eyelash newbies…the big secret to fake eyelash application? You stick them to your lashes…NOT your eyelid…yeah, might seem elementary to many eyelash Sherlocks reading this…but for me it was a revelation. There are many awesome YouTube eyelash application videos. Watch them…

I wore some fishnet stockings and some black bikini bottoms which weren’t visible, since the costume covered them. Here’s a picture of me and Siegfried and Roy (I’ll write a post about making their costumes in a few days):I’d never really made a costume before…it was a lot easier than I would have thought, especially since I was able to use the bodice from an existing dress. I think I’ll also make more of an effort for my kids Halloween costumes in the future.

Thrift Store Chair Makeover

On Saturday I was checking out the local Salvation Army, looking for old clothes that could be re-purposed in sewing projects. They were having a great sale on clothes: 50 cents for any children’s clothes item (they have wagon loads full of barely used great clothes: Gymboree, GAP, Old Navy etc…). I was so sad that there was a plethora of 3T boys clothes and my boy is now 4T. Boo! And I’m not allowed to buy any more girls clothes, since we have so many hand-me-downs…but I did allow myself to get the cutest white tights with gold dots on them in size 18m. I did manage to get a pair swim trucks (Spiderman, score!) and two shirts for Rex too. And adult clothing was $1 an item…I found 4 pairs of shorts that looked like they would fit me (upon trying them on at home, it turns out that only two fit me…so looks like I paid $2 a pair, instead of $1…but that’s okay…). Funnily enough, I came away empty handed for my original intent of finding clothes I could cut up and sew into other projects.

And then I happened upon a beautiful wooden chair with arms that was suffering from “bank lobby circa 1970″ upholstery. It was terrifically sturdy and well-made and had nice structural detailing. And it was only $13! Sold!

This evening I decided to tackle the reupholstering of the chair with some upholstery fabric I’d purchased from Fabric Guru over a year ago…one of those fabric stockpile/stash pieces that I knew would come in handy one day. Fabric Guru has a great selection of upholstery fabric at sometimes ridiculously low prices…I can’t remember what I paid for the black and white fabric, but I know another piece I got was 8 yards for $15. And you pay one flat rate of $5 for shipping. This black and white woven fabric was really interesting, because I can use either the front or back of the fabric, one side is white with black flowers, and the other black with white flowers. I chose the black with white flowers for upholstering the chair.

At first I had ambitions of removing the original fabric, and using it as a pattern to cover the cushion again with the same piping on the edge. But then I decided I would rather have a less than one hour project with satisfactory results, rather than a possibly never-ending project with spectacular results.

So I just removed the seat cushions and covered the old cushions with the new fabric using my handy-dandy upholstery stapler.

And it turns out that satisfactory is pretty darned close to spectacular in my opinion. Take that Crate and Barrel or other overpriced furniture store! It definitely taught me to look at used furniture with a different eye, it’s amazing what a coat of paint or change of upholstery can do.


The Cutest Romper That Ever Was!

After sewing the knot-tie dress for my older daughter, I was itching to do something in similar colors for my younger daughter, but since she is just starting to walk, I needed something that wasn’t going to trip her up. So I thought I would revisit McCalls Pattern #M4424 that I used to make this romper with. It’s great to use a pattern you have already used before: firstly, all the pattern pieces are already ironed and cut, and because you’ve already done it once, it’s easier the second time around…which isn’t to say I didn’t make any mistakes this time around…but nothing a seam ripped couldn’t fix…ahem…

But really any romper pattern with a separate bodice piece would work for this.

A few weeks ago Hancock Fabrics was having one of their sales, 30% most fabrics. I lugged a whole lot of fabric to the cutting table, and got 1/2 yard to 1 yard of various cute prints to stick in my stash at home. After cutting one particularly cute print, the Hancock’s employee announced the price: about $10 a yard. Me: What? Huh? It was supposed to be 30%-40% off! Her: Nope, not this fabric. Me: Wah! Her: Well, don’t worry, you don’t have to take it. Me: Um, no…my fault, I’ll take it.

It was a super cute bird print and I just vowed to make something worthy of the $10 I paid for it. That’s a lot of pressure for a little romper.

I made some minor modifications – pretending to be the Sandra Lee of home sewing:

- I sewed piping between the pant bottoms and the bodice with the help of The Cottage Home’s tutorial.

- I added snaps at the back closure instead of buttons, saving myself sewing two buttonholes and buttons on: I like the detail of the pearl snaps, but I do admit to having my frustrations with attaching snaps as well.

- I added little side pockets before finishing the bottom of the romper. In retrospect, I wish I placed them higher up on the romper. I followed ikat bag’s fabulous tutorial. If you would prefer another type of pocket, check out her amazing quilt with 26 different pockets including how-to’s.

This is my little one post nap modeling the romper….it’s a pretty difficult task taking a decent illustrative picture of a toddler.

But I think she pulled it off well, don’t you?


Tie Knot Dress & Mea Culpa

I feel bad that I’ve neglected my little bloggie for so long…but I have been sewing…just not posting. Boo! However, I’m super excited about what I’ll be posting about next: This super cute tie-knot dress. It’s a real easy project. One of those dresses that looks really detailed, but is easy-as-pie to make. And it’s very forgiving size-wise: because you can adjust the shoulder straps with just a knot and it cinches around the waist. So I’m sure my Ellie-Bellie will be wearing this dress for another 2 years…when her younger sister isn’t wearing it, that is…

I can also see it as becoming one of my go-to gift sewing project and I can’t wait to whip up a few more of these.

I promise I won’t wait too long to write up a tutorial!

DIY Rashguard Swim Top

A.K.A. – OMG, a sewing project that actually saves me money?

We’re a boating family, which means we need serious sun protection for the kiddies when it comes to water wear. I like rashguards, because they provide a lot of coverage, and make the kids look like little surfers. But, boy are those tops pricey. I like the long sleeve ones, because they provide more coverage, and while Old Navy has them for boys, the girls version doesn’t have neck coverage. Now, I’m not adverse to getting boys clothes for my girls, but it struck me there and then in Old Navy that this was a project I could probably tackle myself at home. Continue reading

My Little Butterfly – Butterfly Top and Pants

After taking a few weeks rest from the Project Run and Play sew-along (even though last week’s Earth Day challenge was right up my re-purposing alley), I jumped back in this week. This week’s theme was a color challenge: pick a color and design an outfit around that. And I picked the anti-color: gray. I had pinned an outfit like this ages ago on Pinterest and decided it was time to attempt my own version…and thought gray would be a perfect color for my incarnation of the butterfly top and pants, because I think more muted tones complement this style. My inspiration:


I will post a tutorial soon, but in the meantime here are some more pictures. The Neckline:The sleeves:The keyhole closure on the back:And here are some shots of my sweet baby modeling for me:All smiles (the gray really brings out her blue eyes!):Looking forward to seeing what my fellow sew-alongers have made!