Making a Cowl Scarf-No Knitting Required

Cowl Scarves are everywhere this season. If you would like to add one (or more) to your wardrobe, inexpensively, look no further than your own closet. I will be using the leftovers from the long knit skirt in last Friday’s blog. You, however, can use a sweater.

Here's the piece I had after cutting strips for the poncho

1.) I started by cutting the faux-pleat section from the waistband. If you are using a sweater, cut your strip double the width you want it to be when finished.

I'm sure I'll find a good use for that waistband later

2.) I had to cut at one of the seams so that I had a long strip (otherwise I couldn’t turn it right-side out). Then, just fold the right-sides together and sew the long edge. Turn right side out.

3.) Fold in the edge of one end, and stuff the other end inside of that. Stitch it shut.



You have now a cowl scarf. Wind it around your beautiful neck and accessorize with a just as beautiful pin.

Posted in Accessories, Clothing, Re-Purposing, Tutorial, Upcycling | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Remake: Ruffled Poncho

It’s that time of year in the North-Midwest. There’s frost on the grass in the morning, Apple Cider is a grocery staple, and cozying up in your favorite blanket with a mug of coffee/cocoa/tea is a luxury we all indulge in.

Wouldn’t we love it if we could stay wrapped up in our blankets all day? But that would make it a shawl or poncho… well there’s an idea! And that’s where my two yard sale finds com in.

A chenille yarn throw and a full length knit skirt. Fifty cents each!

As you can see, the blanket is a little worn. The tag on it says “Dry Clean Only”, and the easiest way to take care of that is to cut the tag off. Really, I’m not going to dry clean it. I just pop it in the wash to get any shrinking done and over with.

**Note to self: chenille yarn doesn’t shrink…it fuzzed out all over the washing machine**

1.)So with everything washed and dried, I trim off the scraggly ends.

2.) Fold the blanket into fourths, and cut a shallow neck hole. You may want to use a shirt as a guide. (Remember: Start small!)

3.) Unfold once (so it’s only folded in half: short ends together at the bottom), cut down the center from neck to bottom edge.

4.) Cut strips from the skirt. I cut four strips about 4 inches wide and then sewed three pieces together to make a long ruffle around the neck and down the front, with one piece to trim the bottom edges. Of course how many you need to cut etc. will all depend upon your available materials.

Here I have pieces placed near the bottom edges, and the ruffle placed around the neck and down the front.


5.) Pin and stitch the trim in place.


6.) Wear! The edges are a little rough yet, I might make my own bias tape and sew that on later.



I just noticed the strings hanging down. LOL I missed those ones but since it's all stitched, it's easily taken care of with a quick snip.

Posted in Accessories, Clothing, Re-Purposing, Tutorial, Upcycling | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Shirt to Skirt Tutorial: The Fourth and Final Olympic Tee

The second off-white olympic tee is in for a completely different use… and I think it’s my favorite! We’re going to cut, sew, and add a little embellishment to turn a so-so top into a cute bottom (and we all want a cute bottom).

1.) Cut the Sleeves off keeping it in alignment with the sides of the shirt.

2.) Cut the shoulders to form a straight line at the top.

3.) Cut the bottom to the length you want your skirt, plus an inch (add more if you will be making a casing for your elastic).

4.) We’re going to make some easy (What? Yes, I said easy!) pockets using the front half of the sleeves. Cut only the front portion of the sleeves about an inch from the curved seam, then fold inward and stitch down.

5.) On the piece you cut from the bottom, cut in half at the sides. You will use one piece to make your pockets.

I’m not entirely sure which is best… sewing the piece on now, or after you embellish. Here’s what I did:

6.) Sew one piece to the pocket-front, stitching across the top/waist.

I sewed it right sides together as you see here...after which, I realised I should have sewn it with the wrong side of the piece on top of the right side of the skirt

7.) Flip the piece to the inside of the skirt and stitch across the bottom edge, and then down the center. Easy pockets!

8.) Sew the open side seams together-Right-Sides together, of course.

9.) Now for the fun part… embellishing! Using some coordinating lace or trim, make patches to cover the silk-screening.

The Black Lace I was planning on using was a little too see-through. So I cut patches from leftover pieces, to go with the lace.


10.) When you are satisfied with your arrangement, sew your patches in place.

*** This is where I am torn about making the pockets prior to embellishing. If I waited to make the pockets I would have had the straight stitching lines running through the patches. However, since I made the pockets first, I had to arrange the patches so as not to sew the pockets shut.

If you opt to embellish first, at this point you would sew in your pocket panel using steps 6 and 7.


11.) Hem the Waist and Bottom edge of your skirt, and add your elastic. I chose to use the shirring technique as I did in the second Blue and Black Skiing shirt.


There you have it. A really simple skirt with pockets.

Posted in Clothing, Re-Purposing, T-Shirt Makeover, Tutorial, Upcycling | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Light and Fluffy: The Continuing Saga of the Olympic T-Shirts

Set #2: Off White with Colorful Screen Printing

These shirts had me stumped for a few days. I had the same problem as with the blue and black shirts, but I didn’t want to just copy my previous makeovers. I decided to borrow an idea from Suzannah at Adventures in Dress Making, who had borrowed the idea from a J. Crew Tank Top (you can’t stop the inspiration).

1.) (Using only one of the shirts) I cut the tee at my hip. This is where I will add a fitted band of ribbing.

2.) Cut the bottom piece into strips, and then cut these strips into rectangles and squares of various sizes.

3.) On each of these squares/rectangles stretch two opposite ends, making them roll in.

4.) Here is where I altered the neckline (cut the shoulder seams a couple of inches and stitch down as I stated in yesterday’s tutorial), and attached the fitted ribbing band at the bottom. I pinned it in place and stretched the band as I sewed, to fit it to the larger t-shirt edge.

5.) with the two curled edges on the sides, pleat and pin the cut pieces onto the shirt. Stitch down only at the top edge of each piece (I do this by stitching across the entire row).

After they are all stitched down you have a light and fluttery new top!

Tomorrow we tackle the evil twin!

Posted in Clothing, Re-Purposing, T-Shirt Makeover, Tutorial, Upcycling | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Too much or just right? Cozy T-Shirt for lounging.

This is the second installment of t-shirt makeovers, and we’re still dealing with the blue and black skiing tee.

Somewhere along the way I ended up with the bottom half of a gray shirt in my fabric stash. No seams…just a gray, jersey, tube. So with the top and strips of the black shirt from yesterday, and this (unaccounted for) bottom of a gray one, what else but to put them together?

Bits and Pieces

1.) Before I attach top and bottom… the gray piece was a little too big around so I took that in. I added some elastic to the top edge, sewing down the middle and then on either side of the first line for a faux shirred band.

I hemmed the bottom edge (since this is jersey material the end won’t ravel, but I opted for the hem giving it a more finished look. You may or may not want to skip this step).

2.) Sew the top and bottom pieces together,

Looking pretty nerdy right now...

3.) Modify the neckline. For a simple fix, I cut the shoulder seams an inch or two; folded the neck inwards; and stitched down.

4.) Making more ruffles. I took the pieces leftover from yesterday (and a few I got from the excess gray material), and sewed two gathering stitches down the middle.

5.) I decided to make flowers with the gray pieces. To do that, I simply pulled one gathering thread tighter than the other and wound the fabric into a rose shape. Stitch together at the bottom.

Make sure you catch all the edges so you don't have a floppy center

6.) Arrange the flowers and ruffles, and stitch down.

Pin and stitch (the flowers are hand stitched)

It’s so cozy and I like how the gray breaks up the black! What do you think…Too much ruffles or just right?

Posted in Clothing, Re-Purposing, T-Shirt Makeover, Tutorial, Uncategorized, Upcycling | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Transforming a Regular T-shirt into a Bib Ruffle Tee

Today starts a period of Stash-Busting… which actually means I really can’t afford to buy more fabric or craft supplies so I had better use what I have. Now I know I’m the only one with this problem, so bear with me.

A while ago, I bought 4 USA Olympic t-shirts on clearance…no one wants them as is. On top of this, they have rather large designs on the front. If I’m going to revamp them, a little fabric flower just isn’t gonna cut it. Fortunately, there are 2 sets of matching designs.

Set #1 Blue and Black Skiing Shirt

You see my problem.

There are many blogs out there, showing beautiful t-shirt makeovers starting with a relatively design-free shirt (check out “Adventures in Dressmaking” and “Tea Rose” in my links to the right).  The tees I have, however, are almost all silk-screen design.

So how can I make a stylish garment from a regular ol’ boxy (men’s!) t-shirt? Let’s just say, lucky for me ruffles are en vogue this season.

1.) First I cut one tee, about an inch below the armpits.

2.) I then cut the bottom chunk into 2 1/2 inch strips. Since these strips are actually circles, I made a cut on each of them at the side to make long, flat, one layer strips.

**Save the top portion of the t-shirt as well as half the strips for another makeover**

3.) Using a gathering stitch on one side of the long strips, I made ruffles.

4.) Play with the neckline. The usual neckline isn’t über flattering or feminine, so I cut off the collar and made a cut down the center front, as well as at the shoulders.

When I stitched it down, I folded the back collar in and the front collar out

5.) I played around with the arrangement of the ruffles, and decided on a bib style. I then pinned and sewed the ruffles down to the shirt.

I thought the blue would be particularly great with my jean skirt. Add my must-have-belt at my waist, and I was feeling sheksy!


Posted in Clothing, Re-Purposing, T-Shirt Makeover, Tutorial, Upcycling | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Fairy Wings! (Tiny bit of hand stitching)

No girl should be without a set of fairy wings. In fact I have a hard time not wearing them! Wings are very simple to make, and inexpensive. So go ahead…make a set for you and your daughter.

You Will Need:

  • 3 Pair Knee-Highs in the color of your choice (get them in those gumball-machine-type plastic eggs and they’re only $.33-$.50!)
  • Wire- I happened to have a reel of 17 gauge wire in my garage, you may want heavier wire to hold a more rounded shape (coat hangers might work, too).
  • Needle and Matching Thread
  • Wire Cutters, and Pliers

1.)  To figure the length of wire you need, just shape it in your hands and cut a few inches longer. Twist the ends. Do this twice for the top wings, and twice for the bottom wings.

2.) Taking one top wing and one bottom wing, twist the ends together. Repeat for the second set.

3.) Twist the two sections together. To avoid being stuck by the poke-y ends, I use the pliers to curl them inward snail-shell style.

4.) Pop open the Knee-High eggs, and slip one stocking over each wing section.

5.) Cover the ends in the middle with something to pad it. I used quilt batting, but you can use anything that works…that sock that was orphaned in the dryer would be great!


Padded Pokies


6.) Sew the ends of the nylons together on both sides, with a little hand-stitching, being sure to sew them to the padding.

7.) Now for the straps: Taking the third set of knee-highs, attach one to either set of wings by sewing the toe and edge sections between the wing-nylons.


Attaching the straps


8.) All that’s left is to shape your wings and put them on!

Posted in Accessories, Costume, Re-Purposing, Tutorial, Upcycling | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment