Hopes and Seams

Crafts, refashions, and sewings to DIY my way through life

Archive for the month “January, 2012”

Take No Prisoner (Shirts)

I was inexplicably drawn to this white and blue striped shirt at Goodwill the other day, but didn't realize until I got home and tried it on that it looks like a prisoner uniform! I've tried to help you imagine what I looked like using my mad photoshop skillzzz. I needed a plan to make this shirt decidedly UN-prisoner-ly so....

FIRST I got my scissors out - I opened up the neckline, ripped off the sleeves, and brought in the sides in to be the width of my hips

SECOND I tried to make the top more fitted while also subtly breaking up the strip-iness of the shirt (I'm making up a lot of words today!). I measured and marked out four darts, pinned, and sewed them down!

Here's a close up! I was going to do this to the back too to fit my waist perfectly, but when I pinned the back darts, I found out I couldn't get it over my head! err....that won't do.

So THIRD, I tried to make the back more fitted by ruching with elastic. See how plain and square the back was? I cut a piece of elastic about an inch and a half long, and, after tacking it in the middle of the shirt, sewed it down while it was stretched out. When it's all sewn down, the elastic will naturally ruche the fabric when released!

Now the back looks like this! Three cheers for fit AND comfort AND being able to pull a shirt over your head! hurray hurrah huzzah!

The FOURTH and last stage - finishing the edges. I double rolled and hemmed up the bottom, neck hole, and arm holes. For the neck, I used this cheater technique that I'm kinda stoked about! I really wanted the look of bias tape, but totally did not want to put in the work, so after rolling toward me while the shirt was flipped inside out, I stitched as closely to the edge as a I could. I then flattened the seams open (while still inside out) and gave everything a good press.

It turned out like this! Looks like bias binding, right? heheheheh

and ta-da! Here is my new prison shirt turned spring tank. Now for the rain to stop and the sun to come out...

Before and after. Have fun!


Quickie (feat. Silver Keys)

Hello silver keys that I can hardly tell apart!


Hello nail polish/glitter collection that hardly sees the light of day!


(slather slather)




Felt Blooms – Guidelines


I really LOVE making flowers, especially out of felt. As I watch the material slowly blossom from between my own fingertips, my heart smiles a little bit. Honestly, there are MILLIONS (ok fine, more like 531,000) of tutorials for felt flowers out there. I think they are so popular because they can be sooo quick and easy. But personally, I think a blossom that takes a little more time, planning, and effort really makes a statement.

This post isn’t so much a step by step tutorial, but more the guidelines I follow when I make a felt flower. I pretty much make them in four stages: petal cutting, petal shaping, flower assembly, and finishing touches.

Stage 1: Cut the Petals

(clockwise) pic of a peony found on google (http://4peonies.com/graphics/AbalonePearl.jpg), little squares, different colors = different sizes, petal shape

First, I pick a flower and do some “research”, which is my fancy word for doing a google image search for it. I’m basically looking for 2 things – the shape of the petals, and the fullness/density of the bloom. After this, I cut out seemingly millions of little squares in the colors I want (really, you probably only need 20 ish, depending on the flower). When I’m using different colors for a gradient effect, I try to size the petals differently to get larger as they go out. Finally, I meticulously cut each petal into the shape that I want. For this peony, I used about 20 petals, the smallest being about 4 cm wide, the largest being 6 cm wide.

STAGE 2: Shape the Petals

(clockwise) hot glue along the bottom edge, cup with thumb, backside, piles of petals!

Now, it’s time to make mounds of flat petals more lifelike! I take my hot glue gun, do a light line along the bottom edge (can you see it in the pic? 😦 ), and basically form the base of the petal into a “cup” using my thumb! REPEAT X 20

STAGE 3: Assemble the Flower

(clockwise) glue by edges, inner trio of petals, layers of petals!

Now is the fun part 🙂 I take the smallest petals and try to figure out the best formation for the smallest, inner ring of petals. I’ll try 2, 3, 4, or 5 petals to see which looks best. After I figure it out, I glue the inner ring together by the edges. I then add petals one by one, layering out, gluing by the bottom of each petal (not the edges). For this peony, I ended up having about five layers of petals, going from cream, to very light pink, to a dusty light pink.

STAGE FOUR: Apply Finishing Touches

I like to add little embellishments, like leaves, or bits of lace, tulle, or netting. Different colors, textures, and some shine really ups the visual interest. I kept the embellishments light on this baby though, just sticking with a couple of leaves 🙂

By the end, there are a couple unsightly spots, namely the center of the flower, and the back of the flower. It’s easy to fill the center! I usually just glue or stitch in some pearls, beads, or buttons. Alternatively, you can make this furry felt roll up thing by taking a thin strip of felt, cutting notches (?) down its length, and then rollllling it up, using hot glue to secure :). For the back, I figure out what I want this flower to be (pin? headband? clip? belt?) and buy the necessary hardware (Michael’s, Joann’s, Walmart!). I cut a felt circle, just big enough to hide all the ugliness, and cut slits in it to slide a part of the hardware behind it. Can you see in the above pic how the top of the hair clip is covered by the felt, and actually directly glued onto the bloom? I then thoroughly hot glue the whole thing down!

And that’s it! Flower accomplished! heehee.

My peony is a really big flower, but you can make these smaller or bigger as you please. These flowers are so fun and pretty to glue/stitch onto soft hairbands for your baby girl, or to wear as a crazy headband (like I do). They brighten up blazers, plain blouses, Bible covers, kindle covers, aprons, home decor….and uh…..lots of other stuff!!

By the way, this peony is up for mutual donation. Check out my new mutual donation page to see what that means!

🙂 Have fun!

Random Side Projects Part Deux

These last few weeks have become an unplanned break from my blog. The holiday season has been full of exciting announcements, travel, and sweet times with friends and family. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been keeping busy!

For Christmas, my sister wanted to surprise her little girls by doing a super darling makeover of their room! She had bought this tree wall decal, so my job was to spruce it up with paper flowers to give it color and texture.

Check out this post to see the rest of the room 🙂

On holiday days (holi-days? holidays?) my local goodwill sells all their apparel for 50% off! So I snagged a bunch of stuff, including this groooovy shirt, and did some easy refashioning by bringing the sides in and shortening the sleeves.

Before and after!

linky link!

My brother's small group bought a niiice (Pitt-Minion) Bible for one of its members, so I made a cover for it as a birthday gift! This little sucker took me four tries, but NOW I know what I'm doing.

Before and after!

Details: elastic closure with button, fabric faux spine, inside pockets to hold index cards, ribbon book mark

While making a couple of baby headbands for a friend's friend, I was reminded of my first love: felt flowers. (Sigh) ❤ ❤

And finally, new year = a new Bible reading plan. My family has loosely been doing it together thus far. We randomly text one another with the verse from that day that stood out to us. Little sweet blessings from a heavenly Father that I pray I don't take for granted.

Check out the plan here

This past Christmas also marked my one year anniversary with my dear sewing machine. As I look back at this past year and remember the frustration, tears (YES literal tears my friends), excitement, and JOY of learning how to sew, I am delighted and dismayed at what I have done. I feel I have come a long way, but there are still so many things I do not know how to do! So, here are my new year sewing….goals. heh.

1. make a piece of clothing from SCRATCH (no refashion)

2. learn how to use a pattern (so scary)

3. be more “legit” with techniques -__-

4. make other stuff (hats, shoes?)

5. learn how to sew tricky fabrics, like chiffon (scary)

6. learn how to hem pants legitimately

and most importantly…

7. be like Tabitha. Use gifts for the building up of the body of Christ, and not for selfish gain.

Keep me accountable friends!

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