Hopes and Seams

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

Archive for the tag “diy”

Painted Ombre Curtains


The very first thing we did when we moved into our house was paint all the walls. Every room was painted a different color (bright blue bedroom, pink bathroom, peach kitchen, green master!) so to unify everything and establish a neutral palette I chose to sweep everything in the neutral paint color du jour – grey. Convinced there would be pops of color elsewhere, we proceeded to get the rest of the big furniture in the living room – a sectional sofa, a large area rug, and book cases/expedit shelving units. What colors did those end up being? Dark grey, grey, and black, respectively. Even my sofa “accent” pillows ended up being grey. I was starting to feel very drab indeed.

I searched and searched for some bright cheery yellow curtains but I learned quickly that I’m painfully particular – I wanted a print, but I didn’t want it all over. I wanted ombre, but I thought it too plain by itself. I wanted a bright, loud color, but didn’t want it to be solid. And underlying it all was the painful squeeze of now paying a mortgage through our noses.

Amidst my woe, I serendipitously checked the “As-is” section at IKEA and found a pair of these for $5!(!!!!!) After reading a bajillion tutorials on how to dip dye fabric AND how to paint a pattern onto fabric (like this one), I just jumped in and tried it myself. For the most part, I’m pleased with the end product, but there are DEFINITELY things I wish I had done differently.



I used 1 entire package of RIT Golden Yellow, and dissolved it with a cup of salt in about 3 gallons of boiling hot water. In retrospect, I wish I had done 2 packages? Or maybe tried mixing it with the tiiiniest hint of orange, just because I wish the yellow were just a tad bit more saturated. I think my curtain fabric (a sort of canvas-y material) was too thick to take on the dye to the degree I wanted. Oh well!

house stuff-001

I then lowered the ends of my curtains into the bucket until they skimmed the bottom. I let the ends steep for about 15 minutes, and then lowered another foot into the bucket. I kind of twist scrunched the fabric to make it fit more efficiently in the water and make sure the dye line would be level horizontally across the fabric. I repeated this process of lowering a foot of fabric in and letting it soak for 15 minutes about 4 times. For the last “wash” where the yellow is the lightest and transitions into the white, I just dipped it quickly a couple times instead of letting it soak.

When I pulled it out, the end at the bottom of the bucket was the darkest shade of yellow since it had sat in the dye for more than hour, while the part right next to the white was the very lightest since it was just dipped really quickly. I carefully hung the curtains across my fence (making sure the color was at the bottom!) and ran cold water with the hose from the top (white) to the bottom (yellow) until the water ran clear. I let it air dry, and then threw it in my dryer to set it!


What did I do during those 15 minute intervals?


With some left over wall paint, a homemade stencil, a sponge, newspaper, spray adhesive, scotch tape, and a couple paper plates on hand, I started figuring out how to paint the pattern onto my curtains.

I sketched out a few patterns that I thought I might like, and once I decided on one, I drew it out on some stencil material and made my cuts with an Xacto-knife. I sprayed the back with spray adhesive (it gives the back of the stencil some tackiness), and also stuck four pieces of scotch tape on each side to help secure it and keep it in place.

house stuff2

After practicing on a tote to get the feel of things, I laid newspaper under the curtain fabric and got to work. The process was to position the stencil, stick down the scotch tape, load up my sponge and blot off excess on a paper plate, apply onto the stencil evenly, carefully peel off and wipe off the excess paint on a paper plate. Rinse and repeat.

photo (3)

I’m not going to lie, the stenciling and painting was a PAIN and it took forever (forever = maybe 4 hours?). There are a lot of things I would do differently if I were to do this over.


This was a roll of “make your own stencil” material from Martha Stewart that I got from Michaels. I would NOT (!!!!) recommend using this!!! It was rolled so tightly, that once I tried to unfurl it to use for myself, the dumb thing would NOT lie flat, even after rolling it as tight as I could the opposite way. If I were to do this again, I would definitely use some sort of mat or waterproof paper (I’ve heard contact paper works)

The tutorial I mainly followed (the one I linked to earlier) said to use a foam roller. I tried that on my tote and it stunk. So I tried a foam brush, but that was really bad too! I finally settled on the round dabby sponge that’s in my picture, which I think was ideal. Messy on the fingers, but the best of the bunch.

I would draw grid lines for myself to help guide the placement of my stencil. I considered this but didn’t do it because I thought it would easy to just match up the edges of the pattern to keep myself straight. NOPE. My pattern started getting all wonky near the end of the second row, with the edges not matching the way they were supposed to, and by the end, I had to fill in the spots where the ends weren’t matching up.

I would also make my stencil WAY bigger, like at least four times bigger and just have the pattern repeating within my stencil. The whole process got tedious really fast, so making a bigger stencil would have saved some pain.

Regardless of how things could have been done better, I still get to see this every day

New folder2and it does make me happy 🙂

IMG_1792these curtains cost about $7! and a million bucks of my TIME.


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!

A Crisis and a Question

A veritable holiday crisis: wrapping presents at some crazy hour after midnight, and realizing you don't have that gift bag you urgently NEED! All you can find are empty cereal boxes! How many times have you wished your cereal box would magically turn into a gift bag?

Well wish no more! Simply trim one of those cereal boxes to the height you need...

...and wrap it in wrapping paper, glueing down each surface as you go. Leave about 6 inches of paper at the top (the opening).

After wrapping around the entire box and securing all edges with glue, snip the wrapping paper around the opening down to the four corners to make four flaps.

Fold each flap in half, then fold again to lie flat on the inside of the box. Glue down and repeat on all four sides!

Makes a niice neat opening 🙂

Don't forget to make the bottom nice and tidy!

Use a straight edge to carefully and cleanly to make side creases (side note: I would NOT recommend making it completely gift bag-gy by quashing the bottom rectangle flat against the front of the bag. I tried this and the paper wrinkled terribly waaah)

Hole punch and hole puch. Repeat on other side!

Thread ribbon through...

..and double knot, double knot!

Throw your present in and you're DONE! Crisis averted ha-HA!

Now for a random question: I've made my first baby head wrap. That white material is the super soft stretchy part that wraps around baby's head. Ok, my question is, would you let your baby wear this? Making accessories for babies makes me nervous because I feel like there is so much...at stake? Err...does that make sense?

Thanks for your input in advance. Happy wrapping and have fun everyone! 🙂

Muumuu Delight

I found this muumuu (sleeping gown?? nightie?) for $5 at goodwill. It features fabric to the floor, a zipper in the back, and short little girl sleeves. I was drawn to it immediately because of...

...this amazing bib! The prospect of making this thing wearable in public was making me all sorts of excited.

So first, the length had to be DEALT with. I chopped it to tunic length (mid thigh)

...and brought in the sides and trimmed the excess.

Next, I knew I would want a sash/tie thingy, so I chopped a foot wide piece from the skirt, opened it up (to be a looong strip). I folded the strip length wise and sewed it shut with pointy ends (ala my obi belt ties). When I turned it inside out, it became...

...a nice wide sash!

Now for the most daunting part. I knew I NEEDED to add length to the sleeves to carry the piece out of baby-girl land, so I picked open the hem on the sleeves and measured around.

I cut two rectangles that equaled the circumference of the sleeve so that...

...when folded in half, it could easily be attached to the existing sleeve and add length! Before I attached it though, I wanted to elasticize the arm opening.

MINI TUTORIAL ON ELASTIC: So first (upper left) I cut my elastic to the length and width I wanted. Second (upper right) I sewed the end of the elastic in place onto the edge of the wrong side of my fabric. After lining it up with the edge of the fabric (bottom left), I stretched the elastic out across the edge (bottom right), and pulled the fabric from behind the needle to help it feed along while sewing down the stretched elastic to the fabric.

Because the elastic is sewn on stretched, when it is let go, it looks like this! This would be a really easy way of ruffling, gathering, or ruching, in addition to generally elasticizing a waist or arm opening.

I rolled the edge over on more time to give it a more finished look (would an exposed elastic scream "BEGINNER!" to you?? I'm asking)

And the sleeve addition (implant? supplement?) was done!

I pinned it on to the open hem of the existing sleeve, right sides together, and sewed all the way around! Sewed everything shut, tapering off the arm hole a little. I think I was able to get away with lengthening the sleeves this way because the print would sort of hide whatever seam I'd put in, but I wouldn't recommend this method for a solid or a bigger print.

Last thing left to do was hemming! hemmm hawwww

That's it! A new, cheap, and unique piece for my wardrobe! Someone commented that it looks like it's from a different culture, which made me (inexplicably) really happy and pleased! The bib - success!

BEFORE and AFTER. Don't let anyone tell you you can't wear a bib in public. Have fun!

linked up here!

The Skinny on Skinnies

MATERIALS NEEDED: pants to skinnify, marking pen, pins, sewing machine with coordinating thread.

I have these pants that my sister found for $1. I never wear them because they make me....well....you can see for yourself in the picture. 😦 sigh. It's such a shame because the waist and length are perfect, but they make me feel like a man.

SO...I laid those babies out on the floor inside out...

....and lay some existing skinnies directly on top. Matching up the outside seams, I used a fabric pen to trace where the inside seams of my skinnies fell. If you're doing this, you'll want to look at your own pants and see which seam will be best to take in; usually there is one that has a thick decorative seam, and another that lies flat. If your outside seam is the flat one, then I would bring that seam in rather than the inside seam.

(sorry bad picture) see the line? After this, I pinned one of the legs up with pins...

...and tried it on (yep, inside out!), adjusting where the fabric was pulling too tightly.

Starting at the crotch, I sewed down the new inner seam.

After trying it on one more time to make sure it fit the way I wanted, I cut the excess fabric, and zigzag stitched over the unfinished edge so that the fabric wouldn't fray.

I folded the pants in half and marked the other leg up (do you see the blue line?). I did it this way to make sure my two legs were symmetrical. Repeat the process on the other side (starting at the crotch, sew down the leg, cut excess fabric. Check to see if they fit and both legs are even)

and heeeyyyyyy~~

New skinny pants! 🙂 I still look dumpy, but....LESS dumpy, right?? 🙂 hehee.

so. many. tutorials!

Leather Obi Belt

Materials needed: 1/4 yard of leather or pleather, 1/8 yard of coordinating silk or rayon, thread and machine, some silly posing skillzz

Step 1: PATTERN. Grab some newspaper and cut it to the length you want your belt, plus a half inch. My pattern measured about 24 inches. Then, fold the paper into fourths, and cut it into the shape you want. (Having it folded will ensure that the belt is symmetrical). I wanted mine to be like a long oval, so I cut it the way you see in the picture, but you could also do it in a rectangle, or other shape.

Open it up and hold it up on your body to make sure you like it. It's ok if it's a bit big because you will lose half an inch for the seams. YYEaaah your pattern is DONE 🙂

Step two: LEATHER FACE. Fold your pattern in half, fold your leather in half, and lay them on top of one another with the folded edges lined up with one another. Carefully cut the leather around your paper pattern.

Repeat this with another piece of leather sooo...

...you've got two symmetrical leather pieces (for the front and back). Cool the leather cutting is DONE! 🙂

Step three: TIES. Take that 1/8 yard of silk or whatever you got and cut it in half, length-wise. (This pic is really misleading. It shouldn't look as skinny as this -__- sorryy)

Take one piece and fold it in half, length wise again, so it's a long strip. Sew down the raw long edge...

...but when you get to the end, sew down the short edge at a 45 degree angle...

...like so. This will give us pretty points at the ends of our bow 🙂 Backtack right there (backtack means to sew backwards a few stitches, then forward again to secure the thread from coming loose), and repeat for the other strip

Grab a pen or knitting needle or some similarly long rod like object, and flip those strips inside out...

...and tada! Two ties for our belt 🙂

Step four: PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER. ooohhh k! So, make a sandwich - leather (right side facing in), two ties (with raw edge sticking out, one on each side), and leather (right side facing in). I know, it's a crazy inside out sandwich, but just trust me on this!

So it looks like this, ok?

Start by sewing down one of the ties...

...and keep sewing around - sew down the long edge (being VERY CAREFUL not to sew any other part of the ties down!!!), sew down the other tie, and sew back around the other long edge (keep those ties out of the way!), BUT leave an opening, about the length of your hand. Backtack!


It looks like a pizza pocket?

Any way, stick your hand in that opening and grab the two ties, and pull them out carefully. Gently coax out the rest of belt until it is flipped inside out. Yes, it will feel like this brown thing is literally giving birth, but it will turn into...

...this almost-belt-crab-looking-thing! Hand stitch the opening closed using an invisible stitch (youtube this).

To make it decidedly more belt-like, topstitch around the belt.

It will look like this! Better, right?

Lay the leather on your waist, wrap the ties around your back, pull them back to the front and tie a knot...

...and you've got a super cool new obi belt! I love the pointed edges on the knot.

Wear with that pretty dress you have. 🙂 Have fun!


Linked up here!

Christmas Dinner Capelet

MATERIALS NEEDED: Fabric (enough to make a 2 ft by 2 ft square), coordinating fabric for a collar, scissors, sewing skillz (either by hand or machine)

PART 1: MAKE A SQUARE. So I got this skirt for free when I picked up that peplum-dress dress 🙂 but since my waist is NOT the size of a remote control, I decided to repurpose it into a little capelet! Of course, you don't have to get a square of fabric from a skirt; you could just go buy some fabric (more than 1/4 yard, less than a 1/2?) I would recommend doing this with a fabric that doesn't fray so that you don't have to finish the edges

I cut it straight down the middle...

...and snipped off the elastic waistband. I ended up with a rectangle of fabric, which I then cut in half, laying the pieces side by side...

...to make a square 🙂 If you trim the sides (like I did) to make it more square-ish, make sure to save the strips, b/c you will use them later. (Ignore those curved corners. and the beanbag.) PART ONE: DONE!

PART TWO: MAKE A COLLAR I measured around my neck and then grabbed a scrap sleeve from some shirt (made of jersey) and cut it into a ring, where the inner circle was the circumference of my neck. ALTERNATIVELY (and more easily) you could grab an old t-shirt you don't wear, and cut off the neck hole 🙂 You should try to keep it as 1 piece - mine is in 2 b/c I didn't have enough fabric

Assuming your collar is a ring, make one cut into the center, and round the edges of the cut like so. (It looks like my mom's hairdo. heehee!) and hey - PART TWO is DONE! 😀

PART THREE: PUT IT ALL TOGETHER Lay your cute peter pan collar directly over the center of your fabric square. Mark the placement of the inner ring and...

...hollow it out!

At this point, your square is still a square, but it has to become a circle! so cut those corners off to make it a perfect circle..

...or...not so perfect...oval. 🙂 Sew all the pieces together, making sure to leave a front opening. No pics of this next step, but see the opening? Clip those corners to mimic the curved edges of the peter pan collar (see finished product pic for visual - 😦 sorry). Almost done!

PART FOUR: PUSSY BOW Gosh - a capelet with a peter pan collar and a pussy bow?!? TRIFECTA OF CUTENESS! You could easily grab some ribbon and skip making the bow ties yourself, but if you'd like to, grab those left over strips of fabric from earlier and sew them into two long..err..tubes. Make sure to sew them right sides together, and then flip inside out, because... 😦

...when the tube's flipped inside out it should look like this (no visible raw edges).

NOT this (fat visible seam in middle). 😦 😦 ANYWAY.

Fold the tube's end onto itself twice and sew it to the capelet right under the collar, on the inside of the capelet. Make sure to fold the edge UNDER and then sew, like this.

Do NOT fold it OVER and then sew. 😦 😦 fail. But hey - swing it over your shoulders, tie the bow, and....

...voila! 🙂 Seriously EASY right?! It's just TWO CIRCLES sewn onto one another with a HOLE IN THE MIDDLE and two string things to tie it shut!

And that's it! I'm off to an imaginary Christmas dinner, friends! 🙂 Have fun!!!

Ombre Glitter Shoes

MATERIALS: old shoes, newspaper, modpodge, two shades of glitter, foam brush, plastic knife/spoon, paper plate. NOT PICTURED: tape OPTIONAL: coordinating ribbon, hot glue

PART 1: RAZZLE-DAZZLE! Start by taping off the soles of the shoes. I used scotch tape, but I would recommend painter's tape b/c the scotch tape did NOT come off easily, y'all 😦

Precautionary, but not necessary: stuff with newspaper to keep yourself from getting glitter in the shoe

Take the color that you want at the back of your shoe, and mix it with mod podge in a 50/50 ratio. I only needed a little bit of mod podge, like a small spoonful. Start with just a little bit of mod podge, and add more as you need it (a little goes a long way, though!)

The magic is beginning!!! If you do it this way, instead of applying glue and shaking the glitter on, you will leave a LOT less glitter trailing behind you. The glitter stays put wayy better this way (I found out the hard way)

Dab dab dab. Lay it on THICK or else you'll have bare patches, and it's a pain to do touch ups.

Razzledazzle phase 1

Mix in a little of the other color, so the color ratio is like 2 (color 1) : 1 (color 2). Dab that on and...

Razzledazzle phase 2. Mix in more and more of color 2 with the mod podge, dabbing it on in phases until your shoe is done!

Razzledazzle phase 3

Razzledazzle DONE! Notice how there is no glitter mess? Mixing it with the glue is so much cleaner/more efficient

After it's dry, peel off the tape from the soles (carefully!)

And that's it! You have a new pair of sparkle shoes! I really LOVE the ombre effect.

PART 2: EMBELLISHMENTS. Call me crazy, but even after covering my flats in not one, but TWO shades of GLITTER, I STILL thought they were too plain! So out comes the ribbon. Cut 2 pieces of ribbon, about 8 inches? Snip the edges

Crease them at the middle, and crease both ends at about 1.5 inches (?) I'm going to call them the "middle crease" and the "side crease"

Squeeze a *little* bit of hot glue over the middle crease. Bring one of the side creases over to meet the middle crease and pinch to glue (watch your fingers!) See how the snipped edge is peeking out? You want that...if it doesn't peek out, try to re-crease to ensure that it does

Repeat with the other side...

...and when you turn it over, it'll look like this!

Cut another piece of ribbon, about this big

Fold in half lengthwise, and glue one end to the middle of the back of the bow (where the folds are)

Wrap around...

...and glue in the back!

Cuties! Apply a liberal amount of hot glue to the backs of these and stick them onto your shoes!

and they're DONE! 😀

I've heard you can spray them with hairspray to further ensure that they don't leave a trail of glitter behind you. But make sure you stuff your shoes with newspaper, so you don't get hairspray inside your shoes!

The colors are a lot more saturated in person, but can you see the ombre?

Do a happy glitter dance and enjoy! 🙂

More sparkly feet here and here!

linky link!

Peplum Dress

I got this big shapeless dress for free! 🙂 So I knew I could experiment with it. I learned how to make darts, install an invisible zipper, and just generally bring in a dress in places that are too loose! So much fun…

PART 1: TOP. Ripped out those shoulder pads and waist ties!

Cut the dress at my natural waist

Then I made darts! MINI TUTORIAL: DARTS. Not sure how you’re supposed to make darts, but this is how I did it: measured my waist and divided in half (28/2=14). Measured the width of the top and figured the difference between it and my waist (20-14=6). Measured and marked at 1/4 and 3/4 of the width on the top (so I made marks at 5″ and 15″) then drew a dot directly 5 inches above each mark. Knowing the top had to be brought in 6″, each dart would have to be 3″ wide, so I measured 3″, centered it on the bottom mark, and marked each side. So I basically drew 2 equilateral triangles with 3″ bases, 5″ height. You probably don’t need to draw the sides, but I did because I was nervous 😛

I pinched each triangle in half, and sewed along the “side”

They looked like this! I did darts on the front and back of the top. 🙂 After this, I tried it on inside out, and brought in the sides, shoulders, and sleeves a little more to be more fitted.

WAISTBAND: Found some coordinating fabric

Measured it around my waist and cut it into a strip. Pinned and sewed it to the bottom of the top (right sides together)! 🙂 Top is DONE!

PART 2: SKIRT. I cut the skirt at the knee and cut the remaining fabric into equal sized strips (ish)

I sewed & cut the skirt into a box shape that was the width of my hips

DARTS front and back of skirt! 🙂

Hemmed the bottom and sewed the outer edges to give the skirt more of a pencil shape. The skirt’s done! All that’s left is the peplum!

MINI TUTORIAL: PEPLUM. ok, this is lame, but this is the exact same thing I did for my paper bag skirt. Those strips from the bottom of the skirt? I opened them up, and sewed them, right sides together, on each side and that long left edge. Then I flipped it inside out.

So it’s a looooong strip, and I just gathered it on that raw edge! You remember how to ruffle fabric, right? 😉

Oh peplum, I love you already

I pinned it to the top of my skirt (right side facing out)

Then pinned my top/waistband to it and sewed it all down! Basically, it’s a sandwich: skirt, peplum, and waistband, with the right sides facing in. You can’t see in the pic, but the top is pinned and sewn on upside down

PART 3: FINISHING TOUCHES. I opened up the back and installed an invisible zipper. (super confusing! I had to youtube it, but pleased with how it came out :)). I also tapered the bottom corners in just a but.

And now I have a new peplum dress! 😀 The BEST thing is that when I sit down, the peplum covers my belly! So this dress is cute/fitted AND I can eat in it! YAY!

Random Side Projects

Stuff I’ve been making…

I have a thing for hippos. It’s my dream pet, but Arthur won’t let me have one. At least not in the apartment.
So I made a coin purse instead. I think it looks a lot like my niece, Abby! heehee!
and then I went crazy for coin purses! -__-
Isn’t it funny? 🙂
Here’s his little brother
Doesn’t this remind you of when Peter found the coin for the temple in the fish’s mouth?
I needed a big bag for my trip to Paris a few weeks ago.
The best part of it are the crazy orange pom poms! I love pom poms!!
I’m also making hair flowers for a wedding coming up

That’s it!

Random thought: WordPress is crazy confusing to use! Is it just me? The formatting of the posts, especially with pictures, never turns out the way I want unless I center all the pictures 😦 WordPress, please make yourself more usable for dummies like me. Or find me a WordPress tutor.


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