Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Shannon Sews is finally on Pinterest

I know I'm behind the times a bit but I FINALLY joined Pinterest! I've been eyeing its creative goodness for a long time, but didn't want to add more to my computer time.

HOWEVER, when my husband came to me the other day and said I had almost 20 GB of "creative" pictures hogging up our computer space (oops), I knew just how to fix it. Enter Pinning.

I love to browse the internet and save pictures of cute clothes I want to make but it does grow rather quickly. You should see my internet sewing bookmarks. Gulp.

No time like the present to get a little more organized! I've only just begun, my friends, but with time my Pinterest Pins will grow.

It even prompted me to start cleaning up my blog, as you may have noticed from my "Category list" on the sidebar, or the Refashions link and Favorite Projects link at the top. I'm trying to get it more streamlined. I had like a billion labels to wade through in order for readers to find something. Shame on me. I'm trying to keep it more concise.

Happy Pinning! ♥

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Monday, July 30, 2012

Skirt to Shirt Refashion - easy cowl neckline

Would you believe me if I told you this bright royal blue dolman-sleeved top with a ruffly hemline used to be a skirt?

What if I told you the skirt had actually started as an oversized robe-looking-dress on an Old Navy clearance rack?

Yes, it's true. I'm a refashioning maniac. If it were a cat, she'd have 6 more lives. But I think I'm done with 3.

How many of you refashion clothes and then find you don't wear them? I'll admit it. I've done it more than once. Speaking of once, I think I only wore this skirt once.

Want to see how easy it is to refashion a skirt to a shirt? Well, I'll show you! 

  • Snipped off the waist band and then re-cut with a straight edge.

  • Measure how wide you want the neckline by using a tape measure across your shoulders and/or check it against a favorite shirt. 
  • Find and mark the center (that's where your neck will go). Pin shoulders up to where your neckline will be and stitch. I think I left a 10 or 11 inch opening for my neckline.

  •  Next, from the shoulder seam down, measure how long you want your arm holes to be and mark.

  • If this were 2 big squares of fabric, I wouldn't need to pick the seams open, but since I'm using an existing skirt, I picked open the seams where the arm holes will be. I secured the spot with a few stitches just below the new arm holes.

  • Since the skirt hung square and full, I took in the sides based on an existing shirt. I folded both shirts in half, lined up all the seams, laid them down and trimmed. You can leave this part out if you like a fuller fit.

  • Pin together carefully without moving the shirt. It's hard to line jersey up again after moving it. Jersey likes to roll. And stitch it up.

And before you know it, you're done!

I love the soft cowl neckline. It just came naturally. 

This 3rd life suits it well.
I think I'll be wearing this one for sure.

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Monday, July 23, 2012

Ruffled Crossbody Tote - with recessed zipper, zipper pocket & slip pockets

I finally got the guts up to sew my own purse. I've been craving a Ruffled Bag with a nice long cross body strap for forever, but have been too scared I'd botch it up (having never sewn a purse before).

As luck would have it, (& lots of helpful tutorials) I was pleasantly surprised at how it turned out!

Goodbye to the grody green purse I've been toting around for 12 months too long. My older sister has a particular distaste for it and tells me what it looks like. I'll give you a hint. It starts with a b and rhymes with scarf. I know. I never said it would be pretty. 

Anywho, back to my new ruffled bag... 

I hate purses that fall off my shoulders, so I made this bag with 1 wide/tapered strap that fits comfortably on my shoulder and across my body. I used a heavier weight natural cotton material and did not use interfacing because I like the slouchier look.

I created the ruffles by hand, much like I do with my shabby ruffled pillow cases, and secured the raw edges with fray check. The edge of the ruffles will still fray a bit, but I like the shabby look it creates.

I created square corners b/c I like the look and it gives it a tad more room.

If I was doing this purse making thing at all, I was doing it right. So even though I feared the inside zipper pocket, I put one in. And thanks to some fantastic tutorials, it was so much easier than I thought it would be! (see end of post for links). I also added some slip pockets for my phone, pens, etc. Love them.

Since I'm a bit fanatical about keeping my contents secure, I couldn't go with an open bag or magnetic snap. Although I dreaded it, I put in a zipper enclosure. It was a little tricky, but again, with the help of some tutorials I got it put in.

I just kept the back simple.

Now that I know I can sew my own purse, I'm craving making a few more! Like this cute Reversible Shoulder Bag from Lula Louise or maybe a lined zipper pouch like this from Skip to my Lou... We'll see.

Last step? Filling it with all my crap necessities. Now it looks more like my purse. hahaha

It takes a village to raise a child to help Shannon sew a purse! 
So as promised, here are some great resources I used to help me along the way.
*Putting in an inner zipper pocket and slip pockets 
Tutorial ~ Zippered and Slip Pocket Tutorial from Sew, Mama, Sew!
Sewing Zippers in Bags Tutorial 1. (aka Zippered inner bag pocket) from U-handbag
*Adding a recessed zipper to an existing purse or tote
Adding a recessed zipper closure to an existing purse or tote from Nancy Zieman
Adding recessed top zipper to purse/bag -Tutorial from Arm Candy for You
*Adding strap/sewing a tote bag together. *This also shows how to square your corners.
How to make a simple (reversible) tote bag: from Skip to my Lou

Other helpful tutorials:

If you have a tote but need to add a zipper to it:
How to add a zipper to an existing tote or bag: from Maiden Jane

If you're making a bag with a recessed zipper and straps on either side, this is a great tutorial:
Recessed Zipper How-to: from My Spare Time

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Linked to
http://www.iheartnaptime.net, http://www.flamingotoes.com/, http://sewchatty.blogspot.com, http://cherishedtreasures-terry.blogspot.com, http://www.ishouldbemoppingthefloor.com, http://sewcando.blogspot.com, http://creatingreallyawesomefreethings.comhttp://makingtheworldcuter.com/2012/07/making-the-world-cuter/ , http://craftomaniac.blogspot.com, http://www.skiptomylou.org, http://youaretalkingtoomuch.blogspot.com, http://todayscreativeblog.net/, http://www.craftyconfessions.com/http://www.notjustahousewife.net/, http://www.hopestudios.blogspot.com/, http://thecreativeitchboutique.blogspot.com/ , http://carolynshomework.blogspot.com/http://offthegridat-30.blogspot.ca/2012/07/frugal-i-did-it-tuesday-2.html , http://www.sew-much-ado.com/http://www.mygirlishwhims.com/http://somedaycrafts.blogspot.com/http://www.creationsbykara.com/http://www.gingersnapcrafts.com/, http://www.rolleduppretty.com/, http://raegunwear.blogspot.com/http://sewmanyways.blogspot.com/ http://www.diybydesign.blogspot.com/  http://www.theshabbycreekcottage.com  http://www.somewhatsimple.com/  http://www.aglimpseinsideblog.com/ http://www.houseofhepworths.com/ http://www.the36thavenue.com/ http://www.504main.com http://shabbynest.blogspot.com http://www.thirtyhandmadedays.com/  http://tatertotsandjello.com/   http://www.delicateconstruction.com/ http://www.mineforthemaking.com/

Tip Junkie handmade projects

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Have you done anything {thrilling} lately?
Something that strikes you with a sense of awe?
That takes your breath away?

We stumbled upon a local bike race a few nights ago and WOW.
In a word? Exhilarating.

You'd think I'd actually ridden in it or something with the way I'm going on, (not likely) but I've never had a front row view at a live bicycle race before. And let me tell you, there's nothing like it.

Heart beating anticipation as the tight speeding band of riders rounds each corner
Buzz and clicks as the bicycles whiz by, like a swarm of angry bees
Surge of wind that blows you back, in the wake as the racers push forward
Strained, sweat-soaked faces; tightened muscles; pumping their way into first place

If you've never seen a bike race up close and personal? You've got to. I could have stood there all night watching them round those city blocks. The energy was tangible.

Bored of the same'ol-same-ol?
Do something {thrilling}.
I dare you.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A week with the boys

Last week we put our super hero capes on (a.k.a. fun aunt and uncle) and headed to my sister's place to take care of her 4 boys for several days while they were out of town.


They are wonderful kids and we had a lot of fun.

Luckily, we had nice weather so the boys had lots of fun outside. These awesome water guns were a real hit!

And have you seen this AMAZING self-tying-water-balloon gadget? 

Holy mackerel! I've needed one of these since I was 5 years old! It worked like magic. Seriously. Tied every balloon in a snap. Easy enough for the youngest to do himself! Huge time-saver and finger-saver.

On what turned out to be one of the hottest days, we were lucky enough to join my mom for a quick splash in the lake and dunk in the pool at the Beach Club. Always beautiful views.

{image: Beach Club}

Afterwards, we treated ourselves to some self-serve frozen yogurt with all the best toppings. I could easily become addicted.

The rest of the time? 

Serious games of hide-and-seek
These kids think of the most creative hiding places.

Skateboarding at the park (them, not me. Obviously.)

And a night of these. Who doesn't love a night with movies and pizza?

Time to put our super capes away, until next time.
Thanks for a fun week boys!

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Friday, July 13, 2012

Sheer Scarf Overlay + Tank Top Refashion

Ever since I ran across this top made from simply sewing 2 scarves together, I have been on a mission to find two complimentary square scarves, worthy of sewing my own top.

Unfortunately, I'm having a heck of a time finding two scarves that are a) in good condition, and b) a good match. In fact, several thrift stores didn't even have any old square scarves (as seen below: Catherine Deneuve in the 1960′s). This project is meant to be thrifty, so I don't want to buy new ones.

In the interim, I ran across a sheer orange scarf in a thrift shop and thought of the orange tank top I never wear...how about a sheer overlay tank rop refashion? Perfect, since I was itching to refashion something with scarves.

Okay, here I go. Be forewarned, this may or may not be the easiest way to do this. I like to fly by the seat of my pants. 

First I cut open the tank top right along the seams.
Make sure you have an extra large fitting tank top because after you sew the sheer scarf overlay on the front, it will be quite a bit smaller around.

*The colors in these photos changed based on lighting, but they are the same orange tank.

I layed the sheer scarf down in half and cut a piece a little larger than the front piece of the tank top.

After cutting, I hemmed the two long raw edged sides, since I wanted the sheer piece to hang lower than the bottom hemline of the tank top. 

I layed the sheer scarf over the top of the front side of the tank top and pinned it down

After sewing the sheer to the tank top, I turned them right-side-out

Now the sheer scarf is sewn to the front piece of the tank top.

As you can see, the new skinnier shoulder strap is much more narrow than the back. I did a little tweaking, since I would be wearing this tank with a sweater over it anyway, by folding the other edges in slightly and sewing it down on the side before sewing the strap on.

The 3rd picture (upper right) is the strap sewn on, but I'm not done with it.

To cover those unsightly straps, I cut and sewed a couple pieces of remaining scarf material together to create tubes to wrap around the straps. The 3rd picture (bottom right) shows a little tack stitch to hold the wrapped tube in place. It covered the strap trouble spot perfectly.

And there it is.

I showed my husband and said I would be wearing it with...(he interjected, Birkenstocks?). I laughed and said, "I was going to say a sweater. Birkenstocks??" He said he's never seen me wear something with "these types of colors". They seem more "tree hugger-hippy" than what I normally wear.

So it's settled. I'll probably never wear it. But at least I figured out how to make it. hahahaha :)

Maybe next time.

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