No Sew T Shirt to Dress – again!

We did it again!  Because there are just far too many adorable little sisters rooting for their big brothers –  

Angelstshirtdress    Angelsshirtdress2

This little cutie has a brother playing for the As – so I scrounged up some t shirts in the right color, pulled up a comfy chair at baseball practice and starting snipping…shout out to my baseball moms for your input!

So, here’s how you get there – 

Choose your shirts – the bodice shirt should be a good imagefit or close to – it’s ok if it’s a little baggy – but if it’s too big, you’ll need to go a different route with this – which could also be done without sewing – comment if you do, and I’ll help you get there 🙂 – but let’s stay focused…

The how to is a bit wordy – it’s really easy and quick, though, promise 😉

Take your t-shirt that you will use for the skirt part of the dress and chop it off – just below the armpit.  Don’t worry about the length for now.

Cut a long strip off the top about 1-2 inches wide – what you will do here is start, circle around once (only cutting through one layer at a time) – don’t meet your starting cut with your finishing cut – you are going to taper down a little and go around the shirt again so that your ‘ribbon’ is three to four times the circumference of the shirt – you need a long enough strand to wrap around the waist of the child and tie bow, one strand to go around the imageneckline and tie a bow, and two strands long enough to go around the arm holes and bows on the shoulder.  If anyone needs help with that, I will gladly do that again and get a better visual of that for you.  I’m sure that I can find a reason to do this again :)…

You can cut a little length off the top of your skirt, or save that until the end and cut length off the bottom.  Raw edges are good…

Cut the neck-band and sleeves off of your bimageodice  shirt. You can also cut the hem off  so that you will have a raw edge.  If your shirt is bigger, cut the shirt to length you want it…

Cut horizontal slits in at the bottom of your bodice, and coordinating slits at the top of your skirt.  It’s probably ok if they are vertical slits, but less chance of ripping with horizontal.  Your slits should be just wide enough to slip the ‘ribbon’ through, and mine were about 2-3 inches apart from each other.

Turn your ‘skirt’ inside out, tuck it inside the bodice, so the top raw edge of the skirt meets the bottom raw edge of the bodice.  It’s wrong in the first picture – that’s how I started (right side to wrong side), but changed my mind.  So, you can see what not to do :).  For yours, wrong sides should be together. The wrong sides (like the second picture) together creates a cute little trim/gather when you are finished…

image image

Start in one of your front center slits (I had them slightly off-center, so the bow will fall in the center.  Thread your ribbon in first so there is a strand hanging out the front. Thread alternating in and out until you meet back up in the front to tie a bow – if you end up a slit short – just snip another one :).  Gather a bit, and tie your bow.  You can adjust the gather once you put it on your ‘lil sis.

Moving on to the bodice –  This part is completely optional – you can leave them raw with imageno embellishment – but adding the ‘ribbon’ adds a little more character and allows for a
better and more customized fit –

For the neck – cut slits around the neckline (parallel to the edge – I’d say horizontal, but it curves…so ya know – go along the edge about an inch or so in from the edge.  I put my bow in the back (ADORABLE) because my shirt was so busy in the front.

For the arm holes – cut slits around the open arm holes, again parallel to the edge.  I put my bows a the top of the shoulder.

If you run out of ‘ribbon’, just cut another strip from the skirt.

My dress was made for a little one that wears a size 18 m, so I didn’t even try to make it a full length dress – because, well…that doesn’t work so great with all the climbing around at the ball park.  If you do care to sew, you can even use your discarded sleeves to make some shorts or bloomers.  I didn’t do that this time around.

I gave sweet little A’s Mama the left over  scraps from the shirts, and she tied them up into a perfectly awesome southern bow.  And I knew she would – cause she’s one of my go to gals for bows.  Didn’t she do a great job? And doesn’t she make beautiful babies?



Super Hero Set

So, forever ago I pinned these super hero templates from Martha Stewart…it seems to be a very popular pin – I guess Super Heroes just never go out of syle!

Anywho, I tweaked them a bit – changed the sizes, made some templates of my own, and got rollin – the kiddos are absolutely overjoyed – they don’t want to take them off!


That was my fun sewing last week – jump in make some for your favorite supers, or if your not feeling so crafty, I’d be more than happy to make you one or two or twelve –

These are listed in my Square Shop (look under Gifts & Novelty Items) and on Etsy.

If you make some, I’d love to see!

No Sew T Shirt to Dress

It took me longer to write this tutorial than to make the dress – no joke.

Give it a shot!

First, grab your supplies –  I started with a youth size medium sleeveless racerback T shirt – this will work with any sleeveless shirt with a binding.  We’ll try it with a regular t shirt next time…

You will also need –

  • IMG_1753Scissors or a seam ripper
  • About 3 – 3.5 yards of ribbon (1/8″ is easy to pull through – you could go up to 1/2″)
  • A Bodkin (this is a sewing tool used for threading elastic and turning things – mine is ball point) or a safety pin small enough to fit into the binding.  Make sure it’s nice and sturdy.

Grab  your scissors and start snipping:

No Sew Shirt to dress

Now grab your ribbon and bodkin or safety pin:

No Sew T shirt dress ribbon threading

A few close ups of the Ribbon Threading to help you along:

And there you go! Pull your ribbons through and tie off as desired, trim to the length you like.  I found it best to make sure the shirt is gathered in the front and not in the back – it will lay better that way.

Embellish your dress, and make it awesome! Here is ours finished (though as of yet unadorned) – best pictures I could get with my ‘I’m not so much in the mood for this right now’ model –


Hope you enjoy – Happy NO SEWING!!!!!

T-Shirt Quilt Sew Along Part 7: The Binding

 This is the best part.

Because when you’re done, you’re done…

I had a plan for this one…and I made the mistake of working when I should have been sleeping. Don’t do that…but it worked out…and I think I like what I ended up with better than what I planned…

So, what I intended to do was make some diagonal strips with all of my leftover t-shirts in no particular pattern – just randomly picked up and cut into strips and sewn together…so I would have some white, grey, black, and gold in there.  Then, somewhere in the process, I would add some of those thin t-shirt pieces that I took of sleeves and shirts with smaller wording and images on them into the long strip of binding. That was the plan…

HOWEVER…due to my poor sleep habits, I somewhere came up with the idea just to do black and gold and work the t-shirt strips in…so I worked on that for a bit...hated it….went to bed. Almost in tears. It wasn’t hard…it was just…you know…unproductive….

This is what I ended up with when I stopped…adorable…if you want to make a bumble bee quilt or some caution tape…


So, if you want to do this, or something similar, just cut strips the same width. If you don’t want them to be the same size, cut them different widths.  They don’t have to match up in length.  Then, sew them together on the long cut edges.  If you want them to be straight, line them up straight, if you want them cut on a diagnoal, line them up with about a 1-2 inch overhang on each progressive strip.  I neglected to that on the one shown…but it will save you waste when you cut it for the binding.  Use your binding ruler, and cut it to the width you need.  I cut mine about 2.5″.  

And then threw it all in the scrap pile. Because maybe some day I’ll do a construction quilt or make a bumble be costume?  I’ll happily take a custom order for something of the sort… Sigh.  Moving on…

Here’s what I ended up doing in the end –

I cut some strips out of my leftover t-shirts, and my random skinny pieces from the shirts, cut those all the same height, and didn’t worry about the length.


I sewed them together as if I were making a long strip of bias tape (great tutorial for that over at – just scroll down about to the middle of the post if you are starting with strips already).  Basically, your are going to lay the strips on top of each other at a right angle, right sides together, and then sew a diagonal line…make sure that when you open it, they form a continous strip (sounds simple, right? It is, really, I PROMISE…just do practice first if you haven’t done it before…) IMG_3399 I didn’t make a full continuous length yet – I took a few long pieces and pinned them to quilt edges to see how I liked the placement with the t-shirt pieces…

And then pinned it around in a few places and made some adjustments…I ended up working on one edge at a time…this made my life easier. Because IMG_3404making my life easier is very important sometimes. This will work on a t-shirt quilt – probably not so much on a traditional one….

I picked an edge and started sewing. I did the sides first, then let the top and bottom binding overlap that.  I stitched over those once finished to make sure they were closed and wouldn’t get snagged…sorry, I didn’t get a picture of that – were at “go time” by now…I’ll try to get one later if you’d like to see it. You may be able to zoom in to the picture at the bottom of the post and see that?

All I did was fold it over, pin it in place and sew a straight stitch – I did not do the pressing, ironing folding over (I did press as I added the strips together). So, you I have a raw edge. It is not folded under and it is only sewn once…instead of attaching the binding, folding over and then stitching on again.  I just didn’t see that going well with t-shirt fabric…and I like the look of the raw edges.

Anyway, there’s the binding…all it’s finished glory. You’ll have to wait for the next post for the big reveal and full shot of the entire quilt…because I have to tell you the story of the man behind the quilt and why I enjoyed this project so very much. So, get sewing and I’ll get that last post up soon! In that post, I’ll also share some links to helpful tutorials and tips and some final thoughts on the process.  In the meantime, I’ll bask in the glory of having actually finished this project and loving it.  It’s a a beautiful moment…


T Shirt Quilt Sew Along Part 3: Layout

Ready to sew??  Not quite yet…

IMG_3137.JPGFirst you have figure out where you are going to put everything…because once you sew those knits together – you DO NOT want to have to pick them apart…and, if you cut them, you will lose precious inches.  I made this step way more time consuming than it needed to be. Let me share with you what I did and then what I might do differently next time. And here is my favorite t-shirt.  Papa & Granny bought the t-shirt for my middle son when he was tiny, and it has been repurposed into a bag and then back into a tank top for my dauther.  So, there wasn’t much left of it.  Luckily, I was able to work it in.

Working the layout….

I measured out all of my pieces and what I thought would make a good size square/piece from each and made notes on which ones I could cut down to a smaller size if needed…my goal was to make, at minimum, evenly measured rows and columns.  I did number each piece with it’s ‘finished’ measurement (you are cutting them 1/2 larger for 1/4 seam allowance) Because this is my first try at this, I didn’t want to try to do too much piecing. So, I spent hours trying to figure out the perfect layout to get to a good finished size.

Graph paper was very helpful…each little square would represent 4 inches in most of my drafts.

IMG_3121.JPGIMG_3159.JPGSo, I got that figured out.  Then, I had the bright idea of taking pictures and seeing if I could lay them out.  That worked pretty well – I took the picture, cropped them to the portion I planned to use, and resized to scale.  It was pretty simple to move them around on a IMG_3156.JPGIMG_3118.JPGspreadsheet.  I used the Numbers app on my iPad. I liked that b/c I could easily take pictures and add them without having to go back and forth to the desktop.  That looked good – so I started laying everything out with my finished draft in hand…didn’t dig it so much…so just kind of played with everything and moved it around IMG_3123.JPGuntil I liked it.  Apparently, I wanted it to be a little more uniform and balanced than I thought. I just wasn’t crazy about all of the randomness…and, having really only 4 colors to work with, I didn’t feel like I had much choice…maybe I did…but nothing I liked…so here is what I ended up with….



What I will do is use one solid color for all of the background/fill in pieces on each column.  The center, I’m thinking gray – the two columns boarding the center, probably gold, and the outer columns black…because there is so much white there…may change my mind as I go.  I have plenty of grey, black, and white shirts, unfortunately, no gold ones that are workwithable…so I’ll have to hunt down some of those…

Do as I say, not as I do…

So, what would I have done differently?  In a perfect world, and with a smarter brain, I would have kind of known what I wanted my finished quilt to look like and approximately what size I wanted the squares to be – and if I wanted them all the same or different.  I would have first measured the designs on the shirts, tagged each one with a number and finished measurement and design size.  At that point, I would choose between the graph paper and the spreadsheet – I like the spreadsheet with photos better because it gives you a visual – you don’t have worry about how you take your pictures (don’t try to take them all the same size) – once you crop and size your photos for the spreadsheet, it will work itself out.  The biggest thing here, for me, would be to NOT cut out my pieces before laying it out.  This may have saved me lots of piecing later.

And, then I would again lay them all out in according to ‘plan’ and make adjustments as needed – you may just want to have the shirt fronts (and backs if using that) already cut away from the sleeves/neck/etc….this will make it easier to overlap them and fold them, etc.

And then, start cutting…measure twice (or 3 or 4 times!) before cutting!  GOLDEN RULE

 Have fun! We’ll start putting it together next time!



Best Upcycle…Ever.

It all began with a girl who needed a backpack…

What did she want? Pink. Purple. Sparkles. Flowers. And Hello Kitty.

What did I want? A backpack that wouldn’t fall apart and need to be replaced in a year. One that was small enough for her to carry but big enough to carry her folder from preschool in…and, of course, to make it myself.

Can’t be too hard, right?

So, here is my little photo journal of the end of the story…we will not be discussing the number of hours I spent staring at this pile of stuff and figuring how to get the end result in form and function we both craved.


If you’d like details, I will happily oblige … For now, just pictures…I must sleep for a few weeks to catch up…

She likes it 😉


Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14

Valentine’s Wardrobe 911

This is the story of how I saved an awesome sweater.

Ok – I’m not HUGE on Valentine’s Day. Most people that know me, know that.  I love the mush as much as the next girl, I just don’t get that we need a special day…that being said, we did…of course…have some fun with the day.  My husband is going to kill me but here goes —

The weekend before Valentine’s Day, we had our date…it was wonderful, awesome, fantastic – had a wonderful time together reconnecting and ignoring the rest of the world.  If you have children, you really should try it sometime.  Really. Just do it.  Whatever it takes.

Ripped Sweater

Here’s what I started with. This sort of thing really makes me want to cry.

So, on Valentine’s Day, my daughter and I had plans to meet Daddy for lunch…’cause, really, it’s all about her – and him setting the bar so high than none of your sons can ever reach it…I didn’t want to wear the same outfit…and I didn’t want to wear something else I wear all the time (jeans/red sweatshirt…yep).  SO, I thought I’d dig around and see what I could find – JACKPOT!

I’ve been wanting to do something with this awesome raglan sweater for the longest time…just wasn’t quite sure what yet…It’s a great sweater, new with the $48 price tag on it (don’t worry, I didn’t spend that…). Problem is, it has a huge gash across the front.  But, it’s still awesome.

I don’t knit. I don’t pretend to knit. I don’t even pretend that I want to learn to knit…and this was a very loosely knitted sweater – so there will be no putting it in the sewing machine and saying a prayer.

Since it’s Valentine’s Day, and we love red…especially with black and white, I found a nice long strand of red satin ribbon, tucked in one end of the gash and started weaving it through. I started with the intention of doing a baseball stitch, but that didn’t work out.  So, I just did some criss crosses.  Here are the photos as I worked…

Long strand – I really can’t tell you how much I used – just make sure you have enough to weave through twice, with room for a bow at the end if you want it. I started in the middle of the ribbon.

Step 1 - tuck in the ribbon

Here is my first round of weaving – I just went in from the back (wrong side of shirt), came over to the other side, and then in from the top (right side of shirt). My entry points were about 4 rows apart – make them as far apart or close together as you like, just be consistent.

Here is the second round of weaving – same thing as the first round – you are just using that second half of the ribbon.  Make sure that you straighten out your ribbon as you go so it will lay flat and neat.  It will be much easier to do as you work rather than waiting until you are finished.


And here we are all done – I tied a little bow at the end, putting a knot in it so it would at least stay put. Once I know I like it (wear/wash/wear), then I will probably put a few stiches in it so that I don’t have to contstantly re-tie it.  Sorry for the odd selfie – I’ll try to get a real picture someday. Sigh.


AND, last but not least, here are Daddy & daughter sharing lots of love and mushiness…and caring not how awesome Mommy’s project came out…LOVE THEM SO MUCH!


Now, y’all head on out and share some love in the world.

Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and truth.

1 John 3:18

If you write it, you will do it…

That’s what I’m telling myself, anyway…and I’m hoping you will all enjoy this little journey with me.  It’s a New Year, and our little home has had so many changes over the last year, it’s time to freshen things up a bit.  Let’s start by sharing some of those changes…and, please, hang with me for a bit – there are some plot twists here…

First, I have semi-retired from my “day job.”   For the last fifteen years or so, I have had the pleasure of sharing with the world a wonderful reading program called Beacon Literacy.  It’s a truly amazing program, and I have had the oppornity to work with some incredible and dedicated educators, some fantastic children that will forever have a piece of my heart, and watch all of these people take and run with this program and change thousands of lives in the process.  So, why, then, would anyone want to walk from that?  Well, the trouble is, when you work with students, most of that work comes after school hours and that means time away from your own children after school…and, well, with three of my own, that just wasn’t working for me.  Nothing wrong with a working mom- don’t get me wrong – it just didn’t work for my family.  With my husband’s schedule being what it is, that left lots of days where I needed a sitter, or had to drag my kids along with me or threaten them within an inch of their lives bribe them to be quiet for the hour or two that I needed to properly attend the student or tutor I might be working with.

And, so, after lots of prayer, deliberation, conversations, planning, etc…we decided it was time to walk away.  For those of you reading this that know me, you should know that I will never truly be able to completely walk away.  The web page, the facebook page, the tutors, the colleagues still using the program – all of those will remain intact.  I even still answer phone calls, offer support, etc.  So, if you need us, we’ll always be here.

During those years with Beacon, I was introduced to the Irlen Method – and that’s another long story that we won’t go into today and something else I will always do. I will add some links at the bottom of this post so that you can find out more about Beacon and Irlen should  you be so inclined.

Ok, now let’s get a little more personal.  We got a new dog.  A friend was moving, and unable to keep her…so we were MORE than happy to add her to the family.  We now have two chocolate labs…and they are awesome, and a pain in the neck, and active, and so precious.

AND we are…how do we say this?…”borrowing” a couple more kids for I don’t really know how long!  These boys have grown our family from from 5 to 7.  Yep.  Seven people.  And all the laundry and activity and food and excitement and sorrow and fun that come with each and every one of them.  So, yes, we are very busy, busy, busy.  This change is only temporary…but how long tempory is remains to be seen.  So, we have five children in the house – four of school age.  Four with homework. And extracurricular activities.  And a need for shoes, clothes, stuff, support, etc.  I’m tired just thinking about it.  But, it’s awesome, and such a  tremendous blessing to us.

So, let’s get down to the sewing stuff…cause that’s why you are really here, right?  I think I already said somewhere on some other post that the reason I began to sew is because I, well, had a daughter.  And it’s incredibly fun to buy pretty things for her…but it can get pricey…so it’s really a bit more economical to make things…you also have so many more options…tons, and tons of options.  Limitless.options. OH MY.  So much to make, so little time.

Folks that know me know I’m extremely thrifty, and love to repurpose things, find deals, etc…so the problem is that can get a little addicting…and now I’m a little overwhelmed with the amount of projects I have piled up.  Maybe soon I’ll get brave and show you some pictures of just how bad my problem is. MAYBE.  The issue is…I like to sew with sheets, or repurpose other clothing/items/etc…and those things are so readily available…and it’ SO HARD.  And then, something else happens… your friends and family find out what you are up to…and they bring you things.  Beautiful, amazing, wonderful, fantastic things that you just KNOW you create something amazing with.  And, before you know it, your husbands “workshop” has been overtaken with sheets, fabrics, linens, clothes, trims, threads, notions, and various and sundry other fabulous items…and someday…someday…you’re going to actually have time to make something…and, sometimes, you do.  And sometimes people ask you make to make things or fix things or bring you sewing “work” that may be fun and awesome and creative, or may just that…work…that puts a little extra money in your pocket or helps support your addiction to all things fabulous.

So…here’s the plan – the idea…and I hope you will join me on this journey…It’s time to get it all done…to clear out the stash…to take the room back…to accomplish all of those fantastic projects…I am going to take the next year and not  do my best to not purchase any additional fabric or things to sew with.  That doesn’t include notions, thread, trim needed to finish a project…just for record…just no new items for new unthought of projects.  And, really, it may take longer than that.  There’s just that much stuff. Really, there is.  I’m a bit ashamed to admit it, but there it is.

The plan:

Every week for 2014…I will complete a project…finish something….clear something out…  If that is for someone in my family – it will be ready for them, and not waiting for one last hem, button, etc…If that is to sell, it will be listed for sale or placed in an appropriate place to wait for the right season (holiday items, etc.). If it’s the wrong season, it will be shared at least here, and possibly on FB as well.

Each week, as well, I will complete a mending project.  We won’t even talk about that.  No one likes mending. No one. Does that mean I won’t do your mending for your or help you with it? No, of course not.  But let’s not lie – it’s a chore – that’s all.

At the end of each month, or maybe every two months or so, or maybe we’ll just wait until the end of the year…I dunno…this is a hard for me…we’ll CLEAR IT ALL OUT and start over.  Give it away, sell it, whatever…we’ll see what left.  Maybe I can even make some scrap packs or something.

So, help me out a bit, ya’ll!  Let me know what you think of things as they come, what you’d like to see me do…and I’ll keep sharing. I may even share with you the fabric choices for the next week’s project and let you come up with something fabulous.  There will be dresses, rest mat covers, skirts, little scrap round up projects, blankets, nursery items, totes, etc., and I would love your input!

This week, I have some of that boring “work” to complete, and a dress to hem to complete an order.  Next week, I’ll be working on a skirt for myself and hopefully something I’ve been trying to get finished up for a friend.  I do hope you’ll follow and enjoy the journey!

Those links to see other things:

The Sew Many Sheets Facebook Page

The Beacon Literacy Facebook Page

The Beacon Literacy Web Page

My Irlen Facebook Page

The Irlen Institute Facebook Page

The Irlen Institute Web Page