Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Free Pattern Finds: DIY Shortie Pajamas + Ginger Shorties Pattern

It's time for another edition of my new monthly feature: Free Pattern Finds.  It's a simple concept - I share details on free patterns I've found and add my experience trying them out. No sponsored or biased reviews, no blog tour that's really just an advertorial to buy a pattern.  These are patterns that don't cost a thing, so you can go grab 'em yourself for FREE!   

Today is actually sort of a 2 for 1 pattern freebie.  The first part is the Ginger Shorties Pattern by Sew Like My Mom.  

Pattern Details: Versatile knit shorts with a wide waistband in sizes 12months-8yrs. Simple enough for a beginner and no serger required.  I made these with some pink terry remnants I had leftover from making my own shorts:

I really love this pattern.  It's incredibly quick to sew up and uses very little fabric - such a great way to use up those precious knit scraps or make the most of pricey prints.

Those pink shorts have been put through their paces this summer with running around and being tugged on & off, yet they still look as fresh as the day I made them.  I LOVE that.

And now for the second pattern part: 
DIY Shortie Pajamas!

I combined the Ginger Shorties with my own top pattern to make the perfect DIY shortie pajama set.

Pattern Details: I modified a shirt pattern I made for these poo-themed pajamas a few months back.  I used my Lots of Looks DIY Pattern as the base shape and just did short sleeves and no hem band instead.  

In that original post I showed how to take a shirt from the closet and use it to draft a handy top (or dress or nightgown) pattern.

I used grey rib knit for the waistband on the pj shorts, but the great thing with Ginger Shorties pattern is that you can also use the main knit fabric and it works just as well.  Just one addition was I added 2 inch wide elastic to the band.  The pattern didn't call for it, but it would have been way too floppy without it on my slim waisted girl:

I finally cut into some of my ridiculous collection Ooga Booga knits to make this little set.  I didn't make them snug in the hopes they can been worn through next summer too:

I'd been saving hoarding this fabric for way too long and am glad to make it useful (she even wanted to keep wearing them after the photo shoot):

As my kids get bigger it's getting harder and harder to find cute knit pajamas that are cotton.  For some stupid reason a lot of stores switch to that horrible cheap polyester that's laden with flame retardant chemicals or charge upwards of $35 for a small selection of cotton versions like my DIY'd sets.  With this simple combo, it's fairly fast and much cheaper to do my own.  Nite-nite!

Got a freebie pattern find you love? Share it in the comments so we can all try it out!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Craftastic Monday Link Party

Happy Monday!  Have you been getting your craft on?  Come show us what new & fun things you've been making by linking below.

Last week I shared my Sewing For Older Boys: Where To Find Patterns and a few personal pattern favorites:  

It's time to announce the winners of the Space Saver Backpack Pattern Giveaway:

Stacie P.
Diane B.
Christine H.

Congratulations Ladies & I can't wait to see the backpacks you make with my pattern:)

For everyone else, my 
Space Saver Backpack Pattern is 
just $5 during the back-to-school season,
so grab it now!  

Now let's see some Craftastic picks..

Second Chances By Susan did an amazing up cycle transformation outfit and jewelry you've got to see.  The necklace is made from shower curtain hooks!

Home Cooking Memories had a great recipe for easy breakfast roll-ups:

The Simple Craft Diaries did an adorable "what will it bee?" themed baby shower:

The Lost Apron showed turn a photo book into a handy jewelry storage spot:

Table for Seven made some yummy chocolate banana applesauce cake:

and Upcycled Design Lab transformed a bunch of of holiday-themed gift bags into fun Disney silhouettes:


    An InLinkz Link-up


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Sewing Clothing for Older Boys: Where To Find Patterns

When I first started blogging my 2 boys were still just toddling around.  There seemed to be no shortage of cute things to make for them to wear.  Now that they're nearly 11yrs & 14yrs it's become slim pickings. So I thought today I'd do a little spotlight on what is available to sew for bigger boys and where you can find them.

I was inspired to do this post when I started planning out a list of things to make my kiddies for this Fall.  When I looked at my list I had pages of patterns to make for my almost 7yr old daughter.  Tons of choice in my stash.  But I noticed my guys had sized out of a lot of patterns I had been counting on and looking at the pattern books at the store, it was shocking how few things there were for tween & teen boys.  Even the popular "Sewing for Boys" blog round-ups I've seen tend to forget boys over the age of 8 years.  They do get older people!  Part of why I sew clothes for my kids is that it's already tough to find stuff we like that's pre-made and now it's a become a challenge to find sewing patterns!

Here are some big boy patterns I've actually tried myself, 
that turn out nice and aren't a total bear to sew.  Read on!

Big 4 Patterns: There aren't tons of options, but there are a few that are decent.  I recently grabbed McCalls 7379 for .99 cents on sale and I'm pleased with how it's sewn up.  There are a lot of raglan patterns out there, but some just can't seem to get the neckline right, but this one is perfect - even when I used a rib velour for the neck & sleeves:

It goes up to a size 14 and includes pants and a tank top as well as the raglan shirt, so good bang for the buck (or for the change as it ended up!).  

Indie Patterns: There tend to be slightly more picks with indie pattern makers if you search for them.  The Offbeat Oxford Shirt Pattern by New Horizons has a hip style and is a way to use quilting cotton for big boys.  Ironically there are usually more older-boy approved prints available in quilting cotton these days, but clothing patterns to use them are a bit rarer.  This one goes from 12mos up to 14yrs, so it'll last for a good while:

Ottobe Design Pattern Magazines: These tend to provide more options for up to about 11yrs and then a handful for the bigger boys, but a lot of their older kid patterns can be super complicated.  I'm kind of a lazy sewer and don't want to have to spend weeks completing one thing or tearing my hair out because there are too many tricky techniques involved.  A 11-14 yr old boy probably isn't going to appreciate you pulled several all nighters to make him a single item.  One coat I liked at first glance actually had 15 pattern pieces, plus the lining!  Long story short, it didn't get made.  Their patterns also give the bare minimum instructions and zero step illustrations, so keep that in mind.  

Good news though, I have had great success with their Rudolph Pajama Pattern (in issue 6/2009) and that goes up to 170cm or 15yrs.  The way it's pieced also makes it easy to mix those precious knit prints (which can get $$ when you need several yards for a growing boy!) with some less expensive solids. It's also nice change from the basic loose pajama pant, made from flannel or fleece, which is one of the few available-everywhere patterns for boys.

Out of Print Patterns: There are some real winners out there, but finding them is a little more work.  Simplicity 5362 is great because it goes right up to adult (covers the whole family!), includes both zip-up hoodie + pants, and works with both wovens and heavy knits/fleece.  I modified the hoodie when my middle guy was a littler smaller to make this giraffe coat, but with a different fabric (and no animal add-ons), this shape still works great for older kids.  I'm planning to make him a new one this season, so stay tuned for that.

Kwik Sew 2745 is another awesome pattern.  This is ideal for fleece or other heavy-weight knits.  It goes up to size 14.  I've used it many times and the v-neck option always looks great.

Drafting Your Own: this is always an option.  I do it a lot for my daughter.  For some basic looks you can use something out of the closet to trace and then add allowances.  I probably should do that more, but since they grow so darn fast, my laziness makes me prefer to just use the next size in a pre-made pattern.  This especially applies for tops, which can look a bit off or homemade-y if you don't get the neckline or shoulder just right. 

Do you have some favorite patterns for the bigger boys?  Why do you think pattern makers seem to neglect the boys?  Share your thoughts & pattern finds below!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Craftastic Monday Link Party & Giveaway News!

Welcome my crafty friends.  It's time for another Craftastic Monday Link Up.  My craft room is a mess of fabric, patterns, project parts and the like right now...and I couldn't be happier! It feels good to be making things.  I can't wait to see what goodies you've got to show us - link 'em up below and give us a peek!

Last week I shared my DIY Exotic Sunroom Back Porch Makeover:  

I shared all my thrifty secrets for taking things from drab to fab on the cheap;)

It's time to announce the winner of the floral Fabric Bundle Giveaway:

Renee from Southern Gal Thoughts!

Congratulations Renee & enjoy that fabric.  Also a big thank you to Timeless Treasures for providing this fabric 

And, don't forget, today's the last day for my pattern giveaway.  
3 winners will get my brand new Space Saver Backpack Pattern.  
It's open worldwide, so get those entries in HERE!

Now let's see some Craftastic picks..

Our Peaceful Planet shared a free printable for this "anti-bad vibe" shield using some foam board:

Sew Craft Crochet made a great tutorial for these cute crochet cat coasters:

Frau Tschi Tschi offered this free amigurumi bear pattern (the hood is totally functional too!):

Sugaridoo showed how frame a cross stitch project the quick & easy way: 

PA Country Crafts made this lovely '50s retro dress from a thrifted sheet and kept it real about it was to sew up a tricky big 4 pattern:

and The Crafting Nook served up a tasty recipe for Chili Salsa

If you're one of this week's features, be sure to grab my Featured On button over on my Buttons Page to share the good news. 

 Want to be Featured?  
Remember to link back to the party somewhere.

I can't feature your link if you don't share the party in some way.

I also feature these projects on Sew Can Do's Craftastic Picks Pinterest board 
AND share each of them on Twitter too for even MORE exposure!

Follow me there to see more great projects (and see if yours is one of them)!   
Ready to link up your crafty creations?
Party rules are simple:
  • As long as it's crafty, and made by you, it's Craftastic (no links to giveaways, shops, link parties or other people's work).  Add the link to your specific post (not the main page of your blog).  Product reviews, plagiarized or sponsored posts for random items will be immediately deleted.  
  • Grab my party button & put it on your post or blog somewhere.  Party pages are fine.  If you want the chance to be featured, this is key.  The button code can be found HERE.
  • Check out some of the other fabulous links and share some crafty comment love.  We all love getting comments!!
Promote your blog/shop for FREE:  Join in the Craftastic Facebook Mixer!

Give your YOUR site/Facebook page a little boost. Crafty blogs AND shops are welcome.  It takes just seconds and gives you a chance to get more page likes & followers.  It's a great way to discover new sites to love too.  You can even add crafty giveaways 

How It Works:
Head over to the Craftastic Mixer post on Sew Can Do's FB page.  Instead of a specific post, share your main blog, crafty shop or Facebook page link in the comments there.  It means even more exposure for your crafty site every week!  Click HERE to go link up now!


    An InLinkz Link-up

Thursday, August 11, 2016

DIY Exotic Sunroom Back Porch Makeover

I don't do a lot of home makeover type posts, even though I love seeing them.  Full room DIY has never been my strong suit.  This summer I'm happy to say I've transformed a full room and done it myself.  It's my Sunroom Porch Makeover!

A bit of new furniture, some slipcover action and some DIY pillows & wall art have renovated it from ugly drab to Moroccan-style fab!  Now, it's got chic details and a matching look.  Oh, to have a room that looks put together!!

Room backstory: Our house has a enclosed back porch aka sunroom just outside our family room.  It's a 3 season room that's a combo of brick and lots of screened windows. Sadly, it tends to be treated like a shed most of the time.  These pics were taken on a really clean day too.

We have literally stored stuff in it more than used it over the years.  Patio chairs, tools, outdoor kid junk, it's usually been out there.  Besides the mess, it also looked totally mismatched and faded, which made me cringe every time I looked at it.  Definitely not a room to entertain in.

I hoped to transform it a few years ago when we got some free used rattan furniture.  The faded red floral print was awful, but I had these big ideas about re-upholstering it and making it fab.  Then reality set it when I calculated the yardage needed and the tricky areas involved. Too much hassle for what would cost almost as much as new furniture!  So I left it and the room continued looking ugh.

Much better now though!

This year I'd had enough, but I also had to be reasonable with a budget, so with some planning, a couple of hundred dollars and some elbow grease, I made it happen.

The first reality was cleaning.  I had to clear out our little backyard shed, then organize it better, to find some extra space to put our patio chairs and some of the kid stuff when not in use.  

Now it's at least manageable looking.

Next the rattan furniture had to go, but I was shocked at the prices for most outdoor couches and cushioned chairs.  Even the cheapest stuff was crazy $$$.  Then I saw this eucalyptus wood bench on another blog's patio makeover.  It wasn't even mentioned in that post, so I asked where she got it (at World Market btw) & lo and behold there was a matching chair and deep couch available there too!

Buying them all was still a bit out of my budget until about a week later when all outdoor stuff became 50% off.  I grabbed 'em along with an outdoor rug, a few solid outdoor pillows and these ultra cool lanterns.

The catch was the furniture only came with seat cushions and of course they're off white. So practical with 3 kids, right?  Not.  I scotch guarded them and plan to cover them, if needed, down the road.  The basic shape will be a lot easier than dealing with the rattan ridiculousness.  

I needed to make some extra large pillows to make the backs softer, but giant cushions can get pretty pricey.  So can a bunch of pillow forms that big.  I needed 18"x18" and 26"x26".  I bargain hunted and found some down filled forms at Ikea for under $10 each.  That, plus some home decor fabric I scored at Hobby Lobby with a 40% off coupon, allowed me to make some for between $12-15 each.  I got a pair of matching striped throw pillows at Home Goods for the same price.  

And since I made them zippered, I can swap the covers out as needed.  

I decided to keep the rattan coffee table and revamp it by making a slipcover out of some outdoor fabric and then setting the glass top over it.  Added bonus: it also acts as some extra hidden storage now.  

I wanted to tie my nice iron tables & bar cart in better, so I found a great little iron side table (at Kirkland's) that had a glass tile mosaic top in my new colors.   

I also bought a cheap, basic, storage cube at Ikea that I slipcovered with a cute print,

as well as finding an inexpensive new shade for my lamp and some super cheap net window panels to add an airy look.  Those were only $5 a pair!  

This beautiful seashell planter had been my grandmother's and had been hidden behind the old chair, covered with spiderwebs.  I cleaned it up and got some faux reeds to give it a new purpose.  I really love it now. 

Lastly, I needed some new wall art, but was hard pressed to find anything in the size, style or color I wanted.  Time to DIY it folks.  

I bought some cheap canvases, cool wood shapes (clearance section at JoAnn Stores), glass marbles and spray paint.

I used outdoor spray paint that has UV protection since this room gets lots of sun on the wall). 

I glued the shapes and marbles to the canvases with E6000 so they'd really stay on. 

Now I've got some great wall decor that's a perfect fit with my theme.

Adding all 3 kicked the exotic feel up a notch:

When I stand in there now I can't believe it's the same room. I'm really loving the exotic vibe, but I could easily swap out the covers on the tables & pillows and switch the wall art to do a different look without changing anything big.  Not that I'm going to want to any time soon;)  Definitely happy this got on my to-do list!   


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