Category Archives: sewing

baggy pajama shorts with drawstring hack

My daughter said she needs some baggy pajama pants with a drawstring.

I thought the bow was for a drawstring but it’s only decorative so once again I had to fake it on a sewing project. I never know if a pattern will work out like I hope. A lot of them don’t and I throw it all out. This might be ok. It would be easy to make adjustments.

For a drawstring you need buttonholes and a machine that sews a zigzag stitch. If your machine doesn’t do zigzag you can make a tailored buttonhole. Mine are a hack job but will be ok for pajama pants.

First I cut out little 1.5″ squares and sewed around the edges. I think a professional might use fusible interfacing, I’m not sure. Then place them where you want the buttonhole and draw a pencil line for the hole. Then sew around the pencil line, cut on the pencil line,

Turn the buttonhole facings to the inside and press them. Sew again close to the opening. Voila! buttonhole and drawstring hack job!

That was fast and easy. Now I’m going back to work on my painting of azaleas. This is one thing I enjoy about my amateur artist status, if I feel like sewing I can sew with no guilt over abandoning the painting for a while.

tee shirt / maternity top hack

I saw this idea when I was ordering something for my daughter and decided to give it a try. The shirts are cheap and it doesn’t take long to do so if she doesn’t wear it it’s no loss. We often don’t see eye to eye on fashion. Sarah’s not here to try it on.

I cut the sides of the one shirt up to 1.5″ of the armhole seam. Then I cut my triangles out of the other shirt. I didn’t have a pattern so I cut them longer than I’d need. If you have too much fabric it’s better than not having enough.

Then I pinned the triangle cut in starting at the bottom on each side and when I got close to pinning at the armhole I worked it around till it fit and let the excess hang off.

I hope you can see what I mean in this photo. You can see how much of the triangle I trimmed off after sewing.

I want to make a Raggedy Ann for my granddaughter. I made one for Sarah when she was a baby and she loved hers to death. Then I had to make a back up Annie because the first one wore out. When I make this one I’ll interface the whole thing. It’s no rush, the baby will be here in Sept.

2nd maternity top I made for my daughter

she said she wanted a black print because it would be easier to accessorize.

Sarah got her test results, it’s a girl.

I was hoping for a boy because I wanted my grandchild to have every advantage in the world. I was calling the baby my new overlord. Then I said oh, it’s not an overlord it’s a princess! She said a girl can be an overlord. I said, like a warrior princess? She said yeah.

I asked her if she has a name picked out and she said yes but it’s a secret. Later she said she’s going to name her Athena. I said, not Venus? She said, no, wisdom will get you farther than love. I don’t know if she’ll name the baby Athena or if she was kidding. I said, I don’t care what you name her, I’m calling her Xena. Sarah didn’t care if I call the baby Xena because her dad and I both had pet names for her when she was a baby.

She bought some maternity clothes so she might have enough. She said if I want to continue sewing I could make things for the baby. It’s not due until Sept.

I’ll get back on painting this week.

stylish new mask for your jogger or plein air artist

My daughter is a runner and she needed a new mask like one she bought for jogging which was made out of jersey. (tee shirt fabric) Her old one was only one layer of fabric and has the logo of her school printed on it. She said it was overpriced for the brand name and asked me to make another one for her. She likes this style because you can wear it around your neck then when you come up to another person outside you can easily slide it over your nose.

I decided to make mine two layers of fabric. I can get two masks out of one yard of fabric.

These numbers are inches, my metric reading friends.

It’s easy to make. I drew a diagram showing my cuts out of a yard of fabric 16″ x 20″ on the fold right sides together. I sewed three sides at 1/4″ from the edge letting an opening to turn right sides out after sewing. Then pressed the edges and top stitched all the way around at 1/4″ to strengthen it a little. Then you fold it in half and sew a seam across the side that was cut at 16″. You get a tube around 9.5″ that you can slip over your head.

I asked her how it was working and she said better than the original one because the extra stitching helps keep it over her nose when she’s running so she doesn’t have to hold it in place.

I got another yard of fabric and made two more.

Tomorrow is going to be warm and there might be a lot of people on the trail. I’ll try mine out, but I think it will be more comfortable when it gets colder because it will feel like a thin scarf around your neck when it’s in the down position.

oops. I wrote 19 there at my second step and it’s 19.75 after sewing the seam and turning on the 20″ side. But it’s not that critical, I guess. It’s only a tube to fit over your head.

I think the two layers makes it safer than one layer of fabric.

new curtains finally up!

big waves on the valance, tie backs reversible.

I’d corkscrew it on there so you could see that look but I’m tired of going up the ladder. Hanging the rods was difficult for me but I got it done! YEA!

I’m letting it like the top photo for a while.

small waves top and bottom / same valance and tie backs

I like this look. It kind of reminds me of a key design.

This is a fun and flirty valance. I’d call it feminine. It’s out of style these days but it’s always been one of my favorites from the years I sewed curtains and slip covers for interior decorators. I made variations of this style a few different times for different places I lived.

I’ve been in this apartment for 6 months and normally I don’t make curtains for every apartment I take because I’ve been moving around so much, but I like this place and I might stay for a while. It’s quiet and no one bugs me.

a close up

If you want to make this style it’s easy. When you hang the valance you start in the center and twist the bottom to the top. Then you move out to either side and twist again and again trying to keep the same size waves.

I could fool around with this more but I need to return the step ladder I borrowed.

It might rain for a few days here. I’ll try to get out to draw but the weather can stop me from going out in plein air and I’ll have to find another project like sewing which is an art too. It’s something you can get creative with and it’s fun if you’re making something for yourself that you need and using your favorite colors.

sewing project curtains, valance, tie backs

I tried to post this before. I don’t think it’s showing up right. I can see the first post but it’s not showing up on freshly pressed so I’m trying again.

This is the valance which will be all twisty and crazy on the rod because the line of cording won’t gather like the fabric will on the rod. I tried to explain it and I don’t think anyone can see the text. I’m not sure.

These are the reversible tie backs.

The curtains are blue with white lining. The job is unfinished because I’m waiting for a continental rod I ordered to come in.

The valance and tie backs are reversible. You can play around rearranging the valance and tie backs for a new look when you want a change. It’s a fun style window treatment. I can’t wait for the rod to arrive! I’ll post pix of it as soon as I get it hung.

Can you see just one post here or two?

sewing project details and explanations

these art the tie backs for my new curtains, on my ironing board.

I made the curtains out of the blue fabric and lined them with white but I didn’t sew the heading on the curtains yet because I want to get the rod hung first so I can be sure of the finished length. I tried to hang the rod myself and it isn’t working out. I tried to drill small holes in the places for my brackets and the dry wall chipped a little. No big deal, these are old apartments. I tried to avoid a previous hole that was patched.

I remember hanging curtain rods before but it’s been a long time. I remember using wall anchors and once had wall anchors that I could use and once I had some I couldn’t use. I guess I’ll have to call the office and ask if a maintenance guy can help me with the curtain rods. So the curtain job is on hold for now.

The tie backs and valance are reversible with blue on one side and peach on the other with cord top and bottom in another contrasting orange color.

This arty shot is the valance on my ironing board.

It’s 9 inches by 3 yards with a 3 inch rod pocket in the center and a 3 inch heading top and bottom. I figured approximately 2.5 or 3 to one on the fullness to come up with 3 yards. It gets hung on a 2.5 inch flat curtain rod with a 4 inch return to the wall so it will clear the curtains which have a 2 inch return. I had to order the rod. First I looked it up on amazon and it said 3 weeks for delivery! So I waited for the store here that makes custom window treatments to open and called them. They don’t have the rod in stock either. It should be here in a week. They call it a continental rod. The guy told me no one asks for them these days, which is a shame because this valance is so cute and you can fool around arranging it in different ways.

The fabric will gather on the rod but the cording won’t. Then you can arrange the line of cord at least 3 different ways that I know of. You could cork screw it around the rod, you could put it on the rod straight and then twist the bottom up to the top in waves all the way across, which would also show the contrasting lining, or you can put the valance on the rod straight and twist the top and bottom cords separately. I don’t know if you can visualize that, I’ll post pix as soon as I get it all hung.

If you want to sew this type of valance, it’s not difficult. One tip I can give is when sewing long strips of fabric together you can get a cumulative error that doesn’t show up till you’re all the way across. You might get an annoying twist because the layers don’t feed through at exactly the same rate. Unless you have a walking foot machine which I don’t.

The way to avoid the bias twist is to sew over your pins. I use T pins and don’t want to break needles because that’s hard on the machine. I sew up to the pin then walk the needle over the pin by turning the wheel by hand a few times. When you do that you make tiny tucks at the pins which take up the slack on the top piece of fabric. Can you see the tucks on my photo? It doesn’t matter if you have tucks on the valance since it’s gathered on the rod and it keeps it from going on the bias which might show up in the end or cause some twisting on the rod where you don’t want twisting.

This is another project that’s on hold for a week until the rod comes in. I’m excited to see it hung and play around with the valance. This will be a long week and it’s raining.

50 free masks for nurses

IMG_2575

There they are all lined up on the back of my sofa before going out this afternoon.

It will be great to have the masks on the faces of 50 health care pros tomorrow. I must say, this is a great organization I hooked up with, the Covid19 Sewing Taskforce for Hampton Roads. They have over 1200 volunteers including me and have made 10,975 masks so far for 22 health care institutions. A lot of the fabric is donated but they have people donating money too and are buying fabrics. People that can’t sew help in other ways like cutting the fabrics and making kits for seamstresses.

There must be a wire shortage because one of my kits had pipe cleaners instead of wires. Since they had precut the fabric I could knock out 50 in two days for them. I did around 15 before I hit my stride.

The cable tv guy had to come over today and hook me up because I can’t do it and my son in law was stumped as to why it didn’t get the signal. The cable guy asked me to sell him one of the masks. I told him I can’t sell them, those were for nurses. Those cable guys, they have to go into people’s houses and wear a mask but the company isn’t giving them masks, I guess, because he was wearing a dirty old construction mask. He wants a mask he can wash.

I have a box full of scraps of cotton so tomorrow I’m going to sort through the pieces and cut masks for the cable guys. I got his phone #, told him I’ll call him in a couple days and give him cotton masks for himself and his coworkers.

Then maybe next week I’ll sew more for nurses. People seem to think this crisis will go on for a while but I think it’s almost over. I’ll sew more for a little while then I’ll get back to art projects.

making myself useful

IMG_2574

I finally found the group that supplies the materials for people who volunteer to sew masks for nurses or for the community, Maskforce. I just picked up 5 packets of precut fabrics. There’s enough in each bag for 10 masks, so 50 in all here. Now I have to watch the instruction video but I don’t think it will be too difficult compared to say, a slipcover.

That’s my trusty singer 191, an industrial machine. I’m the only one that ever sewed on it and it never drops a stitch.

My self esteem is improving already! I’m so glad I can be of some use in this time of crisis.