Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Halloween Crafts to DIY For: Upcycled Jars

Crisp Autumn air is making it's way in and as we are all preparing for the fall festivities I'll be sharing fun & easy holiday DIY's to do with your family here on the blog. Today's project repurposes jars & candle sticks to create jack o lanterns. Add a battery operated candle to the jar to create a subtle illumination- perfect for any mantle or porch. Head over to Craft Bits for the complete upcycled pumpkin jar tutorial.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Plant Flowers In Your Socks

Whether you believe in sock stealing trolls living under your washer or the myth of the monster washing machine- one thing is for sure we all end up with single socks. Instead of wearing mis-matched socks (which I see nothing wrong with!) or tossing them into the trash here's one quick and easy way to transform your fall flower pots into some spooky decor.

Step 1. Cut the sock just below the ankle creating a cuff- slip the cuff over a vase, flower pot, or mug.

That's it. Only one step. I used a kids tube sock to fit over a 6'' terracotta pot for the red mums. The smaller one is just slipped over the plastic plant container it came with. What do you think about this quick and easy way to dress up a potted container or vase? Have you tried it before?

Monday, September 14, 2015

Why Buy A Vintage Sewing Machine

Sewing on Vintage Antique Sewing Machines

It's a known fact that you never ask a lady her age, her weight, or how many sewing machines she owns. Maybe the latter is less widely known. I'm not known to be bashful though and will openly admit *about* how many sewing machines I own. Four-teen. Puuuuuleese, I have friends who own twice as many!

Show me your VSM by sharing a picture on instagram or facebook with #sewonvsm for a chance to be featured all month long! 

When you think about all of the wonderful programs, attachments, and advances made in sewing machines these days it might be hard to imagine why someone might want to use an ancient machine... you know those kind where you actually have to sew your own button holes. There are plenty of really great reasons why I think vintage sewing machines rock and today we're going to talk about why you might want one... or another one!

For starters; people literally give them away for free. Just this week I passed 2 on the roadside- and it makes my insides weep. It's history, people!! Sometimes 'free' machines are broken but sometimes (and whole lot of times) they just need a little TLC. Those of you who are looking to learn how to sew without a huge financial commitment or aren't sure where to start- vintage machines are an ace in the hole. Vintage machines are great because they can be found for relatively next nothing & easily picked up a yard sale, family hand me downs, flea market, or even on the side of the road like I mentioned. Sites such as Ebay or Craigslist (use your brain & best judgement here) often have quality machines for $75 or less. Keep in mind, there is a subculture of sewing enthusiasts who primarily sew & collect vintage machines who will pay $$$ for certain makes and models. I'll cover more about those desirable/valuable models later this month.

Vintage sewing machines are built to last. Haven't they already proven that? The don't have need wifi for upgrades or even electricity. Mechanics of a simple straight stitch machine make maintenance and upkeep for the home user both easy to DIY and affordable. Thank you youtube tutorials!!

Sustainability may not be your first choice or reason for snagging the next vintage machine that comes by, but it's a heck of a good one. Anytime you're able to use and love something second hand we're choosing to cut back on manufacturing demands and keeping them from our landfills. Also keep in mind that those heavy metal machines are made with solid metal working innards which will be a beast and continually produce perfect stitches *when maintained, unlike many of the mainstream options available today- which cheaply made plastic cases house cheaply made plastic gears that are likely to strip out within a year or two. See for yourself.

Vintage sewing machines hold a soft spot in my heart, while the majority of my sewing is done on a my BERNINA it's my opinion that if you can't afford an expensive well built machine then the only other option is to buy vintage. I've sewn on new school benjamin-bangers (that's equivalent to a $100 Brother from Walmart) and while they run well for a short while, they're kinda loud & sometimes cranky when it comes to different types of fabrics. Then it's time to turn them into sewing machine planters or donate to the Sewing Machine Project. My vintage machines on the other hand, even classified as household machines- have no trouble handling several layers of denim or a single layer of lace.

Do you love sewing on a vintage sewing machine, or VSM for short? Leave a comment below and tell me why. Then head over to instagram and let's connect & share our love for vintage machines by tagging #sewonvsm. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

T-shirt Shoe Laces: Customize Your Back to School Sneakers

One of the most utilized upcycling techniques has to be- t-shirt yarn! I've shared a few projects here on the blog & you can find even more creative and unique uses for your old clothes in my book The Upcycled T-shirt. Today the kids head back to school & today's project is the perfect way to add a pop of color to their kicks.

You’ll need:
1 or 2 t-shirts
Scissors/rotary cutter
Cutting Mat

  1. Start by laying your t-shirt flat onto the cutting mat surface. Gently pat out any creases or wrinkles. Next, fold the t-shirt in half lengthwise.  Tip: Shirts with no side seams are the best for making consistent t-shirt yarn.

  1. Cut horizontally across the folded shirt,  just above the bottom shirt hem. Remove the bulky hem and set that piece aside.

  1. Measure and cut 1.5’’ from the bottom edge- horizontally across the folded t-shirt. Repeat a second time. You’ll notice that you’ve created two large loops.

  1. Carefully cut the loop to create one long strip of t-shirt. Gently pull the strip from either end creating a length of t-shirt yarn. Jersey knit material has unique characteristics which will prevent the fabric from fraying- instead the fiber curls in onto itself creating a tube.  >No Sew Hack: If you’d like to create shoe laces without sewing- you can wrap a small clear piece of tape around the edge or add a little pizzaz with printed washi tape. Doing this will help you feed your new shoe laces through the eyelets on the shoe or sneaker.  
  2. We’re going to finish your laces by using a tightened zig zag stitch on your sewing machine to create an “aglet.” That’s the actual word for that hard plastic piece on the end of your shoe laces. Zigzag stitch 1’’ and then reverse stitch back to the beginning to secure your aglet. You may need to help guide the t-shirt yarn depending on the width of your feed dogs.
    >Tip: Pull the shoe lace 1.5’’ past the needle. This will prevent the edge of the material from being pulled down into the machine and creating a nesting effect.
  3. Trim excess off, be sure not to cut your stitched aglet.  


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