torn coat save

I found this great coat at TJ Maxx last year and was so excited to wear it. I loved the details, like a fake fur lined hood and body, sweater trim around the zipper edge, and sweater cuffs inside the sleeves.

The coat had a couple of outings until the day when my boyfriend pointed out that the seams near the shoulders were coming apart and fraying. It’s a quilted coat so there wasn’t a good way to repair the seams.

I was upset, looked for the receipt, realized I couldn’t find it and had bought the coat too long ago to return it anyway. It went back in the closet. I wanted to put it back into rotation this winter and collaborated with my mom on a way to fix it. This past weekend I made it happen.

I measured how wide a strip of fabric would need to be to cover all the fraying spots. This black quilting cotton with white dots was the perfect fabric for a cover-up. I turned some under on the sides of each strip and attached the two pieces along the seams lines on the back of the coat. After slip-stitching the pieces to the coat by hand, my coat had an updated look and the problem areas were covered.

I’m so glad I was able to save this coat and am looking forward to wearing it again.


knit snake dress to skirt

I bought this dress from the clearance rack at Belk quite awhile ago. After I tried it on at home, I realized it didn’t look quite right on me and passed it along to my mom.

When I was home a few months ago, I found it in my mom’s donate pile. The print was intriguing and the fabric was soft and flowing so I wanted to see if I could refashion it. I decided that the overwhelming print was the problem with the dress. To tone it down, I made turned the dress into a skirt.

This skirt was so simple. First, I cut off the top.

I bought a piece of two and a half inch wide elastic and stitched it around the top the same way Dana over at Dana Made It added exposed elastic waistbands to her circle skirts.

I reinforced the seam where the two sides come together with a zig-zag stitch.

And that was it! A new skirt. I wore it to church with the fam over Thanksgiving weekend.

You can’t really see the waistband against my black shirt, but it’s there and the skirt fit well. I already had a sweater that matched the blue in the print. I wanted to wear black flats but the below freezing temps swayed me towards boots since I didn’t have any tights with me.

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! I always enjoy a chance to see my family, and I even got a chance to work on some Christmas presents.

hat season

It’s hat season! Last year, pre-blog, my sewing machine had some issues. I went full on into crochet (with a little bit of knitting). I made a crazy amount of hats, so many in fact, that I don’t even remember all the ones I made.

Here are the ones I have pictures of that haven’t appeared on the blog already. Pardon the quality on some of these; many are phone photos. I’m looking through my binder of printed crochet patterns as I write this and will try my best to match hats to patterns.

This first one is a hat I made for my friend Crystal. I used this hat pattern from Lion Brand. The rainbow variegations turned out interesting on this hat as they ended up mostly on one side.

This hat is the Cheri Hat pattern, found here on Ravelry. My aunt says this is currently Emma’s favorite hat and she’s been getting lots of compliments when she wears it out! I didn’t remember I made this one until I saw this photo from last weekend. I really like the yarn I used, but I don’t remember what it was.

This hat wasn’t my favorite. I wanted to use up the rest of the yarn from the previous hat, and it turned out too small, plus the border looked weird. I used this Bernat pattern; it comes in a preemie size up to 18 months. I think it would have looked better if I had some more yarn.

Here’s the last Emma hat. I added some rounded ears to this pattern.

She wasn’t big on hats last year. Like the blanket? Check out how I made it.

I used the Maia’s Hat pattern you just saw a few more times for little ones. The sizes go from newborn to all the way up to adult making it very versatile.

I made this version for my friend Crystal’s nephew, who shares the name Jackson with my cat! She was having trouble with sizes when she crocheted so I whipped one up in my hat-making frenzy.

same hat, same yarn (Hobby Lobby I Love This Yarn! in green tweed). I added pointy ears to this hat for my friend Christine’s nephew Jace.

I think this hat for Christine was made with a half-double or double crochet beanie pattern and a reverse single crochet border, but I’m really not sure. The yarn is Hobby Lobby I Love This Yarn! in lime green. You could try the single crochet beanie pattern I made a few times. Pardon the blown out Photo Booth photo from my computer.

This hat is a pattern of my own creation using yarn my mom bought for me on a trip to Vermont. It is so soft and luxurious. I used a bobble stitch on top and a ribbed edge on bottom. I wrote the pattern down on a post-it that maybe I’ll find someday.

This is one of my favorite things I’ve made ever. I took on knitting in the round with double-pointed needles and won! I also screwed up and managed to rip out the knitting and fix my mistake. (Note: the “in total” measurements means the whole hat, including the border; I measured from the border up adding a few extra inches to my hat.) I used Lion Brand Jiffy yarn in Navy and found the perfect button while craft store shopping with my family on Black Friday last year. Here’s the pattern on a blog and Ravelry.

I do have a few more hats I made for myself that I haven’t photographed yet. Maybe I can get it together and get pictures of those for a future blog post. I’ve already thought of a number of scarves and hats I made and sent to friends and relatives last year that I never photographed. If you still haven’t had enough of last year’s hats, check these out.

I’m excited that I’ve already had a chance to wear some of my many pairs of fingerless gloves and scarves this year. Last year was so mild I didn’t even get much use out of my winter coats, let alone scarves and hats.

my first Kentucky yard sale

Going to yard sales and thrift stores used to be my main source of entertainment. I lived in a small town in Alabama with not a lot to do and not a lot of money to spend. I was befriend by a bargain queen and her family who are yard sales experts and fanatics and my die was cast. I had a blast running around with them, and many memorable Saturday mornings.

Since I’ve moved to Kentucky, I haven’t been to one yard sale and the thrift stores I’ve found so far are pricey. I’m sorry, but I’m not paying $16-22 for jeans someone wore already… (I have had some luck at a few Goodwills, but even there I pay more there than I paid at my favorite stores back in Bama.)

I’ve seen the yard sale signs, but it’s no fun without my crew and I’m not familiar with the neighborhoods in the significantly larger city where I live in now. The boyfriend is unwilling to stop at random places when we are out on errands, not that I blame him, and I live in a much smaller place that can’t absorb my random purchases easily. All that being said, guess what I found today?

I was on my way to a friend’s house for a photo party and while driving through her neighborhood I saw a bunch of cars and an overflowing garage with items all down the driveway. Of course I stopped. It was too perfect. I picked out a few things that I knew I would use and had space for, and the woman charged me five dollars for the pile. Here’s what I got.

This first item was my most frivolous purchase. I literally have no surfaces to put things on, so this lantern (which came complete with nice candle) is hanging out on the porch. I think I had to have it because of the color.

I did a little digging and found the spools of ribbon and sequins at the bottom of a bag of Sunday school craft supplies. I have an idea for the sequins that I’m pretty excited about. I’d just run out of glue sticks so I tossed one of those in my pile. They’re useful for pasting scrapbook paper on old oatmeal containers and notebooks to make them pretty.

The envelopes were a good find because those things are expensive. I ran out of stationary and have been using my massive stash of small cut scrapbook paper to make cards but they need certain envelopes to fit them. These envelopes would have cost $10! I can’t believe how much some office supplies cost. Every time I got into Office Depot to buy envelopes or binder dividers I end up passing them by because of the outrageous prices.

The Pyrex bowl was my most practical find. I know I’ll be using it all the time when I’m cooking. The shower hooks are solid metal and will be playing a role in a project that has been at a standstill for years in my old room at my parents’ house.

pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

I’m not sure what to call this, but this large rectangle of fabric with a beach scene in neon green and black is one of the most unique things I’ve found thrifting. The phrase is beyond my Google ability but I believe it is in Malagasy because the fabric says made in Madagascar.  I was thinking of making it into a beach cover-up, but I might find a way to use it whole because it’s pretty darn cool.

I picked up this last item because I read this post the other day on Cation Designs. She used fleece to make a super-cute toggle coat. This fleece blanket is a pretty good quality so maybe it will become a jacket?

So that’s my $5 haul. I got an interesting mix. I think my favorite find might be the sequins and I’m hoping my idea for them turns out well. I don’t think I’ll have too many more garage sales in my near future, but I enjoyed finding the one today. I have found some things I like at Goodwill, but overall I’m trying to keep my new purchases to a minimum and not buy things that need major refashions since I have a long list of projects I want to complete.

zig-zag sling tote

This bag is part purse, part tote. I started off using this tutorial for a reversible sling bag, but my fabric lead me in a different direction. I do like the tutorial and will most likely try it out again with a different fabric.

The fabric I used is a home dec weight fabric with gray chevrons on cream. I found a remnant of the fabric at Hobby Lobby and knew I wanted a bag out of it. I’ve been watching chevrons pop up all over for months now, but have yet to own any. I surprised myself by turning the chevrons on their side for more of a zig-zag look. I guess all those chevrons I saw over the past few months made me ultimately want something different.

I considered making a standard tote like I’ve made many times before, but I have a bunch of totes and wanted more of a purse. I used some of the dimensions from the tutorial, but instead of a large tote I cut out more of an average-sized purse using a bag I already have as a guide.

I couldn’t decide on a fabric I liked to match the gray and cream, so I went without a lining. I like doing French seams on home dec fabrics because they are so prone to fraying, and they gave me a finished edge on the inside of the lining-less bag. I used French seams to sew the handles together in the middle as well.

Making the bag without a lining did leave me with one problem: I didn’t know how to finish the edges of the handle. I wavered between single and double fold bias tape, but I went with single fold to give me just a pop of color on the inside of the handle. Blue is my favorite color and I like the element it adds to an otherwise plain color palette.

I tried stitching on both edges of the bias tape, but ripped out the out edge because it wasn’t looking like I wanted. I’m happy with just the one row of stitching.


One other adjustment I made was adding pleats. I kept the bag wide even though I didn’t make it as deep as a standard tote and the bag wasn’t laying right because it was too wide around the handle. I liked the width at the bottom of the bag, so I just added three pleats in the middle on both sides to bring the edges in.


I’ve got a wallet in mind to go with this bag and I hope to start it soon. I’ve seen so many cute wallet tutorials lately!

no-sew t-shirt scarf

I’ve seen these scarves floating around pinterest, but never read the directions. When I finally clicked on this link I couldn’t believe how easy it was. I busted out a pair of scissors and one of my boyfriend’s old shirts and went to work.

Ingredients: one large t-shirt with seamless sides (yes, that’s ALL you need)

Take some scissors and cut as many even strips as you can. Avoid holes, etc.

Stretch out the strips and they’ll curl up leaving you with these.

Once you have all your strips, adjust them how you want. I used a men’s large shirt so my strips were pretty long.

I did some sewing on this no-sew scarf, but just to add a little polish. I made a band to go around the strips and hold them together out of two rectangles from the sleeve area and a couple snaps.

With this extra piece, you can wear the scarf with the band holding all the strips together, or with it holding just one loop of strips. I wore it the second way today. I’d originally just put it on to photograph, but I liked how it looked with my sweater and kept it on.

I’d been in a project slump a few weeks ago and this got me back into the crafting game. This was simple and easy and took hardly any time or complex thinking.

skinnier black pants

I found a pair of boutique quality skinny ponte knit pants for $3 at Goodwill awhile back. (This was the same trip where I found the flared jeans that I turned into straight leg.) The fabric was great, but the fit was not.

I thought they’d be perfect for lounging around in, but they weren’t skinny enough and made me look frumpy. They were a size too big and the gaping at the ankles was ridiculous and made me look even shorter. I can’t stand baggy knits. As usual, I psyched myself out beforehand and thought it would be way too hard to fix them. But once I got started, all it took was a couple of hours one night.

First, I put them on inside out and pinched out the extra.

Measure where you pinned the legs to make sure you have an even fit on both sides. I followed the curve of the legs to mimic the fit they were supposed to have.

Check out that ankle. The extra flap reminds me of Aquaman.

I used a zigzag stitch and removed the bagginess from the legs and cut off the extra. I also removed some extra fabric below the zipper, because you don’t want any sagging there. Just be careful when pinning!

It was really that simple. The fabric didn’t fray when I trimmed off the extra, and when I tried them on they looked like this.

One other thing I did was adjust the waistband. Since I was dealing with a stretchy fabric, I didn’t have to take the waistband apart. Instead I just re-sewed the inside button closer to the zipper and moved the outside closures over for a more snug fit.

The waistband was “secured” by two large hooks and eyes that wouldn’t stay closed and had created holes in the fabric. I switched out the hooks and eyes for large snaps. It’s so nice to have a real sewing store close by (Hancock Fabrics) that sells a much wider selection of notions than Hobby Lobby.

The snaps do pull a little, but they work much better than the hook and eye system. You can see where I closed the holes that the hooks and eyes had created.

I am so pleased with the way these pants turned out. They are as comfy as a thick pair of leggings. While I might not wear them out of the house without a long top, I’m definitely glad I tried my hand at adjusting them.