DIY Pocket Squares

My brother-in-law got married two weeks ago and I was asked to make the pocket squares for the ushers. (His now-wife made the cake at our wedding – see that here, so I owed them a little.) This was by far the most fun and creative wedding I’ve ever been to, so I wasn’t just sent a yard of fabric to create the pockets squares from – the bride created a stripe, had it printed on silk and then they sent it to me. (Which of course meant the pressure was on to not mess up.) Pockets squares are really easy to make, but they’re also really easy to make look sloppy. Here’s a quick tutorial on how I made them.

Step 1: Cut the fabric 1″ bigger on each side than what you want. (I wanted them to be 12″ x 12″ when finished, so I cut each one 13″ x 13″.)
Step 2: Iron 1/2″ down on all sides.
Step 3: Fold that 1/2″ in half, so you’re left with a double-turned 1/4″ hem on all four sides.

Step 4: Pin each corner so it makes a crisp 45 degree angle.

Step 5: Starting in the middle of one of the sides, sew all the way around. Before you get to each corner, thread a hand sewing needle with contrast thread and put one stitch through each corner. Then when you need to get the sewing machine foot over the awkward bump of the corner, you have some leverage. Once you’ve turned the corner, pull the threaded needle all the way out to use on the next corner.

Step 6: Press

Secret baby.

Technically the baby is not a secret, but the gender is. A secret kept from all by the doctor and the baby. Or probably just the doctor and anyone else who reads the medical chart. I suppose I could have called this post ‘Burp cloths’, but I have about 10 of those already (see here, here and here) and I wanted to mix it up a little. Was it worth the time to explain a poor choice in today’s title? Probably not.

What to make when your friend is waiting to find out the sex of her baby? Some adorable gender-neutral burp cloths with cute little nicknames on them.

As promised.

I mentioned last week that I got a pair of thrifted shoes (from Buffalo Exchange in Ballard) and turned them into my new favorite pair. This time I used Lincoln Shoe Dye, (that I bought at this store in Ballard). My only tip from this round of dying would be to use something other than masking tape to cover the leather you don’t want dyed. Does that seem obvious? It does to me now. But unfortunately I used masking tape and I know for sure that the dye leaked under the tape. Thankfully the leather was black to begin with, so the brown dye won’t actually show. Phew. (If anyone has any tips on what the best method is for dying part of a shoe only, let me know.)



DIY: Yoga pants fix

I would like to preface this post by saying that it isn’t very exciting.

Now that we’re all on the same page, I had a pair of yoga pants that I never wore because they had a slit at the back calf. There’s nothing wrong with this per se, but it happened to bother me.



I took the stitching out of one side of the slit, pinned it under the opposite side to close it off, and sewed it shut on top of the previous stitching.


DIY: Leather dye.

Believe it or not, these shoes used to be brown. A dark tan/light brown, don’t-really-go-with-anything color. For that reason I had only worn them once when I went to a Mad Men themed New Years Eve party.

So I decided that I should probably dye them. Did you know that one could do such a thing? At home? For less than $20? Me neither. Until I came across an article in the February 2011 Lucky magazine. As far as I’m concerned, it was like finding gold or a really old fossil.

Here are some close-up before shots:

The after shots:

Amazing right? And let me be the first to tell you that it was way easier than it looks. The hardest part was finding a cobbler who was open on Sunday in Seattle (I went here), and the rest was a piece of cake (I could have gotten the dye cheaper by buying from Amazon, but I was in a bit of a time crunch). My only advice would be to have clothes on that you don’t care about potentially staining, have a garbage bag on the table for any spills, and wear rubber gloves. Here was my plan of attack:

Step 1. Put nail polish remover on a cotton ball and rub all over the leather. (It roughens it up and makes it more porous for the dye to soak in. Thanks to Broadway Shoe Repair for that tip.)
Step 2. Apply 1 coat of leather dye.
Step 3. Let dry and apply 2nd coat (optional, but I was feeling crazy).
Step 4. Let dry and use leather conditioner and an old rag to polish them up.

Leather Dye: $9 (I would guess that I still have about 2/3 of the bottle left.)
Leather conditioner: $5 (I’ve used it a few times before this project and have most of the bottle left).

I also had to buy black shoelaces. Cost: $2 (for 3 pair)

Total: $16 for a ‘new’ pair of shoes and a whole lot of product left over to dye until my heart’s content.

DIY: Neon Bangle

I used the tutorial that Jessica of What I Wore put up the other day and created my very own neon bangle! I bought a whopper of a bangle at Fred Meyer ($3!) and used the electrical tape and embroidery thread I had lying around. (Doesn’t everyone have a gallon size bag full of various colors of embroidery thread?).

If you want to make one for yourself I would definitely follow Jessica’s tutorial. My pictures are more for fun.

You’re having fun, right?

(I don’t think Jessica showed how she finished hers off, but after threading a needle I just looped it through the inside of the bangle a few times.)

New pillows!

Remember how I saved $760 by hand sewing a tear in our new couch? Meet the pillows that came with the couch:

I really wish there was someone to shake and ask “WHY??” to, but there’s not. So they have stayed in the closet until last weekend when I had the opportunity to re-cover them. I wanted to re-use the zipper and the pillow itself because both were in perfect condition. The pillow is really comfortable, but the odd thing about it is that it’s the shape and size of a bed pillow. I didn’t know it until I was finished with this project, but apparently I don’t like rectangular pillows the size of a bed pillow on my couch. It just feels weird.

Step 1: Remove pillow from pillowcase.

Step 2: Using a seam-ripper or a small pair of scissors, remove the zipper from the old pillowcase.

Step 3: Pick out, pre-wash* and cut your fabric. I used some dark brown cotton twill fabric from Joann’s and a printed scarf that had a hole in it. (It’s really soft and I just couldn’t bear to part with it.)

*Because these pillowcases have a zipper, I knew I wanted to use fabric that could be washed. I mean what would be the point of having a zipper otherwise? Pre-washing the fabric is absolutely necessary because if you sew up the pillowcase, use it for a while and then wash it, there’s a good chance that it will shrink and not fit right over your pillow.

Step 4: Sew those pillowcases up.

I had wanted the front of the pillows to be made entirely of the printed scarf, but it turned out that the hole in the scarf I had was at just the right spot to make that idea impossible. So I improvised and made it a panel-front pillow.

Since completing these pillows, two naps have been taken on the couch. I think that’s a good sign that they’ll do just fine for now.

How to make a Doodle Monster

I made this little guy a couple of years ago. I was trying to create a stuffed version of a fictitious character my brothers had created. His name is Gordin and he’s pretty much my favorite. I hope they bring him back to the drawing board. (This is not a subtle hint on purpose. Ahem.)

If I remember correctly, Derek went through different versions of the illustration which meant I went through different versions of the stuffed animal. I think I was at number 5 or 6 when I was satisified enough to move on to something else. The version seen in this post was number 3 I think. Who knows though, it seems like ions ago.

Meet Gordin. The cutest rock monster there is.

And if you want to create a square version of a previous Gordin, here is your very own step-by-step tutorial. (I put it together for a project when I was in school.)

Click on either image to see bigger versions or to print from my flickr page.


Another baby bundle!

I have finally dusted off my sewing machine. It’s only been a few weeks, but boy, it feels like a lot longer. I just committed to making 5 capelets (1 for a bride, 4 for bridesmaids) in the next 4 weeks, so it looks like I will definitely be making up for lost time.

These tiny little dinosaur shoes are probably my favorite so far. I think I say that every time. But I swear to you, this time I mean it. Unfortunately due to the baby’s mom being a reader and all, I can’t give you any details about who these little items are for (that’s why I blurred the name out). Secrets don’t make friends, I know, I’m sorry.

DIY: Holiday gift tags!

This isn’t really a ‘step by step’ DIY. It’s more of a ‘get a bunch of supplies in front of you, use the tags I made as inspiration, and go for it’ DIY. Some specific items I used that made it easier were scissors with a scalloped cut (not necessary, but fun), a hot glue gun, a mini hole punch (just because it’s cuter), a corner rounder punch, and double sided-tape. If you’re going to use glitter, I’d say the double-sided tape is a necessity. I had no idea how easy it could be to make things sparkle. I tend to peruse the Martha Stewart website a lot (shocker, right?) and picked that little tip up along the way. Thanks Martha!