Tag Archives: upcycling

Pencil Skirt Tutorial Preview

Pillowcase_Work_Skirt

Sorry for the radio silence! I’m working on another pillowcase upcycling tutorial—this time for a high-waisted pencil skirt. Here’s a sneak peek at the pieces that are ready for assembly. (I must say, what I’ve got so far looks mighty office-appropriate!)

Friday Internet Crushes: Suitcase Pet Beds

Friday Internet Crushes: Suitcase Pet Beds | The Zen of Making
Photo care of http://vintagerenaissance.blogspot.com/

For the past few weeks, Pixel-the-cat has absolutely insisted upon sleeping in our paper recycling bin. This (a) makes me feel like a bad cat mom and (b) is driving me crazy, because I can’t really recycle paper with a cat in the way. I keep thinking that, if he just had a really awesome cat bed, I could have my recycling bin back. So, when I came across these suitcase pet beds while clicking around Pinterest, it was like getting struck by a bolt of lightening.

DIY Vintage Suitcase Pet Bed tutorial from Fancy Seeing You Here

Photo care of http://fancyseeingyouhere.com/

I was originally thinking of making a bed that would sit directly on the floor, but I love the look of these contrast legs (and, let’s be honest, cats are better than you, and they like to be up off of the ground).

Vintage Suitcase Before and After from Run with Scissors

Photo care of http://www.iheartrunwithscissors.com/

I love that both halves of the suitcase are used in this pet bed. It really gives it a cute curiosity cabinet look. Also, I love self-contained spaces. A lot.

Vintage Suitcase Cat Beds from Vintage Renaissance

Photo care of http://vintagerenaissance.blogspot.com/

Vintage Renaissance is full of adorable design ideas, color combinations, and, of course, kitty photos. These crafty folks clearly have amazing thrifting skills, and I am green with envy. They used to sell their pet beds on Etsy, but I don’t see any listed in their new shops.

Lovable Luggage Pet Bunk Bed from Love Nostalgic Whimsy on Etsy

Photo care of http://www.lovenostalgicwhimsy.etsy.com/

My cats would never stand for this sort of thing, but I really wish they would. This is a perfect project for an old luggage set, but I’m guessing that it would also work using two halves of the same suitcase.

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The Zen of Making

Altoids Tin Watercolor Set

Altoids Tin Watercolor Set | The Zen of Making

Inspired by the Watercolors To Go tutorial from One Golden Apple, I made Jeremy a portable watercolor set for his birthday.

I wanted to make it as easy to take along as possible, so I used an Altoids tin for the container. I figure, at that size, he can always toss it in a bag or carry it around in his pocket.

I also added a mixing tray, made out of the bottom of a margarine container, that attaches to the lid with velcro, so it can be removed and washed after use.

I can’t wait to see what he paints!

Jeremy went to art school, so my expectations are pretty darn high. (No pressure, though, honey. )

Also posted to the Craft Test Dummies “Go Green” Linky Party!
Craft Test Dummies Go Green Linky Party

Tutorial: Pillowcase Sundress: Part 2

Tutorial: Pillowcase Sundress: Part 2 | The Zen of Making
Welcome to part 2 of the Pillowcase Sundress Tutorial! Yesterday, we laid the foundation for a unique upcycled dress. Today, we’ll finish the project, giving the dress some shape and personality. Just getting started? Check out Pillowcase Sundress Tutorial: Part 1.

Start with dress inside out and completely unfolded.

8. Measure elastic band to fit your waist. Cut it to size and fold it in half, putting the ends together.

Tutorial: Pillowcase Sundress: Part 2 | The Zen of Making
Tutorial: Pillowcase Sundress: Part 2 | The Zen of Making

9. With the ends together, pin the elastic band into place right where the seam that connects the shirt to the skirt (from step 7) meets one of the side seams. Stitch the ends of the elastic band into the side seam, forming a circle with the band and securing it in place. You’ll want to stitch over it several times to make sure it stays put. When finished, wrap the elastic band around the full waist of the skirt.

Tutorial: Pillowcase Sundress: Part 2 | The Zen of Making

10. Fold the 1½” seam allowance from step 5 up over the elastic band, covering it.

Tutorial: Pillowcase Sundress: Part 2 | The Zen of Making

11. Fold the shirt back down into the skirt (like it was in step 6) so the seam that connects the skirt to the skirt is more prominent. Pin the edge of the seam allowance to this seam, folding the raw edge under as you go. If the band is smaller than the waist of the skirt, don’t worry if the pinning gets a little tricky—you’ll smooth the fabric as you sew.

Tutorial: Pillowcase Sundress: Part 2 | The Zen of Making

12. Once pinned, sew the folded edge of the seam allowance to the seam that connects the shirt to the skirt, taking care to stitch only through the fabric, not the elastic. (The band needs to be able to move to ensure even gathering around your waist.) Every few inches, adjust and smooth the fabric around the band so that it doesn’t get bunched up as you sew. Note: You should be sewing only along the seam that you’ve already made, not through the full dress. You are essentially creating a little pouch for the elastic band around the inside of the waist.

As you can see from the photo, I used my serger for this step. Feel free to use yours too.

Next, we’ll finish the neck and sleeves.

Tutorial: Pillowcase Sundress: Part 2 | The Zen of Making
Tutorial: Pillowcase Sundress: Part 2 | The Zen of Making

13. Measure halfway down the side seams on the shirt, marking the spot on each side. At each mark, machine stitch a small horizontal line by backstitching and stitching over the same spot several times. (This will keep the bottom half of the seam from unraveling later.)

14. Use your seam ripper to open the side seams, starting just above the horizontal line you stitched in step 11 and finishing at the top of the shirt. This will create the arm openings for the dress.

Tutorial: Pillowcase Sundress: Part 2 | The Zen of Making

15. Cut the bias tape to size and pin it in place over all of the unfinished edges around the neck and arm openings.

Tutorial: Pillowcase Sundress: Part 2 | The Zen of Making

16. Stitch the bias tape into place, finishing the raw edges.

Tutorial: Pillowcase Sundress: Part 2 | The Zen of Making

17. On the top of the shirt, measure about 4″ from the edge of each side towards the center. Pin to mark the measurement.

Tutorial: Pillowcase Sundress: Part 2 | The Zen of Making

18. To create the boat neck, stitch along the bottom of the bias tape, starting at the pin and sewing to the edge on each side. This will form the neck opening and shoulders, and will connect the tops of each arm opening.

Tutorial: Pillowcase Sundress: Part 2 | The Zen of Making

19. To finish the bottoms of the arm openings, draw a 1” line diagonally from the inner edge of the bias tape to the outer edge where each arm hole meets the side seam. Pin in place and stitch along this line.

Now, it’s time to wrap up the details.

Tutorial: Pillowcase Sundress: Part 2 | The Zen of Making

20. The only think you still need to do is hem the skirt. Fold the unfinished edge at bottom of the skirt under twice, then pin and press into place. Stitch around the fold to finish the hem. (If you are unsure about the final length of your dress, pin the hem first and try it on before sewing.)

That’s it, you’re done! You made a dress, now turn it right side out and go frolic!

Disclaimer: Ladies, I’m sure this goes without saying, but remember that pillowcase fabric can be thin. Check to see if you need to wear a slip before skipping through any fields, okay? I learned this the hard way with my wedding dress.