Tag Archives: upcycling

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.

Tutorial: Pillowcase Sundress: Part 1

Tutorial: Pillowcase Sundress: Part 1 | The Zen of Making
Celebrate Earth Day by upcycling 2 pillowcases into a cute, simple sundress!

Supplies:
* 2 pillowcases with fun patterns (They don’t have to match, but they should be the same size.)
* 30-40″ of ¼” braided elastic band, white or black to match the pillowcase fabric (Will be cut down to waist size.)
* 2 ½ yards of ¼” double fold bias tape in a color that complements your pillowcases

Tools:
* Sewing machine (If you’ve got mad hand-stitching skills, feel free to break them out.)
* Seam ripper
* Straight pins
* Fabric scissors or rotary cutter
* Fabric pencil/tailor chalk
* Measuring tape
* Iron

Note: Because this dress uses pillowcases instead of fabric and a pattern, it’s one of those pesky one-size-fits-some projects. While you can certainly tailor the shape to fit you better, keep in mind that the maximum waist and chest measurements are limited to the circumference of the pillowcases. If you’ve got a little extra junk in the trunk like I do (or, you know, giant boobs), I recommend that you take some extra measurements before getting started.

Tutorial: Pillowcase Sundress: Part 1 | The Zen of Making

1. Lay both pillowcases flat, pressing with iron if needed, and cut half an inch off of the finished bottoms, removing the stitches at the ends of each pillowcase.

2. My pillowcases were made from one large piece of fabric that was folded over and sewn, so they only had one side seam. (The newer ones on my bed have seams on both sides.) If your pillowcases only have one side seam, turn the pillowcases inside out and press each one flat. Stitch down the length of the unfinished side, sewing as close to the edge as you can. Turn the pillowcases right side out and press again.

Tutorial: Pillowcase Sundress: Part 1 | The Zen of Making

3. Measure from your natural waist to the place where you would like the bottom of the skirt to fall on your legs. Add an extra 1½” on top for inserting the elastic band and 1″ at the bottom for your final hem. (Add a total of 2½” to your measurement.) Select the pillowcase that you will be using for the skirt, then cut it to length. Set aside. *

* Now is the time to decide whether you would like to remove the excess length on the skirt from the top or from the bottom. The rainbow pattern was located at the bottom of my pillowcase, so I removed excess length from the top.

Tutorial: Pillowcase Sundress: Part 1 | The Zen of Making

4. Next, measure from your natural waist to shoulder, leaving a ½” seam allowance on the top and bottom. (Add an extra 1″ to your measurement.) Cut the second pillowcase to length for the shirt. (Just like the skirt, take the pattern location into account before you cut.)

Now, you’ll connect the skirt to the shirt.

Tutorial: Pillowcase Sundress: Part 1 | The Zen of Making

5. First, turn the skirt inside out and fold the waist down leaving a 1½” seam allowance around the top. (This is where you will insert the elastic band.) Press the fold.

Tutorial: Pillowcase Sundress: Part 1 | The Zen of Making
Tutorial: Pillowcase Sundress: Part 1 | The Zen of Making

6. Turn the right side out shirt upside down and insert it into the waist opening of the inside out skirt, lining up the unfinished edge of the bottom of the shirt with the pressed fold on the waist of the skirt. Pin into place.

Tutorial: Pillowcase Sundress: Part 1 | The Zen of Making

7. Stitch around the waist, attaching the unfinished edge of the shirt to the fold at the waist of the skirt.

That’s all for today! Click here for Pillowcase Sundress Tutorial: Part 2, where we’ll give the waist some shape and turn the top into a simple, flattering boat neck!