Stella’s pillowcase nightie

I made two pillowcase nighties when I was at Sewjourn, both the same size.  My daughters are still quite different sizes, but they each claimed one of the nighties. This one will fit Stella forever!

Stella's pillowcase nightie

Other than being way too large, it’s soft and cool and comfortable. I bound the armholes and made the ties from vintage bias binding, and added some gorgeous pom-pom trim around the hem that came to me from Crafty Mamas.

Stella's pillowcase nightie

And we’ve finally got warm summer nights! It really is December – other than the slightly manic calendar I was starting to wonder…

non-maternity jeans

I bought a pair of Rock and Republic jeans for $2 at the Lancefield op shop last weekend.  They looked as though they’d never been worn, so I just bought them figuring that they looked as though they’d fit me.  When I did try them on, the fit through the legs and hips was great – except that the rise was TINY!  These jeans were so low cut that they were almost indecent even before bending over.  So I did what any self respecting seamstress should do – I cut off the waistband and replaced it with a wide stretchy band of ponte knit.


These are now extremely comfortable and the rise is more than socially acceptable. I usually wear fairly long tops, so the chances of the band being seen are very slim. I did remove a few rivets and the zipper pull before stitching the band to the jeans – no need to break any overlocker needles!


There are a multitude of tutorials for converting regular jeans into maternity jeans, and I suppose that what I have done is pretty much the same – except easier!  The rectangle I cut out for the band is a few inches shorter than my waist measurement, which should keep it tight enough to keep my jeans up.  It had to be stretched a bit to fit it onto the jeans.  So there you go – convert your uncomfortable jeans with too-tight and/or too-low waistbands into these comfy “maternity” jeans! 

Bedspread skirts

After seeing one of Clare’s little friends in a skirt made from chenille with bobble edging, I channeled my inner Eumundi Market (or is that my inner Byron Bay) and pulled out some old bedspread pieces.  Voila, a funky hippy skirt complete with fringe!

blue bedspread skirt

It took very little time to sew up a centre back seam and then turn over a casing for elastic at the top.

blue bedspread skirt

Clare wanted a shorter, straighter skirt as well. This one is from two pieces of chenille.

pink bedspread skirt

They are a bit of fun, and Clare likes them. I made a couple for Stella as well but she was asleep when I sewed them up and they’re too small – they’re about to become simple bags with the addition of handles and a seam along the bottom.

pink bedspread skirt

I have given away some extra bedspread pieces to one of my friends and suspect that soon there may be many of these being worn in the suburban parks and shopping centres near home.

Waiting for the right pillowcase

Way back in November I made a pillowcase dress for my friend’s youngest daughter.  Then I gave another to her middle daughter.  The eldest daughter has been waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting for me to make her one too.  Last week I popped into the oppy and found the perfect pillowcase.  Now it is done!

Pillowcase dress for Claire B by you.

I hadn’t quite worked out what had been stopping me from making this ages ago.  Now I realise that it was because the pillowcase I was originally planning on using just wasn’t the right one for this little girl.  Once I found the perfect match, the dress was made a day later!

I use an amalgam of instructions for making pillowcase dresses – I’ve nicked all the bits that I think work the most nicely together.  I will eventually combine them into a tutorial.  The new owner of this little dress is a tall girl, so rather than cutting the bottom six or seven inches off the pillowcase and using it to make a self-fabric ruffle, I added some broderie anglaise and ric-rac trim from my stash.  I think it’s worked out beautifully!

Shirred pillowcase dress

I’ve had a reel of shirring elastic in the drawer for ages, meaning to make Clare a shirred dress.  There are loads of tutorials around explaining how to do it.  It probably would have been a good idea if I’d read them before I started.

IMG_8007 by you.

Although the elastic definitely did its thing, it isn’t a brilliant job of shirring.  See, I do show my unsuccessful projects on my blog as well as the ones that work.  Now that I’ve finally read some tutorials, I realise that I should have loosened the tension on my machine and should have used a much longer stitch length. 

Shirred pillowcase dress by you.

However, Clare loves the dress!  No accounting for kids.  It’s made from a pillowcase – I chopped about 7 inches off the bottom of the pillowcase, which I then cut into four strips to use as straps.  Clare chose to wear it with the front two straps tied as a halter neck (the back two straps were tucked inside the dress).

IMG_8009 by you.

I added some broderie anglaise lace around the hem to add a delicate touch.

IMG_7973 by you.

I’m definitely going to have another go at doing this, with a long stitch length.  It’s easy!  You just sew lots of parallel rows with shirring elastic hand-wound onto the bobbin.  Read the tutorials first – there is one here and another one here.  Then you shouldn’t get the puckered effect I got, rather than nice even gathers.

Happy Birthday Ruthie!

My friend Jane’s youngest daughter Ruth turned three years old today.  So I made a little badge to announce her birthday to the world.

Ruthie's 3rd birthday badge by you.

I also made her a pillowcase dress.

Ruth's Pillowcase dress by you.

I am really on a roll with these, having made three in the past two days!  There are plenty of tutorials around for pillowcase dresses.  I’ve used a few different ones in the past and have now worked out how I best like to make them.  Once I’ve written up the tutorial for the cup day skirt I’ll do a pillowcase dress one as well (both are really just variations on a theme).  I’m hoping to have them done before the end of next week.

Happy 3rd Birthday Ruth!

Refashioned – pants into skirt

Remember this pair of pants?

Embroidered by me, worn by me quite a few times about ten years ago.  Not at all in style or my style anymore, but I couldn’t bear to get rid of them.  So finally – they’re a skirt!

I cut both legs off, cut them in half vertically, squared them up, then sewed them together to form a skirt with an elasticised casing waist.

So much better on Clare than on me!  And the left over “shorts” have now become running shorts for my husband (since they’re not worn for very long and he’s not too embarassed to wear bright turquoise shorts in public – what a tolerant man)!

Dress refashioning

Freya recently bought this dress, but didn’t completely like it on her (this isn’t her in the photo, by the way – the photo is courtesy of the retailer she bought it from).

She felt a little too much like the second wife from “Big Love” in it.  So I took it home and took out the sleeves.  What do you think?

After unpicking the sleeves, I used bias binding to face the armhole, which I then turned to the inside and hand-stitched to the lining.  A professional result, I think!

Our theory is that if she doesn’t like it as a sleeveless dress, I can turn it into a skirt.  If that doesn’t work out, it may become a bag.

Awaiting refashioning

I don’t have anything new to show you.  I have started the embroidery on the baby dress, but it will take me ages.  I think that I might have to break my vow already and start a few other projects to do at the same time.  Maybe there isn’t a valid reason to finish one project before starting another – different projects meet different creative needs, so maybe it’s good to have a few different things on the go at once!  Well, that will be my justification anyway.

I embroidered and constructed these pants for myself some time ago, following an idea in Inspirations magazine.  The original outfit was pants and a top for a little girl.  They did get quite a bit of wear, but aren’t really my style now.  They look a bit too much like pyjamas (possibly because I did use a pyjama pattern to make them).  Gee, it would have been a good idea to have ironed them before taking the photo . . .

Embroidered pants

They’ve been in the op-shop bag for a while, but somehow I just couldn’t bear to get rid of them – probably thinking of the time spent doing embroidery!  Now I think that I will refashion them into something else.

embroidery close up

Possibly a couple of simple tote bags?  One from each leg?  Using the rest of the fabric for lining and handles?

Sue’s bag

This bag is a very belated birthday present for my friend Sue.  It is made from a set of three coordinating tea towels – the check was used as the outer, the cream waffle as the lining, and the pink embroidered tea towel became an applique, inside pocket and quilted straps.

I didn’t use a pattern, just folded each tea towel in half, sewed side and bottom seams, and boxed the corners.  Each strap is the length of the tea towel, and I guesstimated what would be a good width.  I quite like the appliqued embroidery as well. 

The interior pocket is divided into three (pen pocket, phone pocket, and miscellaneous pocket) and is quite sturdy.  The straps have a layer of pellon inside.  It was pretty quick to make, once I had done the mental work of figuring out to do and had a window of opportunity arise!