Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Week of Handmade: Simple Sewing Ideas ~ Day 1

Yesterday was all about felt. Today we move on to fabric with Simple Sewing Ideas. Sewing by machine or by hand tends to be quicker for me compared to other crafty endeavours (knitting) so there are lots of ideas to share. I have broken the sewing projects into two days. Hope you find some inspiration here...

1. Shirt Skirt

Faced with a cast off men's XL button down shirt one day, I came up with the idea to cut it off at the arms and turn the bottom half of the shirt into a skirt for my little lady. Sounded simple enough. Cut, sew a casing, sew up the button front, thread elastic through. Done.
Not so fast...

With the overlap at the button front there was no threading the elastic all the way through. A problem. A problem solved with a little trial and error and ... eventually two button holes approx. 2 inches from either side of the button front overlap, buttons, and some nifty button hole elastic... love that stuff.

Once the problem was solved these little skirts worked up super quick. The one above was a hit with The Naturalist for the 4th of July. A great election day skirt too don't you think!

Plain shirt skirts could easily be embellished with embroidery or applique.

My good friend even thought one could make a great mini-for-mama over leggings. Cute.

I will post a tutorial on how to make this skirt next week if there is interest. It really is simple and fun.

2. Jean Pocket Patch Coaster

We have been collecting patches from our travels for years in hopes that someday we would find the perfect travel bag to sew them onto... over seventeen years since our first patch there is still no bag. What to do with those patches? Make a coaster... of course.

The plan was to just use the recycled denim as a backing for a circular coaster but the pockets were to good to pass up. I picked a backing fabric, sewed right sides together, trimmed the edges, turned right side out and sewed up the opening.

 I sewed it so the pocket could still be used. The one next to my reading spot holds paper bookmarks in the pocket.

3. Cargo Pocket Bag

This sweet little bag was inspired by holes in the knees of a favorite pair of cargo pants. The Artist came along while I was deconstructing those pants to salvage what I could. He was quick to note the pockets would make a great bag.

We pieced together some of the leg material for a strap and sewed it on. Complete. It has a few frayed edges but we like that!

I helped each kiddo make a bag and they have been transformed into mini-survival kits for our outdoor adventures.

4. Head Scarf

This quick project is from Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross. I used some scrapes from a shirt skirt (see above) to make this matching head scarf. It was super fast and easy.

She liked it worn folded over like a headband but it is designed to be spread out, hence the name scarf. 
The underside is elastic covered with a fabric casing. This makes it so both of us can wear this sweet little scarf.

5. Pouch 

This was designed to hold the prized Swiss Army Knife The Naturalist carries in her survival bag, but it could also be used for a phone, ipod or any other gadget in need of protection.

It was made by cutting two very long strips of fabric (using measurements from the knife and leaving room for a flap), sewing them right-sides together (leaving an opening for turning), trimming seams, turning right-sides out, folding up the pouch and top stitching up the sides and round the top flap, then attaching Velcro to secure the flap.

Before sewing up the pouch she wanted to add a butterfly. There are many was to personalize this little pouch. One could even add a belt loop to the backside or a strap to make it a mini-purse. The possibilities are endless.

6. Sewing Kit

I don't know how I lived without this little kit. I sewed it up thinking it was cute but had no idea just how much I would use it. Now it goes just about everywhere with me.

The pattern is from a great book called Zakka Style, which is filled with all kinds of inspiration for fun, quick projects.

As soon as The Naturalist saw mine she had to have one of her own. She made it with the same fabric as her knife pouch and left off the ties in favor of Velcro. While she need my help this would be a great project for a young stitcher ready for a little challenge.

That is all for today but tomorrow I will be back with more simple sewing projects and some book recomendations.

~~ Do you have any "quick" sewing projects that would make great gifts. Please do share in the comments and leave a link if possible. Thanks.

~~ Next week I am going to post a few tutorials. If you would like me to put together a tutorial for a project please let me know in the comments.


  1. Love this! especialy the cargo pant pocket bag!!! Perfect!

    1. We should spend an afternoon sewing together!

  2. awesome! love the coaster with the pocket for bookmarks :)

    1. Thanks! Let me know if you make one. I would love to see it!