Sewn: Megan Nielsen's Briar Tee

Epps!! I've sewn my very first t-shirt!  I can't even believe it's taken me this long to branch out into sewing with knit fabric.  I mean, I've already had my sewing machine for almost two years now. Sheesh!

Why the long wait in tackling stretchy fabric?  Like most who are new to sewing, I wasn't sure that I'd have the skills to wrangle those pesky knits into the garments of my dreams. Knit fabrics sure seem like they'd be difficult to work with. I mean they're stretchy, and shifty and have a mind of their own sometimes. 

Anyways, I'm glad I decided give knits a try, because nothing compares to a great custom-made t-shirt for comfort and and style. And in the end, you know what??! Sewing with knits isn't so bad after all. 

Stretchy. fabric. fears. conquered. BAM! Bring it on! ;) 

The pattern I used is Megan Nielsen's Briar Tee.  It was my first time using one of Megan's patterns and I was pleased with her easy to follow directions and well designed pattern pieces.

This was a great first knit project for a beginner like myself.  It came together quickly which was soooooo nice.  Many of the projects I've tackled recently took months to finish (like, ahem, this dress), and while it can be fun to take on challenging projects, it is also easy to get burned out.  In contrast, I'm loving how quick and easy it was to make this simple t-shirt.  And if you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen that I've already got some plans for a few more of these in the works.

Project Details:
Pattern: Megan Neilsen's Briar Tee
Size: Small, although next time I might try the extra small for a snugger fit.
Fabric: A cotton spandex blend from Girl Charlee. It's a thicker knit fabric, and my top feels like a lightweight sweatshirt. I figured a thick knit would more stable to work with for my first knitwear project.
Time: Just a couple hours total, but I spread it out over several days. It won't take you long, even if you're a beginner!
Skills: Wrangling knits (getting the fabric laid out for cutting was the hardest part for me); using a double needle; the zig zag stitch
Sewing Needles:  I used a ball point needle for the seams and a twin needle for the hems.  
For future projects: I'd like to try stabilizing the shoulder seams.
Helpful Resources: I found this great YouTube video by Sew Etcetera on sewing with a double needle really helpful. I also love this how-to post by Tilly and the Buttons on sewing knits on a regular sewing machine. Thank goodness for internet resources to help us newbies out!

I'm really excited that I've branched out into the world of sewing knits. It opens up a lot of possibilities for creating comfortable and wearable clothes.  I can't wait to see where this sewing-with-knits adventure takes me next.  Coming up, I've got some stripes on my sewing table.

P.S. Thanks to my sister Ali for giving me this pattern. I LOVE it, girl!

A Chair Makeover: Reveal!

Lately, I've been working to turn my ho-hum craft room into a creative space that suits my style. Instead of trying to overhaul my craft room all at once, I've decided to focus on little projects here and there so that I can enjoy the process of transformation.  It's been fun to see everything come together in its own time.  

My most recent project was taking a boring old thrifted chair and giving it a bit of personality.  Here's a peek into how this project unfolded. 

This what the sad little chair looked like before I decided to fix it up a bit:  

I had initially painted it this turquoise blue color, but wasn't happy about the color choice. (Ick!!) No worries, though, a little elbow grease one afternoon solved that mistake.

I ultimately decided to go with a deep hunter green color. I thought it would compliment my pale pink walls and also tone down the girly-ness of the pink paint a bit. Plus, since green and pink are complimentary, I thought they'd look great together.

Alright, here is how the transformation progressed... First things first, I had to sand down the chair and get rid of that awful turquoise paint.  This was definitely my least favorite part.  After sanding, and sanding, and sanding, my arms were tired and I was coated in a film of powdery paint dust, but I finally got the old paint stripped off. (Tip: Wear a mask to keep yourself from inhaling the paint particles that are sanded off.  The paint dust was everywhere and so gross.)

Next, a coat of white primer got the chair in tip top shape before I painted it green.

Finally, the fun part for me was updating the upholstery.  I took the seat off the chair. Then, I removed the staples by prying them up with a screwdriver.  Most of the staples just popped right out, but a few stubborn ones needed to be pulled out with a pair of pliers.

I left the same padding on the seat as was there before and just covered the seat with my new pretty fabric. Since my fabric had a noticeable pattern on it, I took great care to be sure I had the pattern lined up exactly how I wanted it to be on the seat.  A few staples around the edge hold the fabric in place:

I put the cushion back in place, and that was all there was to it!  Now, I have a fancy (almost as good as) new chair in my office space.

So there you go... take a seat  ;)

It was a lot of fun to be able to take a tired old piece of furniture I already had and turn it into a unique piece I truly love.  I really enjoy being able to update items I already have in my home rather than having to go out and buy new stuff all the time.  There's nothing quite like taking something old and making it shiny and new again.

Have you guys made any updates to your home lately?

Off the Hook: Beatriz Shrug

Well here it is... my latest (purple) crochet sweater. I'm on a roll with these lavender hued projects. (Remember this one from a few months ago?)  

This is the Beatriz Shrug from Inside Crochet's Issue 39, and it turned into exactly what I was looking for... a light and wispy sweater to throw over my shoulders on summer evenings.  

I'm really pleased with how this shrug turned out.  The ultra thin bamboo yarn gives it such beautiful drape and a pretty sheen. The shrug has a luxe, silky feel to it, but the slouchy shape keeps this little number all laid back. Gotta love that!

Also, I was worried that I'd have trouble with the bamboo yarn splitting as I worked with it, but that wasn't an issue for me on this one.  Thank goodness, because that would have gotten tedious with so many tiny stitches to get through in this pattern.

Project Details:
Pattern: Beatriz Shrug // Inside Crochet, Issue 39, March 2013
Yarn: Valley Yarns 5/2 Bamboo in Orchid (100% Bamboo; Yarn weight - Lace)
Time: Due to the teeny tiny yarn, it took a bit of time to hook this one up.
Difficulty: Pretty easy.  The pattern is simple and repetitive and construction was a breeze.  You just have to have patience to work with tiny lace weight yarn.

This shrug is perfect for these balmy summer days. I'm definitely going to be cramming as many wears of this sweater in as I can before the cool fall weather arrives.

Up next on my crochet hook is another shrug, but at least this time it's not another purple one! A girl needs at least a little variety in her wardrobe. ;)

DIY: Fancy Fabric Storage Boxes

Right now, all my craft supplies are just thrown into empty shoe boxes, and I figured it was about time to jazz those old boxes up!  

Last year I shared a tutorial for creating fabric covered boxes, and I thought it would be fun to revisit that DIY to create some pretty storage for my craft room.  I had some bits of scrap fabric, including some floral fabric leftover from a sew-a-long with Darling Adventures and also this beautiful yard sale find. I figured this would be the perfect project to put those beauties to good use.

I followed the directions for my 'That's a Wrap" Fabric Covered Boxes tutorial, and before long I had some pretty storage that I could proudly display on my shelves.  Turns out that old, drab boxes just need a little pretty fabric to get all dressed up...

All you have to do is grab a box. Any old box will do:

You'll only need to gather a few supplies. (Tip: Just be sure the fabric is thick enough not to let any writing or designs on the box peek through.)

Get busy cutting your fabric and adhere it to the box with a touch of Mod Podge.  You can find all the details for these steps in the full tutorial here.

And, that's a wrap!

It's great when you find a project that is fun to recreate again and again.  My fabric wrapped box tutorial is definitely one I'll be revisiting a lot in the future. In fact, I still have many boxes left to cover! Over time as I accumulate more pretty scrap fabric, I'm planning to put it to good use to wrap up all those other boring old boxes that I'm currently using for storage.

So that's it! You just can't beat a project that uses supplies you have on hand, costs next to nothing and creates some pretty and functional storage.  

Do you guys have any projects you like to revisit as well? Also, do you have any favorite projects for using up bits of scrap fabric?  I'm always looking for ways to use up my stash.

DIY: Hanging Macrame Planter

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There is something so lovely about suspending a touch of nature indoors. I've been wanting to make my own macrame planter for a while now, and over the weekend I got inspired to take the plunge and learn how to make one of my own. Now, I have a plant hanging oh so pretty in my kitchen.  Oooooo la la...

Wanna learn how I made my planter?


Since macrame is new to me, I was on the lookout for a simple design.  I ended up using this 10 Knot Plant Hanger from Macrame For Fun for my basic design.  I loved it's simplicity and knew it would be the perfect pattern for a beginner like myself.

Of course, I had to add a bit of my personality to my project as well.  First off, I jazzed it up a bit by adding some wooden beads to the cords before tying the second set of knots.

Also, since I wanted my planter to have a clean and modern look, I knew I was gonna need to find the perfect pot to fit that aesthetic.  Wanna know the best place to find stylish and modern planters?? Here's my tip.... be sure to check the home wares section of retail stores!  Yep, that's right. In fact, the "pot" I used is actually a cereal bowl from Target. Shhhhh... don't tell, it will be our little secret.  ;)  Just be careful when watering your plant, since there aren't any drain holes.

Another tiny, little detail I added was that I wrapped yarn around the hanging ring to give it a more cohesive look. 

And, since I wanted to suspend my planter from all the way up at the ceiling, I made my hanger a bit loooooonger than the video suggests. 

Project Details:
Supplies: cord, wooden beads, ring for hanging
Plant: I'm actually not sure what kind of plant this is.  The tag just said "tropical foliage". Helpful, no?!  ;) Any small fern would give you a similar look.

I had so much fun dabbling in macrame for the very first time, and this little touch of greenery is such a lovely addition to my kitchen.  This project was super easy, affordable and quick to whip up. Plus, it looks simply fantastic to boot. Gotta love that!

I've really been enjoying adding more plants around my house.  This planter is the most recent of several new green additions.  Although, to be honest, I'm also trying my best not to neglect them, as I don't have the greenest of thumbs. However, I'm thinking that since this one is always in sight, right next to my kitchen sink and sitting in an eye catching hanging planter.... hopefully I'll remember to keep my eyes on it and give it the care it needs, right?! ;)

P.S. I know my planter is hung off center, but  the dang stud in the ceiling wouldn't allow placement directly in the middle of the wall.  That's ok, though...  I'm now planning to add some art to the bare wall to fill up that extra space. I think it will be more interesting that way anyways!