2 Long-sleeved T-Shirts, 2 Different Night-Shirts

I had several long-sleeved T-shirts just taking up space. I was going over my options: throw them out, give them away, or do something with them. I decided to do something with them to see what I could come up with. I came up with two ideas. Both are for night shirts made using one long-sleeve T-shirt each. The T-shirts aren’t even long-sleeved, as in reaching all the way down to the wrists, but are more like 3/4 length T-shirts.

The Gray Shirt

My first T-shirt to tackle was the gray T-shirt seen here. It’s in pretty good shape, but I’m not going to wear it anytime soon.

 

I cut off the sleeves leaving room for the hem. I also cut off the bottom of the shirt. Why? This T-shirt was made curved on the bottom. It was not straight across. I also cut off the curved part of the sleeves. I also cut out the collar.

I sewed the two sleeve pieces together on the edges that used to be attached to the main part of the shirt. Then after I did that, I cut the piece in half horizontally. This is what I ended up with.  I then sewed these two pieces together. I ended up with a long oddly shaped piece.

I then pinned that piece to the main part of the shirt on the bottom. I moved it around to where I wanted it. There was a little extra fabric left over on the back from the sleeves I just cut that off and sewed the ends together on the back. I then sewed this piece to the bottom of the shirt. There was already a curve to the bottom of the shirt, but I cut a little more to make the curve more noticeable.

Once the bottom piece was sewn on the hemming started. I turned all the edges over to make the hem.

 

Once all the hemming was done, I decided this shirt needed a little something. I cut out petal shaped pieces from some of the left over fabric. I pinned them to one of the upper sides of the shirt. I then proceeded to sew each petal on with a zig-zag stitch. I used contrasting thread, which made it show up better, but thread the same color as the shirt could also be used.

Here it is! It’s a night-shirt, it’s a workout shirt maybe. It doesn’t have any sleeves so it’s not so hot to sleep in when it’s summer. Might not want to use it in winter though.

Note I did not take the waist of this shirt in. What do we do when we want to get an around the house shirt that is comfy? We buy a shirt that is too big. So it’s not becoming. What I’m trying to say is, please use this only for sleeping or working out. The only time you should ever be wearing a t-shirt that is too big for you in the waist outside of your house is if someone stole all of your clothes and that is all you have or you’re going to workout. This shirt could be a suitable workout shirt.

The Tan-ish Shirt

Cream, tan, off-white? I am not really sure what color to call this shirt since it’s kind of speckled, so I will leave it at tan-ish. I decided to go in a different direction with this shirt. Making it less PJs and a little more nightie.

The first thing I did was cut off the sleeves following the curve of the sleeve socket. If that is what it’s called. I then cut the shirt straight across under the armpits of the shirt.

Cut one of the sleeves in half long ways. This is going to be kind of like your bodice to your top. Pin the piece that is now two pieces together good-side to good-side. It should look like this on the left. There is this area that kind of sticks out. It curves around. This used to be where the top of your sleeve. I sewed that together stopping where the blue mark is. I know it’s kind of hard to see. Those marking pencils just aren’t that dark.

Once that was sewn together I opened it up and sewed a hem in the little “v” area that was created. I then hemmed the rest along the top.

One of the things I had to do was make sure this was going to fit. The idea is to attach this to the top of the piece we cut off of the shirt earlier. This vaguely resembles a sports bra right now. I tried it on to see if I would need to add any more fabric to make this piece reach all the way around my back. I did not need to add any more fabric. So I sewed the two arm ends together. This now makes this piece a sort of tube.

I then decided I needed to tighten up the front area a little. It wasn’t very secure. I turned it wrong side out and sewed in an angle from the point of the “v” in the front, down  to the bottom.

It was now time to pin the top piece to that tube piece I cut off of the shirt earlier. This is the back. I made a couple of pleats because the top of the tube part was wider than the bottom of the, well I am just going to call it the bra looking part.” I made the pleats several inches apart on each side making sure that the sides were aligned.

I then turned it over to the front side. I made all the pleats in the center. It’s going to have a bit of an empire waist effect. I then sewed this all together. My sewing machine decided to act up at this point changing its thread tension at will. I had to be firm with it and tell it that I wasn’t going to tolerate this sort of thing. It finally behaved.

After the main piece was sewn I decided to tackle the straps. Where are the coming from? The other sleeve of course. The sleeve should be long enough to make the straps for the shirt. I cut strips and hemmed them up. There is no need to hem the left and right ends because they are going to be sewn to the inside of the shirt.

I then attached the straps to the shirt in the front and the back.

Here it is! It’s more nightie than PJ top. It’s comfortable since it’s made of  T-shirt material. You can see the pleats in the front gave it a little something extra. If you decide to take on this project yourself you may need to adjust the top part a bit. Mine was too loose in the top so I had to kind of take it in a little on each side. I did this by sewing off a little triangular section on each side.

So another night-shirt from another long-sleeved t-shirt. It’s not something you’re going to wear outside, but it’s going to be comfortable to sleep in.

That old long-sleeve t-shirt can have new life.

 

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Pin Box

My mother loves to buy stuff from Jewelry Television. In fact that is what I get for my birthday and Christmas, jewelry. I have no problem with this since my mom’s taste in jewelry is considerably better than her taste in eighty’s sweaters and because silver is hovering around 33 dollars an ounce now. So I get something to wear and an investment. With jewelry comes jewelry boxes. What do you do with them? Well, there are just about a million things you could do with them. This project is for a pin box, or push pins, quilting pins, whatever you want to call them. You will need a large bracelet or necklace size cardboard jewelry box for this project. You will also need some decorative paper, I recommend origami or rice paper, and glue.

This is the box I am using. I believe this box originally held my chocolate pearl bracelets and earrings. It has an insert that is padded. Keep the insert and stick your pins in it at an angle. Most likely they won’t fit standing straight up because the box probably isn’t going to be that deep. If you lucked out and got a box that deep, go ahead and stick your pins straight up.

What we want to do is decorate the outside of this box. I am going to use origami paper. I don’t have any scrap-book paper, so sue me, I don’t scrap-book.  Origami paper is thinner anyways and will be easier to apply to the outside of the box.

Put some glue on one of the surfaces of your box. You can see I put way too much on the top of my box, but I was able to use that same glue for the rest of the paper, so it was ok. Again, use a brush dipped in just a little water to spread the glue evenly over  the side you want to apply the paper to. Once your glue is spread evenly apply the paper. Cut pieces to fit .

Here is my box with all the visible sides covered in paper. I chose not to do the inside, but you certainly could if you wanted. The excess paper can be cut off later. Make sure the box is open if it happens to have a lid like this one and let it dry. If it has a removable lid, keep the lid off of the box while drying.

I cut the excess paper off and used an Exacto knife to make precise edges. I then used thin strips to finish up the edges and corners to make them look nice. When it was all dry, I stuck the padded insert back in with the pins.Here is what it looks like open.

Here is what it looks like closed. I used part of an index card to write “push pins” on it as a label. I used a metallic green sharpie that matched the paper. Your box may not close as well now that you have added paper, no big deal. Just get some of the Velcro that has a sticker back and make a Velcro closure under the lid of the box. That way it closes all the way and it is secure. It’s not going to accidentally fly open and dump your pins everywhere.

So the next time you get jewelry from someone and you are thinking about throwing that box away, don’t. Use it for something nifty.

I currently use jewelry boxes for spare needles, buttons, bobbins, small spools of thread and other items.


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Food Marks

If you’re like me, you have a collection of cookbooks and a few favorite recipes that you like to use. The problem is remembering where those recipes are within your cookbooks. This can be especially hard if you have a cookbook that is several hundred pages long. Some cookbooks also don’t have that great of indexes so it’s not exactly as easy as turning to the index and finding the recipe you want.

I happened to have quite a few copies of the Kraft Food and Family magazine that I wasn’t going to use anymore for the recipes because the recipes include too many processed ingredients, so I decided that I would cut out pictures from some of the issues.

I decided to use those pictures as bookmarks for my cookbooks. To do this you will need pictures of food, index cards, glue, and laminating paper.

The first step is of course to cut out your images. You will want to get a clean work surface. I used the back of my cutting mat.

Put some glue on one side of an index card. The index card is to give some strength to the whole thing. If I just glued two images together it wouldn’t be very strong. Use a small paintbrush lightly dipped in water to smooth the glue over the entire surface of the index card, then glue the card to the back of the image you would like on front of it.

Put glue on the back side of the index card and use the same technique with the brush. After images are glued on both sides, cut out around the index card.

Allow the cards to dry. Some of them might roll up a little. Once they are dry you can place them under a stack of books to make them flat again.

Cut pieces of laminate paper to fit your cards. I ended up making 13 food marks. I thought I had made 12, but I had made 13.  Anyways, after I laminated both sides, I used some of those “Fancy” scissors that cut designs in paper to cut the cards out. Remember to leave some laminating paper on the edges of the cards.

Here is my collection of “food marks” ready to mark those great recipes in my cookbooks. They almost look good enough to eat. 🙂

 

Here are a few of them in action in my Fannie Farmer Cookbook. I had mark cream of tomato soup and cream pie of course.

You could do a lot of different things along this idea. You could use some scrapbook or origami paper as a background then place an image on that to make them fancier. You could also put an image on only one side and put useful information on the other (ounces/metric conversion, cake pant conversions, substitutions, tips for certain recipes, etc..).

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Lingerie Bag Made from a Men’s Shirt

My husband went through some of his clothes the other day and out came this shirt to go into the throw away pile. The reason: A big rip in the front of the shirt. I decided this is fairly soft fabric so I’m going to do something with it.

To make this you will need one men’s button up shirt, some cord, any a button or a bead.

Cut the men’s shirt along all of the seams. Take the buttons off with a seam ripper. Put those in your button stash. You can see the pieces I got out of my shirt in the picture above.

The next step is to lay the two sleeve pieces on either side of the main back piece like shown. Lay them lengthwise down the side of the shirt. Make sure good-side is facing good-side. Pin the pieces together and sew along the edge. The sleeve pieces will now be attached to the sides of the back kind of like wings.

After the sleeves are sewn on take your scissors and cut straight lines across the whole thing. The idea is to end up with a rectangle. The sleeves need cut to get rid of the curve on the edge. The top needs cut to have an even line across it. The bottoms of the sleeves need cut a little since they taper out. It should look like the picture to the left when you are done cutting.

Fold the piece in half with the sewn on sleeve pieces facing each other. Pin up the sides. Then sew the sides together. This is now the bag part of the bag. The top isn’t done yet of course we have to work on that.

Next you need to turn the whole thing right side out. Turn over the edge to determine how much room you need for the cord that is going to act as the drawstring. You should turn over about an inch of fabric on the top. Once you have determined how much fabric will be turned over, you need to mark places for the button holes that the drawstring will go through. The button holds should end up a little over an inch from the top of the un-hemmed fabric. We’re not going to turn it over and hem it yet because we have to make the button holes first.

On the wrong side of the fabric where you chose to make your button holes pin some extra fabric. This is just a little spare piece of batting I had. This is going to strengthen the button holes.

Turn it back over and use the button-hole making procedure that your sewing machine manual entails. Make two button holes, less than an inch apart.

Next the actual drawstring part of the bag needs to be made. I am not going to stuff the drawstring through the button holes after I have hemmed up the top, I am going to go ahead and sew the drawstring in.

To measure for the drawstring cut a piece 3-1/2 time the width of the bag.

Stick both ends of the drawstring through the two button holes from the inside. Then turn the hem down over the drawstring and put a pin through it. Repeat all the way around the inside of the bag. The drawstring should be pinned inside the hem and the ends of the drawstring should be hanging out of the front side. Sew the hem up, taking care not to sew through your drawstring.

I wanted to add a little decoration to my bag.  I used the rest of the sleeve pieces I cut away. I cut curved shapes out of each sleeve piece. I then pinned them in a flower shape and sewed it up. I got a bead I liked, but you could also use a button, and sewed it in the middle of the flower. Then I sewed the flower on right under the drawstring. It is supposed to be a lingerie bag of course, it needs to be somewhat pretty.

Ta Da! Here it is all finished. It’s a nice soft bag I can put lingerie in while I travel.

 

 

 

Here it is demonstrated. I put a couple of items in it and pulled the drawstring shut.

So if you have a men’s shirt that you can’t part with you can recycle it into this drawstring bag.

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Baked Stuffed Mushrooms

 

Recently my commissary has started carrying mushrooms that customers can buy by the pound. You pick out the mushrooms yourself, no blue styrofoam here. When I went to the commissary today everybody was nice and friendly, they were giving away free samples, and all the fruits were arranged all pretty. No, it’s not normally like that. They were sucking up to the regional managers, but at least I found some good mushrooms. In fact, these mushrooms were huge! My first idea when I saw them was: stuffed mushrooms.

I got the basic recipe from Fanny Farmer, which I have already expressed my love for on this blog. I then modified the recipe a bit.

The basic recipe:

  • 12 large mushroom caps
  • 1/4 pound butter
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 TBSP parsley
  • 1 TBSP chopped onion
  • 1/2 TSP salt
  • 1/2 TSP pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.

My additions & alterations:

  • Keep the stems
  • 2 slices cooked bacon
  • Use cheddar instead of Parmesan
  • no onion, but I don’t know why I did this, but I’m being honest here.

The first thing to do is give the mushrooms a quick rinse. I know there are people who would argue with me about this. They would say that you’re supposed to use a mushroom brush to just brush off the mushrooms and not rinse them, but rinsing is quicker so that is why I do it.

After you rinse the mushrooms take the stems off. You don’t have to cut them off, just twist them off. Set them aside.

Turn the oven on to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Melt the butter in your baking dish. Remember it has to be big enough to get the mushrooms in a single layer. Also brush the mushrooms with some of the melted butter. You can go ahead and put them in the pan.

Get a mixing bowl and put the bread crumbs, onion, parsley, pepper, salt, cheese and bacon in the bowl. Go back to your mushroom stems. Chop them up into tiny pieces. Add them to the bowl. Then add the egg. Stir this all up to make sure everything is evenly distributed. You can add more breadcrumbs if you feel like the mixture isn’t cohesive enough and even another egg, but don’t make it too runny.

Fill the mushrooms caps with the filling. Use all of it. Then sprinkle some more parsley on top, it makes it look prettier.

Put this in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Note that if some of your mushrooms are excessively large, and I had a couple, it may take longer for them to bake all the way through. Let them cool a couple of minutes, then enjoy.

You don’t have to stuff them with the things I said, you could stuff them with anything you wanted to really. You could mix cooked chicken into your filling or crab meat, or clam meat, or a vegetarian alternative. You also don’t have to use butter. You could use some oil on the outside of the mushrooms, but you’re not going to get the same flavor. You can try to bad mouth butter all you want, but nobody can argue with its flavor.

These can be good as part of a meal or an appetizer.

 

 

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Cheap Fleece Throw Gets Upgraded to First Class

During my last trip back to the states I bought a cheap fleece blanket. I think I paid $2.99 for it. I bought it at a discount store. I thought this is great I can take it with me on the trip back. We all know airplanes can get kind of chilly. So I did, but by the time I got to my destination I was covered in fuzz. There was fuzz everywhere Fuzz, fuzz, fuzz. I wasn’t pleased to be arriving in the airport all fuzzed up.

I got this idea to put some fabric on the back of it to keep me from getting fuzzed up. All you are going to need for this project is a fleece throw, an old sheet and lots of thread.

Lay your throw out onto the sheet. It can be a top sheet or a bottom sheet, but make sure you don’t need it anymore you don’t want to use a sheet you need.

To use a bottom sheet, cut the seams at the corners. This should make your bottom sheet flat. Cut away the elastic. You can use that later so don’t throw it away.

Cut around the throw. Make sure you have about two inches around on all sides.

I wanted to make a “tie” to be able to tie the throw up and a couple of pockets to put a pair of slippers in and an eye mask. So I also cut pieces of cloth out for the pockets. For the sash or tie I cut a piece of fabric the length of the throw and about 4 inches wide.

The first thing I did was hem up the pockets. I originally was going to make them unlined, but I decided that I would pretty it up a bit with some fabric from the shirt I used to make my jewelry roll. I hemmed it and sewed it to the fabric I cut for the pockets.

I also hemmed up the sash piece. Sew up the left and right ends of the sash first, then turn it right side out and pin the long side up. Once I had all my pockets sewn I placed them on my throw.

The pockets needed to be placed in a corner. This particular throw can be folded up in quarters on the short end and then rolled up. So this is the area that is going to show when the throw is all rolled up. That is where I wanted the pockets. I made sure to leave space at the edge because the edge is going to get hemmed up. I sewed the pockets on. I even used the collar from the shirt to make a kind of neat pocket.

After the pockets were on the next thing I had to do was sew the throw to the piece of fabric. I pinned it good side to good side, although the fabric from the sheet was so bad there wasn’t really a good side or bad side so I just guessed. I made sure to pin my sash on the inside beside the pockets. I sewed up three sides and left the top open.

I then turned the whole thing right side out and hemmed up the top of the throw. The blanket is essentially complete, but I wanted to do some top stitching to give the whole thing a more polished look and to make the seams stronger.

The top was already done, all I had to top stitch were the other three sides. I chose a color of thread that would kind of fade into the fabric. It’s always a good idea to save those little spools of thread of all colors someone who sews invariably ends up with.

With barely enough thread I completed my top stitching. My throw was done!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are a few advantages of doing this to a fleece throw.

  1. No more fuzz on my clothes. I now have a lining to keep the fuzz from getting on me.
  2. I have pockets to place a pair of slipper socks and my eye mask.
  3. I have a sash to tie the whole thing up. If there isn’t enough room in my backpack for whatever reason I can tie the throw to my backpack handle and carry it around that way.
  4. It’s a lot prettier than it was before.

So the next time you think about just cutting up an old sheet for rags, think about using it instead to fix up a throw or blanket.

 

 

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Reversible T-Shirt Tote

I know you probably have at least a couple of T-shirts lying around that you aren’t using. What do you do with them? My husband recently went through his closet and decided there were some shirts he didn’t want. He put several t-shirts into a pile and said he didn’t want them anymore. I was trying to determine if I could do anything with them when I came up with this idea.

You will need two t-shirts exactly the same size. That means they both need to be a men’s large, women’s large, men’s x-large, women’s medium, etc.

The first thing you need to do is turn one t-shirt inside out and put it inside of the other t-shirt, which should be right side out. Make sure you place the tag side of each t-shirt face each other. Basically it’s like you’re going to layer t-shirts on your body, but one is going to be inside out. If you’re having problems grasping what I am saying, turn a t-shirt inside out and put it on, then put a t-shirt on right side out over that. Then take them off.

Take a pair of scissors and cut straight across the sleeves. You can see in the photo the idea is to keep the line of the sides of the T-shirt straight. I would actually leave a little extra fabric here since this has to be hemmed.

Once you have both the sleeves off, Cut across the top of the t-shirts. Leave at least an inch above the design on your T-shirt, if you’re using a T-shirt with a design.

Cut several inches off the bottom of the T-shirt as shown. Save this piece that you cut off because we’re going to use it. Once you have everything cut go to your sewing machine.

Set the piece we cut off of the bottom aside. The bottom of the main t-shirt piece needs to be hemmed. Since we’re going for reversible each edge of each t-shirt needs turned under and then pinned together as shown. This needs sewn together. So sew it together on your sewing machine.

Next we’re going to work on the sleeves.Turn the edges of the part we cut at the sleeves under and hem it like we hemmed the bottom. All of this needs pinned together and sewn. It’s going to be a little tough to get through the sewing machine, so you could sew this by hand or use the sewing machine. Make sure to turn the edges of the top down before you sew this up. If you don’t do that it’s going to make the top difficult to hem later.

After you have the sleeves all sewn up, hem the top. Use the same process that was used when we hemmed up the bottom.

Now we’re going to create the bottom of the bag. I am using the same process I used to create the handkerchief shopping bag I made. This means i need to cut a slit up each side of the shirt. I know we already hemmed the bottom, but we’ll fix this up.

One the bottom, kind of divide it into fourths. You can actually measure it our you can eye it. Sew the 2 and 3 fourths up. So basically the bag is sewn together in the bottom, but is open on the sides in the corners.

This is kind of a tricky part. You need to turn the edges of where we cut up the sides under and pin it together, but we’re not going to sew it up yet.

Using the method in the handkerchief shopping bag we’re going to pin the bottom up to be sewn. When you cut up the side and sewed up the bottom you created this gap in the corner that wasn’t sewn up. Imagine that this corner is the corner on a street. There is a big building on the block, and you want to be at the opposite corner on the block to wait for the bus. The building is in the way so you can’t walk there in a straight line, so you have to walk along the side-walk until you get to the corner in front of you, then you have to turn right and walk along that side of the block. So imagine for some reason the building put a passageway in that went directly from the corner you’re on to the bus stop corner. You don’t have to walk down two sides of the block. You just walk the hypotenuse. Ok get it? So the idea on the corners it to bring them together in such a way that you’re bypassing the two sides. So bring the bottom where the sewing starts up to meet the side where the slit stops. This will leave you with two smaller triangular pieces hanging there. Fold them against the bottom seam of the bag. this is how paper bags are made. Fold them against the bottom of the bag, pin them there and then sew it up. You probably won’t be able to get this through your sewing machine, so you might need to sew this part by hand. It’s going to be about an inch thick at the seam where you’re sewing the little triangles down.

After you have sewn the bottom together turn the bag the other side out as shown in the picture here. You can see how the bottom is now. When you folded the triangles against the bottom you created this little flap. We’re going to sew that flap shut. So just place the bag on your sewing machine and sew right through that. The main construction of the bag is now done! If you’re having problems with how the bottom of the bag works please go to my post about my handkerchief shopping bag.

Remember that piece we cut from the bottom of the t-shirts? We’re going to use that now to make handles. Lay the piece down flat on your table. Cut the sides. You now have two pieces. Hem the edges up like we have been doing. Except for the bottom it already has a hem all you have to do is pin it together. Sew the hems up.

Once the hems are sewn up you need to attach the straps to the main part of the bag. Make sure the right color is facing the right direction and pin them on. I pinned them about an 1-1/2 inches from the top of the bag. I made sure not to cover any of the designs on the bag with the straps. I sewed the straps on by sewing across the bottom of the strap, across the top of the bag and then down each side of the strap. You will have a rectangle sewn into the bag if you do this. Once the straps are on, take your snippers and snip all the stray strings off.

One side of the bag is going to look a little better than the other one, but don’t worry. I put a bunch of stuff inside of the bag to fill it out for the picture. It can hold quite a bit of stuff. If one side gets dirty you can just turn it inside out and use the other side. It’s a thick bag so you can be kind of rough with it. If you have two t-shirts of the same size you can use them to do this!

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