Upcycled Ruffled Jeans

Princess Thundercloud makes me kind of crazy…she has this long, long legs and a skinny little waist, and she’s always outgrowing jeans in length before the waist, even when I cinch up the waist with those adjustor thingies. And she inherits a lot of jeans with the knees ripped out from her big brother, too.  I hate giving perfectly good jeans to the thrift shop, so I often turn hers into shorts or capris.  With a little embellishment, she thinks they’re brand-new and can’t wait to wear them. It’s all a mindgame, I know…but I love messing with those little brains!Crops-Title

ALl you need is a pair of jeans, cut off wherever you’d like, some strips of fabric about 1-1/2” to 2” wide and a half inch longer that the circumference of the jean leg where it’s cut off, and some ruffled eyelet trim, also 1/2” longer than the circumference of the jean leg. And a sewing machine and thread, of course.


Start by sewing the ends of the printed fabric together to make a loop. Then sew it to the pant leg, about an inch in.


Turn the fabric and tuck the raw edge under the end of the jeans.  Iron it to make a crease, then sew around the leg, catching the eyelet ruffle, the jean leg, and the printed fabric.


Then give them to your kid and tell her you got her some new capris!


This photo was taken on the last day of school last year, and just made me miss our old school in Wisconsin…again! On the bright side, here it is a year later, and she can still wear these capris!


Recycled ACU Ruffled Tote

Remember a few weeks ago when I used part of the hubs’ uniform to make ruffles on a tote bag?  Well, I’d already cut up an ACU top to make those ruffles, so I decided to make a whole tote bag, as well.  Then I found a remnant of a floral fabric that I’d snagged for 63 cents at a clearance sale…and it was perfect colors for the ACU pattern.

Here’s the resulting totebag:


Here are the supplies you’ll need to make your own:

  • 14×28” fabric for the bag
  • 1/3 yard of ruffle fabric
  • 5 feet webbing trim for the handles

1. From the ACU top’s back I cut a piece of fabric 14” x 28” and from the floral fabric, three strips, each 2” wide. Ignore all those wrinkles.  I ironed them out after I took the photo.


2. To make the ruffles:  Fold each strip in half, right sides together, and sew along three sides, leaving one end open.  Clip the corners to make them crisp after you turn the ruffle.Tote-Ruffle-Sewn-ChaosServe

3. Push a pencil against the sewn in and use it to turn the ruffle right side out.


4.  When the ruffle is turned right side out, iron to make the edges crisp and flat. Tuck the open end inside and sew across so no raw edges show.


5. Sew a line of loose stitching down the center, lengthwise, then pull one thread to ruffle the piece.  You can see more details on that in my post, here. Do that with all three ruffle pieces.


6. To make the totebag, fold the fabric to make a 14×14 square.  Then pull the fold inside about an inch and a half, making a fold.  Sew along both sides to form a bag, with the folds making a gusseted bottom.


7. Hem around the top of the bag if needed.  Pin the trim in a continuous loop, starting on the bottom of the bag, up the bag, about 4” in from the side, then leave the handle loose, then down the bag, again about 4” in from the side. Repeat on the other side of the bag, using the remaining trim.


8. Sew that on.  Try to sew it as straight as possible, although small imperfections won’t be noticeable when it’s finished.


9. And you’re almost done!  Place the ruffles, one down each trim stripe and one in the middle, and sew them on.


There you go…a totebag incorporating a little of your soldier’s uniform. If you don’t have an ACU on hand, you can follow these same measurements to make a tote out of any material you’d like. I have a t-shirt one that I keep my current knitting project in…how cute would that be, made out of some vintage tees you just can’t throw out?


Throwback Thursday: Tag Blankies

It’s Throwback Thursday! Here’s a post from last summer…but it remains my favorite baby gift to make and give! Away we go…

I like to give these tag blankies for babies to use as teethers or tactile learners, along with a copy of one of our favorite books. It makes a thoughtful, yet affordable, gift.

About ten years ago, “tag” things were all the rage…books, blankets, teething cloths, you name it. I’m not sure if they’re still so prevalent, but I figured out how I could make them for next to nothing. (In this case, next to nothing adds up to about $3, if I have to buy ribbons and can’t just pull from my stash.)

To make these, you’ll need some soft chenille-type microfleece. One and a half yards of 60” wide fleece will make 6 blankets. I always buy it on sale or with a 40% off coupon at Joann’s. You’ll also need 10 or 12 different, closely woven, fabric ribbons. You’ll need two pieces of each, 4” long.

Tag-Blanket-4Cut two pieces of fleece 14”x14” for each blankie. On the right side of one piece, fold each ribbon in half and pin he cut edges along the sides of the fleece.

I do this assembly line fashion, cutting everything then pinning all the squares.

Next, place another square of fleece right sides together with the ribbon pinned one.
Stitch around the edges, leaving a space about 3 inches or so not sewn. Clip the corners, as shown above, then turn the blankie right side out, pulling the fabric through the unsewn part. Remove the pins, tuck the raw edges from the unsewn part inside, and topstitch around the entire square.

See? I told you it was easy! I try to make mine pretty unisex in color, since I make them to stock my gift trunk. You can make several of these in an afternoon (or an evening while watching mindless television) and when a baby is born, you’re ready to give a fabulous present!

Converting Tie Shoes to Slide Shoes

I cannot tell you how many times we have attempted to teach our eldest child how to tie his shoes.  The boy can fold any origami shape he wants, but he can’t tie a bow. Argh. For Christmas, I found super cool Lego shoes for both boys, and, since they’re both Lego fanatics, had to buy them.  Also, they were on super-duper clearance.

Then I had a lightbulb moment…he loves his Keens and their drawstrings, so why can’t I just convert these to that?  The answer is that I absolutely could, and did!


I just needed a couple of cord stops and a package of elastic to use as laces. I found both at Joann’s.  I chose oval elastic cord because I thought it would catch better in the cord stop, but round cord would work, as well.


As you can probably surmise, I cut the elastic, threaded it through the shoe, then ran it through the cord stop and tied it.

I’m pretty happy to have found this solution, but one of our goals for the summer is to LEARN TO TIE SHOES!   Of course, he’ll be wearing Keens and flipflops all summer, so I may be thwarted in my attemps. Perhaps as we are driving almost 50 hours on our trip back to Washington, he’ll finally succumb out of sheer boredom.


Chalkboard Table Runner

Today, I’m sharing yet another thing I saw on Pinterest, but was too thrifty to buy…a chalkboard table runner for a buffet.  How ingenious is that, I ask you?  I like to have placecards in front of each item on a buffet, so guests aren’t wondering what they’re taking, but this is so fun for a barbeque or any casual party.  And at my house, they’re pretty much all casual.

And who knew you can buy chalkboard cloth?  Well, apparently it’s been around for years, according to the cutting table lady at Joann’s.  It’s pretty inexpensive, too…around $5 a yard. I made two of these for less than $10 (I used a 40% off coupon for the chalkboard material).

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1-3/4 yards chalkboard fabric
  • 2 bandanas, or 1 yard of material for binding
  • Rotary cutter, mat, and ruler
  • Paper plate and Sharpie
  • Sewing Machine
  • Iron and Ironing Surface
  • Thread

1. Cut the chalkboard fabric in half lengthwise.  You can actually make two from the 1-3/4 yards, but it needs to be that long so you don’t have a seam in the middle.
2. Use a paper plate to trace rounded corners, then cut those off.

3. Make the binding:  ***If you don’t want to make binding, you can buy it already made in the notions section…you’ll need about 4-1/2 yards. ***

Cut 3” wide strips from your bandanas or binding material ON THE DIAGONAL.
Sew the together, right sides together, to form one long binding strip. 

Press those seams open.


Fold in half and press.



Fold each edge to the middle and press again.

This is what it will look like.  I made two of these, one with bandanas and one with blue calico.
DSC_00224. Sew the binding around the edge of your chalkboard material.  Tuck the end in and sew.

5. Invite your friends over and let them marvel at your creativity!

Girly-Girling It Up

Princess Thundercloud is like a giraffe…she has long, skinny legs and so even her brother’s size 5 jeans are too short.  She just turned four a couple of months ago. Anyhoo, they were perfectly good pants, but I cut about 6” off and made her some pink-polka-dot ruffled capris.  I’m sure by next summer they’ll be shorts, but that’s okay.  I had to cinch them up so much with the waist adjuster buttons that it’s like they’re ruffled at the top, too.

She thinks she’s pretty much da bomb. Some days she is.  Anyway, here’s what you’ll need:

A pair of jeans and some already ruffled ribbon trim (I found this at Hobby Lobby).  You’ll need about a yard, or four times the width of the jean leg where you cut it, plus about 6 inches.

First hem the jeans about 1/4” in, then sew the ruffle right along the bottom edge. You’ll then have a double row of stitching.  I use rainbow thread for pretty much everything I make the Princess, just because she likes it.

As a finishing touch, I sewed a 3” piece of the ruffled ribbon trim into a circle.

Then I sewed a button (yes, from Stampin’ Up!) into the center to make a flower.  It also covers up that lovely handstitching I did, which is a good thing.

I love being able to recycle the boys’ clothes for her…it’s my little bit to save the planet (and my wallet, too!).  This project cost less than $3, since I just needed to buy the trim and use two buttons from my stash.

That’s another good thing, since I’m pretty sure keeping Princess Thundercloud in hair products is gonna break us.

Upcycling Jeans

My hooligans are horrendously hard on the knees of their jeans. The kindergartener just outgrew a pair, and since the knees were ripped out, I thought I’d upcycle them for Princess Thundercloud.

DSC_0020-1 I may have mentioned a time or thirty that rainbows rock at our house. Oh, and Thundercloud was not actually skateboarding without a helmet…she stood on it for like 10 seconds while I took this photo. And I probably could have caught her if she started to slip. She’s much more coordinated than her brothers, though, so she rarely falls, which is a nice change.

DSC_0017-1 I had this t-shirt material in my stash, bought for who knows what who knows when. I just cut a couple of 4” wide strips from it for the ruffle. I cut the legs off the jeans just above the crotch and far enough below the back pockets that I wouldn’t sew on them, about 1/2”.

First I sewed the two ruffle pieces together to make one long strip. At this point, a prudent sewer would stitch a running stitch along the top and carefully gather it into the correct length ruffle. As a general rule, ruffles take about 1-1/2 times the finished length you need. Being impatient, and only having 30 minutes for this project before picking up the Princess, I gathered the ruffle material onto the cut edge of the jeans. I stopped when I was about 6” from the end, estimated how much I needed, and cut off the rest of the ruffle strip. I sewed the ends together, then finished ruffling it onto the jeans.

I hemmed it using a zigzag stitch, just to be a little decorative. I was even using rainbow thread. I’m the coolest. Just ask my kids.

Just as a heads up, I may or not post next week. The GI and I are headed to an Army conference and my mom will be here with the hooligans. Say an extra prayer for her and her sanity! If I can figure out how to blog on the iPad, I might do a post or two. Don’t hold your breath, though.

Now if I could only get the housekeeping and laundry fairy to show up so I could take a nap…the snowplow rudely awakened me at 2:30 this morning. When we got home from swim and ballet lessons last night, there was not a bit of snow or rain. By the time the plow came, I was shocked to see about 6 inches on the ground. I’m certain the forecast at 6:00 last night said no more than a trace! Oh, well, I’m happy to see it, even if it is two days before we fly to warmer climes.

Have a fabulous weekend, snow or sun, and be green…or rainbow-ish…and upcycle something!