A Budget Wardrobe: Petal Dress

A Budget Wardrobe: Petal Dress

the top.

Pattern:  Petal Wrap Dress and Tunic from Twig and Tale (Free with code on website)

(The shirt is the 5K Tee that I used in another post. This is the long sleeve version.)

Materials: Wool blanket from thrift store, cotton fabric that was given to me, sew-in snaps

Notes: This was a quick project. It’s fully lined but don’t let that sound intimidating to you. Lining an item is an easy way to get a professional look and, get this, it’s actually easier to sew. 

I love this pattern company. They are based in New Zealand and they have a fun and unique perspective. I own two of their patterns and both give tips on how to use recycled materials to make their garments. 

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Total Cost of Outfit: $3

A Budget Wardrobe: Cloud 9 Tee and Ollie Pants

A Budget Wardrobe: Cloud 9 Tee and Ollie Pants

the top.

Pattern: Cloud 9 Tee by Striped Swallow Designs (Free with code from Facebook group)

Materials: Polyester/spandex found on clearance at Hobby Lobby for $3 a yard. I used under a yard.

Notes: Here is, yet again, a dolman style shirt with sleeve and bodice all one piece. What makes it long sleeves is the rectangular piece that is sewn onto the short sleeve. This is a great first pattern for someone who wants to make a long sleeve shirt.

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the bottoms.

Pattern: Ollie Summer Shorts and Pants by Misusu Patterns (Free from the files in their Facebook group)

Materials: cotton fabric found on clearance at Hobby Lobby for $2 a yard, accent fabric that was given to me, elastic

(Here’s a tip: Tell people you are sewing! Lots of people have a fabric stash that they don’t want and don’t know what to do with. Some of my favorite projects came from fabric that was given to me.)

Notes: I absolutely love this pattern! It is so different and fun. And the pockets are huge! If you want to sew woven fabric right though, it takes time. These took me just under an hour. For every seam I sewed it, serged it to keep from fraying, and then top stitched. You could definitely skip some of those steps but your finish product will not look as nice.

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Total Cost of Outfit: $5

A Budget Wardrobe: Magnolia and Bummies

A Budget Wardrobe: Magnolia and Bummies

The top
Pattern: Magnolia Top and Dress by Stitch Upon a Time
Materials: Knit skirt that had lost it’s elastic from thrift store, $3.50
Notes: This is a cute and simple dress with options to give it more details. If you join the Stitch Upon a Time Facebook group there is a file that includes the drawstring waistband, cuffed sleeves, and a curved hem. The only thing I used from the extra pack here is the drawstring. This is another pattern that does not have separate sleeve pieces but is all-in-one. It’s known as dolman style.

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The bottoms
Pattern: Bummies by Brindille & Twig
Materials: Leftover fabric from another project
Notes: Every girl needs a good pair of shorts to go under their dresses. These are kind of a shorts/bloomers hybrid.

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The hat
Pattern: Beanie by Made for Mermaids
Materials: Scraps from an old sweater of mine that I used for another project
Notes: A super fast project

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Total Cost of Outfit: $3.50

A Budget Wardrobe: Ringer Tee and Little Wanderer

A Budget Wardrobe: Ringer Tee and Little Wanderer

The top
Pattern: Ringer Tee by Brindille & Twig
Materials: old sweater from my closet
Notes: If you do not like hemming, this is the pattern for you. It uses bands for the sleeves and the bottom. I did not have enough fabric to make a solid back, so I just seamed it down the middle. I’m going to guess that if I had not pointed it out, you wouldn’t have noticed. 🙂 Many store-bought shirts have this as a design feature so just go with it! No one has to know you didn’t do it on purpose. I also took advantage of the ribbing on the original sweater for the waistband and sleeves.
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The bottoms
Pattern: Little Wanderer by Thread + Grain
Materials: Knit dress with holes in it from the thrift store, $4.50
Notes: This skirt is a simple half-circle skirt with a high/low hem. It is super easy and even comes with optional pockets. I’ve made a few of these and I don’t always hem it. Knit fabrics can be left raw and won’t fray.
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Total Cost of Outfit: $4.50

A Budget Wardrobe: 5K Tee and Romperall

A Budget Wardrobe: 5K Tee and Romperall

The top
Pattern: 5K Tee by Elliedactyl (pattern is free with a code once you join their Facebook Group)
Materials: Camisole from Walmart, $1, leftover fabric from a black skirt from the thrift store
Notes: I love this pattern for repurposing. It uses a technic called color-blocking, which allows you to use scraps and unusually shaped cuts of fabric. This pattern used a neckband, which is pretty common in knit tops. Just sew slow and pin often. This top is great because it can be used for boys and girls. Boys often get left out of the sewing pattern game. 🙁

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The bottoms
Pattern: Romperalls by Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop (pattern is free after joining Facebook group or their newsletter)
Materials: thrift store knit skirt, $3.25, snaps
Notes: This is a harem style pant with a partial lining. The leg seams are super easy. I’m giving this on 3 thimbles simply because of the snaps. This is also a great unisex pattern.

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Behold! My first foray in photo backdrops. Just ignore the wrinkles. 🙂

The hat
Pattern: Free Slouchy Beanie by Patterns for Pirates
Materials: Leftover fabric from top and bottoms
Notes: A super quick sew, just about anyone can make. Again, my middle girls (ages 7-10) have all made one.

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Total Cost of Outfit: about $5

A Budget Wardrobe: Flutter Sleeve Top and Joggers

A Budget Wardrobe: Flutter Sleeve Top and Joggers

The top
Pattern: Paige Piko Top, Tunic & Dress by Made for Mermaids
Materials: Knit fabric on clearance at Hobby Lobby, $2
Notes: This top’s body and sleeves are all one piece. (The flutters are optional.) If armhole seams intimidate you, this is a great pattern for you. They have a women’s version that is free as well. Mine ended up being a little short, so I added the band at the bottom. That is not original to the pattern. Make sure you check your model’s measurements before you cut. 🙂
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The bottoms
Pattern: Girl’s Yoggers by Petite Stitchery
Materials: Knit skirt from the thrift store, $3
Notes: Simple joggers are actually much easier than you think. If you opt to leave off the pockets, they are no more than 8 seams. And no hemming! I wasn’t over the moon thrilled with the fit of these. The rise in the back was a little low for her. But for a free pattern, I’d still say give it a try. This pattern also has a free women’s version.
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The headband
Pattern: Knot Headbands by Girl. Inspired.
Materials: Scraps from top and pants
Notes: So easy!! All of my middle girls have made these. Even if your seams aren’t perfect it still looks cute.
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Total Cost of Outfit: $5

A Budget Wardrobe: Peasant Top and Leggings

A Budget Wardrobe: Peasant Top and Leggings

Here we start our little journey on making a wardrobe on a budget. There’s not much I love more than sewing custom clothing for my kids. The unique items and the custom fit don’t even compare to store-bought. But if I am completely honest with myself, it is often more expensive than just buying them clothes at Target. Between the patterns and the fabric, the price can really add up. It can be a deterrent for many people who would like to sew. So I gave myself a challenge. I am creating an entire fall wardrobe for one of my girls using only free patterns and repurposed thrift store items or clearance fabrics. The goal is to make each entire outfit for $5 or less. Each item will get a ranking: 1-4 thimbles for level of difficulty and 1-4 clocks for time involvement. Without further ado, here is the first outfit!
First, let’s talk about the top. Pattern: Peasant Dress Pattern by Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom. Materials: Cotton fabric from thrift store for $1, small amount of elastic Notes: If you can press a straight fold and sew a straight line, you can make this top. Woven fabrics are a great start for nervous beginners.
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And the bottoms. Pattern: Bonny Leggings from Made for Mermaids Materials: polyester/spandex found on clearance at Hobby Lobby for $3 a yard. I used half a yard. Notes: This is one of my most used patterns.
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Total Cost of Outfit: $3

Last fall, Clair (then 9 years old), made a whole bunch of these leggings and sold them at a kids only craft fair. She even made a poster, showing all the different occasions you could wear them. Here she is modeling them as dance shorts.
Girls’ Movement Collection

Girls’ Movement Collection

When I saw that Striped Swallow Designs was calling for people to test their dance collection patterns I was all in. We have 5 dancers in our house, including myself. 🙂 We have a huge box in our house for leotards and tights and yet it seems like we never have enough.
This collection includes 2 leotard styles, a top, and 6 svg cut files. They can be bought individually or as a set. I only tested one of the leos and the top. I used one of the cut files to put vinyl on a pre-made (gasp) bag that I then stole for myself. The girls love them and I see many more in our future. I have plans for a velvet one next for the 3 year old.

You can grab yours here: Girls’ Movement Collection 

Candice Ayala’s Upcycling Challenge 2018

Candice Ayala’s Upcycling Challenge 2018

A while ago, I can’t remember when, I found this amazing website called Sewing Portfolios. It’s a website to connect people who sew with people who make patterns and fabric. I’ve been able to test a few patterns for designers through this site. The creator of this site, Candice Ayala, hosted a contest this spring, along with Babylock and Michael Miller Fabrics, to create a new garment or accessory using repurposed fabric along with new fabric. I was so excited to join into this contest. I remake things all of the time.

Here’s a refashion I did last fall. Our family got to walk in the Thanksgiving Day Parade. The shirts they gave us to wear just weren’t working for everyone. I turned this adult size T-shirt into a romper for my then 2 year old.

This spring we got these awesome shirts from a parade we attended in our neighborhood. The girls really liked them but they were just too big. Hold on, girls! Mom’s got this.

I’ve even stolen a few of my husbands shirts and made them my own.

I entered the Upcycling Contest several times. Here are some of my entries.

And, you know what? I won first place!! Here is the entry that won all the marbles.

I used a pair of Jeremy’s old pants that he dropped salad dressing on. The grease spots would not come out, making these pants useless. I also used a lace-back shirt from the thrift store pile, along with 2 yards of Michael Miller cotton fabric.

One of my favorite aspects of this outfit, that I didn’t even realize until after I won, is that every pattern that I used is a free pattern. The only cost of this outfit to me is the two yards of new fabric. I used the Set Sail Hat from Patterns for Pirates, the London Dress from Violette Field Threads, and modified Walk the Plank PJ Bottoms, also from Patterns for Pirates.

My prizes included a Babylock Lauren serger. She’s a beauty and sews like a dream. I almost cried when I opened up the box.  And patterns! My prize package included 22 pdf patterns. It may take me all year to fully use all of my prize.

My prize also included 15 yards of fabric from Michael Miller. I have yet to receive this fabric at a month out, so we’ll see.

All of this got me to thinking. When the twins were 2 I did their entire summer wardrobe from online tutorials; no patterns. It was a lot of fun and stretched my thinking. I think it’s time I did something like that again. This fall I will be making Maggie’s entire wardrobe from free patterns with thrift store items, repurposed clothing, or clearanced fabric. My goal is to make each entire outfit for $5 or less. I will also be making notes on the skill level required for each item and will be having my girls join me in the sewing room to prove just how easy it can be. I’ve been busy amassing a large list of free patterns and I’m excited about the possibilities. Check back in soon to see what we come up with.

We Need to Talk. Period.

We Need to Talk. Period.

I have 5 daughters. Five! Cinco! Cinq! The potential for emotional drama is off the charts. Nail polish,  hair brushes, and shoes are found in plenty in our house. I can do ballet buns in record time.

Inevitably everyone’s minds eventually go to one particular thought: 6 female cycles, synced, in one house. And then the sympathy starts pouring in for my one son and my husband. People start asking what outside hobbies they will pick up. We make jokes about buying stock in feminine product companies. (By the way, thanks for thinking of me folks. It’s not like I get to escape the tears and questions and drama. 😛 ) Anyways…. All of this prompted me to research alternative methods for living with the female cycle.

Let’s get real with each other. Let’s talk like we are good friends. Periods. Blood. Fifty percent of the entire population of all of history has or will have to deal with this subject. Society has made amazing innovations over the course of time in the ways we manage it. In ancient times it’s believed women used sticks covered in lint to absorb the flow. In medieval times women often used rags or, gasp, nothing at all. Saw dust was even a common solution at one time. There has always been a misunderstanding and a stigma surrounding periods, and unfortunately, today is not that much different. We have all kinds of ways to control the situation but we don’t really feel comfortable to talk about it. I get that it’s not pleasant, but it is natural. So let’s talk.

I’ve spent the last few years looking for responsible, sustainable, and/or reusable products. I’ve found a lot that I don’t like and a few that I love.

 

Menstrual Cups

The first, and my most favorite, is the menstrual cup. There are many different brands and styles but the one that I use is the Diva Cup. It’s easy to obtain (they even sell them at Target) and for a fair price. Ladies! They really work! And way better than tampons. They are a medical grade silicone cup that is inserted like a tampon and can be used over and over again. I’ve had the same one for almost 2 years. Some say they can go 12 hours without emptying them but it really depends on your flow. On bad days I probably empty mine every 6-8 hours. It takes some practice to get comfortable with using it but it’s not bad.

Final verdict: Do it! It will change your life. Period. (See what I did there….)

Period Underwear

Period underwear are a recent fad. Having an all-in-one product gives the illusion of ease. I disagree. I bought a Thinx and gave it a fair shake. It did what it said it would do. It absorbed. But if you pay attention to their claims they clearly say it can only absorb, at best, 2 tampons worth. So, once you’ve filled it up, you then have to change the entire pair of underwear. Not a big deal if you are at home. But imagine being out, say at work, and having to take off your shoes and pants, changing your underwear, and then having this blood-soaked pair to deal with. Not a pretty sight. There are home sewn options as well (I’ve tried those too) and they hold up about the same.

Final verdict: They are good for back-up and light days, but you still need something to do the bulk of the work.

Cloth Pads

Cloth pads are nothing new. Like I said before, women in times past used rags to absorb the flow. But the cloth pads of today are not your ancestors rags. They have snaps or velcro to keep them in place. They use fibers like wool, cotton, hemp, bamboo, and pul (plastic-coated fabric). They are fairly thin and yet amazingly absorbant. There are little plastic-coated wet bags to store them in if you need to change one while you are out. The thing you have to get over, which is no different than period underwear, is hand washing them. I was really grossed out by this at first but you’d be surprised just how quick you get used to it. Just like you get used to spraying out poopy cloth diapers.

This is another favorite of mine. I’ve tried the variation that snaps around the panties with wings but my personal favorite is the kind that snap right into the panties. I make them myself and if you know how to sew it’s pretty easy. Unfortunately I have not found these for sale online but the winged version is a good alternative. You can find tons of options on Etsy.

Final Verdict: These are a small and more manageable option to period underwear.

(If you sew and are looking for a good cause to get behind, Little Dresses for Africa sends home sewn cloth pads to poor countries to give girls what they need to stay in school. Girls in countries without access to feminine care items have to miss school once a month, leaving huge gaps in their education. The drop out rate for girls in these areas is high. I have made many pads for this charity. It’s a quick and easy project that has a huge impact. Go check them out here!)

Menstrual Disc

Last is the reusable menstrual disc. I’ve only found one reusable version available online so far and its the Ziggy Cup by Intimina. It works just like the disposable discs, Flex and Softcup. I’ve only used the disposable kind and this was my least favorite of all. I have a tilted, posterior cervix, meaning it’s far back and and tilted towards my back instead of forward like most people. The discs are supposed to fit behind your cervix to avoid leaking. After multiple attempts I just couldn’t get it to work. I could see how it could be a great product though. Once in, you don’t feel it at all and they are supposed to last 12 hours.

Final verdict: It didn’t work for me but is totally worth a try and has the potential to be an amazing option.

I hope this is helpful to you. Don’t be afraid to go give some of these products a try. There are even more options out there than the ones I mentioned, but again, I am going for reusable, responsible, and sustainable. One product that I didn’t try that fits all of my criteria is the sponge. Yes, a literal sponge. I’ve read that they are a lot of work to maintain and, to be honest, I’m not interested in sticking something that was once alive in my hoohah. But if you are brave, go for it! If you are still building up the courage but just aren’t there yet, cotton, applicator-free tampons are a good option. They are made of natural materials and don’t leave landfills full of plastic-coated cardboard applicators. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject. Drop me a line and let’s chat.