Saturday, April 11, 2015

upcycled toddler gym shorts

I've been going through a lot of my clothing this year, and setting things aside to get rid of. However, instead of donating them or (horror of horrors) throwing them away, I've been coming up with ways to turn them into clothing for Jaina. It's been a fun puzzle figuring out ways to use existing seams, buttons, and collars. And the best part is, it's FREE! So throw caution to the wind, and cut up your old clothes for your kid.

For this project, you'll need:
- 1 pair of adult athletic shorts
- sewing machine
- matching thread
- scissors
- loose-fitting toddler pants or shorts to use as a template
- pins

I started with this pair of size Small women's jogging shorts. These have been sitting in my drawer since college. Time to embrace reality, and realize that these will never be appropriate for public consumption again. 

First, turn the shorts inside-and lay them on a smooth, flat surface. Take the time to perfectly center the middle seams and line up the front and back band. I also smoothed out all the wrinkles to point downward. You can't get rid of the wrinkles since it's all gathered in the elastic, so just try to make sure they're all pointing in the direction that you'll be cutting.

Next, lay your template pants over the shorts, being careful to line up the center seams and band. Toddler sweat pants would be best for this. (Don't use leggings.)

Rather than use chalk or a pen to make the outline, I just pinned the layers of the shorts together. MAKE SURE you keep both layers of the elastic band on the same level when you pin them, and PIN THROUGH THE ELASTIC, so it doesn't "boing" deep into the band when you cut through it.

Cut through all layers of the shorts about 1/2in. outside the line of pins. I pulled the waistband ties out to make sure I didn't cut through them. 

Next, sew up your seams with coordinating thread.

I went back and zig-zagged over the waistband seams for added durability. 

I had a little trouble with the bottom of the shorts since women's jogging shorts are longer in the back.

But a quick hem fixed that. 

 I would recommend taking in the crotch, just to make them fit better. Especially for girl shorts. Just turn them inside out, fold them flat along the horizontal crotch seams, pin, and sew. (Technically this should be done before you hem them.)

And there you go! 

Even if you can find toddler mesh shorts in fun girl colors (Target has zero, Old Navy has one), they're gonna run upwards of $12 each. These were absolutely free, and took less than an hour to make.

She's excited to play "bassetball" at the park with Daddy once the weather really warms up. 

While I was working on the project, Jaina was playing with the side pieces of the shorts that I had cut off. She kept saying they looked like mermaids, so I  sewed them up, and made a quick and dirty mermaid tail for her stuffed animals.

Didn't quite work out, but at least now I can say I upcycled the entire pair of old shorts. Pretty sweet!

So next time you're about to take a load of clothing to donate give it a second look. Or give it to me!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

mimi's 80th birthday party

We got to celebrate my grandma, Mimi's, 80th birthday this January! Friends and family came out to celebrate her, we had lots of good food, and I discovered the joy of setting up a dessert table without having to actually make the desserts. Why have I been punishing myself this whole time?! Spending weeks cutting out circles or folding tissue paper doesn't bother me in the least, but after just an hour of baking or chocolate dipping I'm shaking my fists at the heavens.

The inspiration for the decor was this gorgeous fuschia dress that Mimi wore as a bridesmaid's dress sometime in the 50s. 

I also used a lot of vintage photos of Mimi; on the cupcakes, the embellished posters, and around the room.

 And a TON of tissue paper flowers. These are very retro to me - like prom decor from the 50s.

Did you know you could order large photo prints from Staples for only $4.99? You have to choose "engineering prints", ignore the many warnings that this is NOT a photo grade option, place your order, and pick them up in store! Files that were originally professional-grade, high-quality prints work the best.

Mom made the amazing desserts; including Almond Joy Cheesecakes and Hawaiian Pineapple cupcakes.

For the cupcake picks (originally seen on Empress Stationery), I used some of the hundreds of photos I've scanned onto our computer over the years. I cropped all of the photos to be about 2.5"x2.5", then I arranged them in rows in a Word document, and printed them on cardstock. Then I used my 2" circle punch to cut them all out, mounted them on pink circle cut-outs, attached toothpicks, and that was it. All for the cost of a pack of pink cardstock. ; )

Love that beehive!

Here's more engineering prints. After picking them up from Staples, I put them in lightweight poster frames and had some fun embellishing each with tissue paper flowers and tassels. 

Mimi and Pappap on a trip in Ocean City, NJ.

The birthday girl!

Mimi with Cheryl, the woman to whose wedding Mimi wore the fuschia dress. 
I found out at the party that it was actually a "rainbow wedding" where all the bridesmaids wore different colors. 
They said that was all the rage then. 

Happy Birthday, Mimi! So glad I could spend it with you! 

Party Credits

Party Styling: Kara Hallead
Photography: Faith Scheuerman
Desserts: Carol Scheuerman
Photo prints: Staples
Vintage Items: Charlotte Sprenkle
Cupcake Stand: Pier 1 Imports