Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Maternity Pants DIY

DIY maternity pants

It's pretty simple to alter your existing pants for maternity wear! I took a pair of black pants with a stuck zipper, and altered them to fit me now that my belly is growing. Here's how:

Maternity pants DIY

Cut off the waistband of your pants then cut a curve from the sides to roughly 5 inches above the crotch. You may have to cut the curve lower or higher depending on the style of your pants, just make sure it falls below the curve of your belly. If there are any zippers in your pants, stitch them closed.

Maternity pants DIY

Take a piece of jersey fabric, or any fabric with plenty of stretch, and sew a tube the same width as the waistband of your pants. The seam will be at the back of your pants.

Maternity pants DIY

Use the curved piece you cut out of your pants as a template to cut a curve out of the tube that you sewed. The back of the tube can be straight across starting at the highest point of the curve.

Maternity pants DIY

Pin the tube to your pants, right sides facing, centering the seam of the tube at the back of your pants, and matching the curve to the front. Sew all the way around. You should end up with something like the photo above.

Maternity pants DIY

Hem the raw edge of the tube with a zigzag stitch or stretch stitch. And there you have it! A brand new pair of maternity pants.

Tip: Select a pair of pants that fit your hips and legs, but you can't button or zip up. It helps if the pants have some stretch to them.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Ombre Plant Pot

Ombré plant pot

Is ombre still in fashion? I'm not sure, but it doesn't matter. My house has grey walls and could use a lot more colour! Without a budget to buy ceramic plant pots, it was DIY time. I painted an ordinary green plastic plant pot (the kind that the flowers came in from the store) to make it a little more attractive.

Ombré plant pot

It looks a lot less plastic and ugly now, right? I didn't even take the plant out of the pot before painting. First I sanded the pot to provide a little bit of grip, then painted it over with white primer. Next, I mixed a pale purple, and painted it from top to bottom, gradually adding a little more red at the time. I didn't plan on it, but the pot matches the flowers in them.

A simple project for a rainy afternoon.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Office Chair Reupholstery

Office chair reupholstery. More work than I expected

This project nearly drove me to tears. Trust me when I say that re-upholstery is expensive for a reason, and well worth the money rather than doing it yourself.

We got a couple of office chairs off Craigslist for a steal, but they were in pretty bad shape. The seats were pilled, water marked, and almost raw in places. One of the chairs even had a tear in the back fabric, and the arm rests looked like they'd been chewed by a dog, but I was determined to rehab them, because how hard could it be to change the cloth on a seat?! (Insert weeping and gnashing of teeth)

The photo above is one of the finished seats. Not bad right? But it took forever.

Office chair reupholstery. More work than I expected

So, innocently I started disassembling everything. Check out the screw layout! I made sure that they would all go back in the same place they came from.

Office chair reupholstery. More work than I expected

This is the tear I mentioned before. I used some embroidery thread and stitched it back up. I think it would have looked particularly cool if I used lime green, or even yellow, but black was all I had on had, so black it was.

Office chair reupholstery. More work than I expected

Now this was the worst part. Even with a staple removing tool thingy (it's a screwdriver type thing with a forked tip, like a snake's tongue, at an angle), removing the hundreds of staples that kept the fabric in place several hours just for one seat. Repeat x 2. If you've got more muscle than me it would probably take you half the time, but it's still no easy job.

THEN I cut out fabric, using the original cover as an outline, and stapled the heck out of it so that the new one would stay. I used a fairly thick cotton with a bit of stretch to it. The stretch was good, but the thickness of the fabric made it hard to manipulate around curves. There was a lot of excess fabric going on, and I did the best I could, but it was impossible to get a smooth edge.

Office chair reupholstery. More work than I expected

Now if you look very carefully, you can see this is a different chair than the first photo. I tried re-upholstering the chewed arm rests, but they turned out so ugly so I decided not to put them back on. You can also see the stitching I did to close up that tear in the backing.

I lost 2 days lost to office chairs that I can never get back. On the other hand, we ended up with 2 new office chairs for less than 14$ a piece, including new fabric. Mind you, the real price was paid for in sweat and blood and tears.

IF you're more patient than I am, you can do it yourself. Here's a tutorial I found for upholstering an office chair. Don't say I didn't warn you!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Ikea Rast Dresser Makeover

We've been badly in need of dressers for the bedroom, and two months after having boxes of clothing on the floor, and searching everywhere for dressers that would fit beside our bed, we ended up at Ikea. In the end we settled on two RAST three drawer chests. The dressers are solid unfinished pine, and it's hard to beat the 40$ CAD price tag.
Ikea RAST dresser (photo from catalogue)
There are so many hacks for the dresser online. We opted to do something that several other people have before, and go for a bit of a mid-century look. We stained the outside boards with Minwax dark chestnut, and sealed them with a couple coats of polyurethane before assembling the dressers.

Rast3

We painted the drawers white with some leftover paint from the house. I'd suggest using a semi-gloss enamel paint if you do this yourself.

Rast2

There was also a sale on kitchen cabinet knobs when we were at Ikea, so we changed out the wooden ones that came with the dresser for black metal. I think they were a steal for $1.60 a pair! Two weeks (plus a lot of trial and error) later, here is one of the finished dressers.

Rast1


We kept the insides of the drawers unfinished since no one will see it but us. Now El's confident about staining anything or everything, and I may have some other projects for him to help me with! 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sew & Tell: Drapey Cardigan

I'm in loooove. This cardigan is super generous with the drape and can be worn multiple ways. I found some 4 way stretch jersey which was a dream to work with, and used this free wrap cardigan pattern by Megan Neilsen. I was impressed by how easy the instructions were to follow, and this came together in a couple hours with plenty of breaks in between.

Black Drapey Cardigan 3


It's warm and thick, and as my baby bump grows, it will still fit. You can't see much now but I'll need all that extra fabric in a few months!

Black Drapey Cardigan


I think this last photo is my favorite way to wear it: thrown over one shoulder like a shawl. It's like a blanket. It's like dressing for the post-apocalypse (which despite all the girly clothes I post, is actually more my style).

Black Drapey Cardigan 2

I only made a few slight changes to the design. I increased the width of the sleeves, and added wrist cuffs. I also reinforced the shoulder seams with some extra stitching. This was a very satisfying afternoon project, and I'm sure I'll wear this like crazy over the winter.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

DIY Cork Coasters

Coasters

When we lived in our old apartment with ancient furniture, it didn't really matter if we used coasters or not. Our tables had rings and watermarks, so it wasn't a big deal. Now is a different story. Suddenly coasters seemed like a pretty big deal since we had new wooden tables. I thought I would buy some, but then I remembered the big pile of cork in the garage. I decided to stencil some designs and cut them out.

You can buy a sheet of cork at a craft store, but also in flooring section of the hardware store. This cork was leftover under layer for the floorboards.

Untitled

The trickiest bit is the stencilling. A foam brush or a stencil brush works well. To stop smudges, you need to put just a thin layer of paint down at a time, and dab up and down, instead of brushing the paint. Every once in a while you'll also need to wipe off the back of your stencil and give it a rinse.

Untitled

When the paint dried, I used a mug to trace out circles for the coasters. If I did this again I might go with squares, because they're easier to cut out than circles. Cork is soft enough to cut with scissors but the edge won't be crisp unless you use a knife.

Untitled

Lastly, I brushed a bit of gold paint along the edges both to stop the cork from crumbling, and for a little extra decoration. I think they would have looked awesome with pink and turquoise edges too.

And that's it! Brand new coasters for free. I also made a couple of hot pads / trivets with the leftover cork. Why not?

Coasters

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Sew & Tell: Summer Kimono Style Top

kimonoTop

I dusted off (literally) my sewing machine for the first time this summer. The poor old thing needs a bit of TLC, and some cleaning, but it is otherwise still doing great 7 years on. I sewed a simple kimono top based on this tutorial by Elle Apparel. I opted to shorten the hem, sleeves, and I added a cowl band to the neckline. It's made from this wonderfully soft tissue knit in pale purple with white cherry blossoms. It's super comfy, and if summer nights get a bit chilly, easy to throw on.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Sew & Tell: DIY Maternity Band

Belly Band 3


If you're pregnant and want to wear your non-pregnancy pants for a little longer, a maternity / belly band can help.

How it works: leave your pre-pregnancy pants unbuttoned or unzipped, then slip a belly band over top so that your pants don't fall down.

It may sound a little silly, but right now I'm too small to fit into maternity pants, and my regular pants are too tight around the waist, so this is a lifesaver. They can also help post pregnancy when you're in between sizes. I've rolled up my shirt so you can see how it fits.

Belly band

They were out of black bands at the store when I tried to buy one, so using a bit of leftover black jersey, I whipped one up in about 20 minutes, and you can too! See, it's just a tube with 2 seams. In the photo above, I've flipped the band inside out so you can see the seams.

Belly Band 2


I followed this tutorial by Make It and Love It. It's so simple but it works! I'm so tempted to whip up a bunch more in different colors.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Sew & Tell: Elephant Plushie

A lot of my friends have been having babies lately, and I've tried to sew all of them a little soft toy as a present. One of my friends absolutely loves elephants, so I wanted to make one for her son.

Untitled

This little guy is made from an old sweatshirt and some scrap fabric. He's totally squishable.

You can find the pattern and instructions for free here via Birch Fabrics.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Fresh Figs with Yogurt and Honey

While we're still on the subject of figs...

This is hardly a recipe at all, but it's my favourite way to enjoy figs fresh: Greek yogurt topped with figs, almonds, blueberries, and a drizzle of honey. It's as good as any desert, so simple, and good for you too.

Figs with yogurt