Gift Giving: A Reading Pillow Tutorial

My (almost 11 year old) niece Kalli is a reader. She’s not a reader like I am, where she’ll read a new book every month or so… I mean, a READER. She’ll read, like, 3 books in a week. She’s a beast.

Eating is for the weak non-readers of the world…

Well, this year for Christmas I wanted to make her something “book-y” so I decided to make her a reading pillow. I wanted it to be small and with a handle so she could carry it around to sleepovers or just in the car. I wanted it to have a pocket so she could actually store the book safely when she’s not reading it, which isn’t very often πŸ™‚

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Lace Applique Top

November has been a bit of a whirlwind. My grandmother passed away on the 1st. Her funeral was on the 5th. On the 6th, Muffin and I ventured to Florida for our annual Anniversary trip. Not only did we have the most wonderful time vacationing at the spot we were married, I also got to wear some new refashions πŸ™‚

I picked up this 80’s-tastic purple dress shortly before our trip.



It’s stretchy; It’s comfy; It fits… what’s wrong with it (besides that awkward length)??


So, call me crazy, but I actually like this… whatever it is. I decided to work around it.

Mark and cut at an angle.

I could’ve left it as-is, but I really wanted that Floral embellishment to be a focal point.

I decided to look through my scraps. Wouldn’t cha know, I found some lace πŸ™‚


Why yes, yes that is a pair of undies (tag still in tact). I’m sure this was a freebie with a purchase… One problem, which should’ve been obvious…

Not enough material...
Not enough material…

That’s okay… I have more lace where that came from πŸ˜‰

Black. What else?
Black. What else?

The lace is see-through so I was able to follow the existing purple satin stitching and applique the black to the garment.

Just a straight this for this type of applique.
Just a straight stitch for this type of applique. (NEVER sew over your pins!) πŸ™‚

I trimmed the excess fabric from the stitching and then I got kind of carried away, maybe. I decided to use the extra lace scraps as a bias tape around the neckline. I thought it would tie the lace together better, ya know? I thought it would look too random to just have this huge black lace flower on my shirt…

Unlike my pal Marisa over at The Refash Stash, I struggle with bias tape. I really suck at using it… and to do it with lace. What was I thinking?! I didn’t even take any during pics of that just in case I failed miserably at it.

Perfect! …no one is more shocked than I am.

And I think it does tie nicely with the appliqued flourish.


How about that gorgeous Florida view, eh?



I’m rather fond of it.

It’s just a T-shirt, really. But an oh-so-comfy and more sophisticated T.

It was perfect for an 85 degree day of vacation!



More Florida Refashions to come

Refashion Runway Challenge 3: Tote, purse, or clutch

For Week 3’s challenge in the #RefashionRunway3, we were asked to make a Tote, purse, or clutch.


This proved to be especially challenging for me as I typically just use fabric laying around for this kind of thing. I’ve never actually made a purse from an item of clothing… But when I saw this suit hanging in my dad’s office, I took a chance πŸ™‚


My dad actually donated this suit to my sexy Hubs, but it didn’t fit him right so I didn’t feel too bad about cutting this up for a new Fall tote (it’ll be here before we know it, folks).

Little dissection...
Little dissection…

I’m the kind of gal who doesn’t just need a purse or tote; I need a Mary Poppins bag! I carry EVERYTHING in my purse, so I need all the pockets I can get. As such, I was very strategic with how I cut these pieces.

Front panel of new tote.
Front panel of new tote.

See how I did that? Nothing too difficult when you have the right tools.

Side panel.. my phone fits perfectly :)
Side panel.. my phone fits perfectly πŸ™‚

And so on an so forth until all the panels of my tote are cut:

After factoring in seam allowances, the final dimensions will be: 12″ X 12″ X 5″

I found some old maroon handles from a purse I wore to death. I always save any type of scrap/zipper/button that can be salvaged for a future project: I never throw refashioning items away!

Before I began constructing this into my new tote, I wanted to add applique to the front panel… just to give it a little pop of color & pizzazz.

I narrowed it down to these 2 Fall-ish scraps...
I narrowed it down to these 2 Fall-ish scraps…

I decided that the funky print went better with the handles than the red tweed.

Cut it , pin it...
Cut it , iron on some stabilizer to help it adhere better, pin it…

Then, applique it πŸ™‚


Close up of a true “Applique” stitch. (You can use a zig zag stitch too).

Use a lint brush to get those fray threads that sometimes happen on the edge…

I made sure to avoid the lining while I appliqued it

The original suit lining is going to be my tote lining... I didn't want the applique stitching to show through.
The original suit lining is going to be my tote lining… I didn’t want the applique stitching to show through the suit lining.

Now, I can assemble it together.


With left over scraps from my applique fabric, I made the tabs that would hold all the handles in place.

Fold, iron, it down.
Fold, iron, pin…sew it down that middle seam with a multiple zig zag stitch.

Next, I cut that into smaller pieces and sewed it to the hardware.


A zipper foot came in handy for the tight sewing space…

Sew to the inside of the tote.

This was pretty labor intensive; I’m not gonna lie… but the final product came out nicely πŸ™‚

The long shoulder strap is nice!
The shorter handles make for a more snug fit.
The shorter handles make for a more snug fit.

Close up


Applique personalizes it :)
Applique personalizes it… I really like applique, y’all.
Back pocket
Back pocket
Side pocket for phone is a MUST
Side pocket for phone is a MUST
Other side panel used to be suit sleeve.
Other side panel used to be suit sleeve.

When Fall comes around… I’ll be ready with my new tote bag πŸ™‚

The best part of all: It cost me nothing

It pairs nicely with my Vera Wang Adjustment top πŸ™‚

To vote for my Suit Tote or the other gals’ refashions for Week 3, click here πŸ™‚

Major OOPS! shirt

I found this gloriously vintage dress for .99 cents. Words cannot describe how much I love it!


I’ve had this for nearly a year. I was going to wear it last Halloween but then Hubs and I decided on “The gatekeeper & Keymaster” instead πŸ™‚

…then I was going to wear it for Easter; just shorten it a bit and wear practically as-is to church. But, God help me, I loved it too much to change it. Isn’t that hilarious? I finally decided I needed to just do it. What good was it doing in my refash stash?

After some debate I decided to dye it. This is polyester at its finest so I knew the color wouldn’t “stick” very well. I gave it a LONG bath in some deep wine RIT dye and this is what happened:

IMG_2625The color wasn’t too bad… but it ended up revealing stains ALL over the place!! 😦 Eww. Hence, the big chop. This is, officially, a tunic now!

I am running dangerously low on “space” for my pictures, so I’m going to have to really modify this post, y’all. I’ve got to figure out how I can get more space for my pictures without paying for it πŸ™‚

I cut a few inches off the sleeves as well and gave it and the bottom a 1″ hem. Then I found a HORRIBLE stain on the back left shoulder. When I tried to get it out, it ended up bleeding the dye and making it worse

IMG_2630I did NOT want to give up on this refashion. I seriously love this dress so much it’s kinda pathetic! I went to my stash of scraps… maybe I could creatively cover it up.

I found, of all things, a pair of black lace undies that I hated (wearing). I’m not a cheeky kind of gal. Bikinis or thongs for me, not to be TMI. Β  I thought the black lace might come in handy. I mean, you can’t donate underwear. Gross. Why not save the material for a situation such as this?

Oh, yes I did.

Why yes, yes that is the former waistband of a pair of my undies! πŸ™‚ Why not?? You can’t see the stain (well, you probably can because you know it’s there and are therefore looking for it…).

For lack of a better word or skill, let’s just say it, I appliqued the lace with a simple straight stitch.

Not too shabbs

IMG_2644Sun’s in my eyes, but there’s a smile on my face because I fixed a MAJOR fail with this one, kids!

How could you not love the detail on this thing?


My orthopedic inserts make ballet shoes doable πŸ™‚ This shirt is too cute for sketchers.

If there’s one lesson I learned from this experience: don’t give up! Use your noggin’. You can finish a refashion gone wrong if you really want to. I’m so glad I didn’t give up on this new favorite πŸ™‚


“Rainy Day” Burp Cloths: Part II

My friend Jess is having a girl! It only took her 4 times to get it right πŸ™‚ She requested “burp cloths” for her baby shower… I have an insane amount of scraps just sitting in my stash for a rainy day… Wheels in my head turning, the “Rainy Day” burp cloth was my concoction for giving Jess what she wanted while shrinking my scrap stash at the same time.


5 cloth diapers come in a package so I decided to make 5 different and unique burp cloths for Jess out of these. I typically have a strict .99 cents rule when sewing/refashioning but… Good luck finding these bad boys for any less than $5.99.

I digress.

For Burp Cloth #2 I decided to do an Owl applique. The theme of baby Cheyenne’s nursery is owls so, why not? I drew an owl on a post it note so I would have a visual reference.


It’s actually pretty cute, isn’t it?

There was brown polka dot fabric in my stash, so that was going to be the body of the owl. I just hope I cut the right shape.



Beautiful. It actually worked! I then used some left over pink fabric from burp cloth #1 to create the wings.


See how I’m coming up with this?


‘Cuz if you don’t I’m really not sure how to explain it πŸ™‚


With my extra scraps, I cut the other shapes of the Owl’s face: for the eyes I used the base of a spool of thread for the circles; for the nose I just free-handed a triangle; I even found some cute buttons for the pupils!


It’s totes adorbs if I do say so myself πŸ™‚ Just like I “assembled” the shapes, I just have to sew them to the burp cloth one “shape” at a time until it’s all finished.


I used a straight stitch because the guaze-like material is pretty tricky to sew on, actually. To give the wings some dimension I did go over those with a zig zag. Thankfully, it wasn’t too difficult since those pieces were cut a little larger.


Lastly, I sewed on the buttons.


A homemade owl applique burp cloth is born


I kinda want to keep this for myself πŸ™‚



2 of 5 burp cloths finished.