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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Chalk Cloth Pencil Case

This is a great back to school project!

I LOVE chalk cloth and honestly would use it to make just about anything!  This pencil case can double as scratch paper in a pinch.  Now what's not to love about that!?

Pencil Case Scratch Paper
Chalk Cloth is available on line (etsy or ebay) or at your local JoAnn Fabric Stores.  Look in the utility fabric section.

You DON'T have to line this pencil case.  I did because I had spare fabric and I thought it was cute.

To be honest I didn't really have a pattern for this project.  I created a pattern using notebook paper.

This is the fabric that I started with:

Chalk Cloth

Super Hero Cotton Fabric
Brightly Colored Zippers

Chalk Cloth Cut to size
Fabric Liner cut to size
 With right sides together, sew the lining to the chalk cloth. 

Right Sides together
Stitch across the long side of the pencil case.
Stitch along the long side of the case
Turn fabric on the right side
Fold fabric so the right side is facing out
Center the zipper on the fabric
Pin zipper in place
Sew up to zipper pull, raise the presser foot

Pull zipper past presser foot and continue sewing zipper in place
All done on one side
Sew Zipper to second panel
With the zipper open, fold case with lining facing out
Stitch along sides and bottom of the case
Trim excess fabric
Snip the corners
ZigZag stitch edge for extra hold
Seasoning Chalk Cloth
So that it's easy to write on, it is important to "Season" Chalk Cloth.  

To season, turn chalk on its side and rub it over the entire surface of the chalk cloth.
Rub all sides with chalk
Erase completely.



To make a box bottom case

Find the seam that is on the bottom of the bag.
Bottom Seam
Measure approx 1 inch.  Mark seam and sew across the bottom seam
Measure 1 "
Sew Across the seam, trim excess fabric
Box Bottom Case
Flat Pencil Case, Box Bottom Pencil Case

Monday, August 18, 2014

Plus Size Dress Refashion - Size Transformation!

This is how I turned a Jr. Girls size Large sundress into a Plus Size dress!

I'm a plus size women (size 16) and I LOVE to sew.  Refashion blogs are my passion but most of them feature skinny Minnie's.  I'm not mad at thin women - to each her own - but I'd appreciate tips on how to SIZE UP dresses and other clothes.  Taking in large clothes (in my opinion) is easier than refitting or up sizing small clothes.

What is "Refashion":
Not too long ago I did an entire blog about refashioning clothes.  It's here!  Basically to refashion is to turn one article of clothing into something else. 

Where to Shop:
My first refashion projects came from my own closet.  I look clothes from the donation pile, the too small pile and the worn out pile.  This way you can begin to practice refashion techniques without spending any money.

GoodWill, Salvation Army, resale shops and friend's donate piles are the next best places to shop.

What Fabrics Am I Looking For:
As a plus size women I shop and sew almost exclusively plus size clothing.  For myself I look for good quality stretchy fabrics.  Cotton blends and Spandex are my friends!  These fabrics fall nicely and are forgiving when my sewing is not perfect.  I also have a strong preference for patterns!  That's just a "me" thing.  The crazier the pattern the better I like it.  I can always tone down a loud pattern with a black sweater.  It's hard to turn up a boring color or style.

How Much Sewing Skill Do I Need to Refashion?:
Turns out not that much!  Because stretch fabrics (that's what I use most) tend not to fray lots of projects can get by with little or no sewing.

Here's the dress I made this weekend.

One for thing.  This dress in its original form was WAY too small for me.  The boob part would not fit over my head.  So I cut off the too small part and used the rest.

Original Dress - Ankle length Sun Dress
I cut off the too small parts
Evened up the cut
Zigzag stitched the stop edge
That's it.  All it needs is accessories!
Nice black belt at the waist
Cut cropped sweater - see below 
Me in my new dress (with a longer sweater)

Sweater refashion
The cropped black sweater was one of my first refashion projects.  You can read all about it here! (scroll to the bottom of the post to find the sweater).

Refashion Update - Dress to Top

Remember a while back when I told you that I was trying my hand at refashioning.  That is to turn one article of clothing into something else entirely.

I did a whole blog post about it here.

Anyway, i've done a little more and this is just a tiny update.

I turned this dress,

 Into a pillowcase top.


The dress was cute before and it fit well.  It was just WAY too much of such a bright pattern.  I work in a conservative place.  Now the top if perfect for the office!

To make this top I removed the top of the dress and just used the skirt.

On my way to work!

I added a pop of color by pairing the top with pink earrings.

I made these!
More refashioning to come.  Stay tuned!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Help, my shower drain is clogged!

August 15, 2014 Update: I originally made this post back in Feb of 2012.  Sine that time the shower drain has been fine.  Last night I noticed that it was running slowly again.  I did the same steps and Voila it'a fixed!

Please enjoy this repost of an old favorite!

So it looks like its home repair night at my house.  I was all set to fix the dripping kitchen faucet when my husband let me know that our shower drain was clogged.  Since fixing the shower drain is MUCH easier than dealing with the dripping faucet I decided to tackle the shower job first.
I’m sure that everyone’s shower is different.  Some people will have a harder time than I did.  All I can tell you is that this is how I fixed my slow/non-draining shower with no chemicals.
We have 3 curious kids in the house so I’m not big on keeping lots of chemicals around.  
For this job I used:
-          Plastic grocery bags
-          Pencil
-          Drain snake
-          Vinegar
-          Baking soda

Standing water in the shower

I’m no plumber to I don’t know the “official” names for any of these parts.  The first step was to remove the drain cover.  I used a pencil.  It just popped right out. 

Remove drain cover
This is what I found!

Next, I covered my hand with a grocery bag and scooped out as much gunk as I could.  It was disgusting and stinky.

My hand in a bag,
ready to scoop out drain
I scooped out as much gunk as I could.
What a stinky mess!

Next I fed a bit of snake down the drain.  When it got to the point that it wouldn’t go any further, I wiggled and pushed it down more.  Once it got to a true stopping place, I turned the crank and snaked the drain until I could feed more snake down.  I continued to snake the drain (feed and crank) until I was out of snake.

This snake is the star of this show!

I pulled the snake out and flushed the drain with hot water. 

All done snaking the drain

Next I poured baking soda down the drain, followed by plain white vinegar.
This entire process left my shower a dirty mess, BUT it unclogged the drain.

Baking soda and vinegar down the drain
The final step was to run hot water down the drain for 10 minutes.

All done!
That’s it – all done.

Tomorrow night I’ll fix the dripping kitchen sink!