Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Make: Sweatshirt Refashion!

Cute + Comfortable. These are my two goals in fashion. I spend most of my work days accomplishing the first, but generally not the second. So as soon as I get home I want to ditch the dress pants and fancy-lady shoes for my ripped jeans and moccasin slippers. To top it off? More often than not, an oversized hoodie sweatshirt. This moves me closer to my second goal (comfortable) yet further from the first (cute). Surely there is some way to achieve both!

My sweatshirt collection was huge and dated all the way back to my Freshman year of high school.
 I recently came to terms with the fact that I do not need a dozen hoodies taking up limited (and therefore precious) closet space. Thus I resolved to get rid of several, keep a few in tact, and try my hand at refashioning. Overall, I was successful in these endeavors. I have reclaimed some closet space and ended up with some cute redone tops.

Shawl-Neck Sweater

I am so proud of this project! It was inspired by a picture I came across online and wanted to recreate. I had my doubts that it would work, since I basically drew a sketch and started cutting away at the material. Considering that I was working with the limitations of an already-made top, I think I did a fine job turning an oversized, appliqued hoodie into a cute shawl-neck sweater!

Despite my desire to recreate the inspiring photo (left),
I just couldn't bring myself to hold my hands in such an awkwardly unnatural way.
Instead, I settled with cropping off the top 3/4 of my face.

You will need:
Coordinating thread
Sewing Machine

Begin by removing the front pocket. Doing this actually required me to take off the entire band around the bottom of the sweatshirt (which I later re-attached). Also remove any unwanted embroidery with a seam ripper or small shears; if your sweatshirt has screen printing--sorry, that is not going anywhere.

I think the rest is easier to explain/understand with visual representation.

Note: I folded under the raw edge (of the little flap) for a cleaner look but this step is not necessary since the material won't fray.

If your sweatshirt already fits then you are done! If yours (like mine) is too big, then do the following:

Turn the shirt inside out and lay flat. Take a shirt that does fit (preferably another sweatshirt) and lay it on top. Line up the shoulder seams and mark where to take in the sleeves and/or sides. Also pin along this marked line. Sew along the marked lines and cut away the excess material. Turn it right-side out, try it on, then make any needed adjustments.

Ah, American Eagle! I told you my entire sweatshirt collection dates back to high school.

Now you are good to go! Get ready to be cute and comfortable!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Make: Reusable Swiffer Cover

I like my Swiffer Sweep as much as the next person, but I hate burning through so many disposable covers. Not only do they generate more waste, the cost adds up too! So I immediately jumped on board when I came across a picture on Pinterest of a reusable cover. This is, of course, in tandem with my decision to start making more of my household cleaners. I briefly looked for instructions (without any luck) but quickly decided that I could wing it on my own.

Reasons you should make this:
  • This is a very fast DIY undertaking. Start to finish, the quickest sewing project I've done.
  • Dual purpose: you can use it to sweep or mop (using a batch of homemade All-Purpose Cleaner!).
  • It will save you money.
  • It works! I've been using this for a month and it gets the job done.

Tip: take a few extra minutes to make a few of these covers, so you don't have to rush to do laundry in between floor-cleaning sessions.

Materials Needed:
Fleece, 6" x 17" (for a standard-size Swiffer Sweeper)
Sewing machine

Begin by cutting the fleece into 3 pieces:
A: 6" x 10.5"
B: 6" x 3"
C: 6" x 3"

The large rectangle will be the base/bottom of the cover. Take one of the smaller pieces and line it up with the sides/corners of the base. Pin into place.

Repeat this with the remaining piece, lining it up with the opposite end of the base.

Disregard the excess fabric on the edge of my cover; I was still figuring out how large to make each piece.
Also, you do not need to whip out the sweeper for measuring/fitting, as I did.

Now you just sew along the outer edges, making little pockets on each end. It should have be loose fit in order to easily get the cover on/off of the Swiffer.

Seeing it in action!

I hope you will give this reusable Swiffer cover a try. I've been very pleased with the results and suspect you will be too!

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Make: Homemade Cleaners (with free labels!)

Although I have been using my easy homemade laundry detergent for over a year, I only recently jumped on the homemade cleaner bandwagon. This goes along with my new year's resolution to make our house more environmentally-friendly and less chemical-ridden. My home is not quite as "green" as I would like, but we're moving the in the right direction.

I was so excited by this endeavor that I even made my very own spray bottle labels which you can download by CLICKING HERE.  (These are for personal use only!)

There are many, many variations of homemade cleaning solutions out there. I found it helpful to learn a bit about the different components before choosing my "recipes". Standard ingredients for most cleaning solutions include: 

Vinegar has been used for centuries as a cleaning product. It is highly acetic and kills mold, bacteria, and germs. A natural organic bi-product of fruits, vegetables and grains, vinegar is safe for the environment and your family. It also has a crazy long shelf life and the unpleasant smell dissipates after a few minutes.

Water is primarily for diluting vinegar and dissolving the items listed below.

Baking Soda is mildly abrasive and therefore useful for scrubbing (without scratching) while also removing odor; this makes it best suited for kitchen and bathroom cleaning.

Washing Soda is commonly confused with baking soda, though the two have totally different chemical makeup. In general, just remember that it is more abrasive than baking soda and it is generally recommended to wear gloves/mask while cleaning with washing soda.

Castile Soap has a base of vegetable oils like palm, coconut, hemp, jojoba, or olive. Most other soaps actually have a petroleum base. The name "Castile" comes from the Spanish city famous for its olive oil as well as this style of soap.

Essential oils like lavender or tea tree come in handy since the above ingredients do not exactly smell wonderful.

So there is your basic overview, but what exactly do you do with all of these ingredients?? I am currently using the following cleaning solutions. Note that both of these require giving the bottle a good shake before use.

All-Purpose Cleaner
1/8 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon baking soda
2 cups hot water

Pre-Wash Fabric Spray (stain treatment)
½ c. ammonia
½ c. white vinegar
¼ c. baking soda
2 tbsp. liquid soap or laundry detergent
2 quarts water

If you would like more suggestions, I found an exhaustive list over at Young House Love. I definitely plan to use more of these recipes in the future!

Next week I will show your how to make your own reusable Swiffer cover!