Archive of ‘tutorial’ category

Men’s Boxer Shorts [Free Pattern + Juxaposey llama Fabric]

Hi all! We are all back from our spring break, feeling fresh and revived.  It’s the perfect time for me to release my first free pattern. Eek! This whole thing started because I felt I was neglecting my husband, sewing-wise. Here is the deal, sewing for men can be difficult. It’s certainly harder than choosing what I want for myself or even my kids.  Plus, unless you are sewing for one of those Florida dudes in need of an endless supply of breezy, patterned shirts it’s also a little dull.  But…you know what isn’t dull? Boxer Shorts! Full of fun patterns and colors and easy to construct, men’s boxer shorts are basically the wild and crazy guy of a dude’s chest of drawers. So guys! Guess what? It’s time to bust out some awesome fabric and get cranking out boxer shorts!  I picked llamas and a fun print from Betz White’s new Juxtaposey line. In fact, Betz really is the inspiration for this whole project.  When she asked me to make something in her new line I knew it had to be boxer’s short for my dude. (more…)

Fabric Buckets as Easter Baskets

For Easter baskets this year I decided to make the boys reusable fabric buckets using my standby tutorial here. I love the idea that the buckets themselves are also a gift and a reusable one at that. We will still give them gobs of chocolate of course but the beautiful fabric bucket balances it out a bit, right?  It also might be true that I fell in love with this new fabric collection  from Maker Maker and was looking for a good excuse to make something out if it. Just maybe. (more…)

Sewing with Sweater Knit Fabric

When I first started sewing I was terrified to sew with fabrics other than basic quilting cotton.  But the truth is, sewing garments in woven cotton fabric is really limiting, especially since most of us wear knit fabric for day to day wear.  My love of sewing garments….really my whole mission to make my own clothing, increased triple-fold when I conquered my fears of sewing with a variety of textiles. As soon as you can sew rayons, jersey knits, sweater knits, silks and cotton lawn with confidence, you can make just about anything!   I realized yesterday while I was writing about the cardigan for my mom that sewing with sweater knit fabric is one of those substrates that can be intimidating.

But, it doesn’t have to be! In the spirit of encouraging others to stitch up a more adventurous wardrobe I decided to share my simple tricks for sewing with sweater knit fabric. Let’s make it easy and not at all intimidating, shall we? (more…)

DIY :: Quick and Easy PussyHat

DIY :: Quick and Easy Pussyhats (Using thrift store sweaters!) | Melissa Quaal from a happy stitch

This weekend I picked up about a half dozen pink tops and sweaters at the thrift store and turned them into 21 pussyhats.  I’m attending a local Women’s March on Saturday and wanted to wear the eponymous pink hat and knew several of my friends also would. I’m not much of a knitter but figured I could sew a quick and easy pussyhat with old sweaters. If you don’t know about pussyhats, they are the playful, pink “kitten-eared” hats marchers are wearing in the upcoming marches happening in D.C. and 200 other sister cities on Saturday, January 21st. You can read more about the idea behind the effort here. I know!  Saturday is tomorrow! But if you are dying to wear a pussyhat, there is still time!  These are so easy to make!  There is definitely still time! Here is my DIY for quick and easy pussyhats. (more…)

Paint-Dipped Plant Stool

Yellow Dipped Step Stool REscue Mission | a happy stitch project

It has been nearly a year since we moved, can you believe it?! Last year at this time, everything was chaos with boxes all over & I had a minor panic attack.  For real. Not saying that as an expression. I really thought buying a new house had been a huge mistake and nothing was ever going to be put away or organized and it just wasn’t worth it.  Someone casually mentioned that it takes a year to really settle into a house and my panic spiraled deeper. I need it all settled RIGHT NOW (like all of it settled immediately), NOT in a YEAR!  It seemed helpless to try at all.  I finally confessed my agitated mental state to a girlfriend and she suggested I make one area peaceful; she called it ‘making a sanctuary’.

The only spot I could find for this little patch of peace was the tiny landing at the turn of the stairs.  It’s so small it felt pathetic and sad and I thought it almost didn’t count.  I laid down a rug from my travels in India and filled it with plants.  Every time I passed through the landing I was reminded that one day the whole house might actually come together, too.  It worked. I could take a deep breath and calm down. Because of this, I have an odd amount of affection for our landing…just a tiny bit of real estate but boy do I love it.  The landing is a place I want to fill with plants and color and keep it my lovely sanctuary.  So, when my neighbors tossed out an old-beat up stool I snatched it up, repaired it, painted and polyurethaned it for the landing. (more…)

Ice Painted Tee Shirts

Tee Shirts for Boys _Ice Painted | a project by a happy stitch

A few weeks ago the boys and I tried out ice painting and made some really fantastic ice painted tee shirts.  At first glance, they look a bit like tie-dyed tees but they are so much more painter-ly (that a word?) when you look closer.  Awesomer, too.  Way awesomer.  Making t-shirts has become something of a summer tradition around here.  Last year we tried tie-dying and sun printing dyes and loved it. There seem to be these unplanned, looser, low-key moments in summer that allow for messy projects. It’s one of my favorite things about summer with the boys at this age.  I got the idea to try ice painting from a Sweet Paul Magazine video on Facebook, which I unfortunately can’t find anymore. Sorry.

The good news is that I took lots of pictures of what we did and remember it all so I can share our tee shirt making with you. (more…)

Kindergarten Chair Pockets Take 2

You know that thing that happens when the world finds out that you sew? You are flooded with requests to sew things.  Bless them, right? Everyone means well. Remember those kindergarten chair pockets I made for my son’s class last year? Well, you can probably guess where this is going…at least a little bit.  About halfway into this school year J’s first grade teacher approached me about sewing chair pockets for his classroom, just like the ones from last year (link includes my tutorial on how to make them, btw).  chair pockets perfect for kindergarten classrooms | a happy stitch

Much as I loved making chair pockets for his classroom last year, it is time-consuming, monotonous and costly (it takes A LOT of fabric).  Plus, it seemed inequitable to me.  If classrooms need chair pockets is it fair that the only classrooms who get them have my kid in them? Not really.  So, I suggested that the school identify how many classrooms need chair pockets and write a grant to cover the cost of store-bought chair pockets.  J’s teacher came back and suggested that the ones I make are sturdier than the mass-produced kind.  I was terribly flattered.   I agreed I could make them and quoted her a price per classroom (at 25 chair pockets per classroom) that paid for my time and supplies.  She submitted the grant and it was only after the grant was accepted that I found out that nearly the entire school needed chair pockets, 300 to be exact. Turns out every first grade and kindergarten classroom except for two needed chair pockets….one of those two classroom has special chairs and the other has the pockets I made last year.  Ha! I was totally overwhelmed.  (more…)

DIY fabric buckets

DIY Fabric Buckets // a happy stitch

I’m not exactly sure how many years Sanae and Ute have been running the Secret Valentine Exchange but it seems like I’ve managed to miss out on it a million times.  I honestly read Sanae’s blog religiously and every time I see it announced, I intend to sign up and then forget.  But not this year! I signed up and participated and loved it.  I received the best, beautiful suede-like bag and cement magnets from the lovely Aida. I feel so lucky! For my part, I made my secret partner these hand-stamped fabric buckets.  They nest together and form a lovely ombre pink effect when they are all sat inside of each other. (more…)

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