Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Alter what you have (shorts!) & EcoFriendly beauty

Ahhh summer has been lovely so far: plenty of rainy days, a few big thunder storms and plenty of greenery growing tall! My garden is flourishing and I hope to plant a bigger variety next year. My spouse built be beautiful raised garden beds. Our own soil in the side yard was just full of stones and chunks of cement blocks.
my two large garden boxes!
my toadstool
I found that adorable toadstool (it is ceramic, so it's OK outdoors) at a local store on deep discount. I have lettuce, arugula, peas, squash and some herbs growing. I love going outside to pick food for a salad now! 
So into the crafty fun, yes? We often purchase clothing, tuck it away for a season, go unpack it and... it shrunk, it got stained or something else. So what to do? Why ~ alter it of course! And it's super easy to do, a beginner can do alterations to existing clothing. I did this to some shorts I bought last year when they were on sale, out of season. They were very short - like, I was afraid to 'expose' my bum! 
I started by letting the hem of the shorts down, you can use a seam ripper to do this. If you don't know what this is or how to use it, please go to this link to MakeSomething for simple instructions. I already picked out some cotton fabric that I would add to the bottom of the shorts (at the leg opening, I let the hem down). I used a fat quarter of fabric, they often run for just $0.99 to almost $2.00 a piece. 
the fabric to add to hem of shorts
I measured my cotton fabric for the shorts leg opening. You can do this with the fabric laid flat and a tape measure. I then took my fat quarter fabric and decided the width I wanted - I went with 4"s, this let me fold it right in half (as seen above). I did a little zig-zag stitch to the raw edge just to give it some staying power. 
cotton fabric pinned to leg opening
Then you pin the cotton fabric to the bottom of the shorts, the leg opening. You can stitch this with a straight stitch of decorative one. Do this to both leg openings - this is a simple solution to too tiny shorts. I'm really happy with how these came out and I will certainly do this again in the future. You can also apply this same solution to long pants that are just too short at the ankle.
one side complete

Now my EcoFriendly project ~ a simple alternative (and saves on cost) to using cotton balls. These are just squares of fabric made with flannel (the printed side) and organic cotton batting. Here is a good link to what type of batting I had purchased - Honey Be Good. Batting is pretty handy stuff, it is typically very wide so you don't need a huge cut of this. It is often used as the lining or backing to sewing projects (such as quilting). But it has many other uses too, like cloth diaper linings to homemade face towel. 
First decide what flannel you want, often it is printed. And you may pick any shape you like best from circle to heart! I did a simple square, easy right? For this project I'd suggest two layers of batting and one layer of the flannel print fabric.
flannel print, solid batting
To help the pieces now get too frayed I used pinking scissors for the edges. Please note: these will fray some regardless - but for something so small and easy I didn't want to cover the edges. Next step is to pin the pieces together: flannel on top, batting (both layers) below the printed flannel. Then you sew about 1/4" from the outside edge.
sewing the squares together
Once you sew around the shape, just back stitch a few times, then snip off any thread. It's just that easy to do! I made several of these with scrap flannel I had, I like variety and cute prints. 
my collection!
I use these in place of cotton balls for toner or makeup remover. You can wash them by hand or put them in the washing machine. But do note: if thrown in the washing machine, try to put them in a mesh bag (such as lingerie type) or they may just go missing in the depths of you machine! I personally hand wash mine and then just lay them out to air dry. I might make some in heart shapes in the future. 
I hope your summer is filled with fun, tasty eats and much crafting!