Tag Archives: Thrifty

Ruffle newborn skirt tutorial {Sewing}

If you read my Lesson in Recovery, you may be aware of my desire to sew, but fear in inadequacy.  I have since been practicing and stepped it up a notch to make my first little girl outfit.

The inspiration for this outfit came from a sales rack at Babies R’ Us where I saw an adorable ruffly dress sewn to a onesie.  With a sale price tag of $17 I knew I could create something just as cute with the fabric I had.  Of course I can’t find a picture of the original dress, but here is something similar that was available online with a price tag of $34.00 at Rufflebutts.com

I did pick up a 1/2 yard of white satin fabric (at 40% off of course) for $3.00 to make this, the rest of it I had. Thanks to the help of my friend who is helping me convert my wedding dress to a baptismal gown, I learned the art of gathers, which I prefer to call “puckers.” So I used that skill and a few different colors of tulle to make a little tulle ruffled satin skirt for my newbie.

I apologize for my lack of pictures in this post, I got a little caught up in making it that I forgot about capturing the process.  If you have questions, feel free to comment below and I’ll do my best to walk you through the steps 🙂

To begin I cut 6 strips of tulle, 6 inches wide by 16 inches long. The length should be about double the width of the skirt.  Then fold the tulle strips in half and in half again so I had a double thick fabric to create fuller ruffles.  Then I ran a straight stitch down the center of my double thick tulle strip.

Make sure to keep your threads long on either end of the stitch.  You will not see this stitch, so don’t worry if it’s not straight.  It just needs to go through all of the layers.  If you have some really uneven edges, take a scissors and trimmed them in line with the others to make it a little cleaner looking.

Next on both ends of the tulle take one of the threads and pull, gathering the tulle toward the middle.  Make sure to do it evenly on both sides.  On my skirt the gathered tulle strips needed to be about 8 inches long.

For the base of the skirt I used white satin so it would be soft and smooth on my newborn’s skin, but most knit fabrics would work too.  I cut the satin into  two 8″ x  8″ pieces  Because satin is a fabric that frays very easily,  I ran a 1/2 straight stitch hem along the side edges just to prevent the edges from fraying while I was working on it.  On the top and bottom I ran a 5/8″  straight stitch to prevent fraying.  Then I folded over and pinned for a 1/4″ hem.  I should note that since this was a newborn skirt I was simply attaching the skirt to a onesie, so I didn’t need to add an elastic waistband.  If you plan to do so, you’d want to make sure to add a channel and run the elastic through the waist line too.

Now the fun part.  Take all those gathered tulle strip and pin them onto the skirt. You’ll want to make sure the gathers are somewhat even or all your ruffles will be to one side. (I took this picture before I decided against the brown, same process though).  I pinned the ruffles with my pins pointing up and down so that I can sew over them rather than pulling the pins. It helps to make sure everything stays in place.

Over each strip your going to run a straight stitch hem, with back-stitch, directly over the first straight stitch in the tulle to adhere it to the skirt.

The final piece is to turn the skirt inside out so rights sides are facing together.  Pin an angled side seam to create the skirt. I used a zigzag stitch on the side seam.  Then trim down the edges (about 1/4″ to 1/2 inch from the seam) and turn right sides out.

Because I wanted my accessorized onesie to be used with other outfits, I hand-sewed snaps to attach it to the inside of the skirt.

And there you have it.  Stay tuned for another tutorial on creating ruffle tulle flowers and accessories. Granted my time is invaluable, but this project cost me less than $8 and I have plenty of supplies remaining to make other fun girly stuff. In fact the tulle is still left over from our wedding!


1 Comment

Filed under DIY Projects, Gift of Thrift, Inspiration, Tutorials

DIY Baby Wipes on the Cheap

Being that I’m a new mom, baby wipes are used frequently in this house.  A friend gave me a gift basket with my first child with the ingredients and recipe to make my own baby wipes.  I decided to pull out that baby and make a few batches today.

Roll of Paper towel
2 Cups of Water
2 Tablespoons of Baby Wash
2 Tablespoons of Baby oil (or olive oil works well too)

Begin by finding a container to fit the diameter of the paper towel roll (this might be the hardest part of this project).  Cut the paper towel roll in half using a non-serrated knife.  A serrated knife kind of mangled the paper towel, but it was all I could find when I was ready to make these.  You can see the mess it makes.

Place one of the cut paper towel rolls into the container and add the remaining ingredients.  Let set until the roll has absorbed the liquids.  Remove the cardboard tube from the center.  Pull the wipes from the center of the roll for use.

Turns out one roll of paper towel (which is about a $1/roll or less if you buy in bulk) makes about 400 wipes.  The oil and baby wash are about $2-$3 each, but with only 2 Tablespoons per batch you can make quite a few baby wipes with each container.  Best yet the wipes are super soft without any chemicals on your baby’s bum!

Leave a comment

Filed under DIY Projects, Gift of Thrift, Tutorials

A Lesson in Recovery {Fabric}

I have some pretty high aspirations when it comes to fabric. Combine that with someone who has very little experience with sewing, or really anything with fabric, and you have one perplexed individual.  I see what other bloggers can do and I get all inspired, and then frustrated because I don’t have a clue.  Many of these little creative genius’ roaming the blog world are operating in a whole different league, we aren’t even in the same division! So this post is dedicated to tackling something that is very challenging for you!

I desperately want to tackle a upholstery project, but I just don’t feel very confident (this is pretty true about anything to do with sewing too).  But thanks to a few blogs I’ve read, when I saw this stool for $1 at an estate sale I knew that even I could make her pretty and functional….or at least attempt to.

I started by taking off the top fabric and pad simply by pulling the staples on the bottom.

Then I placed the old foam on a new piece of foam.  Using a sharpie I traced around the old foam to make sure my new cushion was the right size.

I cut out the cushion with a rotary blade (shown above) because it is SO sharp and cuts much smoother than my attempt with a scissors and any other blade for that matter.  Once the new cushion was cut from the new foam I placed it on top of the stool frame, and laid my fabric over the top of the foam.  I took the entire stool (with foam and fabric on top) and flipped over on top of the table, and went to town with a staple gun.

Trim off the excess fabric, close to the staples.  Right side up she looked like this…

But to make her even more pretty, I pulled out some ribbon and glued it to the edge.

Mission accomplished.  Stool pretty-fied, and functional.
(Whoa, don’t look in the background.  My craft space is the porch of our house which has been doubling as “storage of stuff.”  Guess it’s time for some spring cleaning)

What projects have you done that were a little out of your comfort zone, but you are glad you did it?  Comment below and share a link if you can!


Filed under Before/After, Gift of Thrift, Tutorials

Chalk one up! {Repurposed Picture Frames}

Before I begin let me just say that I realize this idea has been around the block, but I’m still in love with old-fashioned chalkboards.    Over the past year I have probably made about 20 more chalkboards of all shapes and sizes to add something simple to my seasonal decor.  In case you haven’t noticed, nearly all of my seasonal decor include chalkboards.  I’ve even used them for Photography props in children’s and family shoots. The possibilities are endless.  At less $5 a chalkboard, how can you resist the temptation to fill every crevice?!?!

To begin a few supplies you’ll want to scrounge up:
-picture Frames of various shapes and sizes (thrift stores and garage sales are great hotspots for these)
-Assortment of Acrylic paints
-Can of Chalkboard paint
-Foam brush or roller
– Small sheet of hardboard (available at most hardware stores)
– saw (the husband used a skilsaw)
-studly husband: optional

1.  I started by taking the glass and any artwork out of the frame so just the frame skeleton was exposed. Paint the frame with desired acrylic colors.

Note: my first attempt I thought I could just paint the glass with the chalkboard paint- hence the glass and artwork still in frame.  I wouldn’t recommend it.  The chalkboard paint doesn’t adhere as well to the glass. I had challenges with smudged, inconsistent coverage, and chipping once it was dry.  It’s worth the small investment in the hardboard.

2.  Measure frame opening then cut hardboard to fit.

3. Using foam roller or brush (roller preferred) paint hardboard piece or pieces with chalkboard paint.  Takes 2-3 coats with sufficient dry time in between.

4.  Place hardboard in painted picture frame.  In some cases you may need to add picture frame hardware to the back of your newly created chalkboard.

5.  Add messages and or other accents to add some spunk to your decor.

Best part is these babies are versatile.  You can change the sayings for each season

For this one, I added a vinyl flourish and placed in our kitchen.  Initially it served as our menu planner for the week, but now it just shares a personal message 🙂

And with many families doing holiday photos, I added a few chalkboards for props

Chalkboards are fun and versatile and Oh So SIMPLE to make.

Wishing you the very best this Thanksgiving.  I’ll be returning on Sunday with the Countdown to Christmas homemade series


Filed under DIY Projects, Gift of Thrift, Inspiration, Tutorials

Infamous TP pumpkins {no sew Fabric Pumpkin}

I’m sure you’ve seen these a hundred times.  Cheap toilet paper (which is scarce at homecoming), tissue paper, adorable fabric,and sticks to create a simple and easy fall decor item.

I decided to create these the past few years as a versatile way to add color to my fall decor.  While I love pumpkins, gourds, and all the other festive crops, the colors get a little monotonous for me.  In order to appreciate this post you’ll need to know that I am a bargain whore.  I am consistently scouring thrift stores, rummage sales,  and trash piles to find something that I can create with.  Much of the fabric used for this project was acquired from old bed spreads or fancy shams; fabric remnants that were 90% off at a local crafts stores, or re-purposed clothing that was practically given to me. Trust me there are many more project like this in my realm of creativity.

Cut fabric into approximately 13″ x 13″ squares.  Place a few pieces of tissue paper on top of the fabric and place the cheap roll of toilet paper in the middle.  I tend to squash the toilet paper roll to give it a little more character, by placing both of my hands on the top of the roll and applying all my body weight to my hands.  Then grab the corners of the fabric (and tissue paper) and tuck into the center of the toilet paper roll.

Once all edge are tucked in nicely add your “stick” stem.  I say stick, because I literally found a about a 1″ diameter stick about 2′ long on the side of the road during a walk with little man and dog one afternoon.  I had the husband cut into 3″ piece and thus I have pumpkin stems.  I really like the rustic look to them over some other crafted stems I have seen.

I have also created mini-TP-Pumkins by cutting the roll of toilet paper in half with a serrated knife.  Follow the same process, but use less of your supplies! Nice compliment for a pumpkin patch.

That’s it.  I don’t use glue or any fancy leaves or anything.  Just a little love of thrift and cheap toilet paper.  I like to see it as a way to save everyone’s behind from ever having to use that brutal stuff on your behind, or a pretty back up to the emergency realization that there is no toilet paper in the house!


Leave a comment

Filed under DIY Projects, Gift of Thrift, Inspiration, Tutorials

Mini festive signs {Eek}

I’m a scrap hog, anytime I see left over scraps in the garbage it pains me.  My husband is well aware that I will dumpster dive if he doesn’t check with me before throwing away any scraps.  Such is the case of the mini festive signs.  These were created with scraps of 1 x 4 lumber that my husband was throwing away.  I rescued a few pieces and had him trim them to block size and the result is a variety of fun little signs.

Supplies for this Project:
scrap lumber (I used 1″x 4″ scraps)
variety of scrapbook printed papers for the desired holiday or season
acrylic paint- colors to coordinate with scrapbook paper
foam brush or paint brush
adhesive (I used Modge Podge)
Stickers or Chipboard for message
scissors or paper cutter
(Might need a few drops of E-6000 or other strong adhesive depending on your sticker/chipboard selection)

The first step is to lay your block over the scrapbook paper and mark the dimensions.  I tend to trim it just a hair (hows that for measurement) smaller than the block so that the painted edge show better.

The paint the edges of your block and let dry. I also paint a little on the front just to make sure when my paper is attached no wood is showing.

Once that is dry, use a clean brush to paint on the adhesive to the block.  Just apply a light coat and spread out smoothly with your brush.  I find that the adhesive tends to spread more evenly when I use a foam brush.  Place the paper on top of the adhesive while wet and brush on a layer of adhesive.  Make sure to get the edges of the paper.  This may take a few coats, but make sure you allow time for the coats to dry in between applications.  You don’t want to have too much adhesive or your paper will bubble.

Optional: take a small dab of paint and “dry brush” the edge of the block to give it a weathered look.  I have also torn the edges of the paper for a similar look.

Depending on the print on the paper, and color of your chipboard or stickers, I sometimes add a few strokes of paint where the message will go so it’s a little more bold.  Make sure to do this after the adhesive is completely dry.

Arrange stickers/chipboard into a message to fit on your block.  I have found that I sometimes need to add a few drops of E-600 (or another strong adhesive) to get the stickers to stay on.

These fun little signs are so simple to make, and the possibilities are endless.  The entire project maybe lasts 30 minutes with drying time.  What I really love is these signs can be placed anywhere to add a little touch of flare for the holiday season, or in bathroom, bedroom, in an odd space in your hallway or kitchen!  Making one for every season and every room is as simple as finding the paper you want.  I easily made 20 of these for less than $5.

Hope you enjoy your festive mini sign project 🙂

1 Comment

Filed under DIY Projects, Gift of Thrift, Inspiration, Tutorials

Boo {Ghost Lanterns}

Hope I didn’t scare you with a post, things have been pretty desolate on this blog lately, but that is changing this week.

Fall is my FAVORITE time of year.  With the close of summer and amazingly gorgeous weather we were having we were out enjoying every last minute.  This week the frost advisories are upon us and I can gear up my craft game.  THis post kicks of a week of fall decor posts.

I came across the inspiration for this Halloween decor several years ago at a local craft store.  After a few visits to Habitat ReStore I was reminded of the opportunity for a thrifty, cute project using Glass globes from old lighting.

Supplies needed for this project: A variety of glass globes (can be found at many thrift stores for $.50 to $1.00 each), foam or paint brush, white acrylic paint OR an adhesive that dries cloudy, Black vinyl OR a Black Paint Pen.  Optional is iridescent fine white glitter.

You might notice from my first picture that not all ghosts were created equal.  The steps to achieve the ghostly lanterns are the same, it’s just a matter of what materials you use. For the solid-looking white ghosts I used pearlized white acrylic paint, for the glittery ghost (middle) I used Modge Podge and iridescent white glitter.

The first step is the most difficult.  Liberally coat the inside of the globes with paint.  If you are using the adhesive, apply glitter after the adhesive is brushed on, then let dry.  I let them dry overnight and often applied a second or third coat for adequate coverage.

Note: to make Life easier I tried to paint he outside of a globe as a test, and the paint scratches off much easier.  Maybe if you apply a finishing clear coat this would be an easier alternative to painting the inside of the globe.

Adding the ghost face can be done by cutting ovals or circles from a sheet of black vinyl using a die-cut machine, or painting on ovals and circles with a paint pen.  I tried both, and both worked just fine.  I guess it just depends on the resources you have at your disposal 🙂  Every ghost requires 2 eyes and a mouth.  I played around with ovals and circles and tend to like ALL ovals for eyes and mouth. Add the facial features as desired.

The last step is to lift the globe and place a tea light to make the ghost glow.  I found that when lit, the Glittered ghost shimmer and is a little more blingy. These are awesome lanterns for fun festive Halloween evenings.

(sorry for the image quality, I haven’t perfected my low-light photography abilities)

This is a super fun project that you can do with young kids.  I turned these Boo Lanterns into a craft day with my 3 nieces (2,5,7) and all turned out really cute.  Hope you enjoy this fun and thrifty Halloween project!

Leave a comment

Filed under DIY Projects, Gift of Thrift, Tutorials