Saturday, July 30, 2011

Gentlemen Broncos t-shirt {part 2}

We have a tradition to have our two thirteen year old nieces stay with us a few weeks each summer.  It seems each summer our visits have a movie theme.  Last year it was Hot Rod and we made Hulkamania t-shirts and this Hot Rod halloween costume.
This summer the movie is Gentlemen Broncos.

Each niece designed their t-shirt with an inside joke from the movie.  I made the shirts from a light grey knit I had in my stash.

So the first shirt was Aubree's.  She really wanted to have this character Lonnie on a shirt somehow.
 We took an image from the actual film, from the "bus scene".  It's really random, but has become one of our favorites.

I finally decided how I could do this, and it combined freezer paper stenciling with fabric paint, and free motion sewing.
The hair, background of the face, and text were painted on with freezer paper stencils.
To sew the facial features on, I traced them on freezer paper and ironed it on top of the black background as a template.  Then I was able to sew the face on.

It makes more sense if you've seen the movie.

Brooklyn's shirt has a battle stag.

A painted deer with applique rockets and red eye.

Beneath the stag, I sewed "oh my holy crap" with the free motion presser foot.

We made a third shirt for my other niece that couldn't come.  It's a larger battle stag {I still need to sew on the rockets}.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Gentlemen Broncos t-shirt {part1}

-the Bronco Years-
Moon Buggy

I'm assuming close to no one reading this has ever watched the film:

I'm not recommending it, as I've only met 2 other people that like this movie.  My cousin, Staci and my brother in law Drew.  It was pulled from many theaters the same weekend it opened. 
Actually, I watched it for the first time in March of this year.  We got it from Netflix just to check it out, knowing it received awful reviews.  But we liked Napoleon Dynamite and Nacho Libre from the same writer/ director, so we watched it.  I turned it off and made a comment about how dumb it was, not funny, and wishing I'd had those 2 hours of my life back.
I kind of hated it....
....but "oh my holy crap"
... I couldn't stop thinking about it.
It got more and more hilarious in the weeks following as my husband and I would remember different little details.

If you've seen it, I'm a little embarrassed to broadcast how much we like this film.  I would describe the humor as "10-year-old boy", meaning puke, poop, belching, etc.  So we have an immature sense of humor have shared it with our teenage nieces and nephews and have developed a little G.B. fan club. So we're making a few tee shirts for the kids while I have my two 13-year-old nieces visiting.

So this is the first tee shirt. 
It's the title of the main character's novel with a moon buggy sketch.

Here's the moon buggy from the movie, driven by a cyclops wearing a silk scarf, of course.

Obviously no one will be making a Yeast Lords shirt, but I loved the way the notebook paper applique turned out.
It's just white broadcloth with fusible interfacing on the back.  I sewed blue horizontal rows 1/4" apart with a long stitch length, then one vertical red row to imitate notebook paper.
I actually used my 3 hole punch to punch the holes in the side.  It cut about half the circle, and I used scissors to cut out the rest.

To "draw" the text and moon buggy to look like it was sketched with pen, I used black thread and my free motion presser foot to sketch it on the fabric.
I drew the moon buggy with disappearing ink first, and then just winged the text as I went to make it look hand drawn and messy.

I just zig-zagged the applique to an Old Navy t-shirt for my nephew who's 15.

I thought it actually looked a lot like an actual notebook piece of paper on a t-shirt.

Other ideas of notebook shirts have ran through my mind, some as immature as the original inspiration-- "Kick Me" patch sewn on the back of a t-shirt as a gag gift.
Then my mom instincts kicked back in and I thought of making a name label for kindergartner's backpacks.
Rather than embroidery or sharpie to label the kid's backpack, you could make the "learning to write paper"--you know the kind with the dotted line in the center?, then sewing the child's name with simple lettering and sewing the patch on the backpack.  

More ideas could come from notebook paper appliques...but these are the few I thought of.

Stay tuned for more G.B. t-shirts to come.

Monday, July 25, 2011

About Me

A while ago, I thought I'd try to do a better job about sharing more about myself on this blog, rather than just listing projects, but it really hasn't happened.

Mainly because I can't think of anything I would think you'd want to know.

So I'm opening up to answer any questions you may have, husband's job? where I grew up? and I feel willing to answer pretty much anything.

So if you have something you'd like to know about me, you can leave a comment or email it to:

To jump start it, I thought I'd share an awkward gem from my tween years.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Antique Dresser

The last few months of my pregnancy, I kept my eye on the classifieds looking for a small dresser for her.  Both kids are in the same room, so I wanted a smaller dresser to go in the closet.   But luckily a few purchases fell through, and we got this dresser for free from Rhett's brother.  I liked it so much, RJ's red dresser went in the closet and this shorter one gets to be in the room.

Rhett's older brother was cleaning out his garage, and was taking this dresser to the thrift store and I was able to snag it.  It was pretty crappy...and old.  Apparently his mother in law collected old stuff, and they'd had this dresser from her.  I don't know how old it is, but it had been stored outdoors at some point, all the drawer bottoms had warped and the top had water stains.  So it was pretty much a piece of junk. 

It did still have all the original hardware--glass knobs which were cool. 

I'm sure some readers cringe to see I painted an antique.
I originally planned to refinish the dresser with a complete new stain, but as I got sanding, I realized this piece isn't structurally that great, and it just wasn't worth all the effort.  It's kind of falling apart, warped, and peeling beyond repair other than taking the drawer fronts and building new drawers, etc.
Plus I like the paint and stain combo better.  So yes I wanted this free piece of junk to look nice to go in my house, but I didn't want to take my summer to sand it down when in the end it's still a piece of junk falling apart.
So it's in the kids' room with Ellie's clothes inside and RJ's stuff on top.

Dresser Refinish Breakdown
1. Reinforce Drawers
Pretty much every drawer needed reinforcing glue/ nails.  The dresser top also needed to be glued.

2. Sand
I hate sanding.  So when my power sander needed a new pad, this project halted for over a month until I got it ordered and it arrived.  But eventually I sanded the dresser top down to raw wood.

3. Clean dresser in and out

4. Stain and Paint
I used straight Minwax Red Mahogony stain for the dresser top.  I painted on one coat, then went right back to start wiping it off.  So the stain was only on maybe 3 minutes and it was a saturated color, and I was good with that.

Because I wasn't sanding the body of the dresser, I just painted one coat of ivory latex semi-gloss paint.
The dresser was pretty worn down and I didn't prime the dresser first.

The painting method I used on this part was "dry brushing" where you use very little paint in the brush, and brush the paint on thinly.  This way any grooves or dents remained the original dark stain, but overall the dresser looks like an aged ivory.  I liked this method because the dresser is really old, and all the dents and distressing is original for the most part.
It only took one coat of the ivory, I wanted it to look aged and not a perfect glossy finish.

5. Distress edges
I did lightly sand the edges of the dresser and drawers to remove the ivory paint and show the original dark wood.

6. Polyurethane
I painted 2 coats of satin finish polyurethane to seal the protect the dresser, and give it the shine on the wood.

7. Line Drawers
I had to put something in the drawers.  The original wood was clean now, but just looked nasty so I cut contact paper for the bottoms.

8. Add Hardware
I ended up using the original glass knobs for the bottom drawers, but some were busted so I didn't have enough for the top little drawers. I did spray paint the screws Oil Rubbed Bronze to glam them up a little.

These old looking pulls were the original hardware from the sideboard I refinished a few months ago.
I'd like to take a drawer to an antique store some day and try to find a skeleton key that will fit the lock.  That would be really awesome.

Not priming and only dry brushing one coat of the ivory really made this project faster than other furniture remodels.

It has RJ's things on top:
the lamp I painted, photo of his hands on my dad's, photo with his Dad when he was a baby, his initial block, and a vintage copy of My Father's Dragon my mom gave us.

I actually think this was my last project for the kid's room and I'm all done and should take photos of the whole room now.

What do you think of storing that vintage green suitcase under the dresser.
Cool? or just weird and out of place.  It's full of Ellie's clothes for the next size up.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Scrappy Sun Hats

Here's my tutorial from June that was part of Scrap Your Stash at Living With Punks.

So my project can be made using random larger scraps, like the blue hat which used scraps from my Phoebe dress I made a few moths ago....

...or you can use quilting pre-cut strips like the red hat.  I used the left over coordinating 2.5" strips from my daughter's baby quilt.

So this hat was created because I needed a baby sun hat for our little girl.  She has huge cheeks and the swim hat I'd been using kept sliding off her head, and its brim didn't quite cover the chubba cheeks.
So I designed this hat with a tighter fitting crown and elastic chin strap so it won't fall off.
Rather than cutting the brim in a circle, you can just use scraps in strips (way less fabric useage) and the ruffle effect helps it stand out from the head to protect their face from the sun.

I have to mention my son here.  I made the pattern 3 sizes, and asked him to wear the large red hat for a few pictures.  I handed it to him, and he looked at me and said: "Mom....I don't like this hat."  So I realize I put my son in a frilly girl's hat, but I thought it would be worth it so you could see it on a bigger noggin.
Plus it will be valuable ammunition when he's 18.

The pattern uses 6 pieces for the crown of the hat.
For the blue hat I used two different prints, and for the red I used 6 prints to make 12 sections.
So you have a lot of room to creatively use your scraps.

The hats are also lined so you don't have to worry about finishing your raw seams.
Notice here I used different brims for the wider, under brim.  The blue hat has a one-layer brim that has a narrow hem.  For the red hat I used two strips for a double layer brim and sewed them together so the top is stripes, and the bottom has dots.

Pattern has 3 sizes using the head circumference as a reference, and also includes dimensions for brim strips.


1. Gather your scraps
From the dress I had large enough scraps for the triangular pieces, and decided to have every other piece a solid aqua.  But the red hat used quilting strips 2.5" wide, so I had to sew two strips together for each triangle piece, which is why it ended up having 12 different panels rather than the standard six.  I sewed two strips together, pressed it open, then cut my triangle lining up the center seam with the center of the triangle.

2. Cut out your pieces
The pattern has directions on the width and length of the elastic, brims, and optional ribbon.
You'll need 6 triangles for the outside, 6 triangles for the inside. 
NOTE: I use lingerie or fold-over elastic because it comes in colors and is really soft for those chubby baby chins.  I buy mine in my husband's home town craft store, or you can find it online too. I'd recommend this etsy shop.

3. Sew Crown or Exterior of Hat
Take the exterior triangles, right sides together, and sew one side.  Open and add the other triangle to the other side if you're making a pattern and sew two halves of the hat each with 3 triangles. 

Take your two crown halves, right sides together, and sew them up one side and down the other in one rainbow shaped seam.

Construct another hat top with your lining triangles.

4. Make Brims
Take your brim strips and sew the two ends together.
**I had to piece my brim strips, so I ended up with a few seams to get them in one circle. 

Press the seams open, then fold the narrow brim in half and iron it down.
For the under, wider brim I hemmed one edge by folding 1/8" under twice, then top-stitching it in place.
**The red hat had two strips sewn together and ironed in half, (the top stripes, the bottom dots) rather than one layer hemmed. 

To get the brims to ruffle, you need to gather the raw edges.  I sew a gather stitch just by increasing the stitch length to the longest (5.0) and the thread tension to the highest (10.0).  This gathers the fabric as you sew.  Do this on each brim.

5. Sew on both hat brims
Take your smaller brim and pin it to the crown of the hat right sides together. I had to pull the bottom thread of my gather stitching to scrunch my brim even more than what the sewing machine was able to gather.  I just gathered it and fit it to the hat. Then sew all the way around. 

Next we add the next layer, and pin the wider brim right sides together to the hat.  You'll sew the wide brim on top of the narrow brim. 

So at this point your hat has both ruffled brims sewn on. 

6. Sew chin elastic
You continue to add another layer to the hat by pinning your chin elastic to each side.  Make sure the elastic goes up and over the right side of the hat. 

7. Sew lining to hat exterior
Now to connect the hat exterior to the lining and hide all your raw seams inside, make sure your lining is inside out and the hat exterior is right side out with the elastic over the top.
You'll place the right side out hat into the lining, essentially putting them right sides together.
Line up the seams and pin the hat to the lining all the way around. 

Sew around the hat, but leave a few inches unsewn to act as a hole to flip your hat right side out. 

9. Finish it up
From the hole you left, carefully pull the hat exterior out and then push the lining back up into the hat. 

You will need to take care of the hole at this point.  You can hand sew the lining to the hat.  I am lazy and used the machine to close the hole, sewing in the ditch of the hat/ brim seam. 

At this point I chose to top-stitch the yellow ribbon along the hat seam.  It's merely decorative.
I had planned on adding a turquoise ribbon to the red hat, but decided not to in the end.
You're finished!

Hope these help your little ones have a sunburn free summer!


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