Category Archives: machine sewing- clothes

Super springtime shorts!



Springtime’s coming and it’s time for some new shorts/pants! We made these out of bandanas and they’re both comfy and cool.

This was SUPER simple.

Here’s how to do it.

First you need 2 identical bandanas of the same color and some elastic for the waist band. We used 1.5 inch elastic to have a pretty stable and thick waistband but you could use something smaller if you like.

Take your bandanas and lay them on top of each other so that they exactly match.

laying out bandanas

laying out bandanas

Now fold them in half (both layers together) and place the fold on the left.


You’re going to measure down 10 inches and in 2 inches from the top right side and cut a “J” shape through all 4 layers.

It should look like this.

J shape cut in fabric.

J shape cut in fabric.

Now open up the bandanas and lay them flat like this.


Now sew the two layers together on the J shape on both the left and right sides. We used a zig zag stitch for extra strength. This will be the crotch of the pants so it should be strong.

J shape stitched

J shape stitched

Once you have the two “J” shapes stitched then open up the fabric and line it up with the crotch in the middle.


Now it’s time to stitch the inside of the legs. Start at one end go up to the crotch and turn down to the other leg.

pants with sewn legs

pants with sewn legs

Now we need to add the waistband. Since the bandana comes with a finished edge you can just turn the top waist down about a half inch wider than the elastic you’re using. This will be your casing so it’s important that it’s not too small or the elastic won’t fit inside.

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Stitch the waistband down and  leave a space to feed in your elastic.

Measure your waist and cut your elastic about 1 inch longer. Feed your elastic into the casing using a safety pin in the end to help you.

Once you have your elastic in the casing stitch the elastic pieces together and let them slip back into the casing.


Now stitch up the rest of the casing and try those shorts on!


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My sister and I are making these in 6 different colors!

They’re super comfy.

Make some and send us a picture!


Sewing class! Make a skirt with pockets!



I was so excited when one of my friends Grace asked me if I would teach her how to make “something with pockets”. We decided to have a sewing class at her house and I taught some of my friends how to make a super simple skirt with patch pockets.

This is the easiest skirt EVER to make and took us less than an hour. This is the tutorial we followed to make it and then we just added little patch pockets. We all decided on heart shaped pockets except for my sister who always has to be different. She wanted squares.

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Make a skirt and send us a picture! We want to see your creations!


Upcycled Dress! Design your own clothes!



So I’m really interested in making my own clothes and have made a few skirts and tank tops but want to make things that are fancier. My mom said it might be fun to make some new clothes using old clothes. It’s called upcycling! We had so much fun with every part of this project and I’m making tons of stuff so I’ll definitely be posting more projects using this technique soon.

So for this dress we used a women’s size medium tank top. We went to the thrift store and bought a bunch of shirts and tank tops that I liked. My mom’s advice in picking out a good shirt to do this with is that the neck line shouldn’t be too low cut or it will be much harder to modify. Basically no V neck shirts and boat neck shirts should  be discouraged in your first attempt. Just find something you like (even a basic t-shirt is awesome) the fabric of. I liked this one because of the buttons on the front.

Here’s what it looked like when we started.

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The first step was to try it on. My mom helped me to pin the straps temporarily just to make them a little shorter and then pull the sides in and pin them close to my body right under the arms. If you don’t have someone to help you with this you can always take a dress or shirt that fits you really well and lay it flat on top of your project shirt and then use it as a template to pin the sides how you want the new shape to be.

pinned straps and sides

pinned straps and sides

pinned straps

pinned straps

Then I took off the dress and layed it flat on my cutting board. I took my seam ripper which is a little sharp tool that you can use to take the stitches out of clothes. It’s a lifesaver for a project like this. I opened up the seam where the straps were just on the front of the dress and took them off. (you may not have to do this if your shirt doesn’t have straps or if the straps aren’t so far off to the edge of your body)

strap removed with seam ripper

strap removed with seam ripper

Now it’s time to cut the sides of your shirt. We started on the outside of the pin and just gently cut down at an angle so that it eventually met up with the edge of the “skirt”

Hopefully this picture will help you to see what we mean.

dress layed out ready to cut.

dress layed out ready to cut

dress cut from the top down the side.

dress cut from the top down the side.

Now we folded the dress in half and cut the other side to match.

folded over

folded over

cut to match

cut to match

Now it’s time to sew! Turn the shirt inside out and match up the front and back along the new cut lines.

Sew down the sides.

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Now try on the dress and pin the straps on where you would like them. We decided to crisscross the straps in the back on ours. It looks really cool. Once you have your straps on stitch them very carefully back onto the top.

You’re done!

Try it on and enjoy your work. It was SO easy and it’s a great way to make your own clothes without having to start from scratch! This dress cost us $2.00 and I love it!

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Now it’s your turn! Make something and send us a picture. We want to see your creations!

Here’s one my mom made me out of a women’s size large tank top. She didn’t have to take any straps off this one she just pinned it under my arms and sewed the sides. It took her about 10 minutes.

before- tank top

before- tank top

after- tank top dress!

after- tank top dress!

I love it!

I love it!

Superhero Capes!


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My sister loves to pretend she’s a superhero and so do I. She made up a name for herself called “Super Turtle Marin” because she loves turtles. I call myself “Wonder Woman” or “Wonder Tenney”. We decided it would be fun to make our own capes and it was SUPER easy. My mom helped us to decorate them a little using the same appliqué technique we learned in the Hawaiian Inspired Applique pillow tutorial we posted a while back.

For this project you need

1/2 a yard of your favorite fabric.

Scraps of coordinating fabric if you choose to decorate it.

Pellon Fusible Webbing – lightweight (if you’re decorating your cape)

Begin by cutting your cape fabric.

For a smaller cape like the one we made for my sister you want to cut the fabric 11 inches across at the neck, 18 inches at the bottom and 18 inches long. We measured 3.5 inches in from the edge of our rectangle of fabric and lined up our ruler to the bottom. Once you cut it you have a really clean diagonal line. Do it on both sides to create the triangle shape. For a longer cape we suggest 24 inches long but really you can make this fit your body so any length is great.

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measuring in 3.5 inches

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cape after cutting

Now we have to hem the edges. For this part you need to use an iron. Get a grown-ups help. On the sides and bottom you need to fold over the fabric 1/4 inch and iron it down. Then do the same thing and iron it again. You won’t see any raw edges on your project this way. You can use this technique (called hemming) on tons of projects. On the top of the cape you’re going to basically do the same thing by folding over 1/4 inch and ironing down, but the second time you fold over you should fold it down 1 inch so that you make what’s called a casing. It’s just a long tube that you can insert your tie or neck strap into later.

regular hemmed edge- folded over twice.

regular hemmed edge- folded over twice.

casing edge

casing edge- folded over twice

Once you have everything folded over and ironed you need to stitch all around the cape.

preparing to stitch the casing edge.

preparing to stitch the casing edge.

Once you have your cape stitched you need to make a neck strap so you can wear it. You could use just a bit of ribbon or a shoelace but we decided to make our own  so we could show you how to make your own binding tape.

We cut a piece of fabric 2 inches wide and 25 inches long. We used the extra bit of our fabric to make this so it just happened to be 25 inches, if yours is a bit shorter or longer that’s no big deal.

binding tape

binding tape

Now using your iron fold one side half way up and iron it down, then fold the other side to match the first and hem down.

folded halfway up

folded halfway up

Once you have both sides folded in then you fold both sides together. It hides all the raw edges inside the binding tape. All you need to do it to press it down and stitch it down the edge.

stitching binding tape

stitching binding tape

Once that’s done you need to feed it through your casing on the cape and try it on!

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We used the techniques of using appliqué to place pellon fusible web on some scrap fabric and then ironed it on to my sisters cape. I told you she’s obsessed with turtles. My mom made a turtle to put on her cape.

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my sister “super turtle”photo 4       photome "flying" with my capeme “flying” with my cape

Reversible Ribbon Headbands!


A few days ago I had the most fun playdate with my friend Margaret and my sister. They love crafting and sewing too and we decided to make headbands out of ribbon and elastic. They’re super cool because they’re reversible. You can flip them over whenever you want to change the look.

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The supplies you need for this project are

two kinds of ribbon (they need to be the same width)

thread that matches (or not if you want a contrasting color)

1/4 inch elastic

tape measure



Start by measuring your head from ear to ear. It helps if you have a friend help you with this part. Both our heads were 13 inches!


Cut your ribbon about 1 inch longer than your head measurement. We cut our’s 14 inches.


Now match up your ribbon with the wrong sides together (the non-printed sides) and stitch down the edges. We used a zig zag stitch on one of the headbands and just a straight stitch on the other.

Start sewing about half an inch down from the end. You need to leave a little space to turn the edges in.


Margaret and her mom sewing


Once you get it sewn on both sides turn the edges inside and stick the elastic in and stitch it up closed. You probably want to sew across the elastic end a few times to make sure it’s secure.


Once you have one side done, sit it on your head and have a friend help you pull the elastic under the back of your head and mark a line where you should sew it on the other side so it fit’s just right. Stick it inside the layers of ribbon with the edges turned under and stitch it closed.

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Trim your stray threads off and you’re done!

Wasn’t that easy? It looks so great too! You could make these for a friends birthday gift, for yourself, or even for your Mom or teacher.

Here’s some pictures of Margaret, my sister and I wearing our headbands!

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Make one and send us a picture for our creation gallery! We want to see your work!