Easy t-shirt alterations

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I had a closet full of t-shirts that didn’t fit, until I discovered that I could alter them in just about 20 minutes. The process is simple and will help you reclaim those free t-shirts that seem to multiply.

resize a tshirt!

Step 1 – Choose a shirt that fits well as a guide. 

I was inspired to try this technique when my son’s tee ball shirt was too big, resulting in him refusing to wear it to the game. I figured making the shirt fit was easier than dealing with a 5-year-old tantrum, so I chose his favorite shirt to use as a guide. He didn’t even have to be in the room! I didn’t use pins or take any measurements. This technique is really simple.

Step 2 – Line up the shirt that fits with the big one.

tshirt alterations - line up two shirtsTurn the big shirt inside out and lay it flat, smoothing out all of the wrinkles. Then, place the shirt that fits on top so that the collars line up nicely.

Step 3 – Use tailor’s chalk to mark the edges of the shirt that fits. use tailor's chalk to trace the shirt

Simply trace around the sides of the shirt. This will be your guideline when sewing. Remember, you don’t want to sew the arm holes shut!


Step 4 – Sew along the chalk lines.

I used a sturdy zigzag stitch for this, but I don’t think I needed to. Also, you may have noticed in the picture that the thread does not need to match the fabric for this, since all of the stitches will be hidden.

Leave openings along both sleeves and along the bottom hem. (The shirt is no good if you can’t get in it!)

Step 5 – Cut the sleeves to the length you prefer.

You don’t have to trim them at all, or you can cut them to the same size as the shirt you used as a template.

Step 6 – (Optional) Cut the bottom hem to the length you prefer.

Before making cuts at the bottom, I had my son try on the resized shirt. He actually preferred the longer length, so we left the original hem. When I did this project for my own shirt, I decided to cut off some from the bottom, then simply sewed around the edges so they didn’t roll up.

That’s it! This project is really easy and you can turn all of the boxy, unflattering t-shirts piling up in your closet into your favorites!













Daddy Doll Tutorial

Daddy Doll

Lots of people travel for work or are separated and little children often have a hard time understanding why Daddy or Mommy isn’t around all the time. When my husband went on long trips for work, I decided to make a doll version of him that I had seen online. The concept is pretty simple. The final doll winds up being about 11 inches tall and is shaped like an oval. I took the boys to the fabric store and they chose a very cozy fleece fabric for the back, so that their Daddy Dolls are very hug-able.

Materials needed:

1/4 yard each of

  1. plain white fabric
  2. cozy fabric of your choice for the back

Poly-fil stuffing for the doll

photo transfer paper for fabric

photo of the person (fully visible from head to toe with as plain a background as possible)

Step 1: 

Take the photo and print it in reverse onto the photo transfer paper (follow directions that came with the paper). Trim the photo close to the edges of the person so that it has very little excess.

Step 2: 

(Again, follow the directions that come with the transfer paper). Iron the photo onto the white fabric, making sure to put a light pillow case in between the paper and the iron so that it doesn’t stick. My first try was a failure because I didn’t iron the photo long enough. The second time, I did it for twice as long as the directions suggested and had more success.

Step 3:

Peel back the paper backing so that the photo is on the fabric and let it cool.

Step 4: 

Place “wrong” sides together of cozy fabric and the photo fabric and sew it almost all the way around.

Step 5: 

Turn the doll inside out and stuff with Poly-fil. Sew the end shut.

Bonus – add a silky tag to the doll before sewing the end shut so that the doll has another cozy piece for little fingers.

Easy way to keep your children’s loved ones close when they are far away.

Puffy Quilt Tutorial

Puffy blanket

Yesterday I told the story of my epic puffy quilt crafting project that spanned nearly 3 years. While that doesn’t exactly fit the criteria of this site about craft projects that can be completed quickly and easily in the spare time you can find, I thought it would be good to do a quick tutorial in case you would like to try to make the best blanket ever.

The hardest part of the whole thing (and really any sewing project) is picking out the fabric. I spent the longest time in the fabric store choosing the 10 coordinating designs needed for this pattern. I love blues and greens, so I went with those, and mixed patterns and solids for a more tame design. Once you have your amazing fabric colors chosen, get them cut.

Total project time: 3 years and counting

Actual work time: who knows? I work on it for an hour at a time and go months without doing anything at all. This is a back of the closet project for me, but I’m so glad I finished it because the finished product is well worth it!

I honestly don’t remember how much of each fabric I got, but I do know that I have a ton left over, so here is an approximate shopping guide:

Front pattern – 10 coordinating fabrics – 1 yard each (to be safe) You could probably get away with 1/2 yard each if you’re feeling risky.

Back of each “puff” – 1 fabric – 1 1/2 yards (get the cheapest fabric you can find… this will be 100% hidden in the finished blanket) You can even use any scrap fabric you have from other projects. Like I said… it’s going to be completely hidden.

Blanket Backing – 1 cozy fabric (I picked a solid tan fleece to match my living room) – 1 yard (or enough to be the finished size of your blanket)

Stuffing – 1-2 bags

Step 1 – Wash the fabric. (1 hour) I hate this part because I’m always so excited to get started when I get home from the fabric store, but if you don’t wash your fabric first, you could have weird shrinking issues with the finished quilt if you try to wash it later. Plus, you want your cozy quilt to be ready to snuggle in right away. Don’t skip this step. Oh… and don’t forget to iron the fabric after you wash it. (The worst! But totally necessary.)

Step 2 – Cut the squares. (several hours – spread this out over a few days) *Take the blanket backing fabric and fold it up and put it away somewhere before cutting fabrics. This will be a solid piece at the end.

Having the right tools really does help in this case. I used a rotary cutter and fabric cutting board marked with the measurements. I also used a quilting square to keep my cuts straight. My cut squares are 5 1/2 inches for the top fabrics and 4 1/2 inches for the back fabric. (You want the back fabric to be a bit smaller, so that when you line up the edges of the two to sew them together, you will have room for the filling.) Make this choice wisely. If you have bigger squares, you will not need as many… I chose relatively small ones and felt like I would be cutting fabric forever. That being said, I cut ALL of the fabric I bought into tiny squares (mistake). You only need 10 squares of each fabric if you follow my pattern. I would have liked larger scrap pieces to make coordinating pillows or something. Now I have stacks of tiny squares of my favorite fabrics that I can only use to make more awesome puffy quilts. (Maybe I’ll have them finished in time for my boys to give to their kids!)

Step 3 – sew the puffs. (3 minutes per puff if you’re on a roll) Align the bottom fabric with the top in one corner. Sew across the bottom edge, making sure to make a tiny pleat halfway across. Then sew the next two sides in the same way, keeping the edges lined up as you go. Before sewing the final side, stuff the puff with a bit of poly-fil stuffing and sew the puff shut. No need to be neat about it, because you’ll be sewing the puffs together and the raw edges will be hidden.

Step 4 – create rows of puffs. (45 minutes per row) Once you have your first two puffs, put the right sides together and sew across the edge to attach them on one side. Keep adding more puffs until you have a row of 10.

Step 5 – attach completed rows together (5 minutes per row) After you finish the first two rows, you can sew them together. If you want the diagonal pattern like mine, you should rotate the order of fabrics so the first fabric in row 1 is the second fabric in row 2 (see pictures below). Don’t worry about getting the corners to line up exactly – the puffs will hide your sloppy sewing skills (if you sew like I do!) The best part of doing the project one complete row at a time is that it packs up nicely. You can add a row a day (or week, or month, or year!) and then pack the quilt-in-progress away with the stacks of cut squares. If you sew all of the puffs first without attaching them, you will have a closet of loose puffs, and nobody wants that

Step 6 – add the backing fabric. (1 hour) Give yourself a pat on the back because you finished the hardest part! Now, in order for this to become your favorite cozy thing, you just need to hide the ugly back. Place your quilt right side up on the floor (or whatever work surface you have available). Dig the blanket backing fabric out of the very safe place you stored it. Then, place the blanket backing fabric right side down on top of the quilt. (The sides you want facing out should be facing each other at this point.) Sew completely around 3 edges of the quilt. Stop about halfway through the last edge and turn the blanket right side out. Finish sewing the final section shut. With this design, there’s no need to iron the seams because it’s so puffy!

Step 7 – Take a nap. You deserve it!

Holiday Wreath Tutorial

Holiday Wreath

This wreath project takes about 20-25 minutes per wreath and cost only $15 in supplies.

Check out the video tutorial here.

Step 1: Gather supplies – I shopped at Michael’s craft store (with a coupon!) to get the best deal on the wreath supplies. Rather than using loose greenery, which can be hard to attach to a wreath form, I chose a long garland that wrapped around my 12 inch wreath form twice, filling it in nicely. Since I wanted to add a festive holiday look, I chose a sprig of cranberries and red ribbon to decorate the wreath. The ribbon will attach to the inside of the cabinet door in my kitchen with a Command hook.

Here’s what you need:
1. garland
2. ribbon
3. wreath form
4. floral wire
5. wire cutters
6. embellishments (berries) 7. Command hook (not pictured)
step 1
Start by using the wire to attach the garland end to the wreath form. Continue attaching the garland around the wreath until it is all secure.

Step 2: Attach the garland to the wreath form, using the floral wire.

Step 3: Attach the ribbon by wrapping it around the wreath.

Step 4: Attach the decorations (berries) to the wreath.

Step 5: Hang with the ribbon attached to a Command hook on the inside of the cabinet door.

corner wreath
The finished wreath in the corner
Whole kitchen
The finished project