Category Archive: DIY

DIY Style: Sweatshirt to Skinny Sweatpants (A Few Notes)

Sweatshirt to skinny sweatpants |

On Saturday I got it into my head to make some skinny sweatpants out of a ginormous sweatshirt I hadn’t worn since college. It took me three hours of measuring, cutting, sewing, swearing, ripping out, and sewing some more, but I was pretty pleased with the result.

On Sunday I Instagrammed the before-and-after pics with a not-at-all-humble-just-straight-up-bragging caption.

On Monday I happened to mention my feat to the style director for All You, one of the magazines I work for when not fighting crime in my secret identity as a green blogger. She asked me to send her the pics and promptly went bananas for them.

On Tuesday, she pitched my pants feat to our digital team, who asked me to blog about the project.

On Wednesday, I finally got my act together and did it, and the post, DIY Fashion: How I Turned an Old Sweatshirt Into New Sweatpants, is now live! I’m thrilled that my coworkers, DIY and crafting and money-saving pros, thought this project was worthy of featuring.

A few additional notes that I didn’t include in the All You post for the sake of streamlining, but that might be helpful to anyone who actually wants to attempt this refashion:

1. If there’s even the slightest chance that your before shot will be featured on the website of a major national brand, maybe brush your hair and put on a little makeup before taking it, hm? 😉

2. I cut off the lower band of the sweatshirt first, before making any other cuts, so as not to accidentally cut through it while cutting the other pieces, since I needed it for my waistband.

3. When tracing my pattern pants onto the sleeves of the sweatshirt, I lined up the inseam of the pants with the top (shoulder side) fold of each sleeve, so the curve of the neckline followed the curve of the crotch on the pants. (It sounds confusing, I know—I wish I had taken some process pictures—but when you lay your pants on the sweatshirt you’ll see how they fit together.) That let me go all the way to the center of the sweatshirt for each leg piece.

4. Even using the entire width of the sweatshirt, each leg piece was still a little shorter in the rise than my pattern pants. That didn’t really matter in front; since I was adding such a wide waistband, I knew it would make up the difference. But when I tried the pants on before adding the waistband, I could tell that I needed a bit more coverage in the back. (Pants always have a little extra fabric in the back, for obvious reasons.) So I cut a wide triangular shape from the remaining scraps of sweatshirt and sewed it to the back of the pants, like this:


5. My waistband was smaller than the top of the pants, so I had to pin it a lot and stretch it as I pinned and as I sewed, to get it to line up evenly. That was fine, just a little time consuming. Except that I pinned and sewed it on backwards and had to rip it out and redo the whole thing. ARGH. Pin the waistband to the OUTSIDE of the pants.

6. The waist is still a little loose, I think because the band was so stretched out to begin with that it isn’t really strong enough to hold the pants up. I may add a drawstring or extra elastic so that I can wear the pants out of the house without them falling down. My current plan is to sew a 1″ casing along the top of the waistband, then snip a hole and thread through some 3/4″ elastic. A drawstring would look cute but I don’t have anything handy to use as the drawstring and I do have a lot of no-roll elastic lying around, so the free option wins.

I hope this isn’t too confusing! It’s a pretty forgiving project fit-wise, so as long as you have a decent idea of how the pieces of a pair of pants fit together, it’s very doable. Really!


Beach Bunny

Our co-blogging families had a fabulous trip to the beach! Sun, fun, books, games, and for me, knitting. I love this yarn… So a square became a bunny! (And a beautiful memory – I hope G likes it!)


Upcycled Valentine’s Crafts: Mailboxes and Crayons

My daughter has a February birthday, but despite my hints she was always uninterested in having a Valentine-themed party. (I admit, I was motivated less by a love for V-Day than laziness: so easy to find appropriate party accessories!) Apparently age 7 was the sweet spot, though, because this year she finally asked for a hearts-and-love bash. Yes!

I like to keep parties simple–snacks, a craft activity, cake, done. For the craft, my first thought was to decorate crowns (Queens of Hearts!), but R had her own idea: She wanted everyone to make Valentine mailboxes, and then they would make valentines for each other, and hide the mailboxes, and…something complicated.

Decorating mailboxes, though, I could make that happen. I could have bought a kit of precut mailboxes online, but then I looked at my recycling bin and realized I had the raw materials on hand: milk cartons. I have a toddler with a big appetite, so it only took about two weeks to accumulate 10 half-gallon milk cartons–creative reuse FTW!

Valentine's mailboxes

There are lots of tutorials and Pinterest images for milk carton mailboxes, but in the end I decided to make my own life as easy as possible. I cut off the tops of the cartons, thoroughly washed and air-dried them, then covered them with plain white construction paper (stuck on with regular clear tape) and added a washi tape border around the edge just to fancy them up a bit. No lids or fancy shapes, and the paper-and-tape part was something I could do mindlessly while sitting in front of the TV one night. At the party, I let the kids have at it with crayons and stickers. They were so absorbed in decorating the mailboxes that I totally forgot about the valentine-making component of the activity, but no one seemed to mind.

For the goody bags, we made heart-shaped crayons, using up all the sad broken loose crayons rattling around R’s bedroom. I peeled the paper off the crayons, broke them into smaller chunks, and grouped by color family to satisfy my own OCD needs, and R filled the molds (we used a silicone heart-shaped cake/candy pan I bought especially for this purpose–the crayons leave a wax film on the pan that won’t wash off, so you can’t reuse the pan for food) with different color combinations. In the oven on the lowest heat setting until everything melted–I actually left them in a little longer than necessary (forgot they were in there while we were eating dinner!), but no harm done other than our kitchen stinking of melted crayon until the next morning. So easy and they turned out great!

Heart-shaped crayons


Valentine’s Day – Perfect Time for ‘Making’

Christmas-time gets busy with knitting projects for the kids and somehow I never seem to get it together to make candles for Feb 2nd but we have some fun picking and making Valentines. Plus, I have to admit that this year’s constant threat of snow here in the mid-Atlantic has made stand-by snow-day crafts a must.

This year, my little one didn’t seem to like my ideas, so we googled and googled and looked at lots of projects. He saw gardenmama‘s pine cone gnomes and wanted an army of them for his classmates. (He made himself a pumpkin for Valentine’s Day.)

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My oldest wanted to do something a little different and these caught his eye from jen at paint cut paste:

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These were great projects because the kids could do so much. My almost 5-yr old could find the pine cones with his brother and sew and stuff the gnome hats and hearts. (We didn’t make the hearts into pins). My almost 9-yr old found the sticks (in my parents kindling stack) and cut out the arrows and made the labels.

Thanks to gardenmama and jen for inspiring our Valentines!