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October 24, 2016

how to | make elbow patches

How to make and add elbow patches to a sweater
I'm not sure what the scientific reasons are behind it, but autumn always conjures up nostalgia. It's the only season (for me, at least) that feels fiercely familiar each times it rolls around. Back when I was an angsty teen, the arrival of colder weather would inevitably make me brood hardcore as I woefully re-remembered past embarrassments & pitfalls. Nowadays I use autumn to fondly relive old memories (& to wear a lot less eyeliner). I'm feeling the fall spirit like 24/7 because the leaves are SO CHANGING, plus I can buy pumpkin-flavored-anything basically everywhere. I'm in sweater-mode everyday, & spruced up one of my knitted shirts this past weekend with some elbow patches. So cozy, so fall.
Make your own elbow patch appliqués for sweaters and sweatshirts
I'm a big proponent of mending clothes rather than throwing them out, but I've gotta say: I've never had to patch elbows that have worn out. I don't know if I just have good table manners or what, but I don't put a lot of stress on the elbow-part of my shirts. That being said, elbow patches are adorable & I've been itching to try this out since last winter.

To add elbow patches to a sweater, you'll need:
  • The handy-dandy elbow patch pattern
  • Safety pins & a needle
  • Vinyl fabric (if you are using any other fabric, you'll need to add Fray Check to the edges to prevent fraying)
  • Heat'n Bond
  • An iron & a cloth (like a towel or washcloth)
  • Embroidery thread
How to: Add elbow patches to a sweater
First, print out the elbow patch pattern. Cut out the patch shape. Next, put your sweater on & locate where your elbow hits on the sleeve. You may need a friend for this part, as navigating the back of your arm can be tricky. Use the pattern as a guide & place safety pins where the top & bottom of the patch should be in relation to your elbow. If it helps, you can pin the pattern piece to your sweater to get an idea of where it should sit. Take your sweater off & mimic the placement of the safety pins on the second sleeve to that of the first.
Heat'n Bond + Vinyl = iron-on patches!
Cut two identically sized pieces of both the vinyl & the Heat'n Bond, large enough to fit two elbow patches. Per the Heat'n Bond instructions, lay the Heat'n Bond paper-side up on the vinyl, which should be facing right side down. Using a warm & dry iron, iron the Heat'n Bond to the vinyl using circular motions.
How To | Make Elbow Patches: Cut the patch from fabric
Trace two of the pattern shapes on the paper-side of the Heat'n Bond. Cut both shapes out. Remove the Heat'n Bond paper backing. 
Always use a cloth as a barrier when ironing vinyl!
Lay the patches right-side up on your sweater, using the safety pins as guides. Place a cloth in-between the iron & the vinyl, & per the Heat'n Bond instructions, iron the patches in place. It is very important that you never place a hot iron on the right-side of vinyl. Vinyl is mostly plastic, so it has a tendency to melt. Always use a cloth as a barrier when ironing vinyl.
How to | make elbow patches: Stitch, stitch, stitch!
Take your embroidery floss & divide it in two-strand sections. Feed the two threads through a sturdy needle, & tie the ends together (giving you the strength of four threads). Stitch your patches in place. Pro tip: it helps if you keep one hand inside the sweater at all times when you're sewing. 
Use leftover fabric scraps to make your own elbow patches
Spruce up your winter wardrobe with DIY elbow patches
Fall fashion > any other fashion. Happy Monday, gang!


P.S. These patches were made from the leftover fabric of this project. I still have a tiny bit left - any ideas on how to use it up?

Affiliate links are used in this post!

October 19, 2016

midwest exploring + cozy crochet cowl

Autumn in Minnesota
Cozy crocheted cowl
I want to be outside all the time. ALL THE TIME. It is just so dang PRETTY outside. This past weekend we went for a nice little hike at Minnehaha falls (Re: these frozen snapshots from last winter), which is conveniently sandwiched between us & Saint Paul, Minnesota. All I felt was a massive sense of fortune as we were hiking around, "ooh-ing" & "ahh-ing" at all the vibrant colors in the trees. I'm so lucky to live here! I thought I might regret moving to a place that's so land-locked, maybe that I'd feel trapped somehow. Nope. Not missing having a coastline, even a little bit. Besides, this is the land of 10,000 lakes, people! Plus rivers & waterfalls to boot. Technically it's the land of 11,842 lakes, which would make for a less-catchy tagline. Either way. Gorgeous weather, gorgeous trees, gorgeous leaves. Plus it was just chilly enough for me to wear this cozy cowl I finished up the other day. Which, by the way, can be completed in the time it takes to watch two presidential debates.
Minnehaha falls (Minneapolis, MN)
Dang, Minnesota. You cute. 

If you do have a few hours to spare, this is a super simple cowl which uses the same knit-lookalike stitch I previously used to make boot cuffs last autumn. Although if you do have a few extra hours in your day, I would highly recommend just going outside & embracing the change of the seasons. Except for my southern friends. I hear it's still in the 90s down there, & I'm weeping for y'all.
Quick & easy scarf for colder days
To make your own comfortable cowl, follow the pattern below.

  • This cowl is made from two strands of yarn. Begin by unrolling your skein & dividing it up into two balls of yarn. 
  • Row 1: Ch 27.
  • Row 2: Ch 2, turn. Dc 27.
  • Row 3: Ch 2, turn. Dc into the front of the stitch in row 2 (I'll be referring to this as a knit-stitch. Click here to see what it looks like). Repeat 26 more times.
  • Row 4: Ch 2, turn. Knit-stitch into the back of the stitch in row 3. Repeat 26 times. 
  • Row 5-100: Repeat rows 3 & 4, alternately knit-stitching into the front & the back of the previous row. 
  • Finishing: With wrong side out, align the beginning of the cowl with the end. Slip stitch in each stitch to stitch across. Tie off.
Minnesota wilderness
Ready for fall.
Autumn, please stay for a long, long time.


P.S. If crocheting isn't your thing, try this no-knit / no-crochet cowl.

October 14, 2016

life | links

Yellow autumn leaves
Instagram @wecanmakeanything | Twitter @wcmanything

What a week, gang. I know spooky Halloween is right around the corner, but there are way scarier things happening in politics right now. When the first presidential debate aired a few weeks ago I watched it night-of. I got so little sleep due entirely to how angry that debate got me. The second time around (last Sunday), I decided to watch it the day after & be riled up in the daytime. Guys, I haven't stopped being pissed off since. UGH.

In other news - it's freezing here. I wouldn't be surprised if little Minnesotan trick-or-treaters had to visit houses in the snow. I really need to unpack all my winter gear because the cold has officially arrived.


It's almost November 8th (or 28th if you're voting for Trump), which means all of this is almost over & we can get back on Facebook again without wanting to smash our faces into the keyboard. 



October 10, 2016

the dress | chapter two

I'm making my own wedding dress!
My wedding dress is done!

Just kidding. This is my test dress. But my test dress is done!

I'm not going to lie, I'm pretty stressed about messing up my actual bridal gown. Lining, zippers, hemlines - there are a lot of areas to make mistakes in. Sewing together this test dress helped calm a bunch of those frazzled nerves though. Getting to actually wear my "dress" before making it is super comforting.

The one downside to making your own wedding dress is not getting to try it on first. There isn't the luxury of going to a bridal store & figuring out what "shape" works best with your bod. When picking out my pattern, I chose one that I knew would look good for my shape. It's a combination of dresses I've worn before that I know I feel confident in, mixed with some in-home testing (i.e. putting a belt on with a dress to figure out the waistline). The pattern I picked didn't fit all my criteria for the shape (namely the length), but I was able to select one that would build the main bodice exactly how I envisioned. Even after getting a good idea of how the whole plan would play out, I still didn't feel totally confident moving forward. That's where Test Dress came in to play. 
Making your own bridal gown - try a test dress first
I made this replica of the dress from cheap muslin fabric. I didn't flush it out entirely - there's no zipper, lining, etc. It's just all the pattern pieces cut out & stitched together. I feel way better about the pattern I picked now that I have something physical to try on. And I love the shape. Plus I was able to test out the alterations in making to the length of the actual dress. I'm still nervous - boning & lining are some of the things I'm fretting over - but I'm so excited at the same time. More to come soon - now to buy the actual fabric. 


October 5, 2016

everyday shoulder bag

How to make a simple, easy shoulder bag
As a person who loves animals but also loves staying trendy, I have seriously conflicting feelings about leather. Leather is cute! Leather is hip! I want to wear leather stuff without actually wearing leather, ya know? That's why when I saw a whole bolt of this deceptively-leathery fabric in the clearance bin at the fabric store I got so pumped - because it's vinyl! Which means not only is it animal-free but it's also way cheaper than actual leather. When I saw it I knew immediately that I wanted to make a shoulder bag. With fall fashion in full swing (IT'S FALL, GUYS. GUYS. I'M SO EXCITED), the color & feel of this bag feel spot-on for my sweater-y wardrobe. Plus it's just the right size for weekend trips to the farmer's market or last-minute happy hours. 
DIY Pleather Shoulder Bag

This bag is very easy to make, & will work with essentially any non-stretch fabric. It's basically three pieces of fabric sewn together, plus two handles, then done! A quick note about pinning before sewing (which you should do when making this bag, as the bottom corners are tight): When pinning vinyl, I recommend you don't. I say this because any holes put in vinyl are there to stay. Rather than holding the pieces in place with straight pins, I use masking tape. Not along the seam (the tape will make your sewing needle gum up), but just before & past the seam. It holds all the pieces together, & it doesn't leave any marks behind. 

Also, before you start sewing your vinyl, don't forget to use this this handy-dandy trick to make sure the vinyl feeds through you sewing machine smoothly! This trick comes in handy when top-stitching the handles. 
Easiest. Bag. Ever. - DIY Everyday Shoulder Bag
I didn't mean to buy this fabric (although I'm glad I did, because this bag has already become my catch-all / go-everywhere bag). I was at the fabric store to buy muslin for my test-wedding-dress. It's really tricky, however, to go into the craft store & not stray from the list. I went in for muslin & came out with vinyl, yarn, linen, & a few other materials that'll be showing up in upcoming projects. Oops. Also, my test-dress is done, & I'm so happy I took the time to make it! I'm feeling really confident about the pattern I picked & the overall look & shape of the dress. Eek! Updates on that soon.


P.S. How to make a clutch to match your bag.

October 3, 2016

stop to smell the coffee

Iced coffee & sweetened condensed milk - delish!
Coffee is a lot more than just a drink; it’s something happening. Not as in hip, but like an event, a place to be, but not like a location, but like somewhere within yourself. It gives you time, but not actual hours or minutes, but a chance to be, like be yourself, and have a second cup.

― Gertrude SteinSelected Writings

Did you guys celebrate National Coffee Day on the 29th? I, for one, believe coffee should be celebrated every day of the year. I can't start my day without a little party in my cup... then another party closer to noon in my second cup. If you can believe it, I'm actually drinking coffee right now as I write this. Eeesh. 
Coffee is love, coffee is life
For my fellow caffeinated friends, here are some energizing posts from the past to help you celebrate the magical powers of coffee (from left to right): 

Also, how crazy is it that it's October already?? I need to get a serious move on my Christmas shopping - & I needed to start on my Christmas crafting like a month ago.


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