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Personalized Bath Towels

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Bath Towels The Prudent Homemaker

Several years ago, it became rather obvious that the standard two-towel towel racks were not going to be enough for our family's needs. We switched the towel racks out to some hooks that my husband found on eBay. We added a piece of molding to the wall first, painted it, and then added the hooks.

I then had a place for each child to hang his or her bath towel.

Of course, it was very easy for each child to say that a towel left on the floor in the bathroom or in their room wasn't their towel, so I decided that personalizing the towels would be the simplest way to remedy that situation.

I replaced the towels several years ago with embroidered cotton names that also serve as hooks for the towels, making it easier to keep the towels on the hooks (and off the floor!). Those towels have since worn out and it's time for new ones.

This time, I chose darker towels from Sam's Club. They have limited color choices there (about 5 options) but the prices are low, which is great!

Bath Towel Labels 1 The Prudent Homemaker

I bought new cotton webbing from Hobby Lobby (using a 40% of coupons) and cut eight pieces. 

I zigzagged the edges of the cotton webbing to keep it from unraveling.

Bath Towel Labels 2 The Prudent Homemaker

I wrote each name on the webbing with a blue marking pen (this washes out with water). I can see it clearly while I'm embroidering.

I embroidered each name by hand using a stem stitch with two strands of embroidery floss using the stem stitch (outline stitch) and chose a different color for each name, to make it even easier for the children to identify their personal towel when they step out of the shower.

I then sewed them to the towels along the center side of each towel, going over the seam a couple of times to make it strong.

Bath Towels 2 The Prudent Homemaker

 

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40's Inspired Red Dress

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 Red 40s Dress 2 The Prudent Homemaker

Winter originally made this dress for Christmas, using some fabric that was given to me by a reader a few years ago. 

She was inspired by the dress Queen Elizabeth wears in "A Royal Night Out." 

 Red 40s Dress 3 The Prudent Homemaker

She used a pattern she already had, but then made lots of changes, as she was unable to find a pattern that had all of the features she wanted. She drafted a collar for the dress and put pleats in the skirt to gather the fullness in the same places as she saw in photos of the dress from the movie. 

To give the dress the fullness it needs, she wore a crinoline under it. She made the crinoline for her Halloween costume (when she went as Alice in Wonderland) and has been enjoying using it to add fullness to the dresses she is sewing.

I already had thread in this color, so the only thing she needed to buy for this dress was a zipper!

Red 40s Dress 1 The Prudent Homemaker

 I have to admit, it's a lot of fun watching my eldest learning to love vintage dresses as much as I have since I was young!

Tagged in: Sewing Winters Sewing
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Thrift Store Skirt Refashion

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Last spring, when I was 8 months pregnant, I went through my closet and ruthlessly edited out clothing that I had, cough, outgrown before I became pregnant and that I figured was never going to fit me after my eighth baby was born. Before I took it all off to be donated, I offered it to a couple of people, including my daughter.

She picked a skirt that I had bought at the thrift store for $6--a beautiful a-line linen skirt that was always too small for me but that I had high hopes would fit me at some point in between the births of my other children. It still had the thrift store tag on it.

It was a size too big for her, so she took it in.

Thrift Store Skirt Refashion The Prudent Homemaker

Then she realized what it needed to be even better was to be a knee-length skirt, rather than a mid-calf length skirt. She cut the skirt down and rehemmed it, and it was instantly more flattering.

Thrift Store Skirt to Cloche The Prudent Homemaker

Not long after that, she found a great free vintage cloche pattern that she loved. There was just enough fabric in the part she had cut off to make herself a matching cloche. (This is the same pattern I used to make her a warm cloche for Christmas that you can see here.)

She lined the cloche with some lining I already had, and a grosgrain ribbon I had leftover from another project.

Thrift The Prudent Homemaker

I've been losing weight and the skirt is close to fitting me now, but I've been told I can't have it back. And that's okay. She looks lovely.

Thrift Store Skirt and Cloche The Prudent Homemaker

Tagged in: Sewing Winters Sewing
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Baby Boy Blessing Outfit

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Octavius Blessing 1 The Prudent Homemaker

Since we blessed Octavius in September, I thought short sleeves would be in order.

I used the same pattern as I used to make a blessing outfit for Cyrus and Ezrom.

This time, I used a linen and cotton blend fabric that I bought several years ago (at 40% off).

Octavius Blessing 4 The Prudent Homemaker

For the bodice, I cut a piece of fabric longer and wider than I needed. I then marked and sewed the tucks  and sewed the lines with a wing needle.  I then traced an "O" (from here) on with a wash-out marking pen and embroidered it with pearl cotton. (I love using pearl cotton for white work; it's easier than using embroidery thread as there are no strands to pull apart. The thread is about the width of 2 strands of embroidery thread, which is perfect for whitework.)

Then I pinned on the bodice pattern piece and cut it out from the prepared fabric.

If you've never used a washable embroidery marker before, I highly recommend them; they work especially well for embroidery as you don't rub off the design when stitching like you would with a chalk pencil. You need to rinse out all of the blue with plain water before the item is washed (any remaining blue will turn brown and become permanent when it is washed with soap). 

I modified the collar to change it to an Eton style.

Octavius Blessing 2 The Prudent Homemaker

The entire outfit, including the buttons and snap tape, cost about $10 to make.

 Octavius Blessing 3 The Prudent Homemaker

 

 

 

Tagged in: Baby Sewing
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Winter Pioneer Handcart Trek 1 The Prudent Homemaker

Note: This post contains affiliate links. 

My 14-year-old daughter, Winter, has been working on a sewing project for the last couple of months.

She participated in a Pioneer handcart trek, and everyone was supposed to dress for the time period. This is a living history event where groups of people recreate a Mormon pioneer handcart trek across the plains. Many Mormons crossed with handcarts instead of covered wagons from the 1840's to 1860's.

 Winter Pioneer Handcart Trek 6 The Prudent Homemaker

Winter has been researching period clothing and underclothing, down to the smallest details (including what kind of buttons were used). The more she learned, the more determined she was to sew something accurate. Having studied and modeled historical clothing myself (I used to model for a historian while I was a university student), I have a strong love of historical clothing. I wanted her to make something accurate, but I didn't want her to feel obligated to do so. Seeing her get excited on her own about the project the more she studied what people actually wore during the period thrilled me. 

 

Winter Pioneer Handcart Trek 9 The Prudent Homemaker

She used old sheets to sew the split drawers, the corded petticoat, the second petticoat, her chemise and her corset.

Winter Pioneer Handcart Trek Drawers The Prudent Homemaker

She edged the chemise sleeves and the drawers with a bit of lace that I had in my stash (which I'm pretty sure came from my grandmother or my mother-in-law's stash).

Winter Pioneer Handcart Trek corset The Prudent Homemaker

The corset boning is actually zip ties, with the buckle part cut off. They were just the right size and less expensive than boning, and about the same stiffness. She sewed the holes for lacing it by hand, using a buttonhole stitch.  She laced it using a method called spiral lacing, which she says is easier to lace by one's self. At this period in time, the corset was more of a support garment. Winter says it is really comfortable, and she loves the back support it gives her. 

Winter Pioneer Handcart Trek 5 The Prudent Homemaker 

The corded petticoat is two layers of fabric, with cording (she used a thin cotton yarn for the cording) sewn in between. The more cording  in the petticoat, the fuller it is. It was amazing to see how the petticoat stood out more and more as she sewed in each section of cording, just like a hoop skirt. In doing her research for the project, Winter learned that precorded fabric was available to purchase for women of the era, but she did not have that option. She also learned that in the 1850's, when hoops became more common, that women still wore a corded petticoat over their hoops. The corded petticoat goes on first, with all other petticoats on top. A nice feature of the corded petticoat that Winter discovered is that the corded petticoat means plenty of air flow, as it keeps your skirts away from your legs.

She made stockings, using some jersey knit I had on hand. She tied them up with ribbons from my ribbon box.

She also made and embroidered several handkerchiefs.

Winter Pioneer Handcart Trek 4 The Prudent Homemaker

The dress itself was made with a cotton plaid that she bought at Hobby Lobby for $3.49 a yard. She used this Laughing Moon 1840's pattern (view A). The measurements for the dress are taken over underclothing, so she made the dress after making all of her underclothes.

She made her piping using the same yard as cording.  She made bias tape for her piping using this tutorial and a bias tape maker.

This is the first dress that Winter has ever sewn. She learned several new techniques making this project, including cording, making bias tape, making piping, covering buttons, making pintucks, cartridge pleating, regular pleating, flatlining, making a mock-up, and adjusting and following a pattern.

Winter Pioneer Handcart Trek 3 The Prudent Homemaker 

She made her apron and collar using unbleached muslin from my stash (inherited from my grandmother's stash). You can purchase unbleached muslin from Joann's in the quilting section. 

Winter Pioneer Handcart Trek 2 The Prudent Homemaker

 

The straw bonnet is quite amazing. She used this pattern to make the hat. She first started with a straw hat that she bought at the thrift store for $2. It had lace hot glued onto it that she removed before she unstitched the hat.

Straw Hat Before 

She then cut the straw braids and sewed them together into the new hat, before lining it with buckram and pleated muslin. She tied it on with a brown satin ribbon from my ribbon box.

 Winter Pioneer Handcart Trek 7 The Prudent Homemaker

To keep her cool, I ordered her a wooden folding fan that she can keep in the pocket of her dress. She also made a large bandana--more like a shawl--from an old sheet to tie around her neck. She took a Sammy cool n'dry with her that she said was very effective in keeping her cool (we use them at home and they are wonderful). 

Winter Pioneer Handcart Trek Silhouette The Prudent Homemaker

The project has been fun for her (it was all her idea!). It's been fun for me, too, to watch her confidence in her sewing abilities increase, even as she had to use the seam ripper to take seams out and fix things again. What I see now is that she feels like she can sew anything!

Winter Pioneer Handcart Trek 8 The Prudent Homemaker

If you're looking to make clothing from the same time period, here are some of the tutorials and patterns she used:

 

Seamed stocking tutorial

Split drawers tutorial

Chemise tutorial

Corset tutorial

Corded petticoat tutorial

Bonnet pattern and Lining Inspiration The bonnet can also be made from cloth.

Dress pattern

Apron tutorial

Bias tape tutorial and bias tape maker

Fan (purchased)

Brown Plaid fabric

 

Additional Reading:

The Transitional Dilemma: Dressing Teen Girls

Quick and Easy Way to Mark Cartridge Pleats

Buttoning Down the Past: A Look at Buttons as Indicators of Chronology and Material Culture

Winter also searched online for photos of women and teens from the 1840's, which helped her ultimately decide on several aspects of her project, including the fabric she chose. Here is her Pinterest board for the time period.

She has already planned several other ways that she can use her dress, including volunteering in some local elementary schools to go into classrooms and read works from an author from that time period (Louisa May Alcott!)

 

 

Tagged in: Sewing Winters Sewing
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New Aprons

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Note: This post contains affiliate links. You can read my disclosure policy here.

French Script Apron The Prudent Homemaker

The sewing for myself is always the last sewing to get done.

I wear an apron often--while cooking, while canning, while baking, while doing dishes, and often while gardening.

French Script Apron Detail The Prudent Homemaker

I've made my old aprons last a few more years than I had planned (sewing new aprons has been on my to-do list for that long!), but now it's really time for some replacements. I bought the fabric a while ago:  grey cotton duck from Fabric.com. bought on a Black Friday sale, and some printed cotton duck (of a thinner type) that I purchased at Hobby Lobby, and drop cloth (bought at Lowe's). The printed French script fabric was one I'd seen on Etsy, in a few different variations of colors, and I was rather excited to see it at Hobby Lobby. I liked several of the variations on Etsy, but Hobby Lobby had only one color option, which made the choice easy--plus it was on sale at 30% off.

I'll use the patterned one for baking, and the grey one for washing dishes, cooking, and canning. The grey cloth is thicker, so I'll be more likely to stay dry while washing dishes at the sink. I think I'll reach for the drop cloth one while cooking and baking.

Bee Apron The Prudent Homemaker

I thought I would have a bit of fun with the grey one, so I decided to embroider a wreath and a bee on it.

Bee Apron Detail The Prudent Homemaker

The wreath comes from this book, which is in the public domain, and the bee pattern is one I purchased here. I drew these on with a water-soluable marking pen before I stitched them, and rinsed it out when I was done sewing.

Rather than using embroidery thread, I chose to embroider the grey one with a single strand of pearl cotton, which means I never had to separate embroidery threads. For whitework, I've come to really prefer using pearl cotton for this reason. It's about the same thickness as a double strand of cotton floss.

For a pattern, I copied an apron that I already owned, but there are a ton of free apron patterns online. A quick search on Pinterest will yield you more options that you need.

Grain Sack Apron The Prudent Homemaker

For the grain sack look, I sewed striped ribbon down the front of my drop cloth apron. Actual grain sacks can be pricey. This gave me a much less expensive option.

These are really fast to make--only about an hour and a half each (not counting the embroidery). I love the simple style and practicality of these. They're also inexpensive to make, using a yard of 58" wide fabric each. The most expensive one to make was $7 (the French script one).

 Some other aprons that I've made: Polka Dot Apron, Bird, Eiffel Tower, and London Aprons

 

Linking to:

Stone Gable

Tweak it Tuesday

Inspire Me Tuesday

Two Uses Tuesday

Wow Us Wednesdays

Moonlight and Mason Jars

Wednesday Roundup

 

Tagged in: Sewing
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