Slide background

Encouragement

Slide background

Eat for

40 Cents

A Day

Header Typography
Inkwell and Pen

The Prudent Homemaker Blog

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Categories
    Categories Displays a list of categories from this blog.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Sewing

Rethinking Christmas Stockings

Posted by on

Christmas Stocking 3 The Prudent Homemaker

A few years back, we were in need of new Christmas stockings. Our family had grown, and we didn't have enough matching stockings for the family.

At the same time, I had been seeing beautiful miniature stockings online made from vintage grain sacks. I loved the simple red stripes at the top and I especially loved the fact that the stockings were tiny. Small stockings (rather than ones that could fit an entire adult's arm) mean there is less to fill, and I can have a wrapped gift sticking out of the top, which is something I had always wanted to do. That didn't work with our previous stockings, which were so long I could fit all of our gifts for each person in with room to spare.

Chirstmas Stocking The Prudent Homemaker

I drew up a small stocking pattern and set to work. I didn't have vintage grain sacks, nor a budget for them, so I used my sewing machine to sew red stripes on some painter's drop cloth that I had previously bought at the hardware store. (Note: Our city got an Ikea store last year; they have dishtowels for $0.79 each that have red stripes at the top which would work beautifully to make these stockings).

Last year, with our new baby, I wasn't worried about hanging a stocking for him. Now that he's a year and a half, it's time for me to make a stocking for him too!

You can make your own small stockings out of your fabric of choice. Not a fan of red stripes? Try cutting up a velvet skirt or dress, or an old sweater that you find at the thrift store! Repurpose an old sheet to use as the lining.

Christmas Stockings The Prudent Homemaker

 

When it comes to filling the stockings, consider the simplest things.

In the toe, put a clementine or an orange. These are always on sale at Christmastime in the U.S.  (Readers in the Southern Hemisphere, please share your favorite summer fruits for stockings in the comments below!)

Include some candy and/or nuts. I like to buy some candy from the bulk section at Winco when it goes on sale right before Halloween and give that (this year I bought peppermint patties). Candy canes, purchased on sale, work well. I like to make homemade candies too, such as peppermint bark, which I put inside in plastic bags. For nuts, look at buying them in bulk from Sam's Club, Costco, Winco, or another place that sells bulk nuts. If you grow your own, whole nuts in the shell look pretty in stockings as well. If you prefer cookies to candy, a beautifully decorated Christmas cookie or two is a nice, edible gift.

For gifts, I like to keep the cost down. Most "inexpensive" stocking stuffer ideas that I see include several gifts that are $10-$20 each. Most years, that is my entire Christmas budget per person (candy and nuts come from my regular grocery budget, rather than my planned gift budget), which means I need to lower that amount considerably to keep within my budget for the year. I usually include two to three gifts per person in stockings. Here's some of what I like to include:

 

For my daughters:

Jewelry. I find pieces at garage sales for $1 an item. I'll make jewelry from repurposed or garage sale pieces. Broken or old costume jewelry is great for this purpose. I've also bought beads, elastic, and jewelry findings on sale to make pieces between $0.15 to $1 each.

Small toys. Garage sales are also a great place to find small toys. I found a number Legos for a total of $0.50 this year, and I'll divide these up between my four younger girls.

Art supplies. I purchase these for $0.25 to $1 at back to school sales.

Hair ribbons. I buy them on sale by the spool and cut them on the diagonal (to reduce fraying) in lengths for the girls.

Homemade barrettes.

Hair elastics. I buy these in packages of 100 from the dollar store.

Bobby Pins. I get these from the dollar store.

Hair brushes. I also get these from the dollar store.

 

For my sons:

Legos. Garage sales are again my source for the least expensive small Lego stocking stuffers.

More Candy and/or nuts. My boys like to have the same candy as their dad.

Ties. My boys wear a tie to church every Sunday. I find them at garage sales for $0.50 to $1 each.

 

For both boys and girls:

Toothbrushes. I buy them in packages of 4 or 5 for $1 from the dollar store (last Christmas I saw this same deal at Walmart too).

Chapstick. I often buy a bulk package and divide it up. I look for coupons and sales to get the price lower than $1 each.

Bouncy balls. You can buy a bag (usually of 6) in the party section of several stores.

Puzzles. The dollar store has small puzzles that fit in stockings. 

Earbuds. Again, I get these at the dollar store.

Bookmarks. Homemade bookmarks are a favorite gift at my house. My children are avid readers who always have a book going.

 

For my husband:

His favorite candy. At my house, this means a large bag of peanut M&Ms and/or a bag of Werther's. I can always find coupons and sales on these to get the price down considerably.

This is all I usually get my husband, but this year I'm thinking of adding a restaurant gift card using points I earn on Swagbucks. We don't usually exchange gifts between the two of us, so this would be a surprise. It also won't cost me anything at all!

Christmas Stockings detail The Prudent Homemaker

Reducing the size of your stockings makes it easier to fill a stocking and keep within a tiny budget. There's no need to feel obligated to spend money on stocking stuffers that will end up broken and unwanted before the New Year. Let your gifts be simple.

 

As I was writing this post, I asked my 12-year-old son what he loved getting in his stocking. He immediately mentioned the clementine, then candy, and then bouncy balls! And only then did he mention Legos. What my children have come to remember is the simple traditional items that we have included, and they look forward to them every year!

 

Last modified on

Vintage Reproduction 1940's Overalls

Posted by on

Vintage Overalls The Prudent Homemaker

 

Winter was wanting to make herself some 1940's style overalls. I ordered this printable pattern for her. She made the first pair out of some dropcloth that I had  (that painter's cloth you buy from the hardware store to put down while painting) and made the second from some denim that my sister-in-law gave to me several years ago.

Vintage Overalls 2 The Prudent Homemaker

I had purchased some large buttons on a sale from Wawak years ago and she used those for these two pairs.

Vintage Overalls 3 The Prudent Homemaker

The blue blouse is a garage sale blouse she made over to be short-sleeved with a Peter Pan collar cut from the sleeves.

Vintage Denim Overalls 2 The Prudent Homemaker

The green shirt is a t-shirt. She added a Peter Pan collar to it using fabric I had on hand. She really wants to wear Peter Pan collars, so she recently added them to three t-shirts. This green one came from a recent thrift-store purchase. It was a long-sleeved t-shirt, but she shortened it to make it better for our climate.

Vintage Denim Overalls 1 The Prudent Homemaker

She loves how they all turned out.

Her shoes are these (affiliate link)

We were at Hobby Lobby looking for some fabric for a project she was doing recently and while we were there I noticed there was a new Simplicity catalog out for fall. It turns out that this is the 90th anniversary of Simplicity Pattern Company, and they have a large vintage reproduction section up towards the front of the catalog. They are offering a very similar pattern, and if you could get it at on sale at Joann's or Hobby Lobby during one of the 5 for $5 sales you would have quite a deal! It's pattern 8447, and it looks like you can order a printable version from Simplicity's site too, which would be a help if you live far from a store (watch their site for sales on the actual printed pattern, too; sometimes my stores are out of the pattern I want to purchase.)

Vintage Denim Overalls 3 The Prudent Homemaker

I have to say that I'm loving that my eldest daughter is loving vintage clothing and vintage reproduction clothing just as much as I am! 

Tagged in: Sewing Winters Sewing
Last modified on

Polka Dot Dress 3 The Prudent Homemaker 

Last fall, my eldest and I were invited to someone's house to check out the clothing she was giving away. Her mother said she had told her daughter to narrow down her clothing and wondered if we would like her hand-me-downs. This young woman is always impeccably dressed and we went over there a bit giddy with the prospects of finding something "new." We met up with another young woman as well who had been invited over.

As it turned out, what she had decided to get rid of wasn't really what Winter or I were looking for (I keep a list of items we need on my garage sale list). But before we left, she also brought out a bunch more clothes that she had been given by a woman we know. We looked through these as well, and again, came up short.

Polka Dot Dress Before The Prudent Homemaker

There was a skirt, though, that had a couple of elements that I know my daughter had been looking for. It was mustard colored (something we had been discussing after seeing lots of mustard-colored pieces over on this blog) and it was polka dotted, something we both loved. Winter isn't really into maxi skirts; she looked at it several times and thought about shortening it, but still wasn't sure.

I pointed out that the rather large waistband was doubled over, and there was enough material in the skirt to make a dress.

With that thought, Winter snapped up the skirt. 

It's been sitting in the sewing room, waiting for the right moment.

Polka Dot Dress 1 The Prudent Homemaker

Winter used the existing skirt part from below the waistband down to make the skirt part of the dress, and cut off the bottom and the waistband to make the sleeves and the top of the dress. There was just enough fabric to make everything.

She copied a sweater dress she has to make the bodice

She didn't want any darts in the dress, and as it is a knit fabric, it could go on over her head without needing a zipper.

Polka Dot Dress Back The Prudent Homemaker

Oxford Shoes  Book  (affiliate links)

 Polka Dot Dress 2 The Prudent Homemaker

 Now she has a fun everyday dress to wear, and all it cost was her time!

Last modified on

Personalized Bath Towels

Posted by on

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

 

Last modified on

40's Inspired Red Dress

Posted by on

 

 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
Last modified on

Thrift Store Skirt Refashion

Posted by on

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

Last modified on

 Introduction Sidebar 2017

Start HereMy Story

                           FOLLOW ME

               FACEBOOK              PINTEREST

Good Things to Make This Month

Slide background

Gingerbread Pancakes

Slide background

Pecan Pie

Slide background

Butternut

Squash

Soup

Slide background

Roasted Rosemary Potatoes

Slide background

Turkey

Slide background

Applesauce

The Kitchen Garden Sidebar
Sewing Project Sidebar
Grow Your Own Herbal Tea Sidebar
Grocery Shopping Sidebar
Learn to Can Sidebar
Grow Flowers for Less Sidebar

White Garden Sidebar

Birthdays Sidebar

Frugal Accomplishments Sidebar

72 hour kit sidebar
How To Eat Beans Every Night
Writing a Garage Sale List
 
 
FOLLOW ME