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A Gift a Day: Day Eight--Ballet Slippers

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For the fourth day of A Gift a Day, I made ballet slippers for my two-year-old.

Ballet Slippers


satin fabric for outside
fabric for lining (I used fleece)
fabric for bottom of the slippers (this can be anything; last year I made the outside bottom in satin as well, but this time I used ultrasuede)
elastic (I bought both the kind I used today and the kind the pattern calls for from here)
interfacing (I bought a few bolst on super discount last year on Black Friday)
matching thread (read how and where I buy thread)
pattern (I used this one) You can spend less by buying a particular size set from her shop.


sewing needle
sewing machine (optional; you could sew these by hand)


The total time for one pair of ballet slippers was 3 hours.

Today I made one pair of ballet slippers.


$0.25 per pair (for materials).  I already had all of the supplies on hand, so nothing out of pocket for myself this year. These take just a tiny amount of fabric, especially in children's sizes.  I bought the pattern last year and used it last year, so I did not have that expense this year, but that would be an additional expense if you are just buying the pattern. I bought all of the sizes for a slight discount, which means I have all of the sizes from baby to adult. Since this is a pdf pattern, I can just print the pattern in the size that I need this year.

I bought the fleece on a huge sale at Joann's last year on Black Friday, and I bought the satin (just a 1/4yard, and I've used it many times for small projects) many years ago on sale. The ultrasuede was some that my grandmother bought years ago.

A note about sewing with satin--it literally unravels right before your eyes. I recommend zig zag stitching the edges of any satin pieces that you use. You can also choose to use another fabric that is less frustrating; it will cut the time down considerably.

I did some changing of the way the elastic was sewn, as I chose to modify the way the elastic goes in this particular pair. This added in a little time for figuring out how to change it.

Elsa loves to "do ballet" with a little chair and this dvd. All of my children (even my boys) loved this video.

These take so little fabric that you could make them by repurposing other clothing. An old t-shirt or sweatshirt could be your lining. The tops could be made with a piece from a shirt or skirt. The amounts for a 2-year-old are so small that you could use scraps leftover from sewing other projects. If you make these as called for in the pattern, you will need 2 butttons. Old buttons that you have saved are just perfect for this project. When I made these last year (I made 4 pairs) all of the buttons were repurposed buttons.

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A Gift a Day: Day Six-- Flannel Pajama Pants

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For the fourth day of A Gift a Day, I made flannel pajama pants.

I'm late in getting these up because I didn't finish them until today. I was only able to cut them out on Thursday night at 10:30 pm! I'm working on getting caught up on gift making.

Pajama Pants


fabric (2-3 yards, depending on the height of the person)
matching thread
elastic for the waistband


sewing needle, or a sewing machine
measuring tape (to measure child's waist)
chalk pencil
existing pair of pants that fit the child to trace for a pattern (don't forget the seam allowances and room for elastic
safety pin for threading elastic through casing


The total time for one pair of pants was 1 1/2 hours.

Today I made two pairs of pajama pants.


You cost will vary depending on the price of fabric. I made one pair from flannel sheets that were given to me, so I only had the cost for thread and elastic (about .25 for the white nad blue pair). I made another pair with flannel that I bought on sale last year at the Black Friday sale at Joann's, where I purchased the fabric at 60% off. These  (the green ones) cost me around $6.40 a pair. I stock up on fabric that I know I'll use when it goes on great sales. I bought my elastic in bulk at Wawak for these pants.
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A Gift a Day: Day Five--Pajama Shorts

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For the fourth day of A Gift a Day, I made pajama shorts. It's warm here most of the year, so comfortable pajama shorts work well for about 8 months of the year.In fact, today was really warm, so these would have been appropriate for today.


Pajama Shorts


matching thread


sewing needle, or a sewing machine
existing pair of shorts that fit the child

I drew around a pair of shorts (that was folded in half) and made a pattern from those.


The total time for one pair of pants was about one hour.

Today I made one pair of pajama shorts.


$0.05 per pair of shorts, as I used repuposed fabric (an old sheet that belonged to my mom) and the thread was a very tiny amount  I bought the elastic at a garage sale last year. If I were buying this fabric on 50% off sale at the fabric store, my total cost would be around $3.00. Another option for fabric is to look at garage sales and thrift stores. I have made pajama shorts in the past from old men's t-shirts and polo shirts from my husband. I prefer to make them from those, or from plaid fabric, but this was what I had, so I used it.
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A Gift a Day: Day Four--Tie

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For the fourth day of A Gift a Day, I made a gift for my son. His favorite color is purple, but he doesn't have a lot of purple in his wardrobe. I received some fabric from a friend of my mom's in September. Included in the bag of fabric was a piece of thin purple fabric. I used it to make my son a tie, and I hope this means he'll have more of a desire to wear a tie to church!

Yes, the bottom of the tie looks crooked in this picture. It doesn't look crooked in real life, though.



thin fabric (it doesn't have to be silk; I'm using polyester)
lining fabric (a satin-like, coat lining-type fabric)
matching thread
paper and ink for printing pattern (I used this free pattern and tutorial for a man's tie; if you want to make a toddler tie, try this tutorial)
ribbon to make a loop on the back of the tie


sewing needle, or a sewing machine


I have no idea how long this tie would take to make if I was uninterrupted. I started at 11 am and ended at midnight. My husband commented that that meant the tie was really a $120 tie. Of course, I made two meals, ate those meals, took care of my family, etc. in between.

I think the next time I make a tie (and I will be making more) it should be quicker, in part because I don't need to put the pattern together again.

Today I made one tie.


$0.10 per tie, as I used fabric that was given to me, including the lining. I used interfacing that I bought on sale last year on a Black Friday sale for around $3 a bolt. If I were buying this fabric on 50% off sale at the fabric store, my total cost would be around $4.00. Another option for fabric is to look at garage sales and thrift stores.

I was really amazed at how little fabric this tie required. I thought it would take quite a bit of fabric, as it is cut on the bias, but it actually didn't take much at all.

The tie has an option to extend it for taller people. I am going to make the tie again, and make a longer one (two, most likely) for my husband. The finished tie was about 3 inches shorter than his current ties, so if your husband is tall and/or has a larger neck size, I would extend the tie.

I am going to make the tie again for my son, and I am going to taper piece 3 (the largest piece) to make a thinner tie that is more appropriate for a young boy. I am also going to shorten piece 2 (almost completely) to make the tie the right length for him.

Hopefully next time it will go faster!
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A Gift a Day: Day Two--Scarves

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It's only the second day of official Christmas and birthday gift making, and already I am feeling such a thrill of knowing that I have presents that are completely done!

For the second day of A Gift a Day, I chose to repurpose some hand-me-down curtains to make a scarf. I cut a piece of sheer floral fabric, 60" by 14",  and narrowly hemmed the edges. (Ideally, I would cut it 14" by 64", so if you have more, go longer!)

Sheer fabric may drive you insane. It slips relentlessly, even while you're trying to lay out and measure the fabric. Hemming the edges turned out to be a constant challenge. This project took longer than I had hoped because of the slip factor, but I love the results. If you have a serger you could serge the edges, which would cut the time down considerably.

After several tries, I found it easier to iron a narrow hem once, and then fold it over a second time (encasing the raw edges) by hand as I sewed, instead of trying to iron the fabric down twice and pinning it. I tried the latter method, even using spray starch, to no avail. In the end, it was faster and easier to do the former. Be careful not the stretch the fabric too tight while you are doing that.



sheer floral fabric (about 1/4 yard, 60" wide)
matching thread


sewing needle, or a sewing machine
yard stick or meter stick
washable fabric marker


The total time for one scarf is one hour.

Today I made two scarves. For the second scarf, I used another curtain panel that I picked up from a friend at her garage sale this morning. This one was a very thin cotton. It didn't slip, and it had straight edges already, so I used two of those straight edges that were already sewn as part of  the edges of the scarf.


$0.00 per scarf, as I used repurposed fabric and the thread was less than .01. The second scarf's price is questionable, as the fabric was one of the things I had at the end of my garage sale totaling, and my friend's husband rounded my final total down.

If I were buying this fabric on 50% off sale at the fabric store, my cost would vary depending on the fabric chosen. Another option for fabric is to look at garage sales and thrift stores for sheer floral curtains.

I will be sewing gifts tomorrow as well, but those are not likely to be completed in one day, as they are more time-consuming projects. Tomorrow I will be working on a dress for my oldest daughter.

What gifts did you make today?
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Sewing For Less: Thread and more

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I mention on my Sewing for Less page that I have bought thread from Atlanta Thread for an amazing price. My mother-in-law introduced me to this company. I couldn't believe how low their prices were on thread! I really liked Atlanta Thread.

Atlanta Thread was bought out earlier this year by Wawak.

Wawak has thread and other sewing supplies, much like Atlanta Thread. They also carry Gutermann thread. One spool is 1,094 yards, and their price is $2.49 a spool. If you buy 10 or more, they're $2.42 a spool.

Every month they have a different item (or items) on special. This month, through the 28th, they have Gutermann thread for $1.86 a spool (1, 094 yards each).

The other specials this month are nylon YKK zippers buy 2 get 1 free (same size and color). The price this month for their zippers is anywhere from .20 each for a 5" zipper, up to .58 for a 24" zipper (they also carry 36 and 80" zippers as well). That sure beats Joann's sales!

They have seam rippers buy 1 get one free (of the same type) as well. The 5" seam rippers are on sale for .65 and the 2 1/2" ones are .59. The one I have in the picture above is one of the 5" ones.

They carry scissors, including the stork scissors like I have for embroidery, for $8.95 a pair.

They also have great prices on needles.

If you need sewing supplies, or want to order some supplies to make a sewing and/or embroidery kit for someone, this is a great way to do it.

They carry a ton more stuff as well, such as buttons by the gross. These button prices beat out the prices I told you about at the Joann's sale. There are a variety of choices and prices, but shirt buttons are around $3.75 for 144 (one gross) of buttons.

They have the Mark-B-Gone blue pen (that disappears with water) for $2.35. I use these for drawing my embroidery designs. After I am done sewing, I mist it with water or rinse it, and the pen is gone. They have chalk pencils ($1.68) and tailor's chalk, too.

They carry drapery cord and piping cord, as well as all sorts of supplies for curtains.

In addition, they have a code for first-time customers that is valid through 9/28 for $10 off of a $50 order. This code is one per customer, valid only on your first order. The code is WNC912.
Shipping is free for orders over $100, or $4.95 for orders under $100. It costs me more than $4.95 in gas to drive to the fabric store, so even if I pay shipping, this helps me to cut costs as well.

This is not a sponsored post. I just love sewing and getting a good deal on sewing supplies. I know a lot of you are making clothing and gifts for your children.

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