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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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Turning What You Have Into What You Want

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As I opened up the box of stored baby girl clothes in the next size up, I noticed a little smocked dress that my friend April had given to me.

She knows I love smocked dresses, and after her last little girl outgrew this dress, she passed it on to me.

It had a few places where the smocking had come unsewn, and it needed to be fixed. April knew I could fix it as well. I put it away and figured I would fix it when I had a baby girl who could wear it.

After I pulled it out out of the box recently, I looked at the dress, seeing what needed to be redone. It is an ivory dress. I have been wanting to make an ivory-colored dress for Ivory. I have also been wanting to make her a blue dress to go with her blue eyes. I've been looking through some old Sew Beautiful magazines recently, and the white on blue and blue on white designs have really stood out to me lately.

Then it hit me. Rather than just finding matching embroidery thread to mend the dress, I could change the dress into what I wanted.

I ripped out the old smocking.

And put in the new.

Now Ivory has an ivory dress with blue smocking and ivory roses. It was an inexpensive change (about $0.07 worth of thread).

The week before that I made a new ironing board cover to replace my old ripped and stained one. It cost me $3 (you can see it in the background of the picture above) and was what I really wanted for my ironing board.

I love taking what I have and making it into what I want.

What have you recently made over into what you want, for just a little bit of money and time?

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Sewing for Less: Stock Up Today

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I often get asked how I can afford to sew.

If you need fabric and have a bit of money, today is your lucky day.

This weekend Joann's Fabrics is having their annual Founder's Day sale (today and tomorrow; it started yesterday). I find the best deals at Joann's shorter weekend sales. This weekend has some particularly good deals, especially if you get their mailer (if you don't, sign up at the store to get future mailers; extra coupons come in the mailers to customers).

The best deals I see on the sale:

Broadcloth: Poly/cotton solids for $1.99 a yard. This means if you use 4 yards to make a little girl's dress, you're only out $7.96 for fabric. Depending on the size and style of dress, you could use less fabric. I make most of the girls' dresses from broadcloth, though I have also repurposed sheets as well.

Buttons: 50% off. Look for the buttons that are 6-7 for a card that are $1 regular price, and you're only out .50 for buttons for a dress.

Embroidery thread: $.33 a skein. This means you could get 3 colors of embroidery thread so that you can embroider flowers on that dress for $.99.

This makes a pretty (and modest!) little girl's dress $9.45 plus tax.

If you get the mailer, however, it gets better.

There is a 25% off your entire purchase coupon, including sales prices.

This makes the fabric $1.50 a yard ($6 total), the buttons .39, and the embroidery thread .74.

Now you have a dress for $7.13.

I've been making my dresses from the same pattern, so the cost of a pattern is not a continual expense for me, but if you don't have any patterns, you will need to add in the cost of a pattern to the first dress that you make.

Other great deals in the ad that are this weekend only:

Scissors are 50% off. If you've never bought scissors, a pair of Ginger sewing shears is a great investment.

McCall's patterns are $1.99 and Vogue Patterns are $3.99. You can browse the patterns online before you go.

Home Dec Fabric: 60% off. This normally goes on sale for 50% off. The extra 10% is a rare thing. If you have the mailer coupons, you can use your 25% off purchase to make this an even better deal. Home Dec fabrics at $26.99 regular price is $10.79 a yard; with the extra 25% off it is $8.09 a yard. Remember that this fabric comes 60" wide. (Prices vary by fabric, but most were around $26.99 regular price).

Do you remember the Rapunzel dress that I made for my daughter's birthday last year for pennies? I found an online tutorial to make a Rapunzel dress here.

You can use broadcloth to make a beautiful smocked bishop's dress. There are some tutorials on smocking bishop dresses here.

I liked this cute apron tutorial. Since linen is $27 a yard, and is a delicate fabric, you could make this with osnaburg or a drop cloth instead.

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