DIY cloth towels from fabric scraps


Another pair of jeans successfully went through an amputation (that is, became a pair of shorts) and I was the proud surgeon, again. (Read this post to see how I did it.)

The left over part of the legs became something else altogether, unlike last time when they were transformed into a document holder.
As I was celebrating Anjana’s clearing the school admission interview process (she will start with kindergarten in June 2017), I started to make a list of items that she and my elder daughter Santoshi (moving to Grade I come June). One important item that needs to be packed for school everyday is a cloth towel (or lunch napkin as Santoshi calls it). While Santoshi needs two everyday (one each for snack and lunch) and Anjana will need only one (no lunch).

The school is quite particular about the size of these towels in order to avoid territorial wars on the snack table (“Hey, don’t you keep your water bottle on my towel!” or “Ma’am, I don’t have a place to keep my snack box, his towel is sooooo big…”). Bottomline, the towels have to be square in shape and measure around 10 to 12 inches each side. 

Luckily, the leftover denim legs were roughly about the same size. And, if (that’s a big IF) I cut them properly, there will be eight towels.
I looked into many pins on Pinterest about DIY cloth towels, applique, perfect corners, etc. I was thinking – there are people out there who sew things perfectly and put tutorial pins up. And, here I am, far far away from perfection, but that’s ok. After trying to do corners with a strip of fabric, I gave up and used serging for the corners. I checked with my daughter and she approved the serged ends, yay!

Now, let’s move to how I did it:

Things needed:

  • Leftover denim fabric from the pair of jeans
  • Fabric scraps for applique
  • Colour-coordinated threads (I didn’t use this)
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Sewing Machine
  • Stencil/ template (I used freehand drawing for my shapes)

Step 1: Draw the design / shape on the fabric. If it is a symmetrical design (such as a heart or a butterfly), fold the fabric into half, draw one half of the design on the fabric and cut both sheets of fabric together. I can never draw both sides to be of the same shape or size.

This is the outline of a bird:


This is one of the wings:


Step 2: Cut to shape.

Step 3: Arrange on the base (cloth towel in my case).


Step 4: Sew the fabric pieces one by one to the base. The body first, then the wing on the body, then the tail wing, followed by a small brown triangle for the beak. I used zig-zag stitch in my machine.


Step 5: Sew the other parts, if required – I did the eye and the legs using the regular stitch.


Step 6: Serge the ends or use fabric tapes to go all around the edges. I just used zig-zag stitch the one side which might fray.


And, that’s it, you are done!! Simple, isn’t it?

I did make towels with the other pieces too. I am posting pics of all but one (which is bad, trust me, you don’t want to see it).


Thanks for reading the post and hope my sewing did not scare you. Please leave a comment.









Upcycle clothes in to toddler skirts


This is a post on how I made suspender skirts for my younger daughter Anjana (2.5 years). One of the skirts came from my top and the other from my husband’s shirt.

Let’s look at the one from my top first. I had ripped the side slit of my top while getting off my scooter and there was no way I could make it alright. Initially, I thought of making it into a trivet, but then I realised that it would make a pretty skirt for the little one.

Before image – my top:


After image – suspender skirt:


This was an experimental box pleat skirt, so I do not have any pics of how it became this way from my top, sorry.

But, for the next one, I started taking pics for most of the steps. Also, I decided that box pleat was not my cup of tea and that ruffled (using the pleat-as-you-go method) skirt may be better. Another reason for not choosing the box pleat was that the shirt’s bottom ends were curvy and not flat.

So, this is how it went:

Before image – Men’s shirt:


Step 1: I wanted the skirt to measure 12 inches from waist down. So, I took the shortest point in the bottom seam and measure 13 inches (12 inches plus 1 inch seam – I am a novice, so I always work with wider seams) and snipped the top part.

Step 2: I cut three more strips – one measuring 22 inches (20 inches waist plus 2 inches for seams) long and about 4 inches wide; two more – each measuring 20 inches in length (17 inches for the suspender straps plus 3 inches for seams) and 3 inches in width.


Step 3: Start pleating the top end of the skirt to ensure that you are left with the same length as the waist band.


Step 4: Add the waist band to the top end – align right sides facing each other and sew on the wrong side.


Step 5: Fold the waist band over to the wrong side and sew together to create a loop for the elastic.

PS: The ends of the waistband connect at the centre – where the buttons are.


Step 6: With the help of a safety pin, slide the elastic through the waistband and sew the ends together. Then, push the left end of the waistband in to the right and sew.


Step 7: Sew the front ends together (the one with the buttons and the other with the buttonholes so that my daughter will not be to open the skirt out in the front – accidentally).

Step 8: Make 2 tubes out of the other two strips and turn them out. Attach one end of each tube to the back and attach the other end of each tube to the front while crossing them over at the back (making an X shape).


That’s it!! (I admit, it is a little high-waisted than I expected it to be).

This is my little darling in the skirt paired up with a light blue Old Navy t-shirt.


Clearly, she did not like it! But, that’s a different problem ūüôā

Hope you liked this post! Please give your comments about what you think of this. Thank you!


DIY Rainbow Prop

Hello there!

After celebrating colour days for yellow, green, red and blue (in that order), Anjana’s playgroup decided to have a rainbow day. I wanted to make a rainbow prop for her. As rainbow involves curves, fabric was out of question. Hence, paper it was! The prop would be a rainbow (semicircle starting with violet on the top) to be hung over Anjana’s shoulders.

What I used:

  • Cardboard
  • Colour paper [violet, dark blue (in place of indigo), turquoise (for blue), green, gold (yellow), orange (foam sheet with glitter) and red]
  • white paper for clouds (optional)
  • two strips of ribbon
  • a pair of scissors
  • box cutter
  • glue
  • brown tape
  • t-shirt for measurement


Step 1: Using Anjana’s t-shirt, I measured the approximate size of the rainbow – top starting from below the t-shirt’s neckline.wp-1487909829807.jpg


I did not have a single piece of cardboard for the entire rainbow, so I glued two pieces together and secured with brown tape.

Step 2: Red being my smallest part of the rainbow, I cut the red paper to shape (more or less a semicircle).


Step 3: Trace the outline on the orange glitter foam sheet for a semicircle with a radius of about 1.5 inches more than that of the red semicircle. Cut it to shape.


Step 4: Repeat step 3 for each colour with the same increment in radius. Please note that I have cut the paper in the shape of semicircle and not arches.

Step 5: Paste the outermost colour (violet in my case) on to the cardboard.


Step 6: Paste the other colours in the order aligning them at the bottom line. Once all the seven colours are glued on, cut the cardboard to shape.  Mine looked like this (not perfect, but this will do).


Step 7: Add a strip of ribbon on either side and attach it to another piece of cardboard so that the prop can be hung over the child’s shoulders. I used glue and brown tape to keep the ribbons in place.


Step 8 (optional – for clouds): Cut the white paper in the shape of clouds and attach them to the bottom on the inside.


All done now!!

Here is Anjana wearing it over her Minnie Mouse frock.


When I went to pick her up, she was given a cupcake with rainbow frosting. Wow, a tasty way to remember rainbow day!


Of course, Anjana decided to eat it right away!





DIY Butterfly Wings Costume


This is another diy costume activity and I loved it! This was my younger daughter Anjana who almost 2.5 years old and goes to a play group. Remember when they had the red day? Anjana went in as a red crayon! Now it was blue day and though there was no information from the play group for any costume, I decided to make one anyway.

I initially wanted to dress her up as a blue bird but the bird wings costume was way beyond my ability. So, I settled for butterfly wings. This time, I did not want to work with fabric or with wire; hence, I had to improvise much after taking inputs from a variety of websites/blogs by searching in google and in pinterest.  I filtered two pins – one to figure out how they got the shape right and the other for putting it around Anjana’s shoulders.

What I used:

  • Cardboard (from an Amazon delivery carton)
  • Blue colour paper (one dark blue shade and the other was more of a turquoise)
  • Black cardstock for the body
  • Elastic band (1 inch wide; about 60 cm long)
  • Scissors, glue, double-sided sticky tape, brown tape
  • Sewing machine
  • Beads for decoration
  • Pipe cleaners for antennae

This is how it took shape:

Step 1: Draw the butterfly wings (top and bottom wings) on one side of the cardboard.


Step 2: Cut the wings on one side and use it to trace the other set of wings.


Step 3: Trace the other set of wings and cut.


Note: I did not cut the bottom to shape because I was too lazy and also because it will not be seen from the front.

Step 4: Sew the elastic band with two loops (to rest on the shoulders). I used the buttonhole stitch in my machine hoping it would hold the band together more firmly than the other stitches.


Step 5:  Cut a hole on either side of the wings (roughly about 2 inches from the centre and 3 inches from the top) and slip the loops through these holes.


Step 6: Using double sided sticky tape and brown packing tape, glue the centre of the elastic band to the centre of the wings.  This would be side which will be seen from behind.


Step 7: Cover both sides of the wings with the blue paper and decorate (the outer side) to your liking. Do remember to slit holes on the blue paper covering the side of the wings (which will face your child’s back) for the loops. With the black cardstock, add the butterfly’s body and stick it to the centre. Paste one end of the pipecleaners to the back of the butterfly’s head using double sided sticky tape and brown tape.


Slip you child’s arms through the loops and you would have turned your cutie pie into a sweet butterfly. See my blue butterfly here:

Thanks for stopping by! Do give your feedback in the comments section!


DIY Document Holder


After trimming my husband’s favourite pair of jeans into a pair of shorts, the left-over fabric pieces and I were looking at each other. But for the frayed ends, the fabric was good and I did not want to throw them away.

I had always wanted a command centre (based on this post by Trish), I wanted something to store all important documents (my husband’s boarding passes for his weekly travel, my elder daughter Santoshi’s library folder which is due every wednesday morning, other circulars to be returned to her school after my signature, cheque for payment to younger daughter Anjana’s day care, Santoshi’s extra classes, the list is endless). I thought it would be nice to have multiple pockets.

This is how I did it:

Things used:

  • A piece of cardboard
  • A piece of fabric for the base (that was another leftover fabric from a project which did not make it to this blog)
  • Leftover denim fabric
  • Fabric Glue
  • Scissors
  • Packing tape
  • PVC pipe for backing


Step 1: Cut the fabric into four pieces of equal size. The width of each piece was larger than that of a sheet of A4 paper. The height was about three-fourths of that of a sheet of A4 paper.


Step 2: Arrange the denim fabric pieces on the piece of cardboard to ensure that there is enough space to fit all four of them.


Step 3: Pin the pieces in place and sew three sides of each of the four pieces to the base fabric (leaving the top side open). I also used zigzag stitch to sew the edges to the base fabric to avoid fraying.

Step 4: Using fabric glue and tape, attach the base fabric to the cardboard and let it dry.


Step 5: Attach PVC pipes on the back and secure them with glue and tape. The pipes will give enough support to the holder so that the cardboard does not fold. Doesn’t look good, but no one will see this side, so it’s ok ūüôā



Step 6: Add a binder clip or two to the top of the document holder and hang it using a nail. [I have not done this yet, because I need to have a nail on the wall first, waiting on dear husband to do it for me]. Mine is just resting on the wall atop the shoe rack.



Step 7: If you have smaller items to place here, use binder clips on the top edge on the denim fabric to hold them.


Well, what do you think? I would like to hear you comments. Thanks for reading my post!


Denim shorts from a pair of jeans


This was something that my husband had asked me to do a looooong time back and as usual, I was putting it off for another day. And, that ‘another day’ finally arrived because I did not have to go to work (I had quit), my elder daughter decided to be with my mother-in-law for a few hours and the younger daughter was at day care!

This was a pair of loose-fitting, comfortable jeans (Levis 559 I guess) which had frayed at the end. My husband is so fond of this pair of jeans (because it is not available in India) that he wanted the jeans to be made in to a pair of shorts with a elastic waistband. I had bought the elastic band more than two months back (procrastination is a way of life for me).


This is how I did it:

Step 1: Using another pair of denim shorts, I cut the pair of jeans leaving about one to two inches for seam allowance.


Step 2: Fold once and sew (I sewed by hand using needle and thread).


Step 3: Fold once more and sew (I used the machine).


Step 4: The waistband was made of two pieces running all the way from one end to the other. Which meant that I could run the elastic band through the waistband (instead of adding a layer on the inside to hold it together). Cut a hole (only on the inner fabric of the waistband) on either end. Make sure that the hole is bigger than the width of the elastic band.


Step 5: Cut the elastic with the ratio of 92% of the waist circumference plus 2 inches for seam.

Step 6: Attach a safety pin to each end of the elastic band. With the help of a safety pin on one end of the elastic band, insert the elastic band through one hole and bring it out to the other. Before you straighten the elastic inside waistband, ensure the other end of the elastic band is pinned to the hole so that it does not disappear in to the waistband and you will need to do it all over again. The Levis patch on the back of the waistband had to be ripped so that the elastic band could go through the waistband.

Note: The denim fabric was so soft that sliding the elastic band was very easy and quick. I tried it on a pair of old navy jeans and gave up. The safety pin opened up at least thrice while inside and it took about 30 minutes for me to slide the elastic through the waist band. So, if the fabric is hard and tough, the better way may be to sew a layer of soft fabric on the inside of the waistband and slide the elastic band through that instead of through the denim fabric.


Step 7: Sew both ends of the elastic band together. Now, you are left with a cool pair of denim shorts plus 2 pieces of good denim fabric (except for frayed ends) for doing something else.


My husband was very happy to get this pair of shorts (though he would have preferred if I has used a different thread; erm, sorry). The next post is about what I did with the left over pieces of the denim fabric!


DIY Christmas tree costume for toddlers


The second day of enjoying life as a stay at home mom of two kids was marked with another diy project. How exciting!

Thanks to cyclone Vardah, schools are closed until next Monday but the day care is functioning as usual. Since my two-year-old is so bored at home in spite of having her sister along with her all the time and her own iPad, she was eager to go to day care. Good for me!

When I went to drop her at day care on 15 December, the notice board read ‘please send the children dressed up for Christmas on 16 December 2016’. I didn’t fully understand what was meant by ‘dressed up for Christmas’. So, I asked the person in-charge and she said, “oh, anything Christmas-related”.

We don’t celebrate Christmas and we did not have any Christmas-y tshirt or a frock for Anjana. Santoshi, my elder daughter, had an idea – punch a few holes in a carton for Anjana’s legs, wrap it up with paper and ribbons and Anjana’s could be a Christmas gift. Good idea, but won’t work for a 2 year old and definitely not for Anjana.

I thought of buying a Santa Claus mask and team it with a red tshirt and a pair of red leggings, but it was easy too common. Reindeer or sleigh? No way, too complex and too little time. And, more importantly, no internet! Internet connectivity has been affected since Monday 12 December 2016 and we do not know when it would be restored [finally restored on 23 December].

But, a Christmas tree? Yes, it could work. Cardboard, green paper, decorations, etc. – all these were already in my stationery and craft boxes. I was a bit sceptical about using cardboard because even Santoshi couldn’t bring it back in one piece [the fin in the¬†mermaid costume¬†never came back and the Veena in her¬†Saraswati costume¬†came back home only after two days, that too in a bad shape]. Actually, my problem wasn’t whether it would come back. It was more about the costume staying in place at least till the end of the photo session at the day care.

The crayon costume that I had made for Anjana in November 2016 was a hit because it was easy to make and no hassles in putting it on. So, I decided to make the Christmas tree in a similar fashion Рusing fabric as the base.

What I used:

  • Green fabric
  • A small piece of brown fabric
  • Pipe cleaners – 2
  • Headband
  • Decorations [flower, leaf shaped]
  • Colour paper [for decorations and gift wrapping]
  • Glitter foam sheet in red colour for the star
  • Cardboard strips [as gifts]
  • Glue
  • A pair of scissors

Step 1: Lay the green fabric flat and fold it over so that there are two overlapping layers, with the wrong side [or the inside] on top.

Step 2: Measure the height of the tree from to to bottom and mark the top and bottom ends on the fabric. Since my daughter was already at the day care, I used the crayon costume for vertical measurement.

Step 3: Mark the width on the fabric – I used one of Anjana’s tshirts.

Step 4: Fold the fabric over once again – now you should have four overlapping layers.

Step 5: Keeping in mind seam allowance, draw the outline of the tree. Since the fabric is already folded, draw only a half of the tree. The costume is intended to cover the toddler from bottom of the neck to ankle [give or take an inch or two]. So, the maximum width could be the bottommost branches of the tree [close to the calf muscle] and the tree bark below that.

Step 6: Draw another outline of the tree considering the desired seam allowance. I have used about half an inch of seam allowance.

Step 7: Cut [all four players of fabric] along the outer lines.

Step 8: Open the fold – you will have a full tree.

Step 9: Right sides of the fabrics facing earth each other, sew on the outer lines. Do not sew the part marked with x in the pic and do not sew on the bark portion either.

Step 10: Repeat step 9 for the inner lines.

Step 11: Snip small triangles out as shown in the pic. This is needed so that when the fabric is turned right side out, the seams will lie flat inside.

Step 12: Turn the tree inside out [remember the portion where we did not sew – that’s the space using which we are going to turn the tree out]. Ensure that the corners are pulled gently out so that you get the intended shape. Mine didn’t come out so well, but it’s OK.

Step 13: Sew a piece of brown fabric as the bark of the tree,
Step 14: Decorate the tree in any manner as you wish. I glued some craft items.

Step 15: Cut a star out of the glitter foam sheet and paste it to the headband with a cardboard backing. Step 8 onwards in crayon costume will show you how to do this [paste the star in place of the triangle in crayon costume].

Step 16: Using a few cardboard strips, make small boxes, wrap them with paper, add a ribbon or a glitter tape in place of ribbons, glue them to the bark to resemble Christmas gifts under the tree. The dark green one is the cap of a baby shampoo bottle, he he.

Step 17: Pin the tree to the toddler’s clothes using safety pins. I have pinned it to the t-shirt at the top and the end of the branches, leaving the last branch and the bark unpinned so that the costume would not hinder movement.

If you are using felt, it could be a no-sew project. Ignore all about seeing on the instructions above. Cut the felt to shape of a tree, glue the bark portion, glue all decorations and attach it to the toddler’s clothes.

Here is my little Anjana with the christmas tree pinned on to her t-shirt.

The Christmas tree could also be a cute wall decor if you wish to repurpose it!