Category Archives: Sewing

Custom Made Boot Shapers

Here’s something you didn’t know you needed (until now) Boot Forms! Or boot shapers if you prefer.

Every inch of space is utilized in the Lake Balboa Bungalow.  That’s why one of my favorite pieces of furniture is an antique book case that my mom gave me when I was 13 to house a bell collection.  It fits perfectly into a nook in the hallway.  The shoes are happily showcased here, accessible and safe from puppies with a shoe fetish.

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As you can see, there’s little room for boots and I have too many don’t have a closet big enough.  Previously, my boots were hung in the closet with pant hangers.  I tried those expensive boot forms but they slip out of the boot and break easily.  Somewhere I saw boot forms for sale and realized these would be easy to make and a great way to ensure that my boots stay in good form.  They keep the tops of tall boots from slopping over and prevent damage from the pant hangar clips.

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It’s a quick and easy project.  Because boot styles vary and because few people wear my Cinderella size six, it’s better to make custom forms for each individual pair of boots.   If you’re learning to sew – this is a great project!

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Draft the Pattern:
Lay your boots on some cardstock or cardboard.  A cardboard box or unfolded cereal box will do the trick.
Line up the top of the boots with the top edge of the cardstock/cardboard and the front side with the side edge.

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Note: Boot is wrong direction. Line up the straight edge of the boot with the front or straight side.

Trace down the back side to the heel and stop.

On the straight side, mark approximately where your ankle ends.

Remove the boot and sketch a curved line from the ankle to the heel, rounding the edges.  Cut out your pattern.

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Mark your Fabric:
Fold your fabric right sides together.

Trace the pattern onto your fabric – this is the SEWING line.

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DO NOT CUT on this line.  You will cut about 5/8″ OUTSIDE the line.  No need to be precise here – just give yourself enough room –not too close to the sewing line.  You can trim it AFTER you sew.  I use my serger which does both.

Pin in a few pieces to keep it together.

Make the Loop:
Sew a 7” x 3” rectangle piece of fabric into a tube.  (You should have some scraps left) Turn right side out.

Fold in half and pin with the tab inside the two pieces of fabric, matching the raw edges.

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Sew the Boot Form:
Sew along the pattern line, sewing the tab into the top.  Leave a 2 – 3” gap along the straight edge.

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Turn the fabric right side out and stuff with batting (or scrap fabric) .

Finish the boot by sewing the gap closed either by hand stitching or with your machine.

The tabs are handy to attach a standard pant hangar to hang in your closet or simply to grab to remove the boot.

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Have fun making these!  I’d love to see some pictures of yours!

Mermaid Costume

Every year I make Thing 2’s Halloween costume… except the one year she wanted to buy a princess costume but when someone else showed up in the same outfit, we went back to making our own. She has been a dead cheerleader, a rock n roller, a pirate and a zombie girl. This year… she wanted to be a mermaid… (technically it’s her fourth time as a mermaid) The first mermaid costume was worn until it was literally in shreds. So since we’ve done this a few times, I printed off some images of mermaid costumes to use as inspiration to see what direction she wanted to go.  Now someone else has already done a bang up job explaining how they did it (Ms. Mod Mischief) so the full credit and instructions are here. I did mine differently but you use what you got and that’s what I did.  The concept and basic construction is the same.
Here’s Things 2 costume – which was completed down to the wire.  She was involved in making all the various parts and it turned out (if I don’t say so myself) pretty darn good. I think she’s the cutest mermaid caught by a Pirate/Fisherman I ever did see!
We attended the PALLOWEEN Halloween event at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica. Dr. Malibu said it was evident she was going to win.  Thing 2 was stopped every few steps by people gushing over her costume.  And she did win– 1st prize for her age division, but she won my heart a long time ago!

Graduation Dress – Ditching the Design

Thing 2 was busy with gymnastics and school and since she was apprehensive about the first dress design, I went ahead and finished the sun dress version in the Hawaiian print – coaxing her to try it on at various intervals so I could really customize the fit.

Without being able to see the final version and having absolutely no trust in my skills and taste, Thing 2 picked out another pattern.   Experience has taught me not to fight the process.  After all, when you’re teaching someone to sew, you have to ensure that the project will be successful and that the end result be something she could be proud about.  This time, I didn’t have Thing 2 around to help me (child of divorce and all) so I whipped up the muslin and sewed it up so she could try it on.   It was a unanimous YES!  The simple muslin fabric looked GORGEOUS on her!  Excited with our new beginning I cut out two sets of fabrics from the pattern to got ready to sew.  Graduation is just around the corner so Thing 2 might not get a chance to sew her own graduation dress, but at least the lesson of what you can do will be learned.

Meanwhile, the original dress in the Hawaiian print was turning out darn pretty cute.  The dress begged for a little more pizzazz so I edged the neck and armholes with a thin bias tape that I made from scraps of white fabric and one of my Clover Bias Tape makers.  Mr. Malibu was concerned when he first saw the dress – got to give him props for noticing that the front panels don’t match.  I didn’t put a lot of effort into this dress as I suspect Thing 2 won’t ever wear it.  I was limited with a short amount of fabric and it was more an exercise than completing for garment that would be actually worn.  She doesn’t wear dresses very often.
Hopefully I’ve alleviated Mr. Malibu’s fears, because he wants a shirt made, with monogrammed cuffs, no less.

Willing to try new things…

A month or two ago – my trusty Husqvarna 205 and I parted ways – I’ve noticed I end my relationships pretty quickly and painlessly these days.  One faltering stitch and you’re on Craigslist.  I hadn’t started the Graduation Dress project yet so it was imperative that I find a replacement.  Someone that I could build a quality relationship with.

Don’t get the wrong idea, the 205 had been true and faithful for 15 years – I was pregnant with Thing 1 when 205 came home with me.  We made the most beautiful crib bedding together for little Thing 1.  From there our love grew and grew.  We made many a curtain and costume and project.

And the 205 never gave me any problems, never failed me.  But you know… sometimes you need to move on.  Sometimes you need someone who is going to give you that little extra something.  The basics weren’t cutting it for me.   I felt limited and stifled.  I felt I deserved better.  I needed to move on.

Husqvarna 955e was not a new model – used –  in fact, loved by another.  But they too had parted ways.  955e was willing to give me more than I’d ever had before.  Willing and able to do all the little things my last relationship couldn’t.  And 955e is fast, faster than I’d ever sewn before.  I’ve had fantasies about this but didn’t think it could really happen.

You know, sometimes, in a new relationship, you’re willing to try things.  Things you NEVER thought you’d do before.  Sure, you heard people did that but you didn’t really expect to be doing that yourself!  I’m a little embarrassed about it.  But curious.  I feel like it’s important to try this and make sure this new relationship is going to work.

So tonight, I’m going to learn how to machine embroidery.  I’m keeping an open mind and taking it slow.