Kimonos or Robes?

I gave you guys a sneak peek last post at these mini kimonos:

So now let me fill you in with a whole peek and tell ya how you can make one, sew or no-sew!  I made mine with my trusty sewing machine but you guys, I racked and racked and racked my brain on how to make this go either way – sew or no-sew!  I know a lot of you don’t know how to sew (yet) and so I didn’t want this to be a project only to be done with a sewing machine.  Making clothes for kids (and adults) is so fun, but I know it can be a downer when you find out you need to be able to sew to make something cute.  Sew, let’s get our kimono on.
sew or no-sew kimono tutorial
[Hey!  That rhymes!]

The supplies:
-a piece of knit fabric (or a fabric that won’t fray at the edges)
-a scissors
-fringe (optional)
-glue (optional for the no-sew version)
-sewing machine (for the sewn version)
I bought this fabric at JoAnn’s.  It was 50% off, ringing in at $7.49 a yard.  I bought a yard and a third and got two toddler kimonos out of it and two toddler-sized inifinity scarves pieced together with the leftovers (more on those later).  The fringe is also from JoAnn’s. 

First, I cut out two rectangular pieces of fabric that were 23 x 42 inches each.  If you’re just making one toddler kimono, you’ll only need 2/3 of a yard of fabric.  However, it’s worth mentioning that the kimonos I made would probably fit a girl who wears size 5 or 6 pretty well.  They’re a tad large for my size 2T girls.  If you’re making an adult-sized kimono, you’ll need more.  I’d guess about two yards depending on the length you want. 

After I had my two pieces, I grabbed one and folded it in half long-ways with the right sides of the fabric facing each other.  The top of this piece measured 23” and it measured 21” long.  The folded side would eventually go along the girls shoulders and arms.

The Sewn Version
For the sewn version, I measured down four inches from the top of each side and put a pin.  This four inches would be the arm holes.  Past the four inch mark, I pinned the sides together and then sewed them together.  Simple enough, right?

The dotted line in this picture shows where I stitched:

Next, I turned the kimono right-side-out and folded it in half so that the two sides I had just sewn were together.

Then, I cut down the fold only cutting through one layer of fabric (IMPORTANT!!) and only to the top fold.  This gave me the kimono opening at the front.
(So in the above picture, the two sides I had just sewn are laying on the left and I cut through one layer of fabric on the fold at the right.)

After cutting, I laid out the kimono and it looked like this:

The last thing I did was sew a few zig-zag stitches at the very top of the front opening to keep it from ripping.IMG_0015
I don’t know how likely it is to rip but just in case it got pulled open too far (you never know what toddlers are capable of), I wanted to make sure it was nice and secure.

And that’s that!  Because I used a knit that wasn’t prone to fraying, I didn’t have to do any hemming at the unfinished edges.

The No-Sew Version
The no-sew version involves cutting shallow slits down each side and tying.  It’s exactly how I made these infinity scarves for the girls.

Making sure you mark that four inches at the top of each side for arm holes, you’d cut slits down the side (represented by the lines in the picture below) and then you’d tie the sides together by knotting the front and back fabric pieces.
no-sew kimono
After that was done, you’d turn the kimono right-side-out, fold it in half, and cut the front opening just like you would in the sewn version.  Instead of using a zig-zag stitch to reinforce the top of the cut though, you might want to place a dab of glue over it to make sure it stayed put and didn’t rip.

Of course you could probably go the stitch witchery/iron-on hem tape route with the sides if you didn’t feel like tying them or you could even try your hand at sewing them shut just using a needle and thread since there are just a couple of straight lines to be sewn.  However you make them, they’re pretty simple, no?

I wasn’t done with the kimonos there though.  I saw a few kimonos on the web with fringe and other trim at the ends so old horse, new tricks type thing.  I had to try it.  All I did was cut a fringe piece long enough to go across the entire bottom of each kimono and sewed it on with a straight stitch.

Fringe is sold with the strings attached at the bottom with a little thread to make sewing easier; fringe strings all over the place would be a frustrating thing to tame while you’re trying to guide fabric through your machine or out of your way.  So all I had to do once I had the fringe on was remove that string.


So my first thought when I put them on the girls was “Oh my gosh, they look like vintage robes…not what I was going for”, and that’s probably your thought too.  I know.  They’re a tad long.  I’m still on the fence about the fringe.  I think it might just amp up the vintage robe look but for now I’m keeping it on.  What do you think?  Is the fringe too much?  I think I’m going to make them some more kimonos soon minus the fringe and round off the front corners to soften them up.  You know I’ll write about it when I do.  :)


Anddddd…I’m thinking mom here needs one or five too.  Maybe I should grab some more fabric and do the whole matching thing?  “Oh look!  Mom and her daughters in their robes at Target in the afternoon!”  What a spectacle.  ;)


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Have a great rest of the week guys!  Anthony just got home today from a 12-day mission trip so I’m sorry if I’ve been semi-absent during the past 12 days!  Now you know why!  He’s currently napping with the kids so I’m playing catch-up and boy do I have lots of things to play that with!  My cousin has been here for the past week helping me and we’ve been doing lots of projects around the house!  Stay tuned!!

Minis In Maxis

Back when I went shopping for the Goodwill Fashion Challenge, I also snatched up this top for a buck:IMG_0017
It was hanging on the end of a rack and the stripes caught my eye (what’s new?)  It was an XL so my mind immediately went to turning it into two maxi dresses for the girls.  And so I did.  To do so, I first folded it in half.  IMG_0018
And then I cut it in half along the fold…no measuring here folks.
That gave me two pieces of the shirt.  Last, I folded each piece in half, right sides together, with the cut edges touching and serged the two cut ends of each piece together to make two dresses (sewing them together would work perfect too).
Image-1 (1)
Side Note:  If you buy an extra small or small top like this, you can probably get away without any sewing (besides maybe hemming or even just cutting off extra length if it’s a knit material like mine) if you’re looking to make a dress for one toddler.
And so that I didn’t age my kids 20 years, I cut two thick strips off the bottom of an old tee, folded each strip in half but forming a ‘v’, and sewed the base of the v to the top of each dress.

I took them outside with the DSLR to grab some quick after shots and it wasn’t until after I put the good camera away that they gave me stuff to work with.

This is unprompted, iPhone 4S, quality stuff:
They’ve been doing this (hilarious) thing lately where they run at each other with arms wide open yelling something in Spanish and crash into a loving embrace…and then die laughing at each other.   (I’m guessing Diego and/or Dora have something to do with it.)
Over and over they do it.  We were in JoAnn Fabrics two days ago and while I was waiting to get some fabric cut, they were putting on a show doing this down the main aisle.  I didn’t know if I should tell them to stop running or let it play on to the amusement of everyone around.  I let it go.  Dem girls I tell ya.  :)

Back to their garb though, I didn’t stop with the maxis…
IMG_6293…more on their new diy kimonos later.  (Not only are they diy but they can easily be made with nary a sewing machine in sight!  You won’t want to miss this one!)

And it just so happens that…
IMG_6301Yep.  Birthday present from Grandma this past year.  Totally random but I couldn’t resist.  ;)

Have a fantastic Monday! 


If you like it, then you shouldda putta a pin in it!  :)thriftedtoptotoddlermaxi

Crew Cut

I’m not a fan of crew neck shirts.  They feel stuffy to me.  I’m all about v-necks and round necks and square necks and every other neck (besides plunging maybe because, for one, my kids tend to grab onto my shirt during times of slight duress and OOPS!  HELLOO!)  But, I do own a few crews.  In particular, there’s this hand-me-down:551201_707201945920_1701288495_nThis is the only picture I have wearing it and you can’t even see the crew neck so it should be tossed in the irrelevant category but I’ll humor myself again and post it.  This was when I was pregnant with Sebastian.  I laughed out loud to myself when I pulled it over the bump though because it seemed to add a little vavoom to Audrey’s chest area that wasn’t there before…so I took a picture.  :D

Here’s what it really looks like (except in white):avenue-la-black-t-audrey-hepburn-t-shirt-741540[image via Tradesy]

And why am I even worrying about posting a before picture?  You all know what a crew neck tee looks like!  Silly me!

So anywho, one day post-pregnancy, I decided I wanted to wear that shirt again but didn’t want to deal with the stuffy crew neck, so I just cut it off (and didn’t take a single in-process picture…boo). 

I cut right around the existing neck; cutting off the ribbing. 


Cutting around the existing neck helped me make sure I wasn’t getting a wonky cut.  After I had done that, I decided I wanted it a tad wider so I cut another half inch off; following the circle I had just cut.  Since the tee I cut was jersey, there was no hemming needed!

Here’s how I’m wearing it today:
[My mirror lied when it told me these ancient trouser jeans are still good to wear.  Looking a little shoddy these days…]

And, per J’s inspiration, I threw this altered blazer over it.
Oh, hold on, my super-sleek, company-supplied phone is going off…


Oh wait, that’s just a toddler cry in the arena I call mi casa.

Gotta run.


Our parish had a yard sale fundraiser a couple of weeks ago to raise money for this summer’s mission trip to Ecuador and we helped plan the event.  Everything in the sale was donated by parishioners, including these two ladies:
Although sturdy, they looked a little sad – the fabric on the seats was worn and the bamboo was discolored and stained in many spots.  So, I did what anyone with a tooth for a project did, I snatched them up and told them I’d make them over so that they could sell them for much more than the $5 a piece they were asking.  :D

So I did.

And here’s how.

First I removed the seats.  You can see they were just attached by four screws, screwed in through metal brackets at the four corners under the seat.

Then I gave the bamboo a quick vacuum with a bristled vacuum attachment and scrubbed them down with some soap and water - I used a wet toothbrush to clean out crevices and to remove a little grime and a damp washcloth to clean the rest.

Once clean, I took them outside to be painted.  I used Rustoleum spray paint in white and to make sure I covered every inch of the chairs that would be seen, I first painted the chairs upside down.  This enable me to get underneath the curves on the backrest and places under the chair that might be seen from above.

I covered most of the underside of the chair but I didn’t waste paint with parts that definitely wouldn’t be seen.  Also, I sprayed two coats for good coverage – I painted the second coat about 30 minutes after the first.

After the underside was dry, I flipped the chairs over and sprayed them standing upright.

Here’s where all that painting got me:

Next came the seats.

Lots of staples had to be removed in order to freshen these babies up.  To remove them, I used a small flathead screwdriver to pry them up and a needle-nose pliers to pull them out.

First I started by removing the black backing.

Then I removed the piping.
I removed the old piping material from the piping itself because the original intention was to redo the piping with the new fabric.  But, in the end, it turned out the chairs didn’t really need the piping…which was good because I didn’t have a ton of time to finish these and I had never made my own piping before.

After I started removing the actual seat material on one of the chairs, I realized that it wasn’t foam underneath but a sort of loose fiber.  We debated on just buying new foam to fit to the seats but then ditched that for the easier route – simply putting the new fabric over the old.  The old fabric wasn’t gross, just worn and faded, so it worked out well to skip a few steps! 

To make sure the new geometric fabric (a mustard-colored curtain panel we purchased at Kohl’s) was straight, I first laid the seat right on top of the fabric, which was upside down so that the wrong side of the fabric was facing the top of the seat.  Then I eyeballed it, making sure it was right in the center of the design.
Then, while I wrapped the fabric around to the underside, Anthony stapled.  We did the front (straight edge) of the seat first followed by a few staples at the back center.  Then we did the sides and front corners.  Last we did the rest of the back; around the curved corners.  I wish we had more hands to take pictures because, while it seems fairly easy, there’s a lot of pulling and folding involved to make sure there are no folds along the sides of the seat.  These seats were a little more difficult since they were rounded at the back; a squared seat (like this one) would’ve been a lot easier.

We did one seat one night and the next seat a couple of nights later.  While I love the outcomes of recovering seats, the process isn’t the most fun past time so you can imagine how glad I was after that last staple was in on the last seat…and then you can imagine my grief when I set both seats on their bamboo counterparts and realized the ikat design on one was opposite the other:
This is what happens when you do projects while the kids are awake.  #facepalm #facepalm #facepalm

Out came lots of staples and in went more and finally, we had it right and almost done.  Before our last step, which you’ll see below, I made sure that none of the screw holes were completely covered by layers of fabric, making it really difficult if not impossible to get the seat back on the chairs.  I simply cut around the holes if there was too much fabric over them or cut a small hole in the fabric above the holes if I couldn’t cut around them.  Hopefully that makes sense.  Again, I didn’t take pictures of the underside of the seats once we were finished upholstering them (rookie mistake!) but you can see similar scenarios in this post and this one.

The next and last step was covering the underside of the seats.  Because we opted to cover over the old fabric, some of it was peeking out from under the new on the underside of the seat.  Of course nobody really looks under there but it bothered me.  So, I grabbed some interfacing we had left from covering the bottom of the loveseat, and stapled it on there.

First, I cut out a piece a little larger than the area I wanted covered and centered it over the area, placing two staples in the middle to hold it in place.
The interfacing I used was fairly thin and allowed me to see the edge of the fabric underneath so I just grabbed a scissors and cut it to size, making sure I was cutting it so that it overlapped the edge of the fabric.  Then I stapled it in place.

Much cleaner.

And that’s it!

Do you have upholstering chairs under your belt?  My friends Pam and Oscar are in the process of doing their dining room chairs and look how great they’re turning out!  I love the floral fabric they chose!

And my friend Natasha did hers too!  So classy, right?

It’s a really simple update anyone can do!  Like I said above, the more square the cushion, the easier but if you can tug and pull, you can tackle any shape!

bamboo chair

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P.S.  If you live in the Mobile area and are interested in buying these lovely ladies (or even just one…they’d make great desk chairs!), email me at

P.P.S.  A huge virtual hug and cheeky kiss to all of you who voted for my outfit for the Goodwill Fashion Challenge!  I got second place – a $100 gift card to Goodwill!  I’m going to pass on a small token of appreciation to one lucky voter so if you voted, keep your eyes peeled because that just might be you!  I’ll pick a winner before the end of the week!  Seriously, thanks again!