Category Archives: Crafting for Boys

Fabric is My Weakness

Really, it’s sort of like my kryptonite. Especially when I get inspired. Which I did, because my copy of Sewing for Boys just arrived in the mail. And because the Sewing for Boys Sew Along has started. For the January project (the raglan tee) I plan to repurpose this t-shirt.

Yes, that is a really big stain/mess on the front. More about that later.

I needed to pick up some contrasting knit fabric to go along with it. And then this happened.

The rest of the fabrics are for other projects from the book: 2 pairs of little heartbreaker pants (the striped linen and the green courderoy); brown and grey knit (one for the contrast to the above t shirt, one for another raglan shirt); and the denim and the print for the treasure pocket pants.

New fabric in a stack like that just makes my heart sing. Oh, the possibilities!


Sewing for Boys Sew-Along

I am very excited that it is 2012, partly because the Sewing for Boys Sew-Along begins!


If you are a mama of boys and you sew, you know what a dearth of patterns there are out there for boys. It is really frustrating to see what is available for mamas of girls, and then the complete lack of variety for boys. I am looking forward to getting my copy of the new book, Sewing for Boys in the mail later this week, and starting on the January pattern for the sew-along, the raglan tee.

If you are interested in joining the sew-along, find more info about how to join on Stacey’s blog, Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy!

A (Mostly) Recycled and Handmade Christmas

Here is some of the stuff that I have been working on for the boys for Christmas.

Two toys for Bulldog, who is one and likes to sit and figure out how stuff works. A roller xylophone from the thrift store,  $1.99 and a Playskool pop-up toy from a consignment sale, $5.00. A little soap and water and some disinfecting spray, and they are good as new.

Felt food for Monkey, who is three and likes to play kitchen. I found the basket at the thrift store for 99 cents. I made all the food, which includes strawberries, a banana that comes out of the peel, lettuce, tomato slices, a fried egg and two pieces of bread. Other food is in the works, but I just didn’t get it done before the holidays.

Wooden blocks for both boys to add to our collection. This is a combination of two sets. One I found at a consignment sale for $4.50 – that one includes quite a few (if not all) HABA blocks, with interesting cylinder, bridge, and stair shapes. The other set I found at a thrift store for $2.99. It includes most of the primary colored blocks. I gave them a good wash/soak in the sink, then sprayed them with disinfectant.  Just for fun, I counted these before I wrapped them, and there were 99 blocks, which struck me as funny. Where did that last block go?

A dress up set for Monkey. I made the construction, king, and firefighter costumes. More on how to make these here. I found the firefighter and construction hats at the thrift store for 99 cents each. 

A bead maze for Bulldog. This is an IKEA bead maze, which I didn’t notice when I bought it at a consignment sale for $6.00. Now that we have an IKEA, $6.00 seems overpriced. But it was the “best-for-the-price” of the many bead mazes at this particular consignment sale.

It’s unfortunate that I am too frugal to buy new toys for my kids for Christmas. They are really deprived, don’t you think?

DIY Boy’s Dress Up Kit

You’ve already seen the firefighter costume that I made for my son for Christmas.

Here is the rest of the set.

First, a king costume. I made the crown out of scrap material from my stash using this tutorial. There are about a thousand cape tutorials out there. I looked at a few, made a pattern of my own, and winged it, adding a fur collar.  

Remnant (sweet! remnant discount) of purple velvety-type fabric, about a yard: $1.67

Fake Fur, 3 inch cut $0.65

Total Cost: $2.32

Second,  a construction worker costume. I made the tool belt based on this tutorial.  The fabric is from my stash – I have been hanging on to this Michael Miller “wheels” fabric for a while, trying to figure out what to do with it. The tools were part of a set that he already had. The construction hard hat was $1 at the thrift store.

Double fold black bias tape $2.50 (you could totally use scrap material instead of bias tape. I’m just lazy like that)

Construction hard hat $1.00

Total Cost $3.50

So, for the set of three, the cost was about $20. By far the biggest expense was for the firefighter costume. I have plans to add a chef’s hat to the set, but not before Christmas. I need to turn my attention to finishing the felt food set that I have started.

Fireman Dress Up Tutorial

I’m all about open-ended toys that spur your kid’s imagination. Like dress up costumes. Monkey doesn’t have any, so I decided that he needed some for Christmas. I found this set on Amazon, for the not so low price of $67.50. Yikes. I like it and all, but I think I can do better.  First on the list is the fireman costume. Here’s what the finished product looks like. And the good news is, you can make one just like it for about $15.

You will need:

  • Small black (or red) women’s long sleeve shirt. T-shirts won’t work, it needs to be a button down. I used a size 2 Gap cotton shirt that I found at Goodwill for $3.99.

    The shirt before I hacked it up.

  • 5/8″ satin ribbon in silver
  • 7/8″ grosgrain ribbon in bright yellow
  • Steam-A-Seam Sticky Back Fusible Web (comes in sheets)
  • Steam-A-Seam Double Stick Fusible Web Tape, in 1/4 inch width
  • yellow thread that matches your ribbon
  • black thread
  • velcro – I used 1/2 inch wide that was hanging around in my supplies. By all means, use what you have.
  • small appliques of your choice – stars, badges, firetrucks and American flags all work. I went with what my local Joann’s had in stock.

First, remove the buttons from the front placket. Don’t worry about the buttons on the cuffs, you are cutting that part of the shirt off in a minute anyway.

Next, find a long sleeve shirt that fits your kid, and lay it on top of the black shirt.

Cut the shirt down, making both the arms and the bottom edge a few inches longer than the long sleeve shirt – you want it to be a bit baggy, right?

I left the bottom edge significantly longer because I want it to fit more like a long coat.

Now, turn those edges under and stitch with the black thread. If you like to do things the correct way, by all means, fold it under twice for a nice finished edge on the inside. Me – well, not so picky. I folded under about 1/4 inch and stitched. It’s for play, after all. But, if you are going to do a double fold, be sure to account for that extra length getting folded under when you cut down the sleeves and the bottom.

Next, you need to apply the velcro to the shirt placket. I went with two strips of 1/2 inch wide because that is what I had on hand. It should be narrow enough to be hidden within the shirt placket.

Now, we are ready to get down to the fun stuff. A word about ribbon here: I deliberately chose satin ribbon for the grey, because it needs to be reflective, and I knew that I wasn’t going to stitch on it – I attached it with fusible tape. I chose grosgrain for the yellow because I knew I was going to stitch it on, and satin ribbon is a be-yatch to stitch.

UPDATE: While roaming around my local Joann store, I found Dritz Iron On Reflective tape in silver and yellow. Just like the stuff I created here, only WAY easier. They weren’t carrying this when I made this costume.  I can’t find it online – only the silver and the yellow separately. But, it is worth asking at your fabric store.

Measure out a length of each ribbon to span the bottom of the shirt. Make it a little longer than you think, because nothing sucks like cutting the ribbon too short. Not that I know what that’s like. Plus, in thinking ahead, you are going to want to wrap the edge of the ribbon around to the inside of the shirt for a nice finished edge.

Man, my ironing board cover needs a wash.

Using the directions on the box, I applied a strip of  Steam-A-Seam Double Stick Fusible Web Tape, in 1/4 inch width to the back of the silver ribbon. In hindsight, I should have applied two strips, overlapping them, for more durability. My bad.

Next, apply the silver ribbon to the middle of the yellow ribbon, using your iron and the directions for the fusible tape. Ta-da! Now it magically looks like the reflective tape on a firefighter’s uniform. 

Then, pin and stitch the yellow/grey ribbon combo to the bottom of the shirt, a few inches from the bottom. Use your yellow thread.

Repeat with the ribbon until you have another strip under the arms, and one on each sleeve, thusly:

You are almost done! Can you believe this used to be a woman’s shirt? Next, use the Steam-A-Seam Sticky Back Fusible Web (comes in sheets) to attach your appliques where they seem most appropriate. I had a firetruck and a flag, and thought that they looked best on the sleeves. 

Total cost: $15.00. Admittedly, I have a lot of sewing notions on hand. If you needed to purchase everything for this your cost would be a bit higher.

  • Shirt – $3.99
  • 5/8″ satin ribbon in silver $1.99
  • 7/8″ grosgrain ribbon in bright yellow $1.99
  • yellow thread – $2.00
  • 2 small appliques – $1.99 each 
  • firefighter’s hat – $1 at a local thrift store

This is the first costume in the “kit” that I am making him for Christmas. More to come…