Upcycled Baby Bodysuit: Reds T-Shirt

Reds t-shirt made with an upcycled baby bodysuit.

I recently endeavored to upcycle an old baby bodysuit. I have reinvented a dress into a skirt. And, I’ve ungendered kids clothes before. I love doing this because I’m conscious of the fast fashion versus slow fashion issue, but also kids grow fast, so I have a lot of good (okay, maybe slightly stained) baby and kids clothes. Not to mention, I enjoy a good sewing project!

Living in the Greater Cincinnati area, my kids are default Reds baseball fans. It’s a thing to wear Reds gear on opening day (March 29, 2018). I’ll never forget my first opening day. I was wearing red Converse sneakers (because I worked at a design/branding agency) and a guy in the elevator as I rode up in the morning commented, “I see you’re wearing your shoes for opening day.” I had no idea what he was talking about. I can’t remember if I just agreed to be agreeable or asked him to explain.

Because kids are always growing, they can’t necessarily wear the same Reds t-shirt year after year. Here’s where the upcycling comes in. I took a Reds baby bodysuit that had a few smudges and cutout the graphic and appliqued it onto a new t-shirt!

Here’s what I did.

The baby bodysuit. There are smudges on it that the camera didn’t quite pick up.

After choosing the bodysuit, I went to my nearby craft store and purchased a red t-shirt. This is probably a no-no if I want to truly upcycle old baby clothes. To be pure, I would have found a red t-shirt at a thrift shop. Oh well, I’m trying!

New red t-shirt. I washed it first, because I wash everything first.

Next, I ironed some fusible web to the backside of the image on the bodysuit and cut it out.

Fusible web being ironed onto the backside of the graphic.


I wasn’t completely sure how to center the Reds applique. My ruler was handy, so I placed it right at the armpits and then had a way to center the applique both horizontally and vertically.

Ruler placed from armpit to armpit to help find the “center.”

I then ironed on the applique. Now, while I was ironing, I forgot where I was for a moment and started going to town on the applique with the hot iron. Um, that graphic is a rubbery paint. So, yes, it got a little messy. Thank goodness I came back to earth and placed a cloth between the graphic and the iron. (Reminder for next time!)

Finally, I zigzag stitched around the perimeter of the applique to really secure it.

Quick zigzag stitch. Bonus! I already had the red thread!

Voila! A brand new Reds t-shirt ready to show some team spirit! My kid has already worn it once and it washed well. Huzzah! Go Redlegs!


The final product: Kids’ Reds t-shirt ready for opening day.

T-Bud Co. Quilts Ohio: March Ohio Star

March’s Ohio Star Quilt Block

My Ohio Star quilt block for March represents how spring arrives in Southwestern Ohio. It’s no secret that January, February, March, and I don’t get along. Long nights, cold weather, and post-holiday blues mean that even the consolation prize of my birthday and Valentine’s Day don’t cheer me up. But, sometime in March, I start to gain hope.

Love the juicy hues of purple. And my points aren’t too shabby on this block.

For me, this timing is unique to Cincinnati, Ohio. For sure when I was in Alaska, I had to wait much longer—April, quite possibly May—for the signal that warmer, brighter days were ahead. In Atlanta, the winter felt like a blip on the calendar. Fall and spring were such drawn out occasions, that I was never really sure that winter had occurred. Atlanta’s spring began early in the year, giving summer a head start: enough time to heat up into scorching temperatures. In Cincinnati, March ushers in the hope of spring. I’ve seen snow here during this month, this year included, so it has the potential to come in like a lion and out like a lamb. But, a promise is still made.

Daffodils, probably. When you don’t plant the bulbs, every spring is a surprise!

It is around this time that mornings are noticeably lighter (before the time change) and the evenings last longer (after the time change). The daffodils, hyacinths, and crocuses send out green shoots, if not flowers. The thermometer climbs. The birds are chirpier, issuing the official announcement of their return.

Unrelated to nature, or maybe it is, Lent begins and usually some portion of it is in March. That means Friday church fish fries and Easter candy in the grocery stores. Not that I claim to be Catholic (or any other religion), but I have grown to enjoy and support the fish fry at the nearby Catholic church, taking advantage of their drive-thru for one dinner during the season. I also can’t resist Easter candy.

The math getting that single QST of green was mind-bending for me.

So here is my block. The single green triangle is meant to be like a spring flower pushing through last year’s mulch. I chose purple, because I like it. Ha! It was a new challenge to use the same color in three tints and shades. I bought those batiks at my local quilt shop, The Quilter’s Studio of Loveland. The light purple was a fat quarter my daughter slipped into my basket at Joann Fabrics when we were shopping for my Down the Rabbit Hole quilt. (The green also came from Joann Fabrics.)

I like how this one turned out. But, I may like how the weather is starting to transform into spring better!

March’s Ohio Star Quilt Block

Copywriting Tip: Pick the Perfect Details

Rifle Paper Copy
Rifle Paper Co. Packaging

“The devil is in the details,” they say, but the brand is in them, too. I recently purchased some Rifle Paper Co. Valentine’s Day cards. Of course I flipped the package over and read every bit of copy. To repeat that these cards are printed in the USA (it’s already in the “Made in USA” at the bottom) and to explain how the sets are hand-assembled in their Florida studio does a lot to express the Rifle Paper Co. brand.

None of the copy there in the middle is necessary, but it paints a picture of the company caring about the cards as much as the person ordering them does. This is stationery–a personal, caring touch is what it’s all about! “Studio” brings to life the artistic value of these cards. “Florida” further brings the brand to life. It doesn’t feel like a big, anonymous company.

That’s all to say, the details you choose to include or exclude from your package copy matters. It exposes what your brand cares about and what it stands for. While packaging has a lot of requirements, the copy you put into the empty spaces can have a huge impact.

The key is to carefully select the details. There’s no need to put every single little detail of your brand or company’s story onto a package. And, don’t feel pressured to exaggerate the details in an attempt to make your story sound like you think it should. Every brand and company has a unique perspective and the details will show it and connect with your customer.

T-Bud Co. Quilts Ohio: February Ohio Star

Pssst! Between you and me, I love Loveland.

February’s Ohio Star Quilt Block

It’s true. I fell head over heels for Loveland. The heart-shaped logo. The nickname “Sweetheart of Ohio.” The bike trail and the Little Miami River that run through the middle of the city.

While my husband and I were dating and engaged, we often rode on the Little Miami Scenic Trail, which runs right through the cutesy part of Loveland. One summer, we completed the entire trail in sections. Each weekend, we drove our bikes to where we had left off, pedaled 12-14 miles further, then pedaled back, and picked up the following weekend.

The Little Miami River has provided a couple of weekends of fun. Using Loveland Canoe & Kayak’s shuttling services, we toodled a few miles down the river in the kayaks my husband had acquired. And, that’s not to mention that you can wander down to the river from Nisbet Park and wave to canoers and kayakers as they float along.

But, the river and the bike trail weren’t the only points I used when I was convincing my husband that we needed to find a house in Loveland. Sure, they provided support to my case, but the most persuasive argument I could make is that Loveland has a downtown. When you go downtown, you KNOW you’re in Loveland.

February’s Ohio Start Quilt Block Close-up

Here’s where I need to go back to my home state for a moment. I grew up in Palmer, Alaska. The town is a destination. Every town in Alaska is, because the whole state is a destination. Palmer welcomes visitors—I worked my high school summers at the visitor center. Palmer has a tidy, charming downtown. When you’re there, you KNOW you’re in Palmer. But to even know that a downtown can create this feeling, you need to also be familiar with towns and cities that have come to be without a strong center. They have a sprawl that makes you wonder where you really are. The limits are twisty-turny. And, if this uncentered town or city is located in a populated state, there’s a good chance that “nowhere” doesn’t exist between it and the next municipality. That is, to get to the next town, you don’t have to drive through nowhere in order to get there. (Common for Alaska—there’s a lot of nowhere up there.)

Looking at Loveland’s limits, they twist and turn and I’m not sure they make any sense. The city lands in 3 counties. Which creates unique problems and customized solutions—like the emergency dispatch. But, what I do know is that when you’re in downtown Loveland, you know it’s Loveland. It has a center. And, that’s what I wanted. Even Hyde Park and Oakley, the two Cincinnati neighborhoods where I had previously lived, had centers—their respective squares—giving the community and geography a focus. It’s what I had in Palmer. I wanted a town that wasn’t just the sprawl. I wanted a center.

For February’s Ohio Star quilt block, I gave in to the Valentine’s Day theme. With a name like “Loveland,” the town has no other choice but to celebrate this holiday. I chose pink, red, and white fabrics to create a block that honors the city I have called home for seven of the ten years I have lived in the Greater Cincinnati area. (I’ll break it down for you: two years in Hyde Park; a little over one year in Oakley; seven in Loveland.)

Needle-turn appliqué

The red and white fabrics I’ve had for several years. It was purchased for craft projects and not for sewing. The pink fabric I purchased for this particular block. At the time, I didn’t pay too much attention to the curlicue pattern, but as I was stitching this block together, I noticed the cheery curves and like how they remind me of Valentine’s Day card flourishes and the curvaceous shape of the iconic heart. Of course, I added a heart to the center. I would have been remiss if I didn’t. I used needle-turn appliqué to attach it.

Ohio star quilt block in hues of pink, red, and white.


Copywriting Tip: Educate the Reader

Hang tag from Lands’ End jeans.

One of my favorite copywriting techniques is educating the reader. There are a couple of benefits of doing this. Lands’ End did a fine job of it on this tag that was on a pair of jeans I recently purchased.

Here, they’re teaching me what “crocking” means. Surprisingly, I didn’t know what this word meant, even after writing for a fashion e-commerce site for a few years! There really is no need to look it up in the dictionary. The parenthetical expression defines it: “staining of other fabrics or skin.” (For the record, the dictionary definition is “to transfer color.

The effect of this technique is twofold: the brand gains authority in the readers’ (customers’) minds. As in, I now know that Lands’ End truly understands denim. Second, the readers feel included because they now know this specialized language, too. If the copy hadn’t explained what “crocking” is, the readers may have been confused if they didn’t know the word.

Subtle is key. There’s no need to be patronizing when using this technique and like all good things, moderation is best.