Handkerchiefs from a Repurposed Bedsheet

Handkerchiefs made from a torn bedsheet.

Not all sewing is glamorous and Insta-worthy. Nope. Sometimes I’m stitching things I need or making the most out of some fabric so it doesn’t end up in a landfill.

Apparently, I like to run marathons in my sleep, because I wore a hole in a flannel fitted sheet. Now, to my defense, these are fast home décor (think fast fashion, but with home décor). We’ve only had the sheets for a couple of years (and use them seasonally because they’re flannel), but still, a hole showed up.

To my credit, I made the hole larger so that I WOULD NOT MISS IT and try to put it back on the bed.

The sheet is queen-size. That’s a lot of fabric without a hole. I washed the sheet and kept it because I knew I’d think of something to use it for. Finally, I decided on handkerchiefs. I grew up using handkerchiefs, or hankies, when I had a cold. Granted, they’re gross. You blow your nose on them. And, you don’t throw them away like you would with a tissue. But, because you DON’T throw them away, you always have one handy. Also, you don’t have to remember to buy tissues or use toilet paper.

Because this sheet was to become hankies, I wasn’t too worried about how they looked in the end. I mean, they’re going to wipe up snot. I simply cut out as many squares as I could by cutting along the plaid pattern. Further evidence of this sheet being fast home décor? The plaid isn’t yarn-dyed, it’s piece-dyed (piece-printed?). Most plaids are yarn-dyed. Go to your closet and check out your favorite plaid shirt and flip it over to the reverse side. The reverse should look like the front and not plain. The reverse of this sheet is white, not plaid: piece-dyed. Because of this, cutting along the plaid pattern didn’t necessarily result in true square pieces. But, whatever—snot.

Plaid on one side; plain on the reverse.

I took the time to press a ¼” hem on two opposite sides of each hankie. Then, I stitched it down. I was going to press the remaining two sides, but it took a long time the first round. I decided to wing it and just fold the hem over as I stitched, because boogers. It worked! They didn’t turn out too shabby—for hankies.

Artsy shot of a snot rag.

The result is 20 or so hankies for my family to use. And, bonus! My husband gave me a cold only a week or so after I finished making these. I used them and I’m satisfied with how they turned out. One sheet saved from the landfill and a house of happy noses!

Stitched. Folded. Stacked. Ready for boogers.



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.

Ungendering Kids Clothes

A perk of freelancing is the pockets of free time here and there. Some hours I spend researching leads or on “professional development”–that is, learning new skills or keeping my skills sharp. Other hours I spend on projects around the house. This is one of those projects.

I had a daughter. Then I had a son. Little kids require a lot of clothes. Not because they wear them out, but rather they outgrow them so quickly. Also, it’s hard to resist buying cute outfits. It bothers me, all these clothes. I want to get as much use from them from them as possible.

Take a stroll through any kids clothing section and you’ll see there aren’t too many gender-neutral options, even for the itty-bitties. (I think the obsession with knowing the gender of babies before birth is contributing to this.) I have a few pieces of my daughter’s clothes that I have identified as gender-neutral. There are also some pieces that can be ungendered: the “girly” parts can be removed.


First up, this striped shirt dressed up with a bright fabric flower. Two minutes with a seam ripper and it was done!

Next this piggy pajama shirt. That teeny bow at the neckline was a beast to remove! There are matching pants to this, but they didn’t have any bows to remove. I think some of the pigs in the pattern are wearing bows. Whatever, these are pajamas. No one should care.

Then there were these jeans. I removed the pink bow and the heart-shaped pockets (kids don’t need pockets, anyway). Little did I know that the pockets would reveal identically shaped spots of darker dye. There’s also pink stitching. Oh well, washing should help the heart-shapes.


I also did this. My husband had a hole in a shirt, so I removed all the buttons. You never know when you’ll need a replacement button!

Now, back to my regularly scheduled professional development. Ha!