The Old Coat…

Last weekend I did a bit of sewing that I didn’t share. Honestly, it wasn’t that interesting to anyone by me but I thought I’d share the story as it might motivate you.


Twenty years ago I was fairly fresh out of college and working in my chosen field of radio broadcasting making about $5.50 an hour, working odd overnight and early morning airshifts and the odd DJ gig at various bars and roller skating rinks. If it sounds glamorous let me assure you it was! I was being paid in fun and for a 21-year-old you really couldn’t ask for more. I needed a nice winter coat and it had to look smart because working in radio in the 90’s with deregulation and small stations being bought up by larger companies you never knew when you came in for work each day if you would have a job or if your station would have new owners and would have fired everyone. Hence I had to look good for my constant hobby of interviewing for new jobs. I went into TJ Maxx on a mission and found the most beautiful burgundy wool coat that was tailor-made for me it seemed. It was double-breasted, knee-length with a fabulous weight and the perfect color. It was also $60 so I thought long and hard about buying it as it was easily half of my take home pay that week. I bought it and never once regretted that purchase. I rarely carry a purse so my keys would rip holes in the pockets which I mended. I replaced buttons after they gave out from getting caught in the holes of my laundry baskets from my pre house owning trips to the laundromat and later getting caught in shopping carts lifting my kids for cart to car seat. That coat saw me through many adventures.

About 2 years ago I had to face facts, the pockets could no longer be mended and the lining was in tatters. Mending might not be able to cut it this time. Feeling fairly competent I bought a couple of yards of burgundy satin (for $8 at Mardens-a local discoutn fabric store) and a matching spool of thread and decided I would sew a new lining for my coat. Now, I am the type of person who needs to jump in and do a project the moment I get inspired because If I spend to long thinking about it or researching different ways to do it I get overwhelmed. I read too many tutorials, I asked to many proper sewists how they would do it and ultimately I did nothing.  The coat sat in my closet unworn while I grabbed lesser coats to wear outside. Because I felt fat and dumpy in my other coats I didn’t want to go out often in the cold. I didn’t pop into the library to grab a book and chat with the librarian when I was out, I didn’t feel good about myself in those coats so I would simply wait in the car to pick up my kids, heaven forbid if anyone saw me. All that wasted time, even if it was just a few minutes it was wasted.


As you know over the past year I had held each of my possessions in my hand and asked if they “sparked joy” and my old red coat still made me happy yet I kept those other very “unsparky” coats because I needed something I could actually wear outside (and quite frankly if you are going to do any serious work or play outside in the snow you want a machine washable parka.) Because of undergoing the Konmari method from the book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up I had fallen down the rabbit hole of other mindfulness and minimalism bloggers and last Saturday I happened to be reading an article about fast fashion. The article referenced a documentary on Netflix and I had a burst of motivation. I grabbed my sewing kit, beautiful coat and fabric and set to work on mending my coat as I watched the documentary. I started by cutting out the pockets and using them as templates to make new ones out of satin. I sewed them on my machine then hand stitched them in to my coat. I examined the lining which was the most overwhelming task and realized that most of the tears were on seams so I hand stitched the small awkward rips and machine sewed the rest. Turns out it was not as big of a project as I thought! By the end of the hour and a half documentary (which was not that great) I had a fully functional coat! I dug out my Dryell home dry cleaning kit that I haven’t used in over a decade and cleaned my coat (and I was super excited to see they still make Dryell! It is such a fantastic invention!) and it looked fabulous. I realized it had lost a button at some point but I had a matching one in my stash so I stitched that on and it was as good as new. Maybe better than new because the satin I made the pockets from was thicker and sturdier than the original. It also made me glad I didn’t rip out the lining because I think the satin might have been too stiff to work as a lining fabric. Here is my 22-year-old coat as good as new and still my favorite!


The old saying goes: “They don’t make them like they used to…” and in this case I agree. I had tried on other coats over the years thinking that I could just replace my old beloved red wool coat but the coats I found felt cheap, flimsy and just didn’t feel right or make me feel the way I wanted to in them. I think we often try to buy something because we think it will rekindle the feeling we had when we bought a similar thing. That’s why fast fashion has such popularity, you can buy something new and cheap to replace something old and dull but the novelty soon wears off. I think that the amount of thought you put into a purchase is related to the enjoyment you will get out of it.

I have grown a lot over the past year of decluttering. Two years ago when I bought the fabric and spool of thread to take on this project I thought I was being smart and thrifty. Turns out I already had a spool of thread in the exact color I needed and I only really needed enough fabric to make pockets and not replace the entire lining. I could have done this repair with 1/4 yard of fabric at $1 vs the 2 yards of fabric plus spool of thread for $10. Also I would have actually done the project quickly because I would not have been hung up on what I thought I needed to do instead of what I really needed to do.  Still its way less wasteful and less expensive than buying a new coat of that quality which would cost about $200. I hope this post inspires you to tackle a task you have been meaning to do but overwhelmed by. Do what needs to be done and enjoy life now. It’s usually less work than you think it will be and always worth it because even if you mess up a project you learn something new! What are you going to do today? Let me know in the comments below and til next time happy crafting!


2 Custom Cloth Crafts! {Great gift ideas!}

Hi friends! Today I have a couple of fun ideas that you can make from inexpensive raw canvas or other fabric you like! Raw canvas is a great supply to have on hand. I get mine from our local discount fabric store and I use it for making custom sized stretched canvases to paint on as well as other rugged garments and crafts. Today I am going to show you how to make custom canvas art and a tote bag that you can customize with iron on transfers.


The technique I show you for stretching the canvas is the same if you were going to make a stretched canvas to paint on, after stretching the fabric on the frame simply prime it. I will also show you how to sew a tote bag but you can also purchase raw canvas totes if you don’t want to go to the trouble (they might even be cheaper to buy than make.)  Feel free to use the tote bag directions to make fancy bags with printed (even the pretty double-sided quilted material you can get at the fabric store) fabric if that is more your style!

And now on to the tutorial!

This tutorial is sponsored by Tomato ink offering inexpensive, high quality and environmentally friendly products such as ink, toner, papers and more! Save 8% on your entire order with code: 3TSWIM8 through 7/31/17 or join their mailing list for deeper discounts!


  • Canvas
  • Stretcher bars or wooden frame
  • Sewing machine and thread
  • Iron on transfer film
  • Heavy Duty Stapler (Power Shot)
  • Household iron and ironing board (or heat press)
  • *Saw tooth hook or eye screws and wire to hang the canvas art
  • Computer and printer
  • Vintage clip art such as this one I downloaded from graphics fairy


You can use iron on transfer film to customize inexpensive blank T-shirts for group trips or other events too! Or make a tote bag for your kids library books. The possibilities are endless! If you have other ideas to adapt this project leave it in the comments below. I always forget how much I enjoy sewing and I’d love to do some more projects! Happy crafting!

Stamp Giveaway & Fabric Stamping Tutorial!

Hi friends! Today I am going to show you how to stamp on fabric! This technique is handy if you are looking to gussy up premade t-shirts, tote bags or baby onesies (how cute!) or if you want to make your own fabric for quilting and other crafts. Today we will use inexpensive cotton muslin fabric to make a scarf. This way you can try out these techniques without it costing you an arm and a leg:)


Also the fine folks at Art Neko are giving away a set of the stamps I used, all you have to do is leave a comment and I will draw a name at random in one week! This contest is open to everyone world-wide. Thanks Art Neko!


I want to mention that the dye I am using is Dr Ph Martin radiance watercolor. It is kinda pricey as far as dye goes but it also can be used as watercolor paint BUT it is not lightfast on paper, it is like using a marker as far as how quickly it would fade, but many paper crafters like this watercolor and use it. It is a wonderful, high quality dual purpose product.

Watch the video to learn how!

Sponsored by Art Neko  *Save 10% off your next order of any size or get free shipping on orders over $50 (whichever discount is greater you get!) just by mentioning thefrugalcrafter!


  • Lightweight cotton muslin fabric (white)
  • Mordant (I used Soda Ash aka washing soda)
  • Fabric Dyes (I am using Dr. Ph Martin Radiance which can be used as fabric dies or watercolors)
  • Stamps (ArtNeko)
  • Ink: Ranger Archival (if using another ink test it first on washed fabric)
  • Inktense pencils or blocks
  • Stiff brushes
  • Textile medium (optional)
  • Lumiere paint by Jaquard for accents (optional)

1. Prewash fabric and trim to size, I used a 10″ wide strip as it comes off the bolt.
2. Mix a tablespoon of soda ash with 2 cups of very hot water. Soak fabric in this mix and ring out the excess.
3. Protect your table with plastic bags and spread out your fabric.
4. Apply dies. Pick colors near each other on the color wheel to avoid mud.
5. Let dry and press the fabric with a hot iron.
6. Hem the raw edges (I did not hem the short edges as they were the bound edges off the bolt of fabric)
7. Using firm pressure and a well inked stamp add images to the fabric. Heat set.
8. Color with inktense pencils or blocks.
9. Apply water to the images to liquefy the inktense and add more pigment from the block if desired.
10. Spatter more inktense if desired.
11. Accent with fabric paint, let dry and press again with a hot iron to set.

So, can you think of a project that this technique would be good on? Let me know in the comments and don’t forget, I will pick one lucky commenter to receive the stamps I used! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

The crafty thing I use the most…

Hi friends! This is not an exciting post BUT I bet it will be useful! A few weeks ago I went through my sewing box and organized it. It is an item I use a few times a week for mending the kids clothes, sewing on buttons and attaching scouting patches to vests. It is a workhorse. Nobody likes mending and it is a chore that we often put off until the offending piece of clothing needs to be worn (or 5 minutes before you have to leave for a Girl Scout meeting. On a side note I propose the first scouting badge our kids earn should be a sewing badge, anyone second this motion?) This is what is in my sewing box: (full supply list below the video!)


It sits on a shelf in our living room where everyone can access it (don’t worry, no one will except you, I am pretty sure it would be a great place to stash some chocolate in fact!) In today’s video I will show you what’s in my box!

Supplies my kit:
Small spools of thread in a rainbow of colors
Needles (ditch the case they come in and put them in a small mint tin with a magnet.)
Ball end pins
Needle threaders
Good small sharp embroidery scissors (ditch the cheap one that come in the kit)
Safety pins (only for when you absolutely do not have time to sew it-really, it takes 5 minutes to sew it so…)
Seam ripper (cuz we all make mistakes)

I restock my kit with needles and thread from small sewing kits I get as gifts or from hotels. You also might want to make a small kit for your car or office for the on the go emergencies. It is not hard to mend clothing and it will save you so much money.

Have this tool kit handy so everyone can access it. There is no reason your kid can’t sew up a rip in a stuffed animal or sew on a merit badge and they might even enjoy it! Til tomorrow, happy crafting!

Protect Your Investment! Sew Pretty Machine Covers!

Hi friends! Your craft machines cost a pretty penny but if you treat them right they should last for years to come. One of the best ways to protect them is to make a dust cover to keep them clean and protected from dust, glitter, flocking and embossing powders and to keep the casings from discoloring from light.


I’ll show you how to make a simple machine dust cover that can be made for a die cutting machine, sewing machine, Minc, Laminator or whatever you have!


Supplies for a custom die cut machine cover:
sewing machine & thread (or hem tape, glue)
scissors and/or rotary cutter and mat
Lace or ribbon to embellish if desired.

1. Measure machine you wish to cover.
2. Cut a piece of cloth large enough to cover the top, from and back of the machine plus 1″.
3. Cut 2 pieces of material 1″ larger than each end.
4. Sew together as directed in the video.
5. Hem the raw edges.
6. Embellish as desired.

Oh, one more thing! If you want to be inspired by more crafty YouTubers check out the links in the video description on YouTube and you can see a list of other crafters you might like! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!


Easy No-Spill Candy Bag to Sew!

Here is a fun idea for trick-or-treating OR anyplace you need a no-spill bag for kids (like keeping Legos and crayons from spilling all over the car!)


The design is simple and easy to sew by hand or machine and it can be made with a half yard or fabric or 2 fat quarters. Watch the video to see how!

1/2 yard of fabric OR 2 “Fat Quarters”
Needle and thread or sewing machine
Sewing Pins
Hook & Loop Tape (AKA Velcro)
Grosgrain ribbon
Felt (orange, green, black, white)
Fabric Glue or Hot Glue and spray adhesive if using glitter

Thanks to Papermart for sponsoring this post! Thank you for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!


Sew With Me! DIY Quilted Bag & Giveaway!

Hi Friends! I had this idea floating around in my head since I heard about a method of quilting called “quilt as you go” or Fun and Done”, Fun and done sounds like my speed, doesn’t it? Well my mom (who is a way better quilter/seamstress than me) explained the basic technique. I wanted to try it on a small project so I designed this cute reversible bag:


I made the bag to fit my EasyLunchboxes, I love these bento style boxes for packing lunches for myself and my family, often I portion leftovers from supper right in them along with fruit and snacks so I have a bunch of premade lunches the next day for anyone who needs them. I made my bag big enough to hold 4 because I like to take my kids to the beach, park or pool for the day and it is the perfect size. You can see how I made these in this video:

Like I said in the video you can make your bag to fit whatever container you like. Here is my diagram to figure out how much fabric you will need.


For this project you will need:

  • 1/2 to 3/4 yard of fabric for the inside of the bag (I used a polished cotton)
  • Fabric scraps cut into 10″ long strips
  • Batting (or you can use light colored fleece)
  • Basting spray or sewing pins
  • Sewing machine and thread (plus basic sewing supplies)
  • Rotary cutter and mat
  • Scissors
  • Iron and ironing board

Tips for making your bag:

  1. Choose washable fabrics, I went with a polished cotton for the inside so I could spot clean it as needed but the bag can also be tossed in the wash if it gets really dirty.
  2. Be aggressive when sewing down into the corners or you will need to go in later and hand stitch them up. I showed you the first corner where I was too shy getting in there, the other ones stitched up fine but you have to be brave and get right in there!
  3. Because I designed this bag while I made it there were things I would do differently next time, one being I would sew the sides all the way to the end (top) of the bag so that when I folded down the top to bind the top of the bag it would have been more even and I would not have needed the trim I added at the end.
  4. Press. Press. Press. It’s a drag but pressing the fabric down after you add a new strip really helps and saves aggravation when you sew.
  5. Hey, I’m a beginner, if you have a better way by all means do it your way (and tell us about it in the comments below!)

Do you want your very own set of 4 lunch boxes and cooler bag? Well, of course you can buy them directly from EasyLunchboxes they even offer free and reduced shipping through their Amazon store (they are the #1 best-selling lunchbox on Amazon BTW) for US and Canadian residents OR you can win them! To win you need to have a peek here in their shop, then come back here and leave a comment telling me something you like about their products. My favorite thing is that I can wash them in the dishwasher, I can’t stand a sink full of hand washable plastic containers. These truly are my favorites and I use them every day. I bet if you try them you will like them too! I will pick a winner at random on March 17th 2015. This giveaway is open to US residents only.Good luck in the giveaway, thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

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