The Lil Blue Boo / Dharma Trading Ugly Knit Upcycle Challenge! (updated)

Are you ready for a brand new Lil Blue Boo / Dharma Trading challenge?! It’s finally here: The Great Ugly Knit Upcycle! And this time the challenge is wide open (i.e. you don’t have to know how to sew, make clothing or use LBB patterns)!

My idea for this started with a challenge amongst friends: a few other upcyclers and I drew names a while back for an ugly knit swap! The only rules were that the upcycler whose name you drew had to send you some knits that they had deemed unattractive and then we had to use some of them to make something something beautiful for their child!

The Challenge:

Turn a dull pile of knits into something amazing! You can sew them, knit them, tie them, glue them. You can make a toy, clothing, accessories….whatever you are inspired by! This challenge is wide open. Dye them, paint them, bead them or just rely on their raw ugly beauty. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder right?

What are knits? t-shirts, sweaters, jersey material, sweatshirts etc.

Send me your before and after photos by midnight August 15th and the panel of judges (see below) will narrow the entries down to 10 finalists that will voted on by the whole blog world! Judging is based on the transformation from “pile o’ ugly knits” to “creative awesomeness!”


First Place:
$50 Gift Certificate to Dharma Trading
Singer 2932 Sewing Machine
$25 Gift Certificate to Lil Blue Boo

Second Place:
$25 Gift Certificate to Dharma Trading
$25 Gift Certificate to Lil Blue Boo

How to enter:

1. Find the ugliest knits you can stomach (old sweaters, pjs, sheets, etc)…..and create something great from them! Anything goes…clothing, pillows, toys, accessories etc. Dyeing, printing, embellishment encouraged. All entries accepted.
2. 50% of your project must be made from the ugly knits.
3. Email me a BEFORE and AFTER photo of your creation. Please no watermarks on photos….final vote will be blind and on anonymous entries! (watermarks may be added after the vote closes)
4. One entry per person.
5. All entries due by August 15th at midnight (Pacific time). All entries welcome!*
*Prize shipping is limited to the U.S. only, but international entries are welcome!

Meet the judges:
Amy from Mod Podge Rocks, Ashley from Make it and Love it, Kari from U-Create and Rachel from One Pretty Thing!

Grab this html code below and paste it into your sidebar to spread the word and to proudly show you are participating!

Recycle / upcycle some of those old ugly old knits you’ve been wanting to throw away! We can’t wait to see what you create! Leave questions in the comments section of this post and I’ll answer them there as well. Thanks!

Easy DIY Tagless Clothing Labels (& Hangtags)

I can’t stand tags. Neither can my daughter. I have to carefully cut them out of everything. Most tagless labeled clothing you see in the store is silk screened. An easy substitute is the super soft transfer paper from Dharma Trading. The labels look and feel like they are part of the fabric!

First you have to create the text for your labels. I create the text in Adobe Photoshop or Word and save it as a picture. Then reverse it (you have to print it in reverse). I actually pull the graphic into Powerpoint, resize it small and then paste it over and over and over so it fills up a whole page. Then print it out using your ink jet printer:

Care labels and fiber content (Note: it is close to impossible to come up with a fiber content label for upcycled clothing. Technically you are supposed to say: “fiber content unavailable” or something to that effect if you don’t know). Here is a link to the FTC’s requirements.

I precut all my sizes, brand, and care instructions and store them in containers like the one below:

I print everything separately and mix and match them depending on the garment:

Place them face down onto the fabric…

……and iron as the directions say. You are supposed to use a harder surface for transfer paper than an ironing board, but it works fine for me when I’m using the perfect heat setting and I use enough pressure:


Before the fabric cools I peel off the backing:


Tagless clothing labels!

You can also easily make your own hang tags. I use a heavy glossy cardstock and have Mr. LBB print them at work on his laser printer. (I’m scared of ink jet for hang tags….the ink will bleed onto the clothing if the tag were to get damp).

I just cut them out with my rotary cutter, punch a hole and add a string! Some people just use a business card for the same idea.

Now when people peek inside your kiddos handmade clothing they’ll know YOU made it!

Lil Blue Boo Horses! Upload tonight!

New limited edition horse printed dresses size 6M to size 10 to be uploaded tonight to my Lil Blue Boo Big Cartel shop! Upload is scheduled for 8pm EST.

Each dress comes with a matching doll dress that fits a 15″ Waldorf, AppleTreeHouse, Bamboletta or even a Pottery Barn doll as shown in the photo:

I’m trying something new ….making a dress or two in each size. It is crazy HARD work but I love that there are more to go around! Don’t be late!

Lisa from Ellebows will be uploading some gorgeous matching headbands to match! Here are the ones she recently made for my blue horse dresses:

New Studio Pics, Organization and Patterns! (Updated)

Here are some pics of my new sewing studio. I haven’t moved everything over yet and I’m still organizing but here is what it looks like so far. Sorry for the lighting quality….I don’t quite have the perfect lighting figure out yet. You know that I am a fanatical/borderline OCD about organization and cleanliness…. everything has to have its place for me to work….so I’ve shared a few tips as well!

The sewing side of the studio:

Small sewing studio via [Read more…]

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder…..

It was a challenge amongst friends: a few other upcyclers (Shari, Sofia, Glenda, Olivia, Melissa and Lisa) and I drew names a while back for an ugly knit swap! The only rules were that the upcycler whose name you drew had to send you some knits that they had deemed unattractive and then we had to use at least 50% of them to make something beautiful for their child! I think I’m the first to finish but here is what I was sent:

I made a simple drop waist dress but added a puffed flutter sleeve. The sleeve is a combination of inspiration from CC and a gathered Old Navy flutter sleeve.

To make a simple “puff” sleeve I used a gathering foot on my serger to first gather up the green knit on the side that meets the neck….and then I cut my sleeve out as normal.

To top the whole outfit off I took some strips of the same fabric used in the dress and tied them onto a simple Goody’s headband (inspired by my friend Lisa’s awesome creations she makes from LBB scraps):

A cute, perfectly coordinated hair accessory!

This was so much fun…especially anticipating the arrival of the ugly knit package. I have to admit I actually LOVED the knits I received so it wasn’t too much of a challenge for me…..but still fun. I’ll share what was made with my ugly knits that I sent when I receive my package back! Stay tuned…..I have a new Lil Blue Boo design challenge coming up that is very similar!

A Little Bit of Everything…..(and a new member of the family!)

I feel like I’ve been all over the place these last two weeks!

I silk screened a limited edition set of silk screened dresses for my Big Cartel shop with matching doll dresses. I made them in every size which is my new plan going forward for limited edition screens….it was a ton of work but so happy with the dresses. I always try to make one for Boo and get some photos of her. My friend Lisa had just taken her daughter to this cool graffiti wall on El Paseo so after pancakes at Keedy’s this weekend we went by and snapped a few photos:

Of course she didn’t want her photo taken….so I just had to snap as she sulked 😉

I’ve been organizing my studio as I move in….it’s coming along. I’ll try to get some photos put up once everything is put away. I finally got around to organizing all my patterns that I use almost every day….I’ll have a separate post on this soon.


Sienna’s been contributing by drawing spaceships on any pattern piece I happen to drop on the floor:

I’ve moved over most of my knits onto the shelves that Mr. LBB built me for Mother’s Day:

I made Sienna’s Butterfly dress…..she’s loving the purple. I had to bribe her with a bowl of Reese’s peanut butter chips to get a photo of her standing still. The quality of Dharma Trading’s spaghetti strap dresses are great. They are a heavier cotton rib so they aren’t see through at all. They run about $10.50 each.

The highlight of the week was when Sienna’s new baby Li’l Sally arrived! For weeks Sienna has been stalking the mailbox: “Is Sally here yet Mommy?” Debra from AppleTreeHouse made the 10″ Waldorf doll for us and we are in LOVE with her.

Debra did an amazing job of matching the unruly curly hair to Sienna’s! I can’t even tell them apart!

Li’l Sally needed some clothes so Sienna helped pick out some knits and we made her a cute little LBB dress:


I sew so many things in a week that I run through a crazy amount of serger blades. I decided to attempt sharpening them myself…..big fail. The low of the week: now my machine has been down…..and my dresses are piling up! Hopefully the new blades come today…..

….because boredom is setting in! We’ve been eyeing Diesel for some time wondering if he could fit into a doll LBB dress. Funny….he is the same size as a 10″ Waldorf doll! Please don’t tell any of your dogs….I don’t want him getting bullied.

This doll dress was a sample and you can win it if you leave a comment on the post announcing the giveaway on the LBB Facebook page! Ends tonight at midnight! It will fit a 15″ doll or stuffed animal and features some of my Lil Blue Boo Citrus silk screen.

Off to check the P.O. box!

Reverse Stenciled Butterfly Dress

I made this new dress for Boo using the same reverse stenciling technique that I used for last winter’s snowflake dress. It is a quick and foolproof way to make a quick unique dress. This would be a great project for a tween/teen party!


Reverse Stenciled Butterfly Dress tutorial diy via

Materials I used:
Plain white spaghetti strap cotton dress from Dharma Trading
Liquid fabric paint* in spray bottles
Plastic stencil (the butterfly one is from Tattered Angels

*The paint I recommend is Dyn-A-Flow because it is more of a dye…..but you can try diluting regular fabric paint as long as there isn’t too much pigment in it to clog up your sprayer.

Reverse Stenciled Butterfly Dress tutorial diy via

I put the stencil on the dress and sprayed enough of the fabric paint to leave the image behind:

Reverse Stenciled Butterfly Dress tutorial diy via

Then I would blot the stencil dry with a paper towel and move it to another area of the dress and use my blue color. Where the pink and blue colors come into contact the pretty purple starts to form:

Reverse Stenciled Butterfly Dress tutorial diy via

Every so often instead of blotting the excess spray off the stencil…..


Reverse Stenciled Butterfly Dress tutorial diy via
……..I would just flip it over and put it on another part of the dress and use my paper towel to press it into the dress….

Reverse Stenciled Butterfly Dress tutorial diy via
……leaving the excess ink behind and a layered effect.

Reverse Stenciled Butterfly Dress tutorial diy via
I kept repeating this process over and over (letting the dress dry when the fabric got overly damp) until I got a medium pink, blue and purple mottled look. Then I used a black Fabric Mate Pen to draw a few butterfly outlines onto the dress.

Reverse Stenciled Butterfly Dress tutorial diy via
I ironed the entire dress to set the colors.

Reverse Stenciled Butterfly Dress tutorial diy via
Finished dress!

Reverse Stenciled Butterfly Dress tutorial diy via

Happy Boo:

Reverse Stenciled Butterfly Dress tutorial diy via

Mother’s Day = Clean Slate

Happy Mother’s Day! Sending a little love to all of the wonderful mothers out there!

I’m thankful for my wonderful mother…who I appreciate more than ever now that I have my own child.

I’m also thankful for the most wonderful mother-in-laws: Kathy and Gale. They are both the most accepting, supportive women and I am so blessed to have them in my life.

Most of all I’m thankful for my little spitfire princess Boo. Being a mother to her has made my life complete.

Of course I’m not relaxing on Mother’s Day….I’m doing what I love to do! Mr. Lil Blue Boo and Boo spent the weekend cleaning out my new Lil Blue Boo sewing studio, installing lighting and building shelves….the BEST Mother’s Day present ever. We have an attached guest house that has always been storage and I’ve decided it is time to move all my work into there since I’ve taken over the house.

Here is what it looks like now…..a big clean slate!

Now I get to move all of THIS in there this week!

Mini Mini-Me

A few months ago a customer asked me to send some dress scraps to Debra at Apple Tree House so that her daughter’s doll could arrive with a matching outfit. Since then it’s been in the back of my mind to make some matching doll clothes to a few dresses. I’m wondering how much more work can I possibly create for myself: Boo has to match me, I have to match Boo, now we both have to match the doll?!

I remember begging my mother to buy me nightgowns at Richway when I was little that came with an identical doll-sized versions for my Cabbage Patch Kid doll… was a big deal. I LOVE the little perfect miniature creations that Melanie makes for her Melamoose Co Etsy store (they sell out immediately) and we’ve been talking about a collaboration. I decided to test it out with a twirl skirt and top. This is Abby….she’s a 15″ Pottery Barn doll:

It is a mini version of this larger twirl skirt:

Here is a photo of the new owner of the twirl skirt: Haven. She is a 15″ Bamboletta doll. SO cute! Thanks for the photo Carli!

I made a cute matching set featuring my ladybug silk screen…..and Boo confiscated it immediately. She could care less about dolls and doll clothes UNLESS they are perfect little clones….then she’ll spend all day with them! Here she is begging me not to sell it…..she rarely asks for anything, so of course I caved. She’s worn it everyday this week!

Abby is a great model. I just hold her by the hair and dangle her in front of the camera. Much easier than a human model.

We are waiting on our 10″ doll from Apple Tree House to size clothing for smaller dolls!

I couldn’t resist a Matryoshka silk screen with matching mini-me version:

Changing the subject….I finally started incorporating my new LBB Signature Print into some dresses. I’ve narrowed it down to three favorites for the name (to win the summer scarf)…..which do you like the best?

1. Easy as Pi
2. Q-T-Pi
3. Batik Geek

Flashback: Last summer I launched my Halter Dress Pattern. I was looking through my photos and just loved these. Had to share. Boo looks so young and her hair is so short! If you are looking for an easy beginner pattern for some summer dresses, this one is perfect.

One LAST announcement:

Do you have a Lil Blue Boo long sleeved dress from my shop that you want your little one to wear into the summer!? You still have a few days left to send them in to have the sleeves shortened for summer free of charge! (Must be postmarked by May 15th and include a postage paid return envelope) Contact me if you need my P.O. address.