DIY Wedding Invitations on a Budget

Collagea

When it came to deciding what to do for our wedding invitations, I did a lot of research on prices, styles, sizes, inserts – you get the point. I had no idea going into it just how many options were available and decisions were needed to be made in regard to invitations. It came as quite the surprise. I was overwhelmed. We are inviting 150+ people to our reception!, I thought, as dollar signs flashed through my mind.

Once the reality of the costs involved had sunken in, and I knew that we had to think outside the box due to our very tight wedding budget, I made up my mind that I would make our own wedding invitations – one of the many DIY projects that I decided to take on. After surfing Pinterest for what felt like eternity, I didn’t really see anything that stuck out at me. The invites I saw were crafted to perfection, don’t get me wrong, but the design and overall feel just wasn’t what I was thinking. I just felt like I could go a little bit further in my own direction and create some kickass invitations with a uniquely personal feel.

Before I get into the different tricks I used and tips I have, I want to say that making your own invitations does take quite a bit of time. And I highly suggest that you are familiar, if not proficient, with certain computer publishing and design programs. I used Microsoft Publisher because I already had it on my computer (see also: free).

First, I began the design on the main reception invitation using Publisher. I wanted it to have a semi-rustic feel, but a simple, yet meanignful, visual appeal. Being a poetry-crazed freak (no, really, I am), I wrote a little poem to include here. Since my husband and I were having an intimate, immediate-family-only ceremony, I wanted to make sure that, upon reading the invitation, people knew that our ceremony was private, but also, more importantly, that we truly wanted to share in the moment with them at a party right afterwards. Once the poem was included, and I designed the header of the invitations, I added all of the necessary information (our names, the date, location, etc.). When I was satisfied with the final product, I saved it and went on to the next task.

invite9aa

Next, I started work on the ceremony information card that I would include for the few people that we were being invited to the ceremony. Knowing that I would be attaching the “inserts cards” that I would be making to the main reception invitation, I made the cards all smaller, close to the size of business cards. Again, I added the necessary information, while this time opting to include one of my favorite love quotes instead of a poem. I also found a free cartoon wedding image online (I made sure that I had the right to use it for my invitations). The picture I chose worked out way better than I could’ve imagined because I swear we have the exact same picture of us from our wedding, pickup truck and all! I used DUMPR Photo Pencil Sketch to turn it into a sketch and – voila! – a snazzy ceremony card.

ceremony4aa

Early on in this process, I created our wedding website (I used MyWedding.com) and did some research on online RSVPing and decided that it was something that I wanted to do. I set our website up so that our guests could go right on and RSVP. I created a card that listed our website, directions on how to RSVP and the food options that would be offered. The website even allowed our guests to choose their food options! We saved a lot of money not having to pay for an extra set of enevelopes and stamps for guests to RSVP through the tradtional mail. I also added a sketch image of a mason jar and using the “text” tool in Publisher, overlaid our names onto it.

rsvp2aa

Then, I made a card to inform guests that all of the hotel and guest information was on our website. Though I imagined that this would be somewhat assumed with the online RSVPing and all, I also knew that a few of our guests were not tech-savvy and I wanted to make sure that they knew where to go to get all the details. A fan of my new picture-to-sketch tool, I found a picture of the entrance sign to the town where we got married and I turned that into a sketch too.

guest4a

Just for fun, I added a card that listed the “celebration rules”. These weren’t meant to be real rules, but just funny, little quips that I thought might make people laugh. But even more so, I added it to try to get across to our guests that we were having a very casual, informal wedding, short of saying “the groom is wearing jeans”. Keeping with the theme, I added a sketch of a funny picture of my husband and I.

rules1a

Once the cards were complete, I saved copies of each part as PDFs (you can do this right in Publisher “Save As”). Then I printed them. Please be warned that, if you decide to go this route and make your own invitations, it might take a few tries before you get them to print just right. I had mine set to print two per page, but I had to do some tweaking. If you just focus for a bit, I promise that it’s totally doable.

We borrowed a friend’s paper cutter and we spent $0.99 on a single-hole puncher. It took my husband and I a few hours to do the cutting and the hole-punching, but it allowed us to spend a lot of time together, using our hands to – literally – put our vision onto paper. Once every piece was cut and punched, we used some twine that we already had to tie all of the pieces together for each invitation. With only about ten invitations left, we ran out of twine. My husband went to the store to get more and came back with a roll of candle wick (pictured here). Hey, not what we planned, but it turned out looking nice and was far easier to tie and knot!

invite1aa

I designed our invitations so that the guests could untie them and all of the cards would fall to the side, but still remain attached, to make sure that all of the pieces of the invitation stayed together, but that the main reception invitation was able to be seen. Note: I would suggest adding another small card that says “untie me”, or some other direction that helps the guest know that it’s okay to untie it. We found that almost none of the guests we asked untied theirs. That was a small oversight on my part, though, no biggie!

My favorite part of this whole process was, not surprisingly, seeing the final product. I was, and am, pretty damn proud of myself for this particular wedding project and I got a little boost of DIY confidence. Stuff these babies in envelopes (we bought ours for very little at Staples) and you’ll be good to go. At the end of the day, from all of my research, I’d say we saved about $300+ with our DIY invitations and the online RSVPing.

collage2

Switch Up Your Wardrobe Without Spending a Penny

20140109-093127.jpg

Being a homemaker doesn’t mean that you always have to sacrifice your wants and needs for those of the members in your household; for your family. It’s a common misperception that, when you have a family, you no longer can put yourself first and do any of the things that make you happy. Well, I think that’s a load of bull. If you want something, then make it happen.

In these tough economic times, and at all times for my fellow thrifty folk, most people are stretched thin, as far as what they are and are not willing to spend money on. Or, worse, many times people don’t have a choice; they simply can’t afford certain things. When it comes to their wardrobe, I’ve noticed that people are a lot more likely to cut back in this area than in other areas in their lives. With this in mind, I want to share 5 ways that I have found to switch up your wardrobe without spending a penny. I’m serious. It can be done and here’s how:

1) Get inspired.

The reality is that we all need a little inspiration sometimes; you know, that kick start, that oomph, that push that we all need every now and again. Have you sorted through your clothes, separating them into piles of what you wear and what you never wear, and thought now what? Well, my friends, it is 2014 and we have this lovely tool at our fingertips, called the internet! So use it. Search the web. See how others wear the items in their wardrobe. Or, if you’re a magazine reader, scan through some issues. This will help to spark your creativity and give you ideas which you can implement in your own life. If you can do this, then you are well on your way to reviving your wardrobe.

2) Learn to sew.

Taking sewing in high school (thank you, Mrs. Fogg!) was one of the best things that I could’ve done to benefit my wardrobe… and homemaking in general. Having less going on in my life then allowed me to focus on ensuring that I was learning and retaining everything that I was taught. I instantly fell in love. The types of stitch patterns, the importance of accurate measurements, and the finished products – I was mesmerized. With my newfound knowledge, I started to make clothes for myself. I made purses, quilts, throw pillows, potholders and more. It was like I finally had the key that unlocked the door to endless possibilities.

You can feel this way too! I see sewing machines on sites like Craigslist all the time, and many times they’re free. So, even if you don’t have the money to spend on a sewing machine, you can still get one. Keep checking back and be patient. Your time will come and make sure to act fast because free items go like hotcakes. Once you acquire a sewing machine (borrow one from a friend if you need to), look into free courses and seminars at your local craft and fabric stores, or in your community. Almost all craft stores offer some type of basic 101 courses on sewing and they’re usually free. Learn the basics of sewing and you’ll have more power than you know.

3) Revitalize the items you never wear.

Here’s where the sewing will come in very handy. Once you get some inspiration for those pieces of your wardrobe that you never wear, and you know how to sew, you can get to creating! I’m a huge fan of finding an article of clothing that needs revamping, finding another one that I never wear and am okay with using for material, and then meshing the two together to make something uniquely me. This is super useful in fixing clothes that don’t fit anymore too! Take those pieces that you never wear and add some lace, some trim, some sequins – your imagination is the limit. I recently posted about turning a shrunken sweater into a new and improved sweater that actually fit me. There are also ways to reinvent certain pieces that don’t involve sewing, like dyeing and cutting/tying, so consider those options as well.

4) Sell the items you never wear.

How many times have you thrown clothes out? We might all have been guilty of it at some point in our lives. Luckily, people are getting involved more and more in donating the clothes they never wear to charity. This is a great way to do some good for those less fortunate. While I think it’s very important that everyone donates old clothes, I don’t feel that this needs to be the case every time the closet is reorganized. If you’re like me, you can’t remember the last time that you bought a new article of clothing for yourself. So if you want to be able to buy new clothes, but don’t have the funds, consider selling the clothes you never wear. Consignment shops and boutiques will almost always buy your gently-used clothes from you for a decent price. Referred to nowadays as “neutral shopping”, you can splurge and buy some new duds with all of the money you make from selling your unwanted clothes.

5) Have a swap with friends.

This option is one of my personal favorites. Growing up, I was always getting hand-me-downs, which is actually ironic because I was the oldest sibling (living in the house, at the time). But I had a lot of older neighbors and cousins. Even now, my future sister-in-law will give me a trash bag or two filled with the clothes she never wears and I’ll sort through, usually find some pieces with potential, and then donate the rest. This tool can be priceless. Call up your friends, plan a time when you can all get together and swap away! And you don’t need to feel embarrassed. Embrace it. You’ll be surprised just how much you can improve and refresh your wardrobe without even spending a penny!

Wedding Envy: Is It Happening to Me?

Oh my gosh, her shoes, I love them! The heels, the sparkles, the lace! Look at that bunting, so perfect! Cake pops and a vintage vanity sitting in a meadow, with a strategically placed barn in the distance, with fairytale turquoise doors, grinning newlyweds and a horse. A HORSE*! A Notebook inspired wedding – ahhhhh! It’s almost too much for me to bear!

And I snap back to reality. Please give me a minute to get my feet back on the ground. One, two, there we go…

I spend my life in front of a computer. Working, doing schoolwork, writing – always in front of a computer. So, unable to break my habit of following my favorite wedding blogs post-nuptials (Offbeat Bride, Ruffled, The Broke-Ass Bride, DIY Bride, to name a few), I often find myself gazing through pages and pages of real weddings. I scroll through amazing dream dresses, colorful couples full of character, artisan hand-crafted decor and desserts that would make even Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, jealous. I see whimsical woodland weddings and beautiful, beachy weddings, rustic barn weddings and fancy golf course weddings. You picking up what I’m putting down? Good.

Anyway, I catch myself comparing these weddings to mine and, sometimes, I ask myself the question that no new bride ever, EVER, wants to ask herself: do I have wedding envy?

I imagine that most new (and maybe even not-so-new) brides feel the same way sometimes. As time passes, we long to go back to the happy times; the times that made us laugh, cry, scream, stress and feel. We long to go back to a time that made us feel alive. And, for so many of us, our weddings provide this needed escape. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the full definition of envy is “painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage.”

Though I am aware of the beautiful and amazing and OMG weddings in existence, I do not consider those brides and grooms to have an advantage over anyone else, especially my husband and I. And I mean absolutely no disrespect to any newlyweds out there because those weddings were their weddings, perfect for them. We all have our own quirks and idiosyncrasies that make us who we are and those are the things that make weddings so wonderful. It’s the little things, the reflections of two personalities destined to spend their lives as one. If we lose sight of those, then what do we really have left?

The second part of the definition of envy deals with having “a desire to possess the same advantage.” Aside from not considering advantage to be a factor here, I also would not say that I have a desire to possess said advantage. What’s perfect for one couple may not be the right thing for another couple. My husband and I had the wedding that we wanted, that fit us, that suited us, that meant something to us and that we created with our own hands. And it was truly magnificent.

Photo by John Munson | Beacon Photography

Photo by John Munson | Beacon Photography

And I mean that. Not only did our crafting, building, painting, sawing, sewing, wire-tying, glue-gunning, pinning, cutting, designing, baking, glazing, drawing and paper-cutting (and thus blistering and bleeding) add to the decor and feel of our wedding, it also brought us closer together. We spent months making everything perfect for us. So to answer the question I’ve been asking myself lately, despite what it might seem like, I am happy to announce that I am most certainly, awesomely, definitely not suffering from wedding envy! I wouldn’t change a thing about our wedding even if I could… because it was ours. Our first of many endeavors as a married couple. And the boost I needed, and thus my handy hubby needed, to dive into the life of domestic DIY!

*Silly bit of info: Horse was my first word.

Save a Shrunken Sweater in 4 Easy Steps

image (3)

So I shrunk the sweater I wore in my engagement session. Oops! BUT I made it even prettier by using the material from an old cardigan that I had laying around and adding a few different embellishments. These details allowed me to “widen” the sweater so that it would actually fit me again!

Note: I always keep old sweaters and cardigans if I think that they’re something that I could use in the future for crafts and sewing. It’s just something I’ve always done. If you don’t do this, start. You never know when an old gem might come in handy!

Read on to find out how to fix a shrunken sweater in 4 easy steps:

1) Grab Your Shrunken Sweater and Another Old Shirt of Your Choosing.

twoshirts

On the left is my shrunken sweater and on the right is an old cardigan with ruffled trim. You can choose any old shirt you like, depending on the embellishment you want and the look you’re going for.

Note: Turn both shirts inside out, since that’s how you’ll need to sew.

2) Cut Along the Seams of Each Shirt Then Start Pinning.

First order of business is cutting the old shirt you chose so that you can maximize the material that you’ll be able to use from it. Your best bet is to cut along the seam so that everything looks neat. Make sure to keep the back piece intact, as it will give you the most material. Next, cut the trim off of the old shirt. The picture on the right below are the ruffle trim of my old cardigan.

purple sweater pieces

Now it’s time to cut the shrunken sweater. Since the sweater doesn’t fit no matter how much you suck it in, the only realistic option is to add some extra fabric to the side seams of the sweater. To do this, you need to cut along the side seams, all the way up to the armpit.

Then take the back piece material from the old shirt and cut it into two rectangles, of the same size. You will have to use your best judgement for this, as there are so many variables (some shirts shrink more than others, etc.). Once you have cut along the seams of the shrunken sweater, take the rectangles and line one of the edges up against one of the bottom edges of the sweater side seam [see bottom left picture below].

Note: My post assumes that you have basic sewing knowledge (aka you know what things are and you can work a sewing machine). If you have no idea what you’re doing or if you just need a refresher, check out this Dwell on Joy post on sewing machine basics and this Simply Modern Mom post on sewing tool basics. I frequently refer to these both.

Start pinning along the edges, but you will have to begin to pin the fabric unevenly as you move toward the armpit of the sweater because you have to create triangles where the seams meet at the armpit [see bottom right picture below].

twocolorstogether

3) Sew Triangles to Sweater.

Bust out that sewing machine, it’s time to get sewing!

Sew along the pinned edges, making sure that the triangle tips will end up in the armpit when it all comes together. Once you’ve sewed a one side of one of your rectangles to the sweater, take a look at the seam you made. Inspect it. This is your chance to make sure the machine is working correctly and nothing is out of place with the thread [see middle picture below].

Do the same thing you just did – pinning and sewing – with the other side of the already-sewn rectangle to the other edge on that side of the sweater. When done, all of your seams should meet at the armpit and one triangle addition will be complete!

Follow the same steps to complete the triangle on the other side of the sweater.

triangledone4) Pin and Sew the Trim on Sleeves and Bottom Hem.

Next, take the leftover embellishment or trim (or, in my case, ruffles) and cut to the size you will need to become the trim around the sleeves of the sweater and, if you have enough, the bottom hem of the sweater. Pin the edges of the trim to the edges of the sweater sleeves and bottom hem, making sure everything is still inside out. When completed, go ahead and admire those hems… I can wait.

cuffs

Now that you’ve done all that, it’s time to admire the finished product!shirtdone

My Budget, DIY Wedding: 6 Ways I Saved a Bunch of Money

I am going to join everyone else in doing a bit of reflecting today, on this past year and all that it has blessed me with. One thing stands out (quite obviously) and that is my wedding. Being admittedly obsessive-compulsive, the fact that I can look back on that day without any worries, anxiety or regrets is truly an amazing feeling.

Beacon-9415

*Credit: All photos in this post were taken by John Munson at Beacon Photography.

With that in mind, I want to share a post that I’ve wanted to write for a while now. As I mentioned previously, planning my wedding is what reignited my creativity and inspired the creation of this blog. Since weddings are super expensive and only getting more so, and planning one can be extremely stressful, I want to share the 6 ways that I was able to save a boatload of money in planning my wedding:

1) Discounted and DIY Stationery.

Save the Dates: When it came time to make the save the dates, I was still very new to the whole wedding planning process (or strategy, if you will). I knew we had a very tight budget (I’m talking incredibly tight to the point most would find it unattainable) and large families. So I waited until there was a 50% promo code for save the dates at Minted and I ordered them. Easy enough – and I saved about $150 with the promo code!

Invitations: As the wedding got closer, I started pondering what on earth we were going to do for invitations. Knowing how expensive they are, I panicked a little. Once I got back on my one-minded, budget-planning track, I weighed my options. We could either order really crappy invitations because it would be all we could afford, OR… wait for it… we could make our own! If you can’t already tell by my enthusiasm, we went for the latter.

I had a bunch of leftover envelopes from a friend’s baby shower that I planned a few months earlier, so I decided to use those and then get more of the same. My husband (bless his soul) and I bought the extra envelopes at Staples. I ordered cardstock paper online from The Paper Mill Store in the texture and color I wanted, using a promo code to save me 40% on my order.

Once I had the materials, I used Microsoft Publisher to design the invitations which consisted of a main invitation, guest information card, ceremony info card (for our immediate family, as we had a very intimate ceremony), a silly “celebration rules” card and an RSVP instruction card. We had everyone RSVP online through our wedding website, so we saved money on an entire set of envelopes and stamps! We tied all of the pieces together with some twine and called it a day. *There will be a tutorial on DIY wedding invitations coming soon. In the mean time, check out this printable stationery checklist from DIY Bride. I used this and just adjusted it to fit my own vision.

2) Free Ceremony Venue and Discounted Reception Venue.

This one is pretty self-explanatory. We had an intimate ceremony with just our immediate family, and we had it in our backyard, overlooking the ocean with a view of the Boston skyline. And just like that we had the beauty of nature (free décor!) and a budget-friendly venue (free!). Aside from décor and attire, all we shelled out for the ceremony, other than the champagne and beers purchased by my new in-laws (I can’t thank them enough), was the $100 officiant fee.

For our reception, we chose the yacht club down the street from our house, at which my (now) husband is a member. Not only do local function halls tend to be less expensive than the bigger, more popular venues, but, with his member discount, my husband was able to save us over 50% on the fee for the hall! I knew that I would just have to create decorations that would give us the most bang for our buck, so to speak. The amazing views also helped, as they drew a lot of attention away from the hall itself.

3) DIY everything… no, really… everything.

My husband and I made our own photobooth and saved over $600. We also made our own centerpieces, arbor, bouquets, boutonnieres, guestbook, card box and the rest of the décor for both the ceremony and reception. A major way that I found to save money was by not having any real flowers. Yes, you heard me right. We did not have any real flowers at our wedding!

  Beacon-8146 Beacon-8189Beacon-8020 Beacon-8345 Beacon-8348 Beacon-8353 Beacon-8398

4) Open Seating Plan and Delicious BBQ.

The key to keeping most any wedding guest happy is good food. It was really important to my husband and me that we choose yummy food options that would keep our guests full and satisfied. If you’ve ever planned a wedding, then you know how terrifyingly expensive catering can be. That being said, we chose a BBQ joint in our area (Blue Ribbon Bar-B-Q… yummmmm) to cater our reception. We saved some money by having them drop the food off and having the staff at the reception venue serve it. We also opted to have an open seating plan and let our guests choose where they sat. By doing this, we saved money on place cards. We also decided not to have a cake. Instead, we had a dessert table; I baked a lot of dessert breads and froze them ahead of time, while various friends and family members brought desserts to add to the table.

Beacon-8357

5) No Professional Band or DJ.

We paid a friend to be our DJ. This allowed us to create the entire playlist ourselves, so we could ensure that the music being played would be something we liked. This did provide for a bit of a challenge because, as it turns out, we underestimated the length of our playlist, but it was just a minor hiccup in the day and really didn’t make much of a difference. In fact, I’m not sure if anyone else noticed. Since DJs can run upwards of $1,000+, we saved oodles of money in this area.

6) Thrifty and Fun Attire.

The total cost of both my attire and my husband’s, including the boutonniere and bouquet materials, was under $500. And $150 of that was for my cowboy boots (splurge!). Being shy and, I think, sometimes socially inept, I knew I wanted to buy my dress online. This might not be the best option for everyone, but it worked for me. After months of searching, I found my dress at Macy’s for $70 (and I got a promo code for free shipping). My husband and his groomsmen wore jeans and I ordered my birdcage veil and flower clip from Etsy. I chose to do my own nails and my future sister-in-law did my hair and makeup (she’s amazing). All in all, it worked out better and we saved more money than I could have ever hoped!

Beacon-7934Beacon-9178Beacon-9151

Tools 101: What on Earth is This and What Does It Do?

Hi folks! I decided that, since a lot of my posts will be tutorials for various DIY projects, today I will give you an introduction to the basic (and preventative!) tools that you will need to make a whole bunch of thrifty things!

Here is a list that I’ve compiled of the most useful tools that you’ll need (some if it is very basic, but worth mentioning nonetheless):

Safety Gloves & Glasses

safety

I am starting with these because they are preventative tools; and they are the most important tools you’ll need. The safety gloves provide basic protection for your hands, preventing cuts and splinters while you build or work with tools. The safety glasses, while also providing basic protection for your eyes, prevent debris and shards from causing eye damage or injury. Bottom line: if you want your eyes and fingers to remain intact so you can continue crafting and re-purposing to your heart’s content, then wear safety gloves and glasses.

Tape Measure

tapemeasure

This tool is a basic one, and one you will most likely be using all the time if you’re as craft/DIY decor-obsessed as I! Tape measures come in all lengths, but for the needs of a basic household (and a typical crafter), a 10-foot tape measure should suffice. This tool ensures accuracy in measurements and, let’s face it, we all know how critical accuracy is when designing and building anything.

Screwdrivers

screwdriversThis tool comes in a variety of sizes and lengths, and with various tip sizes. Whether you need to tighten a doorknob, assemble some furniture (ahem, IKEA) or build a headboard, this necessity will always come in handy. If you have one, awesome. If you don’t, go get one. Here, I’ll wait…

Multi-tool

multi-tool

A basic multi-tool is great for a variety of household jobs. Pictured above is a Leatherman multi-tool. This particular one includes: a serrated knife, a smooth edge knife, pliers, a mini saw, a file, a bottle opener, phillipshead- and flathead- screwdrivers, scissors and an eyeglass screwdriver. It is worth carrying one of these handy guys with you wherever you go. Heck, keep one in your purse or your car. You just never know when you’ll need it!

Drill & Drill Bits

drill

A drill is a priceless investment. Pictured here is a battery-operated drill, but they also come as electric plug-ins, etc.. A drill has multiple uses. In addition to drilling in screws, the drill also acts as a screwdriver and an extractor, to name a couple. There are hundreds of attachments available to suit your crafting and building needs.

Ho-Ho-How to Make a Tree Skirt for Less Than $5

Seeing as it is only 2 days until Christmas, I am feeling rather festive today – in the Christmas spirit full-force! So, to keep the spirit going, today’s post is a tutorial on how you can make a tree skirt for your fabulous Christmas tree for less than $5 and just a couple of hours of your time.

My husband and I got our tree (and by got, I mean CUT DOWN!!! That’s been on my bucket list forever!) pretty early this year. But unfortunately, we have not had a tree skirt – that is, until today! The materials that I ordered were sitting in a box in the corner for a week or so. I woke up this morning and decided that today was the day. I was going to make a tree skirt for our tiny, awesome tree. The following tutorial is for a basic tree skirt, and it assumes that you have access – or even better, you own! – a sewing machine with thread in the color of your choosing. Here’s what you will need:

  • Material: I got 2 yards of 72″ red crafting felt and I had plenty leftover for other crafting needs ($2.50/yd x 2 = $5.00)
  • Scissors (free)
  • Sewing pins (if you need to buy them, they’re under $1.00 for a bunch)
  • Permanent marker (most likely free)

Now, you’re ready to rock ‘n’ roll:

1) Draw out the tree skirt. First, lay the fabric out flat on the floor. Then, you have two choices. If you’re pretty artistic, you can draw out the shape of your tree skirt onto the fabric. Or, you can do what I did and use an old tree skirt as a stencil.

image

Use a permanent marker for this so that you are able to see the outline better when it comes time to cut the shape out. Keep in mind that you should allot an extra inch or so in all directions when drawing your outline because you will lose some of that when making a hem with the sewing machine.

image_1

2) Cut out your tree skirt. Next, using a good, sharp pair of scissors, cut along your shape until you have your tree skirt outline. This is the part where you can start to see your tree skirt really come to life. Don’t worry if you can see some of the marker outline – this will go away once you hem it!

image_2

3) Pin the hems along the outside edges of your tree skirt. Get the pins out and within easy reach because you’re going to need a bunch of ’em! This is where your eye for detail comes in handy. Decide where you want to make the hem along the outside edge of your tree skirt and start pinning away. If your outline is a bit uneven – as mine was – then this is your chance to correct that. If you have to pin a little bit more on one side of the skirt, then go for it. Do what looks right to you.

image_4

4) Sew the hems! And the bliss that comes with the actual sewing begins! Or maybe it’s only considered bliss by crazy crafty geeks like me… Either way, the time has come to get your hands dirty. Sew along the outer hem, removing the pins as you go, trying to keep the skirt as steady as possible. Using a thread color that is very similar to the skirt material is a great idea here, as you can hide mistakes easier. Once the hem is complete, cut the loose threads because they could get in the way later.

image_3

Now, go ahead and start pinning the inner edges, just as you did the outer edges. Again, overcompensate for mistakes here if you need to.

image_5

Once pinned, sew the inner hem just like you did the outer hem, making sure to cut any loose threads away.

5) Cut away any extra fabric along hemlines. You’re almost there! Now take the scissors and cut away any extra fabric that remains along the hemlines. This will eliminate bulk and give the tree skirt a more finished look.

image_6

Once the extra fabric has been trimmed off, take a minute to admire your hems. It’s okay to feel proud!

image_7

6) Set your tree skirt up and enjoy! Stand back, ooh and aah, whatever you want – this is your time to enjoy the finished product. If you want to go one step further, you can decorate your tree skirt with anything you want. The sky is the limit! I chose to add a simple burlap “N” to mine, using some super glue. If you can think it up, you can do it!

image_8