Posted in At The Sewing Table

Double Ruffle Pants Tutorial

You know my daughter loves ruffles, right? You didn’t know that? Well, she does. When I said I was making her ruffled pants, she thought I was putting ruffles on her jeans to make them more wearable. She was only slightly disappointed to discover I was starting from scratch and making new ruffle pants. Her jeans can wait.

You need one yard of fabric. The pants I made are a size 6. I had a little leftover. If I were making an 8 or above, I’d opt for buying a bit more fabric. But for the little girls (Shh! Don’t tell them I called them “little”!) a yard is plenty.

The first step is to grab a pair of pants that currently fit your girl. No need to reinvent the wheel. Just trace the pants onto the double fold of your fabric, getting it as close to the top as you can. When tracing your pants, add a little room. You’ll want a little extra for seam allowances and woven cotton just doesn’t move like denim or cotton knit. Make sure you trace it a couple inches higher on top. I swear I somehow always make Imo low rise pants purely on accident.

So, you cut two legs out (cutting on the double fold should have given you 2 legs for your pants). Now, cut 4 strips that are 4″ long and the entire width of the fabric. You can make these single ruffled if you’d like. Imo loves double (or triple) ruffles. You could add a bit of fancy to this and make the ruffles in contrasting fabric.

Sew your pants together. I know, I know. That seems like I’m skipping a bunch of stuff. Go here if you need help on that.

Go ahead and finish the interior edges. (Double fold, french seam, serge, pink, whatever it is you do.)

Go ahead and serge or pink the bottom of each leg and the top of the pants.

Fold over the top of the pants and make a little channel to run the elastic and ribbon through. You’ll probably want the ribbon drawstring. The double ruffles make these a bit heavier than the usual cotton pants. Go ahead and finish the top with elastic and drawstring. You can save it for later if you want. It doesn’t matter much when you do it.

 

Moving on to the ruffles. You’ll do this with each ruffle. Match the short sides of a ruffle strip together. (right sides together) Sew the short sides together. (You’ll have one big loop for each ruffle.)

Finish the top and bottom of the ruffle. For the top (on the right side of the above photo) I just serged it. For the bottom, I serged, flipped, and sewed.

Repeat for each ruffle. This takes the most time on this project.

Now, pin the ruffle to the bottom of the pants right sides together. You want the ruffle to ruffle, so just messy pleat and pin all the way around.

Sew all the way around. Repeat on the other leg. You now have one ruffle on each leg. You can stop here if you want the single ruffle pants.

In this picture (above) you can see the line I sew above the ruffle. What I do after I attach the ruffle is flip the seam inside up and then sew it around the top of the ruffle. It keeps the ruffle from flipping up.

Now, to attach the next ruffles. I don’t have a picture of this step. You’re just going to pin the next ruffle the same way you did the first, but pin it slightly above the first ruffle. If you want it to look like two very distinct ruffles, you’ll need to pin it about 2″ – 3″ above the first ruffle. I like mine stacked so the look super ruffly, but not necessarily like rows of ruffles. Pin the ruffle right sides together, sew it. Flip the ruffle down (covering the seam) and sew around the top edge of the ruffle so it stays down and doesn’t flip up on you.

That’s it! You’ve got your girl some double ruffle pants!

 

 

Posted in At The Sewing Table

Bow Tie Bib – A Tutorial

Ransom Jo is turning one on Monday. His birthday party is an old man theme. (Because of his nickname, The Professor.) The kids have all had a special bib on their first birthday. I decided I wanted Ransom to have a bow tie bib. So, I sat down to figure it out. Turns out, it is really, really easy. So, here is how you can make one. (You can also make a necktie version. With all the other party stuff going on, I didn’t have time to get the necktie version done. But it is the same bib, just make a necktie shape instead of a bow tie shape.)

Here is what you’ll need:

– Fabric for the front and back of the bib. (I like to use flannel, terry, or chenille on the backs of bibs for absorbency reasons.) You’ll only need about half a fat quarter of each.

– Fabric for the bowtie. You’ll need about half to a third of a fat quarter.

– Sewing machine, scissors, thread, pins, paper, pencil, and iron. You’re usual sewing stuff.

Now, you’ll want to draft your pattern. That sounds more difficult than it really is. You can trace a bib you’ve already got or use a bib pattern that you’ve already got. Or you can wing it. I chose to wing it.

I made the top and bottom of the bib pattern about 4″ (so it’d be 8″ wide unfolded). The height is about 10″. I used my veriform curve to round the outer edge of the bib. I like the shape. It is a bit unusual without being too odd.

For the bow tie pattern, I took one of The Pastor’s bow ties and laid it on a piece of paper. You basically want to make a very short bow tie. So, I traced the outline of the end of the bow tie. If your husband doesn’t wear bow ties, you don’t know what you’re missing! Just kidding. If he doesn’t wear a bowtie, you can wing it. The hour glass shape isn’t difficult and it doesn’t have to be precise. You’ll see in a minute.

Fold your fabric in half and press. Pin the bib pattern to the fabric on the fold. Cut it out.

When you unfold it, it should look bib-like. You will need to make sure to cut the upper portion that will fasten behind the neck.

Do the same for your backing fabric. Mine is black flannel.

Now, we’re going to make a loop for the front of the bib to attach the bow tie. Take a 2″ x 4″ or more piece of fabric. Fold it in half. Press it.

Sew along the edge. Turn it.

Press the little strip so the seam is in the middle of one side. This will be the back side of the loop. (Also ignore my chipped fingernail polish. I haven’t had a chance to fix it since we went to the beach last week.)

About 2″ down in the center of the bib, sew the loop onto the front of the bib with the seam facing up. (See the picture.) Flip the strip up and press it with the iron.

Sew the loop to the top center of the front of the bib. (See above.) See how you flipped the sewn part to the inside of the loop?

Trim the excess off the loop. Even it with the top of the bib.

Pin the front of your bib to the back of the bib, right sides together. (See how you can’t see the loop?)

Sew along the edge.

Leave a hole to turn it!

Clip the corners. (Don’t want them to be “rounds”!)

Clip your curves. (It’ll help the bib lay flat once you turn and press it.)

Turn it right side out and press with the iron. Make sure you push those corners out nicely.

Topstitch. Make sure you’re close enough to the edge to close the hole!

Now you’re going to add your closure. You can do velcro, snaps, buttons, whatever. (Buttons are pretty difficult to button on an older baby.) I did snaps since I own a snap press.

Here is my snap closed.

Moving on to our bow tie. Take your pattern, lay it out on the folded fabric. Cut out 2 on the fold. (If you wanted the bow tie to be a bit more substantial, you can always add more layers of fabric or some interfacing. I found that 2 layers is thick enough for the bow to stand up and not so thick that it is difficult to tie.)

Now, I put the wrong sides together and just topstitched my bow tie. I wanted it to have a bit of a scrappy look. If you want a scrappy look, do the same. The edges will fray a bit and give it that crazed professor look to it. If you want it to be more polished, put the wrong sides together, turn, and top stitch.

Now, just slip the bow tie under the loop and tie it like a regular bow tie. Confession: I had The Pastor tie mine, since he’s the bow tie guy in our house. Don’t know how to tie a bow tie? (The Pastor learned from Dr. Tate at the birth of Ransom if you remember correctly.) Watch this video on You Tube.

And you’re done! Tip: tie the tie before you put it on the baby. You can make multiple bow ties for the same bib. You can also make a short neck tie and tie it on this bib, as well. Very versatile. It’d make an adorable baby gift! (Or first birthday party bib!)

Posted in At The Sewing Table, In The Kitchen, On The Reading Chair, Under Our Roof, With The Kids

Tea Party Birthday Party

Imogene turned 5 last week. I cannot believe how quickly time has passed. On one hand, yes, it seems like she was just born. But on the other hand, it does seem like she’s been with us forever, not just 5 short years. Anyway, for her party, she wanted a tea party. I declared that the party had to be outdoors and I would be “keeping it simple.” I somehow managed to stick to the simplicity despite her constant nagging about how fancy the party should be. I think I pulled off simple and fancy. (Though, it is my version of fancy, which is very shabby chic.) She was thrilled and I didn’t go into labor with all the work, so I’m calling it a job well done!

Remember me raving about the cookbook Sweet Chic? Well, these vanilla cookies covered in colored sugar came from that cookbook. They look amazing. So pretty. (The trick to get the sugar to stay on in such quantities is to use an egg white wash on the cut cookies before baking and sprinkle the sugar on before you bake. The egg white glues the sugar onto the cookie.) They tasted amazing. I didn’t have a single cookie left over.

I got 3 pots of Mexican Heather to put on the tables. (Which will now be planted in the yard.) I just put some pink tulle around the pots to make them look fancier.

I searched high and low for cups for the party. Imogene insisted we use fancy cups and not just plastic Dixie cups. It finally occurred to me the week of the party what to do! I went to TJ Maxx and looked in their clearance section for cups. I found several boxes of random glasses for $4 and $5 a box. So, I bought 26 random glasses (some wine glasses, a few highballs) for $20. I figured if the kids broke them, they weren’t my crystal glasses or anything, so I really wouldn’t care. Turns out, not a single glass got broken. (Had I used my crystal, at least half of them would have been broken. But since I planned for the breaking, none got broken.) Kids love drinking out of wine glasses. I’m not really sure why, but even the boys thought it was great.

Also from the book Sweet Chic came these yummy little cupcakes. These are vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream icing. I colored the icing the yummy yellow color. I’m really not very good at cake decorating. Actually, truth be told, I am very bad at it. So, I make cupcakes. Imogene picked the pearl sprinkles and the icing color. They were also very, very yummy. Seriously, this vanilla buttercream icing is some of the most tasty icing I’ve ever had in my life. I know they aren’t beautiful, but they were super yummy. And since it was so hot, the icing was getting a bit melty sitting out. So, it is probably a good thing I didn’t try to make them beautiful.

It was a tea party, but not a hot tea party. (It is summer in Georgia, after all.) We had a sweet tea bar instead. We had blackberries, peaches, lemons, limes, and mint to mix into your sweet tea to make in fancy. It was a hit! Everyone, kids and adults, seemed to enjoy mixing their fancy sweet tea and experimenting with flavors. (Blackberry mint was a big hit. My personal favorite was lime and mint. Yum.)

The birthday girl getting ready to blow out her candles. I realized when putting up pictures, that I completely failed to get a good shot of her in her dress. Ugh. Fail on my part, since the dress was so very cute.

Here is the closest to a full shot of the dress. It is a pillowcase dress with one bigger ruffle around the bottom and 3 rows of ruffles on the top front. I didn’t use a pattern, I was just winging it. Imogene picked out her fabric (she loves picking out her own fabric) and then asked that I make a dress with “fruffles on the bottom and lots of fruffles on the top.” She was thrilled with the outcome. It did look a little busy once she put on several necklaces with the ruffles at the top.

I put pillowcases on the backs of the folding chairs, then tied pink tulle (she picked that out, too) around the chairs. I made the pillowcases with fabric from my stash. I’ve been trying to get my stash down to a normal size and use a lot of it up. This party turned into the perfect opportunity to thin my stash!

To make the pillowcases: Cut the fabric length to between 32″ and 36″. (Finished length should be between 31″ and 34″.) You’ll use the whole width of the fabric. Just fold the fabric in half, selvage to selvage, with the wrong side of the fabric together and sew the top and side. Finish the seams the way you like. (I serge mine.) Hem the bottom open end. And you’re done. Once you figure out how to make a solid one, you can experiment with piecing different fabrics together for different looks. Add piping, ribbon, bias tape, ruffles, etc. as you see fit. They really are quick and fun. (Plus, you could make them as gifts. Kids LOVE having their own special pillowcase. With all the fun novelty fabric out there, you could make a special pillowcase for every kid in your life.)

I also made the tablecloths with stash fabric. My tables were 8 foot long folding tables (borrowed from the church). I cut random pieces of fabric in random lengths. (I kept a pad of paper next to the ironing board and wrote down the lengths as I cut them.) When I got to around 9 ft. (108″) I quit cutting. I pieced all those together, lining up one side of the selvages. I sewed the cut sides together. When I had all of them sewn together, I used a yard stick to even out the selvage side that was uneven. (Some fabrics are 44″ wide, some are 45″, and some are closer to 42″. I just picked the shortest side and cut all the others to match it.) I then had a 9 ft. long (maybe a couple inches more) and about 40″ (plus an inch or two) wide piece of fabric. I knew that would cover the table, but wouldn’t give much “hang” over the sides. So, I grabbed another piece of fabric and 3 pieces 10″ long. I sewed those strips together selvage to selvage. Then, I sewed that long strip down the side (just pick one of the 9ft. sides) of the larger piece. You’ll have some leftover when you get to the end. Just grab a rule and cut it off, making sure the corner is squared. I serged all the seams on the back of the tablecloth. I then serged around all the edges. That is it. If you don’t have a serger, you’ll have to finish you edges some other way. (I’d recommend a double fold hem, even though it’d take some time.) You could tuck under your serged edges and finish them, but I just left them. I used blue and green serging thread, so the edges looked pretty neat just serged.

I also made homemade popsicles. Of course, I have no pictures of them. They were Southern Sweet Tea Popsicles from the book Pops! I bought a popsicle mold (well, 2) that I could use wooden popsicle sticks in. I made the popsicles and put them into little Wilton bags. (I think they were large sucker bags or something.) Then, everyone had a little bag with a popsicle inside. They were a big hit. Very yummy. They were super strong, super sweet tea base with peaches and mint added to them. The frozen peach slices in the popsicles were heavenly. Seriously. I’m not sure I can ever go back to buying boxes of popsicles now that I know I can make my own gourmet popsicles for half the cost that taste 10x better! Kids and adults LOVED the popsicles.

As far as activities went, I didn’t plan any. I’m not big on planning out birthday party activities. It just isn’t my thing. It stresses me out to keep things on track and I stress the kids out trying to keep them on task. We put our kid size play tables in the driveway and set a box of sidewalk chalk on them, several containers of bubbles, and a few jump ropes on them. We also had a few of the kids outdoor riding toys out (not planned, I just forgot to put them in the garage). That was plenty to keep the kids all entertained and happy for 2 hours. The adults sat sipping sweet tea and eating cupcakes and cookies while the kids ran around the yard, drew pictures in the driveway, and blew millions of bubbles. Aidan also showed everyone how he rides his inchworm down our front sidewalk. (It really isn’t something for the faint of heart. That boy is going to be into extreme sports, I just know it.) Of course, none of the other kids were really brave enough to try it. (Or their parents were really into letting them try such a feat.) But he had fun showing them how fast the inchworm could go. (And if you have a reckless boy of your own, I will say that an inchworm down a hill is much better than most of the other riding toys we own. The inchworm can only move forward, so there is no accidental rolling backward down the hill on their way up the hill. It also only goes straight. No steering wheel. That greatly reduces the turn overs on the way down. You may want to look into buying your little daredevil one.)

All in all, I think the party was a success. And it was pretty easy to pull off. (I did have to make a schedule for the food making, since I didn’t want to get stuck having to do it all the day of the party. A week before, I made the first batch of popsicles. The Monday before, I made the second batch of popsicles. The Wednesday before, I made the cookies. The day before, which was Thursday, I made the cupcakes and the icing, but didn’t put them together. The day of, I iced the cupcakes. The Pastor made the tea and the ice. Then, an hour before the party, we set up everything.)

Posted in At The Sewing Table, Under Our Roof

“New” Chair

My darling boys decided to destroy an awesome gold armchair we inherited from The Pastor’s grandparents. Seriously, I think I may be the only person who loved the gold crushed velvet chair, but it was totally awesome. The Pastor was pretty sad about the boys ripping open the cushion and popping off buttons. He was much more sentimentally attached to the chair.

Imagine his delight when I said, “I think I can fix this!” He, of course, wasn’t quite aware of my plan to fix it, but he was happy that I was doing something to salvage the beloved chair. Off I went to the fabric store and bought some super awesome fabric. No, they didn’t have crushed god velvet. Darn. I settled on a pretty bird print. I thought it would match my living room much more than it does, but it is awesome enough that I may redecorate around it.

I stripped all the old gold fabric off. (This is the part where The Pastor asked me if I knew what I was doing or had I simply gone mad. I replied that I was not crazy, and sort of kind of knew what I was doing.) The most tedious part was getting 40 year old staples out of the wood. Then, I reupholstered the chair in the new, beautiful fabric. I was planning to somehow attach the seat cushion to the chair to prevent my boys from ripping it off and using it as a trampoline, but I just couldn’t figure it out. I ended up making a new cover for it and it remains separate. I didn’t make a new skirt, because I felt the skirtless look updated the chair a bit, bringing it a more modern look. I also adding the brown stuff (I have no clue what that stuff is called. I bought it by the yard next to the window trims, tassels, and things.) to cover my staple lines.

I love it! It is not quite as comfy (I mean, crushed gold velvet is pretty awesome stuff to sit on) but it sure looks better!

Posted in At The Sewing Table, Out Of My Head, Within My Store

Double Twirly Skirt Tutorial

Sorry I haven’t been able to blog for a while. I’ve got something new for you, though! If you are like me, you love a twirly skirt! With some fabulous fabric, a single layer twirly skirt is awesome. However, nothing compares to the fullness and twirl of a double twirly skirt! My daughter loves them! I love them. She looks so adorable and girly in them. They make her look more graceful (though they don’t actually make her more graceful). I can also make them longer, meaning they’ll fit longer and don’t look like some of the prostitot clothing they make for 4 year old girls these days. (Seriously, why is it so stinking hard to make clothing for little girls that makes them look like little girls? Why do they need to look like sassy teenagers (or worse)?)

Though this skirt looks complicated, it is simple. Super simple. Only sewing in straight lines simple. This is a great project for beginners, since your only pieces are rectangles. Easy! And the end result looks so… fancy and fabulous! (Couldn’t decide which word would best describe it!)

Here is what you need for the project:

– scissors

– sewing machine

– something with which to mark on fabric

– ruler and/or yard stick (I use both.)

– thread

– fabric (I used 4 different fabrics in my version, but you can use just two if you’d prefer.)

-You’ll need a double length of the under layer fabric. (I made my under skirt 15″ long, so I needed 30″ of fabric.)

-You’ll need a double length of the over layer fabric. (I made my over skirt 11″ long, so I needed 22″ of fabric.)

-You’ll need 6″ of your waistband fabric.

– If you MAKE a tie, you’ll need 4″ of fabric for that. You can also use ribbon, rope, twine, shoestring, whatever. You can also use double or triple elastic if            you prefer. The double skirt is kind of heavy, so it needs something more than just some 1/4″ elastic holding it up.

Cutting your fabric:

Decide how long you want to make your skirt. If you are making a skirt for an infant, you only want to use one width of the fabric, instead of two. (Having just one large rectangle, just one small rectangle, just one waistband piece, and just one length for the tie.) Anything over a 2T, keep reading. You under layer should be AT LEAST 2″ longer than the over layer. I typically keep it between 2″ and 5″ difference, depending on the fabrics. (And sometimes depending on how much of a fabric I have.) For my skirt, I made the under skirt 15″ long and the over skirt 11″ long. My model above wears a size 5 in little girl’s. So, the length you decide on will determine height of the rectangles you’ll cut.

From you under layer fabric: Cut 2 rectangles 20″ x the length of your skirt on the fold. (When you open the rectangle up, it will be 40″ x length.) (Mine were                40″ x 15″)

From you over layer fabric: Cut 2 rectangles 20″ c the length of your over skirt on the fold. (When you open it up, it will be 40″ x length.)(Mine were 40″ x 11″)

From your waistband fabric: Cut two strips 20″ x 3″ on the fold. (Opened they will be 40″ x 3″ each.)

From your tie fabric: Cut two strips 2″ across the length of your fabric.

**Tip: You can decrease the width of the skirt, taking some of the “poof” out if you’d like. I don’t recommend any less that a total of 40″ circumference. You can add poof by using all the fabric all the way to the edge, but I prefer to cut a bit off to make sure my measurements are even. Some fabrics may say 44″ wide, when they are in fact a bit more or less.

Working on the under skirt first, place the right sides of your two fabric rectangles together and sew the short sides. You’ll want to go ahead an finish your seams. I serge mine. You do whatever it is you do to yours. (Zig-zag, french seam, whatever.)

Once your side seams are all sewn up and finished, you’ll want to go ahead and do the hem. Hem in however it is you hem it. I serge mine, then turn the serging under and sew. You can do a double fold hem, or whatever hem it is that you like.

Put the under skirt aside.

Now, we’re going to do the same thing with our over skirt (the short layer). You’ll sew the short sides of the rectangles right sides together. Finish your seams. Hem the bottom. Now, you have both the top and the bottom layer done!

Now, turn your attention to the waistband. Sew the short sides of the two strips right sides together. I serge mine, but you really don’t have to finish the side seams of the waistband. The seams will be hidden inside the waistband of the skirt, so you can skip the finishing. I’m just weird. Instead of hemming the bottom, you’ll finish the top. I just serge mine, since it will be on the inside of the skirt. You can zig-zag over the edge if you prefer, or just do a single fold hem, since the unfinished edge will get enclosed in the waistband.

For the tie, I like to place a buttonhole on my waistband. It seems easiest. Some people like to leave a portion of their waistband seam open, but I always mess that up somehow. A buttonhole near the side seam, toward the bottom of the waistband works out perfectly for me. Place it low enough that it will be on the front of the skirt, but high enough it won’t get caught in the seam. You can do the button hole horizontal, instead or vertical, but the placement is a bit more tricky that way.

Putting the under skirt and the overskirt together now. With the wrong side of the over skirt facing the right side of the under skirt, align the tops of the skirts, matching the side seams. Baste around the top of the two skirts. (Basting is sewing a straight line with the longest stitch setting.) You’ll want to baste the edges closer to the edge than your seams normally are. (If you sew with a 1/2″ seam, baste at a 1/4″.)

Now, you’re going to attach the waistband to the skirt. With the wrong side of the waistband facing the right side of the overskirt, sew around the bottom of the waistband/top of the skirt. Here is why it was important to baste closer to the edge than you normally sew. You’ll want your basted line hidden, and it will be now!

Press the waistband up. You’ll want your seam toward the top of the waistband. Believe me, this step will help the next go smoothly.

Fold the waistband over and sew down. I line up the top line with the sewn line on the skirt. Don’t fret if your line is not completely straight on the front of the skirt. No one will really see it.

If you are making a tie, you’ll need to sew the short sides of one side of the tie strips together. Just one side. Otherwise, it will be quite difficult to use.

Press the seam open.

Fold the strip in half and press. (See the picture for the correct version of half.)

Fold one edge toward the center and press. This is simple, though it does take some time to press down all 80″ of tie. Watch your fingers! Get them too close and you’ll suffer burns!

Press the other side in toward the center seam. Now, you have what looks like double fold bias tape, which would be exactly what it is minus being cut on a bias.

Sew down the middle of the tie. You CAN just do a straight stitch. I prefer to do a zig-zag.

Or if you happen to have a machine with some fancy stitches that you never get to use, you can use one of those. Ties are a great chance to use those stitches, and if you mess up, no big deal, it is just a tie.

Now, grab your piece of elastic. (You want the skirt to fit snug, but not too snug. The elastic really isn’t going to do much holding the skirt up, it is just for shape and keeping you from having to regather the thing every time you wash it.) Pin your tie to your elastic with the tie on the front. Also put a pin on the end of your elastic so it doesn’t just shoot straight through the skirt. The tie is long enough that you don’t have to worry about it.

Thread the tie and elastic through the waistband. Sew the ends of the elastic together. Pull on the tie and get it even on your skirt. The elastic will probably pop right into place while you’re messing with the tie.

Cut your ties to a manageable length. (That length depends on the waist of the wearer and how long you the tie to hang.) Tie the ends of the tie in little knots.

Tie the tie in a bow and you’re done! One of my favorite things about this skirt is that it lasts forever! This thing will fit your little princess for a very long time! It will fit until it is too short, no outgrowing the waist on this thing! My daughter’s favorite thing about this skirt is that it is SUPER twirly. She loves the princess-like fit. Enjoy!

Like all my patterns, you can do what you wish with this. You can make skirts for you, neighbors, friends, kids… You can sell the skirts you make. Just don’t claim the pattern as yours, cause that is just wrong. And feel free to share this tutorial!

Posted in At The Sewing Table, Within My Store

Petal Skirt

This skirt is very similar to the Pixie Skirt. In fact, the Petal Skirt and Pixie Skirt are so similar, I’m only posting one tutorial. Skip to the bottom for dimensions for the Pixie. Why the difference? Well, the Petal Skirt is for older girls and the Pixie Skirt is for younger girls. Simple.

This is the Petal Skirt. The longer length and fewer petals make it perfect for older girls. You’ll want to pick two or three different cotton fabrics and have about 3/4 of a yard of each. (You can make the underside of the petals in a solid color if you like. Or you can make each petal different if you’re daring.)

First, you’re going to make your petal pattern. So, grab your graph paper (or whatever paper you make your patterns on), your straight ruler, your curve ruler (if you have one- if you don’t, you can eyeball it), your pen, and your paper scissors (never to be confused with your fabric scissors!).

Mark a line on the top of your paper 7″ across. Put a little mark at the halfway (3.5″) point.

Draw a line down the center mark 10″ down. The bottom of the 10″ mark is the bottom of your petal.

Fold the paper in half along the center line. Also, note how I marked the bottom of the 10″ line. Once your paper is folded, it can be hard to see where the end of the line is.

Grab your curve ruler and draw a curved line from the end of your 7″ line to the end of your 10″ line. If you don’t have a curve ruler, you can just eyeball this part. You are only marking one side of your folded paper.

Keeping your paper folded, cut along the curved line.

Unfold your petal. This is your pattern piece. (Ignore the “Pixie” written on the petals. These are Petal petals, not Pixie petals, but my pregnant brain had a slight malfunction in the labeling department.) Write all the necessary stuff on you pattern piece. I usually include the dimensions of the pattern piece and the dimensions of the pieces that are to go with it. Also, not the two pattern pieces above. Your pattern is your own. It may be more pointy or round than mine. In fact, you can make triangles and make a Pennant Skirt if you like. (That would be super cute in the summer for baseball season.) If you don’t like the shape when you unfold it, try again. For my skirt, I used the left pattern. I liked the rounded look of it.

Now, you are going to cut out all your skirt pieces. You will need to cut out 12 petals (front and back will make 6 completed petals). You’ll need 2 rectangles for the skirt body 20″ wide and 14″ long. You’ll also need 2 skinny rectangles for the waistband 19″ wide and 3″ long. (Note my pretty new scissors that The Pastor bought me for my birthday! He knows the way to my heart is not jewelry, but sewing accessories!)

First, we’re going to work on the petals. Take two of your petal cut outs and place them right sides together.

Sew around the edges, leaving the top open. Since these seams will be completely enclosed, there is no need to finish them. Clip the curves all the way around your petal so that when you flip it right side out, it lays nice and flat.

Repeat for the other 5 petals. Flip them right side out and iron them flat. If you want, you can topstitch once you’ve ironed them flat. I didn’t on this skirt, but have on others. It is really just for looks, so do whichever you prefer at the moment.

Set your cute little petals aside and let’s work on this underskirt. With the right sides together, sew the short sides of the two rectangles together, making a tube.

Go ahead and finish the side seams of your skirt. I serged mine. You can finish them however you like!

You are also going to go ahead and finish the bottom of the underskirt. You can do a double fold hem if you like. I serge mine, then flip that under and sew it down. I use a zig-zag stitch just because I like how it looks.

Pin your petals to the outside of the underskirt. I like mine to overlap a little bit. You arrange them how you want. There will probably be about 1/2″ more underskirt than there are petals. You are going to box pleat the center front and back underskirt. The size of the box pleat depends on how you want your petals arranged.

This is the best picture I have of the pleat. I like the pleat, because it adds just a bit of volume to the skirt. However, if you don’t like the pleat, take about an inch off the width of the underskirt. I usually don’t do the pleat for the Pixie Skirt, since it is smaller and shorter and naturally holds a little more volume.

Sew the petals to the underskirt. Make sure you sew close to the top edge.

Sew the short sides of the waistband together (with right sides together). I go ahead and serge what will be the top of my waistband. You can do it now or later, it really doesn’t matter. With the right side of the waistband facing the right side of the skirt, sew the waistband to the skirt.

Fold the waistband over and sew it closed, leaving a small hole to feed the elastic through. It may be easier if you press the waistband fold before you sew. You do whatever works for you. I didn’t want to walk across the room to the iron, so I just flipped it and eyeballed it.

Here is the hole I left for the elastic.

My elastic is now ready to thread through the waistband! The length of elastic you cut will depend on two things. The first is the girl who will wear the skirt. Clearly, skinner means shorter elastic. Wider means longer elastic. The maximum waist on the skirt is about 37″. The second factor is what kind of elastic you are using. I use a gentler elastic that doesn’t dig in or squeeze as tight. I find it more comfortable to wear. Your elastic may squeeze tighter, therefore you’ll want it a bit wider than I make mine. Eyeball it.

Thread the elastic through the waistband. Sew the elastic closed. When sewing elastic closed, you want to sew along the length with a stretch stitch (or a zig-zag). I always sew about an inch, that way there is very little chance of an overly zealous dresser snapping it.

Sew the hole closed and YOU ARE DONE!

Pixie Skirt. I added a matching hem band on the bottom of this one.

To make a Pixie Skirt, rather than a Petal Skirt, follow the directions above and just change the dimensions. (Also, don’t pleat the underskirt.)

For the petals: Make a pattern with a 7 and 3/4″ top and 8″ long. You are going to cut 16 petals for the Pixie Skirt, since you are making 8 full petals. I also make my Pixie petals a bit more pointy. It just seems right to me.

For the underskirt: Cut two 26.5″ x 11″ rectangles.

For the waistband: Cut two 26.5″ x 3″ rectangles. (If you want a more narrow waistband, try making them 2″ wide instead of 3″.)

Follow the directions for the Petal Skirt.

As always, this tutorial is free for you to use in any way you like. Make them to keep, sell, gift, whatever. Just don’t take credit for the pattern because that just isn’t cool. Share the free and link back here.

 

Posted in At The Sewing Table, Under Our Roof, With The Kids

Fairy Costume

The Princess decided to be a fairy for Halloween. Of course, she couldn’t be just ANY fairy. No. She had to be a fairy that she had created and named “Fairy Mary.” She’s drawn and painted Fairy Mary a few times, so I knew what she was supposed to look like.

I used Simplicity 2872 to make her dress. I added ribbons in all around the skirt, because that is just how Fairy Mary likes her dress. And I added ribbon to the shoulder “strap” area. That part of the pattern was a little difficult to figure out, so the ribbon hides the oddness. The pattern is relatively simple. You could achieve the same effect with any dress pattern that has a gathered skirt. You’d just make petals to add over the skirt. I didn’t like the belt/sash thing. It turned out weird. Otherwise, the costume was a big hit! (I also didn’t make the wings. It would have just been too expensive when I can grab a pair on the cheap.)

 

 

 

Posted in At The Sewing Table, On The Reading Chair, Uncategorized

Pants!!!

I recently purchased the book Sewing Clothes Kids Love by Nancy Langdon and Sabine Pollehn. It is a fabulous book! The pictures are lovely and the projects are drool worthy. There are 10 patterns in the book and I want to make them all several times! This is not a book for beginners. The projects are more difficult than a pillowcase dress or some pj pants. You need some skill and some awareness of how clothes fit together properly. But this book has patterns for 10 items, all in from size 18 months to a kid size 12!!!

So, if you’ve got the skill and eye, buy the book! Now! It is awesome! If you don’t yet have the skill, buy the book as a goal! It is a fabulous book! I really enjoy the challenge, and I enjoy having an end product that is a little more complex than what any gal with a sewing machine could make! Don’t get me wrong, I love simple. But occasionally, you like to flex your sewing muscles and show what your made of.

I made this pair of Dortje pants for Imogene. I just love them! The Pastor, of course, got a little upset that I made such cool pants in such silly fabric. He is not a fan of Hello Kitty, or seasonal things for that matter. He is so boring!

A view of the awesome pants from the back. I added ribbon trim to the top of the pocket and added some little loops for fun. I also added a ribbon loop the the top of the back. Imogene was not too happy about having spiders on her pants, but she got over it.

The book has two out of ten patterns that they consider unisex. The Dortje pants are not one of those two patterns, but after I made a pair for Imo, they didn’t seem particularly girly. I decided to go for it and try to make a pair for Aidan.

I made his in a bottom-weight owl fabric that I thought was just too cute! I added some olive green piping to macho it up a bit. I think they look super cool. I think the pattern works well for a boy or girl. (Since the modern boy look is a bit more feminine.)

They are a bit long on him. I may need to do some more hemming on them.

I’m thinking my little ones will need a few more pairs of these this fall! I may even make some for Emery!

Posted in At The Sewing Table, Under Our Roof, Within My Store

Hoarding Apron Tutorial

I’ve been promising this one for quite some time and it is finally here! Say hello to my toddler/preschooler hoarding apron pattern tutorial!My hoarding apron is perfect for preschoolers and toddler who seem to think they must carry all their stuff at one time. (Why they can’t play kitchen without every pot and pan on their person is beyond me.) This apron is unisex and makes an awesome gift. It is easy (if you can get past the complicated directions) and uses only 2 fat quarters of fabric. (Also known as half a yard.) You’ll be drafting a pattern for this one, so get ready for a long tutorial!

Grab your drafting supplies and let’s get going! (If you are clueless on what pattern drafting supplies would be, I’ll help you out: a ruler (mine is 18″ long and 2″ wide), a pair of paper scissors (not your fabric scissors!), paper (I use graph paper and I tape it together to make pieces large enough. You can use any kind of paper you want.), and  a pen (or pencil). I also use a variform curve ruler.)

You’ll be using the edge of the paper as the center of the pattern. (You’ll line the edge of the pattern paper up on the fold of your fabric.) Here are the measurements (though since you are the pattern maker, you can adjust it as needed!):

1. At the top of the paper, measure 4″ in from the edge. This will be the top of the apron.

2. Measure 8″ down from the top line. Mark it.

3. Across the 8″ down mark, measure 8″ in from the edge. This line will be parallel to the top line. This is the “hip” line.

4. Measure down 20″ from the top line. Mark it.

5. Across the 20″ down mark, measure 8″ in from the edge. This line will be parallel to the hip line and the top line.

6. Connect the two 8″ lines. This will be the bottom side of the apron.

7. Draw a line 2″ down from the top 4″ line, squaring the corner.

8. Connect the 2″ line to the edge of the hip line. I use my variform curve ruler for this, moving it around until it looks right.

Look at your pattern you’ve drawn, decide if it looks right. Chances are, if it looks okay, you’ll be fine. Make sure your corners are squared. And cut it out.

Make sure you mark everything on your pattern. You may remember when you make the pattern, but by the third or fourth time you pull it out, you’ll have no clue what all your markings mean.

For the sewing portion of this program, you’ll need two fat quarters. Yep, you’ll only need two fat quarters. You could also buy half a yard of fabric, if you’d prefer.

Pin your pattern onto your fabric with the edge of your pattern on the fold of your fabric. I don’t fold my fabric in the center, I fold it as far to the edge as I can, while still being able to fit the pattern. You’ll want nice scraps to make strips for the binding, so try to fit the pattern on there the best you can.

This is what it will look like unfolded.

Fold your pattern in half along the hip line. You’ll use the bottom half of your pattern to make your hoarding pocket.

Pin the folded pattern on the fold of the fabric. Remember, you’ll be making 2″ strips for binding , so you need to make the most of your space. (But don’t freak out about it! If worst comes to worse and you just can’t make it work, you can always use scraps for the strips.)

Now, cut as many 2″ strips of fabric as you can. This will be the binding for the apron. If you despise making binding, you can always buy double fold bias tape if you want to short-cut it. I was able to cut 5 strips from my contrast fabric (the pink) that were 2″ wide and about 18.5″ long. From the green, I got one strip that was 2″ by 21″, one that was 2″ by 4.75″, and two strips that were 2″ by 8.25″.

Take two of the longer strips and go ahead and make them into binding. (I used one of each color.) These are for the top of the pocket and the top of the apron. The rest of the strips will be sen together and made into one long strip.

To make binding- Fold and press the 2″ strip in half.

Now you’re going to tuck one edge in toward the center and press.

See what I mean?

Tuck the other edge up into the center, too, and press. Now, you have binding! Ta-de-dah!

Now, sew the binding onto the top of the pocket. Just sandwich the fabric of the pocket between the binding. Sew along the edge of the binding to attach it to the top of  the pocket. You’ll have too much of the binding and that is okay. Just sew to the edge of the fabric and cut the excess binding off. If you are short on binding in general, you can sew the scrap into the rest of the big strip if you want.

Attach your other piece of binding to the top of the apron. Do it the same way as before. And like before it will be too long and you’ll just cut the excess.

Now, you’re going to attach the pocket. Lay the pocket behind the apron body. You’ll want the right side of the pocket facing the wrong side of the apron body.

Sew around the edge, using about 1/4″ stitch.

Flip the pocket right side out and press.

Topstitch around the edge of the pocket. Use about 1/2″ seam. It will encase you previous inner 1/4″ seam. This is also known as a french seam. (Now you can do something fancy!)

Sew all the rest of your 2″ strips together. You can arrange them in any way you would like. Just put right sides together and sew them end to end.

Press all the seams in your now very long 2″ strip to one direction. I usually press away from the center. You can press the in toward the center, haphazardly, open, whatever. Just press the seams.

Now, press all the strip into binding. You’ll do the exact same thing you did before, just more of it. This is not a difficult process at all, it is just a process. Fold in half, press. Tuck one side toward the center, press. Tuck the other side toward the center, press.

Position the center of the binding so that it makes the neck loop of the apron. I generally just eyeball this. How big your neck hole needs to be really depends on the kid. Err on the side of slightly too big, because you can always tie a knot in the neck to shorten it a bit if you need to. If you make it too small for a fat head, you’ll have far less options of fixing it.

Put a pin to mark the binding where it will meet the top edge.

Here is where you are going to start sewing your binding on. (You’ll finish the rest of the tie on that side later.) Starting at the hip, sew the binding (that is encasing your edge) to the main apron body. The first little bit will be a bit difficult because you’ll have quite a few layers there in that corner. You’ll want to make sure the apron body stays within the binding. It will seem a little strange sewing binding to a curve the first time you do it, but you’ll get used to it in no time!

When you get to the top of that side of the apron, you’re going to keep sewing the binding, making the neck loop. Just keep sewing until you reach your pin, then check and make sure your apron body is well inside your binding and continue sewing. Sew down the other side of the apron.

When you reach the hip on this side, keep sewing to the end of the binding.

Flip your apron over, sew the binding closed on the other side, creating the tie on that side. You’ll want to start about 1/2″ before your initial start place there on the hip seam, overlapping the seam a bit. Sew to the end of the binding.

This is what your end ties will look like. Line up the hips on your apron and cut the ties to make sure they are even. If they seem unnaturally long, you can trim them shorter. If they seem short, you can just pray it will fit around a toddler (and chances are it will).

Tie a knot in each end to finish the ties.

And you’re done! Clear as mud, right? Hopefully once you make it once, you’ll realize it sounds a heck of a lot more complicated than it really is. Seriously. Enjoy!

As usual, you can do what you want with this pattern. Make it for yourself, your kids, your friends, your neighbors. Sell it. Give it away. They are your skills, my friend. I do ask that you not take credit for the pattern and feel free to direct inquiring minds back here! Share the free.

You can see a few of these (with fancy rounded corners) in my store, Moose and Wormy.

Posted in At The Sewing Table, Out Of My Head, Under Our Roof, With The Kids

A New Season (In Life)

We are entering a new stage of our lives here at the parsonage. With Imogene beginning ballet in a few weeks, I am realizing those blissful days of having all toddlers is leaving us. I know what you’re thinking. Toddlers blissful?! You must be crazy! But really, those days of young children, while wild, have no obligations. You make sure they are fed and relatively clean (so long as diapers are dry, you’re good on that front). That is it. Those are your daily aspirations. Keep child alive. That is about all there is to it. Now, I’m entering the socila stage of parenting. I’ve got to maintain their social life and somehow manage to socialize with their little pals’ parents. Tough stuff for me. Oh where are the days of pajamas all day?! Now, I’m making sure leotards are clean, hair is perfect, and she must have a bag, since surely everyone else will have a ballet bag. (She about killed me yesterday asking me for silly bands because her friends have them. The clerk at CVS got quite a laugh when I replied, “I refuse to buy those on the basis that they are a fad and I refuse to let you fall down fad holes at 4!”)  So, here I go into the next phase. I don’t feel like I mastered the last one, but alas it is time to move on. And now Aidan wants to play soccer. Please tell me the child is joking. He really doesn’t expect me to socialize with soccer moms does he? Does he?! Oh crap, he does. When is soccer season?

(In this photo: ballet bag I made for the Princess. Luckily, she still thinks mommy-made stuff is cool.)