Easter Outfits

You know I go ALL out on the Easter outfits. Every year, I find myself in the fabric store searching for a fabric line that is masculine and feminine and shouts spring and, now, has at least 5 unique prints that I like. I want coordinating, not matching. Every kid unique, but blending with the group. And every year, I think, “Why am I doing this to myself again?” Every year, I tell myself that Target would have been both cheaper and easier. But that never stops me. I’m sure I’ll do it all again next year. Fancy fabric and all.

IMGP0286I found the Fox Field Fabric by Free Spirit (Westminster Fibers) fabrics at a local fabric shop. I mixed the Dusk and Shade color ways to get a unique blend that wasn’t too much of one color. (Composing outfits to coordinate is very much like making a quilt. You want them to stand well alone and with the group. Be unique but not too close to the others. There are a million ways to do it well. This Easter, two of the fabrics are from the Dusk color way and three are from the Shade color way.

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This is my favorite romper pattern ever. I have made probably a dozen or so of these. Sometimes I do snap crotch. Sometimes I don’t. I used my snap press to add snaps to the top instead of buttons. (I love my snap press.) The pattern is Simplicity #3808. (It isn’t currently in their catalogue, or I’d link it.) I skip the front pocket when I have busy fabric. It is a super roomy romper that my baby boys have loved. And I think it is stinking adorable!

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She wanted the Bloomshine by Pink Fig dress. But I didn’t have the pattern. And I’ve been holding onto the Emmaline by Violette Field Threads pattern just waiting for the right time and right fabric. I was so, so tempted to just make her a peasant dress and call it a day, but she really wanted a long maxi dress. So, I decided to go for the Emmaline, since I had that one already. (And had already paid a small fortune for the fabric.) This is without the optional extra ruffles around the bottom. The bottom ruffle ended up being 108″ around, and I just didn’t want the hem that again twice! (And honestly, I ran out of fabric and it wasn’t worth the trip and extra money for more fabric for a few more ruffles.) I might, maybe, possibly will one day make it with the full three bottom ruffles. We’ll see if I ever feel up for that. Honestly, I thought this pattern was going to take so much time. I set aside two full days to sew this dress, convinced it would take every bit of 16 sewing hours to complete. I was very surprised when it took me only 4 hours including all the cutting. 3 hours of sew time. It was so ridiculously simple. Almost makes me a little upset that I needed a pattern for it. (Like people that buy patterns for a pillowcase dress. It seemed so ridiculously stupidly easy after the fact, I was wondering why I thought it’d be so complicated.) It has two elastic casings on the back to hold the top tight. It is a halter, but doesn’t look too halter like. It looks very “little girl” to me. (Although, I will admit, she isn’t looking so “little” anymore. *sniff*sniff*) I would definitely recommend this pattern. It is easier than it looks and it is beautiful. She loves it. LOVES. IT.

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The three “big” boys did not want ties this year. They wanted me to make them button up shirts. Um. Not happening this year, boys. Dream on. They needed shorts, so I made shorts. I used this tutorial by Dana Made It to make these awesome retro racer shorts. The pattern was free on her website. It was sized a 2T/3T. I found it to be pretty much a 3T. I did a little drafting and got it sized up to a 6 very easily. (I knew how wide I needed the waist and that I needed more length, so I printed a copy of the 3, then added about 1/2″ to the sides and 2″ to the top and bottom. Easy.) I have already made another pair of these and plan to make at least 2 more. I used store bought bias tape (because I thought I was  going to be strapped for time) and each pair of shorts used almost a full package. There was extra, but not enough for another pair of shorts. These shorts were super easy to make. You can make them any length you want. I opted for longer shorts because my boys like long short. I bought 3 cheap-o tees from the local Megalomart. And we have Easter outfits that my boys LOVE.

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He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!

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Child’s Half Gardening Apron Tutorial

 

half apron 2For the little lady’s birthday, she had a gardening party. I grabbed fabric to make her an outfit and then after her outfit was made, I realized I had lots of extra fabric. The boys were asking me if they got aprons, so I decided to make all the kids a half apron as a party favor. (They also got a little pot of lavender seeds they each planted.) Really, I’m not usually so crazy when it comes to parties. I blame pregnancy for making me do these things. The aprons are super easy to make. I made 12 with 1 yard of the blue dots, 1 yard of red dots, and 1/2 yard of each green solid and yellow solid. (And I did still have fabric leftover.)

Here is what you’ll need:

fabric

ribbon (I used random scraps I had.)

clips (I had a bunch of pacifier clips that I bought on Etsy.)

half apronCut your rectangle for the apron front 12-15″ wide (depending on what scraps you have) and 8-10″ tall. Cut the waistband 2″ x the width of the fabric. Cut a small length of ribbon to make a loop for the clip. (It can be anywhere from 4″-8″.)

First, finish the sides and the bottom of the apron panel.

Next, attach the looped ribbon with the clip attached to the top left of the apron panel. Just sew it close to the edge so the waistband will cover it.

Now, take your 2″ strip of fabric and iron in half. Tuck the cut ends toward the center and iron. (You now have double fold tape.) Line up the center of the strip with the apron panel. Sandwich the apron panel into the waistband strip. Sew along the open edge all the way to the end. (I start at the apron panel, sew to the end, then flip and sew from where I started to the other end.) Tie a knot in the end of the strip.

Done.

7 party emery 3Clip a paper towel or rag to the clip when gardening for hand wiping.

Make these to give away, to use, to sell- just make sure you share the free tutorial!

 

 

 

Easiest Necktie Ever

 

My boys love neckties. They get it from their dad. We’re talking real neckties. They very much dislike clip on neckties. They seem offended by them. They get that from their dad, too. I have made quite a few neckties for my boys and finally found the absolute easiest way to make a real necktie.

NT Main Image FIXED

 

 

Grab your supplies. You’ll need about 1/3 of a yard of two fabrics. I like contrasting ones. One will be on the inside and will only peek out a tiny bit, so it can be anything, really. 

NT pattern paper

Essentially, this is what you’re doing. You’re going to use a yard stick to make a straight line across the width of your fabric. Then you’ll draw in your points, connect the dots, sew, flip, sew, flip, and you’ll have a tie. Super easy. After you make the first one, you’ll see. 

NT Pattern End 4

Place your contrast fabric right side up on you cutting surface (ironing board, floor, whatever you use). Place your main fabric right side down, lining it up with the contrast fabric. (If you’re using a dark pen or marker on light fabric, you may want to put the main fabric on bottom and the contrast on top so you won’t see the marks through your fabric. It really doesn’t matter as long as you know what you want to be the main fabric.)

Using a yard stick (or whatever straight edge you’ve got), draw a line from one side of the fabric to the other. If you’re making this for a toddler, 36″ in long enough. For a bigger boy, you’ll want to use as much width as you can. (Also, check out the variation at the end of this tutorial for making older boy and man neckties using this same method!)

NT pattern end

Using a quilting ruler, line up your ruler so you’ve got a right angle going on at the tip. (See the photo.) Make a line 4″ long from the center. 

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Using your quilting ruler, line up the other side. You want the tip of the tie to be a 90 degree angle. (See photo for help lining it up.) Mark 4″ in that direction. 

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At the other end of the line across your fabric (also known as the other end of your tie), do the same thing, only mark that side 3″ from the center line. Make sure the tip is a 90 degree angle. 

NT Pattern End 4

Use your yard stick to connect the ends of your 4″ line to your 3″ line. This is the side of the tie. It should look something like the picture.

 

(You can tweak the measurements if you want a fatter or more narrow tie. I do 4.5″ for an adult tie. 3.5″ for a toddler tie. Just don’t make the small end smaller that 2″ or you’ll be kicking yourself when you try to turn it.)

NT Pin

Pin your two layers of fabric together around the drawn on pattern. (Believe me, this makes your life a little easier here in a minute.) Cut out both layers of fabric together. 

NT Sew end

You’ve already got the right sides of the fabric together. It is already pinned. You’re ready to sew! Sew the end of the tie. Just the end. (Do not sew the sides yet. It only seems weird the first time.)

NT trim end

Clip the edges.

 

Repeat for the other end of the tie. Once again, just the end! Not the sides. 

NT press end

Turn your tie right side out, pushing out the points. Press. The sides are still unfinished at this point. You’ve only sewn the two end points together. 

NT Sew middle

Fold the tie in half, matching up the unfinished sides. (You’re sewing the center seam that will run down the back of the tie.) Whichever fabric is your main fabric should be on the inside of the fold. You should be looking at your contrast fabric as you sew. Sew the entire length of the tie, matching the unfinished sides together. 

NT right side out

Flip your tie right side out. Press it into the tie shape. The seam should be running down the center back. You can be done here. I do a little extra step because The Pastor (who is the tie expert in my house) says it makes a big difference in how a tie feels. 

NT optional end

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See the topstitching on these ties? That is the “big difference”. Just sewing a few straight lines down the narrow 1/3 end of the tie. The Pastor says this makes a ties lay flat on your neck and makes it much more comfortable to wear. I just trust him on it. And it only takes a minute, so I go with it. 

NT adult variation

Now for the adult variation:

You’ll want the tie longer. So, it’ll have to be longer than the width of your fabric. I made mine with one 36″ piece and one 18″ piece. It was long enough. You could make it longer if your man has a thicker neck or like super elaborate knots.

You’re making it essentially the same way. So lay your fabric out the same way. I made the large end 4.5″ from the center. I made the small end 3″ from the center. Now, you’ll need to make the ends that will connect the same width. Just make sure you mark it the same on both pieces. Connect the end of the lines in the same way. (See the picture.)

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Sew the ends the same way you sewed the ends for the little boy version. Once the ends are sewn, match up the straight ends in the middle and sew them together. Sew the main fabric to the main fabric right sides together. Sew the contrast fabric to the contrast fabric right sides together. 

Flip it right sides out, pressing out the ends. Also, press the seams open. (It’ll make the tie lay flat. If you press them to the side, you’ll make little speed bumps in your tie.)

Now you’ll finish up the same way as the little boy tie. With the main fabric to the inside, fold tie in half and sew the unfinished sides together. Flip.

Press. Sew the lines on the narrow 1/3 of the tie if you want

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And that is it! You’re done! Well, if you’re like me, you repeat over and over and over and then you’re done.

 

 

 

As usual, you can make these for your loved ones, give them as gifts, sell them if you want. You made them! Just share the free tutorial if asked! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drawstring Spring Pants Tutorial

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My boys often like to point out that I do not sew enough for them. So, for Easter, I decided to sew a little more for them than their usual tie. (Although tutorial for the tie is coming soon, too.) I made them these drawstring spring pants. You could make these for girls, too. They are not boy exclusive. 

You’ll need:

– elastic

– one length of main fabric

– half a yard of contrast fabric

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First, you’ll want to measure your boy. (Or your three boys.) You’ll need a waist measurement, a crotch measurement (from the front waist band between the legs to the back waistband), an inseam measurement, and an out seam measurement.

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Once you have all your measurements, you’re ready to start! I like to draw everything out and write in my measurements. (All my seam allowances are 1/2″ unless I say otherwise.)

 

Waist- Divide the boy’s waist measurement by 4, then add an inch for seam allowance. These are loose fitting pants, so no need for perfection. (For Emery, his waist was 19.25″. I rounded that up to 20″ divided by 4 would be 5″ add an inch for a 6″ pattern line.

Crotch- Divide the crotch measurement in half. Emery’s was 14″. Half of that would be 7. Add an inch for seam allowances. Now mine is 8″.

Length- On the main fabric, you’re going to make the length 2″ shorter than what you actually want. So, Emery needed 19″ outseam. Take 2″ away and the main fabric is 17″. (You’ll be adding a 4″ strip of contrast fabric that will make up for those 2″ plus seam allowances.) I use my inseam measurement as a double check to make sure they are going to be well fitting.

 

If you don’t want to go through all this math, you can just grab a pair of pants that fit your boy right now and trace them, leaving enough room for seam allowances. I prefer to write out my own pattern.

DS Pants Pattern

Draw out your pattern onto the wrong side of your fabric. Fold fabric in half, then fold in half again so that the outer edge is double folds. You’ll be cutting both legs at once. Measure your leg width so you’ll know how wide to make your contrast cuff. (Mine was 9″.)

 

I use my Varyform Curve ruler to make the crotch line. The crotch of these pants is an 8″ curve. If you don’t have a ruler like this, you can freehand this curve or you can use a flexible ruler for the curve.

DS Pants Pieces

From your contrast fabric:

Cut 2 rectangles for the pant cuffs. 4″ long and the width of your pant leg. (Mine was 9″ on the fold- so each cuff is 4″ x 18″)

Cut 1 strip the width of the fabric and 2″ tall- this will be your drawstring.

Now you should have 2 legs, 2 cuffs, and 1 drawstring piece. 

DS Pants Cuff

First, sew the contrast bottom cuff (though it isn’t really a cuff, it is just a band of contrast fabric) onto the bottom of each pant leg. 

Go ahead and finish this seam. 

DS Pants Sew Inseam

Now, sew the inseam of each pant leg. Sew both legs. Finish both seams. 

DS Pants Sew Crotch

Tuck one leg inside the other, matching up the crotch with right sides together. (You’ll flip one leg right side out, then stuff it inside the other leg.)

 

Sew this seam. Finish this seam. 

DS Pants Waist

Fold the top of the waistband over about 1/2″. (You can see here that I serge the top of my pants. If you’re going to be folding the raw edge under, you’ll want a little more than 1/2″ in order to fit 1/4″ elastic in there.) Press it with the iron. 

DS Pants Waist 2

Now that you see where the top of your waistband will be, add a couple buttonholes. If you don’t like buttonholes, you could always add some grommets. I don’t think it is completely necessary to have 2 buttonholes. If you wanted, you could sew one larger buttonhole for both strings to come out of. I think 2 looks a little nicer and holds up better. 

DS Pants Waist 3

Sew the waistband closed. No need to leave an opening, you’ll be feeding the drawstring and elastic through your buttonholes. 

DS Pants Hem

Go ahead and hem the bottom of your pants. I find it easier to hem kids’ clothing before elastic goes in, so it lays as flat as possible while hemming. 

DS Pants Drawstring

Make your drawstring! Fold the 2″ strip in half and press. 

DS Pants Drawstring 2

Tuck the raw edges on each side in toward the fold and press. You can do this one side at a time if that makes it easier for you. 

DS Pants Drawstring 3

Sew down the middle of the drawstring. I use a zigzag stitch. It is just my personal preference. 

DS Pants Drawstring 4

Now that you’ve got a drawstring made, it is time to put it into your pants! Grab some 1/4″ elastic. (I used about 18″ for these pants.) Pin the elastic and the drawstring together, with the drawstring on the top. (See my picture.) Make sure you put a pin in the bottom of the elastic and the bottom of the drawstring so you don’t accidentally pull them all the way through!

DS Pants Drawstring 5

Insert the elastic and drawstring in through on of the buttonholes with the drawstring on top. (See photo.) Feed it around the waist casing. 

DS Pants Drawstring 6

When you get to the second buttonhole, go ahead and pull the elastic and drawstring out. With the drawstring out on both ends, put the elastic back in and feed it out the same buttonhole it went in. (See photo.) You want the elastic to be completely hidden inside the waist casing and the drawstring needs to be out each hole. 

DS Pants Drawstring 7

Sew your elastic together. 

DS Pants Drawstring 8

Tie a knot in each end of your drawstring. Feed the drawstring through so it is even. Make sure the elastic went into the casing. 

DS Pants

And that is it! You’re done. 

As usual, make these pants for your boy (or girl). Give them away to a friend. Sell them if you wish. After all, you made them. Just remember to give credit back this way for the free tutorial should anyone ask. Share the free! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!)