Easter Pinafore Pattern Hack

Another simple yet adorable Infinite A-line pattern hack – just in time for Easter!

I was really hesitant to commit to sewing everyone Easter dresses this year. After all, I have a newborn and five girls to sew for.  Some people might call that crazy.

But crazy has always held a certain appeal for me.

When designing this dress, I was really inspired by all the gingham popping up everywhere lately; it just screams spring to me! I also really wanted to make another pinafore style like this one I did last year.

This is another Infinite A-line pattern hack, although I decided to keep the back bodice piece on this one instead of just using straps.

To create this style, I followed the Infinite A-line dress instructions for View D and just discarded the side bodice pieces instead of sewing them to the center & ruffles.

Then I loosely followed these instructions to create a waistband and facing.  After you’ve cut them out, you’ll sew the short ends of each piece together, to create 2 loops.  Place 4 pins in the band and facing, all equidistance apart (one pin will be in the seam you just sewed).  Pin the band and facing to the front and back of bodice (as shown in the other tutorial), matching 2 of the pins in band/facing with the centers of the bodices.  Be sure the seam you just sewed is on the side of the dress so it won’t be as visible.  Then sew the bands to the bodices and continue following the other tutorial to attach the skirt.

It’s really a very simple and straightforward dress… the only problem I had was accidentally serging a big HOLE in the center of the waistband after thisone was almost complete! It was also after midnight at the time and I admit, I cried a little bit.

But all’s well that ends well! And now I just have six days to sew four more dresses. I can do it right??

Pray for me.

Get your own copy of the pattern HERE and let me know what you’re making for Easter this year!

(You can find the tutorial for this woven Easter basket HERE – the bottom zips off so that it stores flat!
And be sure to subscribe to my newsletter to get all the latest sewing tutorials.

My (Super Small) Sewing Space

Is a lack of space cramping your creative style?  You can still make awesome stuff without a dedicated sewing room!

In my dream home, I have my very own office/studio, and it’s AMAZING…you ready for it??  It’s about 150 square feet, painted a cool gray with gorgeous white trim and vaulted ceilings.  There are built in bookshelves everywhere, huge windows overlooking my gorgeous green yard and like 4 huge wide tables for cutting out fabric and patterns and collecting miscellaneous crafty crap.

*Sigh* But back here on planet earth, I live in a 2300 sq ft house with 8 children.  Finding space for my creative hobbies isn’t always the biggest priority so I’ve had to figure out the best way to make do for the past few years.  Having a dedicated space to do what you love is important; even if it’s just a tiny corner of a dining room table.  So here’s a peek into my creative corner!

My sewing space currently resides in a shadowy corner of my family room in the basement.  This room also functions as a homeschool room, play room and media room…so it is FULL.  One of these days I’ll organize and decorate the whole thing so I can show it all to you.  We’ve got 2 full bookcases, 2 long Ikea tables, 6 chairs, a gigantic sectional, a school supply/toy closet and fabric closet.  It’s a hot mess but it allows me to be close to the little kids while I sew which ensures that I get a lot more creating done than if it was all in a separate room!

When designing this space, I knew I wanted an L-shaped configuration for my sewing machines and ironing board so that I can stay seated and make a sewing project from start to finish (I’m very lazy).  One of these days I think I’ll get a comfy swivel desk chair so that it’s even easier to move around!  I’ve got my regular sewing machine on the left (it’s also an embroidery machine) and my serger on the right.  Behind the machines I installed two metal rods to hang little white storage buckets.  These hold everything from seam rippers to scissors to markers and tape measures.  They’re really roomy and are strong enough to hold several pairs of heavy scissors!  The little clear box to the right of my serger holds all my bias tape and a few odds and ends.

I use the drawers on the right to hold just about everything else I could ever need while sewing: the top drawer holds pins, tape, chalk, etc.  The others store ribbon, elastic, zippers, buckles, snaps…you name it!  The big wide drawers on the left hold my button collection as well as all my really large paper patterns.  My favorite way to keep these patterns together is to take a large piece of cardstock, fold it in half and staple two of the open sides together.  These fit perfectly into the drawers and keep me from having to fold big patterns more than a couple times to store.

Behind my machines, I chose to hang pretty stuff and magazine cut outs of inspiring clothing designs.  While I love the idea of a pegboard to hang all my tools like many sewists use, we’re so tight on space that our “television” is actually a projector screen that pulls down and partially covers this part of the wall.  So the stuff I hang on it has to be fairly flat so that it doesn’t damage the screen.  It’s worked out pretty well!

In the back corner I have my stash of sewing books and smaller paper patterns inside 3-ring binders.  I also keep my big clear rulers here (out of the reach of naughty children who have broken about 3 of them already) and my big cutting mats get stored behind my machines against the wall.  My favorite part of my machine table is the power strip!  I used Command strips to adhere it to the table and plug everything into this strip.  That way, when I want to work, I just have to flip one switch to bring everything to life.  And then when I walk away I switch it off so I never forget to turn off the light or a machine or my iron (totally did that for years before this setup).

You can see a bit more crap stashed under the back corner of the table: I’ve got a bag full of cross-stitching supplies under there, padding for my dress form and more (and more and more) patterns.

Under my thread supply, I keep this pretty metal basket full of fabrics in my “queue”.  Anything that really inspires me or that I’ve bought for a specific purpose goes here so that it doesn’t get lost to die a sad and lonely death in my fabric closet (under the basement stairs).  I love seeing the pretty patterns and dreaming of how I’ll put them to use.  Way above the thread rack, I screwed in two hooks (these big ones are from the hardware store and are designed to hold bikes on a garage wall) to store all my rolls of paper: carbon tracing paper, swedish tracing paper, medical paper, rolls of interfacing, fusible web, etc.

Finally along that left part of the corner, I have my mini ironing board and iron, as well as more pretty storage on the wall.  I love, LOVE this circle shelf because it’s super cute and gives me a place to keep contraband up high.  My kids are pretty good about not getting into my sewing stuff (on penalty of death) but if the littles are being stinkers one day, I’ll stash my pins & needles up here as well as candy (or other sewing treats that are not for children) in that little bowl on the top shelf…what they don’t know won’t hurt them!

And that’s about it!  It’s not the fanciest or the most well organized but it works pretty great for me at this stage of life.  I often use the kids’ school tables for cutting out patterns…or just the floor.  I tend to make a big mess when I sew at night because I can, but it’s nice to have a place to put everything back in order when it’s time to clean up.

Let me know if you have any questions…and I’d love to know if you also have a teeny tiny sewing or crafting space.  Let’s hear any other tips out there for being creative without a full room at your disposal!

SOURCES

Table top, skinny drawer unit, wide drawer unit, chair, pendant light, white storage buckets & rods, and white magnet boards – Ikea || Sewing/Embroidery machine – Bernina Artista 180 (bought used on eBay)|| Serger – Brother 1034D || Thread rack, iron  – Amazon || Circular shelving unit, clock, gold cup, similar decorative bowl, metal basket & plastic (bias tape) basket, ironing board, gold baskets & mounting rail behind ironing board – Target || Instax camera – Amazon || abstract art on circle shelf – Candy Kirby Designs ||other handmade art – Pen and Paint || snowy barn art – painted by yours truly

Nursery & Toddler Room Reveal!

Get all the details on this fun gender neutral kids’ room redo…plus my unsponsored review of an online decorating service!

Bunk Beds – Wayfair (awesome quality and a GREAT deal!)|| Crib – Babyletto || Dresser – Craigslist || Rolling Cart – Ikea ||
Black Shelves – Target || Rocking Chair – Amazon ||Black & White pillows – handmade from this curtain || Curtain Rod – Wayfair ||
Pink Fleece Blanket – Wayfair (SO cozy!!) || Gold Task Lamp – Target || Hanging Pendant – Home Goods (similar) || Curtains – Wayfair || Crib Sheet – Target || White comforters – Walmart || Rug – Urban Outfitters || White Faceted Vase – Lulu & Georgia ||
White Frames – Target || Artificial Plant & stand – Target || Ribbon Mobile – Etsy || Art prints – All from this Rifle Paper Co. calendar ||
Quilt – Handmade (details here) || Clock – Target

I’ll be honest: home decor is not my strongest suit.  I know what I like, and I’m fairly picky at that, but I just can’t seem to recreate what I see on Pinterest in real life!  I’ve wanted our home to look put together for years, but since we’re on the track to moving in the next year or so, I’ve sadly stopped putting forth too much effort.

That is, until I got pregnant with this baby and we realized that we needed to do some rearranging in order to make this 4 bedroom house fit 10 bodies!  The big boys are settled and happy in our basement bedroom, while the 3 big girls share a full-twin bunk bed in their room and Mimi has her own room (perks of being a baby).

Poor Finn, however had simply been relegated to a crib mattress on the floor of the girls’ room…but let’s be honest, he ended up in our bed more often than not!  I knew that he needed to move in with Mimi, but that it needed to be a special place where he could feel grown up and important.

I also began reading reviews of Decorist late last year and thought an online decorating service sounded fantastic, especially if I could snag it on sale.  I stalked their site for Black Friday deals and grabbed a room re-do for just $150!  That was all the motivation I needed to get started.

The pre-design process was very simple and pretty fun!  I submitted measurements and pictures of the room, as well as a pinterest board full of ideas.  I also included a list of what furnishings I wanted to keep for the room (Mimi’s crib, a light fixture, basket and dresser), and submitted my (very low) budget of $1-2K.

My designer, Becky, was super nice, friendly and down to earth and assured me she could totally work with my budget.  We discussed how the room needed to be gender neutral and include a set of bunk beds so that Mimi would have a big bed to grow into.  She also created a private Pinterest board for us to collaborate on and toss ideas back and forth.  That was my favorite part!

After a few weeks, she came back with 2 initial digital designs that I then weighed in on and told her what I did and didn’t love…this was my favorite of the two! (I really wanted to go with that pink on the walls, but alas, my 3 year old boy would’ve had something to say about that.)


About 1 week later she came back with the final design, which I again tweaked just a bit.  The cool thing is that she sourced and linked to all the products she used in the design, and you can even order the products through Decorist instead of shopping all over the internet, which I did for a few things.

As you can see, I ended up doing a few things differently from the final design, due to budget & practicality’s sake, but I absolutely LOVE how it turned out.  Finn also loves his new top bunk (complete with Star Wars sheets conveniently hidden under a pretty white comforter) and he and Mimi have been getting along swimmingly in the same room!  It makes me SO happy to have at least one room that’s totally done and fun to look at.

All in all, I would definitely use Decorist and Becky again, especially at that sale price! Although I probably wouldn’t order directly through Decorist again…I found out the hard way that most items ordered through them are final sale and even if you can return something, you only have 14 days.  I didn’t love the colors of the Lulu & Georgia rug in the final design once I got it, but after we got through Christmas and I decided to return, it was too late.  Kind of a bummer to get stuck with an expensive rug I didn’t want!

*Update: Decorist did end up working with me on returning the rug –  but I still think a 2 week return window is crazy short!

So, what do you guys think of the final product?  Have you ever considered using an online designer?

Check out this collection of amazing boy-friendly rooms (including my design) to see more darling ideas!

DIY Girl’s Leotard

Make your little girl her own unique leotard, and save a ton of money while you’re at it, with this free pattern & tutorial!


I’m so excited about today’s DIY because it’s so cute, fun and functional!  My girls LOVE leotards, whether they’re jumping on the trampoline, doing gymnastics & dance classes or just dressing up.  The only problem is, if you want anything other than plain black, they’re ridiculously expensive!

After making swimsuits for the girls last year, I decided it couldn’t be all that hard to make my own leotards.  And turns out, it isn’t!  Really!  The best part is that you can give your little girl as much coverage as you’d like.
Read on for the full tutorial and free pattern!

NOTE: the pattern fits about a size 6, but scaling it up or down is not too difficult.  It’s designed for a little girl with a crotch-shoulder measurement of about 36″ (loop a measuring tape from one shoulder, down your model’s front, between her legs and up the back to the same shoulder).  You’ll just need to add or subtract inches from the center of the leotard in order to go up or down a few sizes.

If going up or down more than 2 sizes, you’ll also need to add/subtract a bit of length in the shoulder straps.  Performance fabric is super stretchy though, so it’s very forgiving!  You might try laying a swimsuit that fits your little girl on top of the pattern and seeing where you need to make adjustments.

You’ll need:

*Printed copy of the free pattern (download here – make sure your printer’s set to “do not scale” or “print at 100%” before printing! Overlap short edge of each page with the next without trimming & tape together)
*1/2 – 1 yard of performance lycra or spandex blend (i.e. swimsuit fabric) My favorite source for cute prints is The Fabric Fairy!
*1.5 – 2 yards clear elastic (like this kind)
*coordinating thread

STEP 1: Cut out the paper pattern and decide whether you want to do any color blocking or stripes.  For Kira’s leotard here, I  decided I wanted two diagonal stripes (black and pink) running across the front.  I drew the stripes where I wanted them on the pattern, then cut out a center panel of the pattern piece.

I cut out the top and bottom of the leotard front out of the floral fabric, and then used the center strips I cut out from the pattern to cut black and pink strips.  NOTE: you’ll always need to add a seam allowance (I used 1 cm) where you’ll be sewing these pieces together.  For example, I added an extra 1 cm to the top and bottom of both the pink and black stripes before cutting and sewing them to each other and then to the top and bottom floral pieces.

Also cut 1 leotard back and 1 gusset out of matching or coordinating fabric.

STEP 2: Sew front and back pieces, right sides together, along the shoulders and side seams, leaving the crotch unsewn for now.

STEP 3:  Sew gusset to inside front of leotard (wrong sides together), matching up one short end of gusset with raw edge of leotard front.  Sew along this short edge and both sides of gusset (leaving the other short end loose).  Then match up the leotard back and front crotch and sew, right sides together.

STEP 4: Here comes the only tricky part! Measure your model around her shoulders and upper thigh, where you want the edge of the leotard to sit.  Keep the measuring tape taut, but not too tight.  Then cut a piece of elastic about 2 cm SHORTER than this measurement, for all 4 openings (2 arms and 2 legs).  Do the same for the neckline, for a total of 5 pieces of elastic. Be sure to not mix them up!

STEP 5: Stitch the elastic to the edge of each opening using a zig zag stitch, stretching slightly as you go so that the elastic fits the opening.  I overlap it a teensy bit where the elastic edges meet.  (This is a good time to try leotard on your model and adjust opening if necessary!)
Then fold the raw edge under to hide the elastic and topstitch close to the fold, again using a zig zag stitch.  Repeat for all openings.

**If you have trouble getting any of the openings to fit correctly, you can also try basting the elastic in place and then trying it on your little one.  After you do it a couple times you’ll get the hang of it!

Voila!  Aren’t you so proud of your mad skills??  Now go whip up 3 more and make all the little girls in your life squeal with joy! (and save yourselve oodles of dough.)

DIY Girl’s Leotard

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Stashbuilder Box: Pinafore pattern hack

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Valentine’s Day Circle Dress

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Inserting a Zipper in the Infinite A-line Dress

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How to Hem your own pants – new video!

Never miss out on the perfect pair of pants again – just because they’re too long!

Hey all!

I’m SO happy to post my first DIY video for you today…  It’s the perfect tutorial for the beginning sewer: how to hem pants!

If you’re under about 6 feet tall, then chances are good you’ve found at least one pair of pants you love that are too long for you.  Well, no more, my friends!  Save your alteration money and put that dusty machine to good use by hemming your own.

The video also includes instructions for hemming stretchy pants like leggings, as well as creating an invisible hem on nicer slacks like suit pants.  Enjoy!


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DIY Sequined Party Dress

Make the perfect party dress with this simple tutorial.  You can make it maternity-friendly or not! Sequined fabric from Joann ...
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DIY Flutter Sleeve Dress

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DIY Sequined Party Dress

Make the perfect party dress with this simple tutorial.  You can make it maternity-friendly or not!


Sequined fabric from Joann Fabrics (in store) || Heels: Sam Edelman (on sale!)

I don’t get to go to a lot of fancy parties…but when I do, I’m always scrambling last minute to find something dressy, flattering and not too skanky to wear!

If you’re panicking about New Year’s Eve (tomorrow!), it’s not too late to whip up the perfect party dress.  This sequined number is super easy and can be made to cover as much or as little as you want!

As you can see, I don’t mind covering a 7 month pregnant belly in sequins thereby resembling a giant disco ball, …but obviously this dress can also be made more fitted for a non-maternity version.

Read on for the full tutorial!

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Girls and their dolls

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The holiday season is creeping up and I’m getting so excited!  I fully realize that we still have Halloween and Thanksgiving to get through but Costco’s decorations and toys were already out today so I couldn’t help it!

And if you’re in the market for gifts…everyone knows handmade is always better!  Have you guys seen See Kate Sew‘s new line of doll fabric and coordinating prints?  Seriously the cutest, most genius idea ever.  The dolls come pre-printed ON the the fabric, so all I had to do was cut them out, sew them together and stuff them!  My kids went crazy over them!

Click read more to see all the pics!

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DIY Kimono Sleeve Maxi Dress

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Fact: It’s September, yet Phoenix weather is still ridiculous.

Fact: I’m pregnant and not yet cutely so.

Ergo, flowy dresses for the win!  When I realized that I couldn’t make it through the week without wearing one particular knit dress more than 3 times, I decided it was time to make something that felt like pajamas but looked just slightly more upscale.  What with all the loose 70’s top and dress trends right now, it’s a GREAT time to be chubby!

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Add Modesty Panel to a V-Neck Top!

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Is there anything worse than finding a dress that’s almost perfect? When I found this fun color-blocked dress at H&M a couple months ago, it was love at first sight…except for that plunging neckline.  Always the challenge to appropriately cover the nursing-mom cleavage, can I get an Amen?  So instead of passing it up, I figured out a DIY solution!

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The neckline was actually low enough that it allowed nursing access, but I wanted to be able to cover up the cleave when I was done!  I created this little panel that snaps open and shut.

Get the tutorial below!

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First, try your dress or top on and measure how high you want your panel to go (i.e. how much cleavage you’ve got exposed! Mine was about 4″ high).  Then, lay your dress or top face down on a flat surface to measure the width.  Be sure you’re not stretching the opening.  Mark how high your panel will go on the dress with a pen (i.e. 4″ above the bottom of the opening).  Then measure across the width of the opening at that point, and add about 1.5″ to overlap underneath (mine was about 5.5″).

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Now you’ll need to cut out your triangle of fabric for the panel.  Since my dress was made of a polyester knit, I used a black cotton knit that looked similar enough to the dress fabric.  I folded my fabric in half, and then cut out a triangle measuring the width you calculated above (5.5″ for me) and the height you measured above plus 1″ (about 5″ for mine), with the fold of the fabric at the top.  I wanted to use the fold as the top edge instead of hemming my fabric there.

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Now just finish the raw edges of your triangle sides…I used a serger but a simple zig-zag stitch would work too.  Then hand-stitch the bottom of your triangle flap to the inside of your dress, just below the neckline opening.  Mark where your panel hits the dress when closed, and hand-stitch snaps to both the top of the panel and inside of dress.  Or, if you’re not nursing and don’t need access, just hand-stitch the top in place as well!

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Voila!  Now go enjoy your new top/dress, in confidence that nobody’s staring at your chest!

DIY Shoe Upcycles! 5 Easy tutorials

 

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Hey all!  Today’s DIY is actually a collection of projects that I’ve been brainstorming for a while.  There are so many fabulous shoe trends right now and every time I see a new one I think “Hey!  I should just make that!”  It’s a curse, amiright??

So today I’ve got FIVE separate ways to upcycle plain, old shoes that might be collecting dust in the back of your closet and turn them into something new and amazing!

Project 1:  Add jewels!

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These old Target sandals were a summer staple a couple years ago but they’re looking old and worn lately.  After seeing some bedazzled inspirational sandals at Anthropologie, I decided this would be the perfect solution.

I bought these strands of crystals at Michael’s and simply stitched them to the braided strap!  I used some upholstery thread that I had on-hand but regular thread would work too, as long as you used several strands.

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Project 2:  Turning boring D’Orsay pumps into lace up heels!

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This was by far the simplest upcycle.  I took these cute (but plain) H&M pumps and glued a little strip of ribbon in a loop to the inside back of the heel.  When the superglue dried, I strung this cute studded cording through the loop and laced them up!

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I bought the cording for this project (and for the magenta heels below) also at Michael’s.

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Project 3:  Adding temporary sparkle to ho-hum heels

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I REEEALLY love these pumps from Forever 21 (bought years ago!) but found myself passing them over because they are so simple.  I finally decided that an old bling-y necklace had served its purpose and needed to be taken apart and glued to shoe clips!  I bought these from Amazon and love them.

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Project 4: Brightening up magenta pumps with more lacing!

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This project was only slightly more time-consuming than the black pumps above.  In addition to gluing a ribbon loop on the the back inside heel, I also superglued two more loops on the sides of the show, right around the center of my arch.

Then I laced the cording (this kind is stretchy!) through both side loops, crossed them once and then looped them both through the back loop and laced them up (the center of the cording passes under my arch).  As a former ballerina, I think this look is my favorite!

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Project 5:  Added a crafty bohemian vibe to some lace-up sandals

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Lately, I’ve seen SO much inspiration for lace-up sandals with a funky, eclective look to them...Sam Edelman’s collection this Spring had lots of embroidery, poms, tassels, mirrors and fringe all over the place!  I loved it!

After channeling my inner gypsy and trying my hand at these, I’m not sure what I think.  I like the direction they’re taking but still not positive they’re finished.  What are your thoughts?

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I kinda think they still just look like a summer camp project where I threw a bunch of craft crap on them with a glue gun (which is exactly what I did).  I’ll keep you updated if I make any more headway!

Well, that’s a wrap!  Which project was your favorite??  Got any old shoes lying around you can bring new life to?