Patriotic Dress and Blanket-Tote

This easy sewing project yields the perfect patriotic blanket for all your summer picnics. Bonus: it folds into itself to use as a tote!

patriotic_dress_sewing

patriotic_dress_knit_diy

You guys might remember this patriotic sewing idea from last year when I guest posted on the Sugarbee Crafts blog. This dress and blanket are still some of my favorite patriotic projects so here’s some inspiration for you this summer! (Side note…do you believe how little Marilyn is here?? #allthefeels)

The dress is simply an Alcoy Dress made out of patriotic fabrics (red stripes from Girl Charlee several years ago, anchor fabric from a repurposed skirt)…read on for instructions on how to make the blanket/tote bag!

What you’ll need:

  • Large square of home decor fabric (mine was a 56″ square that I bought at Ikea; or about 2 2/3 yards of 56″ wide fabric)
  • 6 1/4 yards of coordinating bias tape
  • just over 2/3 yard of coordinating fabric for pocket and strap
  1.  Begin by sewing the bias tape around your square of fabric.  You can also choose to make your blanket two layers thick (a front and a back side) but mine was thick enough that I chose not to.
    picnic_blanket_carrying_tote
    You just sandwich the raw edge right inside the bias tape and stitch close to the folded edge.  If you look closely, you’ll notice that bias tape has one side that is slightly shorter than the other.  Be sure to put this shorter edge on top of the fabric so that your stitching catches the longer edge underneath.
  2. When you get to a corner, stitch all the way to the end of the fabric, then flatten our your bias tape corner as shown below.  picnic_blanket_carrying_tote_tutorial
    picnic_blanket_carrying_bag
    Fold the rest of the bias tape around the adjacent side of the fabric, creating a mitered corner like in the picture above.  Resume stitching right at that folded corner (you can use pins or binder clips to hold it in place).  Repeat with all four corners until you’re back where you started.
  3. Stop stitching just a few inches from the beginning.picnic_blanket_carrying_bag_DIYpicnic_blanket_bagUnfold the raw end of the bias tape and fold down horizontally about 1/2″.  Fold your previous folds back in place, overlap the beginning of the bias tape and sew to your blanket.picnic_blanket_bag_DIY
  4. Once your bias tape is in place, you’ll begin your pocket!  Cut two pieces of coordinating fabric into 14″ squares (you might need to adjust the size of your pocket if you make a bigger blanket than 56″).  Lay the pieces right sides together, and sew around 3 sides.  Clip the corners of your seam allowances and turn pocket right sides out.picnic_blanket_tote
    (A portion of my 4th side is sewn shut in the above picture but just ignore that goof! ūüôā  Press all your seams and corners well, and fold in the open raw edges of that 4th side about 1/4″ to the inside.
  5. Create your straps by cutting a strip of your pocket fabric 40″ long x 5″ wide.  Fold it in half lengthwise and press.  Stitch down the entire long side opening, creating a tube of fabric.picnic_blanket_bag_tutorial
    Turn your tube right side out and press well.
  6. Insert your straps into the open edge of the pocket and topstitch this open edge closed.
    picnic_blanket_sewing
  7. Now topstitch your pocket to a corner of your blanket, along 3 sides, right along the bias tape trim.  Be sure the edge of the pocket with the straps is on one of the sides facing into the blanket, not along the bias tape (and leave this edge unsewn to the blanket!).  When you’re done, it should look like this:
    picnic_blanket_sewing_tutorial
    Voila!  All done!  Now just fold up your blanket like this:
    picnic_blanket
    picnic_blanket_tote_DIyFold it in half, then in half again lengthwise.  Then fold it into quarters, ending with the edge where the pocket is.  Turn the pocket inside out so that it surrounds the blanket and the strap hangs free.  Bonus: you can stash your wallet, phone, water bottles & any other essentials inside the bag when it’s all folded up!picnic_blanket_fold_into_tote
    picnic_blanket_DIY
    patriotic_dress_pattern
    Fun, huh?  Now I want to make all my blankets into blanket-totes!

A Fancy 4th of July – Ruffle Skirt DIY

Copy one of the trendiest looks this year with a DIY ruffle hem wrap skirt!
Ruffles are everywhere and this one is SO easy to replicate.

Hey all! Summer is here and our family’s hanging with friends and cousins, at the pool most days and living off popsicles :). ¬†Before we know it, it’ll be time for Independence Day bbq’s and fireworks!

This year I wanted to make a celebratory 4th of July outfit (since a girl only needs so many American flag t-shirts) and I wanted to be able to wear it after the holiday as well.

This skirt was inspired by the myriads of ruffly wrap skirts we keep seeing this season and it turned out just the way I was envisioning! It may look complicated but it is so NOT. If you can sew a straight line, you can make this skirt!  (Or check out these links to my fave ready-to-wear versions!)

NOTE: These measurements worked well for my post-baby waist measurement of about 34″…if you’re significantly smaller or larger than that, you may need to make some adjustments, although a wrap skirt is very flexible! ¬†Also, I use a 3/8″ seam allowance throughout.

Let’s do it!

What you’ll need:

3 yards of 54″ striped blue & white shirting (this is the fabric used to make men’s shirts and what I used, but any number of fabrics could work for this. ¬†A rayon would be flowy and gorgeous!)
Lightweight fusible interfacing (enough to line a strip of fabric 54″ x 3″)
Coordinating thread

1. Cut your fabric into the following: 1 piece measuring 54″ x 27″ for the skirt body and 3 pieces measuring 54″ x 20″ for the ruffles (you’ll also have a scrap piece leftover – save this for the waistband). ¬†Lay the skirt body¬†on the floor and cut one long side into a rough “U” shape as pictured. My short sides ended up being about 9″ long on the left, 11″ long on the right and the longest middle portion measured 26″ long. ¬†This doesn’t have to be really precise so don’t stress!

2. Now we need to add some darts to the top of the skirt in order to account for the difference between ¬†hips and waist. ¬†Wrap this piece of fabric around you with the straight edge at your waist. Pinch any excess fabric at the waist, in 2 or 4 different places, and pin. ¬†(I originally only made two 2″ darts in the back (as you can see in the photo below), but after wearing the skirt once, I realized I need to add 2 more at the sides or front.). Sew the darts from top of skirt down and instead of backstitching, tie your thread tails in a knot (my darts were 7″ long but this depends on the length of your waist). ¬†The amount you take in for darts should roughly equal the difference between your waist and hip measurements.

Hem short sides of skirt (I didn’t do this before adding ruffles which was a mistake!)

3. Take the other 3 rectangles (measuring 20″ x 54″) and gather each piece along one long side: sew a gathering stitch about 1/4″ from the raw edge and then a second row of stitching about 1/2″ from the first row. Pull your bobbin threads taut and gather the fabric. Sew your three gathered pieces into one long piece by stitching them together along the short sides. ¬†Hem short ends of ruffle.

4. Pin the gathered edge of your ruffle to the bottom (curved edge) of your skirt, right sides together, by matching up raw edges and distributing gathered fabric evenly.  Stitch ruffle to skirt by sewing between your two rows of basting; remove any basting thread that shows on the right side of the skirt. Finish seam and press well.

5. Create waistband and ties by cutting¬†remaining fabric into¬†2¬†long strips, each measuring 2.75″ x 54″. ¬†Take one strip and add¬†the fusible interfacing to the wrong side of fabric. ¬†Then sew the RIGHT side of this strip (waistband) to the WRONG side of the top of your skirt (see pic below).

6. ¬†Press waistband and seam allowance up, then¬†press down opposite raw edge of waistband 3/8″. ¬†Finally, fold waistband in half lengthwise and topstitch on the front of waistband, very close to fold.

7. ¬†Now take the remaining strip of fabric and cut it so that you have 2 pieces, one measuring about 37″ long and the other 18″. As you can see from the pictures, I wrap mine so that it ties¬†on my left side which means that when looking at my skirt flat on the floor (ruffle closest to me), the left tie is super long (that’s the 37″ tie) and the right tie is shorter (18″). ¬†Sew each of these ties to their respective sides of the waistband and iron the ties so they lay like the waistband (raw edges folded under 3/8″ and then folded in half lengthwise).

8. ¬†Finally, topstitch close to the open edge, all the way down to the end of the ties so they’re closed up. ¬†Then fold under short raw ends and topstitch those too.

9.  Finally, try your skirt on by wrapping the left side over your body first, then the right side over it.  Figure out where you want your left tie to go through the waistband on your right side; add a buttonhole there.  Again, this placement is very flexible since you can tie your skirt as tight or as loose as you like.  Finish by hemming your ruffle and voila!  All done!

 

I hope you love wearing your flouncy flamenco-like skirt and showing off your mad skills. ¬†Comment and let me know what you think of this ruffle-mania trend going around and if you’d wear a crazy number like this one!

Protecting the Perfect Purse

This perfect purse inspiration has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser.
All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias 
#WorryFreeMessFree

Guys! ¬†I’ve been looking for a new bag forEVER and even though I keep telling myself it’s ok to spend some decent money on a handbag I use day in and day out, I just haven’t been able to pull the trigger.¬† I finally decided to see if I could DIY¬†one that fit all my criteria (i.e. big but not huge, pockets but not super segmented, room for a billion diapers and lipsticks, etc.), and I DID!

I’ve only bought one bag pattern before (the super tote from Noodlehead) and I loved it so much that I decided to see if Anna had another tote pattern that might work for this project. ¬†I snatched up the Explorer tote pattern this time and love¬†it just as much! ¬†It was a lot of fun to make using this southwestern-y home decor fabric and some vinyl for a sturdy bottom and straps.

I’d been meaning to make a bag out of¬†this black and white geometric print for¬†months (years??) and now that it’s done, I’m so happy I used it! ¬†The only problem being, it’s mostly white. ¬†And I have kids. ¬†Like a¬†a whole passel of them.

Enter,¬†Scotchgard‚ĄĘ Fabric & Upholstery Protector. ¬†When I was a kid, my mom used Scotchgard‚ĄĘ Products on everything. I’m the oldest of 5 kids, so my mom knew all about never having nice things. ¬†Since I added the vinyl to this bag, I knew throwing it in the washer wouldn’t be an option, so¬†I grabbed some¬†Scotchgard‚ĄĘ Fabric Protector at Lowe’s (in the cleaning supply aisle) and gave my bag a once over! ¬†You can learn about all of the¬†Scotchgard‚ĄĘ line of products here.

And it was super easy!  I just followed these simple instructions:

  1. Went outside in the yard to avoid spraying anything else (but if you do accidentally, just wipe it off quickly).
  2. Shake the can well.
  3. Make sure your fabric is colorfast: spray on an inconspicuous area and then rub with a white cloth. ¬†If any color comes off, don’t use it!!
  4. Hold the can upright, about 6″ from the fabric surface. Use steady, sweeping motions and overlap slightly. ¬†Two light coats are better than one heavy one!
  5. Let dry between coats.
  6. Be sure to reapply the product after a cleaning, every 6 months or sooner depending on amount of use.

And that’s it! ¬†It was super simple¬†to use, didn’t have any horrible smell and it really did leave my purse feeling exactly the same. ¬†No stiffness or sticky residue. ¬†It can also be used on decorative pillows, couches, curtains, clothing (!), backpacks, ball caps, upholstered dining chairs, and more. ¬†I’m seriously gonna take this stuff to my entire living room since I’m so sick of yelling at kids for eating on furniture they’re not supposed to mess up. #momlife

I’m really happy with how the entire bag turned out and can’t wait to put it to good use. ¬†I’m also dreaming up a more colorful version in the near future!

If you’re tired of cleaning up the messes of life, get your buns over to Lowe’s and grab some of this¬†Scotchgard‚ĄĘ Fabric Protector for your nice things. ¬†And don’t forget to take along¬†this coupon deal for¬†$1 off!

DIY Ruffle Sleeve Top

This super simple ruffle sleeve top is sure to be a new favorite and is totally on trend!  Check out the full tutorial…

I haven’t done too much sewing for myself in the last year or so; pregnancy and birth makes for an ever changing body that’s tricky to fit!

But I’m SO glad I started again and gave this top a try because it is currently my very favorite shirt out of my whole closet. It skims over my belly bulge without being too boxy, it’s got a cute sleeve detail and anything black and white striped is just classic.  I was inspired by a similar top from J. Crew a few months ago and I can’t imagine I’d love the original any more than this one!

It’s super duper easy to recreate, I just encourage you to find the best quality knit fabric you can find.  A sturdy knit (like a cotton/spandex blend) will make all the difference in drape and durability.  I’ve also included a link to an illustration with cutting instructions and all the measurements I used; my shirt fits like a size medium/large.

Ready? Let’s get making!

Supplies:

1-1.5 yards high quality stretch knit
Coordinating thread
Get the illustration with all my measurements here

1. Grab a T-shirt with a great fit to use as a template.  Fold your fabric in half (with the stretch running perpendicular to the fold) and your ready-to-wear (RTW) tee in half lengthwise (from neckline to hem). Lay your RTW tee on your fabric, with folds aligned, and cut out your front bodice by following the lines of your tee.  Be sure to leave a seam allowance  along the shoulder, armhole and side seams (I usually eyeball about 1/2″) and a hem allowance along the bottom (about 1″).

2. Do the same thing for your back bodice and sleeves.  Be sure that the stretch of your fabric is running around the circumference of your sleeve (from underarm seam to fold).  Cut out 2 sleeve ruffles measuring 35″ x 5″ (the direction of stretch doesn’t matter on the ruffles). Be sure to save a long scrap for your neckband!

3.  With right sides together (RST), sew your front to back along shoulder seams and side seams.  Finishing the seam (with a zig zag or serger) is optional with knit fabrics.

4. Sew your first sleeve into a tube by folding it in half lengthwise, RST, and stitching along the straight edge. Repeat with the second sleeve.

5. Create your ruffles by first sewing the strips into tubes: fold them in half widthwise RST and stitch along the short ends.  Next, gather them along one opening: I like to sew a basting stitch about 1/4″ away from the raw edge, then another basting stitch about 1/4″ from the first line of stitching.  Pull the bobbin thread taut from each line of stitching while pulling the fabric into gathers.

6. With sleeve RIGHT side out and ruffle WRONG side out, slip the bottom of the ruffle over the bottom edge of the sleeve.  Match up gathered edge of ruffle to bottom edge of sleeve and pin, adjusting gathers to fit.  Stitch in place; remove any basting stitch that shows on the right side, if necessary.

7. With bodice WRONG side out and sleeve RIGHT side out, insert bottom of sleeve into bodice armhole until top of sleeve and bodice armhole are flush; pin raw edges together, matching seams and stretching to fit, if necessary.

8. For the neckline: measure around the opening of your neckline and subtract 2″ (give or take 1-2″ depending on the stretchiness of your fabric. This is kind of a trial and error thing!). Cut out a neckband measuring this number x 2″. For example, if your neckline measures 21″, then your neckband would need to be 19″ x 2″.  Stitch neckband into a tube by sewing together along short sides, RST. Fold tube in half lengthwise (wrong sides together) and press.

9. Pin neckband to neckline RST by matching raw edges, with neckband seam in center of bodice back, and by inserting pins evenly in 4 places: at shoulder seams and at center front and center back. BASTE neckband to bodice, stretching to fit.  At this point, try on your shirt to determine if the neckband is the proper length.  It should lie flat without any puckering or flopping over.  If so, you’re ready to stitch it on securely, if not, take the band off and either cut it slightly shorter or cut a new longer one!

10.  Once you’ve stitched neckband in place, finish the seam with a zig zag stitch or serger.  Press seam allowance towards bodice, then topstitch close to seam on bodice side using a double needle.  It’s very important that you NOT stretch the fabric while topstitching so that the neckline doesn’t end up wavy and stretched out.

11.  Hem sleeves and bottom of shirt by topstitching with a double needle.

And you’re done!  Try it on and admire your handiwork…doesn’t it look amazing??

Photos by Let Me See You Sparkle

Easter Sewing

Check out the full line up of all the¬†girls’ Easter dresses!¬†


You guys! I can’t believe I pulled it off, but I got dresses made for all my big girls in time for Sunday. It’s an Easter miracle!

Of course I had planned to make a dress for baby Alice as well, and then decided it wasn’t worth the effort for something she’d wear for 3 months. The first two and a half dresses I sewed at a leisurely pace a week ahead of time..and then the last one and a half dresses I finished on Saturday. At 10pm. ¬†Because if you’re not doing things at the last possible minute, you’re not living, am I right??

I used the Infinite A-line dress pattern and hacked it into a pinafore following the instructions that I posted last week.

My dress is also me made, from a couple years ago (details here).

While I love fresh spring outfits and the opportunity to celebrate with family, around here we try to remember that the real reason for Easter is the resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Because of Him we can hope for a future free of pain and suffering. He’s given us hope for a life full of joy with our loved ones and because of Him, we don’t need to fear death! ¬†I can’t think of a single gift more important and life-changing than that.

Hope you had a wonderful Easter!

(P.S. Baby Alice didn’t make it into the pictures cause she was asleep in the carseat and I pretty much never wake a sleeping babe!)

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‚Ķ 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.

Chubby Thighs and handmade shorts

An easy refresh for any kid’s summer wardrobe: shorts!

It’s been quite a while since I sewed something super simple for my kids; I’m always full of ideas for new pattern hacks and designs so it’s refreshing to go back to the basics!

Our sweet Mimi is a total chunk of a baby and after pulling out summer clothes recently, I realized that she can’t fit into a single pair of shorts her sisters wore before her! ¬†I decided to pull out the Kid Shorts pattern from Made Everyday to whip her up a couple pairs.

GUYS, she’s not even 2 years old yet (her birthday’s in a few weeks) but I ended up making her a size FOUR! ¬†Her little thighs and belly are hilariously chubby. ¬†In fact, her waist measurement is a whopping 1/2″ smaller than Kira’s, who is almost 6…haha!

I love all three of these pairs; I made the shorter racer shorts with bias trim for two of them because they are THE easiest ever! ¬†Seriously, after cutting out fabric, I think they each took me about 20 minutes to sew. ¬†A great way to amp up a kid’s wardrobe in just one afternoon.

I think the cute animal print pair are my favorite…which do you like best??

DIY Nursing-Friendly Nightgown

The first few weeks after having a baby are my favorite;¬†it’s the only time you’re allowed to just sit around in pjs all day long, resting, eating whatever you want and snuggling a precious new baby. ¬†Life doesn’t get any better!

Today I’ve got a tutorial for the perfect postpartum nightgown: long, stretchy, lots of coverage and nursing-accessible! ¬†Of course you can make one even if you don’t have a new baby, and if you leave off the placket, it’s a super¬†quick project!

(Be sure to subscribe to my new weekly newsletter to get all the latest tutorials in your inbox!)

Supplies:

2 yards very stretchy knit fabric
4 matching buttons (if attaching optional placket)
10″ x 10″ piece of lightweight fusible interfacing
coodinating thread

1. Find the stretch of your fabric and fold in half with the stretch running horizontally (perpendicular to the fold). ¬†Cut out front and back of nightgown according to diagram (the diagram show just the front¬†bodice being cut out on the fold, but you’ll need to cut out a back as well!). ¬†Cut out sleeves and placket also, ensuring that the stretch runs across the width of the sleeves.

2. Lay your front and back pieces on top of each other, right sides together.  Sew along the shoulders and side seams, using a stretch stitch or serger, Press seams well.

3. Sew underarm seams of sleeves by folding sleeve in half lengthwise, RST, and stitching along the long raw edge, using a stretch stitch.  Press well and repeat with second sleeve.

4. Turn bodice inside out and sleeve right side out.  Insert your sleeve into the sleeve opening of bodice (insert narrower opening in first!), matching up raw edges and underarm seam with bodice side seam.  Stitch sleeve to bodice using a stretch stitch; press well.

5. ¬†Fold under raw edges of sleeves and bodice hem and topstitch using a double needle; press well. ¬†You can also choose to leave your sleeves and hem raw since knit doesn’t fray!

6. ¬†Create neck facing: Measure the circumference of your neckline and subtract 1-2″ (you want your facing to be shorter than your neckline so that it pulls the neckline taut when sewn together. ¬†How much shorter depends on the stretch of the fabric…here I cut mine 2″ shorter that the neckline because my fabric was super stretchy; if your fabric is less stretchy, try making it just 1″ shorter. ¬†It’s kind of a trial and error thing!) ¬†Cut out a neck facing measuring 1″ x the length you just calculated (neckline minus 1-2″). ¬†Sew short ends of facing, right sides together, to create a loop.

7. ¬†Pin facing to neckline, right sides together, stretching facing to distribute evenly around neckline. ¬†Stitch facing to neckline using a 1/4″ seam allowance and a stretch stitch, again stretching facing to fit. ¬†Press facing & seam allowance away from bodice, and then press raw edge of facing under 1/4″. ¬†Fold facing to inside of garment, pressing again. ¬†Topstitch facing to bodice, close to folded edge, using a stretch stitch.

This video is a great resource for sewing a knit facing, in case you¬†haven’t done this technique before!

8. ¬†OPTIONAL button placket: Cut a rectangle out of the center front of your your nightgown measuring 10″¬†x 1″. ¬†Here I’m gonna save you the chore of reading a really wordy explanation that doesn’t make any sense and instead have you watch this video! It’s a great, simple explanation for inserting a placket. ¬†(Note: I used a very lightweight interfacing because I was using a very thin knit fabric…you don’t want to go too much heavier than your fabric!)

And voila!  A perfectly cozy, comfy nightgown perfect for lounging with or without a new baby!

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 РIkea || Sewing/Embroidery machine РBernina Artista 180 (bought used on eBay)|| Serger РBrother 1034D || Thread rack, iron  РAmazon || Circular shelving unit, clock, gold cup, similar decorative bowl, metal basket & plastic (bias tape) basket, ironing board, gold baskets & mounting rail behind ironing board РTarget || Instax camera РAmazon || abstract art on circle shelf РCandy Kirby Designs ||other handmade art РPen and Paint || snowy barn art Рpainted by yours truly

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 Р2 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.)

No posts found.