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!

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 – 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

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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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

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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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Maternity DIY Roundup

If you’re expecting a baby, and running out of cute outfit ideas, check out these amazing maternity tutorials!

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Being pregnant is such an exciting and wonderful time of life…until nothing fits!  If you’re loathe to spend money on stuff you’ll only wear for 6 months (or can’t find anything you love) click on over to some of these amazing maternity DIY’s!  They’re all free, simple tutorials and will have you feeling like a million bucks in no time.

  1.  Ruffle Hem Shift Dress by Merrick’s Art
  2. Flutter Sleeve Dress by Whisk ‘Em
  3. DIY Maternity Jeans by What’s Up Moms
  4. Chartreuse Easter Dress by Elle Apparel Blog
  5. Quick Criss Cross Maternity Top by Cotton and Curls
  6. Maternity Dress by The Sara ProjectHappy sewing, mamas!

DIY Flutter Sleeve Dress

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Well, I’m officially pregnant enough that it’s getting difficult to dress this bump.  You’d think I’d have this great wardrobe of stylish maternity clothes now that I’m on my 7th go around but, alas…my under-the-bed box of big-girl clothes was pretty sad looking when I opened it up a couple months ago.

Sundays are especially hard because I want to look nice for church…and not just squeezed into a too-small T-shirt dress.  I went rummaging through the fabric stash a while ago and found this floral from Joann Fabrics I’d bought ages ago.  I was saving it for the perfect project and I’m thrilled with how this flutter sleeve maternity dress turned out.  It’d be perfect for just about any body shape, pregnant or not!

The tutorial is pretty simple, and I’ve included a free pattern for the flutter sleeves.  They’re a little trickier to draft than your typical sleeve but they lend so much more to a basic dress silhouette.  Read on for the full tutorial!

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Stashbuilder Box: Pinafore pattern hack

Jump on the pinafore-style dress bandwagon with this easy pattern hack!

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Have you guys heard about Stash Builder Box yet?  It’s this amazing little monthly box full of adorable fabrics, cute sewing accessories and an on-trend quilt pattern.  The company that sells them then takes 20% from each purchase and uses the funds to create quilts to donate to all kinds of people in need!  Sewing for a cause?  Heck yeah!

I about died when I saw the fabrics I received in my October mega box (1 yard of each of 3 super cute prints).  They’re from Maureen Cracknell’s Nightfall collection and the entire lookbook makes me drool.  I think I’m gonna copy that quilt on the cover because it is beyond gorgeous.

I knew I wanted to make a dress for Mimi out of the fabrics and finally settled on this pinafore style.  It’s the CUTEST little summer dress, and perfect over a long sleeve top for winter!  I’ve been meaning to figure out a pinafore hack from my Infinite A-line Dress pattern so 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 Reversible Shopper Tote

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Hey all!  I’ve got a quick, fun bag tutorial for you today.  These are seriously so easy and super addicting to make!  While I’m usually all about making clothes for me and the rugrats, bags place a close second on my list of addicting projects.  If I let myself, I could sew up more bags than a girl could ever use in a lifetime!

My aunt emailed me a while ago with pictures of a bag just like this that she bought on vacation.  She said she used it all the time and was really hoping to recreate some at home for gifts.  I was happy to help her figure it out and came up with this cute shopper tote!  They’re perfect for the library, grocery store, soccer practice, ballet class – you name it!  Plus the reversible factor just makes it that much more fun.  In fact, I think I’ll whip some up for Halloween treat bags!

I’ve already made 5 of them…the 3 not pictured were sewn up in an annoying My Little Pony fabric that my girls INSISTED I buy…I’m such a sucker! I’ve included a downloadable pattern for the adult size I’m holding here and the kid size Kira has.  My girls really loved the smaller size and I like to pack mine full of as much crap as possible.

FYI: The tutorial has LOTS of pictures…not because it’s hard but just because it’s easier that way!   Ready??  Click Read More below!

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