Candy corn pennant

Like the other 7 billion people on the planet, I LOVE Halloween décor, even though, as a mother, I HATE the holiday itself.  Don’t even get me started on kids changing their minds on costume ideas 2 hours beforehand or the sugar highs, fights over candy, fear of weirdos kidnapping my kids…. 

 

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But back to the fun part: décor!  My all-time favorite holiday DIY is this candy corn pennant because
1. it’s made of fabric! My favorite medium
2.  It’s super easy to sew
3. It has lasted year after year, which is more than can be said of my paper projects of years gone by.

Bonus: Read on for a no-sew alternative!

 

 

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My banner has 10 pennants and measures about 10 feet long, FYI.

Supplies:

Quilting cotton in orange, yellow and white (1/2 yard each)
10 feet of black, double fold bias tape (purchase or make your own!)

 

 

1.  Download and print a copy of the template right HERE.  Be sure the “fit to page” box is blank and/or set your margins to “none”.  The template should measure about 7.5” x 9”.

2.  Cut one copy of your template into 3 pieces for the front of the candy corn.  For the other copy of the template, just cut out the triangle whole (this will be for the backs).

2.  Using the three front pieces, trace and cut out fabric pieces in each of the coordinating colors.  Do this until you have enough for your entire pennant (i.e. 10 yellow top pieces, 10 orange middle pieces and 10 bottom white pieces).  Then, using your uncut template, cut out backs for each candy corn.  I alternated between orange, yellow and white for the backs, just to make it interesting.

3.  Sew the three front pieces together, right sides together, pressing each seam open.

4.  Lay your back piece on top of the front (right sides together) and sew down each side (leave the top open).  Turn right sides out, poking the point out with a chopstick or pencil tip.  Press seams well.

5.  Using black double fold bias tape, sandwich the top of each pennant in between the folds of the tape, and top stitch all along the open edge of the tape.  I left about 4” of space between each candy corn.  Lastly, fold in the short raw ends of the bias tape and topstitch.

Voila!

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No- Sew Variation!

Same supplies as above plus:
pinking shears
fabric glue (No-Sew, Fabric Fusion or others found at any craft store)

**Follow instructions above through step #2.

3.   Fold the front tops of the middle and bottom pieces of each candy corn over 1/4” and press.  Using fabric glue, glue the folded down top edge onto the raw bottom edge of the piece above it (middle piece glued to top piece, bottom piece glued to middle piece).  OR just use felt and no need for folding or pinking shears!

4.  Run glue around the inside edges of finished front piece and attach back piece.

5.  Using pinking shears, cut around sides of each candy corn.

6.  Glue each candy corn to inside of double fold bias tape.

Done!

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Wondering what magnificent Halloween photo is in that frame?

Ok, you asked for it:

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A classic from the old glory days of college.  Come to think of it, I’m pretty sure this wasn’t even ON Halloween…

“Sew” Easy T-shirt dress

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After a long, blissful summer of traveling to wonderful (much, much cooler) places, the whole fam is home now, back together, with a fresh new (home)school year ahead of us.  We dragged everyone to Walmart tonight for back-to-school supplies where I‘m allowed, nay, expected to spend oodles of money on fresh notebooks, crayons and packs of markers.  What could be better than that??!

I plan to share some glimpses into homeschooling life this year since I know many people are curious how our every day schedule works (or doesn’t…) plus some upcoming pics of our last adult-only trip to Hawaii – but for now, a super simple T-shirt dress to keep you cool for whatever summer still has to throw at you.

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First off: fabric.  Good quality knits are tough to come by, especially for a decent price.  My all time favorite online source is Girl Charlee.  Great little fabric company with amazing prices.  Get on their email list and keep an eye out for their bargain lot sales.  You get a big surprise package full of knit remnants for next to nothing.

I was holding on to this striped knit (AGH…I canNOT stop with the stripes! My closet it full of them) for the perfect simple dress and finally decided to pull out an old pattern.  I used McCall’s M6747 but only because I had it…this thing is equally easy to recreate by just tracing any loose-fitting T-shirt you own.  If you’ve never done that before, start with this awesome tutorial from Dana at Made.  And if you’ve already got a knit dress you love, that’s even easier!  Make sure you add in enough fabric for whatever type hem you want on the bottom edge when cutting!  Just serge (or zigzag) the bottom raw edge, turn it under and topstitch (if yours is loose like mine, you won’t need a stretch stitch).

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I added an elastic waistband to give it more shape but I usually wear it with a belt anyway.  Just mark where you want the waistline and, while stretching the elastic, zigzag it directly to the inside of your dress.

My very favorite part is the contrasting neckline and sleeve trim.  I cut up the fabric (from an old cheap skirt that never fit right) into strips .  Cut the neck trim just a couple inches smaller than your neckline so that it lays flat.  Then fold all 3 pieces of trim in half lengthwise and sew the raw edges to the neckline (and sleeves) of your dress.  Then press the seam allowance toward the dress and topstitch (using a stretch stitch on a regular machine).

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Yes, you are welcome for this glorious shot of my bum.   And our dead grass.

I followed my pattern and made the back out of two pieces serged together but you could just make the back out of one piece too.

Lastly, this baby’s got pockets.  Because, let’s be honest…right after finding a cute dress or skirt that fits and isn’t $800, we check for pockets.  Instant bonus.  I followed this super easy in-seam pocket tutorial from Craftiness Is Not Optional.  Bam, done.

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This has been my absolutely favoritest go-to summer dress for the last month so thanks for letting me share.  Knits can be scary the first couple times you sew with them but they are so worth it.  If you’re a knit newbie, check out another great post from Made about sewing with knits.

 

 

 

 

Sew easy

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I got a little burned out while working on some pattern drafting and harder  sewing projects lately so I decided to give my brain a break by whipping out some quick and easy fun projects.

Have you been over to MADE and seen Dana’s new video tutorial series?  They are freaktastically awesome.  And I don’t use “freaktastic” lightly.  They are PERFECT for a beginning sewer or anyone who needs a little sewing pick-me-up.  I’ve watched them all!

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This is what I get when I tell them I’m taking a picture.

One of her videos is a quick and simple rundown of a basic elastic skirt with bias tape trim.  Such a fun summer wardrobe addition that takes literally 20 min (or less!) to make.

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This is what I get when I say “pose!”  I admit I didn’t make that lace one Kira is wearing.  It was an adorable H&M find and the underskirt is actually BRIGHT neon coral.  I wish they had it in my size.

And now that I mention bias tape…she has a video on that too.  And I’ll admit.  I was never much of a bias tape aficionado but she makes it fun.  In fact I just bought several fat quarters to make cute tape with.

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I’m also a huge fan of these lipgloss-holder key rings.  I made a bunch for Mother’s Day gifts for my sisters and SIL’s.

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Aren’t they cute?  Instead of chapstick, I bought fun lipgloss from Forever 21 and just added about an inch to the length of the pattern.

Whew! That was fun!

Now back to the drafting…wah, wah, waaaah!

**For reference, here are the measurements I used for my skinny just-turned-5-year-old:

Raw fabric =  20” wide x 13” long, elastic = 19” long, bias tape = 20” long
Finished measurements were 12” long with an 18” waistband.

15” Baby Doll Dress and Pattern

If you’ve been on Pinterest for like 5 minutes, you’ve probably seen or pinned a tutorial from Craftiness Is Not Optional.  The blog is as adorable as the writer and she’s got the BEST little girl dress tutorials (and TONS of them!).  A friend commissioned me to make CINO’s Junebug dress for her little girl along with a matching version for a baby doll her daughter is getting for Christmas.
Fun right??
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I’ve made the Junebug dress before for all 3 of my girls and loved it.  It was a fun challenge grading it to a little baby doll size…I haven’t sewn that small since my foray into Barbie fashions in 1992 (yes, I was 12). 
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Vivian loved modeling for it too.  In fact, I should’ve documented the holy terror she became when I took it off her doll.  That must mean she liked it, right??
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Click THIS google doc link for the PDF of the doll-sized pattern.  This free version on Craftiness is Not Optional’s site is a toddler size 2 but for $10 you can buy this full pattern all the way up to age 8!

Keep reading for how to finish the doll version…
For the skirt, I cut 2 rectangles of fabric, measuring 10” wide and 5” long.  Cut them into a slight A-line and sew together.  Follow CINO’s directions here for attaching the skirt and hemming it.  Or if you want to attach a ruffle like I did, cut a strip of fabric measuring 2.5” wide by at least 35” long.  You can go longer for a fuller ruffle but don’t go much shorter.   Sew raw (short) edges together to make a big circle, then fold in half lengthwise (so your strip is 1.25” wide) and press, wrong sides together.  Gather along the raw edge and sew to skirt bottom, right sides together.
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I ended up making a velcro placket on the back for ease of dressing the doll.  So don’t be a dummy like me and go crazy making 6 teeny tiny working buttonholes on the front cause they’ll be too small for any toddler to button anyway.  Just sew the buttons on through the front flap and and side portion of the bodice so that the flap can’t open.
Cut a slit down the back of the finished dress about 4” long (through the bodice and into the skirt).  Then cut 2 placket pieces with the following measurements:
1) 4.5” long x 3” wide   2) 4.5” long x 1.5” wide
Fold #1 in half lengthwise, right sides together (to make piece 2.25” x 3”) and press.  Sew 3 sides together, leaving one long side open.  Clip corners, turn right side out and press again.  You’ll now have a long pocket-like strip with one long opening.
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Now pin it to the left side of your doll’s dress opening in the back, right sides together.  Sew a small 1/4” seam down the length of the slit, attaching only one side of placket to dress.  Fold the other side of placket back around into the inside of the dress and press seam.  Now you’ll just have one raw edge left of the placket on the inside.  Fold a small 1/4” edge of this raw edge down into the placket and sew closed.  Topstitch velcro onto the outside of this placket. 
Now take placket piece #2 and sew it, right sides together, to the right side of the back opening.  Fold it to the inside of the dress, press and then fold the top  and side raw edges of the placket in on itself and stitch those closed.  Add velcro to the INSIDE of this placket.  Then turn the dress inside out and take the bottom raw edges of each placket and sew them together to close it up.  Voila!  All done.
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I realize that those placket instructions sound much harder than they are.  When I get around to making another one, I’ll try to take more step by step pictures but it’s pretty self-explanatory once you get going.
Good luck!
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Bell Skirt Tutorial

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I consider myself an Anthropologie sale stalker so when I saw Reachel from Cardigan Empire wearing this little number above on the right I was shocked and appalled that I hadn’t seen it. 
The problem was that not only was it sold out on Anthro’s site but the few left on eBay were selling for upwards of $160.  Ugh.  Even I have limits.
Then I thought, ”Hey…I bet I could make that…”
Behold the Bell Skirt.

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The Anthro reviews were stellar on this skirt and, although this is a very simplified version, I have to say it is one of the cutest, most flattering skirts I own (especially at this more voluptuous time of my life). 
What with the fitted waist and ample hiding room for your bottom half, I can promise that it would look great on just about any woman. Plus it’s a breeze to make.  Promise.
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I started by buying 2 yards of upholstery-weight black and white cabana stripe fabric (57” wide) from this Etsy shop.  Then I bought a yard of 2.5” wide black elastic from this shop.  I knew I wanted a contrasting zipper in the back but I couldn’t decide on pink or green…I eventually went with an exposed gold one instead.
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First of all, the fabric was vertically striped so I turned it 90 degrees so that it was 57” tall and 1 yard wide.  I then folded it in half the long way and cut it along the fold (in half).  I ended up with 2 pieces, both measuring about 28” x 36”. 
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Now make your pleats.  I made one box pleat (here’s a good how-to) by creating a fold about 4 inches from the center and bringing it into the midline on both sides, then made two (2”) knife pleats roughly halfway between the center pleat and the edge of the fabric. 
Do this to both pieces of fabric, the front and the back of skirt.  Of course your exact placement of pleats is up to you…play around with it and see what looks good!
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Sew the pleats in place using a basting stitch, and then sew your side seams, right sides together.  My fabric unraveled pretty easily so I made sure to serge all my edges.
Now, you’ll want to slit your back piece of fabric in the center about 6 or 7 inches down, depending on the length of your zipper.  Don’t forget that your zipper will have to be attached to your wide elastic as well.  I used a 9” zipper.

This is where you’ll want to try your skirt on and fit it to your natural waist.  One of the great things about this skirt is its really high waist since it hides muffin top like nobody’s business.  You’ll probably need to take your side seams in a bit unless you’re a sewing ninja and already made your pleats just the perfect width.
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Having never seen the actual Anthro skirt in person, I kinda winged the waistband.  I decided that I wanted it fitted (not stretchy) to hold me in but I still liked the idea of the elastic to act almost like a girdle (it does!).  So I folded the elastic in half widthwise (to find the center) and began pinning the center of it to the skirt at the front pleat, and continuing all the way around to the slit at the back, on both sides.
I then installed the zipper (you can topstitch around the zipper if you like) and hemmed it right at the knee.

 

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Did I mention that this baby cost me about 25 bucks total?  Yeeeah!
I haven’t cleaned it yet but I’m assuming it’ll need to be dry cleaned or spot cleaned.  An alternative would be to make your own striped fabric by sewing some strips of white and black washable cotton together.  Just make sure you pick something fairly stiff so that you get the “bell” effect.

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Happy skirt making!