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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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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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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DIY Diaper Caddy: Simplify Motherhood

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SuperAbsorbent #CollectiveBias

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Hey mamas!  Today’s post is all about simplifying life as a busy, crazy insane mom….specifically, diaper time!  Plus a super easy sewing tutorial!  Click read more below!

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Easiest Swimsuit Cover-Up

Up your pool style quotient this summer with this super easy swimsuit cover-up!

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I’ve got a super easy tutorial for you guys today! This super cute and simple swimsuit coverup is my new favorite project.  If you’ve got a yard of fabric and 20 minutes, you’re well on your way!

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Ultimate Pool Bag Tutorial

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Hey guys!  I’ve got a really fun and easy tutorial for you today to help make you summer adventures easier.  If you’re here visiting from Nap Time Creations, then welcome!  I hope you love it.

Does anyone else find themselves playing the part of sherpa when it’s time to hit the pool or beach?  It seems even my big kids become completely incapable of carrying their own towel, goggles, pool toys, etc. and I’m walking around with my arms piled high with SHTUFF (and pool stuff x 7 kids = a big headache).  So I dreamed up this bag that would hold all our pool necessities without any extra effort on my part!  The best part is that it’s a backpack so that I can hold hands/babies while we walk down the street to our community pool.

Ready??  Let’s do it!

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What you’ll need:

1 yard sturdy canvas-type fabric (any outdoor home decor fabric would work well, bonus if it’s water-resistant!  I re-purposed a heavy duty curtain from Target)
Extra long zipper (mine was 65″ – you probably won’t find this at your local craft store; I bought mine at an upholstery shop where they sell them by the yard.)
Heavy duty coordinating fabric for pockets (optional: clear vinyl or other waterproof fabric to make one pocket a wet bag!)
2 yards 1″ elastic for towel loops
1 yard 1/4″ elastic for pockets
Twill webbing for straps (about 1.5 yards)

  1.  First, I cut my fabric into 4 rectangles, each measuring 17″ x 21″ (2 pieces will be the outer portion of the bag and the other 2 will be the lining).  Then I used a cup (or other circular object) to trace around the corners and round them off.

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  2. Sew on your towel loops!  Take one of your rounded rectangles and sew strips of elastic onto the right side (my strips were about 13″ long);  I placed my strips of elastic in pairs, so that they’re running parallel to the long side of the fabric (see picture).  Sew down both raw edges to form a loop (using a zig zag stitch to reinforce each edge well!) It’s totally up to you how many loops you sew and the spacing, but I ended up with 6 loops, to hold 3 towels, since our towels are pretty bulky.  If needed, I could also stick just one towel in each loop so I could schlep twice as many!
  3. Next, you need to sew on your pockets.  I cut my smaller pockets measuring 6″ x 7″ and my larger pockets were 13″ x 8″.  Take two of the other rectangles of bag fabric, and begin by arranging your pockets as desired on the right side of the fabric.  I chose to put the two small pockets on top of one side (for sunscreen and little toys) and the large elasticized pockets everywhere else.

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  4. To sew on the small pockets, finish the raw edges (I used a serger but you can also just zigzag them), fold them under 1/4″ and topstitch along the top of your pocket.  Then stitch the sides and bottom right to your bag lining (leaving the top open!).
  5. For the bigger pockets, finish your raw edges and press under the bottom and sides 1/4″.  For the top of these pockets, you’ll press under 1/2″ and sew right along the raw edge, forming a casing.  Thread your 1/4″ elastic through the casing and gather the fabric as much as you’d like, pulling the elastic taut.  Stitch the elastic to the fabric on both open sides of the casing to keep it in place.  Then topstitch the sides and bottom of your pockets to your lining just as with the smaller pockets.  Don’t stretch your elastic to sew the sides…just let it pull the top of the pocket inwards so that the elastic will keep your stuff inside!
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  6. Next, sew your straps to your last rectangle of fabric.  I didn’t make mine adjustable since I’ll be the only one wearing it, but that’s an option as well!  I simply topstitched one raw end of the straps to the edge of my fabric, right at the top (see picture) and then tried it on, measured where I wanted it to hit under my arms, trimmed the webbing and sewed the other ends to the sides of my fabric.
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  7. Now, you’ll be sewing your lining to your bag exteriors.  Match up one exterior piece (i.e. with the elastic loops) to one lining (i.e. with pockets), right sides together.  Begin sewing together just a few inches from the center of the bottom short end, all the way around (one long side, the top short side and the other long side) to a few inches from the center on the other side of the bottom.  Leave 5-6 inches open to turn.  Repeat with other two fabric pieces.  REMEMBER to make sure your pockets are facing UP!
  8. Turn both pieces of your bag right sides out and press the edges well.  Fold under the raw edges of the part you left open, and stitch the two pieces of the bag together, along this opening (this will be the bottom of the bag that keeps the pieces connected, even when the zipper is unzipped.

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  9. Finally, stitch your zipper to you bag but sewing one zipper tape to one side of the bag, beginning right where you sewed the two halves together.  You’ll stitch the zipper tape to the bag ALL the way around, and then do the same with the other zipper tape and other side of the bag.

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    Thanks for reading!  I hope this tutorial helps lighten your summer load!

    Be sure to head over to the Nap Time Creations blog to see more posts in the Summer Fun Series!

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Spotted Sheath Dress DIY

This easy tutorial and free pattern will have you whipping up a cute pullover style sheath dress in no time!

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And my obsession with dresses continues!  Especially when it comes to spring and summer sewing, I just can’t get enough.  They’re cool and cute and flirty and fun; not to mention, they take no time at all to sew!

This spotted sheath dress is no exception…read on for the super easy tutorial!

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1.  First, you’ll need to download and print the free pattern here (be sure to print from Adobe Reader/Acrobat and NOT a browser! Make sure your printer is not scaling the pages).  Then tape all your pages together (just overlap the margins of the pattern pages before cutting- no need to trim them off!).
I drafted it to fit my body pretty loosely, and my measurements are 37-29-38 (about a size 6 or medium).  If you’re bigger or smaller than this, you can grade the pattern out or in, simply by adding or subtracting inches to your bust, waist and/or hips.  Since the pattern piece represents 1/4th of the dress’s measurements, you’ll only need to add or subtract 1/4 of the difference in our measurements.

For example, if your bust is 2 inches larger than mine but your hips are 1 inch smaller, then add 0.5″ to the bust area (2″ divided by 4) and subtract 0.25″ (1″ divided by 4) to the hip area.  I hope that makes sense…it’s really simple once you get started!

I made my dress a little looser than a traditional sheath dress because I wanted to avoid needing an opening (my fabric also had some stretch to it).  If you’d like a closer fit or are using a fabric with no stretch, you’ll need to insert a zipper or other opening.

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2.  Now, cut out out your fabric by laying the straight edge of your pattern pieces on the fold of your fabric (where indicated).  You’ll need to cut one bodice front (along the lower neckline curve) and one bodice back (along the higher neckline curve), as well as 2 sleeve pieces.   Now, cut out a neckband bias strip measuring 27″ (68 cm) x 2″ (5cm).  You can avoid cutting this piece on the bias if your fabric already has stretch to it, as long as you cut with the stretch running lengthwise.

**Remember after sewing each seam, to finish your raw edges and press well!

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3.  Sew your front to back bodice pieces together at the shoulders, and then at the sides, RST, using a 3/8″ (1cm) seam allowance.  Sew your underarm seam by stitching the sleeve to itself along the short, straight edge, RST.  Repeat with 2nd sleeve.  Turn dress inside out and sleeve right side out; insert sleeve into dress at armhole, pin together, keeping raw edges even and matching side seam to underarm seam.  Ease through the shoulder curve to fit.  Baste sleeve to dress and check for puckers or folds.  Stitch sleeve to dress and repeat with opposite sleeve.

4.   Stitch short ends of neckband piece together, then fold loop in half lengthwise (wrong sides together) and press again.  Pin neckband to RIGHT side of dress neckline, raw edges even.  Stitch neckband piece to neckline, using a scant 1/4″ (.6 cm) seam allowance.  Fold neckband to inside of dress and press well.  Topstitch neckband in place, close to fold.

5.  Hem sleeves and dress as desired.

And, you’re done!  A quick, easy project with a big “wow” factor.   Let me know how yours turns out!

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 ...
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DIY Full Skirt & Boxy Top

Recreate this fun and flirty look with two easy, handmade wardrobe staples! I almost forgot to share these fun and ...
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Patriotic Tripoli Trousers (New Pattern!)

These wide leg, sailor style pants are a cinch to whip up and flattering for just about every body! Hey all! ...
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Spotted Sheath Dress DIY

This easy tutorial and free pattern will have you whipping up a cute pullover style sheath dress in no time! And ...
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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?

Easy Flat-Front Skirt Tutorial

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I’m excited to share today’s tutorial with you all!  If you saw my Spring/Summer capsule wardrobe post last week, then you’ll recognize this peach pencil skirt.  We’re gonna learn to make it today!

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There are already SO many easy skirt patterns and tutorials out there on the Interwebs, but when I started making this one, I needed a couple of special features:
1.  I wanted an elastic waistband so that as I lose baby weight, it would still fit me (yes my baby turned 1 this month…should I call it “toddler weight”??)
2.  I wanted a flat-front waistband to eliminate bulk.  I just love the tailored look of this style.
3.  It had to be lightweight for summer but knee-length.

Click Read More below for the full tutorial!

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