Happy Halloween, It’s Rapunzel Time!

So, Chloe’s Rapunzel dress was trickier than I thought it would be.  I struggled with almost all of it but the good news is while it has many imperfections, Chloe doesn’t care.  And while it’s not the most professional looking project I have done it will work wonderful for Halloween and dress up play. After a while I got so frustrated I stopped taking pictures because I kept having to undo my work because it was not right.  So please excuse the lack of pictures and check out the tutorials linked below for how I should have done it.

In my research ahead of sewing I found a tutorial over at Make It and Love It, but I just used it for ideas. What I should have done was follow it, and saved myself a lot of frustration.  I also used tutorials at Made.  I used her puff sleeve tutorial and the circle skirt tutorial.  The circle skirt tutorial is awesome and I have used it several times and it always turns out great.

Anyway, let’s get started! We left off at drafting our pattern pieces.  Next step is to start cutting. I laid my pattern pieces on top of my materials and cut them all out.  I just have pictures of the circle skirt being cut out, but now is the time to cut everything.




I next assembled my sleeves.  I attached my ribbon to the sleeve, starting in the middle and then spaced them out 1 inch apart.  I did this to both sleeves. Then I sewed the ribbon on as close to the edge as I could manage and on both sides of the ribbon for extra security.




Next I worked on the sheer part of the sleeves.  I pinned the lace on while folding the sheer down about 1/2 inch as I pinned.  I then sewed the lace on with a zig zag stitch.  After I finished the sheer part of the sleeve I attached the bottom hem to the puff sleeve following the tutorial at Made, which I linked above.


Next I finished off the sleeves by adding the puckers which give it the puffed up appearance, and added the sheer sleeves.  Now I would like you all to think I did it just like that, but I made so many mistakes on the sleeves, I had to stop and pick it back up a couple days later.  In the end this is the order I should have done things to save myself the frustration.





Now it’s time to leave the sleeves alone and start on the bodice.  I originally planned on the bodice being unlined, but changed my mind after I cut everything out so I needed to cut more out and figure out how to line it.  I also struggled with this and almost gave up and went to the store to buy her a costume instead.  But I persevered and it paid off.

I took the two pieces that make up the back and placed them right sides facing and sewed them all around except the bottom. I left the bottom open so I could flip them right side out.  After I got the two pieces together for the back, I then added the zipper. I then took my front part of then bodice and repeated the same steps with right sides facing and turned it right side out.





Next I started the detailed work for the bodice. I took my tulle and made it a double thickness for more sparkle.  (What little girl doesn’t love more sparkle!) Then I laid the ribbon out on the tulle every two inches or so on a slight angle, and sewed them down just like on the sleeves. Then I laid the ribbon straight across the bottom edge and sewed it down. Then I laid the ribbon on the opposite angle about 2 inches apart, pinned, and sewed them down.  Next step, pretend I have a picture of a little bow of ribbon that is sewn down to the straight across piece of ribbon in the center.




Next, I needed to sew in the detail work.  I pinned the front bodice piece to the back bodice piece, lining up all the edges.  This was just temporary so I could figure out how much to fold over on each side to create a place to insert the detail work.  I then placed in the detail work and pinned it down to the front of the bodice and then removed the back bodice and then sewed the detail work in on each side.  After the detail work was in, I then attached the lace to the front neckline.




Now comes time to attach the sleeves and I also had a huge problem attaching the sleeves.  I finally figured out the right way and that is what I am going to share with you now.  Due to the frustrations I stopped taking pictures here.  The last assembly picture I have is the next step.  Place the bodice pieces together right sides facing, then pin and sew the shoulders together.  Now pretend there are pictures here, but now is the time to pin the sleeves to the arm hole adjusting the gather stitch to add puff to the sleeve and make it fit the opening, then also pin the sheer parts of the sleeve together.  Begin sewing at the lace on the end of the sleeve, sew all the way through the sheer part, the sleeve part, and then down the sides of the bodice joining them together.


Now the bodice and sleeves should be all together.  Again, pretend there are pictures of me hemming the circle skirt around the bottom edge and then sewing on the lace around the bottom.  I then put a gather stitch around the top of the skirt and pulled it in until it fits the bodice.  Once it matches up, pin the skirt to the bodice and sew together.  It’s now time to dance a little happy dance, and get a high five from your husband.* (this step is optional but after all it took to make, I felt a little celebration was needed!)

I checked how it fit as I went and had to make a few adjustments here and there but I didn’t want to tear it all apart after finishing just getting the fit right.  So now I have a super cute Rapunzel dress, and a very happy Chloe.  After ironing it out, I retrieved her accessories for her costume.  Number 1, a frying pan! Number 2, Pascal!

Now I usually take the pictures of the finished product but since I was so burned out on this project, I asked my friend, Julie of Photography by Julie Kay, to help me out.  She is a fantastic photographer, her work is always so good, and she really understands what it takes to get that perfect shot when working with kids. Without further ado, here is Rapunzel and her long blonde hair!







Everything is Awesome Lego Sack

So, I don’t get a chance to make boy things very often, so of course, I was super excited to make a gift for a boys birthday party.  But then the excitement disappeared, and was replaced by questions.  What can I make that boys would like? Where am I going to get ideas from? (head explodes!)  After much googling and pinteresting, I remembered it was a Lego themed party!  Then I found the perfect thing to make!  A Lego Sack!   I found a great tutorial over at Make It Perfect.  As always if you need more info on the steps make sure the check out the tutorial.

Then I faced the daunting task of choosing which fabric to use from my stash.  My stash has a ton of pinks, purples and lots of girly stuff.  I did find a stack of basic solid colored fabric so I went with brown and blue. I folded my material in fours and then figured out how big I wanted my circle to be and settled on 32 inches, then added on an inch for seam allowances.  then from the point of the material I measured out 16.5 inches (half of 33) and made a curve all the way from side to side.  I then cut along that curve on the first one.  then I laid my cut out quarter circle on the other piece of fabric folded in fourths and cut out using the pre-cut one as a template.  This left me with 2 circle of the same size.




Next you will want to determine which color is going to be the inside and which is the outside.  I decided to make the brown on the inside.  I measured up 2 inches from the bottom and drew a line marking the bottom of my button hole (used for the draw string)  I then repeated that same 2 inches on the exact opposite side.  I used the button hole foot for my machine and set it to make a one inch button hole.  Since this was a gift for Chloe to give her friend, I let her control the foot pedal on my machine so she could say she sewed the button holes.  BTW she is very proud of her work!  After you make your button holes you will want to use your seam ripper to very carefully open up the holes.





Now that the buttonholes we in I laid the blue fabric on top of the brown and began pinning all the way around except for a 4 inch opening that will be used to turn it right side out later.  Chloe loves to help and I try my best to let her help where ever I can, in whatever way she is interested.  After I pinned it she had to double check my measurements.  LOL!  After it is all pinned and double checked then you’ll want to sew all the way around the circle with a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  For this part I also let Chloe control the foot pedal.  This time it was a little more scary.  She liked to go slow like a turtle then fast like a rabbit at seemingly random intervals.  Overall it was fun and turned out pretty good.  Once sewn then clip the edges all the way around to reduce the bulk so the seam lays better, then turn right side out.





After it is turned you will want to press your seams flat all the way around and then fold in your opening and pin it closed.  Once all pressed and pinned top-stitch all the way around again 1/4 inch from the edge.  Now it’s time for a little helper again.  Now we measured 2.5 inches from the edge to just above the button hole and made the mark in several spots around the circle.  Following those marks we stitched around the circle with out biggest straight stitch (5.0) in order to encase the rope.  Chloe put the pedal to the metal again so it was not as perfect as it could be but was definitely made by her.




The last step is to feed your rope or ribbon or sting through the button holes.The safety pin trick totally works and makes this task so much easier.    I attached my safety pin to my para cord which I had already melted the edges of to prevent fraying and fed into a button hole.  I worked the string halfway around to the other button hole and pulled it out.  Next at the same button hole to first piece of string came out of you need to insert the second piece of string with the pin attached and feed halfway around to the other button hole.  Each button hole should have two separate pieces of sting coming out and you will tie those together.  You now have a drawstring bag.  YAY!





The great thing about this bag is that it works as a play surface for blocks, Lego’s, Pony’s or Barbie’s, and when the child is done playing they can just pick the bag up by the string and cinch it closed and off they go!  The mess is contained and cleaned super easy.  Now excuse me as I make a ton for for Chloe to use for her own toys along with a bunch for Christmas presents.





Pretty Little Monster!

OK, so this week is another softie but there are so many cute patterns out there and they are relatively quick and easy sews.

This weeks project was a birthday gift for one of Chloe’s friends.  Since this was a gift from her I let her pick out all the materials and the placement of the materials.  It was pretty tough for the mama who likes control over her sewing but Chloe reminded me to ‘let it go’ (eyeroll/sigh, the joys of a preschooler).  This pattern is one I have had Favorited for a while and is a FREE pattern.  Lisa Bunting Thoms of Q.D. Patooties is the author and you can find the pattern here.


So after I printed out the pattern and cut out the pattern pieces, I grabbed the rainbow flannel Chloe chose for the body and cut as the pattern directed.  Except I forgot to cut the back of the body pieces in reverse so they would connect correctly.  What should have been a simple re-cut was complicated by the fact I didn’t have enough material to do it, so instead I cut another piece on the fold and worked from there. I also drew the mouth, teeth, and eyeball freehand since it wasn’t on the pattern.




Next, I began working on the assembling the face details.  I pinned the teeth onto the mouth and sewed them down with a zig-zag stitch.


Chloe decided that she didn’t want a button for the eyeball, she wanted a googly eye instead.  So I first poked holes with my hand needle around the eye, then positioned the eye background piece on the body front of the monster and zig-zagged it on, then I hand sewed the eyeball through the holes using invisible thread (this stuff is evil but it makes things look so good).  the last step here was to attach the mouth, I wanted it a little crooked, but Chloe insisted on straight.



Next I grabbed my back piece and laid it on top of my front piece so the right sides are facing and pinned it together leaving a small opening at the bottom between the legs for turning the monster right side out.



I then sewed all the way using a 1/4 inch seam and made sure I remembered to leave the open area at the bottom.  I turned it right side out and made sure to push all the legs arms and ears out all the way and began stuffing with Poly-fill.  After the monster was all stuffed, I used a blanket stitch and hand sewed the bottom closed.


It was a pretty little monster and the birthday girl loved it and my daughter loved helping me sew and that she made a gift for her friend.  I think I could get used to a little helper at the sewing machine.  It was a lot of fun to collaborate with her.

Easy Breezy Balloon Birthday Invitations

So every year I try and find cool ideas for Chloe’s birthday party invites according to whatever theme she chose (or when she was younger, what I chose).  This year she wanted Rapunzel, My Little Pony, and Hello Kitty party.  I told her she had to pick one and she told me Balloons.  Gotta love 3 going on 4 year olds.  They say and do the most random things sometimes and I can’t help but laugh.  For her first birthday I did a Rainbow theme, her second birthday was Minnie Mouse, and her third birthday was My Little Pony (which i didn’t design but fell in love with and had to have).

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So I came up with two ideas: blow up balloons and write party info on them then deflate and mail so they can be blown up to read the info; or cut out balloon shapes out of paper and sandwich them together with string in the middles and use the front and back for invite info.  I chose the latter, and it worked out really well.  I got this idea from Hello Bee and loved it for its simplicity.  October and November are really hectic for me, especially this year so simple and easy wins.  I did make a couple changes from the original tutorial that made things easier on myself.

I went to Pic Monkey and was hoping to find a balloon outline I could use and I was in luck, so I created my invite front and back in black and white.  On the front it says “Chloe is 4!” and on the back is the date/time/location.  I printed them in black and white so I could print them on construction paper in my printer.  I made the size a 4×6 and then cut the construction paper into 4×6 pieces.  I printed them all out and cut them out and all that was left was to assemble them.  Here is my template for the front, and if you print out your fronts then you can erase the front text and add your party info and you can make these too.

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Then next step was to take cut pieces of twine about 6 inches long each.  Then I took my back part and flipped it over and attached the string to it and then made 4 tape balls and put the around the balloon.

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I then took the front part and stuck it down on the back part and that was it, one done 15 more to do.  Chloe picked out all the colors so there were a whole rainbow of balloons to mail out.



Stay tuned for more on the party decor and the cake as we near her birthday!

Ruffles Everywhere

A good friend of mine recently gave birth to beautiful twin girls, and while we were visiting, I asked her if there was anything she needed for the girls.  Her response was more bibs.  I love to make a variety of baby items and have made a lot of things for my daughter and my friend’s new babies as well.  So of course I am up for the challenge. I wanted to make 2 bibs that were similar in style and color, yet different.  As I started to do my research on Pinterest, I remembered bookmarking a post on a ruffled bib shortly after Chloe grew out of needing one.  They are the cutest thing ever and instantly decided that is what I would make. Jess, over at Craftiness Is Not Optional is fantastic, and I have made several of her other tutorials before for Chloe.

The first thing I did was to try and decide on materials.  As I raided my fabric stash, I found everything I needed.  For the back of the bibs, I found some pink sparkly knit; for the front, I found two different patterned knits that both match the backing material, for the ruffles, I upcycled some old tee-shirts of mine.

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I was going to need a pattern and didn’t have one already drawn, so I went and found one of Chloe’s bibs and traced it on craft paper.  I wanted it to be a little longer though so I free handed and extended the bottom.  Then I traced about 1/2 inch around it for a seam allowance and then cut it out and I was ready to start cutting fabric.


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Next, I cut out my main bib materials.  I cut one front piece and 1 back piece, but because the bib is not symmetrical I cut the backing pieces in reverse so it would line up right when it was time to sew the bib together.  I worked on both at the same time and took pictures of each step.  However, I didn’t always take the pictures on just one of the bibs so one step my show one patterned fabric and the next will show the other.

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Next, I took the old shirts and turned those into my strips for the ruffles.  I ended up using 5 materials and needed 2 strips of each color. I first cut the hem off my shirts, I then made sure it was folded so the side seam would not become part of my strips.  I wanted my strips to be 12 inches long and 3/4 inch wide.  Since I was making 2 bibs I cut my pieces 1.5 inches wide and then cut that in half to so I would have 4 pieces instead of 2.  Once everything was cut and organized I was ready to start ruffling the strips.

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There are a couple different way to make ruffles and I use a ‘cheater’ method.  On my sewing machine I set my stitch length to as long as it goes and turn my machine tension way up.  This way as I sew through each strip down the middle it ruffles itself.


Now I forgot to make sure I leave the threads long at both ends of the strips so if I needed to make adjustments, I would be able to.  Instead, I sewed them together in a daisy chain to save on time.  Of course it really didn’t save me time, it actually cost me more as I had to figure out how to adjust the ruffles where needed.  Live and Learn is one of the mottos that applies to my sewing and crafting projects.  I sometimes screw up more than I do right but I always learn and do it better the next time.

The next step was to layout all the ruffled strips on the bib and pin them down.  I wanted to make sure to use a different arrangement on each bib so it would set them apart a little bit. After they were pinned, I sewed each ruffle as close to the first seam as possible at a regular stitch and tension setting.

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As a side note, after I finished this step I looked behind to me to find my helpers sleeping on the job.  Yuna and Piper love to help when I sew, unfortunately they are not that helpful.


I next grabbed my backing piece and placed it right side up and then took the ruffled piece and place it right side down right on top of the other piece, so that the right sides of the materials were facing.  I pinned all around the bib leaving about 4 inches or so at the bottom unpinned so I would remember not to sew there.  I left that space so I would be able to turn the bib right side out.  I don’t have any pictures of this but I tried to put my velcro on the inside so it would be sewn in to the seams and be fancy.  But it was such a failure I had to pull it all apart and do it the simple way.  After sewing around the bib a 1/2 inch from the edge, I used my pinking shears and trimmed all the edges before I turned it right side out.




After I pressed my seams and folded in the opening so it would close up properly, I then top stitched 1/4 inch all the way around.  Then I added my velcro pieces.  One piece of velcro goes on the front and the other piece goes on the back.  So you should have velcro on both sides of the bib.  I always put the soft piece on the backing, not sure why, but it’s how I do it.  Then sew on the velcro and the bib should be all done!

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Typical me, I realized then that since I can’t seem to sew the same line twice, the two stitches on the ruffles looked sloppy, so I went back with my seam ripper and pulled out the longer ruffle stitches so it would look cleaner.  I can’t wait to give them to my friend and see how cute they look on her cuties!


Upcycled Flying Squirrel

After working on the Rapunzel dress for a while, I needed a break.  I came across this super cute tutorial on Wild Olive for a flying squirrel.  The best part is that the pattern is free!  It seemed like the perfect thing to make to de-stress about Rapunzel’s dress.  The tutorial is excellent and even has links when it lists a more technical sewing term, like what a ladder stitch is.

I went to gather my materials and realized I don’t have any light grey fleece.  No worries though, I have this habit of saving old shirts to be reused for fabric if I like the material.  So I found this grey sweatshirt and the material was perfectly worn in and would make a nice, soft squirrel.  I love up-cycling, and it makes a project even sweeter when I am able to create something from something old and unused. I printed the pattern and then cut all the pieces needed out. 2 tails (one in reverse), two head pieces, two body pieces.  Out of felt I cut four legs, two ears and a nose.  Now in the tutorial it talks about using safety eyes, I didn’t have any so I used navy blue buttons.

IMG_0052Next I started assembly of the tail, right sides facing and pinned together.  I sewed all the way around except for the top of the tail.  I ten flipped it right side and lightly stuffed it with polyfill.

IMG_0054The next part of assembly was to put together the head.  First I needed to hand sew the details on the face.  I put the nose on first, then the two eyes and then sewed the mouth on using 4 strands of thread doubled up.  After I finished that I place the ears on and then put the back of the head with right sides facing and sewed it together all the way around.  The next step was to rip a small hole in the back of the head and stuff it tightly with polyfill.  After it’s stuffed I learned what a ladder stitch was and closed the hole using the my new skill.




The next step was to put the body pieces together right sides facing and making sure to put the tail and feet inside.  I forgot the tail until I had pinned it all together so I had to unpin, add it, and repin.  After I pinned it together I sewed all the way around except for three inches near the top which was used to turn it right side out after sewing and then ladder stitched the hole closed. I then placed the head on the body as indicated on the pattern which was not on the top but a little offset, and hand sewed with a ladder stitch all the way around the head.




 It turned out super super cute and I kinda don’t want to give it to my daughter, Chloe.  I think my husband would like it at work as a stress relief toy, it is so much fun to throw because it opens up just like a flying squirrel.  I took some pictures of it finished outside and then Chloe wanted to help me show it so she played with it and I took some fun pictures.



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It’s Halloween Time (part 1)

Around the beginning of September I start working on Halloween costumes.  Ever since my daughter was born I have enjoyed making her costumes.  She has been a ballerina (2011), a lion (2012), and Fluttershy from My Little Pony (2013).

11 month Chloe (24)

The Pumpkin Patch 2012 (4)


All these costumes have been what i call ready made.  Meaning, I buy the main clothes like the sweatpants and hoodies and add on the details.  Although this year is different. This year she has decided she wants to be Rapunzel.  I am totally excited about making her princess dress, and I am doing it from scratch. My mom made me a couple princess dresses but none as cool as Snow White. I don’t have a copy of the picture but it was awesome!  Anyway, I am making sure to get an early start because I will be out of town for a wedding for 6 days the week before Halloween.  I usually procrastinate and wait til last minute, but since I am so excited I want to take my time and make it perfect for her just like my mom did for me.

Yesterday, my daughter and I decided how the dress should look and we drew it out together.  After she went to be a searched online for other peoples guides to help clue me in to what i need to buy and do.  I am not following anyone’s particular tutorial but bits and pieces and some of my own ideas all meshed together. Today I went to Hancock Fabrics with a particular idea in my head but came home with completely different materials which is typical me. I picked up 2 yards of Matte Satin (Clearance 70% off), 1/2 yard of pink glitter tulle, 1/4 yard white chiffon, 2 yards pink satin ribbon, 6 yards white lace trim, 1/2 yard 1/2 inch elastic, a zipper, and matching thread.  Total cost: $19.78!! I think the colors are perfect and will look great all together.


Now onto something totally new for me, drafting my own pattern pieces!  I’ve seen it done of several of my favorite craft blogs, it’s supposed to be easy, just take a shirt of the kids the fits right and trace it, then add a half inch seam allowance all the way around.  It was that easy but I had to think how I wanted to break it up.  The back of the bodice needs to be in 2 pieces so i can put in a zipper and then the front needs to be 1 piece that’s longer so I can insert the tulle in the center part.  The sleeves are puffy and I used the puff sleeve tutorial on Made.com as a kind of guide, I also used Made.com’s circle skirt tutorial for the bottom, I just cut that one normal and will figure out how to add the tulle as i get working.  Then to add the longer sleeve I just kinda cut a piece that will make a tube and fit her arm.

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This is where I have stopped for now and will keep taking pictures as I go and when the dress is finished I will make another post detailing the rest of my process.