Tag Archives: sewing

Getting crafts done

The last few days were probably some of the most productive craft days I have had in quite awhile.

A few weeks prior I had hunkered down and knit up this little baby cardi for my good friend Cara’s baby girl.



After buying a super cheap Rapunzel dress for Bean that I spend some time altering…


…only for it to pretty much fall apart over the next few weeks, I decided all future dress up clothes would be made by me with real fabric.

During the President’s Day weekend sale, I scored four Simplicity sewing patterns for $1 each. It saved me like $60.


Last weekend I got some coupons in the mail from JoAnns and got some really nice sparkly ice blue fabric from the “special occasion” section for only around $15 to create the first of these dresses. So, fabric plus pattern wound up being less expensive than the Target Rapunzel dress that fell apart.

The kids played outside while I cut out pieces one day.


The next day I got the bodice done while they dug up my garden.



Yesterday, I sewed up the rest.


And since I had my machine out already, I went ahead and took care of a couple other things that I’ve been meaning to do. I added some more leaves to the Tinkerbell costume for some length and I gave it a snaps opening in the back to make it easier to get on without stretching it out.



Then I added an elastic chin strap to the Peter Pan hat so it stays on better.


If you can handle any more cuteness from my kids without your head exploding, they wore their Tinkerbell and Peter Pan costumes to Disneyland last week.






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A ballet costume for Bean’s doll

Last June I took Bean to see her cousins dance in their dress rehearsal performance. For weeks afterwards (actually it still occasionally happens), Bean and Sprout would pretend that her dark closet was the dark theater complete with an old adult Halloween costume that served as the curtains. The two of them would “dance in the theater” and clap for the performances. I managed to convince Stephen to sign her up for her first dance class soon after. This year Bean will get to dance in her first ballet performance along with her cousins and some friends of ours that are at the same studio. She is soooooooo excited and so am I.

They recently posted the costume photos for each class. Around this time, Bean was on a big “doll and me” kick that started just before Christmas. The doll has to do everything she does. It’s kind of cute, but has also led to some frustrations when “Lanie” isn’t ready to go when we are and there isn’t enough time to get her ready. Lanie even has her own ballet gear and has been to ballet class with us (thanks Aunt Ruth).

So, at some point I decided that I was either going to find someone on Etsy to make a copy of Bean’s costume or I was going to do it myself. I asked a few sellers that did American Girl clothes, but none said they were able to do it. So I did it myself. My original plan was to make the outfit in secret and then give it to her right before the recital, but Bean has been tagging along over my shoulder every step of the way. I may still put it away tonight after she goes to bed. Not sure.

Anyway, I finished it. So super excited about it and so is Bean.

After a couple failed attempts at using the official American Girl leotard as a template for Lanie’s costume, I wound up just pinning fabric directly onto her soft body. It freaked Bean out a little bit. She was afraid I was hurting her.



I completed the leotard first and then added the tutu.


Then I attached the pleated ribbon and rhinestones to the edge.


Finally I added some embroidery to the bodice.




Bean’s doll and the photo of the costume she’ll be wearing in the show. I originally planned to do the straps too, but I ran out of ribbon and I figured it would be easier for her to get on and off of her doll without them.

So happy and excited!

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Some crafty things

At the risk of some people wanting to shoot me or at least throw something at me for “all the stuff I do,” I present some crafty projects I’ve been working on the last few months:

I finally got one of my Alicia Paulson ornament kits done! I have two more to go so I don’t think I am going to be ordering this year’s kit. I love these ones so much. I want to hang the cocoa cup in my kitchen permanently.

I am in the process of redoing some of the stuff in the nursery to be more of a boy’s room. I made new basket liners for all the baskets in the changing table.




I still need to do two more of these small ones that are in the closet, plus a couple larger ones that we use for storage and dirty laundry and I want to redo the crib skirt. Eventually it will happen. I am also kind of itching to paint all the white furniture in there robin’s egg blue, but I haven’t completely won Stephen over on that idea yet.

I knit Sprout a sweater that already made an appearance on this blog.



And then I knit Bean some Nordic leg warmers for ballet.


I’m pretty much always creating something. Just trying to figure out what to do next. I have a crochet scarf I started, a doll for Ethan all cut out waiting to be sewn, more nursery sewing as described above and two more ornament kits. Plus, I got a ton of really nice yarn from my mother-in-law recently that is just waiting for me to turn it into something. Picking the next thing will be hard.

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Tink, Peter and a little lost boy


This year Bean was very opinionated about our choice of costumes. I kept coming up with ideas and she kept shooting them down.

Bean: What are you doing?
Me: Browsing Pinterest trying to figure out Halloween costumes. I was thinking Fox and the Hound. Sparrow can be the owl, Sprout can be the fox and you can be the hound.
Bean: I don’t want to be the hound!
Me: Do you want to be the fox?
Bean: No! I want to go with something else. Come up with a new idea, Mama.

Next year Sprout might have an opinion too so this might be our last year of a family theme for costumes. It’s kind of sad for me because Stephen and I have coordinated our costumes every year that we’ve dressed up. It was hard enough trying work with his very strong opinions and now I’m going to have two more to add to the mix!

Oh well, I’ll live it up while I can. I finally figured out something that Bean approved of, though about halfway into making the costumes she completely changed her mind and said she really wanted us to do a Tangled theme. I vetoed it.

Anyway, this is probably too much writing about costumes. Here are the pictures:

For Bean’s costume I used a dress she had that was similar to the shape of the Tinker Bell costume as my template. Then I cut leaf shapes from felt and layered them. My inspiration for this was from the Tinker Bell movie that we recently watched. I embroidered each leaf’s veins with gold embroidery thread and then sewed them together. I layed the whole thing back on top of felt and cut out one solid piece to be the backing/liner (the embroidery thread was “too pokey” against Bean’s skin). I used some translucent sparkly gold ribbon for the straps.


I used a pair of her TOMS to make the felt slippers, but this trial run for photos showed me those things are not going to hold up for Trick-or-Treating. My plan now is to temporarily attach the pom-poms to her actual TOMS.


I bought the wand at Gymboree and the wings I got at JoAnn’s, both were on clearance too. She’s also wearing a pair of green bloomers that we already had.

For Sparrow’s costume I used a Simplicity fleece PJ pattern.


I used one of his hoodie rompers as a template for making the hood. I used ears from the Simplicity pattern to attach to my hood. I also added a tail to the body of the costume.

For Sprout’s costume I used a tutorial I found on Pinterest available here to make the hat and shirt.



For the belt he is wearing one of Stephen’s wrapped around twice. I got the leggings at Gymboree in the girls section (shhhh don’t tell him he’s wearing girl pants!).

I happen to think my kids in my homemade costumes are the cutest things ever, but I am a little biased.


Happy Halloween or Harvest Fest or whatever it is you do or don’t celebrate. We’re really looking forward to it this year.


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Of owls and slings

All the post-birth down time drives me a little nutso. I can’t sleep because I am high on adrenaline and baby love. I feel like I need to do a bunch of stuff and I finally don’t feel all pregnant. Which for me is bleh.

So, I’ve been a busy little bee.

Sunday night I whipped out a ring sling in about 20 minutes. I did get an awesome Ergo carrier from my aunt, but it’s for babies 15-40lbs. My little guy isn’t quite ready for it. I made a ring sling when I was pregnant with Bean, but it was slightly pink and girly. I had every intention of making a boyish one to use with Sprout, but he hated the sling and I never got around to it. So I let my sister borrow it. Well with a doctor’s appointment, preschool, veggie pickup, and grocery shopping all needing to be done by myself this week (Stephen is back at work), the only way I could think of it being a possibility is with a sling.


Fabric I’ve had just sitting there. I got it from Miss Talia and if I remember right she got it from a yard sale for like a quarter or something. Ring slings are so easy, it’s basically just fold, pull through, fold, sew, hem, the end.

I also decided to make a mini version of the Otto the Owl toy that I made for Sprout. So I basically just halved everything (row numbers, cast on, increases, etc.) and came up with Otto’s little brother Ollie. So now Sprout’s little brother has one too (yes, still working on the blog nickname… there is one I really like, but someone I know is already using it and none of the others have grown on me).



And then today I saw these forest friends onesies from babyGAP and I just about died from the cuteness. So I picked up a pack of plain Gerber onesies and I will be coming up with my own version that doesn’t cost me $20 per onesie and is summer baby (short sleeves please) friendly.


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Turning a girl sized pattern to American Girl sized

If you remember, back in July I made my niece a dress.

Well, when I found out she was getting an American Girl doll for Christmas (Shhh… it’s a surprise), I decided that I would try to make a matching dress for her doll. Her mom agreed that she would probably love it. I had a bunch of fabric leftover from my niece’s dress, so no need to buy anything new. However, I did not have a pattern. I tried to see if I could find one online, but did not encounter much luck.

So. I did math.

I was never really all that great at math. I do think part of it stems from some pretty terrible teachers in junior high and high school. Because some of the equations that I did figure out have definitely stuck with me. Like the proportional equation. And some geometry stuff that helped us out when we put in our own hardwood floors.

Give me a few minutes and I may be able to explain some math to you AND help you figure out some pattern making skills.

I still had the pattern pieces from the dress I made from “Project Runway Inspired” Simplicity Pattern 3510. I also still had my niece’s measurements and I found a few different websites that listed the dressmaker’s measurements for the American Girl doll.

So, I took all my measurements and the pattern pieces and started doing math and some drawing.

In order to do this I would measure a portion of the pattern piece, say the width of the armhole, and then plug it into my proportional equation (I am really not sure if that is the correct name for this equation, just go with it) along with some of the other measurements. This is the kind of math where there are knowns and unknowns and you have to do a little figuring to find out what the unknowns are (X).

So let’s go with the armhole example (FS = Full size, AG = American Girl):

FS armhole width               X (AG armhole width)
—————–            =       ———————
FS chest width                     AG chest width

So to find X you have to break down the equation until X is left by itself on one side of the equal sign.

2 1/8″           X
—–       =    —–
25″              11.25″

Now I’m not really sure the whole theory behind this, but you multiply in an X across the equal sign.

(2 1/8″) * (11.25″) = (25″) * X

Then to get the X by itself you have to divide both sides by 25 which eliminates the 25 on the X side.

(2 1/8″) * (11.25″)
——————       =        X

In this case X = 0.956″

So, then you know that when you are drawing the armhole, that it needs to be about an inch wide for the American Girl dress.

So, like I said when I was doing the equation I was also taking into consideration where on the body the measurements occured and using corresponding measurements. You wouldn’t for example, use the dolls height in the above equation over the chest measurement. And you want to use the width measurements with other width measurements and height measurements with other heigh measurements.

Or, if you were making a dress with sleeves, you would want to use the wrist and arm measurements when figuring out how wide and long to make the sleeves.

Does that make sense? I hope it does.

Here were my final pattern pieces:

I actually cut out the matching mini pockets for the American Doll dress too, but when it came down to actually sewing them, it was much too hard, even hand sewing them. They were soooo tiny. The dress isn’t an exact match, but I think it turned out pretty good.

I was also concerned about whether the doll version would fit over the doll’s head, so I decided to put a snap in at the back to give more room for pulling it over the doll’s head.

A few of the sites I found that talked about making doll clothes to match big kid clothes said to make it more accurate you should find coordinating fabrics with scaled down versions of the pattern (quilting cottons are a good place to look for this). I just wanted to use up some of the extra fabric I had on hand, so I didn’t do this. I think it looks alright. I did, however, scale down the size of the binding around the armhole to 1/4″ binding. I think on my niece’s dress I used 3/4″.

Anyway, it really is just a matter of knowing a little math, maybe having a calculator on hand if you can’t do math in your head like me, some blank paper, a ruler, measuring tape and a bit of drawing skills. Or if you are not super impressed with your drawing skills, you could make a rough drawn version by hand, scan it and clean it up in a program like Adobe Illustrator.

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So yeah, going with a Harry Potter family theme for the costumes. Sprout is going as baby Harry in case you were wondering. Not much to that one just some regular clothes and a zig zag on the kid’s head.

I decided pretty early on that I was going to be Professor Trelawney. I wanted someone kind of memorable looking, yet pretty easy to copy. Plus, Bean got a bouncy ball that lights up and has sparkly liquid in it and I figured that could be my crystal ball pretty easily. I plan to follow the advice of the DIY Professor Trelawney costume site (completely cracks me up that it even exists) I read and predict everyone’s untimely demise throughout the evening at the Harry Potter party we are going to.

It was somewhat important to me to have pieces in my costume that I might wear again (perhaps paired with other stuff) which is pretty easy when the person you’ve picked to dress like kind of dresses like a hippy and gypsy with a little bit of proper English rolled into one.

These are the pictures I found on the web that I was working with:

I knew I would have to make my skirt. I didn’t want to go with wool like this costume maker did, because like I said I wanted to end up with something I’d wear again. I’m not a big wool wearer, especially in Southern California. I still wanted to get a similar textured look to my skirt. So I went with linen.

At first I was going to follow one of the patterns in my skirt book, but I just decided to wing it and use a skirt I already had and loved as my inspiration.

Sort of.

Basically I just laid this skirt down on a piece of tissue paper and traced around it. Then I cleaned up the pattern a bit before cutting my fabric. Then I just attached 1/4 yd wide pieces of the contrasting fabric to the bottom to make the stripes similar to the skirt Emma Thompson is wearing in character.

I’m pretty pleased with it. Long skirts and I tend to have a love hate relationship. Mostly hate because I think they make me look shorter than I am and they are usually too long for me to wear without dragging. I think this one is actually a good length for me. Also, I am kind of obsessed with top stitching and how very neat it makes everything look.

Actually, pretty pleased is a litle bit of an undersell. I am excited about it and threw it on with a t-shirt this morning to run errands in. I really like this skirt. It goes with almost everything in my closet.

So anyway, here is a glimpse at my costume in full, I will be adding some more details like necklaces and frizzed out hair and I may even knit a wrapy sweater thing if I have time, because I felted my other wrappy sweater thing a couple weeks ago. Sad freaking day, I tell you. Also, never again will I trust “washable” wool.

Yes, I am aware I look like a crazy loon and that Harry Potter is nerdy. Think what you will. I like those books and the movies and so do my friends and I’m really not trying to impress anyone that thinks otherwise.


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