Archive for the ‘sewing’ Category

Inexpensive Communion Dress

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

Making a dress for Makenna’s First Holy Communion with her help was a good plan…I just should have started a little sooner.

Since I didn’t, I spent Saturday afternon making ‘yo-yo’ flowers at Jarod’s baseball game, and stitching them on the dress while watching an Indy car race on tv at 11:00 Saturday night.  Which was ok, I guess because it actually gave me a reason to sit.

The fun part was having Makenna help make the whole thing.  The cutting, the sewing and even the ‘designing’ since I decided not to work from the pattern we bought (because I’m just not very good at following patterns.)

We made a simple pillowcase dress out of a 22″ by 29″ (length) piece of eyelet fabric.  The armholes were cut in 6″ and down 4″.  The straps were made of more eyelet fabric.   And the belt and bottom ruffle trim were made with plain white cotton.

For the embellishments we made lots of pretty white yo-yo flowers and then stitched some pretty beads in the center of each.   They worked great at the top front to cover the area where the straps were sewn on to the dress, but we didn’t like just two flowers and decided to add five total to make the flower ‘necklace’ that you see.

When the ruffle trim turned out to be too long, we gathered it up in a few places and added the flowers to cover the stitching there too.   I love those flowers.

The final touches were more flowers sewn on her shoes and on her headband hairpiece.

Makenna really loved it, and she was so proud to have helped make it herself.

And since we had the fabric our only expense was about $10 for the headpiece base and beads and ribbon.  Yeah!

Anyone want to make a kitty toy?

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

Makenna desperately wanted to make a kitty toy for the homeless cats at Animals in Distress.  She bugged me for days.

So we hit my fabric and ribbon stash… and this fish was what we came up with as a first effort.   Well it was stuffed too, but of course, after taking the pictures of all the different steps to make the fish, I forgot to take a picture of the finished project before we gave it to the kitties.  (My adorable son will tell you that is because ‘mommy has a small brain’.)

It was important that the toy could be made by Makenna alone, since she wants to make lots of them for the different kitty rooms at the shelter.   Since I already have a long list of sewing projects to do myself, the kitty toys need to be on her list.

The toy was made from my fabric stash with fabric ribbon and then stuffed with cut up sheets (in case the kitties managed to rip open the toy I didn’t want them choking on stuffing).

Lesson learned for the next toy.  Use strips of thin fleece (or something else that won’t fray) for the tassles because the cats claws had the ribbon shredded in about a minute.

We cut out a fish shape that was about 5 inches long by 3.5 inches high.  Next we cut pieces of ribbon in varying 4-5 inch lengths, and one 15 inch piece to use to dangle the toy.

With the right side of fabric facing up, we layed the ribbons down with the ends at the back of the fish and the long ends out past the head.  This way the ribbons will hang out the back of the fish like you want. 

Attach the ribbon with a piece of scotch tape about an inch from the end of the ribbon (where you won’t be sewing) in order to hold the ribbon in place while you sew.

With your sewing machine, run a straight stitch along the ribbons twice to attach them to the fish.

Remove the tape that was holding them inplace.

Next tape the long piece of ribbon with the end near the fish’s mouth and the long end hanging over the tail.  Tape, and sew as you did the back ribbons.

Now gather the ribbons together in the middle of the fish and tape down away from the edges so that you don’t accidently sew through them when you sew the two pieces of the fish together.

With right sides facing each other pin the pieces together and then sew a straight stitch around the perimeter of the fish about 1/4 inch from the edge leaving a 1.5 inch opening at the base of the fish for turning it right side out.

Turn your toy right side out.  Remove the tape from the ribbons.

Stuff with small pieces (about 1/2 inch) of recycled fabric.

Hand stitch the opening closed and your toy is ready.

Next toy I plan on buying 3/8 inch dowel rods which we will drill a hole through (mommy will have to do that part), and then we can tie the long ribbon through it and dangle the toy more easily for the kitties.

As soon as we make a few more toys (this weekend since we go to see the kitties again Monday) I will add some better pictures, including a few completely finished ones, and they’ll show the stick for dangling them too.

4/9/10  I still haven’t remembered to take a picture of these since we’re always so excited to give them to the kitties, but one thing we learned is to use thin fleece instead of ribbon because it holds up much better to kitty claws.

Quick Homemade Gift. Checkbook Covers.

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

Last night I made a list of all the Christmas gifts I have yet to sew this year.  

It’s not good….Let’s just say I’m a little bit behind.

So when I noticed this great tutorial for checkbook covers at my favorite quilting site, Crazy Mom Quilts, last week, I was very excited.  (She also has some other great tutorials too.)

I made a sample one for myself first, and it took less than thirty minutes, PLUS the fabric all came from my stash of larger scraps.  I was very very excited.

If you can cut a rectangular piece of fabric and sew a straight stitch and iron you can whip up a few of these babies in no time for some last minute gifts.

Fabric Yo Yo Pins and Hair Ties

Monday, November 30th, 2009

Fabric yo yos!  I had forgotten about these things for ages then rediscovered them a few years ago as a fun way for the twins to learn hand sewing.

When Alexandra, the princess (for Halloween) needed a brooche to keep her cape on for her costume yo yo’s and pin backs (found deep in the recesses of my craft supplies and never used) were a perfect fit.

 And now I’m seeing yo yos in a whole new light….Christmas gifts!

Put two together (one larger, one smaller), and they make a pretty flower.  Add a button or a bead or a fabric covered button in the center to make each unique.

Then glue them to a pin back or barette, or stitch them onto a hair tie for a beautiful hair decoration.

Cut a circle from your fabric.  Remember the finished yo yo will be a little less than half the size of your circle.  So if you cut out a circle that is 6 inches across, your yo yo will be about 2 and 3/4 inches across.

Working with the right side of the fabric down, fold over the edge of the fabric about a 1/4 inch and do a running stitch with needle and thread.  Be sure to have a knot in the end of your thread then go Up through the folded edge and then back down through the folded edge and continue.  The closer together the stitches are the more ‘ruffled’ your yo yo will look.

When you’ve stitched completely around your circle pull the needle end of the string tight to bunch up your fabric to the center.

Once your fabric is completely bunched to the center do a few more stitches up and down through the folds in the center so it stays in its shape.

Stitch through and tie off the thread on the underside of the yo yo.

For a double yo yo flower make a smaller size yo yo and then place it on top of the larger one and stitch them together through the center.

To apply them to a pin or barrette I took the easy way out and hot glued them on.  And for a hair tie I stitched them on.

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

I finally started my first quilt about a week and a half ago.

I thought this was a good thing.

On further reflection, I don’t think it is…my husband can vouch for this.   He’s threatened to hide my sewing machine.

I think he was kidding.

But I will admit he has a point.  I’m totally addicted to this quilt.   I can’t wait to finish the squares and then decide how I’m arranging them and then choosing the fabrics for the back and the border and putting it all together….

And then of course I have a few others planned already, besides the one for Makenna that I had picked the fabric for months ago.   That’s next.  After this ‘trial run’.

This is truly a scrap quilt.   Stuff I had laying around from current projects.   It was easy to start because I had no real plan and could use any size and shape of fabric I wanted.    Although now it is basically greens and pinks and small generally old fashioned looking prints.

Originally I planned to just start at the center and make a block and continue adding fabric round and round till I had it the right size for a bed.  Then I decided that one big piece would get cumbersome to work with, so I stopped the first block at 22 by 22 inches.  I’ll make 8 seperate squares and then sew them all together.

Oh, and you’ll notice they aren’t truly squares yet.   I’m not worrying about right angles and perfect squares till they’re all done.   Then I’ll straighten them up.   I figure it adds to the true ’scrappy’ feeling of it.  That and it’s easier that way.

I’m so excited.

And if you just want to look at lots of pretty quilts there’s my very favorite site to lurk on, Crazy Mom Quilts.

Ruffled Skirts

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

Some of Makenna’s older skirts were too short.

Luckily the skinny little thing still has the same waist size as she did two years ago.

Being inspired by the simple ruffled skirt I made her for her birthday…

Add ruffle.

‘New’, longer, fancier skirts!

Homemade Birthday Gifts

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

Since we were going to be on vacation for the twins 8th birthday I had to get some gifts done quickly before we left (because I couldn’t have possible planned ahead and made things weeks before we left.)

I think this skirt is my absolute favorite thing I’ve made ever. 

II wanted fancy and pink (is there any other color), and Makenna just loves a ruffled skirt she got from Dabaw and Poppi last year.   So using that skirt as a template I went out of my comfort zone and made a skirt with ruffles for the first time. 

 It was really quite easy and didn’t take long.   Although I admit that after sewing each ruffle on I was scared to look at the skirt for fear I somehow did it wrong.

I will be making LOTS more of these, as well as adding a single wide ruffle to some plain skirts that I made her the past two years that are now too short. 

I will get a tutorial up in time for making these for Christmas.  I promise.

Jarod’s homemade gift was a little more mundane.  He’s a boy…so other than a quilt (which I really will make one day), I can’t think of too much that I could make him that would excite me.  

So he needed a rug for his room and I quick knit up one of my favorite easy to make rugs from recycled sheets.   The directions are here

This particular rug I made a little more narrow (cast on 21 stitches) and long, because it’s for beside his bed.  Now he wants a matching colored one for in front of his dresser.

And here is a picture of them on their birthday.  And look at that, the magic of photographs makes it look as though they actually like each other.

Doorknob Organizer

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

The kids spotted a cute foam door hanger while paging through the latest issue of Family Fun magazine, and they just had to make one.

We modified ours a bit so it would be easier to make.  We only made two small pockets, and hand stitched them on to practice sewing.  

Craft foam, some ribbon or yarn glue a craft needle and a scissor was all we needed. 

We cut 2 pieces of 12 inch by 4 inches for the base.  (On Alex’s I only used one sheet and it seemed to flimsy so we doubled it up on the twins.  We cut two 2 to 3 inch deep pockets for each hanger.


They hand stitched on the pockets using yarn and ribbon. They glued the second piece of reinforcing foam on the back after the pockets were stitched.   Next they cut out their initial (2) one for the front and one for the back to make it sturdier and glued those on the tops. 

After they dried we cut out the hole to hang them on the doorknob and we were done.  Oh, and they embellished with paint, my kids will put paint on most everything if I let them.

Now they have someplace for us to leave little personal notes for them, or reminders of things they need to do.

Recycled Bed Skirt = New Matching Pillows

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

These pillows were an inexpensive and very well liked birthday present for my cousin.

The fabric was from an old bed skirt that she loved but never used because it didn’t fit her bed.

Since the bed skirt was too narrow to make a good size throw pillow for on her bed, I sewed two pieces together to make a 20 inch pillow. 

Then I wasn’t sure if she would like having the seam down the center of the fabric so I used a single width piece of skirt fabric and outlined it in white fabric from my stash.   She now has the choice of showing either side on both pillows.

My cousin loved them and we recycled an old item she thought she’d never use….I love sewing!

I only wish the photos had gotten better.

Kids Shorts are Sewn!

Monday, July 27th, 2009

The summer isn’t even over yet, and I already finished the kids shorts!  Yeah! 

Ok, they’re not completely finished since I still have some sewing to do on three of Makenna’s pairs….But I did finish 3 for her and 5 for Jarod.

And to be completely honest, I probably still wouldn’t have them done except that the kids go to camp this weekend (for a whole week!) and they really needed shorts.

Part of the reason they took so long was because I had to make a pattern, and I really really stink at making patterns for things that will actually fit the kids.   It took me three tries to get a fit that Jarod actually liked, and then Makenna needed hers shorter in the crotch because she likes to wear pants at her hips instead of her waist.

To keep someone else from having the same ‘issues’, I took a picture of the pattern with measurements and my notes on it (so next year I’m all set).  This pattern was for Jarod who is almost 8.  For Makenna, I cut about an extra 1 1/2 inches off the top and bottom so they would be shorter in the leg and at the crotch.


I cut out two pieces from each of these patterns.  Then with right sides together sew the long side.

Next I took those two pieces and with right sides together sew them together at the curved edge.  Leaving a 1 inch hole in the seem about 1/4 inch from the top to put the elastic through.

Turn them so they look like shorts and then sew up the short leg seams.

Iron the hems and sew.  Insert the elastic and tack it in so it doesn’t twist around and we were done.

And not only were they done, but they were like Magic Shorts because they made the kids actually stand together and hug and not bicker for like 10 whole minutes….Magic.

For some additional info and links on sewing shorts, check out my original shorts post here.