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Monthly Archives: February 2012

Retro print tunic

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Retro print tunic

I stumbled upon this post over at Craftiness is not Optional, which is an amazing blog for anyone interested in sewing children’s clothes. She has some fabulous patterns. Anyways, I decided Cordelia NEEDED one. And I had the perfect fabric in mind.

Don’t you think this fabric was just dying to be turned into this adorable tunic??? Me too!

I’m not going to rewrite the whole tutorial, because well….why? She did a pretty great job. But I will tell you about the few alterations that I made.

So I was going along following her pattern. I had done my reverse pleat in the front and created my button closure in the back. (This is like my new favorite way to do buttons on blouses now. So easy!) And suddenly I realized, “Wait a minute. She made some bias tape somewhere in there and didn’t tell me about it. And then she sewed around the neck opening.” Well I didn’t have enough fabric (or a fancy, smancy bias tape maker) to do that with, so I came up with a different solution. I cut a couple of pieces to mirror my front and back pieces and used them as a facing. At this point I also decided not to put sleeves on it. I figure this way the little monkey can wear it all the way through summer (unless we have a big growth spurt, which is doubtful). So I sewed my facing in, pressed my seams and finished them with a zig zag stitch, and then finished the blouse by following the tutorial.

Oh! For the back closure, I also made a little variation. Instead of using white elastic (as that was all I had on hand) for the loop, I dug up a black pony tail holder. It worked brilliantly and matched the fabric much better. I just adore the way it turned out, and the little monkey seems to like it, too. Every time she sees it out, she says, “That’s mine! Mine!”

And here is my finished product.

And being modeled, of course.

She wouldn’t put the snack down to take pictures. Sometimes you just take what you can get.

This was her posing. And notice the red shoes. Completely her choice. The girl definitely has a mind of her own. And she LOVES shoes. She’s constantly picking out a new pair to put on.

My little fashonista.



Monkey Man!

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Monkey Man!

So you all know that I have the little monkey, but there’s also a bigger monkey at our house. Monkey man! A few months ago, he asked me to knit a scarf for him. He’s forever asking me to make something for him when I’m  making something for the little monkey. So he decided he wanted a scarf. But not a scarf like Daddy’s (just a regular old scarf), a “circle scarf” like Mommy’s (a cowl). So I searched and searched to find the manliest cowl I could find, and then altered it a bit to fit a little neck. This was the one I came up with.

And here he is modeling it.

The stoic look.

And the half-smile.

The “pirate.”

The growl.

I just love this boy.

T-shirt Upcycle

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T-shirt Upcycle

I saw this on Pinterest recently and knew I had to make one. When I first showed the picture to my husband, he kind of turned up his nose, which gave me pause for a moment. But I found myself at a thrift store a few days later and decided to pick up some supplies and give it a whirl anyways. I found a t-shirt for around $1 and a coordinating tie for about $2. The most expensive thing was the button. My husband couldn’t believe it was $4.50! So all said, I got a cute shirt for about $7.50. Not bad, in my book.

First, I took my t-shirt and pinned the tie in place.

The tie was significantly longer than the neckline of my shirt, so I just let the tail hang down low and figured I’d cut it off later.

Then I sewed it into place. Once I decided I was happy with the placement and ruffles, etc., I cut off the excess length and zig-zagged the raw edge.

Now it was time to attach the button.

After seeing it on, my husband decided he likes it. Yay! I might just have to hit up the thrift store for some more shirts and ties. This was so easy and fun to do, and I loved the way it turned out!

Daddy Shirt Refashion

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Daddy Shirt Refashion

Several months ago, my husband (finally) went through his closet and purged some clothes. This is huge in our house. Like major event. Worth throwing a party over. Because the man owns enough shirts to outfit a small third world country. But in the donate/throw away pile there were a few dress shirts that I salvaged to eventually use for dresses for the little monkey. I did a simple white sun dress a few weeks ago from his favorite old dress shirt that he had worn  so long there was a hole in it. And today, I did this little number.


(Pardon the terrible picture, but it was night and she wouldn’t stand still.) I had seen several different tutorials online for making dresses out of shirts, but I just wasn’t in love with any of them for THIS particular shirt. I already have a shirt in mind to do this dress, which I love, but nothing was screaming “Me! Me! Me!” for this shirt. So I decided to just wing it.

First, I found a dress that fits the little monkey fairly well and I traced the bodice to start my pattern. I usually trace onto wrapping paper because it’s big enough and flimsy enough to work well for a pattern.

Then I just drew the skirt the way I wanted it to look. A simple A line is always a win in my book. Be sure to add 1/4″-1/2″ seam allowance before you cut it out. Oh! I folded my paper and only traced half of the dress so that it would be symmetrical. I don’t exactly trust my tracing skills very much.

Then I pinned my pattern to my shirt, being sure to center it with the buttons, and cut it out. You could also trace the pattern onto the shirt and then cut, but that’s just an extra step in my opinion, and I usually skip it.


I went ahead and cut out a couple of facing pieces and a couple of pockets.

At this point I sewed the shoulder seams of both the dress and the facing. Then I pinned right sides together and sewed around the neckline, attaching the facing to dress.

Be sure to clip around the curves so that it lays nice and flat when you turn it. Turn it right side out and iron it down.

Pretty, right? Of course I realized at this point that I had sewn the top closed so that the buttons wouldn’t function. Oops! So I went onto plan B for an opening. Because lord knows that neck hole certainly wouldn’t fit over the little monkey’s noggin. (I also decided somewhere in there to use bias tape for the arm openings.) This is what I decided to do on the back for an opening/closure.

“How did you do that??” you ask? Well, I’ll tell you! First I cut out a small rectangle of fabric. About 3”x6” or so. And I zig-zag stitched around all four sides. You could also serge it. That would probably be ideal. And one day I’ll dig my serger out of my garage and finally teach myself to use it. But not today. So I zig-zagged.

I then pinned the little piece of fabric to the center of the back, right sides together. Draw a line right down the middle, stopping about 1 1/2” from the bottom.

At this point, sew down one side of your line, about 1/8″ over, then across the bottom and up the other side, moving your seam slightly further out. About 1/4″ or so. Stop about half way up and place a little loop of elastic (loop side in, towards the line). Be sure your loop isn’t too large (or too small) for the button you are going to use. Pin it in place and then finish sewing the seam. I always backstitch over my elastic, just to give it a little stronger seam, since it will be pulled on. Once you’ve finished sewing your seams, cut right down the line you drew.

At this point, flip the little fabric piece to the back and iron it down nice and flat. I like to do a little top stitch, just to hold it in place. It should look something like this.

Okay, now that I fixed that little problem, I decided to do my pockets. What’s that you say? Wouldn’t that have been easier to do BEFORE you sewed your front and back together? Well, yes. Yes, it would have. But I am not one for doing things the easy way, as I’m sure you’ve noticed by now. So, I took my pockets that I had cut out and decided to do a little gather on them before I attached them. To do this, I set the stitch length and tension each at their highest setting. Then just sew and like magic, the fabric will ruffle. So easy!

I happened to have some white bias tape lying around the house, so that’s what I used for the tops of my pockets. Just pin it on, then sew.

Then I folded the edges of my pockets under, making them the shape that I wanted and ironed them down. Next, I pinned them to the front of the dress.

Then sew them down.

So the front and back of the dress are all finished at this point. Except the sleeves. So I attached some bias tape around my sleeve openings. I didn’t take any pictures of this step, but I did it just like the pocket. Pin the tape in place, then sew.

Now it was time to finally sew the front and back of the dress together. So I pinned right sides together (making sure to line up the underarms so the bias tape would match up on the finished garment) and sewed. After I sewed the seam, I zig-zagged the seams. Again, serging would be ideal.

Turn your dress right side out and press. Now it’s time to hem the bottom. Just turn up and press about 1/4″ all the way around. Then turn it up and press again to hide the raw edge of your fabric. Now sew. (I didn’t sew the bottom together.)


And here’s the little monkey modeling it. Forgive my less than stellar photos. By the time I actually finished it and got it on her, it was rather dark out so I had no natural light.

It took me pretty much all day to finish this little project, although it wasn’t difficult in the least. What with feeding kids and reading books here and there and stopping to referee the inevitable fights, it’s a wonder I finished it at all! But I must say, I’m glad I did. This might just be my favorite dress I’ve made to date.

T-shirt Dress

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T-shirt Dress

So the other day I decided to dig around in one of the boxes in the garage labeled “fabric.” Turns out I had TONS of stuff in there that I completely forgot I had. And some of it that have no recollection of ever buying. Is that the sign that you have a problem?? In any case, I dug some of it out and washed it up (because I have no idea if I washed it the first time around). Who would have known that I had so many knits in there?

If you’re familiar with Goodmama diapers, you’ll recognize a number of those prints. I’ll admit that when my son was a baby I got all caught up in buying trendy, cute, and EXPENSIVE cloth diapers. This time around with my daughter, I went more for convenience and function. Bum Genius for the win! I sold off most of my Goodmamas and made a pretty penny (that’s a whole OTHER story), but I still adore so many of the old prints. Good thing I bought a bunch of this fabric years ago, huh? So, what to do with it all? Some of the prints I only had very small pieces, so I decided why not make a t-shirt dress. I had recently seen this tutorial and figured I could do something similar with the fabric I had on hand.

First things first, I found a t-shirt to use that would coordinate with the fabric I was using.

Then I cut the bottom off the shirt.

Next I cut my fabric into strips and decided in what order I wanted them. At this point, I went ahead and attached the first layer to the shirt. Mostly because I wanted to make sure it was going to fit okay. This shirt was a little tricky to work with because of the pleats. The darn fabric just didn’t want to lay flat.

I forgot to mention that I switched to the satin stitch foot on my machine and used a zig zag stitch.

Next I sewed the front layers together and the back layers together, then sewed my side seams.

At this point, I slipped the top of the dress inside the skirt and pinned right sides together.

Now sew it together, flip it right side out, and ta-da!

I left a raw edge on mine because the bottom knit is SOOOOO thin it’s really hard to work with. Next time I attempt a project like this, I will definitely be sure that my knits are a little sturdier. All but the white knit with roses and swords on it were really light weight. So as hard as I tried, there is definitely a little puckering going on. I will probably go back and topstich each of my layers, but the little monkey hasn’t wanted to take it off long enough for me to do that.

I know it’s a little less than perfect, but it still makes my heart happy to see all of those prints I loved so much on my son’s diapers. Kind of sends me back a few years. Awwwwww.

Felt Flower Hair Pins

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Felt Flower Hair Pins

I found a tutorial a while back to make some felt flower hair clips and decided it was time that the little monkey have some. I changed it up a little to better fit my little one’s head, so I’ll show you exactly what I did.

First, my supplies.

The little juice glass and spool of thread were my circle templates. (about 2″ and 1″ respectively) I used pinking shears because I wanted a bit of texture to the edges of my petals.

And this is a sample of the hair pins I used. Like a fancy bobbie pin with a flat little circle on top.

So I traced one small circle and about 6 larger circles onto the felt and cut them out with my pinking shears. If you don’t have pinking shears, use regular scissors. They come out just as cute.

Now it’s time to start making petals.

First fold one of your big circles in half.

This is where I changed things slightly because I wanted smaller petals. So I folded it in half again.

Then fold back the top flap.

At this point, I added a little dot of hot glue under that last fold to hold it in place while I folded the other side under. It should make a little “s” shape.

Now add a little glue under the other side and in the middle as well. It just makes it all hold its shape. Go ahead and do this with the rest of your big circles.

Now it’s time to start assembling. Put a glob of glue in the center of your little circle and start attaching the petals as close together as possible.

Keep going until they are all in place.

Now it’s time to attach whatever you’re going to put in the middle. I just used a plain old button. You could use fabric covered buttons, little gem stones, pretty much anything you’d like.

And the final step, attach the flower to the hair pin. Just put some hot glue onto the circle part of the pin and attach the flower.


And here’s the little monkey modeling it. She wasn’t being terribly cooperative this morning. But what’s new?

So there it is. A slightly smaller, fuller version of the felt flower hair pin. I think it came out super cute! Glad I have felt in plenty of colors around here to make more!

The hall closet. Oh my….

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I had great intentions of posting my first crafty post today. I was all set to make some felt flower hair pins for the little monkey. All I needed to do was find my pinking shears. Apparently that was easier said than done. I knew they were in the hall closet. The one that had all of the odds and ends thrown into it when we moved into the house back in May. You know, the stuff you’re just not sure where to put so you stick it there? Most people have a junk drawer. At my house, we apparently have a junk closet.


Yep, it was the place where everything that entered the house and didn’t have a “real” home ended up. There were more jackets than we knew what to do with hanging in there (and some of them, I found even ended up on the floor!) There were hats and gloves and scarves and umbrellas. There were power cords galore. Crafty stuff and pillows I didn’t even know we had. And the big tub up front full of cloth diapers. That we haven’t used in months since the little monkey potty trained.

So, instead of crafting today, I cleaned out the closet. First, I took everything out. This is the picture I should have taken but I was so involved in organizing, I forgot. Oops! There was so much JUNK in there. And I have a big black trash bag full to prove it. After pulling everything out and trashing all of the junk and completely unnecessary, unusable stuff, I decided to box up the cloth diapers. I mean, who am I fooling. The little monkey isn’t going to be using them. And we’re not planning to try for another baby until at least the end of summer, so there’s no need in them sitting there taking up valuable space. So off to the garage they go until we need them again. Then came the power cords. I boxed them up, along with a few other odds and ends and sent them to the garage, too. Now I’ll know where to look when I need one! My husband and I went through the coats and took the ones we don’t wear very regularly upstairs to our closet, making it much easier to actually find the ones we DO wear. I’m slightly embarassed to admit that there were jackets and coats in there I had forgotten we even owned.

At this point, I was ready to start putting things back into the closet. I put the plastic bins back in, but this time they’re being used to hold some of my crafting supplies. Pinking shears included! Now I won’t have to dig around on the floor when I’m looking for things. And the top shelf is now housing some hats and games and the ever so important travel potty seat. What a difference an hour can make in the life of a closet!


It’s nothing terribly dramatic, but whoa! I can actually see the floor! And now I know where my pinking shears are so felt flower hair pins can be done!