Friday, February 26, 2010

Who gives a HOOT?

Owl flannel nightgown, whooooo cares

I have been practicing a rolled hem on my serger. Flannel creates a lot of lint, dirtied up my new machine. I did not have my heart in making the 2 nightgowns (at 1 a.m.) I made. It doesn't excite me. But, I have had a hard time finding a long, warm nightgown for Eliana. The plastic gemstones I had to add for the "bling-bling" obsessed.

Today, I am pleating some microcheck fabric using "Mindy" from Children's Corner. I am not sure what the yoke is going to look like. I may do some shadow work embroidery. Right now, I am smocking in peach. Love the green and peach together! I had to rush to pleat today because we may take a car trip to the RV show in Raleigh tomorrow. Hopefully I can knock out some stitches on the drive.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Flannel Nightgowns

Sometime in the fall, I had purchased flannel fabric on sale. I also bought a pattern for a nightgown that said "EASY" on the envelope. I had put off making them so that I could make other things. 2 days ago, I decided to make them because it's still winter and it would give me practice on my new serger. I ended up rethreading my serger about 6 times. So, I have that down pat. After 2 days of working on these nightgowns ( when I get the chance), I am sick of them. I cut the fabric while she was asleep at nap time, so I didn't measure. I just selected the size 3 and started construction.

The top was too wide and was sliding off of her shoulders. So, I ended up making a tuck in the back yoke, sewing with long stitches. That way, when she grows into the top I can just pick the stitches out and she will get more wear out of it. Now, if I can complete the other one.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


In a previous post, I showed the petticoat I was working on ( vintage pattern) , it is finished. I do not recommend sewing at 3a.m. I used upholstery thread to gather the ruffles. I forgot to switch threads, oops. The ruffle attached to the 2nd row was sewn with upholstery thread (cream). I was so upset!! I had to remind myself that this is worn under a garment and wont be seen except along the hem of a garment where the lace may peak out. Although, my little tutu tot loves it to twirl in, by itself.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Knitted Gift Thank You

My brother's sweet wife shipped a vest and hat her mother made for Eliana. So cute!! She also sent a little pink drawstring bag and and necklace. Her mom knitted this vest after my neice broke her grandmother's glasses. I love handmade gifts. Eliana loves it. Thought I'd share it.

Other things I've been doing besides sewing... (rather be sewing) After searching through many blogs for activities with kids, I have seen many muffin tin uses. She enjoyed sorting and counting small objects.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Brushed Twill Sofa Slipcover

I do not enjoy making slipcovers. This is my second one for a couch.

This sofa is GIGANTIC! It is probably bigger than a twin size bed. A much needed redo of my living area began with a palette of neutral colors. I ordered brushed canvas from House of Fabric on line, "natural canvas". It was just under $200. Sure beats Pottery Barns slipcovered couches for $1500-$2500.

I had to cut huge peices and prewash them. UGH! There were strings of fabric in front of the dryer and all over my carpet. Before the fabric arrived I made a muslin pattern. The cushions were a pain, but it's the body of the couch that is so heavy and hard to maneuver on the machine. The front corners are not right because it is too thick for the machine. I am scared I will break my machine. I will go back with tapestry needles and hand sew.

Now you know why slipcovers are so expensive.


1. Make a muslin pattern of the couch. I did this, and it was much easier than pinning and cutting the canvas which is much heavier.

2. Make sure your machine can handle heavy duty fabrics. Try stacking 2-3 layers and running it through your machine.

3. I made a grid of my pattern with measurements to figure out how much yardage I needed. Don't forget to calculate how much cording you will need.

4. Save your cushion covers and pluck out the stitches to use as a pattern. I even reused the original zippers.

The knit pillows are from Pottery Barn.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Ode to Playdough & Recipe

Ode to playdough

Not on my carpet, or in the mouth,

Just give me a few moments of peace in this house.

Cut out some cookies, bake some bread too.

Roll out a ball, make dumplings for stew.

Little fingers mold and press

while mommy sits down to rest.

by Amy Kissinger

My mom had a recipe she gave me on an old index card when my teenagers were toddlers. I don't remember playing with it at home, it was made for preschool Sunday School.

Here's the recipe if anyone needs it:

1 cup flour

1cup water

1/2 cup salt

2 tsp. cream of tartar

1 tbsp. oil

food coloring

Combine dry ingredients, add others. Cook 3 minutes at medium heat. Stir until it starts to come away from the pan. Knead 5 times. Store in air tight container.

Still working on the petticoat. I have changed a few things from the

vintage McCall's pattern 2389.

I am attaching netting that I gathered under the taffeta layers.

I found some pink tacky tulle with sparkles for my little fashionista. I think I am going to put it it over the white tulle on the red lady bug dress that she loves so much.

I found this fabric at Hancocks the other day. It's prewashed but not pressed, obviously. We like the doggies. The pink bandana fabric is going to go with a little cowgirl outift I want to create. Using leftovers from my camper redo, I have a cow print that I will make into a vest.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Mad Hatter hat

A snow day spontaneous crochet project that turned out kinda weird. So, I call it the "mad hatter" hat. After all, she is in love with that story.

To give her something else to do, I cut out copies of Richard Scarry's, "Busy Town" book pages and glued them to a cardboard box to make our own busy town play thing. Some things turn out to be not as amazing as I imagine them.

The overall jumper is an older pattern and the fabric is a remnant of decorator fabric that I have had for about 18 years.

I am currently working on a petticoat from a 60's pattern that was my great Aunt Margie's. Having a stash of 60s kids patterns, my grandmother decided I should be the recipient of Aunt Margie's sewing stuff. It's a treasure to me to see the design details of that era.

The pettitcoat is cut out and is sitting on my sewing table waiting for me to finish this post. The petticoat is a necessary item for another idea in my head, a clover leaf dress for St. Patrick's Day. I want to do shadow work embroidery on a collar. The crinoline or petticoat I'm making will help the dress to "puff out". I love frilly, puffy, girly dresses and luckily, so does my little girl.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Lady Bug Dress (Upcycle a nightie)

Matching head band for my Lady Bug

Using a rotary cutter, and a few measurements, I quickly set to upcycling a cute dress up costume.

Tip: I hand stitched the tulle onto the dress so the netting would stay in place without moving under the presser foot.

This idea conceived on Valentine's Day, came to me when my baby entered my closet and grabbed a red nightie I had hanging in my closet. I never wear it, I bought it on clearance for about $5 but it didn't fit well. As I've said, she dresses up ALL day, she wears dress shoes to sleep in. I can't go near a shoe store without her insisting on putting on heels and finding a matching bag. I have to remover her, screaming. I have to come up with all kinds of incentives to get her to take her necklaces and hats off to take a nap.

So, I decided to make a play dress out of the nightie that she has repeatedly brought to me saying, "mommy this is sooooo pretty". I used a rotary cutter and cut the top of the gown off. It was a short nightie (right above the knee). That's not a lot of fabric to work with. I noticed that the fabric was already on the bias, so I was able to follow the seam lines and cut pieces for bias strips around the yoke. It was already hemmed and cut in a circular fashion which made construction quicker. She had picked out lady bug ribbon at Michael's for $3.99 and I had some netting sitting in my stash. I had to sew the bias strips by hand on the inside so the seams wouldn't show. I kept telling myself not to fuss over a play costume, but I couldn't help it. I put elastic in the back and hand sewed the ribbon to the top. The only problem is, it's not stiff satin or taffeta. It was a nightie, so it can be "staticky" (if that is even a word). It turned out cute, she loves it, and it only cost me around $11.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Easy Upcycled Leg Warmers

It's snowing! We have abut 5" of snow in eastern Carolina. Not wanting to spend
money on boots, because it rarely snows here I set out to make leg warmers for Eliana. I had to make them fast because she was standing at the window begging to go outside. I took an old sweater of my son's and cut the sleeves off. I turned them under on the cut end, leaving enough room to run a piece of elastic through. Then I attached a bow and a button. They were made super fast, and a little sloppy but they work to keep her legs warm around the ankles.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Panda Dress

This panda dress was made for my baby as a tribute to our visit to the National Zoo. She loved the pandas and so did I. Funny thing is, Gymboree came out with panda clothes at the same time and when I saw them I was so excited. I bought her panda socks and a shirt to go under the dress. New Look pattern 6768 is what I used. I changed the buttons to snaps and put metal overall hooks on the front bib. I also added pockets trimmed with rick rack. The applique is a photo that I found on the net. I traced it onto freezer paper, ironed it on the felt and cut it out. I used that cheap craft felt, I probably should have used nicewool felt. Oh, well.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Toddler Sewing Project

I pretty much am getting nothing done around the house with my toddler at my heels, climbing on the kitchen counter, or with potty training. So, I wanted to just sit with a cup of hot tea and read a magazine, but that was just too much to ask from Miss Busybutt. I had some cardboard that was sitting by the trash, I decided to cut into a "sewing" project. I have seen lacing cards on the net and in stores. I already had the cording from a project my older daughter never completed. I just had to cut out shapes with a knife. I use a "tester" knife from a model building kit I had. I tied one end cord around one of the holes and wrapped duck tape around the other end so that she can easily stick them through the holes. Just as easily, someone could use a shoeshtring. She loves it!! She told me, "mommy don't touch my sewing stuff, o.k.". Funny, she's only repeating what she's heard from me over and over again.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Fire Sale Pants

I made pants last week. I love the way they fit. I will be making several with this pattern. My best friend's mom says when you wear the same style in various colors, you look like you went to a fire sale. So, I have named these "fire sale" pants because I will make a lot of these. I love how easy they are to make, and how well they fit. I tapered the leg a bit at the knee, I wanted a straight leg.

Small, Felt Teapot bags

I am working on ideas for gifts for my 2 year old's dance class tomorrow. Feeling ill isn't very condusive to producing anything fantastic. So, my creative efforts were minimal. I cut out ballet slippers from scrap fabric with pinking shears. I straight stitched 2 layers of craft felt together all the way around the teapot, except for the top where I left that open for a pocket. Then, I cut out around the teapot. She enjoyed painting the teapot shape cut out for a pattern. Then, she covered it with some stickers. The littl card tag says, "Valentine, you're my cup of tea." with a tiny watercolored tea cup.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Mini Battery Powered Paper Lanterns

Little paper lanterns hang on small sticks and are made with battery powered flicker lights bought in the candle section. They are hot glued to the bottom of small plastic bathroom cups. They are fun anytime of the year. Without the sticks, the mini lantern would be cute on a little tree or to give as a Valentine's gift with a note attached.


  • Dowel sticks (multi packs available from Walmart for a little over a dollar)

  • Acrylic paint (for sticks)

  • Ribbon, punches, stickers, beads, or other decorations

  • Scissors

  • Paper (I used cardstock)

  • Bathroom cups (2 1/4" height) make sure the tea light will fit inside

  • Battery powered tea lights ( I bought a 6 pack from Michaels)

  • Hot glue

  • All purpose glue

  • Exacto knife

Cut cardstock 2 1/4" x 10" long with fancy edge scissors of choice

Glue ribbon, place punches, add stickers,

Fold cardstock accordian style (see above)

Cut a square hole in the bottom of the cup for the tea light on/off switch

Make 2 slits near the top on the sides for the ribbon to go through

Glue the ribbon to the inside bottom of cup.

Put two holes or slits for ribbon near the rim of the cup

Put hot glue (or other glue) on the bottom of the cup

Place tea light in the cup, making sure the switch lines up with the hole on bottom

Put ribbon through holes near the rim and pull through.

I ran both ends of ribbon through beads and glued hearts, paper keys, or tied in a knot or bow.

Glue the folded cardstock to the outside of the cup.

On the top of the lantern (where you can see the switch) , glue hearts or stickers, without covering the switch.

Attach the mini lantern to a stick by hot gluing a ribbon before tying it down.

Wrap it several times around the stick while the glue is still hot, before tying in a bow.

Friday, February 5, 2010

As a kid, I was constantly creating things. I remember my grammy having a huge Victoran dresser that had drawers full of sequins, paper, glue, pens, markers, colored pencils,etc.. an I would feel excitement over the possibilities of what I could create with those tools of creation. I didn't start to sew until I was pregnant with my first child. I attempted sewing in high school but the only machine I had wouldn't work and so I gave up. I often wonder if I had started sewing earlier and having a sewing instructor would have accelerated my sewing abilities beyond what they are now.

Self taught sewing meant a lot of mistakes. I have sewn many items over the years..some good some not so great. Many sleepless nights and dark-circled, weary-eyed coffee laden mornings, I have had to create things without the disturbance of young children. Some things were necessary church outfits that cost me little in funds, but a lot in time and effort. Other things, I just wanted to make for the sake of the beauty of the creation.

Ripping seams, crying over a pattern that didn't make sense, or having to throw away something that took hours to make is something most people who see the final product don't know about . I am never bored. I stalk the day, waiting to pounce on the one moment I have alone to indulge in creating something unique or fun. It is a distraction from stress and from constant children's books, cartoons, and potty training. It reminds me of who I am and delivers proof of a need for improving my skills. There is never enough time in the day or night to bring to fruition the ideas stirring about in my craft- crazed mind.