Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Mommy & Me Outfits

My incredibly adorable sister-in-law recently asked me if I could make some coordinating outfits for their family photos.  I was super excited to be able to do this for them!  My niece is about 5 months older than my girls and I wish we lived closer so they could be close friends!  I sent pictures of lots of fabric options to my SIL and we ended up with this gorgeous sunny yellow print!

The fabric is a Lisette print I found at JoAnn's - Yellow Medallions, I believe was the name.  Yes, that is my SIL's top on the left and my niece's 4T dress on the right.  My SIL is a petite gal and my niece is crazy tall!

Since they live quite far from us, I had to get one of my girls to model the dress.  It's a bit big on her, but still cute :)

I used Little Lizard King's Brooke Peasant Dress for the dress pattern but switched up the bottom band to a ruffle, which I really like.  I love the short flutter sleeve option as well...very simple and cute.

For my SIL's top, I used New Look 6892, view B.  This was a super easy pattern to sew up.  I actually disregarded the directions a bit because I put together so many peasant tops/dresses for little girls.  That's really nothing new, though...I tend to ignore most sewing directions from commercial patterns and do it my own way!!

I had a local petite friend try it on for me and it seemed to fit well.  The bad thing about sewing for someone who is far away is the fear that something won't fit quite right!  I'm really looking forward to seeing their family pictures to see how everything looks.

Such a happy fabric!  I hope they love their outfits as much as I enjoyed making them!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Colorblocked Knit Skirt with Shirred Waist Tutorial

I have this plan for potty's called skirts and lots of them.  My hope is that skirts will be super easy to deal with when we go rushing off to the potty instead of struggling with pants.  With that in mind, I dug through the t-shirt scrap pile and pulled out some coordinating solids until I had enough to make some simple skirts.

This skirt first made an appearance in the Valentine's Day Babylegs post.  I liked it so much, I did it again, this time in navy and gray.

Right now we're pairing them up with leggings or Babylegs, but they'll be deliciously light and comfy when warm weather hits!

These skirts are so easy and quick and great for conquering two common sewing fears: knits and shirring!  Stick with me and I'll walk you through, step by step!

You will need:

- Light to medium weight knit t-shirts in two coordinating colors (you could also use yardage, but t-shirts are easiest.  If you use yardage, 1/4 - 1/3 yard per color should work for most little girl sizes)
- Elastic thread (found by the regular thread, usually comes on a small spool)
- A ballpoint machine needle
- Steam iron
- Sewing stuff (machine, coordinating thread, pins, scissors or rotary cutter/mat)

To get started, you will need the waist measurement (W) of the child as well as the desired finished length (L).  To make your cuts, divide your finished length number in half (L2).  For the bottom layer, add 1/2" to L2 and cut one piece that length x the width of the t-shirt (usually about 20").  For the top layer, add 1" to L2 and cut one piece that length x the width of the t-shirt.  Basically you should have two rectangles that are the same width, but the top color should be 1/2" longer.

Line up the two layers and measure the final width of the top layer.  Mark the center of the top layer with a pin.  Divide your child's waist measurement in half and subtract this from the width of the top layer.  For me, the top layer was 20" and half the waist was 9".  That left me with 11".  Divide this number in half and mark equally away from the center.  For me, that was 5.5" away from center on each side (11 divided by 2).  Once you have this marked, cut at an angle from the bottom edge on each side up to your outer marks on each side.  This will cut a wedge shape away from each side.

Now sew the short ends of each wedge together, forming two tubes.

Then sew the two tubes together, right sides together to make your colorblock.  

Open it up and you should have a roughly A-line skirt!  If your seam is wonky, just hit it with a hot steam iron.  You will be amazed at how many funky waves a good ironing can banish from knit seams!

Hem the bottom edge if desired, although it's not necessary since knit won't fray.  On the pink and orange skirt, I just let the hem roll up, but on this blue and gray one, I went ahead and hemmed.  

Turn the top edge under 1/2" and stitch in place.

Now it's time to shirr!  Your needle thread will remain the same, but you will need to hand wind your bobbin with elastic thread.  Just wrap the thread around the bobbin without pulling it tight, but also not so loose that it's hanging off.  Just continue with a nice even wrap until you have filled it up.  Then put your bobbin in the machine and pull the thread up with your needle as usual.

For shirring, I usually crank the tension up a little bit.  I normally sew around a 5, but to shirr, I typically go up to about 7.  Everything else can remain the same.  Start about 1/8" beneath the line of stitching you just made on the top edge.  Sew on the top side (right side) of the fabric.  Stitch all the way around the skirt, backstitching at the beginning and end of the row.

After you have finished the first row, you will see that the fabric has already started to gather up!

For the next row, you will shirr 1/4" away from the first shirred row.  Backstitch at the beginning and end of the row.  As you stitch, lightly stretch the fabric so you are always sewing over flat fabric.  Do not sew over gathers or the shirring won't come out evenly.

You will want to shirr a few rows to make sure the skirt fits correctly.  For my 3T size, I did 5 rows.  I would recommend doing 4 rows for infant skirts, 5 rows for toddler skirts, and 6 rows for bigger girls.

Once the shirring is complete, you will have a nice gathered look on the outside (right) and your elastic thread only shows on the inside (left).

Most likely, the skirt will still be too large at this point.  Grab your hot steam iron and steam up the shirred area.  Go all the way around the shirring, steaming until it shrinks up.  The top skirt in this photo is right after I finished shirring, prior to steam ironing.  The bottom skirt was the exact same size to begin with, but after steam ironing, you can see it really shrinks up a lot!

That's it!  You just made a knit, shirred skirt!  

This is such a great quick project and really comfy for the little ones to wear for play.  Go hit the scrap t-shirt pile and see what you can come up with!  I'd love to see it if you make one, so be sure to add your photos to the flickr group!

Have a great week!

PS - Don't forget to enter the My Memories ends this Thursday!

Friday, February 22, 2013

My Memories Digital Scrapbooking Suite Review & GIVEAWAY! (Now closed)

The giveaway is now closed!  Kim Leavens, you are the winner!  The coupon code is still active.  Scroll down for $10 off the software plus a $10 coupon to their store!  

When I was contacted by the people at My Memories about trying out their digital scrapbooking software, I was super excited!  Although sewing is usually my creative outlet, I have been scrapbooking for a long time and I get nerdily excited about things like paper and embellishments.  I have always wanted to try out digital scrapbooking and this was the perfect chance!

I was really impressed by how easy they make it to get started.  The My Memories Suite comes preloaded with a bunch of really cute layouts.  All you have to do is add your photos!  There are several pages in each layout, so you can quickly make a coordinated scrapbook just by pointing and clicking!  I made this page about our lazy cute cat in about 2 minutes.  I even customized it by replacing one of the embellishments with something I liked better.  It's so easy to give the premade layouts your own touch!

If you feel like exercising your creative juices, you can also start from a blank layout and fill everything in just the way you like.  There are tons of paper choices and embellishments to choose from that come with the software, but you can also visit their store and buy very reasonably priced paper packs and and layouts.  I decided to use the girls' upcoming birthday as a chance to test out what you can do from a blank layout.  I made this invitation for their birthday party using a blank 5x7 page.  I just clicked to add the photo, embellishments and text that I wanted!

Even if you're not a scrapbooker by nature, this software is a great tool to have!  Cards and invitations are simple and fun to customize and if you like to blog, there are so many cute embellishments!  You could make tons of fun buttons and graphics for your blog!  I decided to see what I could do for a new blog header and came up with this from a blank page.

Overall I think this program is really nice!  It's easy to use and there are tons of options that come with it to get you started, plus many more available to purchase!  My Memories Suite could be used for a big variety of creative projects, not just scrapbooking.  The price is very reasonable and to make it even better, My Memories is offering $10 off the software PLUS a $10 coupon code for the My Memories store for Double Stitching readers!  That brings the software to under $30!!  

To use the $10 coupon, simply apply my code when you check out!  The code is:


Click HERE to purchase the software and then enter the code STMMMS95934 at checkout!  

Want a chance to win a FREE copy of this fun software?  
My Memories is giving away a copy of the My Memories Suite to one lucky reader!

To enter:

Mandatory Entry

1. Visit the My Memories Store, then come back here and leave a comment letting me know your favorite digital paper pack or layout!  

Optional Entries (leave a separate comment for each one you do!)

2. "Like" My Memories on Facebook 

3. Follow My Memories on Twitter 

4. "Like" Double Stitching on Facebook

Please leave your email address with at least one of your entries to ensure I can contact you if you are the winner! Giveaway closes February 28, 2013 at 9pm EST!  Good luck!

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the software in exchange for reviewing the product.  All opinions and layout work are my own!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Appliqued Elmo Pillowcase Tunic

I recently had the pleasure of making a pair of adorable little Elmo themed tunics for a fellow twin mama.  Her sweet little girls were celebrating their 2nd birthday Elmo style and she wanted some fun tops for them to wear to the party!

She showed me a picture she had found online of a similar style dress, but she was looking for a shirt to wear with leggings.  We settled on tunic length so the Elmo face wouldn't be too overwhelming :)  

I traced an Elmo image I found online and then cut each piece of the face out of the right color fabric and used Steam-a-Seam Lite to attach it to the fabric.  I then appliqued around the edge of each piece.  That was a bit time consuming, LOL.  I'm pretty happy with how they turned out, though!

My girls were all too happy to model the tops for me in the pictures!  My friend's daughters are quite a bit smaller than my girls, but that's one of my favorite things about pillowcase style tops/dresses.  The fit is so forgiving!  The tops fit quite a bit longer on the intended children, but the width worked just fine on my skinny little girlies.

Instead of fabric ties, my friend opted for grosgrain ribbon and I think it looks super cute.  My only issue with it is that I think it's a bit harder to adjust the fit of the top.  The ribbon tends to slip around in the casing while fabric ties hold their place a bit better.  

I have been informed that the tunics and the party were both big successes.  Nothing makes me happier than knowing something I made is well loved!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Guest Posting at Naptime Crafters

Be sure to head over to Naptime Crafters today where I'm sharing a guest post for Amy's super adorable Dressing up Dolly Series!

I'm sharing a free pattern and tutorial to make a comfy pair of yoga pants and a hooded sweatshirt for 12" baby dolls.  

Hop on over and check it out!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

It's a day to celebrate love here in the US!  I have lots of love to celebrate in my little family and I'm so grateful for the special people God has given to me!

I have a wonderful husband and two gorgeous daughters...truly I am blessed!

I thought the girls could use some special attire for this special day, so I made some simple elastic waist skirts in this adorable pink heart print.

It has just a little bit of glitter in it...subtle, but every girl could use some sparkle :)

I'm so glad my girls have each other to love!  And they really do, even if sometimes there is a minor skirmish over who gets the pink cup or who gets to play with Mr. Potato Head's glasses :)  Love is in the air!  I hope everyone can find someone to smooch today!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Quarter Zip to Full Zip Fleece Refashion

To say I'm a fan of the quarter zip fleeces from Old Navy would be a bit of an understatement.  I probably currently own 6 different colors, plus a couple of fleece vests.  Yeah.  I like them.  They're comfy, they're warm and they are awesome in spring and fall when you don't really want to wear a coat.  I just a couple of little problems - the quarter zip isn't exactly super convenient since you have to pull it off over your head, plus fleece is warm, but not a great wind breaker.  

As I took stock of my large number of these fleeces, I started to think maybe I could refashion one to make it work a little better for me.  I figured if it was a bust, I have plenty of backups!!  Thankfully it was NOT a bust and now I have a nice fleece jacket that I can use during the many transitions that midwest weather throws at us!

When I started, the fleece looked like this:

I got out my handy dandy seam ripper and set to work!  First I ripped out the binding around the zipper and removed the zipper itself.  Then I just continued to cut straight down the center, all the way through the hem.

To solve the lack of wind protection, I ripped the nylon lining out of an old jacket that I will never wear again.  The color doesn't exactly match, but since I always have it zipped when I'm out in public, I didn't really care.  I basically just used my seam ripper to totally remove the lining and then serged up any raw edges.

I slipped the lining into the fleece with wrong sides together and just tacked it at some of the major points like under the arm, at the hem and around the collar.  I then installed a parka style zipper.  With a little hand stitching to clean up some of the areas that were left raw after pulling out the quarter zip, I had a fully lined, full zip fleece!

I am super happy with it!  I wore it a ton this fall and I know I'll be wearing it again this spring!  It's so nice to have something that's light, yet keeps the wind at bay.  Plus I can easily unzip and remove it instead of having to pull it over my head.  It's a real shame to mess up that mama ponytail, ya know :)

Craft bloggers are clearly not models, haha.  One of the best parts about this refashion is how inexpensive it was.  The zipper was about $1.50 with a coupon and I had to get a spool of teal thread, another whopping $1.25 or so with coupon.  I might have to cut up another one of my fleeces so I have some color options!

Love it, love it, love it!