Monday, March 31, 2014

tutorial - simple method of adding cuffs to shorts or pants

It almost feels like spring today here in Michigan!  So to celebrate I am posting a quick tutorial for adding cuffs to any shorts pattern.  The same technique can also be used to add cuffs to long pants or shirt sleeves as well, so even if you aren't enjoying a sneak peek of spring, you may still find this tutorial useful :)

I originally shared this pair of shorts back in this post.  I used the Made Kid Shorts pattern which I used again to create this PR&P look because it's a great basic shorts pattern.

Start with a pair of shorts that is finished except for the hem.  The length of the cuffed shorts will be the same as the length of the unfinished shorts so make sure that you are happy with the this length before you continue.

1. Cut 2 pieces of fabric 3" long for the cuffs.  The width should be equal to the circumference of the bottom of your shorts +1"

2.  Place the cuffs right sides together and sew along the short ends with a 1/2" seam.

3.  Place the cuff piece inside the leg with the right side of the cuff facing the wrong side of the leg.  Sew the legs to the cuff with a 1/2" seam.  Trim the seam to 1/4" and finish with zigzag/overcast stitch or serge the seams.  The left leg is shown pinned in the picture below.  The right leg shows the correct way of placing the pieces together.  If you are using a directional print for the cuffs, you should be sewing the bottom of the print to the bottom edge of the shorts.

4. Pull the cuffs out of the legs and press seam well.  Fold the bottom edge up 1/2" and press.  Although it is not shown in the picture below, you should finish the bottom edge to prevent fraying in the future.

5.  Fold up the cuff as shown in the picture below. No seams should show at the bottom edge of the shorts as long as the cuff is not folded up too much.

6. Sew in the ditch along the side seams to keep the cuff from unrolling and you're done!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

quick, easy & free sewing tutorials round-up

There are days where all I want is a nice easy sewing project that doesn't require much thought.  Most of the time those days come immediately after one of those nights with a sick 2 year old where I don't get very much sleep.  Kind of like last night :)

Anyway, my brain was too sleepy to work on other projects, so I decided to sew a couple of bibs (made from my own pattern found HERE) in anticipation of my cousin and his wife's first baby due later this spring.  Baby related sewing always cheers me up!  I think it's because that's when I pull out the happy fabrics :)

As I was sewing, I found myself thinking about other projects I like to do when I just want a quick, satisfying sew.  Then I realized I've never done a round-up of anything on this blog, so it seemed like a good project for today!  I picked only one tutorial from each blog, but all of these blogs have lots of great stuff, so make sure to take a good look around all of them!


Butterfly Sleeve Tunic - Easy knit shirt tutorial for both women and girls

Knit Dress -  Super comfy tiered knit dress in size 2T/3T

Bubble Skirt - A quick bubble skirt tutorial that requires no gathering

Basic Skirt - You can't go wrong with a basic skirt tutorial

Pleated Skirt - Once you determine the measurements for the pleats this is a really quick project

Striped Skirt - I love the bold stripes on this elastic waist skirt

Criss Cross Dress -  Although the free pattern is 18 months, I think it would work well for bigger sizes as a tunic

Sweatpants to Skirt - Refashion an old pair of sweatpants into a cute kangaroo pocket skirt


Toddler Sweatpants - Made from the sleeves of men's sweatshirts

Burp Cloths - Rag edge contoured burp cloths

Baseball Cap - Baby baseball cap made from upcycled onesies available in 0-6 months and 6-12 months

Tiny Tumble Tee - Just about the cutest little basic tee for baby

Baby Washcloths - Such a clever idea for a wash cloth; it's like a mini hooded towel

Baby Skirt - Very easy knit baby skirt; the basic idea could also be used to make skirts for older girls

Bloomers - Cute gathered baby bloomers in sizes newborn - 24 months

Leggings - Once the pattern is drafted these take no time at all to make

Pacifier Clips - Great way to use up some of those smaller fabric scraps


Sleepy Robe - A basic robe pattern that can be made from either knit or woven fabrics; free pattern available in size 18 months - 8

Belt Tutorial - An adjustable boy's belt tutorial for 20-24" waists

Bow Tie - A tutorial to create your own bow tie for boys age 4 and up

"Pi" Shirt - Make you own applique "Pi" shirt

Suspenders - A really simple tutorial for making basic suspenders

Muscle Tee - Tutorial to create a boy's muscle tee; includes size 4T pattern


Doll Diaper & Accessories - Tutorials to create your own baby doll diapers and a little matching wipes case

Stuffed Bunny - A perfect little stuffed toy just in time for Easter; there are lots of other tutorials on this site as well

Superhero Masks - Perfect felt mask for your little superhero

Doll Mei Tai Carrier - A cute little doll carrier made entirely from rectangles

Fleece Hat - Cute fleece winter hat with built in ear warmers in size 2T

Camera Strap Cover - A nice decorative cover for your DSLR camera strap

Fabric Notebook Cover - Learn how to sew and bind your own fabric notebook cover

Hair Bows - Felt Bows that can be used as an accessory for clothing or as a hair bow


Square Floor Cushion - I love this project because it only requires a yard of fabric and is stuffed with fabric scraps

Chenille Blanket -  This project isn't necessarily quick, but it is easy and can be done a little at a time

Fabric Basket - This fabric basket would make a great baby shower gift

Beach Blanket - Easy to make beach blanket with clever weighted sand pockets that keep the blanket from blowing away

Faux Patchwork Quilt - a nice easy (and quick!) quilt alternative

Cloth Napkins - So many people are opting not to use paper napkins anymore so here is a great tutorial for sewing your own cloth napkins

Pleated Pillow - A nice tailored (bunt pan inspired!) pleated pillow for your home

Sewing Accessories:

Tailor's Ham - A great tool for pressing rounded seams such as sleeves

Hedgehog Pincushion - This is just about the most adorable pin cushion I have ever seen :)

Pattern Weights - Not exactly a sewing tutorial, but still a clever idea

* I would love to add to this list, so if you have any simple, quick (and free!) tutorials by a blogger not already listed that you think belongs here, please leave a comment on this post!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

pr&p week 1: the wildflower top

I have been so busy the last few weeks that I really didn't have much time to make anything for Project Run & Play week 1, but I couldn't handle the idea of not making anything at all :)

I drafted a quick pattern for this hi-low top with accent side panels.  I knew I wanted a lightweight fabric so the top would drape nicely, and Mae just loves her birds, so these Joel Dewberry prints were absolutely perfect!  I really enjoy working with this rayon challis fabric.  In fact, I'm pretty sure I'm going to buy some more as soon as I finish this post :)

I would have loved to make a pair of pants too, but that just wasn't going to happen this week!  So I pulled out Mae's go to stretchy skinny jeans from Old Navy to complete the look. 

I know this is only a nod to this week's theme of "Put Me in the Zoo," but the Detroit zoo has a lovely aviary exhibit and I make sure to take the kids there on every visit :)  It's one of our favorite things, along with the polar bears, which may have actually been a better theme since it's snowing right now.  Again.  I swear it's never going to stop.  I know the calendar says that it's spring, but I see no evidence to support this!

And I'm pretty sure that at least one picture in every photo shoot should have a fake hamster in it :)  But I'm not going to complain because that little toy kept Mae happy for the entire time it took to get my pictures!

Main fabric - Joel Dewberry Bungalow Rayon Challis Swallow Study
Accent Fabric - Joel Dewberry Bungalow Rayon Challis Dainty Daisies
Snaps - Kamsnaps
Jeans - Old Navy

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

do my kids actually wear what i sew?

The quick answer is yes, at least once!  The more complicated answer is yes or no, depending on their mood, the weather, their favorite color on any given day and quite possibly the alignment of the stars :)

I was going through all three girls' closets the other day, which is not a task for the faint of heart :)  It got me thinking (along with this post earlier this month) that I should take a few minutes to really determine which handmade items get worn so I can focus my sewing a little better.  In other words, I shouldn't sew because my initial response to a pattern or idea is "hey that looks fun/challenging to sew!" but rather to sew from a "hey my kid would wear that!" point of view.  I have way too many "fun to sew" looks that just sit around and never get worn.  Don't get me wrong, I get a lot of personal satisfaction from challenging myself with sewing, but I think there would be just as much (if not more!) satisfaction to actually be clothing my kids instead of just sewing for them.  That may be a bit nit picky of a distinction, but I think it will radically change the way I sew!

So here are some of the items (in no particular order) that were the most frequently worn this past year.  You can click on any of the pictures to go to the original post which has the info about pattern and materials used.

1. Any easy on and off warm weather dress

2. Skirts that are girly but can also be worn for riding bikes

3. Things made to fulfill a specific kid request

4. Stuff made by my kids - both of my girls have asked for their own sewing machines, so I anticipate more stuff made by them in the near future :)

5. A few Japanese patterns

6. Comfortable layering pieces

7. The Geranium Dress pattern by Made by Rae - one of my favorites

8. Things made with my own patterns - these were obviously designed to fill a need so they should be on this list, or else I did something wrong :)  I didn't blog about the top in the second picture, but it's one of the first versions of the Izzy top that I made last winter!

I know I'm not the only one out there with closets full of good intentions :)  For me personally this post will probably result in less pattern testing since that rarely fills an actual wardrobe need.  I also will be reusing some patterns more often once I know that they are favorites.  I tend to only make things once because I like change, but I know that small alterations can be made to almost any pattern and the result is a whole new look.  Overall, I believe I just need to be more deliberate when I sew and find a better balance between my need for a creative outlet and my desire to make practical things.  I know it will be a slow process with many slip-ups along the way, but I'm pretty sure that's how I do everything in life :)

Monday, March 17, 2014

happy st. patrick's day!

I know not everyone celebrates St. Patrick's Day, but in our house we do since it also happens to be my youngest son's birthday :)  He's one lucky boy ... there will always be more friends than he even knew he had who are willing to celebrate with him ;)

So a big HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!  to my 10-year- old, freckle faced Irish boy!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

liebster award

Last week, I was pleasantly surprised to be nominated for a Liebster Award!   So here's my official thank you to Meg from Cookin' and Craftin' :)  For those of you don't know what a Liebster Award is (please tell me I wasn't the only one!), it's basically a blogger-to-blogger award meant to recognize blogs with small readership and to help widen their audience.

So, when nominated for a Liebster award, the nominee must answer the questions from the nominator and provide 5 random facts about her or himself.  Then the nominee pays it forward by nominating more small blogs for the award and sending them more fun questions, normally by leaving a comment on the blog with a link to the nominating post.

Here's my answers to Meg's questions:

Why do you blog? It started as a way to feel like I accomplished something at a time when many things in my life were out of my control and made me feel like I was getting nowhere.  Now that things are somewhat more stable around my house, I blog because it has become a habit and it serves as a form of stress relief.

What's your all-time favorite item you've made and why? My favorite item was my third son's baptismal outfit.  It used just about every sewing technique I knew and took me a really long time.  But I loved the end result, and I don't think anything since then has even come close.

What's a good book you've read lately? I'm currently re-reading the entire Jack Ryan series by Tom Clancy.   Before that I re-read the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon.  As you can see I tend to re-read books more often than I buy new ones because I read really fast and I'm too cheap to keep buying new books.  I love the library too, but I'm too impatient to sit on the waiting list for Kindle books, and I've read most of the e-books of interest that my local library offers anyway.

Besides sewing, what other hobbies do you partake in? Reading, see above.  I really don't have that many hobbies because my kids and sewing take up most of my time.  And whatever time remains seems to be dedicated to sleeping :)

What's been your favorite moment of 2014 so far? My recent vacation to Florida with my family was my favorite so far, although I'm not sure I could pick a single moment.  It's really more of an all over good feeling that persisted for two weeks :)

5 Random facts about me:
  1. I started dating my husband when I was 14, but we went to school together starting in 1st grade
  2. I've never tasted coffee because I can't stand the smell of it
  3. I hate mornings!  I would sleep until noon every day if I could :)
  4. As a kid, I used to love to read the encyclopedia
  5. I am a total geek, but I refuse to play video games of any kind, including apps on my phone

My nominations - Just for the sake of honesty, I have no idea if these bloggers qualify as small, but I follow them all, so I nominated them anyway:

The Crazy Tailor - Sarah has only been blogging for a months, but she's already a contestant on Project Run & Play!  She makes some really impressive clothes (they seriously look perfect and professional every time!) for her adorable kids!

The Life of a Compulsive Crafter - Mae makes some beautiful clothing for her kids and for herself, and also has a Etsy shop full of lovely goodies :)

Call Ajaire - Ajaire hosts a great series on her blog called Monthly MashUp where she combines two patterns to make something totally new.  And she's also going to be a contestant on the next season of Project Run & Play!

Handmade Frenzy - I just discovered Heidi's blog not that long ago, and there's so much great stuff on it that I haven't even had a chance to get through all of it yet!  So far, my favorite thing is this outfit she made for her daughter :)

House of Estrela - Magda recently hosted January Refashion Month on her blog.  I'm a huge fan of upcycling older clothing into new things, so this series was a favorite of mine!

Questions for the nominated bloggers (if they choose to participate):

1. What is your favorite part of blogging?

2. When you were younger, would you ever have imagined that you would be sewing as an adult? Why or why not?

3. How many unfinished projects do you have laying around?  And if you don't have any, what's your secret?

4. What's your favorite movie?

5. Do you still see yourself doing some form of blogging/sewing in one year? In five years?

Thanks again for nominating me Meg!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

pattern review - greenpoint cardigan by hey june

A while back in this post I sewed up a version of the Greenpoint Cardigan by Hey June, but I never did get around to writing an official review.  So here it is :)

I chose to sew the size 2 rather than the size 1 like last time so it would fit Mae for a bit longer.  I upcycled two different shirts, a grey ruffled shirt that used to belong to Ruthie and a magenta tee of mine that I accidentally splashed with bleach.  I'm not a really a fan of the bleached polka dot look, but I knew there was plenty of shirt left to selvage :)  The only change I made to the pattern was to eliminate the bottom band since I was able to use the existing hem of the grey shirt.

Just like last time, I absolutely adore this pattern.  It is quick and easy to sew and the fit is perfect!  I can see myself making many more of these in the future :)

Mae and I did our best to stomp away all the snow, but it was a futile effort since about eight new inches fell later that night :)  We are so past ready for spring around here!

Shirt - Upcycled
Trim - Upcycled
Snaps - Kamsnaps
Jeans - Old Navy
White Shirt/Boots - H&M

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

pattern review - winnie shrug by wee muses

I recently tested the Winnie Shrug pattern by Wee Muses.  Although this pattern doesn't really fit into my practical theme for this year, Gracie absolutely loves it!  And in our house, there's not much of a distinction between dress up clothes and everyday clothes, so I figure it will get plenty of use :)

Gracie loves glamorous things (which she certainly didn't get from me!) and she was thrilled to pair her shrug with the new shiny gold pleated dress that I picked up at H&M.  The dress seriously looks like it's made from boudoir curtains, but I knew Gracie would love it so I bought it anyway :)

The shrug didn't take very long to sew ...  I would rate it as a fairly easy project overall.  I opted to sew it with the lining material folded to the outside because I liked the look of this shrug sewn by Anneliese, but there several other options in the pattern as well.

Main fabric - Stretch Sateen from Joann's
Lining - Cotton sherpa from Nature's Fabrics
Dress - H&M

Friday, March 7, 2014

a relaxing friday evening

I have my laptop, my flat screen monitor, and a bag of tortilla chips ... time to grade some patterns :)  Not exactly a night on the town, but still my idea of fun!  What are you up to this Friday evening?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

a simple little peplum top

This is the third time I sewed a version of the Endless Dress by Jocole Patterns.  You can see the first two here and here.  Once again, this pattern was a quick and satisfying sew :)

This time I sized down to the 18 months width but kept the 2T length.  I also altered the sleeve and neckline slightly to get exactly the look I wanted.   Originally I was going to make a dress, but once I finished the bodice I thought it would look cuter as a peplum top.  So I drew up a half circle skirt to finish it.

The back is finished with Kamsnaps that match the little squares in the fabric.  There's really not too much else to say about this top since it's so simple :)  Surprisingly, it's one of my favorite things I've sewn lately and I can see it being worn quite often!

Are you ever thrown off by which things you sew end up being favorites and which things don't?  I know that I am :)  I think I may have to do a post sometime about which items end up being worn the most (and the least) in our house.  I think it may end up surprising even me!

Top -Lisette for Fabric Traditions from Joann's
Snaps - Kamsnaps

Monday, March 3, 2014

my little disney girl

I have been mostly absent from this blog for the last two weeks for a good reason - I was enjoying a wonderful trip to Florida with extended family!  I honestly haven't been that warm since last September :)  We drove down from Michigan through a snow storm in Ohio, and then drove home through another snow storm in Ohio.  I can't exactly say I was happy to come home to piles of snow so deep that I can't even see over them when I back out of my driveway!  I miss the sun already!

We spent the whole two weeks on Disney property since my husband's entire family is absolutely nuts (in a good way!) about Disney World.  I'm not as big of a fan, but the kids love it, and I do love to see them happy :)

I've had this polka dot fabric sitting around since the last time I made Disney dresses ... a little more than seven years ago!  I used the Izzy Top pattern (of course!) since it's quick and easy.  I made a size 3 and added 2" to the length to make it a tunic for Mae to wear with leggings.  I also added 1/2" to the center back pattern piece to make a button placket.

I love taking pictures in Florida!  It took me about 30 seconds to get all the pictures I needed compared to the usual 30 minutes :)  And there is such an abundance of good lighting that far south.  In Michigan I have to rely heavily on photo editing software in the winter months due to the lack of natural light.  I always say I refuse to move to Florida since I don't like the hotter months, but the great pictures might convince me.  Just don't tell my husband I said that or he will start packing!

Top - Essex yard dyed linen blend by Robert Kaufman in Black
Skirt - Leftover fabric from Minnie Mouse dresses I made for my older girls more more than 7 years ago :)
Lining - Michael Miller Dumb Dot
Snaps - Kamsnaps