Monday, December 8, 2014

Christmas Dress Number 1

I made a few Christmas dresses this year. Two for my daughter and one for me. It's nice to have a few to wear all month long to all of those parties and stuff. So here is the first one of hers.

I love this plaid fabric. She had requested something pink, even though I tried to convince her that pink is not really Christmas-y. But I saw this pink plaid print and thought it would be great. It is a cotton/spandex jersey. It is pink with some green and lavender. But I think the plaid makes it Christmas-y. And I added a strip of green at the waist just to make sure.

This pattern is the Uptown / Downtown Dress by Sew Straight Pattern Company.  I love the shape of the dress. It curves in at the waist and then flares out into a twirly skirt. She has an expansion pack available for the dress also, which includes the long sleeves and even the contrast waistband.

I changed the neckline on mine a bit. The original pattern has a neckline that is pretty low and wide. But, since it is winter and my daughter is rather narrow through the shoulders, it needed more coverage there. I added about a 1/2" width in each shoulder and raised the neckline by nearly 2 inches. Now it is a perfect winter dress for her. The cowl neck option from the expansion pack would also have worked well and would have been super cute for winter. But her Christmas dress number 2 had a cowl neck, so I chose not to do that with this one.

I'm not sure what that goofy face is, but I think she likes it. :)

Friday, December 5, 2014

How to Sew a Petersham Facing - Christmas PJs!

I just finished making a new pair of Christmas Jammies for me! Don't you love curling up in flannel jammies in the winter with a nice cup of coffee. I had to make up my own pattern for these, since I couldn't find one I liked. I basically traced of a pair of ready to wear pajama pants that I loved. 

The process of making these is pretty standard, but I wanted to show you how I did the waistband with a petersham facing. It's so easy and it's nice and soft. I love using petersham. For pajama pants like these, the facing serves as a casing for the elastic.

About Petersham
For those not familiar, Petersham is a type of ribbon very similar to grosgrain ribbon, but with scalloped edges that allow it to curve when ironed. So it can conform to curves nicely without wrinkling or bunching. And it has enough stiffness to add some support, but it remains soft. It is sometimes called  milliner's ribbon, as it is also used in making hats. The narrow widths of petersham can be used in place of bias tape. It's also a great facing for waistbands. 

Along with your standard sewing supplies, you will need a petersham ribbon long enough to go around the waistband of your pants and 1" elastic to go around your waist.
I used 2 inch wide ribbon. After seam allowances, this will give you plenty of room to thread your elastic through the casing. 

How to Sew Pants with a Petersham Facing

If your pants pattern calls for a facing, simply leave this part out. You won't need to cut those pieces.

If your pattern doesn't call for a facing, or if you are making your own pattern, cut your pants pieces to the level you want them to hit on your waist, adding 1/2" for seam allowance. (Side note: I find pants with a facing to be much more comfortable and better fitting than those that are just turned over and stitched to make the casing.)

Sewing the Facing
  1. After sewing up the rest of your pants, you will want to measure around the waist of the pants. You can do this by simply measuring with a measuring tape. Or you can pin the ribbon in place around the pants and mark where they overlap, then unpin and remove the ribbon to sew it. 
  2. Once you have this measurement, add 1 inch for seam allowance and cut your ribbon to this length.
  3. Sew ends of the ribbon closed with 1/2 inch seam allowance so that you now have a tube.
  4. Pin ribbon to raw edge at top of pants with right sides together, matching the seam in the ribbon with the back seam of the pants. Sew around top edge with 1/2 seam allowance. Clip and trim seam allowance as necessary.

  1. Turn facing to the inside and press. Use lots of steam to encourage the Petersham ribbon to conform to the curve of the pants. Pin ribbon in place inside pants.
  2. Topstitch close to the bottom edge of ribbon, leaving a 2 inch gap at the side of the pants for the elastic casing.
  3. Thread elastic through casing. Sew ends of elastic closed. (I like to try the pants on here and just adjust the elastic to a comfortable size.)
  4. Finish topstitching the casing closed.
  5. You're done! How nice does that look!

Perfect for cozy mornings!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

"Winter Inpired" Pajamas

My daughter, like so many others, has been obsessed with a certain ice princess lately. We have watched  that movie waay too many times. You know what I mean?

Well, she has now decided she wants all her clothes to be blue. Since she does go through a lot of pajamas, and since I do love to make pajamas, I made her one more set.

They are blue and gray and I even used glitter paint and a freezer paper stencil to make a snowflake on them. I am going to insist that these are "winter inspired" and not "princess inspired", but she loves them, so whatever.  :)

Details: Pattern is the Alex and Anna Winter Pajamas* from Peekaboo Pattern Shop*
Fabric: Main fabric is Laguna Jersey in Turquoise
             Gray Polka Dots are from Riley Blake (find it here)

*Affliliate links

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Greenstyle Lacy n Lane and How to Line a Hood

My daughter had "brown day" at preschool last week. You know, they learn all about the color brown, everyone wears brown, etc. Well, believe it or not, she had nothing to wear that was brown. So of course, Mommy had to sew something up. 

I made this Lacy and Lane Hooded Tee from Greenstyle Creations* and I love it. She still loves pink so we added pink cuffs to the brown shirt. It even has thumbholes, which she is into right now. 

I made the shirt with the high-low hem from the pattern and I think it's adorable. I love the length in the back. It looks great with leggings. 

I also modified it a little to include a lined hood.It's a little hard to see in the pictures, but its a jersey knit with a flower print. This is one of my favorite parts of the shirt.

If you want to line your hood, here is how I did it.
  1. Cut the main fabric out as normal. 
  2. Cut the lining fabric using the same hood patter, BUT cut 1/4 inch off from the front edge. This way the lining stays to the inside.
  3. Sew hood pieces together and sew lining pieces together as per instructions.
  4. Pin lining to hood along front edge RST and sew in place.
  5. Turn right side out and press. When you press, make sure the lining is just slightly inside the seam.
  6. Baste hood and lining together at bottom edge.
  7. Sew hood to shirt, treating hood and lining as one.
That's it. Easy peezy. And you have an extra cute lined hood. Plus you didn't have to hem it. :)

Get your Lacy and Lane pattern here*!

(Affliate links are marked with an asterisk. I may get a small commission if you purchase through this link. Thanks for supporting my blog!)

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Guidelines for Sewing Handmade Gifts

The holidays are quickly approaching, and as sewists, it's a great idea to create some handmade gifts for those you love. It can be a wonderfully fulfilling experience to create something special, but here are some guidelines to make sure your time is well spent.

1. Start Early 
If you haven't started yet, it's not too late. There are plenty of quick and easy projects out there you can still complete without straining your schedule. For bigger projects, make sure you give yourself enough time. You don't want to rush through a project and then realize it wasn't your best work. And you don't want to add too much stress to your already hectic schedule. It's never too early to start

2. Sewing for Adults and Older Children
For adults and older children, opt for accessories over clothing. Everyone has a different shape and size, not to mention different taste in clothing. And clothing can be a lot of work to create. You don't want to make something wonderful, only to discover that it doesn't fit or isn't appreciated. Unless someone has specifically requested an item of clothing from you and you have exact measurements for them, I would avoid it. 

Here are some of my favorite accessories to make:

Fleece Ear Warmer - my FREE tutorial here

Fleece Trapper Hat - Free pattern from here

Infinity Scarf


3. Sewing for a little one
If you have a little one to sew for, lucky you! There are so many great things you can sew for babies and young children. And they will love just about anything you make! But, make sure you consider growth and season. Little ones grow fast and even toys and blankets can be outgrown quickly. I like to make things slightly larger so that the little one can grow into it. That way they will get the most out of it. Better for it to be too large than too small! At least they will grow into it. Also, consider the season. Remember, too, if you are making something for them to grow into, you will want to think about what season it might be when your recipient is ready for that size. Warm quilts and long sleeves are great for cold weather, while lightweight blankets and short sleeves are better suited for warm weather. Here are some of my favorites projects to make for kids. 

Blankets or quilts of any kind. I love this self-bound blanket tutorial at Missouri Star Quilt Co.


Toys or softies - Check out all of these patterns at Go To Patterns


Superhero cape - free pattern at Peekaboo Patterns (affiliate link)

4. Keep it fun!

You like sewing, right? So make what you enjoy. If you love making blankets, but hate making clothes, then by all means, make blankets. Think twice before deciding to make things you don't normally enjoy making. If you know the recipient will absolutely love it, you may decide it's worth doing anyway. But, if it adds stress to your already full schedule, it may not be worth it. It's totally okay to buy store bought gifts sometimes. I promise. :)

Do you have any other guidelines for sewing gifts? I would love to hear?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Comfy Cozy Robe

The latest project I finished was this Comfy Cozy Robe*, which will be another Christmas present for my son. So, no modeled pics again. (There will be lots after Christmas.) It's another Peekaboo pattern*.

It took me a little longer than I hoped because I struggled unexpectedly with those pockets. The directions had you sew them in a way that was not what my brain was expecting, so it took me a while to get my head around it. And I was in a hurry and not wanting to read the directions - so it took me even longer. Also, I think the pocket placement was off. I didn't like where the pattern had you place the pockets, so I moved them over horizontally, but now I wish I had moved them vertically also. I think moving them down would have kept them out of the way of the sash more. But still, I love how it turned out and I know he will love it. It's so cozy! I made these out of terry cloth for post-bath, but I have seen many made of fleece for lounging. 

My favorite detail of this robe is the neckline. I finished it with a petersham ribbon along the seam. (I love petersham.) It makes it nice and soft. And there is a loop for hanging. Doesn't that look nice?


Pattern: Comfy Cozy Robe* by Peekaboo Patterns. I made a size 8/10 for my six year old. It will probably be a little big, but will fit for a long time. 
  •  Comes in sizes 6 mo - 12 yrs plus a doll size
  • Can be made with or without hood
  • Optional pockets and cuffs
  • Made to fit growing children with additional length and cuffs that can be folded up and then back down as child grows.
  • Also included directions for finishing seams with bias tape - optional
  • Detailed instructions with full color photos.

Fabric: I made mine from this terry cloth fabric. I knew my kids wanted robes for post bath, not so much for lounging, so I wanted terry cloth. Turns out it was quite hard to find. I needed something that was not too thin and was nice and soft. I actually ordered a different fabric and had to return it (Thanks to for easy returns.) But this fabric was perfect. Also beware, though, terry cloth sheds a lot. It's sort of a mess to work with. Make sure you prewash and clean the lint trap when you are done. Also, because terry cloth tends to shed and fray, you really need to finish the ends well. A serger works great. If you don't have a serger, the bias tape directions in the pattern is another great way to give those ends a really nice finish.

Verdict: Great pattern. Only thing I would change next time around is the pocket placement. I plan on making more. I'm going to try to finish another for my daughter before Christmas, but I ran out of fabric for hers. Plus, I tried on this one and it was so comfy I think I want one for me. I think I can size up a little and add some length and make it work for me, :)

*Affiliate links

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Free Tutorial - Fleece Ear Warmer with Bonus Ponytail Hole

Just in time for Christmas gifting! I'm going to show you how to make these great ear warmers. They are great for any type of cold weather and especially great for active pursuits. They are easy to make and take very little fabric! And as a bonus for those ponytail wearing girls (or guys, that's cool, too) in your life, I'll show you how to make an extra hole to hold that ponytail. For those without a ponytail, you can skip that step.

Make one for everyone on your list this Christmas. Ear warmer for you, ear warmer for you - everyone gets an ear warmer!

Here's how you do it. Be sure to read through all the directions before you start.


First, you need to gather your supplies. You will need:

       1. Fleece fabric. My favorite fabric for these is microfleece. It is a little lighter weight and stretchier than other fleece, which is particularly nice for workouts and such. This is the fabric I am using here. Any fleece should work, though. You don't need more than a quarter of a yard and you can probably even get two or three of these out of that. Scraps work great if you have some!

        2. Scissors or rotary cutter

        3. Matching thread

        4. Marking pen (optional)

        5.  Pins (optional)

        6. Glue stick (optional) - just a regular old school glue stick. (Keep reading to see my super special trick!)

        7.  Sewing machine

  • Don't use an iron on fleece. It can melt. (Did you get that? That means you don't even have to iron this project! Yay!)
  • Fleece doesn't fray, so you don't have to finish the seams if you don't want to. Yay again!
  • Be sure to cut in the right direction. The cross grain of the fabric will have more stretch than the straight grain. We want this ear warmer to stretch around the head.
  • Since it stretches, we want to use a stitch that will stretch when sewing with the cross grain.
  • Usually there is a right and wrong side, but sometimes it is hard to tell which is which, so check carefully.


1.    Cut a rectangle of fleece 5 inches by 20 inches.  Remember to cut your rectangle so that the        stretch is across the width of the fabric. Try stretching the fabric in both directions and you should be able to tell which is the cross grain. We want the stretch to go around the head.         (This is a "one size fits most." Remember, it will have some stretch. If your head or your recipient's head is very large or very small, you may want to adjust the width. You can wrap the fabric around your head to check.)

2.  Fold your fabric in half along the long side. Be sure that the right sides are together.

3. Mark the ponytail hole. (Skip this step if omitting).  Using pins or marking pin, mark the short edge of your fabric 1.5 inches from each edge.

4. Sew short ends of your fabric together with a 1/2" seam allowance. Begin at the marks you made in step 3 (or from the middle if you skipped that step) and sew towards edges (This helps prevent the fabric from getting stuck).  Be sure to backstitch and the beginning and end of your seam. You can use a straight stitch for this part, since the fabric does not need to stretch in this direction. If you are omitting the ponytail hole, just sew straight across. Fingerpress the seam allowances to either side.

5. If you left a hole for the ponytail, topstitch a rectangle around the hole to secure seam allowances. 

6. Fold the raw edges on each long side 3/4" towards the wrong side. Secure with pins if desired. Or, use my super special basting tool - your school glue stick! Fold the edges over and secure with glue. (If it won't stay you can use a pin to hold in place until glue dries.) Hem  the edges using a zig-zag stitch (or whatever stitch you prefer that has some stretch). The glue will wash out in the washing machine, leaving you with a perfectly hemmed edge.

7. Try it on and admire your creation. Then go and make some more!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Happy Feet Pajamas

This week's project was the Happy Feet Pajamas from Peek a Boo Patterns. There is a pajama sew along going on this week, so this is my contribution (affiliate links).

Sorry, no modeled picks again because these are also going to be a Christmas gift. So there will be lots of pics coming later when all the gifts are opened. For now, this is all we get.

I love these pjs because they are so warm and cozy. And I made them entirely out of scraps of various fleece I had laying around. The only thing I had to buy was the gripper fabric for the bottom of the feet.

My kids love their old zip up pajamas, but they are getting older and the zippers are just a pain. These are so much better. Makes pottying so much easier. And you can mix and match to match the weather if need be. Plus, those tops could totally pass for a regular sweatshirt. The feet are still covered for those who don't like to wear socks or who have trouble keeping socks on. Elastic in the ankles keep the feet in place. Sizes range from newborn all the way through size 12. And there is even directions for adding snaps to hold the top and bottom together to keep little tummies warm. 

I have a feeling that once they get these jammies on, they won't want to take them off!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Girl's Dress - Knit top with Woven Skirt

My daughter needs some new dresses to wear to church now that it's getting cooler out. So, the other day I had to whip up a new dress. I chose this simple one that I knew I could make quickly. It's a basic t-shirt on top ( I made this one from my trusty Jalie pattern, but you could just as easily use a store bought shirt.) with a woven skirt gathered and sewn to the bottom.

I made this one about two sizes two big so that it will fit for a long time. So you can see that the fit is a little roomy, but it looks nice and comfy. There are several inches that can be let out from the hem and the sleeves are rolled up about two inches.

Someday if I have readers who are interested, I can do a tutorial on how I made this simple dress. Make sure to leave a comment if you are interested.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Sewing for Men - Finlayson Sweater

So this week I have been doing something a little different - sewing things for adults. Sewing for adults is definitely different. It takes a little more time than sewing for kids. (And of course, a little more material.) For adults, the fit is more important, and can be quite a bit trickier. And I also think the details become more important when sewing for adults. I want to make something that will fit and be worn for many years, not just a few seasons.

After seeing all of the lovely things I have made for the kids, my husband wanted me to sew something for him. :) It took a lot of looking around because there are just not that many good patterns out there for men. I finally came across Thread Theory, an indie sewing company out of Canada that specializes in sewing patterns for men. 

Now, the other problem is that my husband tends to be picky about his clothing. I think most men are, when it comes down to it. He likes t-shirts and jeans at home and polos and khakis at work. That's about all he wears. So I had to find a pattern that he would like, but also something he didn't already have a ton of in his closet. I think this is a real challenge when sewing for men. So, I showed him the pictures of the Finlayson Sweater. At first he wasn't too sure. I mean, that cowl neck was a little outside of his normal wear. Ha! But, after he saw the cowl neck sweater I made for my son, he decided he wanted one. Awesome. So I bought the pattern and sewed it up. 

And here is the finished product! I don't have any modeled pictures yet because he is going to get this for Christmas. Shh.. don't tell him. 

I kinda love it. The pattern is great. Directions were good and I love some of the details they included, like the topstitching and the twill tape in the neckline. They also show you how to stabilize the seams in the shoulders and also in the cuffs. It might just be one of the nicest sweaters in his closet. 

I used this fabric in the facing to show off his favorite team. :) I love that it is fun and personal. And doesn't that neckline tape make it look really professional?

Here are some details of the back:

I would love to hear what you think. Do you ever sew for men? Have you found any good men's patterns? What challenges do you face when sewing for men?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pink Kitty Cat Costume

As promised, here is more info on how I made my daughter's kitty cat costume.

I started with a jersey sheet in pink. Normally, I wouldn't recommend using jersey sheets to sew clothes, but this is a costume that doesn't need to last and doesn't need to look perfect, so it's a good way to get a lot of fabric for cheap. I also found some of the pink cheetah knit fabric in my stash and decided it looked cat-like.

First I made those cute ruffle pants from Jocole's Everyday Ruffle Knit Pants. Aren't they adorable? This was the first time I made them, but I think we need more for everyday wear. I made her a size 2T width and 3 length and they fit great.

Then I made the shirt. You could use any regular t-shirt pattern. I used this Jalie #2805 pattern. Then I used the basic instructions from the ruffle pants to make the same ruffle on the sleeves. I cut out the round piece and appliqued it to the front with a zigzag stitch.

Then the extras. For the ears. I cut out some triangles, stuffed some batting inside and glued to a headband. For the tail,  I sewed a tube from the pink fabric and stuffed it with batting. I wanted the tail separate so that the pants and shirt could be worn again throughout the year. So I stitched the tail onto a piece of elastic to make a belt.

And the final touch - a nose and some whiskers using my eyeliner. :)

And there you have my take on a pink kitty cat.

Monday, October 27, 2014


We had our first Halloween costume event last night - a Trunk or Treat at church. So we got the kids all dressed up in their costumes! Take a look.

We had loads of fun and the kids loved getting dressed up. 

My son is into all things creepy and wanted to be a zombie. So we just found some old clothes and roughed them up. We cut a few holes (in addition to the ones that were there) and did our best to get them nice and dirty. Then a little makeup on the face - white base, dark around the eyes and some red for blood - voila, zombie!

The girl insisted on being a kitty cat, and not just a kitty cat, a PINK kitty cat. I made her whole outfit from scratch - I'll tell you how next time. 

Uh-oh! This cute, unsuspecting kitty is about to get attacked by a zombie!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Another Pine Lake Pullover

So this post is about yet another item made from PeekaBoo Patterns*. Can you tell I love her patterns?

This is another Pine Lake Pullover*, similar to the one I made my son here

Of course, the one for my daughter had to be pink. So here it is. Pink fleece with those cute owls from this Riley Blake fabric

I made her a size 3 with a little extra length, just like I normally do. I didn't change much from the one I made my son, but there were a few little changes.

First of all, this fabric was slightly different. My son's was a regular fleece, like a polar fleece of some kind. (It's on sale at Hancock right now for $3.83/yard if you want to grab some. It probably doesn't get much cheaper.) This one is more of a microfleece. Both were good choices for this top, but they were a little different. The polar fleece was much more structured and stable, making it very easy to sew with. And I think it gave it a more structured look overall. The microfleece is a little thinner and stretchier, but so soft. The stretch made it a little different to work with. Maybe a little harder just because you have to account for that stretch. The final look is a little softer, more like a sweatshirt or layering top than a jacket. But I love both.

The other thing I did differently this time was to add some interfacing to the facing piece. I think this made it a little easier to install the zipper. So although it's not necessary, I think I would recommend using a little interfacing, at least a strip of it at the zipper seam. Then it won't stretch out of shape while you are working with it. 

One more word of warning - I had a lot of trouble because I ran out of my trusty wonder tape, and found some of this basting tape in my sewing drawer, so I tried that. Let me tell you now - don't do it, it's not the same. Perhaps you all are smarter than me and would not have tried this. I did not read the package where it clearly says "do not stitch through tape". Well, I tried to stitch through it and it was a mess. Big fat mess. So that darn zipper took a lot longer than it should have. That and I installed the zipper backwards the first time (actually only half of it was backwards - how did I manage that?) and I had to unpick stitches.  Well, I finally got it done and I am glad I did. I love it.

And of course the picture of the thumbholes. The kids love those. 

Both kids wanted to wear their pullovers to school today. They don't normally get very excited about clothes. Yes, even if mommy made it and she is very excited about it. But they were pretty excited about these. I would say it's a win. What do you think?

* Update: This post contains affiliate links. I may get a small commission if you purchase through these links, but it does not change the cost to you. Thank you for supporting this blog. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Pine Lake Pullover

Another great pattern from Peekaboo Patterns*. This one is the Pine Lake Pullover*. I made this one in gray fleece for my son with knit camo accents (Camo fabric found here - As per my usual, I made him this one in his normal size 6 with a little extra length for growing room.

This one looks complicated, but it came together way faster than I thought. It does have a zipper, which can be a little tricky, but the directions are clear. And I used my favorite method of basting the zipper on - Wash Away Wonder Tape*.

I think he likes it. And the best part - thumb holes!

Next up is a pink one of these for my daughter. Stay tuned!

*These are affiliate links. I may earn a small commission if you purchase through these links, although it will not affect the price to you. Thank you for supporting my blog!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Christmas Pajamas

Is it too early for Christmas sewing? I don't think so. Well, I finished my first Christmas project - PJs for the kids. Every kid needs PJs for Christmas morning, right? Maybe every adult does, too, come to think of it. I might have to make myself something.

These are made with the Alex and Anna Winter Pajama* pattern from Peek a Boo Patterns*.  (I heard she is working on a new update for this pattern, but these are prior to the update.) All her patterns are easy to follow and fit well.  (This is completely my own opinion and I have recieved no compensation.) I will be making more of her patterns, too, so stay tuned.

My kids love their PJs. It's still too hot here to actually wear them, but I had to have the kids try them out. They were super excited and immediately started dancing around in front of the mirror pretending to be elves. :)

And here's one of the many outtakes - anyone else have this problem taking pictures of their kids? I have one that wants to flash peace signs and one that wants to make scrunchy faces. Sigh. This is what most of the pics look like.

* These are affiliate links. I may recieve a small commission if you purchase through these links, but it does not change the cost to you. Thank you for supporting my blog! 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

My newest quilt for my newest niece

I am so excited that I am about to have another niece. Yay. She is due any day now and I just finished her quilt last night. I told her we are now ready for her to come and she should go ahead and come on out because her lovely new quilt is finished. :)

 I love how it turned out. Aren't all those bright colors great? I made this from the Curiosities line by Nancy Halvorsen for Bernatex. It will go great with the purple curtains in new baby's room.

I love the back, too.

The quilt was my own design and the piecing came together easily. But, this was the first one I have ever free motion quilted. It took a little bit to get the hang of it and to get all the settings right, but by the end it was going smoothly and I was happy with the way it turned out. There will likely be more in the future.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

So I wanted to start a website where I could share some of my sewing projects and some things I learned along the way. My plan is for this blog to be mostly about sewing projects. I have learned a lot from others' blogs. Hopefully mine will help some of you out there to find some inspiration or learn something new!