How many of you have ever wanted to make a quiet book for your kids??? Ok, now how many of you have supplies to make that quiet book? Out of you ladies who have supplies, I know that some of you have started and never finished your quiet books. I am in the same boat! I have wanted to make one since before my almost 4 year old was born. I looked up patterns and made templates and planned it all out. However, I still have no quiet book to show for it.

Since baby number 3 is due in the middle of October, I figure I’ve got 8 weeks to finally finish something I started years ago. I know that is a pretty ambitious goal, especially since I might be way out of my league with the inspiration I’ve chosen, but I have a group of friends who want to finish theirs too and we are getting together weekly to help motivate and inspire each other. Yay! I have thought about nothing else for the last 3 weeks.

Here is where YOU can get involved. I plan on making a 2 page spread every week. As I go, I will make patterns for the pages I create so it will be easy for you and I to re-create them! This is a huge endeavor for me and I hope you love it just as much as I do. I’ve spent at least a month scouring the internet for the best quiet book ideas and I’ve mixed and matched and made some of my own and compiled what I think is the ultimate quiet book. Keep in mind that most of these pages come from other people’s ideas. I will link to my inspiration, but I hope to put my own spin on every page and make this book truly unique.

So here they are in all their glory… or not so much. These are just templates that I will use to create my own patterns. There was a lot of cutting and pasting and taking from one and adding to another. I hope you can see how awesome it will really look when I link to the inspiration page.

Jungle Page

This one is a mix and match of lots of people’s ideas to make my own design. There will be snaps and magnets and a zipper crocodile mouth to eat the monkeys. The snake will be a weaving toy and the rain will zip out of the clouds. I really need to draft a better looking croc. This one is pretty sad I know. I’ve done the best with my limited computer animation skills. I got the snake and chameleon ideas from my favorite Russian blogger Tanya. Here is the specific page. See all her awesome work here. I think she sells her books if you are interested, but it’s hard to tell through my rough google translation.

ABC Page

Here you have your pretty basic velcro alphabet page. I am excited about the place to create words as my son is starting to read. As suggested by my mother-in-law, I will be adding a pocket with extra vowels and t’s and such to make bigger words. I will be using my Cricut to cut out the letters which I’m really excited about. Who wants to cut all those out by hand???

Farm Page

This might be my favorite page. I want my garden page to look pretty close to this Russian post here. There are many like it on a variety of Russian blogs. I’m sure Tanya does one, but it’s so hard to navigate and find them that I used this one instead. The farmer page I like to think is mostly my own. I found the animal heads on a free clipart website. The farmer as well as the animals will have lift up heads to feed them through a button hole underneath. There is a zipper at the bottom to get all the food back out. The farmer arm will probably be jointed so he can actually feed them. My son is very excited to feed the animals and feed flowers to the farmer.

Build House and Rainbow Page

This is a pretty basic building and colors page. I got the rainbow straight from Tayna at her other blog and the house from, you guessed it, another Russian blog. I love that whole book for a younger child. Maybe 1? When I make one for Claira, some of those pages will definitely be included. I’ll embellish these a little more and see where they go from here.

Space Page

When I saw the cute little alien colors page on this Russian site, I knew it would have to be included. I love love love this idea of matching colored aliens to their spaceships. Then there is this awesome zippered space ship that looks like it’s blasting off as you unzip it. This is completely Stephanie’s page and she even has a pattern already for you. I will try to add my own touch to mine, but I don’t see a lot of room for improvement. She has so many patterns for quiet books. Check her out. You won’t regret it!

Fishing Page

This page will be so fun! When I mentioned a quiet book to my husband he immediately said we needed a fishing page. I agreed wholeheartedly and saw a bunch of really cute pages. I will use inspiration from Tanya but all the fish and coral and details will be pretty much from my head.

Knight and Castle Page

Last but not least will be the castle and knight page. I’m working on a good knight with removable armor and arms that move to fight the dragon. I say dragon because one will come out of the castle attached to a string. Check out Tanya’s castle that I’m using to see how truly awesome it is. I just can’t get enough of her stuff. She’s pretty much amazing. I’m not very excited to figure out how to sew it all together but hey, the finished product will be worth it!

Please remember that these are rough sketches and that the finished product should be much more impressive and unique. I hope you follow along with my adventure and finish a quiet book of your own in the near future!

 

jumpsuit

When I sent my mom a picture of this jumper she said, “You used to wear stuff like that all the time!” That made me feel like this style is a little dated, but jumpers are in right now right?? It doesn’t matter. I think it’s the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen. I started thinking about making one when I was at Target at the beginning of the summer. They had these cute knit jumpsuits and I wanted one for Claira so badly. Unfortunately they didn’t have her size and I left a little sad. That same week, I came home with this embroidered material thinking that I would make her a dress or one for me. It took a while, but I finally decided it would make an awesome jumpsuit. It’s not knit, but it isn’t too stiff either.  It turned out exactly how I wanted it to. I am sooo happy with this project.

I made this a month ago and I just haven’t wanted to get this post together. I’ve tried on multiple occasions and it just made me want to go to sleep. Lol. Maybe my tutorial content is more boring than I thought. I took a lot of pictures, but the only time I can work on this stuff is at night in a dark room so excuse my photos. I know they aren’t the best. You can always zoom in on them for a little clarification. I basically just took a top pattern and added buttons and a bottoms pattern and added width so they would be gathered and full, then sewed them together at the waist with an elastic encased in the middle. Easy right? Well my steps might make it look complicated, but that’s just because sometimes I do things the hard way for no reason at all. If you are at all interested to see how I do what I do with no patterns… here we go!

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So the first thing I worked on was the pants. I looked up a lot of tutorials on pantaloons and such and decided that the easiest way to achieve my goal was to make a leggings pattern and add width to the leg. Not too bad. P.S. Before starting almost any project, be sure to WASH and DRY your material!!!!!! DON’T FORGET! Most material shrinks and your beautiful finished garment won’t fit after it’s first washing and you will be so sad. I do it all the time…

  1. Trace a pair of pants that fit your child. Trace both the front and back. It is a little hard to trace the front as it’s smaller than the back, but creative folding can make anything happen. Remember that pants aren’t straight at the top. They dip down in the front for comfort and they raise up at the back to fit a little bum.
  2. Make sure that the side seams are the same length. (Marked in pink) This will make your pattern go together much more smoothly.
  3. If I were making a regular pair of pants, I would stop here and use this pattern. However, since I don’t want to have a side seam, I place my pieces together at the side seam and make one continuous pattern for each leg. There is a little overlap in the middle to take out the seam allowance that we no longer need.
  4. Here is the finished leg piece. If I wanted to make a simple legging, I would stop here.
  5. Since I want these to be gathered I cut my pattern piece in half and add 3 inches between them and trace a new piece. This step could probably be avoided if you just use your 2 original separate pieces from step 3, but I also wanted a legging pattern for future so I though you might as well see that too 🙂 I did make the top of the pattern straight instead of curved because…. it’s a jumpsuit and not pants and it will be easier to sew together.
  6. When you are cutting out a leg pattern that includes both sides of the leg, be sure that you fold your material in half so that you either have 2 right or wrong sides together when you cut. This ensures that you make 2 opposite legs instead of 2 of the same leg. I have made this mistake more times than I can count. If you can’t fold your material, just make sure you flip your pattern piece over before cutting your second leg. I also cut out my pattern with an extra couple inches added tot the top as well as the bottom just in case.
  7. Put your pieces right sides together and sew the back and front crotch curves just as you would in a regular pair of pants. Open up your pants so the look like a pair of pants and sew up the inside of one leg and down the other inside of the other leg. I should have had a better picture of this… Sorry.
  8. Now you have a pair of pants!

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Now for making the bodice/top of the jumpsuit.

  1. Since I wanted flutter sleeves, I added 2 inches on the fold of me sleeve pattern for gathering purposes.
  2. I cut out 4 of these pieces so that they would have a facing on the inside.
  3. Place 2 pieces right sides together and sew around the edge as shown by the dotted yellow line.
  4. Flip your pieces wrong sides together, iron and top-stitch.
  5. Sew your 2 bodice pieces together at the shoulders. Make sure you have some way to open up the bodice like buttons or a zipper so you can get your jumpsuit on.
  6. This is what it should look like when laid out.
  7. Sew your sleeves to your bodice.
  8. Dor some reason, my sleeves didn’t turn out the way I wanted them to AND my bodice was too wide. I ended up adding pleats to the front around the button placket and sewing in some elastic to the sleeve to make it more gathered and fluttery… I don’t think you should have this problem… I was just sewing late at night and measuring incorrectly. Ta-Da! Now you have a bodice.

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You still have a bit of work to do on the bodice such as adding bias tape to the neckline and putting on your buttons. I got lazy and had some pearl snaps so we ended up with snaps instead of buttons. Actually, snaps are so much easier to install as well as use so I might just be replacing buttons with them from now on!

  1. Here is how I make bias tape. You will first cut out 1 1/2-2 inch bias strips. That means you cut your fabric at a 45 degree angle from the grain instead of just cutting strips off the straight side. So like a triangle… I then place a pin in my ironing board as shown, fold my strips into the middle and iron the strip flat as I pull it through. This folds the strip as you iron. So helpful! Be sure not to melt your pin 🙂pin
  2. Now fold your ironed strip in half and iron again. You could now have double fold bias tape 🙂
  3. Sandwich it over your neckline ans sew into place. There are many detailed tutorials on how to make and sew bias tape. I would recommend checking them out.
  4. Before sewing your bodice to your pants, be sure that you measure your child from shoulder to crotch and make sure that you are giving them enough space in the body. I added about 2 inches from my measurement and that ease seems perfect for playing and not getting too uncomfortable.
  5. I wanted my elastic to be entirely encased so it wasn’t itchy for my toddler. Here is where adding those extra inches came in handy. You can kind of see how when I place my pieces right sides together my pants were actually sticking up past my bodice about 1 1/2 inches. I sewed it that way so that I could then go to step 6.
  6. Here is where I folded that extra allowance over twice to make a casing for my elastic and then sewed right on top of the line I just sewed the top and bottom together with. You can see in the picture that there are 2 lines of sewing in the same place.
  7. Leave a hole in your casing and thread some 1/4 inch elastic through that is the length of your child’s waist. Sew the ends of the elastic together and sew the hold closed.
  8. I made my pant legs on the selvage so I didn’t have to hem them, but here is where your would normally hem. All I did for the last step was take my 1/4 inch elastic and sew it to the leg about 1 1/2 inches up. I used a straight stitch and stretched the elastic as I went so it would gather the material and remain stretchy.

Done and DONE!

I realize I may have skipped over a few things, but this tutorial assumes you know a little about sewing. I may go over basics in later posts or I might just leave you to the rest of the sewing world where there are so many great helps for all the basics.

Here is the beautiful girl in all her cheesy fake smile glory.

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I just love how the sleeves turned out. They looked so bad before I fixed them. Don’t give up on your projects. All is not lost if the first few fittings are a disaster. ‘

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And another one of the cutie.

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Swinging after the parade… This girl would live her whole life on a swing if I let her.

I think I will make another one of these in a cute knit. They are just adorable and I want her to wear them every day.

Until next time!

capri insert

Hola! I know it’s been a looooooooooooooong time since I’ve posted on here. I am not abandoning my blog. I promise. I blame my absence on baby #3. I was super sick for a few months which added to some existing depression and I pretty much laid on the couch for the first half of the year… BUT, all is now well with both the baby and I and I’ve been sewing up a storm. I’m excited to share all my newest projects with you. P.S. That picture features my 23 week belly just in case you were wondering.

This little project is the perfect one to start with. I bought these capris off of Zulily because I needed some summer maternity pants to wear AND they were only $12. Steal! I didn’t love that they had holes in them, but for $12 I couldn’t pass them up. So they came in the mail and I tried them on. I realized immediately  that not only should I have bought a size up, but that I wasn’t even sure a bigger size would accommodate my calves. They were quite literally turning my legs blue. I frequently have this issue. Apparently my calves are a menace to society and shouldn’t be shown off in skin tight pants. I didn’t really have a choice. I had a family reunion that weekend and no time to get anything else to wear as we have no maternity selection locally.

I decided to make some lace inserts to widen the calves and deal with the fact that they were still a bit too small. Everything I looked up online had triangle inserts. I thought that made the alteration scream home done and I wanted it to look like I bought the pants that way. After brainstorming for a day, I decided to make the insert a rectangle. After another day of trying to figure out how to turn a triangle widening into a rectangle and keep the right proportions, I came up with this.

capri insert diagram copy

I hope that helps anyone who might also have this issue because I took shockingly few pictures of the process.

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Here is the side up close. The leg is still tight so the rectangle bows out a little. You can maybe see that the lace is sewn under the jean so that it will fray and I hand top-stiched the edges to make it stand out a little more. Full disclosure, my husband actually made these look 100x better. I actually sewed the lace into the pants so there wouldn’t be a frayed edge. He took one look at them and said, “I didn’t think they would look like that.” He then told me that frayed would make it blend better, and he was right.

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The left is the fixed side and the right was my first attempt. Since these jeans are holy anyway, the frayed made them look a lot more natural. What do you think?

I’ve got some super cute kids clothes coming up SOON so stay tuned.

Black and White Flowers Baby Outfit

When I saw this black and white t-shirt at Walmart, I knew I wanted to make baby leggings out of it. Claira doesn’t have a lot of bottoms and black and white goes with everything right? So I started making the leggings and decided that she needed a top to go with them because as it turns out, black and white goes with NOTHING that we currently have. Lol! So I have kind of a tutorial of what I did. I hope it inspires you in your own sewing.

I start almost every project with a thrifted/cheap t-shirt. The first thing I always do is unpick the necks so I can use them later in my own collars.

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I’ve already traced my favorite baby leggings onto pattern paper so I have them for always. Although I did spend a whole day trying to find my pattern. When making leggings, you don’t usually want to have a side-seam. To make your pattern side-seam-less, place your front and back pattern pieces together with the straight sides touching. Overlap the seam allowance so you don’t have any seam allowance where the pieces meet. You can also see that I also line up my bottom hem with the shirt hem so I don’t have to hem the leggings at all. YAY!

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Now cut out your first leg. When you go to cut out your second leg BE SURE to flip your pattern over so you don’t end up with 2 of the same leg. Believe me, I did it the first time around and then only had enough material left to make them the old fashion way as seen below.

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I was pretty upset to say the least. Don’t make my mistake!

Sew the pieces together as per your usual pants sewing… place right sides together and sew both crotch arches. Then fold them so they look like pants and sew up one side of the inseam of the leg, and down the other. Fold over your waistband, sew with a stretch, zig-zag or other stretchy stitch and insert your elastic. Pants done. Bam! 20-30 min.

So for the top I traced one of my current baby tops for sizing onto pattern paper. I wanted to have a different colored yoke so I sewed my 2 colors together before cutting out my pattern. To determine how big to make my pieces I laid my pattern on the pink I was using for the bottom and drew a line where I wanted it to come.

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I cut it out and gathered it slightly in the middle.

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I laid the pink over the black and white to see where exactly I wanted it to be sewn on. Then I put them right sides together and sewed with a straight stitch.

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Then I top-stitched it to make the gathering lay flatter. It also makes it look more professional in general. Use a long stitch length and try hard not to stretch your fabric as you go along. 

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Now cut out your front and back. Sew one of the shoulders together using a zig-zag, stretch stitch or your serger. This is when I sew on the neck binding. I just use the previously cut out neckline of the original shirt and use a zig-zag stitch. I stretch it slightly as I go along so it curves with the neckline.

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Now sew your second shoulder together. I do it this way because that’s how I’ve seen it done on store-bought shirts. Now for the sleeves. I used the leftovers from the neck binding and bound the hems of the sleeves as well using the same technique as the collar. Zig-zag, stretching slightly… etc. For this shirt I also gathered the top of the sleeve before attaching.

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Sew on your sleeves and down your shirt sides and you have a lovely finished shirt. I opted to cut out some of the flowers in the pattern and sewed them on with tiny black beads in the middle. I have no idea how this is supposed to be done. I just used a needle and thread and square knotted it on the underside.

DSC_2955aI LOVE this outfit.

I know I’m not super detailed in my tutorials, but I assume you know the basics of sewing together pants and a shirt so I kind of gloss over those parts. This is more for inspiration that really detailed instruction. One more to come. I’m so excited for it too!

 

 

 

 

 

Butterfly Baby Romper

My baby is growing up so fast. That look on her face just says, “hey mom… I’m not your tiny cuddle bug anymore.” She’s only seven months, and still pretty little, but time seriously flies.

Anyway, I was babysitting my friend’s baby  a few weeks ago, and couldn’t help falling in love with her little romper. It was so bright and summery. I loved that it was almost dress looking, but snapped in the middle which makes playing easier. I had this t-shirt that I bought at Walmart that was perfect for the project so I got to work!

I’ll admit that my first attempt was less than awesome. I was trying to make an easy one-piece pattern and… well it didn’t turn out so well. I ended up going back to Walmart and snagging the last shirt they had with the cute butterfly print and starting over.

I basically made a dress. I love the cute little flutter sleeves and the fact that it doesn’t have any buttons or even a bias neckband. What I ended up doing was making a facing for the top and sewing it together with a stretch stitch so it would stretch over her head. It was an experiment that worked out better than I’d planned. I think I’ll make tops like that from now on, or at least more often. I also sewed on the skirt with a zig-zag stitch so that would be stretchy too. I did have to go back through and unpick my straight gathering stitch, but that didn’t take very long. I didn’t even hem the sleeves or the bottom. I just roll-hemmed them with my serger. I liked the look of it for this piece.

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So I started with the dress. I made the skirt extra long just in case. I put it on my baby and measured where the crotch should be. Then I cut out this arch. I made it pretty tall because I wanted the romper to have some longer legs/shorts.

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Then I put elastic in the legs to gather them up. I used 1/4 inch elastic and sewed it in with a regular straight stitch, stretching it as I went.

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Now all that was left was sewing some bias tape over both sides of the crotch. Pretty simple. I added some baby snaps… which took me all day to insert because I don’t have a snap tool and I used a hammer… and ta da! Really though, if you are going to be inserting snaps, get the snap tool. I had to remove bad snaps several times because my hammering ruined the snaps and they wouldn’t fit together.

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This is by far one of my favorite outfits that I’ve made. She gets tons of compliments on it. The sweetheart neckline is a nice added detail. I’ve got a couple more of these baby outfits coming so stay tuned!

 

flat applique copy

I know this won’t be new to a lot of people, but if you have tried a few seemingly simple applique projects and failed, this might help you. I used to make appliqued shirts for my little boy and I got so frustrated when I had to pin my material to my shirt and sew it on without stretching it and making it all wavy and wrinkly. I had no idea that double sided fusible web existed. I was at Joann Fabirc lamenting my problem, when a kind lady let me in on the applique secret. It seriously changed my life! I now use it every time I sew a project. It makes sewing so much easier.

Let me show you how it works. I usually start with ironing the fusible web to my applique material. Then I draw the shape onto the back and cut out the piece. In the instance below, I just cut out a strip and ironed it onto my ribbon.

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Now you pull off the paper backing, place it on your garment and steam iron into place. You can see that a very fine film is left behind. I like this kind because it doesn’t add bulk. There is interfacing that will add more stability if you prefer. If you don’t like the placement, you can pull it off, re-position and re-iron. I love the fact that it’s fool proof. No permanent mistakes here.

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Now, I sew on the applique. I know that most webbing will say that you don’t have to sew it and that it will stay on through washing. I don’t believe ANY of them! I always sew it on just in case.

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The good thing about it is that your fabric won’t stretch or distort or shift while you are sewing. That makes for perfectly flat applique. ENJOY!

 

 

fix those jammies

Does your baby also wake up looking like a mermaid? Mine wiggles a lot in her sleep and she somehow manages to get both legs stuffed into one side of her pajamas all the time. Poor thing. I guess she doesn’t look too sad about it, but it frustrates me to no end. They also limit her mobility in general during the morning as she gets all tangled up trying to do anything.

It’s funny because I know I buy cheap pajamas that don’t have elastic around the ankles, but I always think it will be fine and her feet will somehow magically stay in. Wrong wrong wrong. I just can’t resist a super cute pajama when I see one on the rack. To be honest, it’s usually my husband who can’t resist. It’s so cute seeing him get excited about baby stuff so I don’t say anything and we end up with 100 pairs.

But not to worry. There is an easy fix!

Turn those babies inside out and draw a line about 1-2 inches up from the heel.

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Now take a 1/4″ elastic and cut it to half the length of your line.

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Now pin one end of your elastic to one end of your line and sew the elastic to the line with a regular straight stitch. Super super stretch it as you go. Don’t stretch your PJ material, just your elastic. You should end up with the elastic stretching all the way to the end of the line.

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If your elastic is still flat after sewing it and you super super stretched it, you might just need to steam iron it to get it to shrink down to look like the picture above.

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TA DA! Why haven’t I done this to every pair of pajamas? This particular pair is really wide around the ankles so I might have to sew one on the front of the leg too. It works like a charm though. No more mermaid baby… I might miss it though. She makes a cute mermaid.

6 copy copy

I have this huge blank wall in my rental home that has been left empty for 2 years. I never thought we’d be here this long and I didn’t want to spend any money fixing the place up if we were just going to have to pack it back up/throw it away. I’m not really the decorating type to begin with anyway. I have this girlfriend who is in the same boat. A couple of months ago, she decided that enough was enough and she was going to decorate. I’ll admit, it made me feel like I wasn’t trying at all. So… I whipped up this amazing large art piece and whalla! Cheap living room art IS possible. Honestly, I’m not a good photographer and the pictures don’t do it justice at all. It’s about 5 feet by 4 feet and matches really well with my DIY pillows. The picture below should give you some scale. I adjusted the bow and position of the stripes after I took this so it’s not perfect. Next, I’m going to put up some photos to the left and I think I’ll be all set for decorating for the rest of the year.

star pillow (1) copy copy

 

You will need:

 

First cut out your foam board. I would know what measurements you want beforehand and have the guys at Home Depot cut it for you so it will be square. Mine is obviously not square.

Cut out your fabric 1-2 inches bigger than your board so you can fold it around the back.

Pin your fabric to the back. For my stripes, I literally wrapped them around and tied a knot in the back. No pinning necessary. For the flower, I just tied a bow in the front and used my pins strategically to make it look like the picture. I used about 4 so not really a lot of fuss over it. You can see in the couch picture what it looked like before I pinned it.

The other great thing about this is it’s light. I just tapped a few finishing nails into the wall and stuck/pressed the board right onto them. If you don’t like the placement, it’s easy to pull it off and re-position. I love art that is easy to hang.

You can go crazy with the fabric. Mine is pretty boring. I was even thinking, if you are an artist, you could paint whatever you want on the fabric. (My sister wants hers to have peacocks) The awesome thing about this project is that you can make it your own style pretty easily. My $5 fabric happened to be a tad bit too bright to match my living room so I just threw it in the bathtub with hot water and 2 cups of bleach for 15 minutes and it came out perfectly.

It sounds so hassle free when I put it like that. Really what happened was, I bleached the first batch so much it turned purple and I barely had enough to bleach a second batch. My fabric pieces ended up being a tad bit too small so rather than buy more fabric, I got them wet and stretched them out. I then had to super stretch and pin them on to get them to wrap nicely around. It was a pain. Make sure you don’t cut yours too small.

Good luck. I’d love to see your rendition!

Star Pillow

I don’t know about you, but I have a ton of NICE fabric lying around from PJ pants, minky blankets and other projects. I tend to get way too much material “just in case” and then have a bunch of extra left over. It isn’t enough for another blanket, but it’s enough that I don’t want to throw it away. That stuff is expensive!

There are a lot of examples out there of what to do with your scrap fabric. I don’t love most of them. They usually require you to use a bunch of fabric that doesn’t match and mash it together into this form or that. I don’t like blankets, rugs or other projects that don’t have matching material. Sorry. I just don’t. The great thing about these pillows is that you only need 15 squares. That’s it! You can do them all one color, 2 colors, 3, 5, 15 for Pete’s sake! If all you can scrape together are 5 inch squares, the pillow is still pretty darn cute. Make a bunch of them for your littles. If you only have 1-2 inch squares, make it a pincushion! I love that they are sooooo versatile. This pillow I’m showing you is made of 8 inch squares, and it’s the perfect size for its intended 3-year-old. The other pillow in the picture above is made of 9 inch squares, and it’s probably my favorite size for kids. It’s big enough to be my son’s new favorite seat on the floor… or anywhere. (I obviously made it out of scraps from his PJs.)

A while back, I made my sister’s kids some baby blankets out of minky. I’ve held onto the extra material for the last 3 years and now I’m making both her kids matching pillows! Yay! On to the pillow! …that was a lot of exclamations… phew.

What you’ll need:

  • Sewing machine… of course
  • 15 perfectly cut squares (any size, as long as they are all the same)
  • Marking pen (I love these because they disappear with water and they have one for light AND dark fabrics!)
  • Clear ruler
  • Matching thread
  • Button cover kit (I used 1 1/2″ but I really wanted 2″ or BIGGER)
  • Pillow stuffing (I used this and I loved it because it stays nice and fluffy. It’s enough to stuff at least 5 pillows of this size.)

The first thing you want to do is cut out all of your squares. Be very precise when cutting. It helps to cut them out one at a time instead of layering fabric and cutting a few at a time. Your pillow will go together much more smoothly if your squares are all EXACTLY the same size. If you have a pattern on your fabric that goes vertical/horizontal, it would look best if you cut your squares on the bias. That way the pattern will look towards the center and go around in a circle instead of being perpendicular. But, we’re using scraps here so waste not right?

When you’re cutting, consider how many colors you want and what your pattern will be. That sounds like a no brainer but I thought that I could do both sides of my pillow in pink and zebra… Obviously that didn’t work out. You can’t really use only 2 colors on the front/back unless you’re OK with 2 of the same color touching. So I tried to add a third color… fail. I’ve decided that this only works if you have ALL the same color or ALL different colors. pic1The next step is crucial. It’s something I almost never do. It just takes up too much time for a regular project. I’ll tell you a little about me. If I can’t finish a sewing project in 1 or 2 sittings, I’m not going to do it. Period. That’s one reason I don’t unpick my mistakes… it takes too much time. I just throw them away and start over. With that attitude, I tend to cut a lot of corners. I don’t do things like iron, mark or meticulously measure. So when I tell you I did this you know it’s essential. Using your marker, mark EVERY corner of EVERY square with a dot 1/4″(my chosen seam allowance) from both sides. (We’re marking the wrong side of the fabric of course.) I made a mock-up mini-pillow as well as a pillow for my son without doing this, and my corners turned out awful. Just do it. You won’t regret it.

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Now the sewing begins. It’s all pretty straight forward. You are pretty much just sewing one square to another the whole time. No curves, tucks or manipulations. The thing you need to remember is to USE YOUR DOTS. Always place your squares right sides together and start sewing right on the dot. Stitch back and forth a few times because you won’t necessarily sew over it to keep it from unraveling. Sew right to the next dot and STOP don’t go any farther. Stitch back and forth a few times here as well. Be exact. You will regret it if you aren’t.

Sew 4 squares together as if you are going to make a regular block. Leave one side open as shown below. Insert your fifth square in into the gap. The picture below is a little confusing because you will have to turn the square like a diamond to fit it in the gap. When sewn it won’t lay flat, but that means it will be 3-D.

star pillow (29)Easy peasy right? Now sew another one. You now have a front and a back. Yay!star pillow (30)Now comes the hardest part… not hard to sew, just hard to explain in pictures. Take one of your sewn stars and lay it right side facing up on the floor/table. Now lay one of your squares right side down on top of one of the squares of the star. Now sew the 2 outside edges together making sure to USE YOUR DOTS.

starr2Now do the same for the remaining 4 sections of the star. I’ve pulled back the black a little so you can hopefully see what it looks like when you are done with this step. Can you guess what famous character is making a cameo in the upper left corner? 🙂

P.S. I hate sewing with minky… it gets EVERYWHERE as you can see in the picture.

star pillow (43)OK. So I didn’t take a picture of this step but we’ll try to work with what we’ve got. In the picture above, I’ve folded out the black square on the bottom so it looks like a triangle. Do that with all 5 black squares. (Yours will be a different color I know.) Now lay your second star piece right side down on top of your folded triangles and pin all around. Be sure you are only pinning the top to the black square and not to the bottom.

star pillow (44)The points don’t matter as much but pay special attention to pinning the inside corners of the star. Match up your seams perfectly and pin them in place. This will make or break your pillow. It’s also where it will show if you didn’t USE YOUR DOTS.

star pillow (46)Now you will sew all around your star, leaving a hole big enough for your hand to fit through for stuffing purposes. When turned right side out, it will look like this. I’ve turned up one corner so you can tell how it was sewn.

star pillow (52)The last steps are pretty basic. Stuff your pillow through the hole. Be sure to use good stuffing that won’t go hard and flat. I used this stuffing because it’s sooooo fluffy. There are higher quality versions out there, but they are MUCH more expensive and this does the trick. I haven’t found a polyester stuffing that I love. I think they all go hard after a while and they are difficult to re-fluff… is that a word? Let me know what you use. I’d love to hear.

Now you can either hand-stitch the opening closed or, if you are lazy like me, you can just topstitch the opening closed on your machine. No one will even notice… especially if you are using minky.

The last thing you want to do is put on your buttons.  Cover them with your material as per the instructions on the box. No equipment is necessary. Before hand-sewing them on, I like to make it a bit easier on myself and pre-squeeze my pillow. To do that, take a LONG needle and thread it. Now press the middle of one side of your pillow tightly to the other sides middle… you know… so you make it indent.

star pillow (60)Now sew through the middle on one side straight through the middle on the other side and then back out the original side. Pull it tight to keep the indent and tie off. Now sew on your buttons and you’re done!

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It seems really complicated and I tried to show a lot of pictures, but it’s pretty simple. Don’t over think it. I’m so excited about this pillow and I will be making a bunch more before the week is out. I hope you love it too!

 

Add pockets to your PJs

Look at those cute boys in their matching PJs. I’m the luckiest girl to have both of them.

I think all pajama pants should have pockets. In fact, I think all articles of clothing deserve the addition. I’m always trying to put my hands in pockets that aren’t there. So why don’t pajama pants have pockets in their patterns? It doesn’t matter because I”m here to show you my pattern-less way to add those pockets you your pants!

First, cut out your pockets. I just looked at some sweatpants pockets and tried to generally match that shape. Below, you can see the dimensions of my men’s pants pockets. The important part is that your hands fit inside so just lay your hand on top of your pocket piece to make sure they will fit. Cut 2 fronts and 2 backs. I know that my measuring board looks like a coloring book. That’s what happens when you have littles who love to play in your sewing room.

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Next, I take my pants and sew the backs to the backs and the fronts to the fronts. You know, so you have a front and back piece.

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The next part is about the placement of the pockets. Measure out how far down your waistband will turn and pin the top of your pockets to meet that measurement. Right sides together of course. Mine are 2 1/2 inches from the top. Just make sure that the tops of your pockets will be sewn into the waistband so they don’t flap around. If that doesn’t make sense, scroll down a little to the picture where I fold over the waistband. It might help.

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Now sew the pockets to the pants using the regular seam allowance called for in your pattern. Now iron your pockets away from your pant legs and place both front and back pieces right sides together.

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This is probably the hardest part so I hope the picture helps you out. Sew down the side of the pants starting at the top. Sew 1/2 inch into the pocket and stop. Then sew all the way around the outside of the pocket and 1/2 inch up the bottom of the pocket. Be sure you don’t sew your pocket closed. Just 1/2 an inch on the top and 1/2 an inch on the bottom. Now sew the sides of your pants down from the pockets like you normally would and also sew the middle of your pant legs together like normal.

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Now turn your pants right side out, and you will see your nice little pockets. Press and admire.

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Now turn your pants inside out again and press the pockets to the front side of the pants. Be sure they are pressed to the front if you want to be able to use your pockets. Now fold your waistband over making sure that it overlaps the top of the pocket and sew around leaving a gap for your elastic.

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Thread your elastic, close up the gap and you’ve got some pocketed PJs! Good luck. I hope this helps. I’m working on my picture and editing skills so bear with me while I get the hang of this.