Category Archives: sewing tutorials

It’s inspiration Sunday and I am inspired by our Christmas tree, or more specifically, it’s skirt!

Make a Christmas tree skirt for a newly engaged couple

Make a Christmas tree skirt for a newly engaged couple

This past weekend we put up our Christmas tree. I am sure many of you did as well. While we were decorating the tree I caught myself admiring our Christmas tree skirt. I mean it’s nothing that special, but I do recall going out to buy it the first Christmas I was married and had a real Christmas tree, and it brought back some great memories.

This made me realize that most likely, the vast majority of Christmas tree skirts have to be bought by Newlyweds. I mean who goes out and buys a new Christmas tree skirt, year after year? Unless, of course, it somehow got lost in storage.

Recognizing this phenomenon gave me a great idea for a Christmas gift.  Since every engaged couple who celebrates Christmas is going to need a Christmas tree skirt – why not make them one for Christmas – or at least embroider their last name on an already made one? Have you been to Marshalls or TJ Maxx recently? They have tons.

But if you are inspired to make your own, there are loads of free Christmas tree skirt patterns out there. And here’s a whole Pinterest Board of Christmas tree skirts. I can’t say that I love all these ideas… but hey – with all these examples out there – they can’t be that hard to make!

Sewing tutorial that made me laugh so hard I had tears coming out of my eyes…

Swants tutorial

Make pants out of sweaters!

Tonight as I was perusing recent Facebook posts, I noticed that an acquaintance of mine posted a link to an on-line sewing tutorial.  This is a woman who is married to one of my husband’s former colleagues, so I don’t know her all that well, but I didn’t think that she was into sewing.  I had to check what she had posted.

The tutorial that she posted provided instructions on how to make “swants” – pants from old sweaters.  It had detailed instructions re: what type of sweater to choose, how to cut it apart and then piece it back together to create a pair of crazily patterned but toasty warm sweater-pants or swants.

To be honest with you – as I started to read it – I was actually thinking that maybe I should try making some. They sure looked cozy.  But then as the pictures got more and more ridiculous I realized that as much as I am all for repurposing clothing –  I would not be caught dead wearing a pair of swants.

While the swants models try very hard to sell the concept via pictures… I just don’t think this is a look most of us can pull off.  But maybe for a kid??  Anyway – if you are looking for a laugh – check out the pictures and accompanying video in the swants tutorial.  I laughed os hard I nearly wet my pants.

The best birthday gift ever for my sister: loads of sewing books!

Simple Modern Sewing

Simple Modern Sewing

sew what! Skirts

sew what! Skirts

One-Yard Wonders

One-Yard Wonders

I Am Cute Dresses

I Am Cute Dresses

Sew what you love

Sew what you love

What in the world should I give my sister for her birthday?  This is the question that has been racking my brain for the past two weeks since her birthday.  (Running just a little bit behind…) But – it’s not like I can embroidery her something…. she can do all this herself.  And since I let her use any of my designs, (sisterly benefit) anything I might make for her – she could make herself, and in a way that she would probably prefer.  So what’s the point in trying to make her anything?

I finally came up with an idea when I was buying supplies for Halloween costumes on Amazon: sewing books I drool over.  The cool thing about these books is that they are available on Amazon via used book sellers.  The cost of the five books ranged from $3 to $10!  Sure – you have to add in a few dollars each for shipping – but that’s still a pretty great deal.

Hopefully these books will provide my sis with loads of inspiration and fun projects.  The only thing I am worried about is being able to part with them myself to wrap them up and give them to her.  I will keep you posted about whether they are all as good as they look!

1 Halloween costume down. Just two more to go. Introducing my little bat!

Bat girl halloween costume

Bat girl halloween costume

Halloween is still a month away – yet tonight – the project at hand is to make my daughter a bat costume. Why the rush? You may be wondering. Well…. this weekend she has a bowling / costume / birthday party to attend – and since she wants to be a bat anyway, why not get a jump on things?

My older daughter was a bat about five years ago and I made her a costume by cutting up a cheap umbrella and attaching the pieces along the side and under the arms of a black hoodie sweatshirt. I also put little ears on the top of the hoodie, and got her a simple black mask. This worked okay but the metal umbrella pieces were not comfortable at all. And with the umbrella being a cheap umbrella, it sort of fell apart. This was the bat costume tutorial that I followed to make bat costume #1.

For bat costume #2 I found a different tutorial on-line. Instead of using a black sweatshirt, I sewed the bat wings onto a long sleeved black t-shirt.  I cut the wings from black felt and added some boning for structure.  To hold the boning pieces onto the wings – I sewed on black felt strips onto the wings and fed the boning into the pieces.

I got the bat mask pattern from a different site. http://www.livingwithpunks.com/2010/10/in-case-you-missed-it-and-are.html.  We had to significantly modify it as the mask was designed for a kids with eyes and nose a much greater distance apart then my little blondie.  To make the mask more rigid – we cut it out of cardboard and glued felt on the front.  I sewed black elastic onto the mask to hold it on her head.   (Yes – I sewed through cardboard… and I liked it! )

My husband suggested that we add some more “bling” or color to the costume but Ilse does not seem to care.  She loves it.  In fact, when wearing the costume around the house, she folded in her arms and declared that she was going to hang from her knees on the jungle gym and “go to sleep.”  Talk about a costume putting someone into character!

Ain’t no party like a link party… especially if they are links to sewing blogs!

Join the Sew Mama Sew Link Party

Join the Sew Mama Sew Link Party

One of my favorite blogs is called Sew Mama Sew!  It is a blog about modern sewing ideas, tips and tricks, etc… Anyway – this week they are having a link party, which means that they are inviting other sewing bloggers to submit a link to their own blog after they have written something that pertains to a designated theme.  This link party is about everyone’s favorite sewing tool.  Of course I had to participate.

A few months ago, I learned about how binder clips work very well in holding back your fabric while you are embroidering, especially in tight spaces such as onesies or small t-shirts.  Who would have ever thought that binder clips could be so useful for sewing? Even the Brother web site sanctioned this technique.  (So it’s legit!) I started using binder clips and now keep a stash by my embroidery machine.

Hopefully some sewers will benefit from my submission… But the greatest thing about this link party is reading what others have posted as their favorite tools.  So far my three favorites are:

1) The glue stick.  This blogger demonstrates many, many ways to use a glue stick while sewing.  I am thinking that this may be a good way to keep applique fabrics in place while tacking them down.

2) Medical exam paper for tracing patterns.  I try to trace off my patterns so I don’t destroy them for different sizes.  This is a very economical solution.

3) Flat iron for pressing short seams.  I am not a quilter but I just might start.  This would give my top-of-the-line hair flat iron something to do! (I never use it.)  What a great idea.

I hope you enjoy all the tips on the Sew Mama Sew blog. I encourage you to submit your own.

How to make a sweet, personalized t-shirt dress

For how-to Tuesday, I am providing some instruction based on a project I made this summer for my little niece, Zoe.  This little t-shirt dress is quick and easy and can often be made from scraps in your sewing room.  For this dress I used some fabric that I bought at (gasp!) Walmart.  And, actually, the t-shirt came from Walmart too!

This dress can be made with long sleeve t-shirts as well.  Check out the version I made for my wacky daughter, Ilse – which, by the way, she wore every week last winter – and the original version I made for my little neighbor, Molly.

The “Z” applique I created in my digitizing software. I am actually working on an entire letter set of big letter outlines to put in my Etsy store, but haven’t quite gotten it finished yet. But if you let me know that you like it – that might provide some motivation to get it on my store sooner.

I hope you enjoy the tutorial! Would love your feedback. Thanks.

How to make a t-shirt dress

How to make a t-shirt dress

How to make a headband with a woven (not knit) fabric

I’m officially declaring stretchy, knit headbands a thing of the past.  With all of the cute, printed cotton fabrics available – there is so much more potential for cute headbands with woven fabrics as opposed to knits.

A few weeks ago, my girls went to a great little sewing camp at Jackman’s fabrics and came home with some new sleep pants as well as some headbands. I promised them that we would continue to practice their sewing skills by making some more headbands at home and even embroider them with their names or some cool designs.

Here’s how we did it.  Enjoy!

How to make a woven headband

How to make a woven headband

How to make a pillowcase dress for a little girl.

Adelaide models her new pillowcase dress.

Adelaide models her new pillowcase dress.

A couple of weeks ago I posted a picture of two pillowcase dresses that I had seen in the window of the Hannah Anderson store at the mall. The dresses were really darling and quite simple in design.  Because they were so simple in design – they would lend themselves well to some machine embroidery or appliqué. Being that I have acquired quite a bit of fabric in all my fabric store visits recently – I thought that I could figure how to make these myself.

If you Google “how to make a pillowcase dress,” you will find a number of tutorials on-line that all vary slightly. In some cases the tutorials instruct you to leave the shape of the dress as a rectangle and not remove any fabric around the armholes. I wasn’t crazy with the results of these tutorials. If you don’t remove any fabric around the arm holes, the resulting dress is very boxy.  When I made my pillowcase dress, I narrowed the fabric at the top and cut out some arm holes.

Here is how I made my pillowcase dress for my nine-year-old daughter, Adelaide.How to make pillowcase dress