Category: Sewing

September 29, 2012

Halloween Trick or Treat Bag Pattern

Filed under: Everything Else,Sewing,Tutorials - 29 Sep 2012

I have memories of growing up carrying a plastic, orange jack o’ lantern bucket to collect my trick or treat candy.  When our girls were old enough to go out and collect up candy from our neighbors, they were into everything pink and glittery. So, naturally, they had pink, glittery princess buckets to carry on Halloween.  The sad part about the buckets were they would spontaneously open at the bottom and each year someone would wind up with all their candy in the street. This year, the poorly made princess bucket are out of here because I made them some new trick or treating bags.


November 19, 2011

18-Inch Doll Hospital Gown Tutorial

Filed under: Sewing,Tutorials - 19 Nov 2011

I made a hospital gown for an American Girl doll. A friend of mine was doing an awesome thing and donated part of her liver to her mom. I wanted to do something for her. I made her a hospital gown to wear and I made one for her daughter’s American Girl doll, in hopes it would help ease her fears about her mom and grandma’s surgeries. It’s been a long time coming, but here’s finally a tutorial.

First, draw the simple pattern. You only need one piece for the gown. It will fit on a sheet of copy paper. It’s easiest to begin in the upper left corner. Mark a dot one inch down the page and another three inches along the top. Connect these two dots with a slightly curved line. Follow the diagram below to complete the pattern piece.

Cut out the fabric pieces. Place the left side of the pattern on the fold of your fabric. Repeat one more time to get two identical pieces. Flip the pattern piece over and cut one, not on the fold. You will need to make one alteration. Place the full size back piece, right side up. Draw a line from the armpit to the top of the neck curve. Cut off this sleeve portion.


You should now have your three pieces to make the gown.

Fold the fabric on the neck towards the back twice, Iron the pieces to make stitching the curved portion easier. Stitch along the neck for all three pieces. I didn’t do this the first time around so I had to rip part of the gown apart to complete the neck since it was just too tight to easily stitch after the shoulders were sewn. I went ahead and did a sample to show you the part with the neck stitched, and just pretend the pictures following this step have the neck completed.

Place the back pieces on the front with right sides together. Line the shoulders up and stitch using a 1/2 inch seam allowance.

Use pinking shears to trim the seam allowance and iron open. You can also serge or do a zigzag stitch to finish the edge, but I find pinking shears work fine on doll clothes.

Fold back the end of the sleeve two times (about 1/4 inch for each fold is sufficient) and stitch.

Line the sides up and stitch from the end of the sleeve to the bottom of the gown, using a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Pink the edges.

Fold back and stitch the remaining sides to finish the edges on the back pieces.

Hem the bottom of the gown and attach fasteners of your choice. You can use snaps or Velcro. Placing one at the neck and one along the side. With this design, the back flap stays closed.


That’s it! As an alternative, you can use bias tape around the neck and to tie the gown closed.


If you need a matching down for your child’s hospital stay, I have that pattern available too!


September 19, 2011

My First Quilt

Filed under: Sewing - 19 Sep 2011


I had help with the artwork. The girls did several blocks piece by coloring with crayons on muslin. Then I used Army themed fabric between their squares and for the backing. The quilt came together quickly. I was surprised about that. It only took four days from start to finish, thanks to all the coaching from my mom. Thanks, Mom!

It was a surprise gift for my husband. I thought that during times the Army takes him away from us, he’d like something comforting from home with him.

September 11, 2011

Messenger Bag Tutorial with Matching Doll Purse

Filed under: Sewing,Tutorials - 11 Sep 2011


I didn’t take pictures of the bag I made Katelyn as I went along, so I decided to make another one. This time I made it for her American Girl doll. Now they have matching purses.
I need to get a shot of the two of them together.

The measurements (obviously!) are different, but the construction is the same for each of the bags. So use the measurements for the size you want and follow the instructions.

Go here to see detailed pictures of the other things I made to put in this bag.

Here we go!



September 8, 2011

Messenger Bag, Wristlet and Notebook

Filed under: Sewing - 08 Sep 2011

For Katelyn’s birthday, we wanted to get her a purse. She’s getting older and wants to start carrying her money to the store with us. She also always has some sort of treasure she needs to carry. Having a notebook to make endless lists, doodle and color during boring trips out was also a must.

I searched for something I knew she would love and couldn’t find it. Everything was either too large, too expensive, too ugly or too juvenile. Nothing worked. So one day I had a stroke of genius and decided to make her the perfect bag and coordinating accessories.

Here’s what I came up with for her.

It’s a mini messenger bag, complete with a button and a ruffle flap.


I put a large pocket on the back.

The inside has two pockets for her treasures.

A coordinating wristlet holds her money and she can just grab it out of her purse and go if she wants. She loves having a place to keep her “credit card” which is really a gift card, but she thinks it’s more fun to pretend it’s a credit card.


The little fabric covered notebook was one of my favorite parts of the gift. She got right to work on a list of stuff she wanted to buy with birthday money.


The best part of all was how happy she is with her new purse and accessories. She was even wearing it with her pajamas the next morning!

Tutorials for everything coming soon!

July 30, 2011

Cooling Neck Wrap Tutorial

Filed under: Sewing,Tutorials - 30 Jul 2011

These were a lifesaver during our Disney World vacation this summer. The night before our trip, I whipped up these cooling neck wraps and we were all so glad I did. Although the man in the family balked the idea of using one at first, the heat won and he wore his too.

To use the neck wrap to cool you off, you simply soak it in water to activate it and tie it around your neck. Polymer crystals absorb the water. As the water evaporates, it cools you off.

I made them different lengths for the kids than I did for the adult size. Here’s the tutorial for the child size cooling neck wrap.

Start with a strip of fabric that measures 30″ by 4″ and fold it in half lengthwise with right sides together.

Using a 1/4″ seam allowance, stitch the length of the wrap and one end. Zigzag or pink the edges. Leave one end open to fill the neck wrap. Turn the wrap right side out.

Measure 8.5″ from the bottom seam and stitch. This section remains empty.

You can find the polymer beads to use for the wrap in the floral section of craft stores. I found these small packages so I didn’t have to get a huge container. This project uses 1.5 teaspoons, so you don’t need much. These beads absorb water and swell up to much larger than their dry size.

Add 1/2 teaspoon to the neck wrap.

Be sure to get all the beads towards the bottom of the section so you can sew the sew the section closed and not hit any of the beads. They will break a needle! I found it easiest to ease the whole teaspoon down into the wrap before dumping out the polymer beads.

Measure 3″ from the first stitch line and stitch another to form a pocket to secure the beads. Repeat two more times in order to complete three sections with polymer beads. Fold in the end of the tie and top stitch to close the tie.

The two sections at the ends with no beads will be the strips you tie together.

Soak the neck wrap. It may take about 15 minutes to fully absorb the water. The polymer beads will absorb warm water than cold water.

Then wrap it around your neck and chill out. In this picture, it was untied, so it’s pretty loose around her neck.


I made the adult size more like 45″ and made 4 pockets with the beads.

We soaked the wraps the first morning we were at Disney. Each night we put them in the fridge and quickly dunked them in water each morning. The beads remain large for days so it doesn’t take long in the water each morning to have them fully absorbed again.

When we weren’t using the neck wraps, we carried them in an open Ziploc bag in our backpack. If you close the bag while they are wet, they can mold and mildew.

Running the wrap under water to refresh it as you pass a water fountain really feels good when it’s hot.

April 15, 2011

Busy Bunny

Filed under: Crafts,Everything Else,Sewing - 15 Apr 2011

This week I had plans to sew and do some Easter/Spring crafts.

Instead, I spent my time


running kids around,


doing chores

And getting a bit of sleep.

This tired bunny is looking forward to Spring Break next week.

Want to make your own bunny finger puppet? Here’s where I got the pattern and instructions.

March 21, 2011

Butterfly Hair Accessory Tutorial

Filed under: Sewing,Tutorials - 21 Mar 2011

These butterfly hair clips are easy to make and are so cute to wear. I made these on a snap barrette, but with some modifications, you can make them into pins or place them on a headband.

You can also change up the design by changing the shape of the butterfly and how you choose to stitch the edges. On the one above, I stitched near the edge with a straight stitch.

With this red one, I did a zigzag around the edge with the sewing machine. With the yellow butterfly below, I hand stitched near the edge.

This tutorial gives you the basics and you make them the way you want.

Here’s a pattern I drew to make the butterflies. Butterfly template Clicking on the link will open a pdf that you can print.

To make a butterfly hair accessory, you will need scrap fabric, felt, thread, DMC floss, a needle and a hair clip. I used Heat’n Bond Lite, but it’s optional.

Cut out your butterfly template pieces. Use a piece of Heat’n Bond Lite and iron it to your piece of felt. Make sure the felt and Heat’n Bond Lite are big enough for your butterfly template piece.

Remove the paper from the Heat’n Bond Lite and place the wrong side of your fabric to the Heat’n Bond side of the felt and iron again.

Cut the butterfly shape and the body piece out of the fabric/felt piece. Cut the body out of felt or felt with the fabric to add thickness to the piece. You can have the fabric decorate the top or the bottom of the butterfly depending on the look you want.

Stitch the edges as desired and add any additional stitching or decorations to the wings before moving to the next step.

Fold the butterfly in half so the wings rest together. Stitch near the bottom of the fold. I leave about a 1/4 inch or so from the fold to the stitching.

Open the wings back up and place the body along the fold on the top of the butterfly. Use two strands of DMC floss or thick thread to stitch the body to the wings.

Cut 2 pieces of felt slightly larger than your hair clip.

Make a small slit in the bottom layer to allow the clip to slide through. Set this piece aside.

Fold the wings in half again and fold the piece of felt over the fold of the butterfly and stitch the felt to the butterfly.

Place the two pieces of felt together with the clip sandwiched in the middle. Pay attention to the direction you place the clip opening so it goes in the hair toe correct direction. Hand stitch the felt together and trim the excessive fabric.

March 7, 2011

Fabric Basket Tutorial

Filed under: Sewing,Tutorials - 07 Mar 2011

You can customize this fabric basket to make it any size or shape you want. I’m going to give you the instructions for how I made this one, which is about 5″ x 5″ and is 8.5″ tall.

What you will need

If you are purchasing fabric for this project, each 1/8 yard of fabric will give you 2 strips so you need a total of 1 and 1/4 yards of fabric. The amount of fabric you need for each strip depends on how many different fabric you choose to use. I decided to use lots of different fabric for this project, but it can also be done using only 1 or 2 different fabric choices.

Fusible interfacing – you will need and equal amount of interfacing.

2 buttons

Making the strips

Start by making your strips for weaving the basket. Cut fabric 2.25″ wide and at least 24″ long. You will need 20 strips total for this pail. Place each strip on a piece of fusible interfacing and iron them down. I lined them up and did as many as possible at once and cut them apart later.

Once you cut the strips, fold one in half lengthwise and stitch along the side using a 1/4″ seam allowance to form a tube. Leave the ends open. Repeat for 18 more strips.Leave one strip alone for now. It will be the edge piece for the top of the pail later.

Turn each strip right side out. This may take a bit of time. I sat down with a cold drink and some trash tv to help pass the time. After turning each strip, iron flat. Now you should have 18 strips ready for making the basket and 1 strip ready for the handle.

Weaving the pail

Take the 5 strips you want to use for the basket and place them next to each other, going the same direction. Take the other 5 strips and start weaving them back and forth between the first 5 strips, one at a time. They will look like this. Get the weaving as close to the center as possible because this is the bottom of your basket.

Place an object on the part you just weaved to begin weaving sides of the basket. I used a box of saltines because it was the perfect size for what I wanted. Bring all the strips up the sides of the cracker box and use a rubber band to secure the strips.

Begin weaving strips to form the sides of the pail. Sorry these pictures aren’t the best, but I made this in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep well. So this is the best you get.

Keep the strips as close together as possible to make a tight weave. Overlap the ends and tuck them behind one of the vertical pieces. At the end you may need to wiggle some of them around, tighten them, etc.

Continue adding strips, until you get to the top. This one took 8 strips to complete the sides. (I think I mentioned that before, but I tend to repeat myself often…it’s a result of raising kids). Once you get to your last strip, fold the vertical ends over the top horizontal piece and pin into place.

Wiggle your strips until they are pulled tight enough and are even all the way around the basket. Hand stitch the ends of the horizontal strips to hold them in place. Run a zigzag stitch around the top of the pail. Trim the flappy pieces.

Finishing the pail

Take the remaining strip you didn’t sew into a strip. Fold the strip in half lengthwise with wrong sides together. Press flat. Open the strip and fold the raw edges back towards the center fold and press. Fold the ends in and press them also.

Place the strip along the top of the pail so the pail is sandwiched between the two sides of the strip. Overlap the ends and stitch near the open edge.

Take your remaining strip and fold the ends up a couple of times and stitch across to finish the end. Make a buttonhole on each side. Attaching the handle with button and buttonhole will allow you to put the handle up and down. Sew on a button to each side and you are finished.

These would make cute Easter baskets or Trick or Treat buckets too!

As usual, if something doesn’t make sense with this tutorial, please let me know!

February 23, 2011

Cloche Hat Tutorial

Filed under: Sewing,Tutorials - 23 Feb 2011

I made a second hat in order to do this tutorial. I made the gray hat from a wool blazer and the second hat (shown above), I fashioned from a pair of wool pants.

Felting Wool

To make the hat, you first have to felt the wool. Start with a 100% wool. If you use a blend, it may not shrink evenly. Check the label for a I remove all the buttons and such before felting.

Felting is easy. Toss the clothing into your washer with hot water and a bit of soap. Allow it to run through a heavy duty wash cycle. Check on it every now and again to see how it’s shrinking. Sometimes I need to let it run through the wash cycle to let it agitate longer. Once you take it out of the wash, toss it in the dryer and dry it on high.

When you take it out of the dryer, it will look like it may fit a 3 year old! Wool will shrink that much. It will also be all fuzzy looking.

Cutting and Sewing the Hat

Now that you have your felted wool, it’s time to cut out some pattern pieces.

Cloche Hat Pattern

Open the pattern and print the pieces. The pattern will fit a 21 inch head. If you want the hat bigger, add a slight bit to the seam allowance on the triangular pieces, but keep in mind that the you need to multiply the amount you add by 12 to figure out the final size. For example, if you want the hat to fit a 24 inch head circumference, you only need to add 1/4 inch to the seam allowance on the triangular pieces. If you need a smaller hat, stitch the seam allowance a bit larger, but also keep in mind a bit off 12 sides equals a lot! I left about 2 inches of extra space in the brim to allow for expansion, if you need more, add a bit to the end labeled “back” on the brim pattern piece.

Cut 6 hat pieces and 1 brim piece from your felted wool.

Take 2 of the triangular hat pieces and place them with right sides together. Stitch from the top point to the base on one side using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Take a 3rd triangular piece and stitch it to the other two so you have half of the hat completed.

Repeat the process with the other three triangular pieces so now you have two halves of the hat. Place right sides together and stitch the two halves together. Turn right side out.

Figure out what you want you to be the front of the hat and pin the brim along the bottom edge. I usually make the front fall evenly between seam lines. Stitch the back seam.

If you have any remaining area from the end of the brim, just press it flat before stitching the brim to the hat.

Stitch the brim using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Finishing the Hat

After sewing on the brim, wet the hat in hot water. Take a stiff brush to scrub a bit at the seams on the hat to help blend them better. I like to squeeze the hat and remove the water so it’s no longer dripping and place it on your head to help form the rest of the shape. The cloche hat is pretty form fitting.

Place the hat on something to allow it to dry.

Embellish the hat and it’s ready to wear. I put a ribbon and fabric flower on one and a fabric band and clipped a flower on the other. The trim only needs to be tacked down in a few places. Wearing the hat can help determine the size of the trim. The trim may make the hat too tight otherwise.

What to make the coordinating fabric flower on the hat below? Click here for the free tutorial!

Let me know if you have any questions on this tutorial. I realize that sometimes my directions only make sense to me and my quirky brain.

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