Category Archives: Sewing

Bit of Whimsy Dolls–Lessons Learned

I’m not much of a seamstress. I’ve been able to sew a straight(ish) line since I was pretty young, but I’ve never really improved my skills too much beyond that. Nothing like my amazing friend, Alina, who has taught herself everything from upholstering to fancy dressmaking and has now moved onto making HER OWN JEANS (like, from start finish, and they look BETTER than professionally done…hashtag awe-inspiring).

Even so, I’ve managed to crank out window treatments–both short and long–pillow covers, a skirt or three, some easy tailoring fixes, some baby shoes, and other simple tasks.

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Still, when I purchased the Bit of Whimsy doll pattern–cough–three years ago, I knew that I would be using all of my meager skills. Not that it requires a great deal of seamstressing (made up words for the win). But–for me, at least–sewing feels a bit like the opposite of riding a bike. At least ’til I really get back into it. Every time it’s been a while since I’ve done it, I’m all: “Bobbin? What’s THAT? Oh, yeah.” And don’t even ask me to adjust the thread tension. Things start getting ugly fast.

ANYhoo, despite my various and sundry inadequacies, I decided that this (well, last…I decided it when it was still “this”) year was going to be the year that I finally whipped out those darn Whimsy dolls for my girls.

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Honestly, it’s a good thing I waited as long as I did. The twins would have been too little to fully appreciate them (they kind of still are), and, well, being 41 weeks pregnant like I was last year is not a good time to attempt to not put a sharp shiny metal object through your finger multiple times at high speeds.

Of course, in true Abbie fashion, I procrastinated a bit (in my defense, I got all of my supplies bought and in order the week BEFORE the week of Christmas and sat down multiple times to sew, but the distractions…I mean, the children…would have none of it).

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And, of course, in true Abbie fashion, I decided to sew not three but nine of those little buggers.

3 for us, 2 for my nieces, and 4 for friends’ daughters.

Did I finish all of them in time for Christmas?

Er, Nope.

Did I finish them all in time to give them to each little girl who needed them at that time? (Several of which were, mercifully, after Christmas?)

Yes. Barely.

How long did all of this doll-making business take?

I don’t honestly know, but I did a rough tally, and it was in the neighborhood of 30 hours, all told. A fast doll-maker, I am not. Although, I was feeling especially slow until I posted a pic on Instagram, and several people responded with, “Those take FORever!” (Lots of little steps).

So! Would I recommend making 9 handmade dolls on the week of Christmas? Not really. But I actually ended up enjoying it in some sort of perverse way, and the boys were able to help a bit one morning (with the arm and leg stuffing), so it was kind of a fun family project while we watched a marathon of Christmas movies + The Princess Bride (what??).

And the results?

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{In case you’re wondering, the girls’ shirts, and the twins’ skirts are from Old Navy–fairly recently}

Pretty adorable, if I do say so myself.

In case you’re wondering how I managed to keep all of this doll-making a complete secret from my girls, the answer is: I didn’t. I had planned to. But after staying up until 1 AM 3 nights in a row and feeling positively sick by day 4, I resorted to daytime sewing shenanigans, which definitely drew Della’s attention. She practically hovered over me asking questions that I refused to fully answer (I never actually told her they weren’t for her, but I never told her they were either).

But she’s no dummy.

The very first thing she did on Christmas morning was to hug me and say sleepily: “Merry Christmas, Mama. Thank you for making my doll for me. I love her.” Before she had ever even SEEN her doll, y’all. Or knew for sure she was getting one. Oh goodness. I just teared up. What a softie I’ve become. But it was pretty dang precious.

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{I feel like this is going to be one of those pics down the road where Nola–center– is like, “Really, mom? That one?” Sorry, girl. 2 out of 3 ain’t bad}

My biggest concern was that the girls would take one look at the dolls and then discard them for something “better” (after all, I could have bought them better dolls–in many ways–for $10 from Target), and the twins sort of fulfilled that. Which didn’t surprise or disappoint me too much. They’re only 3–too little still to really get how much love Mama poured into those dolls.

But Della? She has cherished her doll from the moment she opened her and christened her Elizabeth (Della’s and my middle name and what she names ALL her dolls). She sleeps with her, carries her around all day, and gets slightly panicked when she can’t find her (which is sweet, in a maddening sort of way).

And I’m not going to lie. I love it.

Now. Down to brass tacks. Or stitches and fabric, as the case may be.

After making 9 of these, I have a few tips for you, should you decide to tackle one (and only one, right?) yourself.

  • Use the right fabric. Part of the reason that I had all of my supplies in order “early” was that I mostly used what I had. Which…turned out to be a mistake. The muslin that I used for their bodies/faces turned out to be too thin, and I probably spent an unnecessary 4 hours, babying that fabric and restitching places where the seams pulled through the fabric on all of those little arms and legs. Even with all of that effort, I’ve had to repair Elizabeth multiple times already, and, while she’s been holding steady for a while now, with how much Della loves/handles her, I don’t know how long she will last. The twins play with theirs when they remember they exist or randomly find them in one of the toy bins, and they are fairing considerably better for wear.
  • Likewise for the felt for the hair. It calls for wool felt. I only had craft felt, but I did stop by Hancock Fabrics to get the wool…only to discover that they had none. What? Every fabric under the sun, and no wool felt??! So. I went with the synthetic, and it was a mistake. Their hair is pilling something fierce already, something that wouldn’t happen nearly as much with a natural fiber.
  • I don’t know WHAT measurements she’s using for the skirts that you make to go on the dolls, but it says to cut 21″ in length (if I remember correctly) to make them, and every single time, I only ended up needing about half of that.
  • It’s better to slightly under-stuff the arms/legs/torso. You don’t want them limp and saggy by any stretch, but if they have too much stuffing (as can happen with overzealous little boy help), then it puts a lot of undue strain on the seams and makes it that much harder to smoothly attach them to the body.

So! Would I recommend making these dolls as gifts? Strangely, yes. Even after all of that fight with the fabric and late nights. They’re just so sweet and cute and squishy. And different. You have the ability to customize them in multiple ways, but what I really mean is that they’re not the norm that you would find in a box store.

And, if you’ve got a little girl who is old enough to understand that all of that time spent at the sewing machine must mean that her mama really loves her, then it’s hard to imagine a better gift.

Just don’t call me when you have trouble refilling your bobbin.

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Project Elephant Update: A Slipcovered Ottoman

Well, to say that I’m a bit off the pace for finishing my (admittedly ambitious) Project Elephant list from last week in time for this weekend’s party for the twins’ birthday is a weeeee bit of an understatement.

But it hasn’t been for lack of trying.

I blame all of these small human that live with me. If only they would stop making extravagant demands for things like food and water and diaper changes, I would be free to cross things off my list at will.

I guess that’s what I get for birthing 6 adorable, fun, maddening, needy, awesome children.

Anyhoo, I have been plugging along steadily when I’m able and have found that–just like my desire for productivity comes in waves throughout the year–so my actual productivity waxes and wanes from day to day.

Monday? AH-mazing! If I could manage to do what I did Monday–homeschool, cook, clean, project, read to my girls, feed/play with a baby, exercise–all with a minimum of fussiness and fighting and a maximum of energy, I would probably opt to play that day on repeat–Groundhog Day style–just to experience again and again the feeling of my head hitting the pillow that night with a thwump of satisfaction and accomplishment.

But then, there was yesterday, which felt like jogging through quicksand. As soon as I got everybody fed, another round of “HUNGRY!” cries began. Which meant another round of cleaning afterward. I hauled almost everything out of the craft room, but that just means that our big room, which started the day clean, now looks like Hobby Lobby’s fabric department got in a cat fight with their scrap-booking aisle.

And there were entire hours fraught with fussy meltdowns over scenarios such as: toddler asks for juice, mother hands her juice, toddler proceeds to wail as if mother has served her a scorpion with a side of razor blades.

I literally got into bed last night thinking: “Well, I hardly sat down, but I’m not sure what I accomplished or where the hours went.”

ANYhoo, as I comfort myself with the (quite possibly faulty) reassurance that, “It gets worse before it gets better,” I thought I’d show one thing I did manage to check off the list.

And that would be this recovering this sad little ottoman.

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{Pardon the ugly yellow pic; I completely forgot to take a before pic when I had light}

I think I bought it at Ross for something like $30 4ish years ago. Clearly, it has been well-loved by my kids. And their apple juice.

I’ve been meaning to make a slipcover for it for aaaaaages, but it just never was a priority until I finally plunked it on my Project Elephant list (there’s the beauty of PE for you).

Do you remember my lampshade recovers from a little while ago? Well, I had juuuuuuuuust enough of that gorgeous Waverly Santa Maria fabric left (seriously, it was sufficient by maaaaaybe an 1/8″) to make my slipcover, so, using a modified version of this super-simple tutorial, I whipped up this cover, which took it from sad, stained, and lumpy to this:

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I reeeeeeeally like it.

I’m not usually into matchy-matchy fabrics in living spaces, but I like that I can move the ottoman around the room so that it plays more or less off of the mirroring pattern in the lampshades.

And now I’m off to attempt to stuff all of my craft supplies in a somewhat organized manner back into the craft room (which, considering that it was piled practically to the ceiling and is clearly insufficient for the amount of stuff I have, could be…interesting).

Happy Hump Day, y’all! If you have any trouble chomping through your elephants today, I suggest eating an appropriately shaped animal cracker. You’ll feel accomplished immediately. Or at least, less hungry.

 

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Wardrobe Wednesday: Max(i)ed Out

I’ve had that Wardrobe Wednesday post title planned for at least two weeks, so, of course, I had to comment on it to make sure it got its due. : )

Also, it’s pretty indicative of what we’ve got in store for today’s post, which is all about maxi skirts—one bought, one made by moi.

Here’s the bought option:

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Okay, so normally, I do not point your eyes to my bust region, but I just have to say that I was wearing a camisole with a built-in bra under my t-shirt, and apparently, it was not lying completely flat or something because I’ve got lumpiness issues going on here that I don’t care for.

Of course, most of you were never going to notice that, and now I have directed your attention to my chest.

Great job, Abbie.

Also, can I just take a moment to say that maxi skirts are a pregnant girl’s best friend?

Not just because of comfort either. Look what else you can do!

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Sometimes, all it takes is a good twirl in a long, floaty skirt to brighten your day (it’s especially bright when the skirt is a particularly loud shade of chartreuse!). 

You know what else are a pregnant girl’s best friends?

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WIDE BELTS.

I wore this outfit to sing on the worship team at church last Sunday, and as I was trying to figure out what to wear the night before (we do our final run-through at 7:15 Sunday morning, which means I need to get up at 5:45 to get there on time, and trying to find clothes the morning of in the dark without waking up husband or children is no fun at all), I was having a major pregnancy snit fit.

You know, the: “Nothing fits right anymore, but I’m not big enough to need different clothes, so instead of pregnant, I just look hefty, and I’m a coooooooowwwww! Waaaaah!”

Yeah, it was a big-time, ugly pity party, folks.

And then I remembered that wide belt (Candie’s, brand new from Goodwill = $1), and when I put it on, everything suddenly made sense (well, not everything…I still don’t know why they make those little tab thingies on ketchup packages so dang hard to tear without squirting goo all over yourself).

Not only that, but I got at least three compliments on the outfit (and one of them was from a guy on our worship team who said something like, “I don’t usually notice fashion or anything like that, but I think what you’re wearing is really cool”).

In fact, two ladies ran up to me after the first service, pointed down, and said, “WHERE did you get THAT?!”

I looked down and saw my daughter standing at my feet and said, “Adelaide? Oh, I birthed her.”

Turns out they were talking about my skirt.

Oh, and as far as the breakdown for this outfit goes, the skirt was an Old Navy clearance buy ($8), the t-shirt was a clothes-swap score ($0), the jewelry is from Goodwill ($5ish), and the shoes?

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Well, the shoes were a bit of a splurge for me.

I found them at the GAP outlet a few weeks back and fell so deeply in love that I paid $20 for them. I plan to wear the tar out of them, though, so there’s my excuse for buying $20 sandals.

Okay, so how about we take a gander at the “made” maxi skirt?

If you recall, I was majorly jonesing for a cute maxi dress like this one:

(click the pic to be taken to the tute)

But there was one small problem.

I couldn’t quite see much point in cutting up a tank to attach the skirt of the dress to when I could just make a skirt, tuck the tank in, and then add a belt or sash and achieve the same effect with less work and more versatility.

I found this crazy fun print at Hancock’s yesterday, which normally I wouldn’t gravitate towards, but it was super-cheap ($2.50/yd), and I thought it might be a fun punch of whimsy with a white tank.

I followed the basic guidelines from the above tute for measuring the amount of fabric I needed, etc., and then did my own thing after that.

So, how much fabric will you need?

Well, it depends on you and the fabric you use.

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(love the veins of gold outlining the flowers)

This particular piece of fabric was very lightweight but not very fluid. I forgot to look at the bolt to see the exact makeup of it, but I would guess a lightweight, unpolished cotton.

It’s a little scratchy and a teeny bit stiff, which means it doesn’t have a lot of movement—not ideal for a maxi skirt, but I figured I could make it work.

SO! Back to that measurement business.

A Small Snippet (the blog with the tank dress tute) suggests wrapping your fabric around your waist 1 1/2 times to achieve the desired fullness. Lindsay, who made her own version, suggested 2 times.

What with the belly and all, I decided to go with Lindsay’s suggestion.

Turns out that TOO much fabric is a bad thing when your fabric is a bit on the starchy side (not so attractive when you’ve got a bump in the front AND a huge bustle of extra fabric in the back), so I ended up trimming my seam by a good 6 inches, which means that I was closer to wrapping the fabric 1 and 3/4 times around my waist.

But I don’t think this would be an issue with softer, more fluid fabric that “lies” a little more nicely.

Once I had wrapped my fabric around my waist to determine how wide it needed to be, I cut it at that mark, and then did the following:

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Since my fabric wasn’t directional (meaning, it didn’t matter whether it lay horizontally or vertically), I was able to use the full “length” (actually the width, but it didn’t matter in this case) of the fabric, which at 45” or so, was plenty long enough for me (I’m 5’6”ish), as long as I didn’t hem.

Goody for me that the uncut edges of the bolt have a nice straight selvage line, so I didn’t have to if I didn’t want to (and I didn’t).

Then, I grabbed a piece of 3/4” elastic, attached a safety pin to one end, and here’s what came next:

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Then:

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All evenly scrunched and ready to go.

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Aaaaand…that’s IT!

You’re already done.

Seriously, the easiest. skirt. ever.

I made a couple of measuring/stitching goofs because that’s how I roll when I sew, but if I hadn’t, I could definitely have been done in under an hour.

Of course, you could do fancier things like hem your skirt or make a nicer-looking band for the waist, but I already knew the band would be covered up with a sash or wide belt, and no one was ever going to notice my hem with that busy of a print going on, so I stuck a pin or two in it and called it done! (And then took the pins out before I poked myself…again).

And here’s how I wore it:

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Did you notice my vintage button jewelry from yesterday’s post? I’m already getting my $3 worth! : )

So, what do you think? Wanna give the:

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…a try?

I’d love to see pics if you do!

I can definitely see the drape and sway of the skirt being drastically different depending on what kind of fabric you use, and I already have a couple more options in mind that I think I’ll try out!

Well, that’s it for me today, folks!

I’m off to the post office, more errands, and then BODYCOMBAT launch (I think I have miraculously managed to cram enough of the choreography in my head that I won’t embarrass myself). 

Y’all have a lovely Wednesday!

The CSI project ~ Menu Plan Monday ~ C.R.A.F.T.  ~ The Southern Institute ~ Making the World Cuter ~ Thrify Décor Chick ~ Metamorphosis Monday ~ Sumo Sweet Stuff ~ Gunny Sack ~ Singing Three Little Birds ~DIY Homes Sweet Home ~ Dittle Dattle ~ 1929 Charmer ~ Everything Under the Moon  ~ ModMix Monday ~ Sew Stylish ~ Coastal Charm ~ Under the Table and Dreaming

Tuesday ~ Get Your Craft ~ Tip Junkie ~ Blackberry Vine ~ Crafty Confessions ~ Me & my Boys ~ A Bowl Full of Lemons ~ Home Stories A-Z ~ My Uncommon Slice of Suberbia  ~ Carolyn’s Homework ~ Sugar Bee Crafts ~ House of Grace ~ Passionately Artisitc ~ My World Made by Hand ~ Uncommon Designs ~ Trendy Treehouse

Wednesday ~ Blue Cricket Design ~ Somedays Crafts ~ Sew Much Ado ~ Sew Woodsy ~ Handy Man, Crafty Woman ~ Savvy Southern Style ~ {Primp} ~ Midweek Fiesta ~ Rae Gun Ramblings ~ Polkadots On Parade ~ Lollipop Cards ~ JAQS Studio ~ Let Birdz Fly ~ Let Birdz Fly ~ My Girlish Whims

Thursday ~ Thursdays are Your Days, Transformation Thursdays ~ Somewhat simple ~ Show off your stuff ~ House of Hepworths ~ Delightful Order ~ My Simple Home Life ~ The Frugal Girls ~ Thrifty Thursday ~ DIY Diva Thursday ~ Tablescape Thursday ~ No Minimalists Here ~ Crafty, Scrappy, Happy ~ Thrifty Decorating ~ Between U and Me ~ 36th Avenue

Friday ~ The Shabby nest  ~ Show and Tell Friday ~ Finding Fabulous ~ I’m Loving it ~ Simply Sweet Home ~ Whipper Berry ~ Chic on a Shoestring decorating ~ Spunky Junky ~ Delicate Construction ~ Homemaker in Heels ~ Family Ever After~ French Country Cottage ~ Common Ground ~ Young And Crafty ~ At the Picket Fence ~ Fingerprints on the Fridge ~ Miss Mustard Seed ~ Addicted to Decorating ~Bacon Time with The Hungry Hypo ~ Making Lemonade ~ I Can’t Stop Crafting ~ Over the Big Moon ~ Shabby Art ~ Answer is Chocolate

Saturday ~ I heart nap time- Sundae Scoop ~ Tatertots and Jello ~ Be different Act Normal ~ Funky Junk ~ 2805 ~ Making Lemonade Blog ~I am Along for the Ride  ~ Lolly Jane

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Try-it Tuesday: Reversible Baby Booties

Have you ever tried to photograph an almost-17-month-old toddler doing, well, anything?

It’s kind of like trying to use chopsticks to spear Jell-o while it’s revolving on a pottery wheel.

But more on that later.

Have you heard of Joyfolie?

I first discovered Jessica’s delightful shoe line for infants and littles (though I think she’s expanding to Women’s too) two years ago when I was pregnant with Della, and I was immediately smitten with the fabrics, the flower details, the exquisite style in which my girl’s newborn tootsies had the potential to be shod if only I weren’t so cheap.

Because, seriously, Jessica’s creations are magical, and back when I first found Joyfolie, her shoes were only about $30 a piece—an absolute steal for handmade (GORGEOUS) baby shoes.

Lest you think I’m exaggerating, here are a few examples that the website would actually let me grab images of. They’re not even my favorites, but Joyfolie does not make a bad shoe, folks. (Just click on the pic, and it will take you to the link):

 

Throw in names like “Luna” and “Gabi” and “Farrah” and the fact that Jessica styles and takes all of her pics, and I have to say, I’m in awe.

But no matter how much I love her shoes, I simply cannot make myself plunk down $60 a pop (the average price now that Joyfolie has achieved limited mass production) for an article of clothing that will grace my child’s feet for a mere month or two.

(Although I did indulge in one pair from the Joyfolie FB fan page—a great place to get gently used Joyfolies at discounted prices—before Della was born, and then squirreled them away for the “perfect time,” which only occurred AFTER she’d already outgrown them…doh!…no worries, though, I can easily resell them for what I paid).

So, what’s with the Joyfolie plug?

Is Jessica sitting beside me, slipping me crisp Benjamin Franklins for every sentence I write?

Um, no.

Pretty sure she hasn’t a clue of my existence.

Also pretty sure she wouldn’t love the fact that I’m praising her shoes but not buying any. : \

HOWEVER, I do enjoy letting people know about quality products that I love (even if I am too cheap for them), AND all this Joyfolie talk is a great tie-in to today’s Try-it Tuesday…

…which is all about baby shoes.

Because, as you probably already know if you’ve been following along at 5D5W, my typical response when I find something I love but am not willing to shell out for is to think, “Hmmmm…so can I do that myself, for a lot less?”

In the case of baby booties, the answer is a resounding yes, and the possibilities are endless.

I found a basic bootie pattern…this one, actually:

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And got to work.

Here’s Della at 6 weeks wearing the first pair of shoes I ever made her:

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(I cannot get over how tiny she is here).

And here she is 15 months later, absolutely fascinated with what Mama is doing with that fun, shiny, pointy thing:

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{This is what a lot of the crafting at our house looks like}

So, how hard is it to make baby shoes?

Not hard at all.

In fact, all you really need is cute fabric, a sewing machine or thread + needle, maybe some ribbon or elastic, and a little patience.

As you can see from the shot below, there are really only two pieces to the pattern:

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I got my Simplicity pattern on sale for around $7, but you could easily make your own by tracing around the sole of a baby bootie you already have and then cutting a horse-shoe shaped piece of fabric for the shoe body.

For this pair of shoes, I wanted the most bang for my buck (which is maaaaaaybe how much it cost to make these…that may be a bit high actually), so I decided to make them REVERSIBLE!

How?

Easy!

But first, remember this:

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Yup, that’s about all you need to know. As long as the material you use for your sole works on both sides, you’re good to go.

Here’s the process I went through:

1. Cut one pair of shoe soles out of the GAP leather skirt I used to make last week’s Leather Flower Belt (aka: Nadia).

2. Cut TWO shoe bodies—one out of one fabric style and one out of another.

3. Match up right and lefts of shoe body patterns, with right sides of the different fabric styles facing each other (in other words, I took my two “right” shoe uppers—one brown polka dot and one floral felt—and lined them up with right sides facing, wrong sides out).

4. Sandwich a piece of ribbon between the right sides of your fabric about 1/4” from the back of the shoe upper (the back will be the end of the “horse-shoe”), with the ribbon end flush with the inside seam of the shoe and the ribbon tails extending in the opposite direction (in other words: if the inside edge of your shoe uppers is to the left, then the ribbons tails will stretch out to the right, and then rest will be sandwiched inside the uppers). Repeat with another piece of ribbon for the other end of the “horse shoe.”

4. Pin and stitch along the inside edge, leaving an 1/8” seam allowance (this will attach the fabrics to each and secure the ribbon in place…you might want to go back over your stitch for durability).

5. Flip right sides out and iron flat against each other, which will hide your seam.

6. Sew a vertical seam up the back to close the “horse-shoe” shape and make it a “shoe shape” instead.

7. Stitch the shoe upper to the sole, using an 1/8” seam allowance and making sure that you’ve paired the right side of the sole with the right fabric pattern (I wanted the cognac side with the bright pattern and the nappy side with the polka dot).

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8. Trim the edges, so that your tabs (those pointy bits sticking out from the fabric) and your frayed edges are gone.

Obviously, with the reversible shoe option, one of your versions is going to be a little more “rustic” and unfinished than the other (because when you flip the polka dot to the inside, the seams are completely hidden).

But if you use fancy thread—I chose gold—or even a fancy stitch (if your machine has that option), it still looks great.

And it’s hard to beat two shoes in one—less time spent sewing AND fewer shoes to keep up with!

The last thing to consider is embellishments.

My patterns were cute by themselves, but my favorite things about Joyfolie’s shoes are the fun flowers, ruffles, and bows.

Obviously, I couldn’t put a flower on top of a shoe that would get turned inside out because then Della’s little toes would be constantly getting scratched, or they wouldn’t even fit at all.

What to do, what to do?

Oh, I know!

How about detachable flowers?

Yeaaaaah. That’s gooood.

I whipped up two matching sets of Layered Circle Flowers (from last week’s tutorial)

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And then glued little felt squares and brooch pins to the back to make them easily attachable.

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I grabbed the first cute baby I saw and started trying to spear Jell-o while it revolved on a pottery wheel get her to hold still long enough to actually get a picture of the shoes. (I told you we’d get back to that Jell-o reference sooner or later).

WARNING:

If copious amounts of cute little girl pictures annoy you, you’d best just keep scrolling to the bottom of this post!

Option 1:

The Maribel

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Option 2:

The Odette

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Clearly, I’m not even 1/100 of the photographer that Jessica is (she uses her daughter as the model for most of her shots too, but the results are *cough* slightly better), but the baby girl more than makes up for it, I think.

Oh, and speaking of Joyfolie, that adorable clippie in Adelaide’s hair came with the shoes that she never got to wear (*sniff*), so at least I got something for the 20+ hours I spent stalking the Joyfolie fan page two years ago while were on vacation (did I just type that “out loud?”).

See you tomorrow for Wardrobe Wednesday and Thrifted or Grifted!

The CSI project ~ Menu Plan Monday ~ C.R.A.F.T.  ~ The Southern Institute ~ Making the World Cuter ~ Thrify Décor Chick ~ Metamorphosis Monday ~ Sumo Sweet Stuff ~ Gunny Sack ~ Singing Three Little Birds ~DIY Homes Sweet Home ~ Dittle Dattle ~ 1929 Charmer ~ Everything Under the Moon  ~ ModMix Monday ~ Sew Stylish ~ Coastal Charm ~ Under the Table and Dreaming

Tuesday ~ Get Your Craft ~ Tip Junkie ~ Blackberry Vine ~ Crafty Confessions ~ Me & my Boys ~ A Bowl Full of Lemons ~ Home Stories A-Z ~ My Uncommon Slice of Suberbia  ~ Carolyn’s Homework ~ Sugar Bee Crafts ~ House of Grace ~ Passionately Artisitc ~ My World Made by Hand ~ Uncommon Designs ~ Trendy Treehouse

Wednesday ~ Blue Cricket Design ~ Somedays Crafts ~ Sew Much Ado ~ Sew Woodsy ~ Handy Man, Crafty Woman ~ Savvy Southern Style ~ {Primp} ~ Midweek Fiesta ~ Rae Gun Ramblings ~ Polkadots On Parade ~ Lollipop Cards ~ JAQS Studio ~ Let Birdz Fly ~ Let Birdz Fly ~ My Girlish Whims

Thursday ~ Thursdays are Your Days, Transformation Thursdays ~ Somewhat simple ~ Show off your stuff ~ House of Hepworths ~ Delightful Order ~ My Simple Home Life ~ The Frugal Girls ~ Thrifty Thursday ~ DIY Diva Thursday ~ Tablescape Thursday ~ No Minimalists Here ~ Crafty, Scrappy, Happy ~ Thrifty Decorating ~ Between U and Me ~ 36th Avenue

Friday ~ The Shabby nest  ~ Show and Tell Friday ~ Finding Fabulous ~ I’m Loving it ~ Simply Sweet Home ~ Whipper Berry ~ Chic on a Shoestring decorating ~ Spunky Junky ~ Delicate Construction ~ Homemaker in Heels ~ Family Ever After~ French Country Cottage ~ Common Ground ~ Young And Crafty ~ At the Picket Fence ~ Fingerprints on the Fridge ~ Miss Mustard Seed ~ Addicted to Decorating ~Bacon Time with The Hungry Hypo ~ Making Lemonade ~ I Can’t Stop Crafting ~ Over the Big Moon ~ Shabby Art ~ Answer is Chocolate

Saturday ~ I heart nap time- Sundae Scoop ~ Tatertots and Jello ~ Be different Act Normal ~ Funky Junk ~ 2805 ~ Making Lemonade Blog ~I am Along for the Ride  ~ Lolly Jane

Like what you read? Like M is for Mama on facebook (pretty please?):

Wardrobe Wednesday: The Skirt Challenge {#3}—The Ruffled Scarf

Okay, so I know most of us are pretty much out of scarf season, but after yesterday’s, ahem, eventful weather, the temps around here have cooled rather drastically, which is pretty much the only benefit to arise from a dozen tornados tearing through the DFW area and landing Arlington in a “state of disaster.”

So since I had already planned on making a ruffled scarf for this edition of:

 SKIRT-001

…I will now get to actually wear it out (at least in the morning).

I promise I’ll add pretty pics later, but I posted Monday’s and Tuesday’s projects so late that I felt like I had to turn right back around and show you another one in a couple of hours, so I figured I would get this one posted with a couple of midnight shots I nabbed in my friend’s (soon-to-be-painted) bathroom and then update a little later with the good stuff.

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No 27-step tutorial for you today, I’m afraid, although I will briefly describe what I did:

  • Cut the bottom six inches of the skirt off (I cut horizontally, following the line of the skirt hem and eyeballing my width until I got back to my original cut, which means that I basically had an “infinity strip” of fabric)
  • “Double-hemmed” (hemmed, turned under, hemmed again) the jagged edge where I had cut, leaving the skirt’s already hemmed edge alone.
  • Ran a stitch through the center of the length of the scarf, backstitching to secure the beginning of the thread but specifically avoiding backstitching when I got back around to my starting point so I could use that thread to gather/ruffle my scarf (pull on loose thread end, then slide the fabric away from loose thread until you have puckers all along the length of it)
  • Tied off my loose thread ends
  • Made a flower corsage to hold my new, ruffly infinity scarf-from-a-skirt together at the throat
  • Clipped the corsage on
  • Took a picture

(Tomorrow, I’ll be showing how I made each of the flowers in the corsage).

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EDIT: Here are the promised “pretty pics,” though that second one of the full outfit is only here as photographic evidence that I should NEVER wear a shirt that length with straight-legged jeans ever again.

Stumpifying in the extreme.

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This is option two of how to wear the scarf—sans flower corsage and with an extra loop around the neck (I asked Katie if I looked like I was wearing a Shakespearean ruff, and she said no, so I’m trusting her).

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Oh, and just in case,  here’s yet another refresher of what we started out with:

I would say we should name her (since you know I’m all about that), but it just seems a bit wrong since I’m hacking her to pieces and making her become something she didn’t start out as.

Feels a little schizo, right?

Who knows?

Maybe we’ll name each individual part of Mullet Skirt’s contribution to craftiness.

After all, “The Braided Bow Headband” is kind of a long name for the unassuming little bit of frippery that was Project 1.

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Not to mention the stuffiness of a name like “The Leather Flower Belt” for Project 2:

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(I’m leaning toward Nadia, but any suggestions are welcome).

Oh, and here’s a few shots of the whole outfit:

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I’m kind of a fan of my new $5 Old Navy psychedelic-print flats…especially after my friend, Katie, gave me a stylin’ Strawberry Shortcake Band-aid to keep the left one from rubbing my heel raw.

Also, just to remind you that I do wear things other than projects crafted from Ikat skirt fabric, here’s the outfit I wore on a date with the hubs on one of his recent weekend homecomings.

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The maxi skirt was $6 from—yet again—Old Navy (I’m not usually an Old Navy kind of girl, but I’ve scored some serious deals there lately).

So, what about you?

Scored any deals lately?

Sick of gray/white Ikat fabric yet?

(Only two more days).

Linking up with Lindsay.

 

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The CSI project ~ Menu Plan Monday ~ C.R.A.F.T.  ~ The Southern Institute ~ Making the World Cuter ~ Thrify Décor Chick ~ Metamorphosis Monday ~ Sumo Sweet Stuff ~ Gunny Sack ~ Singing Three Little Birds ~DIY Homes Sweet Home ~ Dittle Dattle ~ 1929 Charmer ~ Everything Under the Moon  ~ ModMix Monday ~ Sew Stylish ~ Coastal Charm ~ Under the Table and Dreaming

Tuesday ~ Get Your Craft ~ Tip Junkie ~ Blackberry Vine ~ Crafty Confessions ~ Me & my Boys ~ A Bowl Full of Lemons ~ Home Stories A-Z ~ My Uncommon Slice of Suberbia  ~ Carolyn’s Homework ~ Sugar Bee Crafts ~ House of Grace ~ Passionately Artisitc ~ My World Made by Hand ~ Uncommon Designs ~ Trendy Treehouse

Wednesday ~ Blue Cricket Design ~ Somedays Crafts ~ Sew Much Ado ~ Sew Woodsy ~ Handy Man, Crafty Woman ~ Savvy Southern Style ~ {Primp} ~ Midweek Fiesta ~ Rae Gun Ramblings ~ Polkadots On Parade ~ Lollipop Cards ~ JAQS Studio ~ Let Birdz Fly ~ Let Birdz Fly ~ My Girlish Whims

Thursday ~ Thursdays are Your Days, Transformation Thursdays ~ Somewhat simple ~ Show off your stuff ~ House of Hepworths ~ Delightful Order ~ My Simple Home Life ~ The Frugal Girls ~ Thrifty Thursday ~ DIY Diva Thursday ~ Tablescape Thursday ~ No Minimalists Here ~ Crafty, Scrappy, Happy ~ Thrifty Decorating ~ Between U and Me ~ 36th Avenue

Friday ~ The Shabby nest  ~ Show and Tell Friday ~ Finding Fabulous ~ I’m Loving it ~ Simply Sweet Home ~ Whipper Berry ~ Chic on a Shoestring decorating ~ Spunky Junky ~ Delicate Construction ~ Homemaker in Heels ~ Family Ever After~ French Country Cottage ~ Common Ground ~ Young And Crafty ~ At the Picket Fence ~ Fingerprints on the Fridge ~ Miss Mustard Seed ~ Addicted to Decorating ~Bacon Time with The Hungry Hypo ~ Making Lemonade ~ I Can’t Stop Crafting ~ Over the Big Moon ~ Shabby Art ~ Answer is Chocolate

Saturday ~ I heart nap time- Sundae Scoop ~ Tatertots and Jello ~ Be different Act Normal ~ Funky Junk ~ 2805 ~ Making Lemonade Blog ~I am Along for the Ride  ~ Lolly Jane

Like what you read? Like M is for Mama on facebook (pretty please?):

Try-it Tuesday: The Skirt Challenge {#2}—Leather Flower Belt

Okay, I know I’m a bit slow on the uptake with getting the installments posted for:

SKIRT-001

But today has been a bit…different.

In fact, I’m sitting here in my friend’s living room in Dallas while all three of my children hang out with their Grandma, and we’re watching footage of a tornado ripping through the area about 20 miles north of us. 

So far, no injuries/casualties, but all of those semis flying through the air are kind of cramping my shopping + movie plans.

Okay, bad joke…

But I am genuinely grateful that I spent so much time chatting with my friend that it took me way longer to get my photos than I wanted it to and delayed me from getting out the door because I would have been much, much closer to the tornado’s path if I’d left when I wanted to.

Moving on…

Let’s get to today’s $1 project, shall we?

I used the covered waistband from my “mullet skirt” (thank you for that perfect description, Bethany)…

…and added a fun leather flower for a twist.

I absolutely love the combo of prints + leather, so I thought that my gray/white Ikat pattern would work fabulously with the beautiful cognac leather from a GAP mini skirt that I scored at good ol’ GW weeks ago for $5.

Turns out, I was right.

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At least, I think so.

You know what else I think?

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It was a darn fine morning before all of this nasty, messy weather rolled in (holy moly, the mayor of Arlington just declared the city in a “state of disaster”).

Okay, so what do you need for a Leather Flower Belt of your own?

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Oh, and although your flower-making options are practically limitless, if you make yours like I did, you’ll also need a candle (and fire…yup…that too).

Here’s what you’ll do:

1. Make a petal template for your flower. In keeping with my “using whatever’s on hand” goal, I pulled an Indian giver move and nabbed these pretty white ceramic flowers that I gave Katie (the friend I’m staying with) for Christmas and traced around them onto my scrap paper.

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Apparently, I had incredible foresight in my gift-giving because I needed a large petal pattern and a smaller one, and I just so happened to have given her two different sizes of flowers.

So I traced around both the large and the medium flowers and then freehanded three circles for the center petals.

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2. I pinned my templates to the leather skirt…

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(yes, I know the skirt is cute and in perfect shape, but it’s not my size, and I couldn’t get this much beautiful leather for $5 anywhere).

…and started snipping.

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3. Then I burned the edges of the leather petal shapes and circles until they curled upwards slightly.

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(Pardon the fuzzy pic…I was focused on keeping the wind from blowing out my candle flame. If you do burn the edges, make sure to do it in a well-ventilated place because it can get quite, um, fragrant).

4. I stacked them on top of each other, and stitched them together through the center circle (stitching not pictured).

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5. Next I cut the waistband away from the skirt…

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…tucked the frayed edges under and stitched it in place

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(I also added a line of orange stitching to the top edge so I didn’t have a random line of orange on the bottom).

6. I trimmed the length of the waistband, then cut a strip from the bottom (already hemmed) edge of the leather skirt, then wrapped around and stitched it to the “belt” ends.

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7. I stitched two strips of Velcro to the end of the leather “wrapped” section (and trimmed that extra bit of waistband you see sticking out there).

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I used two strips of Velcro for a stronger hold.

I may replace this with snaps eventually, but since I didn’t have any on hand, and I didn’t want to buy anything for this project, the Velcro will be just dandy for now.

8. I attached my leather fabric flower to the front of one belt tail with a glob (not a dab) of high heat hot glue and set it aside to dry.

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9.  Finally, I tried it on and struck a pose for my sweet friend who was nice enough to play photographer.

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So…

What do you think of the challenge so far?

I definitely feel like I’m getting my money’s worth.

P.S. Pray for the weather here if you think of it. Tornados are popping up all of the Dallas area, and there’s been a lot of damage.

The CSI project ~ Menu Plan Monday ~ C.R.A.F.T.  ~ The Southern Institute ~ Making the World Cuter ~ Thrify Décor Chick ~ Metamorphosis Monday ~ Sumo Sweet Stuff ~ Gunny Sack ~ Singing Three Little Birds ~DIY Homes Sweet Home ~ Dittle Dattle ~ 1929 Charmer ~ Everything Under the Moon  ~ ModMix Monday ~ Sew Stylish ~ Coastal Charm ~ Under the Table and Dreaming

Tuesday ~ Get Your Craft ~ Tip Junkie ~ Blackberry Vine ~ Crafty Confessions ~ Me & my Boys ~ A Bowl Full of Lemons ~ Home Stories A-Z ~ My Uncommon Slice of Suberbia  ~ Carolyn’s Homework ~ Sugar Bee Crafts ~ House of Grace ~ Passionately Artisitc ~ My World Made by Hand ~ Uncommon Designs ~ Trendy Treehouse

Wednesday ~ Blue Cricket Design ~ Somedays Crafts ~ Sew Much Ado ~ Sew Woodsy ~ Handy Man, Crafty Woman ~ Savvy Southern Style ~ {Primp} ~ Midweek Fiesta ~ Rae Gun Ramblings ~ Polkadots On Parade ~ Lollipop Cards ~ JAQS Studio ~ Let Birdz Fly ~ Let Birdz Fly ~ My Girlish Whims

Thursday ~ Thursdays are Your Days, Transformation Thursdays ~ Somewhat simple ~ Show off your stuff ~ House of Hepworths ~ Delightful Order ~ My Simple Home Life ~ The Frugal Girls ~ Thrifty Thursday ~ DIY Diva Thursday ~ Tablescape Thursday ~ No Minimalists Here ~ Crafty, Scrappy, Happy ~ Thrifty Decorating ~ Between U and Me ~ 36th Avenue

Friday ~ The Shabby nest  ~ Show and Tell Friday ~ Finding Fabulous ~ I’m Loving it ~ Simply Sweet Home ~ Whipper Berry ~ Chic on a Shoestring decorating ~ Spunky Junky ~ Delicate Construction ~ Homemaker in Heels ~ Family Ever After~ French Country Cottage ~ Common Ground ~ Young And Crafty ~ At the Picket Fence ~ Fingerprints on the Fridge ~ Miss Mustard Seed ~ Addicted to Decorating ~Bacon Time with The Hungry Hypo ~ Making Lemonade ~ I Can’t Stop Crafting ~ Over the Big Moon ~ Shabby Art ~ Answer is Chocolate

Saturday ~ I heart nap time- Sundae Scoop ~ Tatertots and Jello ~ Be different Act Normal ~ Funky Junk ~ 2805 ~ Making Lemonade Blog ~I am Along for the Ride  ~ Lolly Jane

Like what you read? Like M is for Mama on facebook (pretty please?):

Move-it Monday: The Skirt Challenge {#1}—Braided Bow Headband

Okay, folks, I’ve got something fun, fun, fun for you guys this week.

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I picked up this skirt at Target several weeks ago for $5 from the clearance rack knowing full-well that a) it was about 4 sizes too big and b) I am not a fan of the whole shorter in the front, longer in the back hemline trend.

What I am a fan of, though, are a) gray and b) Ikat (not to be confused with iDog).

So, I figured I would issue myself:

THE SKIRT CHALLENGE

Whoa, Abbie, that sounds serious. What is this skirt challenge you speak of?

Well, this week I will be making one wardrobe-related item per day, using this skirt’s material as a base for each one and supplementing only with materials I already have on hand…which means that the grand total spent specifically for each creation will be…wait for it…$1.

Today, I’m showing you a project that would be perfect for, say, keeping your hair out of your face while doing a Move-it Monday round of the esquiva/lunge combo that I showed you several weeks back.

Is it a bit girly for a workout?

Maybe.

But it’s also the most comfortable, stay-put headband I’ve ever worn. 

In fact, I usually avoid headbands because, despite my coarse, curly hair, they tend to slide right off (is my head shaped like a bullet, and I don’t know about it?), or, if I can actually get them to stay, they give me a headache because they’re so tight.

I’ve been wearing my new braided bow headband for hours now, though, and it hasn’t slipped a bit, and I don’t have a headache.

Yeeeeeehaw!

Plus, it’s cute!

Want proof?

Here you go:

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Okay, so how do we make this cute, comfy, workout-ready headband-from-a-skirt?

Well, let’s start with some of this:

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    • Fabric (I used my skirt fabric + the white “wife-beater” fabric you see in the background)
    • Scissors
    • Hot glue gun (of course)
    • Elastic (mine is 7/8”)
    • Needle + Thread (I used my sewing machine too, but you could hand-sew everything here easily)

I started out photographing this tutorial yesterday afternoon outside while the kids played in the backyard but ran out of light because I kept getting distracted by these cute things:

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Oh my goodness, are those not the cheesiest grins you’ve ever seen?

Their Softa (my mom) sent those little balls of (very originally named) fuzz home with them last weekend (way better than the grass snakes their Sabba—my dad—sent them home with a few weeks back…but then you’d know all about that if you subscribed to our FB page, now wouldn’t you : )), and they’ve been obsessed ever since.

We’ll see how long it lasts. 

ANYhoo, I really couldn’t pass up a chance to show you cute little boys holding cute little ducks, now could I?

But the point was that, if the abrupt change of picture venues is a bit jarring, there’s your explanation.

All right…let’s get started.

1. Cut 3 loooooooong strips (I cut all the way along the hem of the skirt 3 separate times) about 3/4″-1” wide.IMG_2410

2. Stitch or baste the three strips of fabric together.

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3. Braid your strips together, ensuring that you keep the pattern on your fabric facing up if you’re working with a print.

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4. I added in two braids of white material for width and laid them out on the table to play with the best configuration.

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5. Once I found a combo I liked (I ended up going with Ikat braids on the inside, white on the outside), I (slowly, they’re thick) stitched all of them together at each end…

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…and ended up with this:

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…and then this:

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I’m not going to give you a lot of measurements because I made this headband specifically to match my head’s dimension (it’s rather large), but I will way that these braids were all approximately 12” long, and I made up the difference with my elastic (you’ll see what I mean).

6. Next, I cut a rectangle as the “pattern” for my bow (mine is approximately 6”X3”, but this could vary widely depending on how big/small you want your bow to be).

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7. Even though my fabric won’t fray, I took the time to turn the edges under and tack them with a quick stitch for a more finished look (I love the contrast of the orange thread against the gray/white fabric).

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Tada! (Clearly, I wasn’t too worried about perfection in symmetry).

 

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8.  Then, I positioned my bow rectangle approximately 2/3 of the way down the length of braids, since I didn’t want the bow sitting right on top of my head (trying to avoid the “mammie” look here).

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…and secured each corner underneath the braids with a dab of hot-glue.

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9. Depending on weight/thickness of your fabric, you might be able to skip this step, but my fabric is thin, so I bunched it a little with my fingers (to give it that pucker in the center that bows have) and secured it with another dab of hot glue.

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We have puckers!

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10. Now, it’s time to add the center strip of your bow. I cut mine—again eye-balling the size—stitched the edges under for a finished look…

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…then wrapped it around the center of my bow rectangle, securing it underneath the headband with yet another dab of hot glue (this is most assuredly the most amount of times I’ve used the word “dab” in one post).

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Turn it over, and…

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Well, lookie there! A bow!

11. All you need to do now is wrap your headband around your noggin to see how much elastic you need to add for flex and fit, stitch it in place…

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…on both ends

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..and, if you don’t like all that messy stitching, either stitch a lot more neatly than I do or cut one last strip of fabric and use one very last dab of hot glue (or four) to cover the unsightly elastic up with your fabulous fabric.

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12. Take a deep breath, hope it fits, and try it on.

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Mine was the perfect size!

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Okay, that’s it for me today, folks.

My BB Headband and I have to get a move-on on tomorrow’s project.

Can’t wait to show you what it is!

P.S. Don’t forget to enter to win $30 credit to Fashion to Figure AND this cute little guy/gal:

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The CSI project ~ Menu Plan Monday ~ C.R.A.F.T.  ~ The Southern Institute ~ Making the World Cuter ~ Thrify Décor Chick ~ Metamorphosis Monday ~ Sumo Sweet Stuff ~ Gunny Sack ~ Singing Three Little Birds ~DIY Homes Sweet Home ~ Dittle Dattle ~ 1929 Charmer ~ Everything Under the Moon  ~ ModMix Monday ~ Sew Stylish ~ Coastal Charm ~ Under the Table and Dreaming

Tuesday ~ Get Your Craft ~ Tip Junkie ~ Blackberry Vine ~ Crafty Confessions ~ Me & my Boys ~ A Bowl Full of Lemons ~ Home Stories A-Z ~ My Uncommon Slice of Suberbia  ~ Carolyn’s Homework ~ Sugar Bee Crafts ~ House of Grace ~ Passionately Artisitc ~ My World Made by Hand ~ Uncommon Designs ~ Trendy Treehouse

Wednesday ~ Blue Cricket Design ~ Somedays Crafts ~ Sew Much Ado ~ Sew Woodsy ~ Handy Man, Crafty Woman ~ Savvy Southern Style ~ {Primp} ~ Midweek Fiesta ~ Rae Gun Ramblings ~ Polkadots On Parade ~ Lollipop Cards ~ JAQS Studio ~ Let Birdz Fly ~ Let Birdz Fly ~ My Girlish Whims

Thursday ~ Thursdays are Your Days, Transformation Thursdays ~ Somewhat simple ~ Show off your stuff ~ House of Hepworths ~ Delightful Order ~ My Simple Home Life ~ The Frugal Girls ~ Thrifty Thursday ~ DIY Diva Thursday ~ Tablescape Thursday ~ No Minimalists Here ~ Crafty, Scrappy, Happy ~ Thrifty Decorating ~ Between U and Me ~ 36th Avenue

Friday ~ The Shabby nest  ~ Show and Tell Friday ~ Finding Fabulous ~ I’m Loving it ~ Simply Sweet Home ~ Whipper Berry ~ Chic on a Shoestring decorating ~ Spunky Junky ~ Delicate Construction ~ Homemaker in Heels ~ Family Ever After~ French Country Cottage ~ Common Ground ~ Young And Crafty ~ At the Picket Fence ~ Fingerprints on the Fridge ~ Miss Mustard Seed ~ Addicted to Decorating ~Bacon Time with The Hungry Hypo ~ Making Lemonade ~ I Can’t Stop Crafting ~ Over the Big Moon ~ Shabby Art ~ Answer is Chocolate

Saturday ~ I heart nap time- Sundae Scoop ~ Tatertots and Jello ~ Be different Act Normal ~ Funky Junk ~ 2805 ~ Making Lemonade Blog ~I am Along for the Ride  ~ Lolly Jane

Like what you read? Like M is for Mama on facebook (pretty please?):

Kitchen Awning Tutorial

The fact of the matter is that I’m a little obsessed with window treatments.  I see pictures of other houses and never think twice about it if there’s a fabulous room with “nude” windows. But my house’s windows always feel the bad kind of naked and unfinished without some sort of shade, drape, or—in the case of what I’m going to show you today—awning.

kitchen-shade for over window

(found the image on houzz.com 5 years ago…don’t remember the credit…sorry!)

The image above was the inspiration for my deciding to go with an awning over my kitchen window.  I love the jewel tones and crisp lines against all that white.  And, while my kitchen could hardly be more different in terms of color scheme and layout, I am very happy with how my rendition of this little beauty turned out.

First off, I hadn’t a clue where to find those fancy pointed stake-thingies (pretty sure that’s the technical term) that were anchoring the awning to the wall, so I had to get a little creative, which is how I like to roll anyway, and I figured that I could anchor the top section of the awning with a tension rod and then do it again for the lower portion. Turns out I was right. I promise this will make more sense when you see the photos.

Here’s what you’ll need to make an awning of your very own:

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  1. At least 1 yard of the awning fabric of your choice—can be pretty much anything as long as it’s heavy enough to hold its shape.  Medium or upholstery weight fabrics…or even an outdoor fabric (since, you know, awnings have been known to appear outside…check, check) would work great.
  2. *1 yard of lining fabric
  3. Coordinating fabric for a pleated ruffle (if you’re not using the same fabric as in the body of the awning)
  4. Coordinating thread
  5. Pins
  6. Scissors
  7. Pencil
  8. Tape measure
  9. Two tensions rods that measure at least the width of whatever two surfaces you’ll be bracing them against (in my case, my kitchen cabinets)—they didn’t make it in the photo, but they weren’t that pretty anyway.

Also not included in the pic: an iron, ironing board, and sewing machine (unless, of course, you kick it old school and want to hand-stitch all this…in which case…knock yourself out! You may want to after about an hour).

Before you do anything else, you’ll need to measure the width of your cabinets (or whatever you’ll be using to support your tension rods) and decide how far you want your awning to hang down, factoring in the slanted upper portion of the awning as well as the bit that hangs down in the front (hmmm…I really should learn the official terms for these things…if they, indeed, exist).  In my case, I ended up with a fabric rectangle – approximately 40”X25”. 

*Depending on your preference, you may want to line your fabric to keep it from being too sheer.  I did, so I cut another 40”X25” rectangle of ivory cotton to layer behind my pattern.

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I pinned the two fabrics together…

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…and folded down the layered edges, creating about 1/2” hem.  I then ironed the hem down, eyeballing as I went to keep it as even as possible and continuing all the way around the rectangle until all my edges were folded down.

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Then, I ran a quick stitch through the 1/2” hem to make sure it stayed down.

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Next, I folded and pinned down the entire top edge of my rectangle 1 1/2” to create a pocket for my top tension rod, just like you would for a simple curtain-rod sleeve…if you’ve ever made curtains. If not, forget I just said that. And then…

 

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…I stitched the top-edge fold down to keep it from going anywhere (pardon the blurry-edged photo; I’m still figuring out all this photography stuff).

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Next, I needed a pocket for my second tension rod, so I cut a 3”X24” strip of my lining fabric.

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Where you put this second pocket determines how much of the hanging down bit I mentioned earlier that you’ll have at the end of your project.  For my purpose, I measured 15 inches down from the top of my rectangle/awning, made little pencil marks across the lining (the underside) of the width of the fabric, and then…

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…pinned my sleeve along my pencil marks to ensure that it stayed.

 

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I sewed both edges of the sleeve across the width of the underside of the awning rectangle and ended up with this.

At this point, you should have a functioning awning (yay!).  But I wanted mine to be both functional and pretty (demanding, I know), so I decided to add a pleated ruffle to the hanging down bit (okay, I think I’ve officially given it a name; where do I sign up for the patent?), so I chose a coordinating solid fabric, and…

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…measured out a 4” strip down the length of the fabric, making a mark every 6 inches or so with my pencil to ensure that my strip stayed the same width. 

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I then folded it in half, and pinned it to keep it in place, thus giving myself a very long two-inch strip of fabric to fold into pleats (I also ironed mine to give my pleats a really crisp line, but if you like a more shabby-chic look, you could get away without ironing).

It was time to make the actual pleats out of my two inch strip, and I loosely followed this simple tutorial in lieu of using a fancy-schmancy sewing foot designed for ruffles or doing anything even as sophisticated as measuring/pinning the folds of my pleats.  And you know what? The result isn’t perfection, but I’m fine with it. 

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I folded and sewed and folded and sewed until…

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…I had something a little like this to pin to the bottom edge of my awning, which is exactly what I’d just finished doing here.

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I stitched my cute little row of pleats onto my the bottom hem of my awning, and…

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…slid my tension rods into my pockets. 

Okay.

Deep breath.

Ready for the big reveal?

Of course you are!

After all, half of you saw this was a tutorial and immediately scrolled to the bottom to see the finished result.

So, here we go:

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Boring, bare, and blech.

And now…

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Soooooo much better (I’m pretty sure those little birdies are staring up in awe and wonder at their fabulous shade awning).

 

So, how about you? Do you prefer your windows in their birthday suits or all gussied up?

Linking up!:

 

 DIY Showoff

The DIY Show Off

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A Little Knick Knack

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http://tidymom.net/tag/im-lovin-it/

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Try-it Tuesday: Ghetto Tailoring Tips

I am no seamstress, folks.

Like, I’m pretty much a disgrace to the word seamstress.

I can sew straight lines, make ruffles (because that pretty much involves sewing straight lines), mostly follow an (easy) pattern, maybe manage a curved line or corner, sew buttons on, and maybe, on a really good day, with lots of patience, install a zipper.

And yet, it’s amazing what you can accomplish with such rudimentary (read: pathetic) skillz.

I’ve completely reupholstered a chair, sewn curtains, made baby shoes and couch pillows, designed a custom window awning for my kitchen, sewn skirts, and even “tailored” my own clothes.

Now that last bit has consisted almost entirely of easy pants-hemming and even a little duct tape action(the shiny kind you actually use on ducts).

But one of the easiest “wrong fits” in the world to fix is the piece of clothing that’s simply too wide.

Maybe it’s the wrong size, maybe the fit’s just weird (every x-small I’ve seen at GAP for the last 18 months has baffled me: if they think x-small people are 4 feet wide, then what about the rest of us?), or maybe your shape has changed.

Whatever the issue, the solution is ridiculously simple.

Check out the sample below:

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Okay, so obviously—and not too surprisingly—I wanted to show off some pics of my cutie-pie daughter in one of my favorite outfits on her ev.er (can you blame me?).

But that adorbs coat she’s wearing (which I bought for a whopping $20 on sale from the GAP outlet on our most recent trip to Dallas because I loved it so much—perhaps the single most expensive item I’ve ever bought for my daughter) is just too big.

Even though it’s a 6-12 mo. size.

And she’s 15-months-old.

Yup. We got our first shrimp in the family.

And yes, I know in the pictures that it looks pretty cute in its endearing swallow-her-wholeness, but practically, it was pretty hard for her to wear—cumbersome and lumpy.

So!

What’s a mama—who handed over a crisp Andrew Jackson for that darling little coat which, with the blazing temps that are already showing up here in Texas, won’t even be able to be worn but maybe two more times—to do?

Rejoice in the fact that it’s the “right kind” of too big and work some magic with her non-seamstress skills.

Here’s all you’ll need for this super-simple project:

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That’s right:

    • Straight pins
    • A sewing machine (or needle and thread if you like to kick it old school)

Here’s what I did:

1. Turned the coat inside out to expose the inner seams, put it back on Adelaide, and then stuck a few quick pins along the length of the seam to mark how much I needed to take it in.

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How do you get a toddler to hold still so she doesn’t get stuck with pins? Ply her with cookies and oversized stuffed animals, of course.

2. Next, I took the coat off, put the toddler down for a nap (this step is pretty important) and assessed.

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3. I set my sewing machine’s seam to its longest length (that’s the 5.0 on the screen) for two reasons: a) my fabric was kind of thick, and I didn’t want a smaller seam causing it to bunch, and b) I don’t plan on this being a permanent fix, since as Della grows, I’ll be able to let these seams back out so that the coat grows with her (and the looser the seams, the easier they are to rip out).

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4. Then I started sewing, starting at the bottom of the coat and sewing up towards the arms. I used my pins as guidelines, but mostly I just used the sewing machine foot, lining it up with the outside edge of the inside out coat, since that was close enough to the pins I’d marked and helped keep the line nice and straight.

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5. As I got to the wrists of the sleeves, I tapered my seam a bit (notice my foot is now outside edge of the coat) since the sleeves weren’t very big on her, and I didn’t want her chubby little baby wrists to be trapped in too-tight sleeves.

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Here’s a quick shot of the seam from the bottom hem all the way up through the arm. Seriously. Easiest. sewing. ever.

6. The coat was also a bit long, so I folded under the bottom hem, and stitched a quick seam using the current one (white) as my guide

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7. I hauled her out her bed, sleepy-eyed and confused, plunked the coat back on her, snapped a quick pic, then buckled her up and drove off to teach BODYCOMBAT.

IMG_1952I realize this is a bit of an awkward pose, but her feet were planted like the roots of a 100-year-old tree, folks, and I have about a dozen other pictures with them in the exact same position because I couldn’t get her to budge an inch no matter how many crazy dances or silly faces I made. She was barely awake. 

But see how much better the fit is? Not quite as adorable as the huge version, maybe, but definitely more practical

(By the way, I’m not the only one who uses this method. Mandy from Biblical Homemaking beat me to this post a while back, and she even altered the width of some pants with great success!)

So…you may be wondering how this relates to you if you don’t have kids.

Well, this is actually only maybe the third time I’ve tailored my kids’ clothes. Most of the time, I’m doing some sort of quick nip-tuck to my own thrifted finds, like this mustard cropped cardi that I wore to Super Night with Super Mom.

Size: XL.

It was okay. There wasn’t any real necessity for its being super-fitted, especially with the outfit I wore it with.

But when I took it with me to Blissdom to pair with my already super-flowy floral maxi, I knew it need a little taking in.

So, I employed the exact same process that I used on Della’s coat, and voilà!

Literally five minutes later, I had a much better fitting cardi—especially in the arm/torso.

So, how about we take a gander at my latest project:

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It’s the perfect candidate for this kind of fix—a, Anthro-esque tunic dress that’s super-comfy and has really pretty colors (and even a draw string waist, which helps with the fit) but at two-three sizes larger than my normal range, it’s just too blousy and “figure-enhancing” for my taste.

Price?: $16.99, regular price from Marshall’s.

But I’m afraid you’ll have to wait until tomorrow’s Wardrobe Wednesday post to see the big reveal (and the shoes I chose to wear it with; I’ll need a bit of help from you guys on that count).

I know. Mean.

Sorry about that. (Don’t I sound it?)

So, what about you guys? Are you intermediate sewers like me? Never touched a needle in your life? Seamstresses extraordinaire?

I’d love to hear your stories and tips, so feel free to share away in the comments! 

Monday  The CSI project ~ Menu Plan Monday ~ C.R.A.F.T.  ~ The Southern Institute ~ Making the World Cuter ~ Thrify Décor Chick ~ Metamorphosis Monday ~ Sumo Sweet Stuff ~ Gunny Sack ~ Singing Three Little Birds ~DIY Homes Sweet Home ~ Dittle Dattle ~ 1929 Charmer ~ Everything Under the Moon  ~ ModMix Monday ~ Sew Stylish ~ Coastal Charm ~ Under the Table and Dreaming

Tuesday ~Sew Crafty Tuesday Get Your Craft ~ Tip Junkie ~ Blackberry Vine ~ Crafty Confessions ~ Me & my Boys ~ A Bowl Full of Lemons ~ Home Stories A-Z ~ My Uncommon Slice of Suberbia  ~ Carolyn’s Homework ~ Sugar Bee Crafts ~ House of Grace ~ Passionately Artisitc ~ My World Made by Hand ~ Uncommon Designs ~ Trendy Treehouse

Wednesday ~it’s Overflowing Blue Cricket Design ~ Somedays Crafts ~ Sew Much Ado ~ Sew Woodsy ~ Handy Man, Crafty Woman ~ Savvy Southern Style ~ {Primp} ~ Midweek Fiesta ~ Rae Gun Ramblings ~ Polkadots On Parade ~ Lollipop Cards ~ JAQS Studio ~ Let Birdz Fly ~ Let Birdz Fly ~ My Girlish Whims

Thursday ~ Transformation Thursdays ~ Somewhat simple ~ Show off your stuff ~ House of Hepworths ~ Delightful Order ~ My Simple Home Life ~ The Frugal Girls ~ Thrifty Thursday ~ DIY Diva Thursday ~ Tablescape Thursday ~ No Minimalists Here ~ Crafty, Scrappy, Happy ~ Thrifty Decorating ~ Between U and Me ~ 36th Avenue

Friday ~ The Shabby nest  ~ Show and Tell Friday ~ Finding Fabulous ~ I’m Loving it ~ Simply Sweet Home ~ Whipper Berry ~ Chic on a Shoestring decorating ~ Spunky Junky ~ Delicate Construction ~ Homemaker in Heels ~ Family Ever After~ French Country Cottage ~ Common Ground ~ Young And Crafty ~ At the Picket Fence ~ Fingerprints on the Fridge ~ Miss Mustard Seed ~ Addicted to Decorating ~Bacon Time with The Hungry Hypo ~ Making Lemonade ~ I Can’t Stop Crafting ~ Over the Big Moon ~ Shabby Art ~ Answer is Chocolate

Saturday ~ I heart nap time- Sundae Scoop ~ Tatertots and Jello ~ Be different Act Normal ~ Funky Junk ~ 2805 ~ Making Lemonade Blog ~I am Along for the Ride  ~ Lolly Jane

Sundays ~ Homemaker on a Dime ~ Sunday’s Best

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