September 29, 2012

Fabric Silhouette Tutorial

I made these silhouettes of the kids using a window frame I got at a garage sale. 
The window thing worked out really well since I have four children, one for each panel.

Here's how: 
 First take a profile picture, enlarge it to the size you want, and print it.  

Cut it out, then trace it onto the paper side of Heat n Bond ( You can find this at Wal Mart or any fabric store).

Iron that to the wrong side of your fabric.

Cut out the image.
Peel off the Heat n Bond paper and iron onto background fabric.  I used a solid for the boys and a patterned material for the girls.
Frame it.  I used spray adhesive to stick the fabric in each panel, then I hot glued trim around the edges.

I paid $1.50 for the window frame, and $2 for the trim.  
I had the other fabric and Heat n Bond already, so it was an inexpensive and fun project!

September 27, 2012

Conference Bingo Printable and V.T. Goodies

It's almost conference time! And what is conference without a giant bag of Wonka candy and Conference Bingo? I designed these little bingo cards for the kids in my primary class. I wanted to keep them simple and bright to help kids get excited and maybe pay attention for 15 minutes. 

You can download some for yourself (there are two per page), print, cut them out, and stick to some card stock. Use M&Ms, dry beans, etc for kids to mark every time they hear a word or topic. Four in a row gets a treat! 


I also finally finished making these little goodie bags for the girls I visit teach. I'm going to include a bingo card in one for a girl who has a little boy.

I found cheap brown bags at JoAnn's and used a stencil to write "Conference Care Kit" (I couldn't think of a better title...) and added some cutesy details, because it just wouldn't be a church handout without some "embellishment". I threw in a journal, pen, candy, popcorn (forgot to photograph) and tissues. I've seen some other great corny ideas, but those were the things I could find. Be creative, make them for Young Women or Primary kids, add cheesy sayings to go with each item, etc.

September 23, 2012

DIY Dress Pattern: Using Shapes

Not sure why, but being back in school has actually lead to me sewing MORE. Maybe I rationalize that putting off endless text-book reading is justified because I am doing something constructive, improving my talents, [insert generic excuse here]. Whatever the reason, it has resulted in me finally constructing my own dress pattern AND IF I CAN DO IT, SO CAN YOU! Seriously! So here we go.

1. Find your inspiration and take it to the fabric store. For me, it came from a pin on my style-wise niece's Pinterst board, originally from Reiss Embroidered Dress, retails for around $300

Being new to the area, I luckily (perhaps providentially) happened across the most amazing fabric outlet store here in Dallas. Their regular prices are typical, but the selection is huge and clearance fabric... $0.99/yard or less! I found the teal spandex-sheer 5 yards for $4.50, the white silk lining 4 yards for $0.99 (yes, that's 25cents/yard), and the lace was a splurge at $8/yard. With the zipper and the thread, this dress cost less than $15. So, how did I do it?

2. Those kindergarten years are about to pay off, because constructing a pattern really comes down to finding the basic shapes within your inspiration.
     2a. Let's start with the top (front-view). Most tops are basically a rectangle with darts (triangles) at the base and a neckline (here, a semi-oval) cut into it at the top. You will also note slight semi-ovals cut away for the armholes and a small triangle cutaway at the shoulders:

You would cut one of these out of the sheer fabric, or cut the pattern in half and cut one on the fold out of sheer fabric. For a more modest look, I cut one out of sheer fabric (teal) and one out of lining fabric (white). **Top (back-view): Follow the same shapes and directions, adjusting the deepness of the neck-back to your liking and using only the inner dart. For both views, be sure to mark your darts before cutting!


2b. Now let's look at the lace overlay. It is similar to the top, a rectangle with darts (triangles), but shorter which means no neckline and no armholes. 

For this, cut one out of lace and one out of lining. (*I already cut my lining in step 2a, so another cut of lining here is not needed.) Again, the back view uses the same shapes and directions, with the exception of using only the inner dart.

2c. Cap Sleeves: Sleeves come in all shapes and sizes, but for cap sleeves, as pictured here, you basically have a top-rounded triangle that forms both the front and the back of the sleeve (it is all one piece).  Cut two of sheer fabric. *Again, I chose a more modest look and cut 2 of sheer and 2 of lining.

2d. The Midriff: The front midriff is a bowed rectangle while the two back midriff pieces are smaller, normal rectangles. Cut one front of sheer and one front of lining; cut 2 back of sheer and 2 back of lining.

2e. The Skirt: My favorite part! The skirt lining and the skirt overlay are 2 different shapes. The skirt lining is your basic trapezoid with a slightly bowed base. Cut 2 of lining.
The skirt overlay is your basic full circle skirt. I really liked this circle skirt pattern I found on Pinterest, originally from a cute blog called Fickle Sense: for the whole tutorial visit HER WEBSITE
skirt patterns (circle skirt)

For the actual construction of the dress, I will create a different post, coming soon. Be Brave! You can do it!

September 20, 2012

Monogram Pillows

For Christmas last year, my sister-in-law made us this gorgeous, scallopy, bedspread. I'm not really one to have 20 decorative pillows on my bed, but I wanted just a few simple ones that wouldn't distract/compete with the bedspread. So I found some pastel fabrics (ok the middle one ended up being more neon, but whatevs) and made one typical square pillow with aqua binding + 2 pale pink with our first initials on them.

Now, there are probably a million better ways of making these since I kinda just improvised and was wayyy too skimpy on the stuffing, but I still like the idea. Basically all I did was trace the letters onto my fabric before sewing and then filled them in with a fabric marker.

September 15, 2012

Party Ideas/Washi Tape Decor

I had to come up with some decorations for James' baptism lunch, so I decided to use the washi tape my friend gave me for my birthday.  Washi tape comes in various patterns and colors- so fun!  
I folded the tape in half all along some string, then cut points in the ends to create these banners.  I found free printable letters online, and taped those to the string as well. For the striped backdrop, I bought a yard of material, folded the edges under as I pinned it to the wall with push pins.  Today I used that same fabric to make a car seat canopy (2 birds with one stone).
We needed centerpieces for the tables, so I made these easy "8"s out of printable circles, a wooden skewer,
 and these styrofoam rounds, which were 2/$1 at Dollar Tree!
 I just wrapped washi tape around the styrofoam to dress it up a bit.  The width was perfect! There are so many free printables out there that could be used with this idea.
I also created some subway art with the baptism info, stuck it in a $1.50 frame from wall mart, and displayed it on the serving table.  Pic Monkey is a great site for this, because they have fun fonts and you can rotate the words, etc.

September 11, 2012

DIY Baby Cardigan from Onesie

Everyone needs to know how to make a baby-sized cardigan sweater!

I'll admit up front that this tutorial was 100% inspired by this tutorial. However, I wanted to make a cardigan that was more like a real sweater and less like a onesie dressed up as a sweater. I also sewed my contrast on differently, but maybe the original way was easier. Anyway, check out her tutorial if at any point my directions aren't making sense.

So I started with a white long-sleeved onesie which I dyed gray. DISCLAIMER: if you're going to dye something, it's a good idea to actually follow the directions on the box so you don't end up with a splotchy mess like I did. Let's just pretend I was going for a "vintage" wash..

You'll need:
* Long-sleeved onesie (a patterned one would be so cute)
* Some knit (stretchy) fabric. 1/2 yard would be plenty
* Buttons

Sew the little shoulder flaps down, and we're off!

Cut onesie:

1. Cut of the snaps, as close down as you can get without keeping any of the leg opening.

2. Measure, mark, and cut straight down the center

3. Draw a horizontal line across the chest however deep you want the V neck to be. Then use a straight edge to draw diagonal lines from the shoulder flaps to the horizontal line. Cut the V AND the entire hem all the way around the neckline.

4. Cut off the hem of the sleeves.

Cut contrast fabric:

1. One piece long enough to go from the bottom, up one side, around the neck and down the other side (the raw edges from steps 2 and 3 above). About 2.5 in wide or DOUBLE however thick you want the contrast band to be + .5" for seam allowance.

2. One piece a little shorter than the entire bottom edge and 3.5 in wide or however wide you want doubled + .5. 

3. Two pieces a little shorter than the circumference of the sleeve edge and same width as the long piece in step 1.


1. Fold all contrast pieces in half and iron. I know, ironing is the worst, but you'll be glad you did. Iron the fat piece for the bottom with the right sides facing IN.

2. Start at the base of your center cut and sandwich the onesie between your nicely ironed piece of contrast. Fold the raw edge of contrast under about 1/4" and pin. Do this all the way around the neck until you get to the bottom o the opposite side.

3. Sew the contrast down the way you pinned it, staying fairly close to the edge. If you want it to look nicer than mine, use matching thread.

4. Take one of the arm band pieces. With it still folded length-wise, fold it again hamburger style and sew raw edges together. Slip that over the arm of the cardigan and line up raw edges. Sew those together without sewing closed your arm hole. Fold band down when you're done. Repeat for other sleeve.

5. Sew the two short edges of the bottom piece with right sides together. Flip right side out and line up the long raw edge with the raw base of the outside of the onesie. Sew raw edges together and flip the band down.

Iron everything into place, sew on some buttons--maybe button holes if you're feeling ambitious--and you're done!

Now try it on and attempt to get some cute photos of your very uncooperative model.

September 9, 2012

Clothing Inspiration

I love the bright colored jean trend, but as a middle school teacher I live in constant fear that I'm starting to look like the tweens in my class! This J.Crew look seems like the perfect way to try the trend, without looking like a teenager. I don't have $605 to spend (remember- I teach middle school), so this is how I would create a similar look on a budget:
Do you have a favorite way to style colored jeans?

September 7, 2012

Giveaway Winner

And the winner is...

Hil! Please email me ( with your mailing info.

Thanks for playing.

September 4, 2012

Watercolor Map Tutorial


I came across some of these pretty watercolor maps all over the internet, and I really wanted to make one to put in my baby's room. As I started carefully, slowly drawing out an outline of a world map, I realized there must be an easier way! So off to Photoshop I went and had this about 20 minutes later:

Here's how you can, with absolutely no artistic ability, create our own watercolor map! If you don't have Photoshop, see if your local library or college campus does.

1. You have two options here:
a. Find image online of watercolors (or any kind of pattern/painting that tickles your fancy). You will want to make sure you have permission to use someone else's artwork. A good place to find stuff is the "Creative Commons" on
b. Paint something yourself and scan it onto your computer. Really you would just need to paint blobs in pretty colors.

2. Open it in Photoshop. (Clean up the scan if necessary)

3. Find the map you want to use. It could be a state, country, whole world, whatever.  I used this one.

4. Go back to Photoshop, open a new document and paste the map into it.

5. You should now have 2 tabs in Photoshop: one with the painting, one with the map. Click back to the painting one, then at the top choose Select: All.

6. Click back to map image, hold the lasso tool and choose the magnetic lasso. If you're not familiar with the lasso tool, you can watch this. It's really easy, though.

7. Outline one section of the map and close it off (should have dashed line around it). If you're doing a map of the world or anything with lots of islands, lakes, etc. you really want to do it in small chunks (what a gross word).

8. At the top click Edit: Paste Special: Paste Into. You should get something like this:

9. Rinse and repeat!

There are so many possibilities with the types of map, painting, patterns you could use with this tutorial. If there's a state or country special to a loved one, this would make a cute personalized gift. I'm excited to experiment!

September 2, 2012

Beyond Apparel... Sewing Pets

So-- at Joann's most recent $1.00 pattern day I got a bit ambitious. I had babies on my mind since I had two pregnant sisters-in-law, and when I think babies I think pets. (I know. I have all the makings of an old, single cat lady but until I have kids of my own, there we are.) well I saw an adorable pattern for a horse and thought it would be perfect for my newest future niece. here is what resulted:
Again, this was from a pattern so all I can offer are a few tips when sewing a stuffed animal. However, these can be applied to other sewing projects to:

1. be creative with fabric choice; use it to personalize your project
2. "staystitching" has a purpose. do it if the pattern says to and sewing curves to straight pieces will be so much easier. (To staystitch is to sew with small machine stitches most often along the seam line of a curve)
3. often after sewing curves the pattern will tell you to clip the excess material at the seam. again, do it! it gives a much more polished look to the curve when you turn the fabric right side out.
4. don't be afraid to leave out parts of the pattern that you don't like, or add to parts that you do... for example, if you don't like having knots in the legs (causing them to be more floppy), just fill them with stuffing instead. Another example, I could add another row of "hair" on the horses mane simply by repeating steps 20 to 22 in this pattern.
5. use buttons and ribbon to accessorize or embellish; there are lots of cute options out there.
6. personalize! especially if it is a gift, adding their name and yours to the bottom of one hoof is easy. you can learn to embroider by hand or with a machine... it will take time but it is usually worth it!