Sunday, May 30, 2010

petal sleeves and tulip pocket dress

I had been busy the last month or so collecting project ideas and storing them on my side bar and last week I exploded with project after project. Here is one I had been supper excited to do. My inspiration was from:

What you will need-

  • A men's dress shirt (I made a 5T dress out of an XL dress shirt I got at the thrift store for $1.)

  • Large paper to trace a pattern or an existing dress pattern. (Newspaper, Packing Paper, tissue paper...)

  • Thread to match your dress. (I didn't match my thread too closely and now I wish I had. It's a little obvious around the shoulders and pockets that the color is not close enough because of all the stitching done in those areas.)
  • This template to make the sleeves and pockets.

  • Measuring tape

  • pins

Here's how I did it-

-The Dress

  1. If there is a pocket on your shirt get the seam ripper out and remove the pocket. (Save the fabric in case you need it latter.) Put the shirt through the wash. Chances are that what looks like holes from the sewing is really just areas that the thread has been forced out and washing it will help it settle back into place.

  2. Find a toddler dress that you have and like. Trace it out onto a large piece of paper.

  3. Once all the pieces are traced, take your measuring tape and used it as a seam allowance guide. my tape is about 5/8" wide. Draw your seem allowances around every pattern piece.

  4. If your pattern pieces are mirror images then be sure to draw a center line on them. When you cut out your mirrored imaged paper pattern, fold them on the center line and cut them while folded. This will help make sure that even if you didn't trace the dress very well, your new dress won't be lopsided. Cut the paper pattern pieces.

  5. Pin the paper pattern pieces to the fabric, and cut them out like any other patten. Make sure to use the front of the dress shirt as the back of the dress. Before cutting, make sure that the buttons are straight with the center line on the pattern when you pin it on. Also, make sure that the top button is not so close to the top that it gets in the way of the hem on the neckline, but not so far down that it leaves a gap at the top of the dress.

  6. Assemble the dress. This can be difficult to describe seeing as how each person will use a different dress as a pattern. for me, I had to sew the front top to the front bottom. Then I sewed the shoulder seams and side seams. followed by hemming the skirt, sleeves and neckline. (My fabric frayed easily so I did a double roll hem on every seem/hem.) The beauty of using a dress shirt on this pattern is that you won't have to mess with zippers, creating button holes or lining up buttons. That is normally a step in garment making that takes a lot of time and I always make mistakes with it. this way, it's already done for you.

-The cap petal sleeves

  1. print out the pattern page above. I wrote the length and width of the rectangle. these are the pieces that worked for my dress. You can play with the size and proportion to make it right for your dress. (If you don't have a printer, you could probably put a page of paper up to the screen and trace the pattern.)

  2. Cut out 2 of the paper pattern piece that has writing on it and layer them on top of each other with each end hanging over the other by a few inches.

  3. Pin the paper pattern to the dress to determine if the curve looks like what you were going for. (Remember that you will loose a little bit of coverage when you sew the edges for the hem.) If you don't like them. trim the paper or make some new pattern pieces according to your needs.

  4. Once you like the shape of your pattern, cut out 8 pieces from your fabric. (4 will be visible and 4 can a lining fabric.)

  5. Sew 2 pieces together leaving a gap, an inch or two between the beginning and end of the stitching. clip any extra fabric off near the points to help make the points more crisp after turning.

  6. Using the gap, turn the pieces inside out so that the seems are on the inside. Use a pointed object, like a knitting needle to help make the edges crisp. Press them flat with an iron.

  7. Sew up the hole used to turn the hem inside by hand or machine.

  8. Pin them into place on the arm hole of the dress.

  9. Sew them into place by machine or by hand. Repeat on the other side making sure that the second sleeve begins and ends at about the same place as the first sleeve so that the dress doesn't look lopsided.

If you want a full sleeve you can follow a tutorial for that here.

-The tulip pocket

  1. Cut out 2 of the paper pattern piece without writing on it. Flip one over and see if you like the look of your flower. If you don't like it make any necessary adjustments.

  2. Pin the paper pattern to the fabric and cut out 8 pieces. (4 will be visible, so you can make the other 4 of them out of lining fabric if you wish.)

  3. match the petals up. If you are using a lining fabric, make the liner the bottom fabric and the main body fabric the top. 2 petal sets should point to the right and 2 should point to the left when the main body fabric is on the top. If you are not using a lining fabric don't worry about the direction. your petals will be the same on each side.

  4. Sew 2 petals to each other leaving a gap. the gap should be about 2" long. Trim the extra fabric off the point. Turn the petal inside out. Use something pointy like a knitting needle to smooth out the edges and make the point crisp. (Be careful not to make a hole in the point.) Iron the petal flat. Repeat with all the petals.

  5. Match the petals together to make a flower. You will need 1 right sided petal set and 1 left sided petal set for each flower. Pin them together so that both flowers match.

  6. Sew the cross over section as shown.

  7. Pin the flower to the dress in the desired location and sew the outer edge in place as shown.

Go back through the whole dress and make sure that you have clipped all the loose threads.

I LOVE this dress and am excited to make some more dresses fixing some of the mistakes I made along the way with this one. the dress pattern is still a little big on my daughter, so she should be able to wear any dresses I make with it for a long time.

Here are some ideas I have for future dresses with this pattern.

  • Make a peter pan collar to put on the neckline.

  • Make a shirt dress with the buttons in the front and a sash to tie around the waistline.

  • Make a denim dress out of a denim jacket

  • Play with color some more. Have contrasting fabric for the pockets with green rick rack for stems and green bias tape for the hem.

  • Instead of flower pockets as the cute detail, use a variety of ribbon and rick rack as striping all around the bottom of the dress.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Oatmeal Rasin Cookies

Today I day dreamed about having my own cookie business. I created a blog I tittled it the All American Cookie Company and planned to donate one dozen cookies to America's heroes for ever order placed. But then I got a call from my brother (Who I had mailed some cookies to earlier.) He was happy that I sent the cookies but admitted that they arrived in crumbles and had gotten stale and dry.

I might not end up selling my cookies in the way I envisioned. Perhapse it will have to be a dream fullfilled latter, when I move back home after Sam's military career is done and running a business from a store front is a possibility. But I won't give up on my love of cookies. For now I can just perfect my recipies, techniques and strengthen my love for all things cookie.

this week I made my favorite cookies, oatmeal raisin cookies. (Recipe here)

  • I had the idea of drizzling almond flavored icing on top. It was good and gave the cookies a cute look, but I still think they are just as yummy without the icing. I will probably ice them if I am giving them away, but for eating at home, we won't bother. I think the icing will be a requirement if the cookies stick around long enough to get stale/hard/dry.

  • Another thing I tried out was instead of dropping the cookie onto the cookie sheet I rolled them into balls and flattened them with a fork. I didn't like the way they turned out so I won't do that again for these cookies. (Especially considering that it was more work.)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

My new toy:

I saw some cute note cards in the store yesterday. they were adorably decorated and had a place where you could place a personalized message. The messages were typed on little circles that were 1.25" and I fell in love with the idea. So I bought a 1.25" hole puncher and have been having fun using it.

After using some of my scrapbook paper I wised up and went through my magazines and punched a lot of stuff to use on note cards.

I found letters, newspaper print, Animal print, florals and even a brown paper bag.

I look forward to finding some fun ideas of things to do with them.

tube top to sundress refashion:
I have this tube top that I bought and used as a skirt when I need a skirt on vacation and couldn't find one. It was really cute but I ultimately decided that it didn't have enough weight to be worn as a skirt, and I never could figure out where I wanted the waistband to sit on my waist. So I took it from this to...

I made it into a sundress for Gwen. My inspiration was this top on sparkle Power.
I LOVED that the neck and arms were ruffled by putting elastic through a casing so that it is easy for young children to put on. (Gwen's other summer tops of similar style are difficult to put on.)
I wanted to make sure that it would fit her for a while, so I made it a little big, then sewed 4 loops in the back under the straps with some ribbons. They were about 1/2" long and I burned the ends to make sure they didn't unravel. Then I strung some ribbon through the loops and tied the ends together. This helped the top fit better. The next time I go to the fabric store I think I will look for some pink or purple ribbon that will match the dress better.
Also, there was not enough extra fabric to make the sleeves as long as I would have liked. So while at the store I think I will also look for some dark purple cotton to add a second ruffle on the underside of the plaid sleeves that are just an inch or two longer. I think it would help to pull in the purple trim from the base of the skirt.
I also LOVE that it is a long skirt. I am SO tired of telling Gwen to keep her skirt down at church, and I like that it is a dark enough pattern that she can wear it as play clothes and I don't have to worry too much about stains.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

OMG, I'm a featured artist!

I submitted my post about making a crown to one pretty thing and it will be posted on their site today! Check it out!

One Pretty Thing is an amazing site that, as the author puts it, "scour(s) the craft forums, sites and blogs to bring you the best tutorials and DIY projects from across the Internet."

Rachel, the author, is constantly updating the site with a very wide variety of projects to choose from. I can't remember how I found it, may from Aimee's site. (gotta love linking :) Thanks to both of you. I'm addicted to one pretty thing and so excited to now have a little part in such a wonderful site.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Cookie Crazy

I went cookie crazy this weekend. I discovered a cool cookie website called bake at 350
I was amazed at how willing the sites author, Bridget, is to share her ideas, recipes and process of making cookies. She also has a spin off website called university of cookie where she and her cookie professional friends post tutorials on how to make great/decorate beautiful cookies.
All the cookies I made were shown on the site or inspired by cookies on the site. I was practicing their method of flood icing. Basically you use regular royal icing to pipe an outline for what you want. then you go back after it has set and fill in the empty spaces with runny royal icing. It was messy but fun to have a chance to be creative.
Pink Roses-I piped the edge of the flower, then filled the whole thing in with flood icing (I found that if the icing isn't filling in the area right you can use a tooth pic to spread the flood frosting.) After that dried, I came back and piped on the dark pink spiral and the green leaves. (Next time I think I will do fondant leaves or pipe the leaves on curved parchment paper and apply them after they dry to give the cookie a 3 dimensional look.
Daisy in the garen-I piped out the flower center, petals and green outer edge. Then filled them all in with the flood icing. After it dried I added the white dots. (On the links above there are some cool examples of feathered frosting techniques that I tried with some of these but I think I need some more practice with it.)

Sea Shell cut out-I drew a sea shell on some heavy paper, cut it out and then used it as a template on the cookie dough. I cut the cookies out with a knife. I thought this was a cool idea because you don't need to have a million cookie cutters to be able to make a variety of cookies.

Lemon slices- Right after I piped the outline and the segments I put some yellow sugar sprinkles on a plate and dipped the cookie into it. After that dried, I went back and filled each section in with the flood icing. Next time I think it would be fun to add some lemon flavoring to the frosting.
I hope bake at 350 and university of cookie inspire you as much as they did me and you have a fun time making your cookies. I stayed up until midnight enjoying the process and doing it in peace with kids asleep in their beds.

Fleece Crown

felt/Fleece Crown:
I have been teaching the 3 and 4 year olds at church and last week Gwen and one of the other girls practically fought to the death over who got to be the line leader. (Really, Gwen clotheslined her and she fell, right in front of her mother. Not our finest moment!) So I made a fabric crown that we can pass from one kid to the next so there is no confusion in the future. (I figured that with their track record, a paper crown might get torn.) It think it could also be a cool thing for a princess or Knight party.

Here's how I did it.
  1. Begin with two 21"x 4.5" strips of Yellow Fleece. It's probably a good idea to measure the kid's head before cutting your material (I used fleece because it is stretchy and the edges don't unravel.)
  2. Next take a piece of paper and folded it the long way in half twice. (So when you I open it up you have 8 long slender sections.) While still folded, measured about 4" from the bottom of the paper and cut the paper at about a 45 degree angle.
  3. Take a pen and traced the outline of the paper on one side of one strip of the fabric.
  4. Take both layers with the marked side up and sew along the zig zag line making sure to keep the bottom lined up. (You can pin the bottom edge to make sure it stays together if you like.)
  5. Trim the extra fabric off the top of the crown about 1/4" from the edge of the stitching.
  6. Sew the bottom edges together about 1/4" from the edge.
  7. Now sew the sides together. If a child is available, use their head a model to help you know how much fabric to overlap at the edge. (The stretch to the fabric will help make it fit a wide range of heads.)
  8. Turn the crown around so that the pen marks are on the inside of the crown. (As long as you didn't use a permanent marker or an expo pen, the marks should come out after washing the crown once or twice.) If you would like you can now decorate the crown with embroidery, buttons, fabric paint... ...what ever you like.

    Sunbeam update- I used the crown this week and it made things a lot easier. Gwen and her "rival" got along much better, she still ended up making her fall down over something else while in class, but it was an accident and they also had a lot of friendly time too. I think the problem between the two of them is that they are too much a like. Once they get used to one another I think they will become the best of friends.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


It's been a while since I posted something new, and it is because I have been preparing for the owners of our rental house to come for a visit. The rental agency said the owners were coming on Monday or Tuesday. But Monday and Tuesday came and went with no visitors. I had been busting my booty to get the house in presentable condition. (The kids do collateral damage around here on a regular basis. Their ability to make a mess of a clean room astounds me.)
In addition to trying to stay one step ahead of the rug rats I have been gardening to show the home owners what wonderful tenants we are in hopes that they will give us access to the room above the garage. I've discovered that gardening can be expensive, but weeding every month sucks enough to make the money worth it. I'm happy so far with the results. The girls and I even made a cute little scarecrow today. Gwen has been telling me that we should make a scarecrow for our garden since our garden didn't turn out so good last year.
My plant inventory:
  • Bushes with Yellow flowers-African Shrub Daisie's (Euryops P. Viridis 01C 01C) Sun to part Shade
  • Small purple flowering plants between the African shrub Daisey's-Trailing Purple Lantana plants. They are supposed to be a ground cover, so hopefully this will help with the weed problem.
  • Green leafy bushes-Gold Dust Plants. They are supposed to get fairly large. (3-5' wide and 6' tall.)
  • Pink flowering plants-#1 Aucuba Japonica Variegata. They are climbing vines and I hope they help the corners of the "garden" pop.
  • Tomato plant
  • Grape vine
  • sweet peas to climb up the walls/fences
  • spinach- mostly already eaten by bugs
  • Green beans
  • strawberries-their future looks grim
  • Romain lettuce-they didn't make it. Gwen thought they were weeds and pulled them. RIP little leafs.