A Birthday Cape and Hat, or maybe an Easter Cape and Hat!

I have been in love with this Audrey cape and birdcage hat from Simple Simon and Company for a long time now! Have you seen this one?

The pattern and tutorial are so simple! It’s so easy to make that I want to keep making more!

The little one that I made it for has a favorite color and it’s pink, so I decided to line the cape with pink lining. I also had a hard time deciding on a button. I had three options, the one I used, a big flat one and the idea of covering the button with the wool cape fabric. I finally, obviously, decided to go with the one I used.

And the button-hole…. Man! My machine doesn’t do the buttonholes. Wierd, I know. It’s supposed to and I’ve known it’s been not working for years, but I’ve avoided buttons until this project! So it took me about as long to get the buttonhole right as it did to make the whole cape….

see…..  ergh! I’ve got to get that fixed!

And the little birdcage hat! Adorable! The tutorial for this one is great as well! I wasn’t exactly sure about the size and I got a cork hot plate thingy at Ikea and knew it was too big. Then I went to the dollar store, just like ladies at Simple Simon suggest, and there it was. The hot plate thingy they suggest. The perfect size!

The one thing that I did do differently than the tutorial was add the round piece of wool to the underside of the hat to cover up the folded over pieces.

We gave it to her at her birthday party and when it came out of the bag, all the little girl hands reached for it from different directions to try to see what all the feathers were! My eyes probably bulged out of my head as I leapt across to pull it out of those cute little hands! It wasn’t as well received as some of the Strawberry Shortcake and Barbie dolls, but I know it will be well-loved when the dress up days come along!

 

The cape on the birthday girl as we’re waiting on a play to start!

Has anyone else tried these patterns and tutorials? If you have a little girl to sew for, I totally recommend these tutorials. Just great!

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The Pillowcase Dresses are Done! Check!

Yep, that’s right. Finally! My poor friend sent them to me ages ago! But I kept thinking that they need something special. Not just turn over the top, add a ribbon and be done. Nope, these pillowcases are beautiful and they deserved more than that!

My friend (my mother’s friend first) saw a pillowcase style dress, it was actually a table runner turned dress dress, I had done before and remembered some beautiful hand crocheted pillowcases that she had and asked if I would make them in to dresses for her grand daughters. Of course I said yes. But little did she know how long it would take me….

Well, I had an idea. Put a nice big ruffle collar. But then, wouldn’t that take away from the crochet?? Yes…. So what to do??? I thought about it and thought about it…. Until the other day Aesthetic Nest posted this beautiful 2 layer pillowcase dress she had made.

When I saw that, I knew that was exactly why I had put off making the dresses. I was waiting for this inspiration. This idea was exactly what the crocheted pillowcases needed!

So I got to sewing!

I’m not going to do a full tutorial, but I will narrate you through my process.

The materials I gathered were the pillowcases, 1.5 yards of each color fabric for the inside layers, thread, scissors and the machine! I started by making the inside layers. Basically I just made two ‘tubes’ of fabric the same width as the pillowcases with one end hemmed. Here’s where I tried out my new loves, the french seam and blind hem.  Ahhhh….  And for the length, that’s up to you.

I was a bit worried about the size, since these are for a 3T and 5T and I’ve never made dresses for those sizes before. But luckily for me my friend sent me a nice big full size drawing of each of the girls! They laid down and my friend traced them and then both of the girls told her how long they wanted their dresses to be. Too cute!

Back to the process… Then I cut the armholes. I laid out the two pieces of fabric, folded them over and on top of each other. One cut, four armholes!

Here’s where I went out on a limb and had to figure it for myself… At this point you turn both the inside layer and the pillowcase inside out. Then insert the inside layer inside the pillowcase.

Next sew a straight stitch across the top, down around an arm, across the back top, down around the other arm and back to the starting point. Turn them right side out and get the inside layer inside the pillowcase! Topstitch the arms. Turn the tops over 1.5 inches, stitch it down.

Next I went back to the fabric store, because I had only gotten 1 yard of fabric, but I needed more for the ribbon. Or you could just use ribbon… Hopefully you can skip the back to the fabric store step! I used Aesthetic Nest’s suggestions on the fabric ribbon and went with 6″ by about 60 to 70″ or so. I folded the fabric in half, cut the ends at an angle, sewed it together with a hole to pull it through, turned it right side out, ironed it flat and Wah La, a nice big ribbon for a bow.

The girls are in Texas. The dresses are in the mail. And I can’t wait to see the girls in the dresses!

Hope they fit just right….
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French Seams and Blind Hems

So, you know I rarely post on Tuesdays. So since I am, I must be excited about something! And boy am I! French seams and blind hems… ahhh, yes, the little things in life.

So this weekend I finally started working on a couple of pillowcase dresses that I haven’t been doing that needed to be done… More on the pillowcase dresses tomorrow… So I’m reading this tutorial about pillowcase dresses at Aesthetic Nest and she says to use a french seam. I’m thinking to myself, ‘why?, skip this step. what else does she say??’ errrrrrr…. Wait a minute, back it up, let’s just check it out. Then I remembered that my pal Jenny at The Southern Institute had a tutorial on french seams too…

I’m in love…. (hear the birds tweeting and the sweet sound of surf and imagine a very skinny me twirling around with butterflies)… ahhhh…..

It’s so simple! Why had I been ignoring these all this time? Typically the outside of my seams have looked fine. but the inside has always left something to be desired. I don’t have a serger (and at this point don’t want one, but one day I’ll probably post a post very similar to this one about why didn’t I get one of these sooner??) and I rarely go back and stitch the seams. I like my pinking shears….

But now look at how beautifully finished the seam is!

All it is is a straight stitch with wrong sides together, trim the seam, fold the fabric over and stitch again. There’s more detailed directions in the tutorials I mentioned above, but still, that’s it!

And the blind hem… Ummmm… again, where have I been??? Back to the tutorial on the pillow case dress, she recommends a blind stitch. Again, I’m like, um, whatever, a plain hem is fine… Then I start looking and realize that with the detail I already have going on, the regular hem would take away from the beautiful edge of the pillowcase. Then came the aha moment. I jumped up, broke out the handy dandy users manual to my sewing machine and had a blind hem done in no time!

It’s just like a folding a regular hem, but with one extra fold and a change in the sewing machine foot… I ironed down the 2″ bottom hemmed, folded it over (into the hem) 1″, ironed that down, then rolled the fabric back about 1/4″ from the top. It didn’t even need pinning! (if you remember, I try to avoid that pinning step as often as possible!) Then adjusted the machine per the instructions. Lined up the fabric and stepped on the gas! And Wah La…

How awesome does this look? And how bad would it have looked with a straight stitch hem??

OMGoodness! I was so excited I had to show my husband (who wasn’t nearly as excited, surprise, surprise) and I took it to a friend’s house for dinner to show it off. She was much more excited for me than my husband! 🙂

I do love it when I try something new and it turns out almost perfect the first time. That totally added to the excitement! Not even a thought about that mean ‘ole seam ripper!

I can’t wait to show you the finished dresses! They are going to be beautiful!!

Little Dresses for Africa

Yes, another post not about Celebrate The Boy, even though I have a long, long list of projects for CTB… But this one, has been on my mind and I needed to get it done….

 

Little Dresses for Africa is a non-profit organization that provides girls in African orphanages, churches and schools to let them know that people care and to tell these ‘little girls that they are worthy!’

And how did I find out about this??? My quilting guild, of course!  I haven’t been able to make it to the guild meetings lately, but there was a post of a different sort of meeting. A pillowcase dress meeting. Kathy from Pink Chalk Studio let us know about a girl Emily who’s Senior service project is to make 100 pillowcase dresses for the young girls in Africa.

Ok, so I didn’t actually use a pillowcase. I had a shirt that got a hole in it under the arm, but the rest is still cute. My plan was always to turn it into a ‘pillowcase’ dress, it was just initially intended for someone else. Once I read about the Little Dresses project I knew that this is where the dress will go. The pattern (and part of the tutorial) I used is from Prudent Baby and is very simple to follow. (I also just realized we both photographed our finished pieces in front of a fence… )

Here’s the before and after….

 And I love the flower…. 

Yep, a tutorial is on it’s way.

 And, another thing to add to my list of things to do is the Britches for Boys project. The same as the Little Dresses Project, but for Boys….  And as those of us participating in Celebrate the Boy, we know the boys sometimes get the shaft…  Yep, there will more about that too!

Right about the time I read about the Little Dresses project, I also read this quote. I hope it speaks to you as it did to me.

‘I have learned that life is not about me, and it’s not about you either. You cannot live a full life if you cannot share and give to others.’ 

– Behr Champana-Gagneron, architect

 

linked to Made By You Monday

Kids Clothes Week Challenge- Day 7

Yesterday was Day 7. The last day of Kids Clothes Week Challenge. It’s been a lot of fun, even if I did get frustrated with my dragon wings that I haven’t gotten down quite yet…. So last night I put the dragon wings away and made another tiny girl dress.

I’ve had this fabric since before the baby was born, 5 months ago. Thanks to KCWC to helping me get it done!

Yep, it’s another reversible one! I can’t just make a simple little dress, nope, not me. Ever since I found this fabric I knew that the side with the birds, snails and trees was going to be the main side and the blue striped side was the inside fabric. But now that it’s done, my favorite is the blue! Which is your favorite???

Now onto birthday party decorations and toys!!

Kids Clothes Week Challenge- Day 1

Ahhhhh, the elusive pillowcase dress! I’ve always wanted to make one of these, and now I can check it off my list. The only thing is that technically this isn’t a real pillowcase dress. So I can’t completely mark it off my list since I want to do it again some time and make a real pillowcase dress out of a pillowcase!

This one should more correctly be called a table runner dress. It started its life out as a table runner. I found the fabric at a thrift shop and wanted the green for a quilt I was designing. But once I saw the fabric with the great design on it I thought, little girl dress.

And here it is, in all it’s reclaimed pillowcase style dress glory!

 And on top of that I made it reversible! The other side isn’t quite as exciting, but it’s still kinda cute!

I’m totally obsessed with the KCWC and figured instead of just working on something one hour a day, which is the challenge, I’ll try to make one thing each day! We’ll see how that goes. So my first project was something I’ve been wanting to do for ages… The pillowcase dress.

I started with the pattern from the ladies at Prudent Baby. Since mine is reversible, I didn’t follow thier tutorial exactly, but… Very nice directions over there!

But to top it off, the first night of the challenge was also the first night of Dancing With The Stars, my (as much as Joe cringes when I say this) most favorite TV show! So I had to pack all my sewing stuff upstairs to watch. Now I have to pack it all back downstairs to work tonight!

Let’s see what tonight brings… Another dress? Little guy jeans???