Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Warm Winter Dress

Nothing shouts warm and cozy like clothing made from shirting flannel! 

I love how the fabric made sewing this dress easy.  Shirting flannel is so comfortable too.  If you've ever worn shirting flannel you understand it feels like you're wrapped in a soft, flannel blanket.

I had a hard time finding a shirting flannel that my daughter liked.  I ended up choosing these black and white fabrics which complimented one another.  They are a perfect match for a classic, casual winter dress.

The big pockets were cut on the bias out of the large check adding a fun contrast to the small checks.

The trim on the large checked sleeves is the tiny checked fabric.  I love the way the small and large checked fabrics were able to play off of one another adding more interest to this dress.

The pattern I used was a vintage Butterick #3842.  

The pattern shows a raglan three-quarter length sleeve, patch pockets and neckline binding.  It also shows a ruffle at the end of the sleeves but I opted to add self-made bias tape from the small checked fabric instead.  This pattern was fun and easy to sew.  I would recommend this pattern and of course the fabric is just amazingly soft and snuggly! Perfect for a chilly winter day.  xoxo Grandma

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Brother & Sister Penguin Pajamas

Via Facetime, I let my grandson choose the fabric for his and his sister's Christmas pajamas.  As you may have already guessed, he choice this penguin fabric.  Who doesn't love penguins? 

I sewed the coordinating brother & sister pants using this flannel. To my granddaughter's pants, I added a 5" ruffle from a contrasting flannel to the bottom of each leg. 

To jazz up the white pre-made tee shirts I purchased for these pajamas, I added a penguin applique.  To download your free penguin applique pattern go here.

After you've downloaded the pattern, cut out the pattern pieces from any scrap fabric you may have on hand.  I just happened to have fleece scraps that I used for these penguins.

Use temporary adhesive to attach the pieces onto a pre-made, pre-washed tee shirt.  Next place a piece of temporary tear away interfacing under the back side of the image.  (Tissue paper also works great.)  Now, using a narrow zig zag stitch and coordinating thread, machine embroider around the penguin.

Here's how the penguin will look from the wrong side of the fabric:

When you're done your penguin should look similar to this one.  Have fun using my new penguin pattern to make penguin Christmas pajamas for your little ones!  xoxo Grandma

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Refashioned Lace Dress


I love lace clothing.  Nothing looks classier than a girl of any age in pretty lace! This lace creation started out as an adult women's dress.   Right before my oldest daughter got married, she purchased a beautiful lace dress direct from China that looked like this (it was a Kate Middleton copy-cat dress):
Sadly, the dress didn't fit my tall daughter.  She also has long legs and the dress was definitely designed for a short person.  This dress has been hanging in a closet for years and has never been worn. The fabric is golden layers of classic beautiful lace.

 I pulled the dress out of the closet and decided that this was the year to refashion it into a wearable article of clothing for my granddaughter.

To start the refashion, I used Simplicity pattern #1476A, view A but added long sleeves since this was going to be a winter/Christmas dress. 

I cut the skirt and the bodice apart.  The original dress had pretty lace around the skirt and I left that intact. 

To give you an idea as to how short the dress was originally, I only needed to cut 2" off the original skirt to make it fit this almost 3 year old.

I carefully unpicked the zipper and reused.  The sleeves were simply cut down to scale.  I reused the gold lace that edged the original dress to edge the neck and the bottom of the sleeves.  To finish the dress, I made a simple 3" gold sash which I permanently attached at the waistline.

I loved that the lace was so easy to sew.  This is now a wearable holiday dress for my granddaughter.  The nice thing is, my daughter can finally enjoy this dress but on her daughter instead of herself.  xoxo Grandma

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Witch & Her Witch Hat

If you've waited until the last minute to make a costume, keep reading because this is an easy, one hour witch costume that will be a crowd pleaser.

This granddaughter, pictured above, inherited the The Very Hungry Caterpillar costume from her cousin.  The costume wasn't what she wanted because while she was visiting me a few weeks ago, she would look at me and say, "Dama, do you know what a witch says?"  Then she'd say, "Look at me, look at me," and I'd look at her and she'd say, "He he he heeee....Dama, I want to be a witch!" 

How could I deny this darling girl, who can not pronounce her "G's," from having a witch costume? The next day, this little helper became my "pin" girl and handed me pins and more pins as we refashioned this old black lace dress of mine into her new witch costume:

To make this costume, you'll need:
  • An old black dress or skirt
  • A long sleeve black knit top
  • A dollar store witch hat
To make this costume, here's what I did:
  • Cut off the lace skirt from the dress. 
  • Cut off 3" from the bottom of the black shirt.  
  • Baste over the top of the skirt black, glittery tulle. 
  • Add gathering stitches all around the skirt.
  • Pull the gathering stitches until the skirt is the same size as the bottom of the knit shirt. 
  • Pin the skirt to the shirt.
  • Sew the shirt to the skirt.

The witch dress is complete. Wasn't that easy? 

To glamorize a dollar store hat:
  • From the inside of the hat, tack in place leftover tulle.
  • Tack or hot glue bright orange ribbon and stripes of black glitter tulle to the side of the hat.
  • Tie the ribbon and then the tulle into a knot.
I'm not sure why the umbrella is in the above photo but I do know she loves her "zoo" umbrella and who knows, she just may need an umbrella on Halloween night.  I know, I used one quite often when I was a child but I grew up in the rainy part of Oregon and my costumes were never this much fun!  Year after year, I usually dressed as a hobo.  Yup, pretty boring costume. So, this little witch is much cuter. 

In an hour, this witch costume was ready for this happy little witch whom I'm positive will enjoy this costume and laugh her cute little witch laugh whenever she wears it.  Happy Halloween everyone...he he heeee!  xoxo Grandma

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Make More Monsters

This post is a continuation of this post right here, "How to Sew a Few Monsters." Check it out and then join us back here to learn a few more monster tips and tricks to making your little creations unique. You'll be glad you did, because these little guys are fun to create and are pretty cute too.  All children will love the gift of a monster or two.

You can click here for the free pattern.

In my pile of fabric scraps, I came across the brown fur you can see I used in the monster in the title photo. I've sewn on this heavy fur enough times to know that to machine embroider eyes on this stuff would be a little difficult.  So, this is what I did: 
  1. Cut out an oval from the head area.  From fleece, cut out an oval 1/2" larger that the oval you originally cut out.  Pin the larger oval to the hole.
  2. Sew the oval to the hole.
  3. This is what the face area now looks like from the right side of the fabric. Draw a face onto the fleece, using a fabric pen.  Find some buttons and sew those onto the face.  Sew on a pom pom for a nose.
  4. Sew some arm shapes together.  Turn them and stuff them.  Baste the ends together.  Now pin on the arms to the basic monster and sew the front to the back, leaving an open space to stuff.
My next monsters you can see below were changed a little too from the basic pattern: 

Here are a few more suggestions to changing up your monster's look:
  1.  Use plastic animal eyes. (These are a quick way to add perfect eyes to you monsters.)
  2.  Off-center the eyes.
  3.  Add only one eye instead of two eyes.
  4.  Add pointy horns that look like triangles instead of the curled  horns like in the original pattern.
  5.  Hand sew pom poms onto the monsters for fluffy noses.
  6.  Add ears to the top or side of the monster's head.
  7.  Don't have enough fabric to add the arms?  Just like the furry monster, cut your arms out separately and sew them together, stuff them, sew the arm's opening closed.  Baste them onto the body and you'll have movable arms.
  8. One final monster I created was for a baby, into that monster, I added a few rattle elements. 'Not pictured'
If you think of more ways to make these guys unique, let me know! I'd love to hear all about your creativity! Enjoy creating!  xoxo Grandma

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

1950 - 1960's Doll Nightgown

Last year, I created this pattern for a friend who wanted old fashion nightgowns for her three daughters and matching ones for her girl's dolls.  The nightgown pattern is reminiscent of nightgowns I wore in the late 1950's and early 1960's.  The fabric is obviously not 1950's or 1960's fabric but this sweet pattern is a fun sewing project and looks so pretty on 18" dolls.  This new pattern is now available from my Etsy shop here.

I remember sitting on the heater in the cold Oregon mornings, letting the warm air flow into my nightgown and loving how smugly it felt.  Anyone else out there remember wearing a nightgown with a similar style to this one?

Share with me your nightgown memories or story for a chance to win this pdf pattern for free.  The winner will be chosen on November 8th.  I look forward to reading your comments.  xoxo Grandma 

Monday, October 3, 2016

Sew a Winter Coat

This summer was shortened a bit for this cute girl. In July, she moved with her family to a continent that was deep into their winter season.  I knew she didn't like wearing any of her coats because in March I took care of her and her siblings while her parents headed half way around the world to check out their new home.  During my stay with her, I had to beg and plead with her to put on a warm coat whenever we'd head outdoors. The best I could get her to do was wear a sweater that had a fur collar. Her coats just weren't "pretty" enough for her. 

Fast forward to her fifth birthday that she right before she moved. I thought a warm coat might be the perfect gift for this picky, girl who was about to face a cold winter again.

To make this warm winter coat, I used a pattern from Simplicity #1476A.

I lengthened the sleeves by adding 4" to the length.  This converted them into long sleeves, instead of 3/4 length sleeves.  I used off white fleece for the coat and for the lining.  These glitzy buttons once graced an old sweater of mine.  The collar was made from a soft, lush beige faux fur with hints of mint.

When I gave it to her, she noticed some ribbon on my sewing table with pink, purple, blue and lime green stripes that she got excited about.  She wanted me to sew it onto the bottom of the coat.  After much persuasion, and a little creative thinking, I suggested we make her a special name tag to go inside of the coat, using the ribbon instead.  I even let her press the sewing machine pedal to create her name tag for this coat.  She seemed happy about this addition.

She wore this coat off the plane when her family arrived in Australia (where it is currently winter). It's been in the mid 30's at night there.  She's been warm and cozy in her pretty new winter coat which is just my sewing style.  My style is to create things for my grandchildren which make them feel special and loved no matter how far away they live. xoxo Grandma