Sunday, August 30, 2015

Teacher's Pet Dress

When autumn rolls around, I think of back-to-school and teachers. I also think of all the apples my generation used to take to school to give our teachers.  We thought if you brought an apple to your teacher, you'd be the teacher's pet that day. Makes sense, right? Which got me wondering, do children even take apples to their teachers anymore?  

Back to this dress, I had fun embroidering these apples and then stressed about how to make this outfit come together because my first attempt failed. (The original pattern I used was just too wide for either of my skinny granddaughters). Late one night, I ended up cutting the skirt off of my original dress because that was the only part I liked.  I next took a white, tank top and cut off five inches from the bottom making this the new dress bodice. Then, I reattached the skirt and sleeves to my new bodice. Instantly, I could tell that this dress would fit much better.

While I was working on this apple border, I found just enough red piping and red bias tape from my stash to sew around the edges, creating a frame which highlights the six embroidered apples.

I loved it when my granddaughter said she liked her new apple dress!

If you want to have some fall fun, I've created these apple patterns as a free download.  Go here to get your copy.   Have fun adding apples to your sewing projects.

Now, for a bit of extra happy news... Last week started off with the birth of my tenth grandchild! I'm thrilled and so excited to meet her.  My week ended with  grandchildren time, exploring the state that this cute little girl, modeling the dress above, moved to last month.  I hope she'll enjoy her teacher's pet dress.  Her big brother starts kindergarten tomorrow and she'll get some quality stay-at-home time with her mother, surely making her the teacher's pet!  xoxo Grandma

Linked to: Project Run and Play, USS Crafty, Threading Your Way, Nap Time Creations

Monday, August 24, 2015

Cinderella Pajamas

While this sweet granddaughter of mine was at my house recently, she asked me to make her new summer pajamas.  I took her shopping at a local thrift store and she found this pink Disney "one size fits all," brand-new looking tee shirt.  I laughed to think that this tee shirt was really designed to fit any size person. Of course, it didn't fit my granddaughter but she was excited with the Cinderella image.  She loves princess things and everything pink, so refashioning this $3 gem was a must.

I used one of her tee shirts as a pattern to scale down the neckline of this over-sized pink princess gem.  Then I cut off the hem barely above the stitching. Next, I cut off five inches from the bottom of the tee shirt and folded that fabric over to create the bottom ruffle.  I added a gathering stitch to the folded fabric and gathered away.  Then I pinned the ruffle to the bottom of the tee shirt and sewed it in place.

About an hour later, I had one happy princess-clad child ready for bed.

After her bath, we read a story and then she got one of her "friends" ready for bed too. She traveled with a whole backpack full of "friends" because they all wanted to come on her airplane ride with her, of course. 

Sadly, this cutie and her siblings are back at their house now.  My husband and I agreed that our house is too quiet without them. Hopefully she'll remember the fun time she had at her grandma's house every time she wears her new pajamas. Here's to a quiet week at my house. xoxo Grandma

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Princess & Super Hero Pajamas

Linked to:  USS Crafty

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Emma the Fish Toy & the 5 Cent Rattle

This darling toy fish pattern, called Emma, was released this week by Nittens and Patches. I tested the pattern for the designer/owner and once done, sent it across the ocean to one of my darling grandchildren. Emma the fish is an easy and a fun sewing project. It took around 2 hours from start to finish to make this fish. Isn't she so cute?

This fish is the first stuffed animal I've ever turned into a rattle.  To get a rattle for a great price, I went to a local thrift store and found an ugly toy with a rattle in it. It cost a whopping 25 cents - SCORE!  The even better part, this ugly little rattle toy I found actually had five rattles in it!  So that makes the total cost per rattle five cents each, what a deal!

The finished size of this fish is 7 1/2" x 9 1/2".  If making this for a baby, I'd likely shrink the pattern down by about 50% so it will fit into a baby's hand. But look at how cute this fish fits in a toddler's hand!

You can find the pattern for Emma the Fish at any of these links: EtsyCraftys, Madeit, Nittens and Patches.  xoxo Grandma

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Create a Purse from a Doily and Jeans

This week I signed myself up to join the refashioning challenge at The Renegade Seamstress. The challenge was to create a purse, bag or clutch out of something else.  Since I've been meaning to make something out of this "unfinished" doily edged napkin that got handed over to me, I decided this was the perfect time to test out my purse making skills.

For my purse, I refashioned that lovely doily and some brown jeans. I started my refashion by cutting the doily in half and cutting up the jeans using a free pattern called Madeleine Bag, designed by imagine gnats

I added two interior pockets by unpicking the pockets from the jeans and sewing them onto each side of the interior lining. 

My personal favorite "new thing" I added to this purse was the magnetic closure. When I purchased the magnetic closure and opened the packaging, I had a hard time understand the directions.  Finally, it donned on me that there were two closures magnetically hooked together in the package (even though the package didn’t state that little detail), a light came on inside my head and wow, it was so easy to add this cool hardware to my bag!

Check out the other bag refashions over at Renegade Seamstress.  The best thing about using this purse pattern was that it is such a super easy sew! Although a note about the super easy sew, I was sewing late at night (as I often do) and sewed one of the fronts correctly and the other inside out…and I sewed them together with the intent that they would never fall apart. Needless to say, the unpicking step was horrible!  In the end, I fixed my mistake and love how this turned out! If you're up for this challenge, let me know how your purse turns out. I'd love to hear!  xoxo Grandma

Monday, August 3, 2015

Using Scraps to Make a Cross Body Purse for a Good Cause

I love it when I can create something fun from fabric scraps. This cross body purse was the perfect project for scraps. So, gather your scraps and let's have some fun! 

To create this purse, I took the leftover scraps from making this dress and sewed them together into larger pieces.  Using my larger pieces of fabric, I was able to cut out the Cross Body Purse pattern. You can do the same thing with all your scraps. First let me tell you about the cross body purse I made.

A charitable organization called Sew Powerful distributes these purses to young girls in poverty stricken countries.  If you haven't heard about this group, you're not alone. I first heard about this organization a few weeks ago. I received an e-mail from one of the companies that helps sponsor this project offering a free pattern to all those willing to make this bag for their charity group, Sew Powerful. The sponsor provided a link to Sew Powerful's site where I read about their program and why these purses are important to young girls.  
Here's some of the basic information about this service project:


The purses you provide are used in local schools and clinics in Lusaka Zambia as part of Menstration Hygiene Management (MHM) programs. This simple gift – combined with re-usable sanitary pads and health information can make a tremendous difference in the lives of adolescent girls. Read about the amazing results of our 2014 Sew Powerful Purse Project here. Our ministry partners work hard to educate and inform the girls in their community so that they stay in school and grow in confidence and self-esteem. It really is sew powerful!"

If you would like to help a good cause and you enjoy sewing, this project is for you. To make this purse, you'll need to download the free pattern by registering here.  

So, to get started, gather together all your scraps and sort them out according to ones that work together. 
Once you've got your scraps all organized, sew them together like the two scraps above using 1/4" seam allowance to make large pieces. Once your pieces are sewn, iron all the seams open. Then lay the pattern pieces onto your now larger pieces of fabric and cut out your purse. 
Note: reinforce any seams that were cut before you sew up your purse. 

Then sew together this scrappy purse.  From start to finish this project took me about 3 1/2 hours to make. The pattern is marked as an intermediate level.

It makes me happy to use my skills to serve others.  I hope you will join me in making purses for this service project. The concept behind it is such a blessing to others.

I really like the look of all these fabrics patched together.  The finished result adds a lot of interest to this purse.  Aren't these the prettiest fabrics?  They are from a collection called "Up Parasol," which I found on Patter Jam's site.  Happy purse making! xoxo Grandma

Linked to: Threading My Way; Charity Sewing, Nap Time Creations

More Purse Links:
Bike Sling Bag

Spring Bag
Seahorse Bag

Thursday, July 30, 2015

A Flock of Birds Skirt

After I designed the bird applique pattern in yesterday's post, I starting thinking how cute it would be to have a whole flock of birds sewn along the bottom of a skirt, creating a border. To accomplish this task, I spent a lot of time cutting, measuring and machine embroidering but the finished outcome is so worthy of sharing.

At first I cut out all the birds and wings from two different fabrics but after laying everything down onto the skirt, it looked boring. So, I cut out more birds bodies and wings from different fabrics, mixing the fabrics up as I positioned the birds in place. 

If you want to create this skirt, get the bird pattern here and have fun cutting. Reserve about 3 1/2 hours to add this design to a skirt.  The bird's eyes was cut from the black and white polka dot fabric and then machine embroidered in place. My bird's beaks are about 1 inch apart and their tail feathers are around 2 3/4 inches apart. These dimensions will vary for you depending on how wide your skirt is.  A tutorial on sewing these birds onto a skirt is found here.

I love the look of this flock of birds skirt!  Don't you think a little girl would have fun wearing a skirt like this?  xoxo Grandma

Linked at: Simple Simon and Company, Threading My Way, Nap Time Creations, USS Crafty

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Skirts for Skirting the Issue & a Free Bird Pattern

It's that time of year when seamstresses across this nation turn to making skirts.  Simple Simon and Company sponsors a project called Skirting the Issue. All the skirts donated to this project are given to girls in foster care.

My niece and her 9 year old daughter came to visit me for a few days.  I explained to this cute 9 year old a little about this project. She was impressed and wanted to be my model for it. 

This magenta colored skirt (pictured above) was pretty simple, so I decided to step it up a notch and add a little fun. 

See that cute little bird? I had a little too much fun creating the pattern for it. The pattern is a good one for using your scraps. It'll add a whole bunch of pizzazz to a simple skirt. 

If you'd like to use this simple design too, download it here.  Then cut out the three pattern pieces.  Layer them together onto one side of a skirt using either a glue stick or fabric spray adhesive to keep the pieces in place.  I added some tear away stabilizer behind the design.  Next, machine embroider the pieces onto the skirt using a zig zag stitch.

To mark the legs onto your skirt, use bright yellow thread and hand stitch two three inch long lines.  Then hand stitch the lower bird feet lines. Once those are in place, machine stitch right over these basting stitches.

The finished bird should look something like this when completed:
I had a lot of fun machine appliqueing this design onto several of these skirts.  I love that Simple Simon and Company sponsors this project every year.  If you have time, why not sew a skirt to donate to your local foster care program?  It'll really leave you with a good feeling if you choose to participate in any charity project. You have until August 15th to get your skirts sewn and donated to this cause.  xoxo Grandma

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