Monday, July 25, 2016

Handmade Christmas - Christmas Tree Hot Pads


Whenever Christmas time rolls around, I am always stumped over what to give my neighbors. If you have a similar problem, then I have a simple solution for you. Ever heard of "A Handcrafted Christmas?" It's a group of creative bloggers who have joined together for a monthly Christmas Blog Hop where one of us will be making a fabulous handcrafted Christmas gift to inspire and re-create each month.  Our goal is to make a gift a month so that by the time Christmas rolls around we'll have at least 12 gifts ready for the holiday season.  

This is my month to host "A Handcrafted Christmas," and my gift is Christmas tree hot pads -- perfect for neighbor gifts.  You can use scraps of fabric and ribbon to make these because no two hot pads need to look exactly the same. One added bonus to this post is that The Warm Company has agreed to give one lucky winner a yard of their "Insul-bright" lining. Simply follow this blog and leave a comment below and you'll be entered.

  1. Gather your supplies:  background & backing fabric 2) 9" x 9" (round all but the top left corner), lace and/or ribbon, Double fold quilt binding bias tape (cut in half) or extra wide double fold bias tape, Insulated lining like Insul-Bright,  tree trunk fabric: 1" x 2",  thin cotton batting is optional, thread, scissors and the free tree pattern found here.  For the tree pattern, make an rectangle 6 3/8" x 6 3/4" x 6 3/4" and cut out your trees.
  2. Position the tree trunk and then layer the tree shape slightly on top of the trunk and onto the background fabric. 
  3. Cut ribbon or lace and pin onto the tree, tucking the raw edges under the tree shape.
  4. With a straight stitch, sew the ribbon and or lace onto the tree shape.
  5. Change your stitch to a blanket stitch.  This is what it looks like on my sewing machine.
  6. Starting at the top of the tree, stitch all the way around the tree's shape.  Make sure to pivot around all the turns.
  7. Now you'll layer your hot pad.  The first layer is the tree, then the Insul-bright (insulated fabric), then a thin layer of batting, then the backing.  The backing is "sandwiched" between all the layers and the right side of the fabric will be facing out.  To keep my layers from shifting, I found that temporary spray glue worked the best and was the quickest way to keep those layers together.
  8. Take your seam tape and measure 4.25".  This piece will be sewn together first to create the hang tab.  Starting with the top left corner, at 4.25" open up the bias tape and pin one edge of the tape all around the back side of the hot pad.
  9. Sew the bias tape through all the layers.
  10. Wrap the bias tape around the front side and pin in place.  
  11. Fold the tab over until it touches the hot pad's edge and sew a square to hold the tab in place.
  12. When finished sewing the tab, it will look like this.  Sew close to the edge of the bias tape and all around the hot pad.
Your Christmas tree hot pad should look something like this:

Now, I hate to ruin any Christmas surprises, but if you're lucky enough you'll be getting one of these along with some melt in your mouth homemade rolls. Now that those Christmas gifts are already out of the way, I can rest a little easier come December. 

To enter the contest for free insulated lining to make hot pads, join this blog as a "follower" and then leave a comment.  

The Prize: One yard of Insul-Bright shipped directly to your home. Thank you to The Warm Company for sponsoring this prize!  This product can be purchased at your favorite fabric/craft store.  Just ask for it by it's name.  The winner will be chosen July 30, 2016.  xoxo Grandma 

Here's a list of the other posts in this series so far:

January: No Sew Fleece Blankets
February:  How to Make Christmas Decor Using Scrap Wood
March:  Ribbon Pinecone Ornament
April:  Christmas Garland
May:  Burlap Christmas Mug Rugs
June:  Wooden Gift Tags
June: Scrappy Tie Mug Coasters
July:  Christmas Tree Hot Pads 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Knock Off Sundress

When my daughter was visiting a few weeks ago, we went shopping at the outlet stores. We popped into one of her favorite stores, where she saw a child's J.Crew sundress that she loved. She wanted it for her two girls but even the sale price was a little ridiculous.  I looked at the dress and whispered to her that it looked like it would be easy to make. I was right.  I ended up making four of these sundresses for my granddaughters.

Here is my version of that sundress, modeled by two of those granddaughters.

This dress reminds me a little of a pillowcase dress.  The thing that sets this sundress apart is the fun knot on the back of the dress.  No more straps falling off little shoulders.

If you'd like to make this sundress too, I've included the pattern along with a tutorial below.

Here's what I used:
  • Fabric:  My Favorite Ship, by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller Fabrics
  • Pattern:  self-drafted, free download here (size 3 only).  I ended up making a size 12 month (pictured above), 3 years, 2 years and 4 years.  I used the downloadable pattern for all these sizes.  To change the sizes simply shorten or lengthen the dress, shorten the straps for the smallest size and adjust the elastic around the front and back per child's width.
Here's how to sew this cute knock-off sundress:
1.  All seams 1/4" unless otherwise stated.  Sew extra wide bias tape onto the back top of the sundress.  You'll be forming a casing for the elastic so finish sewing close to the edge of the tape leaving the sides open.
2.  Sew bias tape to the armholes starting from the wrong side.  Iron the tape toward the front of the sundress and sew close to the edge from the front of the sundress.
3.  Add elastic the width of the back (I added 8") to the back casing stitching along the openings of the casing to keep the elastic in place.
4.  Sew the side seams together wrong sides facing (this step is from making French side seams).

5.  Iron the side seams and sew the side seams together with the right sides facing.
6.  Sew the straps together with 1/4" seams leaving an opening at the center.
7.  Shows the strap fully sewn.  Clip the corners.
8.  Turn the straps and iron.
9.    Leave 1/2" extended on both sides and pin the front strip onto the top of wrong side of the front of the dress.
10.  Sew the two pieces together.  Iron the top of the front strip under 1/4".
11.  Iron the strip in half toward the front of the dress.
12.  Top stitch the strip in place, close to the edge, leaving the ends open to insert elastic.

13.  Sew the straps.  Cut the corners and turn this piece right side out.
14.  Sew the back knot piece leaving the middle open to turn.  Cut off the corners and turn right side out.
15.  Iron the straps and back knot piece.  Top stitch 1/4" from the edge.
16.  Find the middle of the back and measure 4" from the center, marking with pins.

17.  Mark the middle with one additional pin.
18.  Add elastic to the front of the casing and stitch the ends of the elastic to the a strap that has been folded over.
19.  This image shows the edges of the front casing folded over.
20.  Stitch the strap inside the end of the front casing.  

21.  Stitch a small piece of ribbon onto the middle of one of the straps and thread one of the straps under the ribbon.
22.  The back of the sundress has markings which you'll add the back of the straps to.  Securely sew the straps in place.
23.  This is how the strap should look once sewn in place.
24.  Now add the back knot into place by looping the knot under the ribbon.  I stitched the knot by hand.  

This sundress is light and airy and perfect for a hot summer day.  I also made diaper covers out of the same nautical fabric for my youngest granddaughters.  May your little ones enjoy summertime with a comfortable, stylish and affortable sundress.  xoxo Grandma

Monday, July 18, 2016

Sassy Sundress with Shoulder Ties

When I was a young mom, I tried dressing my little girls in cute sundresses when the sun was scorching outside. Those cool dresses made it so much more comfortable for them to play outside. Now that I have grandchildren, I want nothing more than for them to spend their days playing comfortably too. So, if you're on the lookout for a cool new summer outfit for a baby, look no further. You'll want to download this free pattern here.

The pattern states it's a 24 month size but once you download it at full size image, would you please cross out the 24 and write 9-12 months instead? I goofed-up on the sizing. I discovered this error when I made it with a particular granddaughter in mind. When it didn't fit her, I tried it onto the next smaller granddaughter. It fit her perfectly. 

If you've opened the pattern, you'll notice that I added instructions right on the pattern with details on all the extra pieces you need to cut to make this sassy little sundress. 

The instructions are pretty simple. Simply sew together the four long shoulder ties.  After ironing them, add one to each side of the top of the bodice and baste in place.  Now sew the side seams of the bodice together.  Then pin and sew around the neck of the bodice making sure the shoulder straps are out of the way.  Turn this piece right side out and iron. 

Sew the skirt along the back seam to create a circle.  Add basting stitches to the top of the skirt.  Pin and then sew the skirt onto the bodice.

Sew the short edges of the ruffle into a circle.  Clean finish one edge of the ruffle.  Sew along the unfinished edge two basting stitches for gathering.  Gather the ruffle onto the bottom of the bodice, pin and then sew onto the lower skirt.  Iron and you're ready to try the sassy sundress onto your child.

So glad it fit this little angel.  This little girl has been one of my all around happiest granddaughters so far.  She always has a giggle or smile on her face. Yea, for happy children!  Especially ones who can play comfortably in the sun!  xoxo Grandma

Monday, July 11, 2016

Doll Sized Dance Bag

Do you know a child that loves to dance and likes to play with dolls?  If so, this doll sized dance bag is a fun and quick project to make for that child.  An added bonus is you've probably got all the supplies you'll need to make it right in your scrap pile. 

Supplies needed:
  • 1 Fabric name tag: 3 1/2" x 1 3/8"
  • 2 Front and 2 back:  4) 3 7/8" x 4 1/2"
  • Sides:  2) 1 3/4" x 14 1/4"
  • Strap:  20" of single fold bias tape or 10" of double fold bias tape.
  • 1 heart shaped button
  • Thread
* 1/4 seam allowance for this project.
1.  Sew or hand embroider "I ...... dancing" onto the tag.
2.  Sew tag to the center of the front using a narrow zig zag stitch.
3.  This is the stitch width and length that I use on my machine.
4.  Sew back to side then sew front to side. As you sew, clip a small notch at each corner.
5.  Clip all corner of the bag.  Sew the heart button onto the name tag.
6.  Repeat step 4 & 5 for the bag's lining.
7.  The bag will look like this.
8.  Sew the bias tape together. Topstitch close to the straps edges.

9.   Baste the strap in place along both top center of the bag's sides.
10. Pin the bag and the lining together, matching seams. 
11. Sew the bag to the lining leaving an opening in one of the sides to turn the bag. Turn the bag and iron the top of the bag.
12. Top stitch along the top of the bag.
Pin the opening together and either hand sew or sew close to the edge using a machine (not pictured).

Your doll sized dance bag should be finished.  Enjoy this simple project!  xoxo Grandma

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Easy Breezy Summer Dress

While this adorable two year old was visiting a few weeks ago, I found the shirt shown in the photo below.  That's my oldest daughter wearing the teal shirt when she was pregnant with this little munchkin, pictured above. The shoulders hung on her so poorly, even when she was pregnant, that she never liked wearing it, so she donated it to my refashion efforts. Good thing too, because it makes a much cuter sundress than it ever did a shirt! 

After a little consulting with my daughter, this easy breezy summer dress was created.  The shirt transformed into a comfortable light and airy dress perfect for a 100 degree day, pockets included. Any dress that has pockets gets some serious bonus points. 

When it's 100 degrees, an ice cream cone is the perfect prop for a two year old. At least it was the only thing that kept her interest for longer than two minutes while her mom snapped a few photos. 

As you can see, I kept the original shirt's pockets in this gauzy dress.  I think you'll agree that pockets are perfect for little hands.  For this dress, I used one of my favorite patterns from Shwin and Shwin called Black Bird Tunic.  Instead of a tunic, I lengthened the pattern's skirt by about 10 inches to turn it into a dress. And see that cute button closure on the shoulder? It makes it so easy to slip on and off. You know how toddlers like approximately 10 costume changes throughout the day? This one is no exception. 

Last summer, I used the same pattern to create the Toddler Cascading Ruffle Dress for this same granddaughter. And if the shirt style looked familiar, it's because it happened to be the exact same style shirt in a different color. Occasionally, my girls and I have the same taste in clothing. Well, the fit never worked quite right for me either. I guess that's what happens when you order shirts online. And while we both liked the shirt, we both LOVED this dress. 

I love how this dress looks so comfortable and cool making it a perfect summer dress.  xoxo Grandma

Monday, June 20, 2016

Swimsuits for Dolls

Summer is officially here and even though this doll doesn't swim, she still needs to look stylish in a new swimsuit ...

Or two. Or three. You can't have enough swimsuits, right?

If you'd like to turn a child's swimsuit into a doll size one too, go to this post.

All of these swimsuits were reclaimed from swimsuits my children were throwing away.  You know how an old swimsuit is after a wearing it for a summer filled with water activities. By the time the summer is over, those swimsuits are worn out and snagged.  

So, if you want to make a swimsuit for your doll, forget about purchasing that expensive Lycra fabric. Just use the fabric from old swimsuits to make a swim wardrobe for a doll. You can even work around those worn out areas.
Your doll will love her fashionable swimsuit and I'm positive a child will have fun with this necessary summer wear for their doll.  xoxo Grandma

Monday, April 18, 2016

Nautical Romper

One of my favorite fabric trends this season just screams summer to me! Have you all caught on to chambray yet?  Well, if you're looking for the perfect fabric for a summer romper, you'll want to try chambray cotton... better yet, try it with a nautical print, like this one I used to create this romper

Chambray is like a denim but it's smoother and light weight, making it perfect for summer. Better yet, the more this fabric is washed, the softer it becomes. How can you go wrong with that?

You may recall seeing me using a different nautical chambray cotton a while back to make a dress for another of my granddaughters, which you can see here.

For this romper, I combined this anchor chambray fabric with wooden laser-cut anchor buttons.  These buttons came from a fabric shop near Boston.  I love how they add accent to the front of this romper.

For the ties I added navy bias tape.  I have this compulsory need to keep toddler's shoulders covered and protected from the sun, so I added cap sleeves edged with more navy bias tape.  

The pattern used was McCall's 4136.  It really was an easy pattern to make.  I adjusted the fullness out of each of the legs by deleting about 3" from each leg to make the outfit look more contemporary.  To find this pattern you can go here.

Since I took these photos at the beach, I fully expected this independent toddler to get wet.  I just didn't realize how wet she'd get.  Which was fine because she had a great time digging and splashing in the warm China Sea.

Have fun sewing on chambray cotton this summer and if you get the opportunity, go to the beach whenever you can and get wet!  xoxo Grandma

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