Thursday, July 2, 2015

How to Make a Cascading Ruffle & a Black Lace Toddler Dress

Everyone needs a little black dress (or two or three...). Who says toddlers can't join in this philosophy?  This stunning black lace dress you see on the left was handed over to me by my daughter to refashion for her own little girl.  I transformed it into a classy toddler dress with a cascading white and black dotted ruffle. This is my second attempt at making a cascading ruffle. The first you may remember was here.

This dress request came about a few months ago when, per my request, my daughter sent me several links to toddler dresses she loved. The first dress was finished before my trip in May to see this sweet girl. I also took this partially sewn black dress along for a fitting. When I showed her the second dress, she told me that she only meant for me to make one of the dresses, not both. Being a little of an over-achiever, of course I had made both. I'm sure they will get plenty of use when my daugher has her second daughter in a few short months. 

First, a few details about the dress and then I'll share with you how to make this type of cascading ruffle. 

Along the hem of the dress I added a beautiful three and a half inch wide lace layer to show off that beautiful lace detail.

Since I didn't know how to make this type of cascading ruffle, I asked the smartest seamstress I know, Catherine Griffith. She happens to be married to one of my nephews and blogs at Cathgrace.  She explained to me that I needed to cut a circle into a snail's shell shape.  Thank goodness for her expertise! Since the white polka dot fabric was a little sheer, I lined my dots up before I cut out this ruffle.  Here are photos I took of the process she described to make this ruffle:

When you hold your fabric up, it naturally twists into a cascading ruffle.  After determining the length needed for this toddler dress, I cut off the narrowest end of the snail shell shape.  I pinned and then basted the cascading ruffle onto the center of the neckline.  Then I sewed the dress lining all around the neck area.

For the back closure, I added a 7 inch black zipper to the outside of the dress. Then I sewed five inches of white grosgrain ribbon onto the end of the zipper pull.  If you want to add this accent to a zipper, just make sure you fold the raw edges inside the ribbon and stitch them along the bottom of the ribbon and as close to the zipper hole as possible. Trust me on this one.


In case you're wondering about the cups my granddaughter is holding here, the weather was over 100 degrees where this cutie lives. So to keep her cool while snapping a few photos, my daughter gave her cups filled with ice cubes.  As you can see, she loves her ice!

Have a cool summer! xoxo Grandma

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Toddler Cascading Ruffle Dress

Thursday, June 25, 2015

How to Make an Expensive Knock-off Wrap Bracelet for Cheap

I first spotted these beautiful wrap bracelets when I came across a tutorial called DIY Chan Luu Style Bohemian Wrap Bracelet. I got excited about this project thinking that they looked like something my daughter-in-law would like. I purchased the supplies and then spent hours beading a bracelet only to discover that after one time wearing it, the bracelet twisted and the beads moved and the bracelet no longer looked great.  After this happened, I did a little more research and came across a tutorial called Wrap Bracelet by Natalie. I read all the comments and then proceeded to follow her instructions. After beading this new bracelet, I'm happy to report, that Natalie's tutorial is the best method to use to make a wrap bracelet. 

These bracelets are similar to Chan Luu bracelets, and when I first looked into them, I was actually shocked at the retail price... until I made mine and realized that, yes, time is money and they do take a lot of time to thread so many beads onto the leather cording. If you're like me and have more time than money, I strongly suggest that you make your own expensive knock-off bracelet for under $9.00! I made a few different versions below to show you, followed by some simple instructions: 

Their bracelet: $240
Make your own for $8.14.
My knock-off bracelet: 

Supplies needed:

Their bracelet: $170.00 retail
Make your own for $7.58.
My knock-off bracelet:  

Supplies needed:
  • Silver 4mm crystal beads - $5.82 + $1.38 shipping divided by 2 = $3.60
  • Copper crystal beads 4mm - $5.25 free shipping divided by 2 = $2.63
  • Leather cording - $1.00 
  • 1 skein of dark brown embroidery floss - $.35
  • 1 random silver button - free

Make your own for $4.95.
My knock-off bracelet:

Supplies needed:
  • Silver 4mm crystal beads - $5.82 + $1.38 shipping divided by 2 = $3.60
  • Silver leather cording - $1.00 
  • 1 skein of silver embroidery floss - $.35
  • 1 random silver button - free
From the directions listed in the link above, I changed the following steps:
  • I used 2 yards of the leather cording and sewed the beads onto the leather using 3 strands of the embroidery floss that closely matched the color of the leather. 
  • Bead until you have about 6-7 inches of cording left.  This length depends on the width of the button you used.  
  • Knot the leather cord twice, large enough so that your bead with easily go through the know.  You'll want to make at least two knots so that different sizes of wrists can wear the wrap bracelet. (Chan Luu knots their bracelets three times.)

  • Knot the threads at the end of the beading and then worked the threads in reverse back toward the beginning of the bracelet until the threads are almost used up.  Then tie the threads in a square knot and cut the threads close to that knot.
Note:  Since leather is a natural material, it will stretch once the bracelet is worn a few times so make it as snug on your wrist as possible.  
Here's a bracelet my friend made using contrasting thread instead of embroidery floss on her bracelet - Thanks Lindy!
Have fun making your own fabulous and affordable wrap bracelet.  I love, love the silver one and am enjoying wearing it.  Which bracelet do you like best?  xoxo Grandma

Tiny Pints - FREE SHIPPING on orders of $49 and more with 
promo code FREESHIP49

Linked to:  Nap Time Creations

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Princess and Superhero Summer Pajamas

I wasn't going to participate in Project Run and Play's June sewing challenge, not because I didn't want to, but because I had a lot of other projects that needed to be finished and put away before my grandchildren arrived at my house for an extended summer stay.  

I'm happy to report that these grandchildren arrived last week.  The second day they were at my house, my three-year-old granddaughter asked me if I would make her princess "pajamies".  My five-year-old grandson also said that he needed summer pajamas too. Their mother, my daughter, said he definitely didn't need any more pajamas. Regardless of the need, how could I say "no" to either of them? After all, it's not everyday that I get to make custom sleepwear.

For the pattern, I decided that the Kiki & Company princess dress would be the perfect inspiration for creating my granddaughter's summer princess pajamas.  

I bravely took these two grandchildren fabric shopping. I wasn't surprised when bright pink tricot fabric and matching lace were selected by the three year old. To accent the bright pink, I also picked up white tricot fabric and white lace. My grandson selected a cartoon-looking super hero knit fabric, which his mother wasn't crazy about, but hey... it's his pajamas not hers. (Honestly, I didn't like the cartoon fabric either but, it really did look like his kind of fabric.) 

I've always heard that fabric shopping with children is a good way to let them be involved in the sewing process and I wholeheartedly agree. It was fun to watch them look through the fabrics and excitedly decide on something.

My grandson's super hero summer pajamas were a breeze to sew together. I sewed up a basic tee shirt and shorts. He loved helping me with the process by operating the sewing machine pedal according to my every command.  He also loved trying to bonk me with this giant panda bear!

For the princess "pajamies" I changed Kiki's pattern. On top of a white underskirt, I added a slightly wider pink overlay skirt with an open front seam. I omitted the elastic in the skirt, choosing instead to gather the skirt and sew it to a princess bodice, like on the Kiki & Company Cinderella dress. 

I hand stitched white sequins and clear lavender seed beads to the white lace flowers, because sparkles were also requested by this three-year-old. The raw edges were all finished with the pink lace as the binding.  More pink lace was sandwiched in-between elastic for the shoulder straps. The bodice has pink lace layered onto the front and I finished off the look with pink ribbon streamers and a pre-made pink ribbon rose. 

One night this week she wasn't going to eat her dinner, so I bribed her by telling her that if she ate it she could help me finish her pajamas.  I'm here to report that bribery still works! She too got to be the sewing machine pedal operator as I once again gave the "start and stop" orders. As an added bonus, she also got to push the scissors button on my machine. She thought that button was magical.

After taking these photos this three-year-old said, "Grandma now I need a crown."  Well, of course she does, how did I neglect that detail? We plan on making that happen another day.

Thanks to Project Run and Play and Kiki & Company for the inspiration for these "pajamies."  I've now got two very happy grandchildren with new summer pajamas at my house and we couldn't be happier.   xoxo Grandma

Top 10 designs for June:  Vote Here for your favorite design.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Gone Fishing Outfit & Accessories - American Girl Doll Style

It's been a while since I've made anything for this cute doll and she was feeling quite neglected. So today, I'm debuting her "Gone Fishing" outfit with the perfect accessories for a child to have a little summer fun with her doll.  

It took me a while to create a fishing rod I was completely happy with. Several of my attempts were literally thrown away until I finally created the fishing pole shown in these photos. I'm quite pleased how it turned out. The best part about this fishing pole is that it can actually catch fish! How cool is that? See those cute little felt fish? You can actually catch them with the super small magnet on the end of the hook. Talk about giving this little toy a few extra bonus points with your kids! 

To complete the summer look, I made a doll-sized reversible fishing hat and a "Gone Fishing" sleeveless shirt.  Now this girl is all decked out and ready for some summer fun down by a fishing hole.

This pattern is an instant downloadable pdf and can be purchased HERE.  The set includes the Gone Fishing sleeveless shirt, fishing pole, felt fish and instructions on how to convert an ornamental creel into a child's toy.  The instructions and patterns are a bargain for only $3.00.  If you'd like a chance to win this pattern for free, go to my Etsy shop HERE, like my shop and leave a comment below telling me who will be the lucky recipient of your Gone Fishing creation. Two winners will be announced on the last day of spring, June 20th at 9 p.m., Mountain Standard time.

UPDATE:  Thank you to everyone that left comments and visited my Etsy shop. Two winners were contacted Friday night via my Etsy shop.  The winners were Betsy and Marilyn.  

If you don't want to make a "Gone Fishing" outfit, you can purchase this Gone Fishing set HERE or a fishing pole & creel HERE. Good luck!  - xoxo Grandma

30 Things to Make for an American Girl Doll
Linked to: Nap Time Creations, Crafty Allie

Friday, June 12, 2015

Guest Post - A Summer of Fairy Magic

Hi, today I'm happy to be a guest blogger over at the cutest blog, Nap Time Creations. My guest post is about as whimsical as they come (at least for me). It's called, "A Summer of Fairy Magic".  Go read about the fairy magic activities I've planned for my little summer visitors HERE.  

Three of my grandkids arrived with their mom this week to spend nearly a month at my house.  Needless to say, this Grandma and my husband (aka Grandpa) are thrilled to have them!  Below are some photos with the grandchildren participating in a little fairy magic. I hope this makes their summer a little more magical! Enjoy!  

Making Fairy Dust
Before you go, check out all the other fun posts going up today!
summer fun part 1
A Summer of Fairy Magic on Nap-Time Creations by XOXO Grandma
Nail Stamping Fun by Rae Gun Ramblings
Mini Minion Bowling Set Craft by Boy Oh Boy oh Boy Crafts
Cookie Butter Ice Cream from Kojo Designs

Enjoy your children and grandchildren this summer! - xoxo Grandma

Thursday, June 11, 2015

How to Make a Fairy Cottage - a Refashion

I loved making THIS fairy house so much, I've come up with another fairy abode I'm dubbing a "fairy cottage." This little cottage was made from a felted sweater sleeve (though feel free to just use felt).  With summer right around the corner, go ahead, cut off a wool sweater and shrink it to make this toy.  Join me in the fun and make one too!

Craft Supplies needed:  
  • Felted wool sleeve cut from a sweater.
  • 1 small container like a Gerber brand item
  • Scissors
  • Thread or glue
  • Embroidery floss
  • 1 button
  • Light green felt scraps for leaves
  • Dark green felt (9" x 9")
  • 3 silk flowers
  • 15 sequins
  • 15 small clear beads
  • Pins
How to make a fairy cottage:

  1. Cut a sleeve from an old sweater.  If it's not felted, just rinse the wool sleeve in hot water and throw it in your drier.  
  2. Cut openings from the container using the patterns found HERE.
  3. Cut off the excess of the sleeve from the bottom of the container leaving 1/3" extra length to attach to the leaf base.
  4. Cut the cuff of the sleeve into 3 equal pieces.  Make the edges of the cut pieces into points.
  5. Using the downloaded patterns (see step 2), embroider the edge of 3 leaves and sew onto the ends of the cut-up cuffs.
  6. Using the pattern, make a door as instructed HERE. See steps 8 and 11-14.
  7. Cut netting about 1/2" larger than the window openings.  Sew the netting from the back side of the cottage close to the edge of the window.
  8. With 3 strands of embroidery floss, embroider around the edges of the windows with a chain stitch and the edge of the door opening with a blanket stitch.
     9.  Make a closure across from where you want a door knob.  To make this,   Sew six strands of floss 3/8" apart and loop stitches all around the floss.  Then pull the tread tight.  Once the floss is covered with the tightly pulled loops, tie the thread off from the back side of the cottage.
     10.  Opposite the closure, sew on a button to the door.
     11.  Cut out the leaf foundation from two layers of felt and one of stiff interfacing.
     12.  Using a different colored green thread from the felt, sewing around the edge of the foundation, using a blanket stitch.  Use a blanket stitch to form the leave's shapes.  Then use a durable stretch stitch.  (This stitch gives the veins of the leaves more definition.)  To save time, I used my sewing machine for all this stitching.

    13.  Pull the sleeve over the container. Around the edges, using an epoxy, glue the cottage to the container.  
    14.  Now, the fun part, which to me is adding extra embroidered leaves and silk flowers to the cottage.  I sewed sequins onto the center of the flowers and secured them in place with small clear beads sewn on top of the sequins. Then I tucked and tacked down leaves as I played with my design.  If you don't want to sew the details down, you can simply glue these components onto your house.

This fairy cottage is so sweet and inviting. This toy can be used with welcome imaginative play or it can easily be turned into a night light by tucking in an LED light through the door's opening.  Please join me tomorrow at Nap Time Creations for more fairy fun.  xoxo Grandma

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