Friday, December 18, 2009

Drawstring Game Bag

When I was a little girl, I would stay the night over at my grandparents home often. I loved it because my grandma had few toys, but they were classics. She had wonderful paper dolls and little glass figurines from Brazil (that I'm dying to find for my own children). Well, she also had a deck of playing cards which had a boy and then a girl from different countries. We would play go fish and try and match the boy to the girl. I loved these cards and the outfits that they were wearing. The ones that I remember most vividly is Holland and Australia.

Just in September we went to my grandparents in California and I looked at those cards and wrote down all the information to try and get myself a copy. I have the fondest memories playing with them.

A few weeks ago, I was wandering through a fabric store when I looked down and saw this Alexander Henry fabric that looked exactly like the people on the cards at my grandma's. I got misty eyed from all the nostalgia I was feeling just looking at it. I bought some not knowing what I was going to do with it.

Then a few days ago, I was putting some of the girls games away in the closet. What a mess that closet was. We have limited space and things were piled everywhere and completely unorganized. I took out all our mangled puzzle boxes, cut the picture off the box and put them all in separate Ziploc bags. I decided the perfect project for my fabric. A drawstring game bag. I followed this tutorial but made it much bigger and added pom poms. So now, instead of having piles of boxes in our closet where my girls can't reach them, we have this bag on the floor that is easy to get too and much tidier. I love that we now have a little organization in our game closet and that I get to see this bag and think of my childhood. I made a miniature version of this bag and sent it to my grandma for her to hold her many decks of cards. I can't wait until she gets it.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Ruffled Tulle Tiered Skirt Instructions

I mentioned posting a tutorial for the tiered skirts I made before. I decided not to, because I really didn't have much of a tutorial. I basically used someone elses tutorial for the skirt and added tulle. But after showing a couple friends, receiving a few e-mails requesting instructions, and a couple phone calls asking for the how-to, I thought I would just post what I did here. It's not a tutorial, because I never took pictures as I was making one, but here are some written instructions. I think you'll be just fine without the pictures. Just keep in mind that this is how I did it. It may not be right or the best way to do it, but it's what works for me, so I can do it however I want. Kidding, kidding. (kinda!)

To begin you'll need about 1 yard of cotton fabric and a minimum of two yards of tulle (you may want a bit more to be safe, because two yards will barely get you there, but it will work). The instructions for this skirt should fit an average 3-5 year old.

First, read the instructions here on how to make a tiered skirt. I will then explain my modifications after you read through the tutorial...go ahead, read that tutorial, things will make a LOT more sense if you do that first.

Follow the instructions for the first three tiers in the tutorial, but omit the ruffle. Instead, add another tier. I took the length of the strip in the last tier (67.5) and multiplied it by 1.5. That means you should have a length of fabric 101.25 by 5 inches. (I had to piece two lengths together to get it that long, but that's okay, it's covered up with tulle in the end and you'll never see the seam). Hem the bottom.

Then, take your tulle and cut it into 3 inch strips the length of the yardage so you have very long strips of tulle. I then layered two strips of tulle on top of one another and ran it through my machine right down the middle on the longest stitch length and highest tension. Don't backstitch at all. Pull the thread to ruffle the tulle. If your machine is anything like mine, the tulle will pretty much be ruffled as you sew it. Do this for all the strips you have.

The tulle is then going to be placed on the skirt at the seams of each tier. Therefore, you will have three rows of tulle. Place the stitch you put in the tulle right on the seam of the skirt and stitch back over that exact stitch. Be sure to set your machine back to a normal tension and stitch length. (I know this sounds confusing, but you should see what I mean when you are at that point in the process. Enlarge the picture to get a better idea of where the tulle lies on the skirt.) You'll probably have to cut the tulle at some points to piece it onto the skirt to get it to go all the way around on all three rows. Once the tulle is attached, presto, you have your own ruffled tulle tiered skirt. And the little girls in your life will want to wear it everyday. Be sure to make multiples in every color!

Any questions?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Baby Doll Bassinet TUTORIAL

'Tis the season. It's a giving season and I am in the spirit, so I decided that I will post this tutorial. Keep in mind, I have never posted a tutorial before. If something doesn't make sense or you have any questions, just leave me a comment and I will reply in the comments and fix the tutorial as best I can. Also, please link back to this post if you are posting your finished project so others can find the tutorial as well. And only use this tutorial for personal use...that would be the right thing to do. I would love to see your finished projects too, so leave links to yours in the comments. I hope they make lots of little girls happy! Enjoy!


You will need two coordinating fabrics. One for the outside and one for the lining. From each fabric you will need to cut-
14" x 5" for the hood
14" x 2" for each strap (2)
21" x 17" for the basket
18" (half a yard) of coordinating lace for the hood.
High loft quilter's batting

* All seam are 1/4 ".

First, I choose to quilt the batting onto the outside fabric to give it a more "moses basket" feel. This is obviously optional, and takes a significant amount of time, but I think it is definitely worth it. And it is easy, just time consuming. Cut your batting to fit each piece of outside fabric. Starting on one corner, sew on the diagonal across the fabric. Repeat sewing parallel stitches every inch. Once you make it across the fabric, rotate the fabric and repeat sewing one inch stitches perpendicular to the newly existing stitches. Do this for the straps and basket portions of fabric before you do anything else.

(These pictures are examples of what it looks like to quilt the fabric and batting, do not quilt the hood before reading the "hood" section first).


Take the rectangular piece of fabric for the hood and fold in half. Grab a bowl or something with a curve to trace onto your fabric so you can cut a curve in the hood. It should go from the bottom corner to pretty close to the top. Cut hood. Then quilt 1 inch triangles on the outside fabric with batting. Line up the lace with raw curved edge. Pin. Lay lining fabric over, right side facing. Pin. Sew only the curved part of the hood. Remove pins, turn and press.


With the outside fabric quilted, lay lining fabric on top, right sides together. Pin. Sew along the long sides of straps. Repeat for second strap. Using a chopstick (or something like that) turn straps and press.


Once you have the outside quilted cut 4" squares from each corner of both the lining and outside fabric. At this point, I got my girls names embroidered to the quilted fabric (just be sure to have it embroidered correctly so you don't end up with the name upside down- you'll know which way is "up" by reading ahead to next step).

Next, line up cut edges from each corner. Pin. Sew together. (Before you embroider, pin sides so you know where the name is going, then remove pins for the embroider). Pin and sew lining fabric as well.

You should now have one hood, two straps, outside basket and lining basket. You're getting close!

Next, find the center of the top of the outside basket and find the center of the hood. Line those two points up and pin the hood on the basket, upside down, so raw edges line up and matching fabrics are facing one another. Where the hood ends, right next to it, pin one side of the strap with right sides facing. Leave about 4" then pin the other side of the strap to basket with right sides facing. Repeat on the other side with other strap.

Finally, turn lining fabric inside out. Pin onto basket being sure to line up those 4" seams as best as possible. Starting at the bottom (not where the hood is) start sewing around basket. Leave about a 4" hole at the end to turn basket through. Turn basket. Because I am lazy and avoid hand sewing at all costs, I then pin the hole, press and sew a stitch around the entire basket part again being sure to catch and close the hole. Also, sew a stitch around the curved part of the hood to finish it off.

Lastly, I decided to sew "in the ditch" of those 4" seams on the corner so that the lining would stay put a little better. If my seams didn't line up perfectly, I pinned them so they were perfect (as possible) and sewed in the ditch of the outside fabric. It's okay if it's a little off on the inside since you can't see it very well, but it's important to keep the seam on the outside as hidden as possible. Does that make sense? You'll know what I mean when you get there and actually have your finished bassinet in hand...I hope. Let me know if this part isn't clear.

And viola! You are now the proud owner of a very cute, hand made, storable baby bassinet. Congratulations! I hope the little princess in you life loves it
Disclaimer: This is intended for dolls, not real babies. I shouldn't even have to write that, but we all know there are some not-so-smart people out there.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Baby Doll Bassinet

Mine from when I was a little girl:
I like classic, simple toys. Toys that remain popular through generations and generations. That's why I made the playhouse tent, mail center, and bean bags. These things aren't made with bells or whistles or lights. They don't have batteries or speaking voices coming from them. They are just good old fashion fun. And I think good old fashion fun is a great way to get kids imaginations working. These kinds of toys serve a different purpose each time you play with them. They can be anything you want them to be. The playhouse tent can be a cave, or a doctor's office. The mail can be love letters, or homework. The bean bags can be used for hopscotch or hot potato. I love to watch my children and their imaginations run wild. That means they're exploring and developing and growing. I like that I played with bean bags and had a table tent. I love imagining my grand children playing with the things I've made. Remaking classic toys for my children to play with really makes me happy.

(Sorry to go off on a little tangent)

But that's why I had to make a bassinet for my girls dolls. Last Spring we went to Arizona and Gwen toted this little doll carrier around the entire time. She slept with it right next to her and filled it with all kinds of treasures. This was my little bassinet as a girl. I vividly remember housing my Cabbage Patch dolls in it. Wasn't my mom brilliant to keep it? Thank goodness she did. I love that she made it and kept it after all these years.

Well, I asked my mom if we could bring it home so that I could recreate one for each of the girls. After all these months (and finally getting my sewing machine fixed) I have made the girls their very own doll bassinet (they're for Christmas, sshh, don't tell).

They were quite simple to make. I actually have a tutorial for them. Step by step instructions that anyone at any skill level could follow.

But I have reservations about posting a tutorial. Here's why,

1. I am a self taught seamstress. It's something I tried once on a boring day when I was pregnant with my first baby almost 5 years ago. I don't claim to be very knowledgeable. And I do things the way they make sense in my head. It might be the "wrong" way to do it, and there may be a more simple way to do them, but I just do it the way I can imagine it. If I post a tutorial, you might see that I am crazy and go about sewing all wrong. But the outcome always works. I just don't know if I want to expose myself like that or not. What if you laugh at me?

2. And most importantly, I don't like it when someone takes another persons idea and claims them as their own, never giving credit to the original person. I didn't understand this before, but I do now. This is the first time I would post something that I didn't use someone else's tutorial for. This was something I didn't look on the Internet and find. This was all mine (and my mom's, since I used her work as a pattern). I don't want someone taking credit for this. I don't want someone making money off this. That would really be dishonest. And I really dislike dishonesty. But I know it happens, and that's why I hesitate to post a tutorial. How hard is it to give credit where credit is due? A little link back to a posted tutorial is not a big deal.

On the other hand, I love when people share their tutorials. I wouldn't sew half the things I sew without them. THere are some amazingly talent people out there with great ideas. I usually change them up to fit me and my personality and style, but I do link back to the original. Why can't everyone do that? Seriously?

Anyway, I do have a tutorial. Should I post it? What are the thoughts out there on tutorials and other people taking those tutorials and claiming ideas as their own? And would you laugh at me?

PS. Just the other day I saw this at Pottery Barn Kids. I was half way through making my own and liked the idea of having them embroidered with my girls name. So I quickly got mine embroidered before I finished putting them together. These sure are cute, but I can promise you that you can make your own for well under $29.00 and they would be original. Plus, I like picking my own fabric, that's half the fun of sewing.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tulle Twirl Skirt

Last year I made a tulle skirt that I was dying to have for my girls. I liked the idea behind it, but it wasn't executed perfectly. I was new to using my ruffle foot and although the skirt was really cute, it wasn't perfect and it become more of a dress up skirt (or dress).

I have wanted to try to make a new one ever since. This time, I am much more pleased with the outcome. I love tulle on little girls. I am planning on using it in their clothing for as long as they'll let me get away with it.

I have a few more ideas in my head that I think will help me achieve the perfect tulle twirl skirt. Probably for the holidays I'll try again with fun colors.

I am showing some friends tomorrow how to make these, but was wondering if there is any interest in a tutorial? I have never done one before, but I may give it a try. It's not hard, and paying $5-$10 for materials sure beats a $35 price tag at the mall.

I know the details of the ruffles and tulle are hard to see in the white, but click on the picture to enlarge and you'll have a better idea of what they look like.

Crazy Quilt

For my mom's birthday I decided I wanted to make her a quilt. I can now say that I have successful made my first non square quilt. I have never done a binding before and for not having anyone show me, I think it turned pretty well. The quilt pattern was a little "crazy", but it was really fun to try something different. I like the colors and hope that my mom has stayed warm under it. I hear it's cold in Arizona in August.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Picnic Quilt

I'm a hoarder. Not the kind of hoarder who has things stuffed in her closest from the 90's, but the kind that can't let materials go to waste. The kind of hoarder who holds onto 4 inches of ric rac "just in case" or the strip of 2 inch wide fabric that I love and can't bring myself to throw away. I always buy more fabric than I need, because I love having leftovers for those spontaneous projects.

Needless to say, my cedar chest was overflowing with remnant fabric that I had to hold onto, but never actually did anything with.

The girls and I have been meeting friends at the park, spray fountains, for picnics and barbeque's. And each time we go, I think how much I hate our pathetic excuses for picnic blankets. We have fabulous tie quilts from Joe's mom, but they could fit on a California King sized bed. They're way to big for me to carry when we walk to the park. Then we have throw blankets that I just don't like anymore for my house and so they're my picnic blankets. But we can all barely fit on those. They're tiny. And not really meant for dirt and grass.

So the other day I decided I was just going to make a scrap picnic blanket for us this summer. Lots of fabric cut into seven inch squares, with a few smaller squares thrown in. I have a simple, clean cut sort of style, so I wanted it to be straight forward and basic. Nothing complicated or time consuming. I love the randomness.

A few days of sewing, a Friday fun day held on Thursday, and we have a great picnic blanket for the summer. I decided to add the large ric rac, because it seems I can't get over my love for it. Then I tied the corners with yarn I had laying around.

I am so happy to finally have a picnic blanket I love. It holds a sentimental value too. I can look down and see the fabric I made the girls first Easter dresses with, or the spool people bits and pieces, or Henry's car seat cover, or the Black Apple dolls I made for the girls for Valentines day that they love. And the girls love it too, because they recognize that fabric as well and tell me where it's from.

I think this is a picnic blanket that I won't ever let go of.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Pet Store

"You know what I want to be when I grow up?" Gabriella asked one afternoon.

I figured she would say a doctor like daddy, or a librarian like she had said days before. She's mentioned being a school teacher or a police officer. I was expecting something along those lines.

Nope. It wasn't any of the above. She told me she wanted to be "a pet owner."

I smiled that being a pet owner was her goal in life, her career even. She must know full well that it's not going to happen under my roof.

We were playing at home one morning after rushing and leaving the house early for weeks straight. I was playing baby Cabbage Patch dolls with the girls when Gabs suggested in her best Cabbage Patch voice that our dolls go to the pet store.

That's when I remembered this wood carrying case I had kept in the garage since Christmas. It originally stored magnet dolls, but the plastic that slid over it had broke and it was no longer a good carrying case. I kept it because I knew something great would come of it. I was thinking of painting it and hanging it near my sewing machine to store thimbles and thread and some of the old wooden spools I have. But nothing had come of it, until yesterday.

I got it out and we cut scrapbook paper to fit each "kennel". I got down my bag of notions and the girls picked their do-dads to decorate it with. Gabriella got out her markers and colored pictures to decorate the walls of the store.

I suggested the store name "GG's" but Gabriella wanted bigger. Brighter. She said "The GG Sisters Pet-Pet Store." So that's what we did. Every princess, polly pocket and cabbage patch doll has been to that pet store a million times to buy a new pet since.

This didn't require any creativity of special skill. It was completely free and finished within an hour. It's hardly worthy of being on a so-called craft blog, but it was something we worked on together and something the girls felt like they created. It isn't glamorous or fancy. But it was fun. And it reminded me what I should be doing more often with my free time. Playing with my kids and helping them use their imagination.

Mission accomplished.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Hooded Bath Towels

I know I know. I'm sick of the peanut butter balls too. It's been awhile. Trust me, I've been sewing. Lots and lots of sewing. Just not a whole lot of motivation to take pictures and post my happenings. Some friends and I have started "Friday Fun Day" where we do a project each week. We've tackled a lot of sewing. Maybe one day I'll get around to actually posting pictures. Maybe.

One thing that I have been wanting to do for years are hooded bath towels. My friend showed us how one Friday and the girls love their new towels with hoods. They were simple and easy and fun to individualize with ric rac and pom poms. I know hooded towels aren't anything new or original, but here they are none the less.

I don't know if you can actually get a good look at them, because the only pictures I have of them are from Henry's first sponge bath. Needless to say, he hated it and the girls could hardly watch with all the screaming...but the towels sure looked cute!