Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Proper Little Ladies

I think slips have become a thing of the past (vintage?), except for my prim, proper and practically-perfect-in-every-way little ladies. (hahaha!). For most of their dresses, I line the whole dress or the bodice, at a minimum, just to be sure they are covered. But, they still need slips periodically.

Here's the easiest slip you can make: A half slip made from fabric with a hem "built in". You will need to purchase fabric that has a decorative edge along the bottom. This will be the bottom edge of your slip.

Step 1: Get measurements for the waist and the length.

Measure your little girl around the waist. Don't be confused where her waist is--just measure right where the top of her pants hits because that is where she will wear her slip. You want to measure against her skin, though, so use her pants as a guide. Use a flexible measuring tape if you have one and pull it snug--no slackness--but not tight to get the best measurement. If you use something else to measure (belt?) and plan to measure that item, that is fine, but do not use anything stretchy like yarn.

Next, you need the length you want the slip. Measure from the top edge of the pants to the point where you want the slip to fall or the finished length. You can take this measurement over clothing.

Step 2: Cut your fabric according to the measurements as follows:

For the length of fabric, you need to use 1 1/2 to 2 times the waist measurement. I tend to use a number closer to 1 1/2 times the waist measurement for the half slip because I do not want it to be too full.

For the width of fabric (from selvedge edge to selvedge edge), you will use the length measurement from above plus you need to add 1 inch for your waistband.

Example: My daughter has a 22 inch waist and a length from waist to top of knee of 14 inches. So, I used one yard of fabric (36 inches) and cut it along the length of the yard at 15 inches from the bottom. If you are cutting with a rotary cutter, be certain that you line up the decorative edge very carefully! I ended up with a piece of fabric that was 36 inches long and 15 inches wide with the decorative edge all along the 36 inch length. A little confusing in words, but not when you do it.

Step 3: Sew the two short sides together by placing right sides together and sew a 5/8 inch seam allowance. You can serge or zig zag the edges to make it pretty. Be certain to line up the decorative edge so it looks good--you can trim up the side later.

Step 4: Iron your seam towards the back of your skirt. In this case, there really isn't a back or a front so it isn't critical. Be sure to iron your seam smooth, though.
Step 5: I like to stitch my seam down just to keep it flat. (This can't be seen on my pictures, but it is here.)

Step 6: To make the casing for the waistband, turn down the top edge 1/4 inch and iron down all of the way around. I use my serger to mark this for me and it is really easy to sew down. (See my sewing hint about this HERE--scroll down to the highlighted area.)

Step 7: Turn down the top edge another 5/8 of an inch (I always measure the whole way around.) and iron it down.

Step 8: Sew the waistband casing down along the edge. Leave a 1-2 inch gap where you will insert your elastic. I like to leave the gap around the side seam.

Step 9: Cut 1/2 inch wide elastic the length of waist measurement minus an inch.

Step 10: Insert elastic into the casing by fastening a safety pin to one end and gently pushing it through the casing. Be sure you do not pull the opposite end all of the way into the casing. You can pin it down on the outside to prevent this from happening.

Step 11: When the elastic comes out the other side, remove the safety pin and layer the end over the end of the other side. The elastic should be flat. Zig zag stitch along this lapped section to secure the ends together. Trim any excess elastic if necessary.

Step 12: Gently wiggle the elastic into the gap you have left and smooth out the fabric over the elastic. Sew along the edge of the gap being careful not to catch the edge of the elastic.

Step 13: Slide the gathers along the elastic to space them evenly along waistband.

Step 14: Use Fray Check on the end of the seam where you have the decorative edge. This will help keep it all together.

Step 15: Wash your slip before it is worn to help the elastic return to it's "normal" shape. Often, when you put it in the casing, it gets stretched out and you want it to go back.

Lots of little steps to this, but they aren't difficult. And, now that you can make this, you can also make any gathered waistband skirt. By varying the width of the elastic (I like bigger elastic for a bigger-type of skirt) depending on what kind of skirt you are making, you can make anything from a school/church skirt to a play skirt to a dress up skirt. I do recommend using twice the waist measurement for a full, twirly skirt.

And, you will want to put in a hem for fabric that doesn't come with a decorative edge. The hem is made the same way as the waistband casing, just don't leave a gap to insert the elastic. Or, if using fancy, dress-up skirt fabric, you can get away with adding lace or something decorative to the bottom or just serging a rolled-hem in place.

Lots of possibilities.
Options, I like options!

For some reason, I couldn't talk anyone into a picture wearing her new slip. Hmm...

Monday, March 29, 2010

And the bunny symbolizes . . . ??

The Easter bunny is bigger than life these days, because, duh--he brings CANDY! Unfortunately, this can easily overshadow anything religious that we are celebrating for Easter. I've got plenty of bunnies, so I decided this would be the year for something that teaches the meaning of Easter.

I love the wooden blocks and have used them for numerous crafts. This is no exception. I downloaded, resized and printed pictures from The Friend magazine and from LDS Gospel Art. I actually prefered the LDS Gospel Art because they clearly state that the pictures can be downloaded so I know I can use them and don't have to worry about copyright infringement. And these pictures were perfect for what I wanted.


Wood block (mine was cut from a 4x4 post)
router or sand paper
paper cutter
Mod Podge
craft paint

Step 1: Cut your block square and round off edges and corners with a router or sand paper. Mine was pretty beat up and that worked for me.

Step 2: Paint generous edges, but don't worry about the middle sections since they will be covered with pictures anyhow.

Step 3: Use your paper cutter to cut your pictures neatly and mount onto cardstock.

Step 4: Use Mod Podge to stick the mounted pictures to the block. Smooth out any bubbles and be sure edges are completely flat. Let dry completely.

Step 5: Cover the entire block and pictures with 1-2 coats of Mod Podge letting it dry completely in between coats. I like to cover 3 sides and let them dry before I work on the next 3 just to be sure I cover everything. I also have a dry side to set on my counter while the others are drying.

In a nutshell:

That's it. 1-2-3 and you are done!
Don't you think this would work great for any "story" you would like to tell?
It would also make a great Nativity block which would also make a great gift!
 Did you see the Christmas Linky page on she wears flowers--don't forget to link up your great gift ideas for everyone to see and get started on.

Don't miss the soft block version and then the soft book coming up in posts later this week.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

"Christmas All Year" Planning Party

Do you have a great idea for a Christmas gift? Please share it here! We can add to this list ALL year long and have a great resource for each other all year long. It's like the Christmas gift idea list that never gets lost--yay! And you can craft your handmade gifts when you have time instead of waiting for all the best ideas in November and December.

The rules:
  • Please write a brief description of your Christmas idea (doesn't have to be Christmas-y; just a great idea to use for Christmas) along with your site name in the section where it says "name". Do not write in your own name at this point.
  • Link only to your specific post with your Christmas idea not to your blog's main page.
  • If your link doesn't show up or is deleted, please check the rules and try again.
  • Please don't link to a commercial site--yours or anyone else's.
  • This l-o-n-g link party will end at midnight EST on December 24, 2010.

It's in the Bag!

OK--I made it (in time and got it done!). Actually, it wasn't hard, which is what I love.

Are you compiling your Christmas ideas somewhere? I have several ideas bouncing around my head and my computer and my paper files and I am adding all of the time. Committing to those ideas usually happens in mid-December and that is what we are trying to prevent this year!

One of the first things I ever sewed was a drawstring bag as a place for my Dad to store his camera. I was pretty young and just getting interested in sewing and I was amazed that he really did want me to sew something for him. I have seen that bag floating around as an adult, too, so I know he didn't toss it right out.

These bags are easy to make but did you ever think they could be used to wrap Christmas presents? I read about this on someone else's blog (I think it was HERE, but I can't find it again--sorry!) and realized it was just the answer I needed to wrapping AND not wasting so much at Christmas time.

You can't wrap everything in one (well, I can't) but think how nice it would be for those awkward-to-wrap gifts like THIS or the huge ones or the little ones or, hey, how about the medium-sized gifts? And the best part is that you can just use them over and over. I am sure I have a few family members who would love this so I am making the bags as a gift set, too. That's confusing--I am making these bags to use and, separately, I am going to make a set of them as a gift so others have them on hand to use for their families as well.

Christmas fabric
twill tape, ribbon, or cording

Step 1: Cut your bag the desired size. Be sure to add a little to each cut side for the seam allowance. I like to fold my fabric over so I don't have to sew one side.

Step 2: Finish the edges of each side. I used my serger, but you could zigzag them, fold them over or use pinking shears on them.

Step 3: Iron a casing section along the top, but do not sew it down yet. To make the casing, fold your top edge 1/4 inch to the inside and iron that down. Then fold again the amount equal to about 1/8 of an inch more than the width of your twill tape or ribbon. Mine was 1/2 inch twill tape, so I folded down another 5/8 of an inch. Iron this down, too.

Step 4: With right sides together and wrong sides facing out, sew the sides of your bag together from the top (which is about 1/4 of an inch below the bottom edge of the casing when it is folded down) to the bottom and then turn the corner and sew along the bottom edge. The other side was a fold so you don't need to sew it. 

Step 5: Iron the seam allowances open and be sure to get the ones where you didn't sew as if you did sew them.

Step 6: Fold the casing back over the seam allowances and iron it down again.

Step 7: Sew around the casing along the bottom edge.

Step 8: Thread your twill tape or cording (my favorite, but I couldn't find a matching color today.) through the casing using a safety pin. I like to have a short tail on either end when the bag is completely open.

Step 9: Tie the two ends together in a knot that is large enough that it can't be pulled back into the casing.

That's it! So easy! And, just in case it isn't so easy, I should tell you that I used my seam ripper not once, but TWICE, on this today and I have made bags like this a lot! Once, I helped make them for a service project at our church and I had to ask the person next to me for directions about 100 times even though I had made them a lot previous to that night. Who knows? Just try it; you'll like it!
And, I know it will be your favorite wrapping paper when you wrap gifts 
 on December 24! Ummm... yeah.

Just in case you use it before December 24, you may need to use two layers of fabric or thick fabric to keep out little snoopers.

(ooohh! wouldn't this be SO cute made out of canvas with a Christmas symbol painted, no, appliqued, NO-- freezer paper-stenciled on it??? That's what I am doing next!)

I promised to learn how to do a link party and this is going to be a good one! I will start it here and then figure out how to move it to my sidebar or nav bar (baby steps) so you can access it all year long. I'll start with my own link after I finish this post so I should apologize up front: Not trying to be arrogant, just trying to get it all on its way.

Let's keep this party going!


Today is the 25th!!! I nearly forgot--did you? For those of you following along on preparing Christmas all year, I completely procrastinated this one and I am so sorry!

Shockingly, I know just what I am doing and just need to get it done--hopefully by the end of the day so I can still squeak past on the 25th. I'll just add to this post today/tonight so it feels (to me) like I am getting it all done on time--sigh.

 Check back, please.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Looking for Love in ANY place!

You know when there's a lot going and you don't feel like anything is getting done?

Or, when there is so much to do you don't know where to begin?

How about when you are doing a ton, but none of it is what you really want to be working on?

And, how about those blog readers--are you there? Is anyone even reading this stuff?

I gotta take the love wherever I can find it. This week it was in the mountain of laundry. At least the winter clothes love me!

Monday, March 22, 2010

How Does Your Garden Grow?

It was just beginning to feel like spring and didn't. But that's okay--we are moving forward with or without Mother Nature!

--A flower garden with removable flowers--

I got this idea to keep my little naughty busy bee, well, busy! I thought she might like to prepare for spring by "planting" flowers! The flowers are all removable so they can go in and out as many times as she wants to. And, as long as we are at it, we might as well throw a little learning twist in there, too. That's the reason the flowers are all different heights and can be ordered sequentially by height. She mastered colors long ago, but, this is another skill you can throw in your flower garden if you would like. To make one of your own, you will need the following supplies:

2x4 cut into one 12 inch length
1/2 inch board (I used poplar) 2 inches wide by 12 inches long
acrylic paints
Mod Podge
4 screws/screwdriver
scrapbook paper
5/8 inch dowels (see instructions below)
hot glue

Here's your wood with specific instructions following the picture:

Cut a triangle shape off the corners of your 2x4 so the top is wider than the base.
Drill the holes for your screws to hold the base to the bottom of the flower pot. I handed this off to my husband to do, but it really isn't hard. Just mark where you want your holes and make them big enough. We used pretty long screws to make this a little less destructible. If you have the right tools (drill bits), you can countersink the holes so that the head of the screw is embedded into the base and doesn't make it slightly uneven or move around. Just be sure you space your screw holes around the place where your dowels will go. You don't want one in the other!

top of base:                                                       bottom of base:

The holes for the dowel flower stems are about 1 1/2" deep to keep the stem upright once it is placed in the hole. The holes are just slightly bigger than 5/8 inch (the size of the dowel) so that the dowel will go in easily. I didn't want my daughter to struggle too much to plant her flowers or she would never play with this.

Cut the dowels into 5 pieces that are each 5, 6, 7, 8,  and 9 inches long and then paint them green. (This took one long dowel from Hobby Lobby)

Next, I painted the base and all of the edges of my flower pot. I painted the pot and the base colors Avery chose and then the top of the pot is brown so it looks like dirt. I didn't paint in the "middle" of each space because I was just going to cover it up with paper. This is the bottom of the flower pot and I did paint it, too, since I didn't want any unpainted edges to show from the top side.

I traced around the wood right onto my scrapbook paper to make the pretty parts of my flower part. I numbered the papers and the sides of the wood so I didn't have to worry about slight variations from one side to the other.

Use Mod Podge to adhere your scrapbook paper to your wood. When that is completely dry, paint at least 2 coats of Mod Podge over the whole thing (each piece separately) letting each coat dry thoroughly before the next.

You may need to redrill your holes at this point just because paint and Mod Podge may get in there and make them a little small to fit the dowels or screws.

Screw the base to the bottom of the flower pot and that part is done.

There are so many ways you can make flowers. I chose to use felt (the cheap kind) because, with a high melt glue gun, it will melt to the dowel pretty well when you glue it on, thus making it less likely to get yanked off. I also used felt for the centers of the flowers because I like the bright colors. I hand sewed these on to help them stay more securely than they might with glue. If you want to use a button in the center of your flower, be sure you sew it on securely before you glue your felt to the dowel. You could make the flowers different on each side of the flower, too. There's a lot of room for creativity here!

You need 10 flowers all together. Glue your flowers to each side of the dowel.

Now, go plant some pretty flowers!

I'm linking to these places today:

The Girl Creative

Sumo Sweet Stuff
SYS Thurs

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

It Should be a Good Hair Day!

A "smaller" hair accessory was requested for St. Patrick's Day by one of my girls. The others turned their noses up at the idea, but I made two anyhow. I bet they will all want one when they see these!

We are big on the rainbow thing for the leprechaun on St. Patrick's Day. This isn't a holiday for which we go all out, but we tend to do something. We have made leprechaun traps, seen green footprints around the house, decorated with rainbows, and eaten various types of green food and food which has been colored green. I am still not sure what will happen this year, but time is running out. Why aren't those two 8 year olds asking if leprechauns are real? If they would just figure it out, my job would be so much easier--mostly because I could get them to do it for Avery and I would be off the hook. I am straying from the's how I made these little cuties:

Step 1: Cut your rainbow striped fabric in a 2 inch strip that is about 10-12 inches long. Fold it in half and stitch along the raw edges using a long, gathering stitch.

Step 2: Gather the strip a little and fold it into a flower design and sew it down OR cut it off so you have a rainbow shape. Fold raw edges in on themselves and glue or sew down.

Step 3: Make a black pot out of a piece of black felt. I just folded a small square in half and then freehand cut it. Glue gold coins or a green shamrock coin onto one side of the felt. Glue this to your flower shape or your rainbow shape.

Step 4 (optional): I added some tulle-like netting that I had leftover from a project years ago. I sewed it like the striped fabric, but without folding it in half. It was really curly and weird to work with, so I just put hot glue on the rainbow part and smushed the green netting where I wanted it to go. Then I added the backing and covered it all up--whew!

Step 5: Cut out a backing for your accessory. I just made a circle for the one and a long, rounded rectangle for the other. The rectangle one lined up with the black pot so it was a little thicker.

Step 6: Glue a clip to the back. I covered the bottom of the clip with felt, too. It isn't the neatest, but I am trying--these hair thingies are all new for me!

And, there it is! Ooooh! Aaaaaaah! Love it! (Quick and easy! Quick and easy!)

On Wednesday, I'll have to update with a picture of whoever decides to wear these.
She will be my favorite daughter all day long!


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