I made Pearl an Easter dress a few years ago (which she can still wear as a top) but this year I had my heart set on sewing her a special Easter skirt.
I still love this little dress, but she’s just not a dress kid. She loves wearing skirts, and I thought trying a few of my usual sewing tricks with a half-yard of nice quilting cotton could end up making her a cute elastic-waist skirt. Little did I know it actually is the easiest and quickest skirt method I could have ever imagined! I’m sure someone else has done this type of project a million times but I was pretty thrilled to pull this off. Here’s how I did it. (Note – Pearl is a very tall and lanky four-year-old, so I’d say this would be great general sizing for toddlers and preschoolers, if you adapt the waist to resemble an elastic-waist skirt or simple pair of pants that fits well.)
My first try was with a half-yard of Hello Kitty fabric I bought at West Seattle Fabric Company last summer on our PNW MQG meet-up weekend, improvised as I went with what sounded like it would work the way I pictured in my head. It all went smoothly (ok, I did get the seam ripper out once when my waistband was too narrow, see below) but in about 15 minutes I had a simple, perfect little skirt for her! I took no process photos so I tried to get those snaps while I was making the second skirt… the Easter skirt!!! Pearl and I are going to have mother-daughter Easter skirts with my favorite Denyse Schmidt Aunt Edna/JoAnn diagonal plaid print in the pink colorway (her) and the gold colorway (me!). Unless she desperately wants to wear the Hello Kitty skirt to church. Hmm, maybe I should unveil that one afterwards…
To start, you’ll need a half-yard (18″) of 44″ wide quilting cotton, some 1/2″ flat elastic (you can go wider than this but I’m not sure narrower would work well) threaded through an elastic guide or safety pin, sewing machine, thread, scissors, etc. Pre-wash the fabric and press it, folding it with right sides together and selvages matching at one short edge, so it measures about 18″ tall by 22″ wide folded.
Stitch along the 18″ open side to join the selvages, back-stitching at the beginning and end of the seam, and catching all white or printed selvages within the seam so they don’t show (likely, 1/2″ or so, depending on how wide your printed part is). Press the selvages open. If you’re lucky, you can spotlight the printed section right into the skirt, which is cute! No seam-finishing required if you just use the selvage edges as your only seam (a nice bonus).
Press the bottom raw edge of your fabric cylinder under about 1/2″ towards the wrong side of the fabric, then press again to create a simple double-fold hem. If you have a nice sharp press, you don’t even need to pin all the way around, I just put one in at the seam to keep it neat. Stitch around the hem to secure it, back-stitching at the end to hold the seam.
Now create the waistband (normally I make a skirt waistband first but this pattern is so simple and the waist gathers so much that I think the hem is easiest to make first, my 2¢). Just as you did with the hem, press the top edge under about 1/2″ or a bit less all the way around towards the wrong side.
Now eye how wide your elastic (and most importantly elastic guide or safety pin AND elastic doubled through) is and press your second fold accordingly – you want this channel to be wide enough to accommodate the guide and its elastic cargo slipping through. Stitch around the entire waistband, leaving a 2-inch opening or so at the selvage seam, back-stitching at the beginning and end to hold the seam.
Insert the elastic guide into the opening and slide it into the waist channel, guiding it through with your fingers. (Note – if your guide gets stuck because you stitched a channel that’s too narrow, just seam-rip the rest of the waistband and re-press it with a more generous fold. Ask me how I know…) When you reach the other side, pull the guide out and gather the elastic smoothly, tugging on both ends. Use a skirt that fits your kid well for a general idea of how tightly to gather it.
When it resembles that waistband, pin your elastic in place at that point so it is doubled about an inch, and stitch back and forth multiple times to secure it. Trim threads and guide the stitched elastic back into the waistband at the opening. Now press the waistband opening flat and stitch it closed, back-stitching at the beginning and end of your seam for security.
That’s it! If you pre-wash half-yards of cute fabrics with your regular laundry you will always be ready to sew up a kid’s skirt. Next stop, appliqueing a t-shirt for her in the same pink plaid, plus something fun for Everett too. (Note – I wrote this mostly up on Thursday night and it’s now Saturday morning, and I’ve sewn her two more skirts! They are addictive! I came up with a new idea too and I’ll post that next week… here’s a hint for now – LOVE this fabric:)
Happy Easter/April/spring/skirt weather, everyone!
The kids and I got our valentines for relatives across the country made and in the mail this morning, so that was a relief! These holidays always sneak up on me, and the next thing I know we’re rushing to finish something in time for USPS to get them to all the aunts, uncles, and grandparents. I wanted to share two Valentine’s Day project tutorials I wrote up a few years ago that you might like to make between now and Thursday. They’re both quick and easy and pretty fun!
The first one is felt fortune cookies with a tiny heart on the “fortune” – I love this little project. You can either make one the size of a real cookie, or a teeny-tiny version to wear on a ring. I got a great surprise this week… my little project won second place in a DIY Valentines contest courtesy of Sybille, so I won a prize: a set of washi tape and packaging supplies! Very exciting.
The second is a hand-stitched beaded heart card. This one is very sweet and elementary-school age kids could probably pull it off with a little help, especially if they like hand-sewing.
Happy Valentine’s Day to all and happy 154th birthday to Oregon! I’m deep in some pre-Quiltcon sewing but hoping to share some new projects I’m working on soon – especially skirts and zip bags. Also, plaid puppies, curtains, tablecloths, and pillows. Sewing has been a lot of fun lately, and I’ve been excited to make some new things here and there in between deadlines and kid illnesses (sigh). Hope you have had a chance to make some things you like lately too!
It’s been a whirlwind month, but I wanted to post about a few things I got to do that I’m excited about…
I won a wonderful surprise gift certificate from collage (thank you!!) and picked out some amazing art supplies for the kids’ Easter baskets,
finally got the chance to bring my Oceanside quilt to life (it was inspired by a photo I took at the beach in 2009… and now it’s pieced, backed, and at Nancy’s for longarm quilting!),
It’s this Sunday, April 29, at 4:00. Shawn (author of the stellar Criminal Crafts) and I would love to see you there for making ransom notes and comics magnets, plus drinks, snacks, and mysterious surprises! Barbara of MBTB has kindly ordered copies of Modern Log Cabin Quilting and Button It Up, too, so if you ever wanted to get one of my books signed (while learning how to make invisible ink, courtesy of Shawn), here’s your chance!
If you go:
Criminal Crafts + World of Geekcraft Book Party
Sunday, April 29 at 4pm
Murder By The Book, 3210 SE Hawthorne Blvd. in Portland
Drinks, snacks, craft projects and book signing
Happy Valentine’s Day, friends!
Last night after work and school, we had a mini-marathon family Valentine-making party, with some secret projects in different rooms, and a lot of construction paper action. Pearl and I worked on decorating one for Andrew (which I bought at Hammer Press in Kansas City last fall, one of my favorite cards I’ve ever snapped up), shortly after the two of them made me a pretty killer all-handmade one with lots of hearts and a super-sweet message inside. It wasn’t hard to distract Everett away from Pearl working on one with a vivid portrait of him on the front, and after she went to bed I pinked a heart from my favorite Denyse Schmidt dots and sewed it on a card for her. Whew! This was our breakfast table this morning with grandparent Valentines waiting to be opened too. It was fun!
Pearl also made a whole family of Valentines for her grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, which I just loved. Andrew cut out hearts and she proudly drew each member of the family. They each got emailed photos today and hopefully the real thing will roll into their mailboxes shortly too!
But if you are over the age of three and a half and after some truly gorgeous last-minute Valentines, please stop by the Hello!Lucky blog and download any or all of their free (!) vintage-inspired Valentine cards! My favorite is the cuckoo clock but they’re all awesome. Thank you, Hello!Lucky!
I stopped by Collage this morning and picked up some treasures, including some good Easter presents for Miss Pearl (I never seem to be following some cool blog schedule of sharing my Valentine’s stuff early enough to do anyone else any good, then Easter stuff when anyone else might also actually be thinking about it too… oh well). The markers, one Moleskine, and the sun print paper are all for her. The other Moleskines might find a home with me, I have an idea I’ve been wanting to try to customize a plain journal. Maria was so awesome and helped me find just what I was looking for – including markers that don’t dry out when the lid vanishes into playroom chaos. Who knew?!
I’ve been working on my PMQG name tag this week and was so happy to track down the exact Sharpie I needed there in that perfect turquoise color, so I can write west coast crafty on my white bias tape before I stitch it down. Here it is in progress, looking a little worse for wear after a tote-bag trip for matching purposes. I’m so excited to finish mine, and see everyone’s name tags at our February meeting! If you want to make one too, here are lots of inspiration photos, courtesy of Heather, and Petra’s original post with photos from her presentation at our January meeting.
Last, here’s some more info about the Collage party. It sounds so fun… hoping to go for sure!
If you go:
Collage’s Sellwood Grand Opening!
Saturday, February 18 from 10-6
Special discounts and 60+ raffles, all day!
7907 SE 13th Ave. in Sellwood’s Historic Antique Row, Portland
Okay, I’m off to make a red wine chocolate cake. Have a wonderful V-day!
Happy New Year! I hope that your 2012 has been a good one so far. I just made a collage of my craft projects from last year and wanted to share it over here…
Lots of sewing! I think my favorite things I made are my denim wrap skirt, Everett’s birthday banner, and the plaid Pendleton blanket for my mother-in-law. I also love my Denyse Schmidt improvisational blocks, and I hope that I’ll actually get to piece them into a bed quilt in 2012. If you’re looking for truly spectacular finished quilt projects, check out people’s mosaics and posts on the Modern Quilt Guild FB page. (All of my quilting time went to Quilts for Quake Survivors, so my contributions were all just parts of a beautiful whole, so no finished quilts to show this year – I’m ok with it!)
Speaking of Quilts for Quake Survivors, I wanted to post an update over here, too. We are winding the project down this week after donating 30 quilts to survivors of the earthquake in Japan (March and April) and raising $2825 and counting for Mercy Corps’ relief work (May-now). A HUGE thank-you to everyone who has donated fabric, pieced blocks, joined or sashed quilt tops, sewed backs, basted, quilted, tied or bound quilts with us. We are so grateful for your beautiful work!
If you are interested, please go to our page on the Mercy Corps website and donate $150 (shipping is on us). You can donate to ANY cause you’d like the money to go to, not just Japan. Just state your preferred cause in the subject line. Mercy Corps will distribute the funds according to your specifications on their back end. Then you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the donation confirmation number and the number of the quilt and your shipping address. We will send you a confirmation email and ship the quilt within 48 hours via USPS. Also – if you’ve already donated $150 or more for end of year giving, you can send us the donor number and we’ll gladly send you a quilt as a thank-you.
After this week, we’ll donate any remaining quilts to Bradley-Angle House, a shelter here in Portland, for the women and children there. Thank you to everyone who has supported QfQ!!
I have a few more little things to share soon… like my favorite new hot chocolate recipe, and the finished 25-minute book and toy totes for Pearl and Everett (which were a huge hit on Christmas morning!). I’ll see you when I have a chance to upload some more photos!
I recently got a review copy of Jessica Strand’s new book, Holiday Crafting & Baking with Kids, and I love it. It arrived last Tuesday, and we immediately planned a couple of very fun crafty playdates for Wednesday and Friday with two of Pearl’s best friends!
The first project I saw that was right up her alley was the O Christmas Tree soft felt ornaments. Our Christmas tree desperately needs more cute, unbreakable ornaments – Everett has just started walking and he’s very good at it! This project is not only very 3.5-year-old friendly, it didn’t require a single extra thing from the store (I have a crazy stash of felt colors). Perfect.
We started with the kids (Pearl and her buddy Kirin) choosing the felt color they wanted for backgrounds. I traced a large jar lid and cut the rounds out with pinking shears, then asked what kind of decorations and shapes they wanted to add to their first ornament. The rule that worked well was that they could pick all their preferred colors, shapes, and sizes of felt pieces, but that I did the cutting and pinking. Then, once they’d placed everything just so, I glued the bits down and we cut out new rounds to decorate. It worked super well, and in just an hour or so, they had made six ornaments together! Here are Pearl’s. Two are similar to the ones in the book, but I really love that free-form circle one – she had a great time digging deep into my button jar for favorites to arrange…
Kirin made these three. That giraffe is spectacular (a collaboration between him and his mom!).
Then, a couple days later, Pearl’s friend Rowan came over for ornament-making part two. In the meantime, I’d made it to the craft store for googly eyes – Pearl announced that she wanted to make a Christmas present ornament that was looking at you. So she did.
Rowan made some great ones too – I liked the pipe cleaner hangers!
Holiday Crafting and Baking with Kids is an adorable book. Jessica mentioned in her introduction that she worked on it with her ten-year-old son Lucian, which I thought was so cool. They came up with 26 projects total, covering Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s – everything from table decorations, gift wrap and cards to garlands, cookies, and gifts. It’s so nice to see a book that’s meant for younger kids and bigger ones – so many of the kids’ craft books I have are still a ways out from my 3.5-year-old. This one is recommended for 4 and up, but many of the projects are very do-able for the preschooler. We want to try this one next:
Who knows how much Pearl’s snowflakes will look like the ones on the page, but I think they will be awesome – she was really excited to find special sparkly pipe cleaners at the store to bend and twist! The other projects she wants to make are the paper snowflakes, the brownie gift jar, and the happy New Year paper poppers.
I used Everett’s naptime today to sew something new for a gift swap in a few days, and it was so fun to make, I thought I’d share it over here – a set of tiny stocking ornaments! These are super easy, each one only takes a few minutes to cut out and stitch up.
-a scrap of paper + paper scissors
-a 4″ x 6″ remnant of fabric (I used by-the-pound plaid scraps from the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store for mine, but I think solid-colored felt or home dec fabric would be perfect too, maybe with some embellishments like these?)
-a 6″ piece of ribbon
-and a sewing machine (or needle and thread).
To get started, sketch or trace a simple paper stocking pattern like the one in the photos (I cut mine freehand from an old envelope, and it measures 3.5″ inches tall and 2.5″ inches across at the widest part, the toe). Cut that out with paper scissors.
Then fold your remnant and pin the pattern to it. Cut out two identical stocking pieces with pinking shears. Cut a 6″ length of ribbon to loop for the hanger and fold it in half. Tuck the ribbon’s raw edges inside the stocking pieces, at the top left corner, at an angle as shown. Pin the stocking pieces together at the ribbon fold and at the toe on the opposite side.
Stitch around the perimeter of the stocking, from upper left where the ribbon loop is all the way around, back-stitching at the beginning and end of your seam. Trim threads and you’re done!
I cut seven out in different plaids and flannels and just sewed them in quick little batches, using three different ribbons of varying widths. (I couldn’t get a good photo on the tree this afternoon, but Pearl let me borrow her Advent calendar.)
These are so fast to make and would be a nice extra to decorate a bottle of wine or cider for a party…
Anyway, I hope you like them!
I’m working on a new round-up of all the holiday projects I’ve ever shared a tutorial for (or done a variation on and linked over to elsewhere), and I’m hoping to have that posted tomorrow afternoon, too. Update: Nope, naptimes go fast and this mega-post is still in progress a few days later. Looks like I will be posting it in December 2012, and I have a nice head start… in the meantime, I wrote up a review of this lovely book with lots of holiday projects for kids to make!
Thank you to everyone who liked the two draft snakes I made this fall and asked for a tutorial – here you go! You can totally personalize yours as you like, I wrote up a couple of variations to try. I made one single-layer patchwork draft snake pieced from varying lengths of orange and blue wool fabric for our back door (which is pretty flat/flush with the doorway),
and another double-layer one in all the same fabric to fit our vintage (1950) set-in front doorway. A single fitted draft snake just kept rolling away from the bottom of the door, so adding a longer base kept it sitting neatly in place.
Some basics: You can use any sturdy fabric you like for these. I got all my wool fabric at the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store here in Portland, but you could also use home dec fabrics of any type or reclaimed denim.
I’d stay away from whites and light colors that might show dirt quickly. My bright colored one hasn’t had any problems, especially since wool is easy to brush clean, but the darker one seems totally stain-proof.
For this project, your basic formula is to start with a single or patchworked/pieced length of fabric that’s 7 inches x (the width of your door + 1 inch – so, you’d cut fabric 37″ wide to fit a 36″-wide door). And you’ll use a 1/2″ seam allowance throughout.
Here’s a super simple tutorial. I’m a low-fi type at heart, and ended up writing/drawing these steps on paper with a Sharpie instead of trying to do any kind of cool digital illustration. Hope you don’t mind…
Step 1: Cutting.
Patchwork variation… easy!
Step 2: Pin, sew, and stuff.
Step 3: Pin and hand-stitch up the open end.
Double draft snake variation!
Please let me know if you have any questions about the tutorial, and I would love to see your draft snake if you sew one. It’s gotten so cold around here, and I’m so glad to have these little guys guarding the front and back doors… seriously, in an hour or so, you’ll have a couple made and can finish the rest of your holiday crafting in cozy, non-drafty comfort! Or hey, you can stop by a friend’s house, casually measure the door, and make this as a surprise holiday gift.
One last thing: I’m teaching my Woolen Cross Pillow class at the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store on Saturday, December 17 from 10am-12:30pm ($40 includes all materials, plus extra fabric to bring home for a 2nd pillow). Portland Modern Quilt Guild members now get $5 off any Woolen Mill Store class, plus 10% off any purchases at the shop, so be sure to show your PMQG card to get both discounts!
Michelle is also teaching some great classes at the WMS this Sunday, December 11 – Stuffed Penguin (11am-1pm, $25) and Wool Nesting Baskets (2-4pm, $40). Check out her post for photos and more details!
After three weeks on the east coast visiting family, I got to sew today for the first time since mid-November! Oh, I missed sewing so much, it’s good to be back. Since time is always of the essence around here, I wanted to make a nice instant-gratification project, and also cross something off my holiday gift list. After a quick and lovely trip to Cool Cottons for two yards of bright-colored webbing, I was revisiting the Purl Bee’s 20-minute tote tutorial and cutting some fabric to make little presents for Pearl and Everett!
I made a few tweaks to the Purl Bee’s version (exact details in a minute). Since these are for little kids, ages 1 and 3.5, I sized the bag down a bit. I also lined mine and added box corners, just because I like those things in bags. The first one I made is for Everett – owls, lined with cheerful yellow gingham, and with one of my way-back tags sewn in.
Here are my changes, in case anyone else wants to try a kid version too: I sized all the dimensions of the bag down, using two 11″ x 12″ pieces of fabric (one set in outer fabric and one in lining – you can basically make two bags out of 2 contrasting third-yard cuts of fabric), and two 18″ lengths of webbing for handles (one yard total per bag). I followed their directions for the most part, but streamlined a bit since no raw edges would show, and added box corners 1″ in from the bottom corners of both lining and outer bag layers before sewing them together. I sewed the tag into the lining, then sewed the bag and lining together around the perimeter with a small zig-zag stitch. Done!
The finished bag is the perfect size for bringing a few kids’ books and toys along for a playdate or car ride. It’s not super strong, just two layers of quilting cottons (I wouldn’t lug groceries or free weights in it or anything) but it’s perfect for a child to carry around. Using interfacing or home dec fabric would make this a much sturdier grown-up-style bag. You could also add a patch pocket, a little zip bag on a ribbon, or a button closure…
Here’s what I’m going to use for Pearl’s version – buttons on the outside, dots on the inside. Love that bright blue webbing! For my sources – I got the webbing at Cool Cottons today, the button print is from Bobbin’s Nest this spring, the dots are Katie Jump Rope from Purl Soho (2007 or so), the owls are a Japanese import (also 2007-ish), and the gingham was a yard sale find.
Speaking of fabric, this is what else I got at Cool Cottons! So, so happy they still had a nice selection of Lotta Jansdotter left. I got enough gray to make a skirt, one yard of the yellow, and half-yards of the two smaller prints on white and the orange.
This weekend is shaping up to be awesome and busy. I’m really excited for the Crafty Wonderland Super Colossal Sale – hope to see you over there one of the two days, I will be doing the rest of my holiday shopping! Portland Modern Quilt Guild will be hosting an all-day sew on Saturday (free to members, $10 non-members), yay! And my friend + fellow PMQG member Heather will be teaching a super cool glass etching class (1pm, $10) at the Portland Bazaar on Sunday!
One more bit of news on the PMQG front: I’m so honored to follow the amazing Christina as our guild president for 2012! Heather, Petra, Nancy, Ale and I will be the new officers and I am so excited to be on the board with them. Hope to see you at our December 15 meeting at PNCA – it’s a holiday potluck with lots of treats!