Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Pillowcase Dress Tutorial

There are a myriad of ways to make a pillowcase dress.   This is the way that works best for we go.
1.  Gather your supplies:  A pillowcase (or fabric approximately the same size), scissors, measuring tape, strait pins, marking pen (preferably disappearing), sewing machine (although could be done by hand) and thread, iron, arm hole template, and ribbon.  

2.  Measure for desired length.  You can either measure the intended wearer, or use a dress that fits well and measure the length of that dress.  It is best to measure from the bottom of the arm hole down to the bottom hem.  On my dress it was around 14".  

 3.  I measured 14" up on the pillowcase (from the bottom/open end up) and put a pin in.  I then printed and cut the arm hole template (I like the template for size 2t-3t, but for larger sizes I would add 1 1/2" to the top and side (the little tab on the side) of the pattern or, just use an existing dress, trace the arm hole and add 1 1/2" to the top for the casing).  I lined the bottom edge of the arm hole template up with the pin marking the bottom of my arm hole.

4.  Cut off the top.  I lined my ruler up with the top of the template and used my rotary cutter to cut the top off.  You could do this with scissors too, just use diapering ink pen to mark the cut line and cut with scissors.
 5. Use the pen and template the mark the arm holes, and cut them out.

 6. Make the hem for the arm holes.  Do this by turning the raw edge in 1/4" or so twice.  I start in the middle.  Fold it in, then in again, pin in place.  Keep moving up all the sides.

 7.  Stitch down the hem.  I like to sew as close the the inside edge as possible, making sure the raw edge is enclosed.

 8.  Fold down and iron the top about 1/4".  I then used  a zig-zag stitch to finish the edge.

9.   Next fold the top over 1-1/2" depending on the size of ribbon.

 10.  Finish off the ends of the ribbon (fray check or heat seal), attach a safety pin and thread through the opening made in the top.

 11.  Gather up both ends evenly and tie into a bow/bows.  You're done!  Pretty easy right?

 I used the left over top part of the pillowcase to make some bloomers.  I used this pattern.  I sized it down a little, and cut the legs shorter for shorts.  I used my serger to add a rolled hem edge to the bottom of the legs and then used a shirring technique (elastic thread in the bobbin) to make the gather at the bottom of the legs.  I made this outfit for my 20 month old niece.  Just don't tell my hubby that I used my little boy as a model.  :)

The sky is the limit with this easy pattern.  Different fabrics, ribbons, trims, ruffles and appliqué  all lend themselves well to this project.

Just saw this SUPER CUTE pattern: 
  Happy Crafting everyone!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter Duds

I found this pretty fabric on the clearance rack, and I was so excited to turn it into sweet Easter clothing for my little ones.

I made K this sweet little dress using this pattern.  It looks overwhelming, but it is actually a pretty easy pattern.  I had to read through it a few times, and even had to have a friend read through it with me.  The shoulder seam was confusing to me, but I decided to just try it.  It was MUCH easier than I had made it.   My only objection was there were no sleeves in the pattern, and we like K to have sleeves in her dresses.  

My solution was to put the sleeves from this pattern into the arm hole BEFORE, I stitched up the seams (after I sewed up the shoulder seams).  These little sleeves are a cinch to make, and will come in really handy to add sleeves to other projects.  

I also made her a little bolero jacket using this pattern.  I made the pattern larger by measuring the difference between the pattern and one of K's slimmer cut t-shirts (since she is super skinny).   I then added that difference to the pattern.  I also added the ruffle all the way around the jacket.  I think it looks better that way, plus it was easier.  I also lined the entire jacket to hide the seams.  To do that I just cut out double of all the pieces (except the ruffle).  I made 2 copies of the jacket (minus the sleeves), and then sewed the ruffle to one of the jackets.  I then sandwiched the ruffle between BOTH of the jackets right sides together (the top of the ruffle points to the center of the jacket).  I sewed around leaving a few inches to flip the jacket right side out.  I ironed it well and then added the sleeved into the arm holes.  I ironed it again, and then top stitched around the entire jacket (making sure to seal the opening left to turn the jacket right-side out).

 There it is....It seems harder than it actually is, and I think she really loved it.

 D thought a bow tie would look pretty awesome and I was happy to oblige.  I used the instructions from this pattern.  I also used this pattern by Martha Stewart.  She gives you a tie-shaped pattern to use as a template.  It took me a few tries to get the size right for D.  He has a pretty big head, and he needed the adult sized pattern.  I LOVE the look of actually tied bow-ties, but they are a pain to get off and on.  I put a swimsuit hook on the back and attached a pice of elastic to the other end (for a loop so the hook could slip into it).  It made the bow tie easy to get on and comfortable to wear.

And there you have it.  Happy Easter from our family to yours.

Happy crafting everyone.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Gooey Goodness

Many of you know my parents, and you know that they are AMAZING in the kitchen.  (Check out my Dad's blog)  My mom is known for her bread and especially her yummy cinnamon rolls.  So, when I came across this recipe my curiosity was peeked.  
While making rolls for dinner tonight, I thought I'd give the basic idea a try.  I didn't use the bread recipe (I think my mom's is the best), but I imitated the method of putting the roll/loaf together.  
Doesn't it look so yummy and gooey?  It was.

So here is the basic recipe/instructions.  (Note:  I have watched and helped my mom make this roll dough for decades.  I will try to explain what to do, and I apologize if I leave stuff out.  I make my rolls in a Kitchenaid, my mom uses a Bosch.  I don't know how these work up by hand.  This is also a 1/2 recipe the full recipe makes too many rolls for my family...or at least my waist line)

Mom's rolls:
2 cups hot water
1/2 cube butter
3 Tbs. sugar
1 Tbs. yeast
1/2 Tbs salt

Put hot water, butter, sugar and yeast in the mixing bowl.  Let it sit for a bit (until the yeast starts to foam) then add the salt and about 3 cups of flour.  Mix that really well with the dough hook (a couple of min).  Then add more flour 1/2 c. or less at a time, making sure the flour mixes in completely until you add more.  Continue to add flour until the dough starts to unstick from the bowl.  (that was my mom's test, and this is where I don't know how to explain things).  When sides of the bowl look clean and the dough can be touched without sticking all over you, it is done.  I put my dough into a greased bowl and put a damp cloth over the top.  You then let it rise until it is doubled in size.  (I sometimes turn my oven to warm, then turn it off when I put bowl of dough in.  It speeds up the process).

I made 1/2 my dough into crescent rolls (rolls into a large circle dough being 1/4" thick, use a pizza cutter and cut the dough into quarters and then each quarter into thirds. Roll the little triangles thick side to tip.).  The other 1/2 I made these cinnamon pull-a-parts.  Roll the dough out and slather in butter.  Sprinkle on cinnamon, brown sugar and nutmeg.  Cut into 2" squares (approximate).  Stack the squares on each other, put in a greased bread pan.

Let the bread rise again, 15 min or so, and bake at 350 for 15 min (check, when it is golden brown and stiff when you push on one of the little squares it is done.)  I think I actually pulled mine out a few min too soon.

Let it sit for just a min, then invert the pan onto a plate.  It has LOTS of HOT STICKY SUGAR so be careful.  Let it cool a bit and ENJOY!