How to Make a Long Twirly Dress: Picture Tutorial

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The dress size featured below is 5T. I use B5707 Butterick pattern for the bodice and part of the skirt (I just make a half circle, but you can make a full circle and REALLY twirl). Then I made my own collar pattern, sleeve pattern and ruffles. The actual pattern uses a crazy amount of fabric and is fully lined. I don’t do any of the darts any more, but have in the past. The thing about little girl dresses is they don’t have to be perfect. Not like an adult garment. :)

Let’s begin.

Cut skirt fabric (3 pieces). If working with a repeat fabric pattern, as shown below, then additional fabric may be needed to extend your fabric to make it large enough for the pattern. This can be avoided if extra fabric is available/purchased, which was not an option for me.

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Sew skirt together, press seams:

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Close skirt back using a french seam:

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Serge bottom and top edges of skirt and finish bottom edge by folding over 1/4 inch and sewing in place:

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Make the Bias Tape (135″ should be plenty for skirt and sleeve trim):

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Add bias tape to skirt (bottom edge, just above the hem line)

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Cut ruffle material.

To make a double ruffle you’ll need one ruffle cut at 6″ wide and 220″ long, and one ruffle cut at 5″ wide and 220″ long. Sew material sections together, press seams (and serge joined edges if necessary). Serge entire length of the bottom edge on both ruffles. Line up top edges of the two ruffles, shorter ruffle on top, and serge edges together. Ruffle the fabric with your machine. (I created a ruffle/gap/ruffle pattern using my small ruler to push the fabric under as it sewed. I like to make 6 ruffles and then leave a 3″ gap, then repeat the entire length of the ruffle).

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Measure the skirt bottom (around the finished bias tape) and then finish your ruffle to match length (enclosing edges to make full circle of ruffle). This is a tricky step, and the pictures don’t help at all. Basically you need to rip the seam at the top of the double ruffle, separating the two. Then close each ruffle separately. Press and finish any edges that are cut (by surging or folding over with a 1/4″ hem). Fold over and tack the seam in place at the bottom, then sew the two ruffle back together at the top.

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Add ruffle to skirt edge, folding the bias tape over the top of ruffle to enclose edges.

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Cut (and piece together any additional material needed to continue the repeat of the pattern) material to make the Bodice, Bodice Lining, and Collar.

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Make the Sleeve and attache them to the Bodice.

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Fold and firmly press the bottom edge of the bodice where the skirt will be attached. The bodice lining should be about 1/8th” lower than the bodice front (see picture). This will ensure that your stitch will catch the bodice lining when sewing the skirt in place.

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Run a gathering stitch across the top of the skirt edge (using the longest stitch possible on your machine). Gather material and then pin in place in between the bodice front and bodice lining. Leave a space at the back of the dress to allow for the button overlap (the side with the gap will be the the side of the bodice that the buttons are sewn in place. Pin really well here and hold the dress up to make sure it hangs properly. If one side is pinned high it will hang at an angle. You want it to hand straight up and down. It will take a little adjusting to get it perfect.

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Now make the button holes and attache the buttons.

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Your dress is finished! :) So cute!

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Re-purposed Sweater: New Toddler Sweater Dress

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Yesterday night I didn’t have anything to do […well, I had plenty to do, like try to find a name for my soon-to-be-born son (which has proven to be extremely hard!)…], so I was checking my email and saw that someone started following me on pinterest, specifically my sewing tutorials board, which contains only one tutorial at the moment. The tutorial is of a cute, cute, cute re-purposed sweater to sweater dress found here. Looking at this tutorial again got me so excited, because I remembered that I had already pulled a sweater out of the closet to use as my first attempt at a re-purposed sweater dress for my sweet pea!! Needless to say I got started on it right away, and it wasn’t long before the dress was DONE!

The dress fits and is so cute! I love it and she seems to as well. Oh what a happy day it is when the sewn garment fits the person you made it for…and they like it!! I foresee myself making many sweater dresses for her in the very near future…hello new winter wardrobe.

Here’s a picture tutorial of how I made the dress. It’s so simple, you should try it too!
(see the link above for more detailed instruction if you are planning on trying this project out for your little one)
[I wish the color was better on my pictures, but I do most of my sewing at night, so my pictures aren’t as vibrant as I’d like. You can see the true color of the sweater-dress in the pictures taken of my daughter outside (shown above).]

The sweater, awaiting its next chapter in life:

The first cut is always the hardest, you just got to go for it!

Cut in armholes. Next time I will cut the body of the dress wider and add the armholes afterward, taking in the shoulder width a little at that time.

The next step is to sew up the sides. Pretty simple. I wasn’t pleased with the width of the neck so I cut a “V” shave into the back taking out about two inches of the neck.

Cut the sleeves. I used a dress that currently fits my sweet pea as a pattern. I new that the sleeve would be wide, so I cute it exactly to the length of the sleeve on the little dress, knowing that it would become smaller once I sewed in a 3/8″ seam at the shoulder.

Pinned the sleeve to the dress. [Pinning is important to make sure that it will fit. I had to cut the armhole a little wider to accommodate the width of the sleeve.]

Finished sleeve:

After the sleeves were attached I turned the dress out to see the finished product. The dress looks great, but the neck was WAY to ‘floppy’ – it looks like a clown neck, which is why I never really wore the sweater in the first place. So, I decided to turn the collar down (in half) and hand sew it in place using a blind stitch.

Finished product:

Just for fun, here are a few more pictures of my sweet pea in the dress:

Dress from side and dress from back:

Homemade Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

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I made homemade peanut butter chocolate chip granola bars this afternoon and wow, so good! Definitely worth making again and again. I don’t think I’ll ever buy the packaged granola bars again, they are tasteless (well, they have a taste and it’s an artificial/chemical taste compared to theses). You can make these ‘organic’ if you use all organic ingredients. I just used what I had on hand. Husband and 2-year old daughter both love this recipe, and I feel really good about giving it to them vs. a store bought granola bar. Yay for new found recipes! Recipe take from this site.

Ingredients:
½ cup peanut butter (I’ve found that when trying to make granola-type bars that a peanut butter that has a little oil added to it works better than a peanut butter that is simply peanuts and salt).
1/3 cup agave syrup (could also use honey)
1 egg
2 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
3 ½ cups slow cooking oats
¼ cup brown sugar
½ tsp salt

Optional ingredients:
1/3 cup chocolate chips, raisins, cranberries, peanuts or almonds
Try to limit it to only 2 additional 1/3 cups of ingredients. If more are added the bars will not stick together as well.

Time Estimates:
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 15 min
Total time: 25 min

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°
2. Spray a 13×9 pan with cooking spray (or line a pan with parchment paper or a baking mat)
3. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl
4. Press ingredients down flat into prepared pan
5. Cook in oven for 12 -15 minutes until edges begin to brown
6. Let cool so it firms up; if you try to cut while still warm, it will crumble

I did not use a 9×13 pan. I used a 1/2 sheet cake pan, so you can see that my ‘bars’ are very thin. I kind of like it this way, it’s more like granola-bar-brittle. However, next time I will make the granola bars using a 9×13 pan, that way they can be cut into actual bars. I think I will omit the chocolate chips as well, to make them a little healthier.

We got a new dishwasher, and we installed it ourselves!

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On Saturday my husband and I installed a new dishwasher! Our “old” dishwasher (5 years and 5 months is not “old” in my opinion…arg) started making a horrible noise. I searched online for possible solutions to making the noise go away and the only answers I found were to replace the motor. After calling the manufacturer (Whirlpool – I won’t ever buy another dishwasher (or possibly any appliance) made by them again) to find out how much a new motor would cost ($181 + $20 shipping) I decided it really wasn’t worth it. Not only would I have to purchase the part, but I’d also need someone to come out and install it. In the end I could probably buy a new dishwasher for the same amount of money to fix the old one, and it wouldn’t have a warranty.

So, we decided to get a new dishwasher. I shopped around a little bit and ended up getting a Samsung. Turns out many of the other leading dishwasher brands are made by Whirlpool, which I vowed not to ever purchase again. So the Samsung was the winner, and to save some money (about $120), I thought we could install it ourselves. I did a few “how to install a dishwasher” searches on google and found some helpful videos that lead me to believe it wouldn’t be that difficult to install. And the videos were right, it wasn’t to bad….

It took us about 4 hours to complete the installation project.
Here’s how we did it:

ask father-in-law to bring over dolly
use dolly to transport new dishwasher from garage to kitchen
open box and inspect dishwasher
(watch father-in-law make a ‘house’ with window for sweet pea – she loves it!!)
turn water off
turn off electricity
uninstall old dishwasher
(say goodbye to father-in-law and thank him for his help)
(clean under sink – ick)

read install manual for new dishwasher
(put sweet pea down for a nap)
(eat lunch)
attach all the loose pieces of dishwasher kit that we purchased (items that the dishwasher doesn’t come with, like the plumbing parts and electrical cord)
remove electrical box cover
(call father for electrical help. We took the cord off the old dishwasher, but it didn’t have color coded wires (which is odd) so he told us to use an extension cord)
cut an extension cord in half and splice cord to expose internal wires (black, white, green)
line up and tape electrical wire and water line to floor to match the channels on the base of new dishwasher
slide dishwasher under counter
dishwasher doesn’t fit under counter, it’s about 1/8th” to tall
Remove plastic leveling feet from base of dishwasher and slide enough cardboard (from box dishwasher came in) under the sides of the dishwasher to level it
level dishwasher
mount to counter
attached water line
wire electrical (green to green, black to black, white to white)
put electrical box cover back on
turn water and electricity back on
cross fingers that everything works – it does…and presto, we have a new dishwasher!
load dishwasher, turn on and check for leaks
no leaks, yay!
and last, but not least: clean house…styrofoam and cardboard everywhere!

And that’s how a husband and wife team up to get the job done on a Saturday afternoon.
Thanks hubby, you’re the best!!

From fabric to finished: a quilt for my soon-to-be-born son.

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I just finished stitching the last stitch of my latest quilt made especially for my baby boy! Yay! It took me 16 days to complete this project. Picked out fabric on the 15th of October and finished today, October 31st.


[Finished quilt dimensions: 41.5″ x 56.5″]

There is only one thing that I would do different if I had it to do all over again: I would make the blocks bigger. When originally cutting all the fabric for this quilt I decided to follow the direction outlined in the quilting book I was using as a guide (Radiant Nine Patch by Blanche Young, 1986). She suggests cutting all fabric in 2″ strips, use a 5/16″ seam allowance. The end result would be a 4″ block. I thought that sounded pretty good, so I got started. I thought I was cutting enough material to make TWO quilts – HAHAHAHA! Once I started laying out all the finished blocks I realized I only had enough for one quilt, and a very small quilt at that…so I decided I’d keep it for my baby boy (this quilt was originally going to be a Christmas gift for my nephew), and in the end I’m extremely pleased with the final results.

I started out machine quilting the quilt, but after two laborious passes of the quilt through my machine I decided that I’d hand quilt the quilt. It just looked terrible, and I knew it would look awesome if I did it by hand. Hand quilting takes a lot of time. I swore it off after the last quilt, then ended up doing it again this time. I guess it’s worth it in the end.

On a separate note, I had my 36 week doctors appointment today and I’m 2.5 cm dilated and 50% effaced. Baby boy will be here soon. Doctor said to go ahead and get a bag packed. :) I’m hoping he stays in the comfort of my womb for at LEAST another week. I really want his little lungs to be fully developed before he joins us on the outside.
[side note: my little sweet pea was born 2 days after my 36 week check up. I was 3 cm dilated and 70% effaced with her at this time, which is pretty close to where I am now with the boy…]

Below is a picture journal of the quilt from fabric selection to finished product. Enjoy!

new quilting project

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I have been working on a quilt for the last two weeks and it’s almost done. I will post a full blog about it (with pictures) in the very near future. So exciting! Oh, and I think I’m crazy, because I decided to hand quilt it even though I swore I wouldn’t do that again after the last quilt I just finished. Glutton for punishment I guess.

Who’s the quilt for this time? I decided it would be for my baby boy. I’m a few days shy of 36 weeks pregnant, so he’ll be here soon (32 days or less, but who’s counting). My daughter came early at 36.5 weeks, so I’m a bit nervous that he will come early as well. Time shall tell. Until then I shall quilt… :)

Laundry room shelving installed, caulked, primed and painted. Project complete!

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While my parents were here last weekend I had them help me with my laundry room shelving project. Before they arrived I measured the space to determine exactly what materials I’d need to make the shelves. Once all measurements were complied I took my little scratch pad of notes and headed to Lowe’s (I like Lowe’s, they are good people, never a bad experience). After picking out the lumber I had them cut it all for me – awesome! It did take some time, but the guy was being very exact with all his measurements, making sure the saw blade didn’t cut off too much at the ends. It all turned out perfect! I primed all the wood before my parents arrived so that it was done before we installed the shelving.

Saturday morning the project began…but we didn’t finish until mid afternoon that day. With a little toddler running around excited to have her Meme and Papa at her house there were some obvious set backs – I mean how can you resist tea time with a sweet little angel??!! :) Needless to say, we finished the shelves, and Meme painted the inside of the exterior door to match the trim!! Woohoo! Very exciting stuff to me!

A few pictures of the project in progress to its completion:
The finished pictures are taken in the evening, so they’ve got an orange-ish hue. Look at the earlier pictures to get a better idea of the colors.

List of all the materials and tools we used:
1×4’s for the support boards (under the shelves)
1×2’s for the front facing of the shelves (keeps the shelves from bending and gives them a nice look)
23/32 (or 5/8th’s inch) plywood for the shelves
2 1/2″ wood screws
2″ finishing nails
Stud Finder
Tape Measure
Electric Drill (screwdriver bit, and drill bit)
Level
Circular Saw
Hand Saw
Triangle Ruler
Latex Caulk (paintable)
Sand Paper
Finishing Putty
Primer Paint
Colored Paint
Paint Brush
Paint Roller
Paint Tray and Liners
Painters Tape