Friday, December 30, 2011

The June Bug Dress Pattern Remix - PR&P

I'm not one of the contestants on Project Run and Play, but that sure isn't stopping me from playing along and entering the side contest! The first challenge is to take the June Bug dress by Jess of Craftiness is Not Optional and to change it up.

This is the materials that I used:

A couple of curtains and what's left of a pair of navy cordoroy jeans. (I used the other leg of the cordoroy jeans for an apron for my sister a while back.)

A closer picture of the two curtains.
Also used, but not pictured is one side of a duvet cover.

Please excuse the wrinkles - I don't usually care for ironing and avoid it when I can! And since these two pieces are the exact same size, and the exact sizes I needed, I didn't worry about the wrinkles warping the size of the fabric too much. Also excuse the picture quality for the ones above. Taking these pictures was an after thought, and my camera batteries were dead, so I used my phone.

I turned those things into this! I used the top part of the June Bug Dress to make the top of the jumper, and a pattern I'm testing for Little Lizard King for cargo pants for the pants part.

A fun jumper that is perfect for wearing while doing the laundry. Even if doing the laundry just means airing out your tutu skirt, super hero cape, and other fun clothes in the nice crisp air!

The fine whale cordoroy pants left over was turned into the top part. The buttons holding on the loops to hang the curtains were used for the closures. I cut in the bodice through the arm holes so it wouldn't be so wide. The loops themselves were used at the shoulders to make adjustable ties. The cordoroy goes vertically on the back and the two front side panels, and horizontally in the center panel.

I added a couple of the loops to the back of the bodice to serve as ties to tighten it up.

A closeup view of the bodice front. I added a pocket on top of where the blanket is using the duvet cover. I also added the dragonfly button.

I used the duvet cover to also make useable cuffs for the bottom of the pant legs. The cuffs at the bottom of the pant legs, combined with the ties at the shoulder, and the generous width of whole thing means this should last about a year! I also added a butterfly button because it looked like there needed to be one. ;-)

A side view of how cute this outfit is!

A nice view of the pretty flowers that hang out around the bases of the clothes line trees.

And now just a few pictures of how cute she was during this photo shoot....because she is just so cute! ;-)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tutorial Tuesday Link Up

I decided that since this is the LAST Tutorial Tuesday of 2011 (Can you believe it!? How on earth did that happen!?!?) that today we could do a link party. I'll leave the link party open for an entire week. :) Until next week's tutorial is posted!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Dressing and Potato Flake Pork (or Chicken)

This is a great fall-back dinner. It's pretty tasty, and doesn't take much time. I've made it probably 5 or 6 times in the last 10 years. Each time I've made it was when I hadn't been grocery shopping in a while and we were running out of things to make, and I was running out of ideas. Don't be mislead though! It really does taste good! I just never think of making it until I'm searching the fridge for something to put together.

Thousand Island dressing or ranch dressing work best, but creamy ceasar might also be good. (This time I used thousand island)
Potato flakes
Boneless pork chops/steaks or boneless/skinless chicken breasts
Whatever sides you would like (This time I used green beans and stuffing)

To make the pork:
Preheat oven to 425. Have 3 small plates lined up with a dish for the meat to go in after it's been coated. Put a small amount of flour on the first plate, the dressing on the second plate, and potato flakes on the third. You will likely need to keep the dressing and potato flakes out to refill the plates, but the flour could be put away.

Take a piece of the pork and lightly coat it in flour - this will help the dressing stick to it.

Then coat it in the dressing.

Then coat it in the potato flakes.

Continue with the rest of the pieces of pork until you have enough for your family. Take the remaining potato flakes and sprinkle them over the top of the covered pork in the pan.

Your pan should look similar to this before it goes in the oven.

And after about 40 minutes in the oven it should look like this...

The potato flakes will make the outside a little bit crunchy, but the dressing will make the inside nice and moist. Serve them up with whatever sides you'd like! Enjoy! :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Bubble-skirted Dress Part 2 - "Hard"-Work

Welcome to Part 2 of the bubble-skirted dress tutorial! This one is going to be just as loaded with pictures as Part 1...Or maybe even more pictures. If you need any clarification on anything, feel free to comment or email me!

So, in Part 1, we got the shirt prepared, and the skirt material it's time to really start sewing!

Put a pin in all four "corners" of the fabric on each end.  Sorry, I didn't take a picture of this step. Basically, you hold the back seam in one hand, and lay the fabric smooth to find the exact middle of the front. You put a pin there. Then you line up the front pin with the back seam to find the two exact sides. Put a pin in each side. Do this to the top and bottom of both pieces of fabric.
Put your machine onto the longest straight stitch setting, and the tension knob to the highest number to gather. Stitch as close to the edge of what will be the bottom edge of the top skirt as you can (in this case the owl fabric). The closer to the edge you are the easier it is to hide the stitching in the seam if you don't end up being able to pull all the stitching out later. (There will be more clarification later!)

The owl fabric I used has a definite "up" and "down". I'm sewing along the very bottom edge.
Make sure to leave a nice sized tail of thread when you remove the fabric from the machine (side note - if I know the gathering seam isn't going to be seen I like to use a contrasting thread color - makes it easier to see when gathering!). After it is gathered, line up the pins (that you kept in while sewing!!) of the top fabric, with those of the under fabric. Make sure you have the right sides of the fabric together. Pin the two pieces together at the four "corners" and pull the strings to gather the fabric more if needed.

Match up the pins.
See the non-gathered area? That's why you leave the strings - so you can pull them and gather it up more as needed!
The top skirt fabric is all gathered and the bottom skirt fabric is flat.
Sew the top and under fabrics together. I used my (super fantastic) serger to sew the two layers together, but you can do a straight stitch on the inside, and a zig-zag stitch closer to the edge.

After they are sewn together, when you pull the layers apart from each other it would look like you were making a tiered skirt.

Notice that the owls look upside down. The top of the brown is at the top of the picture, while the top of the owls is at the bottom of the picture since the brown goes inside the owls. I hope that made sense!
A close up. The brown is the under skirt and is still nice and flat, while the owls is the top layer and is all gathered.
Do a top stitch on the under skirt to hold the seam down. This step is optional, but I think it makes the skirt lay a little more nicely once the whole thing is done.

The next step can be done a couple different ways. For either way, you need to make sure you still have the four corners pinned on both the top and under skirt layers.

For the first option of how to do this step: Gather the top of the top skirt the same way that you did the bottom of the top skirt. Then pin it to the bottom layer at the four corners, tighten up the gathering until there is no slack between the two, and pin the layers together, keeping the four corner pins in and adding more pins to it to keep the gathered layer and bottom layer together. Stitch the two layers together, keeping the four corner pins in. After the two layers are stitched together, do a gathering stitch to make both layers gather up. (Still keeping the four corner pins in.)

For the second option of how to do this step (and the option that I went with): Put a pin in each of the mid points between the pins marking the four corners in both layers. Pin the two layers together matching up all of the pins together - There should now be 8 pins holding your two pieces of fabric together. Put the fabric in the machine with the gathering stitch on, and scrunch the top layer fabric in the space between the needle placement and the next pin as you feed it through the machine. Both of the layers will be gathered at the same time this way. And if you have some experience with gathering, and feeding hand-scrunched fabric in the machine, this way seems to take a bit less time.

See how the owl fabric looks much more gathered up than the brown? It's because it is. There was more owl fabric than brown fabric used.
Mark the mid points of the front and back of the shirt with pins. Then mark the points in between those points. Line up the skirt and shirt to see how cute it will be....and to check the gathering spacing.

Turn the skirt inside out and pin the skirt and the shirt together. Make sure you pin the middle back of the shirt to the middle back of the skirt, and middle front of the shirt to the middle front of the skirt. It's surprising how many times I've pinned bodice and skirt pieces together wrong. Or maybe not so surprising since I have two kids and a husband, and a dog and a cat, that all like to have my attention when I'm trying to sew!

Notice that you can see the owl fabric coming out from under the brown? That's because the brown was made to 7 inches, while the owl was 8 inches - remember?
Sew the skirt and t-shirt sandwich together. Again, I used my (beloved) serger, but if you don't have one, sew a straight stretch stitch about 1/2 inch in from the edge, then a zig-zag closer to the edge (this is to lock in the potentially scraggly edges of the fabric). If you do a zig-zag stitch you might want to go around a couple of times, not just once. This would be to ensure that all layers are as secure as possible.

Turn the dress right side out and take out all of the gathering stitches if you can see them. (This is why I like to do them in a contrasting color.)

Do a top stitch to hold down the skirt and t-shirt sandwich seam to the t-shirt using a straight stretch stitch.

If you decided to do all of the sewing before the glittery puffy paint seal, then do the glittery puffy paint outlining now!

Add the pretty bow to wherever you want (I played around with putting it in several different places. Potential placement options: top corner above the owl next to "Joy", the opposite side from where it is in the picture, directly below the owl, along the neckline. I had SUCH a hard time deciding!!)..and try on your cutie patootie!

Baby girl wearing her new dress and playing with the hologram costume-fabric cut offs. It's amazing how much she has grown up in just a year!
 I just love the way it turned out!! I hope you like yours just as much as I do. I'll be making a few more of these in other non-themed fabrics for year-round wear. But, let's face it - I'll probably have my baby bunny wear this well after Christmas is over because it's so stinkin cute!

Note on sizing:
I would adjust the length of the fabric you cut by 1/2 - 1 inch up (with BOTH pieces of fabric!!) with the higher up in sizes you go, but continue to do about 4x the width of the bottom of the shirt for the width. You can also try the shirt on the child you want to wear the dress and measure from about the hem stitching down to where you want the bottom of the skirt to hit. Then add for seam allowances.

If sizing down in size I would adjust the length of the fabric by about 2 inches, and cut off the entire hemmed area of the shirt and an extra inch (instead of taking out the seam and just cutting off the folded area). Since smaller babies likely aren't walking yet it would probably get caught up when they are crawling around. With the 12 month sizing my little girl got a little tangled in it, but she was also on the verge of walking, so I didn't want to make it any shorter.

You could also fairly easily convert a onsie into one of these. I can make a tutorial on that too if I get enough requests....Or if I have a reason to turn a plain onsie into a cute bubble skirt dress!

Note on timing:
I made this in two nap times + a little extra. I'm not entirely sure how much actual time that was since my daughter didn't take consistently timed naps. But they were typically between 1 and 2.5 hours. Also, since this was the first one ever, it took a little longer. The next one(s) I make will take MUCH less time since I've already figured out how long/wide to cut the fabric, and figured out the best way to do the construction.

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to leave a comment, or email me!!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Easy Peasy Caprese Salad

Remember Ashley from Dishes? She's baaaack! Last time she showed us a pretty yummy way to make squash that would be good any day, not just for Thanksgiving. This time she is showing us a yummy salad. I don't know what it is about salads, but I go through phases where I LOVE to eat them, then don't care if I ever see another one, then back to loving them. I'm currently in a love this is perfect timing! Thankfully Ashley has agreed to grace us with something new and different once a month, so you'll see her again!


Easy Peasy Caprese Salad By Ashley from Dishes

Here’s a fancy salad that’s super easy in a pinch and traditional Italian. Pairs well will any pasta, or have it by itself for a satisfying snack.

First, the ingredients:

Mozzarella Cheese medallions


Olive Oil

Balsamic Vinegar


Salt and Pepper

Optional- Spinach and Chicken

If using spinach, or some other type of lettuce, make a bed for your caprese.

Layer sliced tomatoes and mozzarella medallions on bed, alternating. Then, tuck in 1-2 basil leaves, or to taste, around the tomatoes. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and vinegar, and top with salt and pepper.

If desired, serve with bread for a filling lunch, or top with chicken for a protein kick.



Thank you Ashley!! I'm looking forward to seeing what you have in store for us next month!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Bubble-skirted Dress Part 1 - Prep-Work

Well, like the name says, this is the bubble-skirted dress tutorial! I made this as a Christmas dress for my youngest last year. And I made this tutorial for my personal blog...but since I haven't really kept up with it because I've been focusing on this one, I figure I can recycle this tutorial! Why not, right?!

The instructions are for a 12month dress, but could easily be tweaked for larger sizes. This is the first part in a two part series. Part 1 is all about the prep work.
I started with a store-bought shirt to make my life a little easier. I had a cute holiday owl patterned piece of fabric I bought at Hobby Lobby (I couldn't pass it up!! It was WAY too cute!!)

Necessary materials:
T-shirt in the right size
Fabric - the kind doesn't matter so much, but if you use a heavier fabric for the skirt top part you should use a lighter weight fabric for the under part of the skirt.
Ruler/tape measure
Sewing machine
Glittery puffy paint (optional)
Pretty bow (optional)

I cut out several of the owls, and laid them out on the shirt to see which one would fit the best.

The little guy girl I decided on.
I then took out the bottom hem of the shirt. You should do this from behind. I used a sharp snips scissor instead of one of my 7 or 8 seam rippers...For these shirts (Garanimals) it's the easiest thing to use. You just cut up the middle of the seam, and pull all the threads out.

Next cut off portion that was folded under and hem at the fold line.

Center and pin on the applique. And stitch away! I first did a single straight stitch near the edge, then went around 3 or 4 times along the edge with a zig-zag stitch I would have done more, or a satin stitch if I had planned on having the edge show...but I didn't. I didn't use any fusible webbing, but feel free to use it on yours! And if you want to have the edge show you could do a decorative or satin stitch around the edge.

After it is sewn down use glitter puffy paint around the edges to seal it down. Set it aside while it's drying and work on the rest. Unless you plan to sew all of it in one sitting....Then hold off on the puffy paint until you're done. It needs 4 hours to dry laying out on a flat surface.

I then cut out the top skirt fabric (the holiday owls) - I made it four times the width of the bottom of the shirt, plus 1/2 inch seam allowance. The length was 8 inches.

The owl fabric is folded in half lengthwise, so what you see is actually doubled.
Then cut the bottom skirt fabric (the dark brown) to be 1.5 times the width of the bottom of the shirt, plus 1/2 inch seam allowance. The length was 7 inches. I made the under skirt fabric not so long so that the top skirt fabric would go up underneath a little.

This is the two fabrics in relation to each other. I ended up cutting the brown fabric down after the picture - I originally had the brown fabric 2x the width of the bottom of the shirt.
Fold the fabric in half lengthwise with right sides together, and sew up the back seam. Do this with both pieces of fabric.

And that is it for Part 1, the Prep-Work! Part 2 has all the "hard stuff" in it.