How to alter the waistband of kids' jeans (without darts!)

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My 12-year-old daughter has grown a crazy amount this year. She’s always been tall for her age and I expect her to outgrow me by the end of the year (I’m 5’6”, but I’m pretty sure I’ll end up the shortest in my family). Last Sunday she was lamenting that she didn’t have anything to wear. I went in to help her and realized she was kinda right, ha! She’d outgrown pretty much everything. So we went shopping!

We started at Savers (our favorite thrift store) and found a nice haul including three pair of jeans. One pair was Madewell and we got them for $5!!!! I love it when the thrift store doesn’t recognize an expensive brand, haha. The other two are super cute, but slightly big in the waist. She doesn’t love belts, so I said I’d alter them.

I didn’t want to do darts because once that’s done, it’s done and I wanted a less permanent solution so we can take it out if she needs. I came up with a way to add an elastic casing in the back and thought I’d put the tutorial here.

How to fix a too-big waistband on your kids’ jeans, with no darts. || Pin, Cut, Sew Studio

All you need is a strip of fabric, 2” x 12” and a scrap of 3/4” or 1” elastic, about 6-10” long.

The first thing you need to do is remove the back belt loop with your seam ripper. I removed mine completely, but if you want to keep the belt loop, simply unpick the top of it and keep it out of the way while you sew, then top stitch it back in place at the end. This will be challenging unless you have a pretty heavy duty machine. I don’t like to risk putting my eye out with a broken needle, so I left them off.

How to make a jeans waistband smaller. || Pin, Cut, Sew Studio

Next, take your 2x12” strip of fabric and hem the short ends. Then, press under the long ends, 1/4”.

How to alter a jeans waistband, without darts. || PIn, Cut, Sew Studio

Pin your strips onto the inside of your waistband, centered over the center back seam and edge stitch them on, both long edges, leaving the short ends open.

How How to alter the waistband of jeans

Take your strip of elastic and attach a safety pin to one end. Thread it through and once it gets to the end of your casing, stitch that end down. At this point, I had Layla try on the jeans and pulled the elastic so they fit how she wanted. Then I stitched the other end in place and trimmed the excess.

How to add elastic to kids jeans.
How to alter the waistband of jeans. No darts! || PIn, Cut, Sew Studio.

If you want a less gathered look in the back, you could remove all three of the back belt loops and make your case go from side seam to side seam. Layla doesn’t mind the gathers, she likes the cute fabrics and they look great when she wears them. This pair is a cute Jennifer Lopez brand boyfriend jean (anyone else watch World of Dance? The girls and I love that show!)

How to add an elastic casing to too big jeans. || PIn, Cut, Sew Studio

I hope this helps some of you! I have used a similar method to fix a case of shot elastic when my son was very young. I just added an extra casing all the way around the inside and put new elastic in that way. If you have other ideas for simple alterations of pants, let me know!


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How to mark buttonholes (the easy way).

This post may contain affiliate links, which means that while I am not paid to promote certain items, I will earn a small commission should you purchase items through these links.  For more info, see my disclosure policy.

How to mark and sew buttonholes the easy way with just pins! A sewing tutorial by Pin, Cut, Sew Studio

I am lazy when it comes to marking, ha! I mark almost everything with pins and not with actual marking tools. I mark all my darts with pins and I mark buttonholes with pins too and I get perfect results every time, so I thought I’d share my secrets.

How to mark buttonholes

First of all, let me just let you in on the magic of this amazingly useful sewing tool! I put this on my Christmas wish list several years ago and Casey got it for me. It’s seriously so handy. It’s a button hole gauge and with it, you can have perfectly spaced button holes every single time.

So to mark buttonholes, first I try on my garment and find where a button needs to be placed to land right in the fullest part of my bust. I put a pin there and that’s my starting point for all the rest of my buttons (yes, I ignore the pattern piece’s markings of where the button holes should be because it makes the most sense to have a button at that fullest point.) Then I use my gauge. I spread it out so that the button holes are between two and three inches apart and wherever they need to be so that the top button is about half an inch from top edge.

How to mark and sew button holes, the easy way.

I prefer pins with flat heads for all my sewing, but especially for this because I don’t have to remove my pin until my presser foot is down and ready to sew, whereas a round headed pin would get in the way. Basically, I place pins where my bar tacks will go. So I’ve placed my guide on my placket with each prong the correct distance from the edge for the bar tacks to be perfectly centered. You may choose to use a chalk runner and ruler to mark the center instead. I only mark the first bar tack, the other doesn’t matter because your machine will make the size buttonhole needed for the button you place in the buttonhole foot.

Every machine is different, so you’ll have to experiment, but here’s how it works on mine. I put my placket under the machine so that the top pin is centered in the buttonhole foot’s little windo I put my presser foot down and remove the pin. (Most button holes are sewn from bottom to top, so keep that in mind when positioning your fabric.

Sewing button holes || Pin, Cut, Sew Studio

To make sure the button hole sews straight, I just make sure the side of my placket is straight along the side of the presser foot or aligned with a mark on the machine (washi tape is good for this if you need a clear line). Then, the machine does its magic!

Now, let me introduce you to another awesome and handy sewing tool, the button hole cutter. You’ll need a mallet also, but one punch in each button hole and you’re done! If you don’t have one of these yet, of course you can use small sharp scissors to cut your button holes open (I have these and love them). I also always use Fray Check on my button holes and buttons so I don’t have any issues with unruly threads later on.

Marking Buttons

Next, to mark my buttons, I don’t use my gauge, I use my new button holes instead. I line up my placket and place pins through my button holes into the next placket. Then I can just “unbutton” them from my button placket and sew my buttons on with my button foot and a zig zag stitch with the length set at zero and the width however far apart the holes are. Yay, no hand sewing!

How to mark buttons and button holes with pins only. || Pin, Cut, Sew Studio
How to sew buttons and buttonholes || Pin, Cut, Sew, Studio

There ya have it, how to mark and sew buttons and buttonholes with pins only and no marking tools! For years, I actually didn’t have a machine that made button holes, so I learned to do it manually on that machine, but when I started teaching sewing to kids, I bought Brother machines similar to these and this is what I still use just for button holes and buttons, it performs beautifully. I’ve since inherited a very nice Pfaff from my mom, but I still use the Brother for buttonholes because I already know how, haha! I should probably get the Pfaff manual out and I give a try, though.

I hope this was helpful! Cheers :)

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Drawstring Pouch Sewing Tutorial

This post may contain affiliate links, which means that while I am not paid to promote certain items, I will earn a small commission should you purchase items through these links.  For more info, see my disclosure policy.

I have such a fun little tutorial for you today! My girls’ dance recital is coming up and Natalie and her friends like to give “cast gifts” to each other. We came up with the idea to make small drawstring pouches to hold their hair pins and other hair accessories. (If you have a dancer in the house, you know how important these things are and how hard they are to corral!)

We based our little pouches on one I made probably 15 years ago to hold my jewelry when I travel. That one has pockets for necklaces and things inside, but we don’t need pockets for this purpose.

If you’d like to come back to this idea later, I’d be happy for you to pin this next image on Pinterest! And don’t forget you can follow me over there too, I’m always pinning the best of the best sewing inspiration.

How to sew a drawstring pouch, by Nikki Schreiner of PIn, Cut, Sew Studio.

This is a very easy project! We made 11 total and it really didn’t take very long at all.

Supplies:

  • Two coordinating fabrics in at least 1/2 yard cuts OR two coordinating fat quarters. Fat quarters come precut 18”x18” and often come in a set like this super cute one. If you go with 1/2 yard cuts, you can cut three pouches per fabric. If you like the fabrics we used in the photos, we got most of them at Hobby Lobby (like the cute strawberries!)

  • Cording or grosgrain ribbon. I recommend grosgrain over other options of ribbon because it’s strong enough to hold up to lots of use. Here is the cording we used, it’s only $1.99 per spool at Hobby Lobby (although it’s on sale this week for .99!) and it’s the perfect size.

  • Fray Check.

That’s it! Let’s get started.

Instructions:

First things first, you’ll need to create a pattern. I taped two sheets of printer paper together and used a protractor to create a half circle pattern, 13” in diameter. Then, cut out your two circles (one for the outside, one for the inside) by folding your fabric and placing the straight edge of your pattern on the fold.

Drawstring Bag tutorial by Pin, Cut, Sew Studio.

Next, place your circles right sides together and sew around the edge with a 1/4” seam, leaving a couple inches open for turning.

Turn your circle right side out through your opening and press the edges, using a chopstick or turning tool to get the edge perfect by running it along the inside of the circle. Press the opening edges in as if they’d been sewn.

How to make a drawstring bag, a tutorial

Now you’re going to make three rows of top stitching around your circle. The first will be edge stitching, 1/8” from the edge, which will sew shut your opening. The second will be 1” inside from the edge. The third will be 1/2” away from the second, or 1 1/2” from the outer edge. Your casing for the cord is between this second and third line.

Pouch sewing tutorial

You’re done with the sewing part! To cut the holes for your cord or ribbon, find opposite sides of the circle by folding it in half and pressing a line. You’re going to use sharp small scissors to cut slits in the 1/2” casing. You’ll have four slits total, one on each side of your pressed line and on both sides of the circle. Use Fray check to keep those slits sturdy and let it dry for a couple minutes.

Drawstring pouch tutorial

Now for the cords. You’ll need to cut two pieces of cording or ribbon, each one 24” long. This is the trickiest part if you’ve never made this kind of bag where the drawstring pulls from both ends. To thread the first cord through, tie a knot in one end and put a safety pin through the knot. Begin by inserting the safety pin in one slit and thread it all the way around to the other slit on the same side as you started. Remove the safety pin, tie the ends in a knot and trim. For the second cord, do the same thing, but use the slits on the other side of the circle. This will be a little harder since your first cord is already in place and the bag is gathered up, but you can do it!

How to make a drawstring pouch, a sewing tutorial by Nikki at Pin, Cut, Sew Studio

When you’re done, open and close the bag using the strings a few times to even out the strings and that’s it! Natalie’s ballet recital has a Candyland theme, so we chose fabrics with treats on them, super fun. I was browsing Amazon though and I think Art Gallery’s Summer Side line of fabrics is so cute (especially the little sunnies, oh my gosh) and would make great little bags!

Drawstring bag sewing tutorial by Nikki at PIn, Cut, Sew Studio

Of course, you can use these little pouches for lots of things other than hair accessories. Use it for a first aid kit for your purse, maybe? Give them as gifts with little goodies inside? Or use it in your sewing room, so store little things like your Wonder Clips or your quilting safety pins.

What would you use yours for? I’d love to hear about it and if you make one, I’d love to see! Just tag me on Instagram :)

How to sew drawstring pouches, a sewing tutorial by Nikki at Pin, Cut, Sew Studio
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Why I started making a muslin every single time

This post may contain affiliate links, which means that while I am not paid to promote certain items, I will earn a small commission should you purchase items through these links.  For more info, see my disclosure policy.

Before we start, if you don’t know what a “muslin” is in garment sewing, it’s basically a mock up of the pattern in an inexpensive fabric called muslin. I didn’t used to bother with muslins at all. When I got really into garment sewing about 10 years ago, I lived in a place where nice fabric was readily available to me at a good cost. That is no longer the case. The industry has changed quite a bit, I no longer live somewhere conveniently located to good fabric stores other than JoAnn (don’t get me started), and sewing definitely isn’t a cheap hobby these days!

Several months ago, I got really tired of making things that didn’t turn out and having to toss out my nice fabrics and decided to muslin my next project. I had such good results that I have made a muslin of every single garment since then and have only had one wadder due to poor fabric choice (rookie mistake.)

Whether you’re just starting out with garment sewing or are an old pro, I thought I’d give you some tips for making muslins here today.

How to make a muslin for sewing patterns

1.Your muslin doesn’t have to be muslin

You can of course buy muslin fabric by the yard or by the bolt for just this purpose, and if you’re the kind who really needs your practice clothes to be uniform in color, this may be the way to go. However, you can use anything to make a muslin. When your well-meaning neighbor gives you a box of ugly fabric, keep the biggest pieces to use as muslins rather than throwing them out. I’ve taken to buying sheets at the thrift store to use as muslins and it’s been working awesome for me! Be strategic, though. Sheets come in all kinds of fabrics these days. I use the microfiber kind to sub for my drapier fabrics, 100% cotton sheets to use as heavier fabrics and jersey sheets to mock up patterns for knits. Sheets at my thrift store are around $4 each and I can get three or more garments out of one.

2. Cut only the necessary pattern pieces for your muslin

You don’t need to construct the entire garment. You’re making a muslin to check and perfect the fit, so only cut the pieces you need to do so. Omit collars, facings, pockets, and often even sleeves or skirt portions of dresses. No need to insert the zipper either.

3. Use a basting stitch

Use a long stitch length and go ahead and sew your pieces together. I so still back stitch at the beginning and ends of seams so that when I try them on they don’t just come apart. Assume you’ll need to take some of those stitches out as you adjust. A basting stitch will make this much easier.

4. Nip and Tuck

Try on your muslin, pin up any openings or what have you, then see what adjustments needs made. You can get a lot of information about fit by pinching out excess or slicing open spots that pull. Is your top too small in the bust? Do you need a full bust adjustment? Do the edges not quite meet where the zipper will go? Try taking smaller side seams. I the back of the neckline gaping? Take some darts out of it. While I can’t go into a whole fitting series here, you’ll have no trouble finding tutorials for every issue only and below are some fitting books that could be very helpful for you.

5. Transfer your changes

Many people prefer to trace their pattern pieces and make their changes there, but I usually just make my changes on my pattern pieces with good ol’ scotch tape. If you changes were extensive, you may need to cut a new muslin of one or several pieces. I promise it’s worth it! When I posted a wrap dress I made recently, I made the comment that the pattern would not have worked out if I hadn’t taken the time to make a muslin. The front would have gaped wide open and I would have been so sad if I’d had to throw that project away! You can see below how I taped up that front bodice pattern piece and added printer paper to heighten the neckline! I posted Natalie’s Easter dress here, where you can see the taped up pattern piece.

How to make a muslin

Proceed with confidence!

Now that you have your pattern perfected, you can cut into your nice fabric with confidence! Just make sure your print isn’t upside down. A muslin can’t help you there ;)

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How to make a dress sleeveless

This post may contain affiliate links, which means that while I am not paid to promote certain items, I will earn a small commission should you purchase items through these links.  For more info, see my disclosure policy.

I found a dress at the thrift store the other day that was brand new (still had the tags) and was in a really nice rayon fabric in a beautiful color. I tried it on and it fit, but I wasn’t thrilled about the sleeves. It had some serious prairie vibes. I’ve gotten rid of sleeves before, though, so I went ahead and bought it.

I’ve used this technique for making a dress or shirt sleeveless many times in the past and it always works like a champ, so I thought I’d photograph the process and make a tutorial for you here.

How to remove sleeves sewing tutorial

This method is super easy! So without further ado:

How to make a dress sleeveless

First, roughly cut off the sleeve, leaving a couple of inches of fabric.

DSC_0150.jpg

Next, IF you have a serger, use it to serge off the excess sleeve about 5/8” from the seam line. If you do NOT have a serger, carefully measure and trim off the excess, measuring 5/8” from the seam line. Then, use a zig zag stitch to finish that edge (if your fabric is a knit, you don’t need to zig zag it because it won’t fray).

I use the left side of my serger’s presser foot as a guide and run the sleeve’s seam line right along it.

How to make a shirt or dress sleeveless

So now you have this. You’re going to use that little piece of sleeve as a facing by turning it to the inside right on the seam line and top stitch it into place, 3/8” from the edge.

How to take the sleeves off a dress

That’s it! Give it a good press and you’re done.

DSC_0157.jpg

In the spirit of full disclosure, I still didn’t feel this dress was super flattering on me (pro tip: if you wonder if something looks good on you, try getting good pictures of yourself in it. If it’s super hard to get a good angle, there’s your answer, ha!) I’m slightly too busty for this style and the ruched waistline was hitting me more like a babydoll dress, making me look pregnant from every angle. Second, it came with a polyester knit lining and I will never understand why brands choose to put a completely unbreathable lining into a beautifully breathable garment. It felt stuffy.

But, it’s okay because I had a plan B all along. I went ahead and cut the bodice off the skirt just over the ruching, finished the top edge above the elastic, ditched the lining altogether and now I have a perfect summer skirt!

Dress into skirt hack

(My shoes are White Mountain footbeds). I love this much more as a skirt, but I still thought it was worth sharing the sleeve tutorial. I hope it’s helpful for some of you!

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Pin, Cut, Sew Tutorials

I took some time yesterday to update my tutorials page! Now you can see all my tutorials, video and written, in one convenient place, there at the very top of the blog. I try to create sewing tutorials that are beginner friendly!

Here is a bit of what you’ll find there now, but I’ll be sure to keep that page updated as I create more tutorials. If you have any suggestions for things you’d like to learn to sew, I’d love to hear them!

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How to read a sewing pattern part 3: Cutting out your pieces

This post contains affiliate links, which mean that while I am not paid to promote certain items, I will earn a small commission should you purchase items through these links.  For more info, see my disclosure policy. 

I'm back today with the next steps in reading a sewing pattern! If you haven't read the first two posts, you can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here. Today's topic is getting to the fun stuff: how to cut out your pieces. 

How to read a sewing pattern part 3: cutting out your pieces, by www.pincutsewstudio.com

If you're looking at that first sheet of pattern instructions, it may look like Greek and you may feel completely overwhelmed. I'm going to try to explain what all of that stuff means, which of it is important and which of it you can just ignore. (Spoiler, most of it you can ignore.) 

For today's example, I'm not going to use the girls' shorts pattern I've used thus far in the series because it's almost two simple for this step! I think they've geared that pattern more toward beginners and children, which is great! But chances are, your first chosen pattern will be more complicated than that and will include more than the two pieces my shorts pattern has. So I'm going to choose a pattern I've made recently, Simplicity 8601.

Simplicity pattern 8601

The first page of instructions includes some basic terms and your seam allowance, we'll get to that in Part 4. For now, you need to find the pattern pieces of the view you're going to make. For my shirt pattern, I like View C. So you can see in the "Cutting Layouts" section, I've found "C Top" and it tells me I need pattern pieces 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, & 8. I'm going to open up my pattern tissue and find those pieces and cut around them roughly. You do NOT need to cut them out on the lines! Doing so is a waste of time. Your fabric scissors are fine on this tissue and you can just pin the piece to your fabric as-is, cutting on the lines as you cut your fabric. 

How to read sewing patterns by www.pincutsewstudio.com

Pro Tip: I usually don't even refer to these Cutting Layouts. I simply open the pattern tissues and find the pieces that say "C" or whatever view I'm making. Once you gain confidence, all of this will be intuitive, but for now, if you're a beginner, you will probably find these layouts helpful. 

You'll notice many pieces share pieces between views. The front piece may be the front for all views (like my front piece below). Also, some smaller pieces, like facings, may have a pattern piece for each size. Refer to my last post about choosing your size if you're unsure on that! 

Reading sewing patterns by www.pincutsewstudio.com

Once you've found all your pieces, you need to lay them out on your fabric. We almost always cut patterns out with the fabric folded selvedge to selvedge. The selvedge edge is that finished edge that doesn't ravel. So you fold the fabric in half lengthwise so those selvedges meet up and you get a nice folded edge. The cut edges may not match up when the selvedge does because the person who cut your fabric may not have cut it straight, but it's really only important that the selvedges match up because this is how you'll be sure and cut your pieces out "on grain", which basically means the fibers running through your fabric will be straight and not slanted, which matters in the way the finished garment hangs on the body. Below is a photo of what selvedge edges look like on a few different fabrics. 

Selvedge edge examples. Series on reading sewing patterns by www.pincutsewstudio.com

Another thing you'll notice is that fabrics have more stretch going one direction than they do the other. The stretch runs the opposite direction that the selvedge runs (almost always) and you always want the stretch going across your body, not up and down. There are exceptions to this, like swimsuit knits which stretch every which-way and fleece, which has no grain, to name a few, but the rule is still true of most fabrics. 

I hope I'm not bogging you down in details, but I have to add one thing! Just as we talked about how the back of the pattern has yardage requirements for either 45" or 60" widths of fabric, the cutting layouts cover those same bases. Choose the diagram that matches your width of fabric, obviously. 

Let's move on. Pay attention to which pattern pieces need cut on the fold and how many of each piece you need to cut. You can see in that first photo at the beginning of this post that my cutting diagram for view C places the front piece on the fold along with the sleeve front and facing and shows me how best to fit my pieces onto the amount of fabric the back of the envelope said it required. Interestingly, (or confusingly?) my front and sleeve pieces have seams and don't need cut on the fold. I assume they mean to cut that fold open after you cut your pieces, but that's dumb. I'd place them a bit away from the fold and cut them in two pieces. Most tops, however, will have the front cut on the fold! See below, the facing in the photo on the right does say to place on the fold, whereas my front piece on the left says "center front seam" on that straight edge and to cut two. (You're cutting two at once, because your fabric is folded, remember?) 

How to cut out sewing patterns by www.pincutsewstudio.com

Pro Tip: I always order a bit more than the envelope says, because these diagrams have the pattern pieces squeezed into a pretty tight fit! Fabric often gets cut crooked when you buy it, which takes some inches away, and they also may shrink in the wash (always prewash and dry your fabric!) so I just like to have a buffer. Not to mention, I sometimes make cutting mistakes! 

Finally, pin your pattern pieces on (don't get crazy, just a pin in each corner, on curves, a couple on long edges) and cut out your correct size, that's all there is to it! I like these kind of pins best because they're long and sturdy, but another option is to use pattern weights like these. Also, I often cut patterns with a rotary cutter and mat to save time. (This works best when the pattern tissue has already been cut to size). I have several of this set for my classes. A rotary cutter and ruler is a good investment for anyone who sews! 

Some of your pattern pieces may say to also cut from interfacing. Interfacing is an iron on stabilizer often used in parts like facings, collars, button plackets, etc.... and the back of your pattern envelope tells you how much you need along with your fabric requirements. I like this knit kind best and you can buy yardage of it at your fabric store, although that blot from Amazon is a good deal. Here's an example on my facing piece where you can see below it that it tells you what to cut it from:

Tips for cutting out patterns by www.pincutsewstudio.com

Here is my finished top made from Simplicity 8601, although I decided to eliminate the sleeves and lower the neckline. I do sure love the tie waist tops this season! You can see all the things I've made recently in my last post if you missed it. It's always fun to see what others are making! 

Simplicity 8601 by Nikki Schreiner

Here's a list of the installments of this series I have so far!

Part 1: Choosing a pattern

Part 2: Making sense of sizing

Let me know if there are steps I'm missing or questions you have and I will address them in the last post of the series! 

Cheers and Happy Sewing 

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The things we made in May

This post contains affiliate links, which mean that while I am not paid to promote certain items, I will earn a small commission should you purchase items through these links.  For more info, see my disclosure policy. 

The best part of sewing blogs is seeing what people have made, right!? I compiled all the things we made at Pin, Cut, Sew studio in May and boy, it's a lot. 

Monthly Makes, www.pincutsewstudio.com

I'll start with what my sewing students made over the last month. 

We made colored pencil rolls using the tutorial at Create in the Chaos. These were a hit with my students and they were all able to do the sewing with little help since it's just a lot of straight lines.

Kids sewing class, www.pincutsewstudio.com

My other class made their own pajama shorts using Simplicity #8401. You can visit my post about teaching kids to sew clothing right here

Teaching kids to sew at www.pincutsewstudio.com

That same class also wanted to make pineapple plushies on the last day of classes for the school year, so I came up with these cute little guys! They got to practice some embroidery and got creative with the faces. 

Kids sewing classes at www.pincutsewstudio.com

My other class, for the last day, chose to have a free sewing day, where they could come up with their own ideas and I could help bring them to life! These two siblings came up with some super cool ideas! John made a golden snitch with a zipper case for it and Alex made a pillow to give her parents on their anniversary.

Kids can sew, www.pincutsewstudio.com

My third student in that class made a doll skirt and shirt and a doll tote bag, but I forgot to get a photo (bad sewing teacher!) I do have a tutorial for that doll tote bag right here, though and tips for sewing doll clothes right here. Stay tuned for a tutorial on making skirts for any size doll! 

I think that's it for my classes for May, so now let me show you some personal makes! I don't always sew this many garments in a month, but there were some holes in my Summer wardrobe so I got busy. I definitely sew more of my Summer Wardrobe than I do my Winter wardrobe. I guess I have no desire to make jeans or sweaters, ha! 

I'll start with the most recent make because it's a new favorite. I made yet another Blackwood Cardigan and it's my best one yet. Actually the next three photos include makes from this pattern, so you could say I'm obssessed. I don't buy a lot of indie sewing patterns, but it's safe to say I've gotten my money's worth from this one! 

Blackwood Cardigan made by Nikki at www.pincutsewstudio.com

This next one I made awhile back. I didn't have enough fabric to make sleeves, so I made it a vest instead. Both this fabric and the stripe above are from GirlCharlee.com, a great resource for knits of all kinds. I made this gray tank too, from a pattern I drafted from a ready-to-wear tank. Fabric is from Hobby Lobby. 

Blackwood Cardigan, www.pincutsewstudio.com

I liked that one so much, I pulled out another knit I didn't have a whole lot of (I actually bought it from a thrift store) and made another Blackwood vest. This knit is thicker and it turned out with kind of a utility vest vibe, which I dig! 

Blackwood cardigan vest by www.pincutsewstudio.com

Next up, this is my favorite top! This organic cotton double knit has been on the clearance table at Joann literally since I moved here a year ago, but it was still super pricey. It finally went down in price another notch and I bought a yard. I used a tried and true pattern, Very Easy Vogue 9109      and I love it so much. 

Vogue 9109 by Nikki of www.pincutsewstudio.com

My next outift includes two handmade pieces. I wanted a higher waisted crisp denim skirt. I grabbed the perfect denim at a Joann sale and used a Cynthia Rowley pattern, Simplicity 1783. I almost always Cynthia Rowley's designs and this one turned out great! The yellow lace tie top was made with a mustard lace I'd had in my stash for a couple years and I used the new pattern, Simplicity 8601, eliminating the sleeves and lowering the neckline. I like this look and my fashionista daughter said it's her favorite, so I think it's a good one! 

Simplicity 1783 & 8601 by Nikki of www.pincutsewstudio.com

I really needed some basic tanks, so I snatched one yard of this rayon jersey at Joann and used the free pattern by Hey June called the Durango Tank. I highly recommend, the cut is great and you can't beat free! Be sure and check out her other patterns too. 

Durango Tank pattern

This is another outfit with two handmade pieces. The skirt is a very basic pattern, New Look 6436, and I love the pockets! The top is McCall's 7603 and while this is not my first attempt at it, but it is the first version I've loved. It just took some time to get the fit right, because it runs large and I don't like the pleat in the back, so I'll now eliminate that altogether in the future. Now that I have it how I want it, I can see a few more versions! Both these fabrics are from Hobby Lobby's Spring Fashion fabric line. 

New Look 6436 and McCall's 7603 by Nikki of www.pincutsewstudio.com

Lastly, I made a couple pair of rayon shorts using Kwik Sew 4181, which is really an activewear pattern. The shorts are super cute and comfy, but they're a bit too short for me to be comfortable wearing out. But the pattern is great and I'll definitely give it another try and lengthen it! For now, these shorts were awesome for the two days we spent outside building a chicken run for the ladies (by ladies, I mean hens. It occurs to me you wouldn't know that if you don't follow me on Instagram). This pair is a rayon denim from Joann (such dreamy fabric!) and the pair I didn't get a photo of is out of a textured black rayon also from Joann. 

Shorts from Kiwik Sew 4181 by Nikki of www.pincutsewstudio.com

Whew! I feel accomplished! Please don't start thinking I have this kind of output from the sewing room every month! We finished our homeschool year in April, so that probably explains my productivity in May, ha! Come September, I'll probably have one or two things to share if I'm lucky ;) 

One last thing, I remembered, we did make these cute unicorn headbands in May! Find our easy tutorial here. 

Cheers and happy sewing!! 

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How to read a sewing pattern part 1: Choosing your pattern and reading the envelope

This post contains affiliate links, which mean that while I am not paid to promote certain items, I will earn a small commission should you purchase items through these links.  For more info, see my disclosure policy. 

I have had no fewer than three people lament to me that they wish they could read a sewing pattern in the last week! Two of them were mothers of my students, who can thread a machine, but are lost when it comes to helping their children sew, and the third was one of my older students. 

Clearly the world of patterns is confusing to beginner sewists, so I am taking it upon myself to try and clear up the confusion! This is part one of what will be a five or six part series over the next few weeks. 

How to read a sewing pattern: a beginner friendly series by Pin, Cut, Sew Studio

Today's topic starts at the very beginning. There are so many sewing patterns, how do you even choose? 

Let me state up front that the patterns I'm referring to in this series are the kind you'll find at the fabric stores by companies known in the sewing world as "The Big 4" (also the title of an Agatha Christie book I'm currently reading, incidentally, ha!). McCall's, Butterick, Simplicity/New Look and Vogue. There is an entire industry of "Indie patterns" out there, but these are quite different and much more expensive than you can find at your local craft store, although there are many great things about those patterns too.  

Speaking of expense: 

Pro Tip #1: Do not ever pay full price for Big 4 sewing patterns!! The sticker prices are something crazy like $18 or even $25, and then most places have their everyday sale prices of 40% off. But don't pay that either!! JoAnn and Hobby Lobby continually put these patterns on sale for ONE OR TWO DOLLARS!! And if you live somewhere without those stores, the pattern websites themselves often have $3.99 sales, which I would wait for when I lived in Hawaii. When I made this shorts pattern with my sewing students, I snagged the patterns for $.99 each, meaning I was able to purchase one for each girl to use and take home to keep. (This intel is for people in the U.S., I really don't know the best way to get good deals on patterns in other countries, I'm so sorry!)

If you're brand new to patterns, keep it super simple. For our purposes in this series, I'll be using Simplicity pattern # 8401. I've recently sewn this pattern with my students and know that it only has two pattern pieces to make a pair of cute shorts! There are another two pieces for a pair of doll shorts. If you're wanting to start with clothing, choose something basic and take note of fancy elements, such as zippers, button holes, pleats, godets, etc ... I'm not saying steer clear of those elements, but I may be saying, choose a pattern with one new-to-you concept and not five. If you add one new skill per project, you'll be a pro in no time! 

How to use a sewing pattern by Pin, Cut, Sew Studio

Pro Tip #2: Just because a pattern says "Sew Easy" or something similar, doesn't necessarily mean it's true! Look at the line drawings on the back of the envelope to give you a better idea of what's involved than the photo on the front of the envelope will, and then decide what you're willing to tackle. 

How to read sewing patterns by Pin, Cut, Sew studio

So, once you've chosen your pattern, spend some time on the back of that envelope. Other than those helpful line drawings, there is lots of important info back there. The top box should tell you which kinds of fabrics the pattern is suitable for. Don't obsess too much over this, but for sure don't choose a knit (stretchy) if the pattern is made for woven fabrics (non-stretchy). Also, if you're making a flowy skirt, don't choose a stiff quilting cotton unless you want your skirt to stand out like a tent around your body. This part is somewhat intuitive and comes with experience and trial and error. 

How to use a sewing pattern, by pincutsewstudio.com

The next box is the sizing chart. I cannot overemphasize that pattern sizing is very different from ready-to-wear sizing! If I wear a 6 or 8 at Target, I'll probably sew a 12 in patterns. This topic requires a post by itself, so stay tuned for part 2 of the series, coming in a few days! 

How to sew with a pattern by pincutsewstudio.com

Next, there is a box that tells you how much yardage to buy based on your size. If your pattern is say, for a lined skirt, the box will tell you how much you need of both your skirt fabric and your lining. If you're making a garment with two fabrics like a top with a lace inset, the pattern will usually refer to the accent fabric as the "contrast". This section also tells you which notions are needed for each view, although sometimes the notions get their own little box. Our shorts pattern says that the girls' shorts need 1" elastic and the doll pair requires 1/4" elastic. It also tells me how much trim we need. You may want to buy a smidge more fabric than required to accommodate for either shrinkage or cutting mistakes. 

How to read sewing patterns, by pincutsewstudio.com

One more thing about the fabric requirement. You can see my pattern says different amount of fabrics for either 45" or 60". This is referring to the width of your fabric. If you choose a quilting cotton for example, the width will be 45" wide, but most linens and denims and also many knits and other types of fabrics come wider. The end of the bolt of fabric will give you this information, along with the fabric content, the washing instructions and the price. Actually, those wider fabrics tend to say 58", not 60" like we always say they are, but at any rate, they will still work for those 60" fabric requirements. Just thought I'd mention that in case someone is standing in the sewing store with a bolt in their hands wondering why they can't find anything that says 60" wide!

Pro Tip #3: You can find fabric or even sheets at thrift stores to try out your pattern with if you want to do a practice run. We can this "making a muslin". This way you can figure out the fit without worrying about messing up your good fabric. 

I think that sums up the pattern as far as the outside of the envelope! Be sure and come back for part 2, (Part 2 is here!) in which I'll attempt to unscramble pattern sizing for you! 

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How to Make a Unicorn Headband

This post contains affiliate links, which mean that while I am not paid to promote certain items, I will earn a small commission should you purchase items through these links.  For more info, see my disclosure policy. 

Unicorn Headbands DIY

Unicorns are all the rage right now! I have an 11-year-old daughter who's a tad obsessed. I thought a unicorn headband would be a fun DIY project to post a tutorial for. My 13-year-old got to work a couple days ago and made one together, the Layla whipped one up today. Super fun! 

Unicorn Headband tutorial by Pin, Cut, Sew Studio

Before you get started, you'll need to grab this free pattern. Just click on this photo to make it big, then right click to save it to your desktop. From there, you should be able to print it (make sure you click "fill page"). 

Unicorn Headband Pattern

As for fabrics, anything goes! We used small scraps of some sparkly costume fabrics, some fleece and novelty fleece we like to call "Flur", and felt for the flowers. You'll also need a headband. Ours was the wrong color, so we wrapped it in ribbon, but that's optional. This project can easily be sewn by hand (there are only a couple small sewing parts) if you don't use a sewing machine. A glue gun is also a must. 

Start by cutting out one horn and four ear pieces total, two from your ear back fabric and two from your inner ear fabric. You can cut two at a time, but make sure your ear face the opposite direction from each other, if that makes sense (see photo). 

Unicorn headband tutorial

To make the horn, just fold the piece right sides together and sew from point to bottom edge in a 1/4" seam. Clip the corner to eliminate bulk and turn right side out, using your handy dandy chop stick to gently poke the point out. Stuff the horn. Nest, thread a needle and use a long running stitch to hand gather the opening edge: 

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Then pull it tight, creating a flat-ish bottom. Knot and trim your thread. 

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To make the ears, place your outer and inner ear pieces right sides together and sew the sides, leaving the bottom open. Clip your corner and turn right side out.

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Now, to shape the ears, for our first version, we sewed a pleat, but ended up shaping them further later on by folding the outer edge in toward the middle. So when Layla made hers, she folded both sides in toward the middle and sewed across the bottom and we liked that better. Just do what you think looks best. 

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At this point, if you want to wrap your headband in ribbon, start by gluing the end of the ribbon to the bottom of the headband and then wrap it diagonally around until you get to the other end. It's fiddly to get started, but just do your best. 

Then we glued the pieces on, first the horn to get it centered (be sure and put the seam facing the back!), then the ears. The glue alone isn't secure enough, so next, thread a needle and sew the pieces, as shown in the photo. 

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Next, the flowers! These are so much fun to make, my girls have been making them just for fun now for two days. There are plenty of felt flower tutorials out there, but we think these are the easiest kind and perfect for this project. Find a couple circles to trace onto felt. Ours ranged from 2" to 5" in diameter. Cut out your circle and then cut it into a spiral, about 3/8"-1/2" wide. 

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Then, just start wrapping it around its center, ending with a dot of hot glue. That's it! I takes a little practice, but it's pretty simple. Cut some leaf shapes and arrange your flowers and leaves over your horn and ears before hot gluing them down. 

DIY Unicorn Headband free pattern and tutorial

I hope you enjoyed this simple tutorial! If you made some unicorn headbands, I'd love to see them! And for the unicorn lover in your family, we recommend this cool book. Layla has really enjoyed it and has read some parts to us during our home school. 

DIY Unicorn headband free pattern and tutorial
How to make a unicorn headband
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Upcycling jeans!

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Well, hello there, readers! I know it's been some time since I have posted. I let my life fill up just a little too much this past school year and I found I just did not have time or energy left to post anything remotely helpful for you. But we wrapped up our school year and I am excited to start sharing here in this space again! 

To update you on life here: I am still teaching sewing to kids and I am still sewing with my own kiddos. I am not currently creating sewing tutorials for YouTube, but it's not something I've decided to totally give up on, so we'll see in the future how I feel about that. I am glad those videos seem to be helpful to so many, though, according to the subscriber number! I am still sewing many of my own clothes and my kids are all still sewing as well. My oldest is starting to learn to use  patterns and make clothing too, which is so gratifying for us both! 

Yesterday in sewing class, we upcycled jeans into some really cute purses. Here's a photo of the finished product: 

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These were pretty fun. I had quite a stash of jeans that the girls had outgrown and a couple pair of Casey's and mine, but they all chose the purse sized girls' jeans. They all turned out so differently! 

I have been a long-time jeans upcycler. One time, probably fifteen years ago now, I made a library bag out of jeans and I have flat put that thing through the wringer with heavy loads of library books and it is still going strong! 

I thought I'd round a few good jeans upclying ideas that I've coming across recently while pinning ideas for my classes to use up this pile of jeans! 

  1. The Brother Sews blog has this great idea to make a modern looking tote bag out of jeans legs. I like this because it's non-cheesey looking and you don't even have to line it since the hem makes the top of the bag and the inside seams are bound with bias tape. Cool! 
Photo from http://blog.brothersews.com/upcycling/earth-day-reusable-tote-bag/

Photo from http://blog.brothersews.com/upcycling/earth-day-reusable-tote-bag/

         2. I absolutely love these adorable bone shaped dog toys out of old jeans. We know they'd be sturdy too! 

Photo belongs to: https://www.pillarboxblue.com/handmade-dog-toys/

Photo belongs to: https://www.pillarboxblue.com/handmade-dog-toys/

      3. You would have to have been following my sewing adventures for many years to remember this picnic quilt I made out of upcycled denim and cotton. The borders are vintage tea towels and the back is a sturdy tapestry from Urban Outfitters. These photos are from 2010 and this quilt is still going strong. We use it constantly, it just lives in the car. So turn those old jeans into a picnic blanket! 

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       4. If you search for denim teddy bear on Pinterest, you'll see how cute a teddy can be made from old jeans! Here's a great pattern to use. Teddy bears are not hard to sew at all, they're usually just two pattern pieces. You will just need some animal eyes, which are super easy to install (and are not the choking hazard that buttons would be, if gifting to a little one). 

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      5. Old jeans scraps would make great hair bows or triangle bags! You could get a lot from just one pants leg, making them great quick gifts! Find both those video tutorials below: 

I could on and on, there are so many things you could do with those old jeans. Here's some more just off the top of my head:

  • Doll jeans.
  • Clutch purses
  • Tablet cases
  • Notebook covers (use the back pocket on the front!)
  • Coffee cozies
  • Coasters
  • Wall hanging with jeans pockets
  • Throw pillows
  • Fabric flowers. The way the fabric frays make these extra cool!

Do you have any more ideas? What kinds of things have you made from jeans? 

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How to Sew a Zipper Pouch -- a beginner friendly tutorial

I'm thrilled that our YouTube channel has reached (and now surpassed!) 500 subscribers! I know that's a drop in the bucket compared to many other channels, but we are so thankful for each person who found our content entertaining and useful enough to click that subscribe button. 

How to sew a zipper pouch, by Pin, Cut, Sew studio

How to sew a zipper pouch, by Pin, Cut, Sew studio

I have a new video tutorial up on the YouTube channel for you today, the first in our new Utah sewing studio! I've been asked to make a video on how to make basic zipper pouches and I've tried to make this as beginner friendly as possible. I had six kiddos sewing these up on Monday in my classes, so I know you can do it too ;) 

Enjoy! Be sure and subscribe if you haven't already and share with your sewing friends! 

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How to make an emoji sleep mask. Free pattern!

We have a some long flights and accompanying jet lag in our near future and Kelby and I wanted some sleep masks. We thought emoji sleep masks would be super funny! Everyone needs a chuckle on a long flight, amiright?? Enjoy our video tutorial and you can print the free pattern below the video for both sizes of sleep masks! 

Here's your pattern! Just click to save and print :) 

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10 Last-minute Easter sewing ideas

I love putting a little something handmade into my kids' Easter Baskets, but I haven't had a lot of time to think about it until now! So I got on Pinterest tonight and my goodness, there are some super cute ideas and a lot of them don't take much time at all. 

Easter sewing ideas

Easter sewing ideas

But first, just for grins, because I would't call this a last minute project, but my bunny basket I made last year is just too cute not to include in an Easter sewing post. This is an ancient McCall's pattern. It includes all holidays. I used to make these for gifts when I was a teenager and stash cute things in the basket. Aw :) I do think, even without the pattern, something similar to this would be easy to DIY for those who love getting crafty with felt and their glue gun. 

But, on to the list! 10 last minute things to sew for Easter 

1. Carrot Treat Bags. So cute! This is the one I'll probably whip up for my own kids. I think it would be fun for them to make for their friends too. 

2. Drawstring Bunny Bags. Equally adorable. 

3. Little Bunny Sachets, how cute. 

4. Last year I made these Hungry Bunnies for each of my kids. They're so cute and zippers used in creative ways are always fun! This one is Kelby's:

5. I made several of these patchwork Easter eggs many years ago. Here's a photo I scavenged up from my old blog! My photography skills have progressed. Haha. 

 6. Oh my goodness, a bunny bib!! So sweet. 

7. My kids would love these little love bunny softies. I think I may use this tutorial in a future sewing class. I think kids would enjoy making them even more than receiving them! 

8. This is the best bunny ears idea I've ever seen, I love it. I have a version of this brewing for next year's ballet bun accessory ;)

9. Some hair bows to match Easter dresses are always a good idea! Watch my video tutorial here. 

10. And of course, if you missed my felt Peeps bunnies tutorial, they're super fast and easy! You could make a bunch to dress up Easter baskets. 

If you have other last minute Easter sewing ideas, feel free to link us in the comments! Cheers :)

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How to Make Cute Felt Peeps

Natalie and I love making hair accessories for her ballet class. I have made some super cute bun nets in the past, but I didn't have that kind of time before Easter! So instead, we decided on some kind of clips and thought these Peeps bunnies would be super cute. 

Felt Peeps tutorial

Felt Peeps tutorial

We spent some time before dance on Friday making them and they were so much fun, pretty fast and easy, and the girls all loved them when she handed them out at ballet that night. We remembered to take some photos along the way so we could share the how-to here with you. 

Peeps hair clips

Peeps hair clips

This is a great project to do with kids. Natalie did the tracing and cutting, I did the sewing, we tag teamed the gluing. 

Without further ado, here is the free pattern and instructions! Just click and save, then print. 

Felt peeps hair clip tutorial

Felt peeps hair clip tutorial

Here are some photos of the steps, in case you need more of a visual. 

felt peeps, free pattern

felt peeps, free pattern

felt peeps tutorial

felt peeps tutorial

felt peeps pattern

felt peeps pattern

felt Peeps hair clip tutorial

felt Peeps hair clip tutorial

felt Peeps hair clip tutorial

felt Peeps hair clip tutorial

felt Peeps hair clip tutorial

felt Peeps hair clip tutorial

The key to making the hair clips secure is that felt rectangle hot glued over the inside of the clip! You won't have detaching clips if you do it this way. I'd do the same thing if attaching a safety pin or anything else to the back instead. 

Natalie put the clips in an Easter basket to deliver them! Such a fun little project. If you make some, I'd love to see :)

felt peeps, free pattern

felt peeps, free pattern

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Sock Monkey Tutorial!

This post my contain affiliate links, which means that while I am not paid to promote certain items, I will earn a small commission should you purchase items through these links.  For more info, see my disclosure policy.

I feel like I haven't checked in here in a little while, but things are really ramping up for us as our move approaches. We are an Army family, in case you didn't know that, and we are moving from Hawaii to Utah. Our movers come in 34 days, eek! We have about six weeks left on this beautiful island, but we know that Utah has just as much beauty and adventure.

So, we're currently attempting to buy a house from about 3,000 miles away. If you have bought a house site unseen, please share your positive experiences in the comments. If you have negative experiences, though, I'd probably rather not hear those, hahahaha!

I held my last sewing classes here last week and that was a sad bit of closure for me. I've loved teaching sewing here so much and will miss my students a ton. I'm so happy to have passed the sewing bug on to so many kids, though, and I can't wait to meet the students I'll have in Utah. Oh, our house, God willing, will have space for a sewing studio so that I no longer have to set up sewing camp in our dining room and pretty much take over the house every time. I can't wait for that! I hope to set up a great space to film videos for the YouTube channel too!

So, on to the new video! Oh my goodness, this might be my favorite video so far because these are so darn cute and cuddly. Target has so many adorable socks in the kids aisle (anyone find the Cat & Jack line just the best thing ever??) I think we will make lots of these for gifts in the future. We've already had requests.

Enjoy the tutorial! Pretty please, if you make one, show me! Tag me on Instagram @pincutsew or email me pics or something! I love to see. After you watch, be sure and come back here for some sock links and more photos!

After making that video, we went to Target that very day to buy socks for more monkeys. Kelby's turned out super cute! If you need some sock inspo, these, these or these (oh my gosh, the watermelons) would be so fun! Keep in mind when you choose socks, it will be upside down in the legs and body, so don’t choose something with a directional print.

We're still working on Natalie's, but it's going to be equally adorable. 

Layla named hers Stitches and she's been pretty much a permanent fixture in her hands since we made her :) 

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How to Sew a Scarf Shirt! A Video Tutorial

I'm so excited to have our next YouTube video tutorial up and running! Learn to make a cool shirt or cover-up out of a scarf. We plan to go to our thrift store for more scarves to play with because these are so fun and easy. 

Video Tutorial

Video Tutorial

We hope you enjoy! We are having so much fun making these videos and I hope you'll subscribe to our channel and share with your sewing friends. If you make a scarf shirt, please show me, somehow! Maybe tag me on Instagram?? I'd love it :) 

Here's the tutorial! Enjoy

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Sewn Valentines

Happy Valentines Day! We had a couple Valentine themed sewing classes this past weekend and even though my Valentine is two oceans away, I still love getting in the spirit! 

I always plan two projects for my three hour classes, one more time consuming one and one for the extra time we may have. I thought sewing felt hearts onto actual paper cards would be fun for our extra time project and my students really got into it! 

Here are some samples I made:

Sewn Valentines

Sewn Valentines

I had some heart patterns from our bigger project and I also got a few stamp phrases and ink pads out for them to use, plus a couple letter sets so they could make their own words. 

All the girls got so creative with these! 

Our main project for this class, though was Valentines zipper pouches, using this tutorial on The Polka-Dot Chair.  Zippers and boxed corners were new techniques for them and they did such a great job! 

Notice both Leah's headband and her t-shirt tassel on her pouch, both things she made using our YouTube video tutorials! Aw :) 

These were a really fun project and I always love how differently everyone's turns out! Kids are so creative. 

Cheers and Happy Sewing! :)

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Soft Headband Tutorial

Our newest video tutorial is up! Layla and I are going to show you how to make soft headbands in any size.

How to Sew a Soft Headband

We hope you're enjoying these tutorials and if so, that you'll subscribe to our channel and share with your sewing friends. Part of the reason we started the Pin, Cut, Sew YouTube channel is because there just isn't a whole lot out there specifically directed at kids who want to sew. I know many of my local sewing students have been watching our videos and trying the ideas, so that alone makes the effort worth it! But these tutorials are also good for adults, I really try to span the ages :) 

Enjoy! 

My girls are really loving these and they're sooo easy. I hope if you make some, you'll show me by commenting here or on YouTube or tagging me on Instagram! I would truly love to see. 

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How to sew a baby bib (a beginner friendly tutorial)

I made some little baby bibs for a baby shower recently and decided to make a video tutorial, as beginner friendly as I could make it, showing others how to make them too! I've included a free pattern if you scroll down, AND I've shown you in the video how to adjust this pattern to any size! 

HOw to sew a simple baby bib. Free pattern and video tutorial

HOw to sew a simple baby bib. Free pattern and video tutorial

I've been making these for many years, I'm pretty sure I traced a baby bib I had at the time for this pattern. They make great little gifts and they're so easy! A few links to supplies I refer to in the video (these are affiliate links and while I wasn't paid to recommend them, I truly love and use these items and do earn a small percentage should you purchase them through these links). 

Wonder Clips! These are awesome, I use them all the time, wish I'd had them sooner. 

The Babyville snap plyers

And the snaps. These come in all kinds of great colors, but also in white. 

So, without further ado, here's the video tutorial! Enjoy :) 

And here is the free pattern. Just right click on the image below, save to your desktop and print. Be sure and click "fill page" on your printer settings, otherwise it may print a bit too small, because printers like to add borders and this pattern took up the whole page from edge to edge! 

If you can think of other baby item tutorials, you'd like to see video tutorials on, will you let me know in the comments? And if you make some bibs using this pattern, I'd love to see them! 

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