How to refashion clothes for kids and teens.

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’m a bit … frugal. Ha! We’ve made the choice to be a one income family, so I’m always stretching my creative muscles in the area of “making do and mending”. One thing I’ve always loved to do is to find clever ways to make my kids’ clothing last longer. Especially at these ages when they grow out of things before they wear them out.

Natalie had hung a few things up in my sewing room that were too small for her and we spent about one hour making three new garments out of the old ones.

Natalie is very slender, so when she grows out of things, it’s almost always in length only. We bought her this Christmas dress at Target in December and she only got one wear out of it before it became way too short on her. She wore it once more with leggings, but now that the weather is getting warm, she decided she’d like to turn it into a top.

Here’s a before and after!

Turn a too-short dress into a top!

We created a hi-lo hem, it looks super cute. This was as easy as trying on, measuring, cutting the skirt and hemming.

Upcyle your clothes!

Next up, she had a black knit dress that had also become too short for comfort. This time she wanted to turn it into a skirt, so we cut it off under the arms, made a casing and added elastic.

Turn a too-short dress into a skirt!

Third, we had a romper that we thought would be cute as pants, for Layla this time. It already had an elastic waist, so we just cut it off about an inch above the waist and hemmed the top edge into a ruffle.

Refashioning clothes

More ideas for refashioning:

  • For little ones, turn winter pajamas into summer ones by cutting the sleeves and legs off into shorts and short sleeves. They will have outgrown them by the next winter anyway!

  • Turn leggings with holes in the knees into bike shorts to wear under dresses.

  • When overalls get too short in the crotch, cut off the pants and add a gathered skirt out of cute fabric! Like this.

  • Turn jeans into jean shorts. Here’s a great tutorial!

  • Cut shirts or sweaters open down the center, hem the sides, maybe add some cute buttons, and wear them as cardigans.

  • Add a ruffle to the bottom of shirts and dresses that are too short.

  • Use my tutorial to turn a sleeved dress into a sleeveless one.

These are all the things I can think of right now that we have done in the past to make the kids’ clothes last just another season or two! If you have anything to add, let us all know in the comments :)

Refashioning clothes for kids and teens
How to upcycle clothes for kids and teens.
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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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Tips for sewing with kids

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've been teaching kids to sew for a couple years now, have had well around 80 children come through my studio and finish projects successfully, so it's about time I share some tips with you, whether you're wanting to sew with your own children, or teach others. And if you desire to help your own kids learn to sew, but don't have sewing skills yourself, this post is just as much for you as it is for the pros! 

Tips for teaching kids to sew

Tips for teaching kids to sew

I'm going to jump right in! 

FIRST, gather quality tools. I get asked very often by the mothers of my students and others for my recommendation on a beginner sewing machine. My advice is and has always been, DO NOT buy the cheapest machine of any brand. You will only be frustrated. If you've made this mistake and have had lots of problems, let me reassure you, it's not you, it's the machine! That said, a good machine doesn't need to break the bank. I use this one in my studio. I have six of them and they've been dreamy. Here is more on why I like them and why I upgraded from the ones I used to teach on. 

Teach kids to sew

Teach kids to sew

Your machine isn't the only tool you don't want to cheap out on! I know the little packaged sewing kits you can pick up for $10 are cheap and sometimes even cute, but you're not doing anyone any favors, as they tend to include the flimsiest of supplies. Here are the basic tools you should have and my recommendations on good ones: 

1. Scissors. I've used many kinds in my classes, but realized the kids were always scrambling for dibs on the regular orange Fiskers scissors. For some reason, they just don't dull or get out of whack like all my other brands did. So now I have six pair of the Fiskers and also the Fiskers sharpener. This eliminated our scissor woes. I also noticed that my younger students sometimes have trouble with cutting and ordered a pair of the Fiskars for small hands. That solved the issue for most littler ones! 

2. A good seam ripper! Unsewing is a necessary skill, so get a good sharp unsewer and replace it when it start to slack off on the job. 

3. Pins. You don't have to be too picky about these, I like quilting pins because they're longer, but any pins will do. Along these lines, Wonder Clips are wonderful to have on hand, although totally optional, because they are sometimes easier for kids to use and they don't get poked as often. 

4. Pin magnets. I use plenty of pin cushions on my classes, but have a pin magnet next to each machine and they're nice because they make it so easier to pick up the piles of pins left on the table and even on the floor! Plus, the kids just think they're fun. 

5. Fabric! Ok, I know this is obvious, but what I want to say about it is that kids will take to sewing much more gleefully if you have some cool fabrics in trendy prints.  Think, cactus, llamas and unicorns! The hand-me-down quilting fabrics from the 80's or that box of polyester suiting you were "gifted" from a well-meaning person who found out you sew ... these won't go over quite as well. Let your kids pick out some fun prints, have lots of felt on hand and see what they can do! 

6. Stuffing. When told they can sew whatever they want, kids will sew a pillow or a stuffed something 99.9% of the time. Ha! Have stuffing. I keep the big box of polyester fiber-fill on hand. I use a coupon from Hobby Lobby or get it at Wal-Mart (for some reason, it costs a ton more at JoAnn's). 

TEaching kids to sew

TEaching kids to sew

SECOND, don't teach them everything at once. Others may have another method than me, obviously, but I don't teach the kids to thread the machines when they're brand new. I teach them to use the machine by going around a sheet of paper, learning to backstitch, stop and pivot, etc ... and then we get down to our first projects. I have found that the older girls pick up the threading as they watch me thread and before long, they learn how to do it naturally. Choose projects that build skills incrementally and let them come up with their own ideas too. Before long, they'll start to understand more and more about construction. 

Kids can sew

Kids can sew

THIRD, try not to micromanage. Many moms have a tendency to hover, overcorrect and criticize when their kids are learning to sew. Please don't worry so much about "wasting supplies" or not having a perfect outcome. The reason I teach kids and not adults as much is because kids are always just so proud of what they've made! They don't see the flaws, they are just thrilled that they produced something. And when something's a total disaster, they're always willing to try it again, having just learned how not to do it. Relax, moms! ;) Keep your cool. Teaching children a skill like this requires a lot of patience and positivity. 

Kids sewing

Kids sewing

FOURTH, provide them with inspiration! This is the fun part. There are so many great projects out there that kids can attempt to make on their own, once they know the sewing basics. I know I've mentioned several of my favorite kids' sewing books in various posts, but a few of my favorites are Sewing for Children (perfect for brand new beginners, younger learners or hand sewers), and the We Love to Sew series. There's so much good stuff on YouTube too, including my channel, Pin, Cut, Sew, which I try to keep very beginner friendly! Pinterest is a well spring of ideas, of course. You can follow my "Kids Can Sew" board and find plenty of ideas. In class recently, we made hoop art (check out their creations in the photo below!) and had Pinterest open browsing for hoop art inspiration. So I even use Pinterest in my classes! 

Hoop art sewing class

Hoop art sewing class

I hope this has helped some of you and given you courage to give sewing with children a try. I know there's a lot of logistics about what classes actually look like that you may have questions about, so I'd be happy to help answer those the best I can if you'll ask me! 

Cheers and Happy Sewing :)

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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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Sewing Star Wars

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 live in a household of Star Wars fanatics. I grew up a Trekkie, but am a Star Wars person by marriage and my kids insist that no other space story could ever be better than Star Wars. My husband reads the books, refers to the "canon" and eye rolls at the movies that mess up the story. 

Over the years, I have gifted him many Star Wars things, and I've even made a few (well, more than just a few, I realized after typing this out!) For example, I bought Star Wars fabric and made him a couple pillow cases. This is the method I use for pillow cases. And, I made some ornaments out of the ships on a certain fabric. Maybe when I dig the Christmas stuff out, I'll write a tutorial on that! I've even made my husband and son Obi Wan and Yoda costumes for Halloween! I used this pattern. I made Layla a Rey costume too and my son a Kylo Ren cloak, but today is one of those days when I just can't wade through photos to find all these old pictures, ha! Sorry. 

But there are so many good ideas out there for sewing Star Wars that I just had to write a post and link you to the best ones! These are all FREE and include tutorials and/or patterns. See below that photo collage for the links!

Star Wars free sewing tutorial roundup || Pin, Cut, Sew Studio
  1. Storm Trooper doll on crafting-news.com. Ridiculously cute.

  2. Bugaboo Studio's DIY Star Wars pillows.

  3. Quiet Play's Star Wars quilt is so amazing. She has lots of free paper piecing patterns for Star Wars on Craftsy. I'm currently working on the At-At! So much fun, I can't wait to show you.

  4. Free patterns for felt Star Wars ornaments on diygeekery.

  5. Oh my goodness, Wild Olive's Chewbaca and Maz Kanata plushies are too cute.

  6. R2-D2 apron by so-sew-easy.

  7. Pattern for a fleece Yoda costume on fleecefun.com.

Those are the best free Star Wars sewing patterns I've found on the web so far. Have I missed any?? Feel free to link us in the comments! 

Recently I checked out this book from the library and we all got a huge kick out of it. Especially the Jabba the Hut body pillow, soooooo funny. I actually made that crochet R2 hat for my nephew last year! 

Have you sewn anything Star Wars related? I want to hear about it! 

Cheers :) 

 

 

 

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Sew Inspo: Inaugural edition!

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Welcome to the first edition of Sew Inspo, where I link you to fab sewing inspiration/ideas/tutorials/resources that I've spotted around the web on any given week. (I'd love to tell you I'll be doing a new edition every week, but we'll see ... because, life is so time consuming, ha! 

I won't waste time yakking. Let's get started! 

If you've seen any other cool ideas around the web this week, be sure and let me know! 

Cheers :) 

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Kids can sew owl softies!

My Monday class girls chose this cute owl softie from the book Sewing for Children to make this past week and they turned out so, so cute! I didn't manage to get a photo of my students' finished projects, but I did get some of the owls my kids and I made, after the fact. 

Here's mine. Because who wouldn't want to sew along while teaching this class, right?? I made mine a feathered headband. Should I call him Woodstock? Is it even ok for a bird to wear feathers??

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My girls almost always join in on sewing class, but my son tends to wait until after class to make the projects that appeal to him (just too many girls, I guess) and he cut his out and sewed it almost all on his own! And whenever one machine became unthreaded he would just switch to a different one, lol. Sewing is a good skill for boys to have too. 

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In the book this is a hand sewn project, but we did ours by machine. 

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We've made several things from this book over the years. It was one of the first kids' sewing books we got, long before I started teaching sewing. My kids were able to make many of the items without help when they were younger! I'd call this one worth buying. 

**This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small percentage when you purchase through these links. I only recommend things that I own, use and love! 

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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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A little love to Australia

I have an online acquaintance down in Australia named Trixi and around October last year, she asked to interview me for a series of posts about sewing teachers! She posted that interview on her blog yesterday, which you can read for yourself if you want. She's doing a great job on the series about sewing teachers, so you should definitely subscribe to her blog. 

I feel so honored to be featured on someone else's blog, so I wanted to give Trixi a shoutout here in return.  I'm pretty sure I first became aware of Trixi's blog, Coloured Buttons, on Instagram. As a sewing teacher looking for ideas on patterns, projects and how other people do things, I found her website and Pinterest page to be a wealth of ideas! 

I quickly bought her ebook, Sew Together, Grow Together, and was thrilled with the ideas! Remember these adorable speech bubble magnets from one of my classes? That's Trixi's idea! 

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My daughter Layla really loves making little softies and has been inspired by this ebook many times over, it's so sweet. 

You can find the book here on Amazon

Please go check out Trixi's ideas, it's a feast for the eyes! Everything is just so fun and colorful. 

Here's where all you can find her: 

 

Trixi, thank you for inspiring the creativity in us all! :) 

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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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Do You Dream Board?

So my husband will be gone for the next six weeks and I was pondering this morning how I can make sure we don't slip into the survival mode mom and kids that we sometimes do when he leaves and I'm parenting alone ... the kids who spend too much time on YouTube and Minecraft and the mom who allows it because she's wiped ... have you met that mom? Yeah, that's us if I'm not careful. 

So I'm going to make the meals, not order the pizza. That kinda thing. 

I had a lightbulb moment and thought it would be fun for the kids to make Dream Boards, or Vision Boards, if you will, to try and pinpoint some goals they have and maybe next time they're board or playing Super Mario, they can instead ask themselves, "Is there something else I could do?" They loved this idea and we go to work. We got out file folders, magazines, scrap paper and Sharpies. 

What I didn't expect is how much fun and eye opening this activity would be FOR ME. I'll get to why in just a minute, but first, here's my finished dream board: 

It's not fancy. And these aren't goals with any specific time frame, although I feel like they're mostly things that I'd like to accomplish within the year. 

I'd like to read ten biographies this year, and this is the part when I tell you why this was eye opening for me. Today I took the kids to the pool and we had the place to ourselves (homeschool perks) and I was reading while they played. I was finishing up The Magnolia Story. Sometimes I feel like my time would be better spent getting things accomplished at home than sitting by the pool, but reading that book while there, after just having finished this dream board, reminded me that I was actually doing something in that moment that fit into a goal I had. It was not a waste of time! And, in those moments when I really am wasting time, it will hopefully be a reminder to me that I could be utilizing that time to do something that meets a goal I have, even if it's just reading.

Here are a few closer looks: 

And to explain a few things: 

  • I'm trying to memorize the book of Ephesians. I'm slow at memorizing! But there's an app called Verses. So helpful! 
  • I'm doing the 28 day barre program on SuzanneBowen.com. Love her!! I've been taking an adult ballet class for several months, and can tell I've improved a lot since starting her program at home.
  • I want to find ways to serve Casey in little ways. Like taking the trash cans to the curb sometimes. Because yeah, that's a guy's job, but I can do it and bless him in the process. Or maybe not sigh when he asks me to iron his Class B pants. Ha! 
  • I have goals for my home sewing class business and also for monetizing this blog and my YouTube channel that require some specific online actions and I'm working on those steadily. It's important to me that that growth happen in an authentic and honest way, which makes growth slower, but I'm fine with that. 

The rest is pretty self explanatory. But here are the kids'! They each turned out so differently. They really had a lot of fun with this, I highly recommend you try it with your kids! 

Natalie's:

This is Layla's. She really loves Nerdy Nummies on YouTube so I encouraged her to start trying some of the recipes. She wants to save for the book and we're going to gather some cake supplies to get her started. Also, she means memorize the books of the Old Testament, not the entire Old Testament, haha. 

Annnnd Kelby's. His makes me laugh, I think it's so cute. You can see today he's very into Meccano. Yesterday this dream board could have been all about Legos and tomorrow it could be about Minecraft. But, today it's Meccano. And golf. He has a golf goal, so he gave one robot a club and ball. 

Have you made a dream board? Is this something you would try? I think it's the visual person's spreadsheet, HAHA! If you do this yearly, or regularly, or just for business, or spiritual goals, or if you try it with your kids, I would love to hear about it! 

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Tips for Sewing Doll Clothes

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I have sewn no small number of doll clothes in my 11 plus years of mothering girls and yesterday as I was working on yet more clothes with my girls for their 18" dolls, I was thinking there are some things I've learned along the way to make sewing doll clothes fun and easy. I can whip them up pretty quickly these days, so I thought I'd compile some of my methods here for you today. 

Tips for sewing doll clothes by Nikki Schreiner of PinCutSewStudio.com

Tips for sewing doll clothes by Nikki Schreiner of PinCutSewStudio.com

1. Stock up on patterns when they go on sale! The Big 4 Pattern companies run sales on their patterns online often, which is when I buy them because I don't have a big chain fabric store. If you do have a Hobby Lobby or Joann's store near you, you're extra lucky because they go on sale for a couple bucks very often. Simplicity now has official American Girl branded patterns! I asked a mainland friend to pick two up for me at her store's sale yesterday. We don't have American Girl dolls, ours are different brands, but most patterns for 18" dolls all fit the same, or with a few minor adjustments. Of course you can find great pattern online too, both free and otherwise. 

2. Choose fabrics wisely. Yesterday Natalie wanted this cute ruffled skirt, but she picked out costume satin for the ruffles! Ummmm, nope. I encouraged her to pick something that doesn't ravel so I could avoid narrow hemming all those ruffles. We went with two colors of cotton lace. They don't ravel and are easy to gather. It saved me work and it saved the skirt from looking super messy over time. If you do use fancy fabrics, read on and I have tips for those too. 

3. Get creative with fabric choices! Doll clothes make a great use for the small scraps of garment fabrics you don't know what to do with, but even if you don't have a fabric stash at all, they're a great reason to raid your giveaway bag! Before Casey took a load of stuff to Goodwill yesterday, I dug out some workout shirts (great for doll leotards, swim suits or leggings) and some t-shirts to use for doll tees. You can use any of your cast off clothing to repurpose into doll clothes, it's so much fun to get creative and a great upcycle project. For doll camp last week, we used this free pattern and made all the pajama shirts out of my family's unwanted t-shirts! 

I made these boots for Natalie's doll from a scrap of genuine leather! Be sure and buy a leather needle for your machine if you attempt this.

I made these boots for Natalie's doll from a scrap of genuine leather! Be sure and buy a leather needle for your machine if you attempt this.

4. Finish seams smarter, not harder. Doll clothes don't get washed like your regular clothes do, so you don't need to finish the insides quite so much. But, they are going to be used and played with and you don't want to end up with a ravely mess either. Here's what I do:

  • If you have a serger, use it (I have one similar to this one and LOVE it). If not, use some pinking shears on the bigger inside seams after you sew them. If you don't have pinking shears, you can still use cottons, but avoid satins and other fancy fabrics that ravel a lot. Fabrics that don't ravel at all include any knits (stretchy t-shirt fabrics), felt, fleece, and most lace.

  • If you DO decide to use a fancy but ravely fabric, try using a zig-zag stitch on all your inside seams after sewing them. This will prevent a lot of raveling.

  • Use Fray Check or clear nail polish on the ends of ribbons and trims.

5. Sew in the flat. This is a trick that makes sewing doll clothes a ton faster, in my experience. Sewing “in the flat” means you do certain steps before sewing sides seams. Like sew the sleeves on, make hems, add trim, etc... anything that helps you avoid sewing tiny tubes or circular hems. Yesterday I made a doll leotard and sewed all the hems first, before sewing the sides and crotch seam, so I wouldn't be trying to make those little hems after the fact! Big time saver. 

6. Closures. I makes closures on my doll clothes two ways. The first is to cut a strip of sew-in (NOT sticky!) Vel-Cro to size and then cut it in half length-wise. I then stitch it onto either side of the back opening, using a zig-zag stitch right down the middle (backstitch really well!) This is much faster than sewing around all four sides of a full-width piece of Vel-Cro. My other method is to use these Babyville Snapsetter Pliers and their snaps made for cloth diapers. This was a great investment, I use it all the time, for doll clothes, costumes and other little projects like business card holders, for example. 

The year I made the girls and their dolls matching Easter dresses. Look how tiny my kids were!!

The year I made the girls and their dolls matching Easter dresses. Look how tiny my kids were!!

7. Fit to the doll. Layla's doll (the blond doll in these photos) is a Journey Girl and is skinnier than most other brands of 18" dolls. I ignore the elastic guides on the patterns and just fit the elastic to the doll's waist. Or when something is too big for her, I just size it up when I'm done, usually taking in the center back, or just moving the closure over until it fits how we want it and trimming off the excess. 

Victoria in her nightgown and robe.

Victoria in her nightgown and robe.

I hope these tips are helpful! Doll clothes are so much fun, they're some of my favorite things to make! I usually make an outfit for the girls for their Christmas stockings, or Easter baskets. Don't worry, Kelby doesn't get shafted, I've been known to make him some clothes for his Build-a-Bear. Bearwear patterns is the best source I've found for those, if you're interested. I even made him an army outfit out of Casey's old BDU's :)

Some of these pictures are several years old now. It's nice to see there's been some positive progression of my photography skills, haha. 

If you have more tips, resources or questions on sewing doll clothes please share in the comments! 

Cheers and happy sewing :)

 

 

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Sewing Camp Wrap-Up!

Sewing camps are over! I'm sad! And tired! Haha. I taught 28 kids to sew this Summer. And the best part is, many of their moms tag me or share with me pictures of them sewing at home on their own. That's the goal, after all! I had a fun group for my last camp and I'm about to unload all those photos on you here, BUT FIRST, I cannot wait to share with you the promotional video my talented friend Liz MacMurray made. I've watched it so many times, it just makes me so happy. If you are local and want something unique for your family photos this year, check out her site and just FYI, she's running special mini-sessions right now!! 

Both July camps were themed around sewing for 18" dolls and they were so much fun. We made a lot of things and the girls had a blast! This past week they ended each day just trying the clothes on their dolls and making up silly fashion shows. 

On the last day of camp, we made flip flops and visor out of craft foam, then we have a runway fashion show and then we have pizza and watch an American Girl movie (last week's vote was Lea, but this week they voted Isabell). But this time around, almost everyone just wanted to keep sewing during the movie! They made all kinds of doll tote bags, pillows and other little things, a few even designed little pet beds for their dolls' pets and Natalie made a doll-sized drawstring backpack. They turned the t-shirt pattern around to make jackets, made matching p.j./sleep mask/pillow sets and just got so creative! 

And now I'm going to take a nap. 

Ha! Not really, I actually have some sewing to do today ;)

Cheers and happy sewing! 

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Crochet Ballerina Bun Nets

Natalie is a dancer. She takes ballet, jazz and acrobatics at a local studio (amaaaaazing studio, I might add) and while they wear uniforms for class, they are allowed to get creative with their buns and bun accessories. Recently one of her friends there gave each of her classmates some cute bun nets that match their leotards. When Natalie's came apart, though, I grabbed a crochet hook and fixed it, which made me realize it would be totally easy to make more. 

So, I looked up some patterns and made one up. Then I decided it would be relatively easy for Natalie to make them herself. I'll be honest, the night she really wanted to learn, while Layla was in her ballet class, I did not feel like teaching her. I selfishly wanted to sit and read a book or chat with my friend. But, I taught her anyway (moral of the story at the end of this post!) and she took to it so quickly! By now, she's memorized the pattern and has gotten really creative with stripes, beads and funky yarns and has taken requests from other dancers in her class! 

The pattern we landed on is this one. I tried a few others that did not make sense or did not work out, but this one is stellar and easy. 

We really want to make fun holiday ones especially these pumpkin ones

Photo belongs to Jessie Plaskett

Photo belongs to Jessie Plaskett

And these Minnie Mouse ones are sooooo cute!!!

Photo belongs to Lulubebeblu

Photo belongs to Lulubebeblu

I'll admit, when I first became a dance mom, I was truly terrible at the bun thing. Doing hair has never been my speciality and I've never really had a lot of patience to try intricate hairstyles on my girls. But, I must say, I have improved immensely and can now do some pretty cool things on dance days, partly thanks to Natalie subtly hinting that I should watch a few tutorials on Cute Girls Hairstyles. We tried this one today and it actually was easy. looked super cute and kept her bangs held back during ballet. We turned it into a bun, but it will be perfect for ballet and acro days when she needs to switch from bun to pony and still keep her bangs back! 

So, the moral of my initial story: I didn't want to teach Natalie to crochet that night. I was tired, I was coming off a full week of sewing camp and for some reason felt I deserved not to be required to give and serve any more that day. But, I was reminded that God requires me to pour out in faithfulness, even when I think my jug is empty. Just pour, keep serving, and as you pour, He will provide the energy, the joy, the substance, whatever you need, as He provided the wine for the wedding at Cana. (This analogy is one that was written about on the Femina Girls blog several years ago. I can't find the post now, but I have thought of the lesson often). 

Cheers :)

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