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I have a matching girl and doll tote bag tutorial at Sew Mama Sew with a downloadable .pdf tutorial available. Here is a photo of the finished bags made by one of our fans.

Girl and Kit Matching BagsGo on over and check it out!

Shelf to hang dress up clothes pictured.

How to organize dress up clothes!

My daughter loves to dress up and make stories to go along with her wardrobe. I’ve made her some dress up clothes in the past, made Halloween costumes, purchased Halloween costumes on clearance, and shopped consignment and yard sales when she found something she just had to have. When we redecorated her room for her birthday this spring, I came up with a great idea for storing and displaying her dress up clothes while keeping them within her reach and off of the closet floor, lol!

I had a shelf that looked like this.

I found it at a yard sale for around $5.00. I had no idea what a deal I had found until I googled this type of shelf because I forgot to take any “before” pictures. Silly me.

Anyway, all I did was take the shelf and sand it all over so the finish wasn’t so shiny and non-sticky. I used one of those sanding sponges with sandpaper on all the sides.

Then, I took a sample size of pink satin finish paint -that I had left over from painting the walls- and coated the shelf and the bar underneath until I was satisfied that the shelf was fully pink-a-licious! Then, I hung this shelf on the wall, placed the dress up clothes on hangers, and hung them on the bar below the shelf. She put a few accessories on the shelf that she wanted also.

Shelf to hang dress up clothes pictured.
My daughter is able to see her clothes when she wants to play, they have their own place away from her closet, and they are off. the. floor. Woo Hoo!

I hope one day she’ll let me clean out that stuffed animal net someday. There’s even more than is shown here!

Make a doll skirt with old jeans!

Have a pair of jeans with a lot of wear and some tear in them? Well, usually jeans can be salvaged from the knee down. This is a great way to make skirts for your dolls. The hem is already in place – and probably has a built-in distressed look. Just make sure that area for the waist casing is at least 6 1/2 inches wide (which makes a circumference of at least 13 inches for the waist).

1. Decide how long you want your skirt to be. Do this by measuring from the doll’s waist to the place on her leg where you want it to fall. For and 18 inch doll, about 6 inches will give you a knee length skirt.

2. Measure the skirt length from the hem to the waist area and add 1 inch at the top for the waist casing. I am using 7 inches. (You can choose to have a wider casing if your hem is wider and you want to match the weight of the casing with the hem. Just use the size hem you want to match and add 1/4 inch.)
Measure Hem
3. Cut this line with the casing included. Now is the time to add any embellishments, if the jeans don’t have any to begin with. If your skirt is wide enough, you can add a small applique. If it isn’t wide enough, you can use the patch your jeans tutorial to open up the side seam to lay your skirt flat.)

4. All decorated? Good. Now you are going to press the top edge 1/4 inch all around the skirt. Then, press it again 3/4 inches.
Pin and Stitch Casing
5. Sew very close to the pressed edge all the way around the casing, leaving a 1-2 inch opening for threading your elastic.
Sew elastic casing
6. Using two safety pins, thread your 11 inch piece of elastic (for an 18 inch doll) through the skirt casing and stitch the two ends together at the opening.
Insert and stitch Elastic
7. Sew the opening closed and enjoy your skirt!

Note: If you use a kid-size pair of pants, your skirt will have a sleeker look – like a pencil skirt. If you use an adult-size pair of pants, you can have more of a gathered A-line type skirt. You will see how different the looks can be once you’ve done a few of them. This skirt was made with tapered leg pants and looks like a straight skirt.

6 Reasons I Heart Sewing Doll Clothes

  1. I can sew most doll clothes with a fat quarter size fabric sample. (Fat Quarter = 18″ by 22″ piece of fabric.)
  2. I can learn new sewing skills without worrying about wasting much fabric if I totally mess up my outfit.
  3. I only have to make one size and don’t have to figure out which cutting line to keep straight on the pattern.
  4. Dolls are the perfect “sample size.” I can see what a piece looks like before I commit to making a larger size in the fabrics I’ve chosen.
  5. If I make something for my daughter’s doll, I have more of a chance that my daughter will actually wear the outfit I made for her!
  6. Doll’s are happy to wear anything you put on them, because they’ve spent many days wearing nothing. Dress your dolls, girls! (That was more for my daughter than anyone else. But, if you need to be told. There, I just did.)

Can you think of any other great reasons to love sewing doll clothes? Leave me a note in the comments. I’d love to hear your thoughts too!

Easy Camisole for 18 inch dolls

This is a picture of our newest pattern, the Easy Camisole and PJ Shorts Pattern.

Patch Jeans – Sewing “How To”

This is an easy “how to patch your jeans” tutorial that anyone can learn to do. First, lets talk about two ways to patch a pair of jeans.

1) You can iron on a patch where your jeans are ripped or torn. All you need to do is buy an appropriate sized patching material and cut it to size (or) get a fancy iron-on applique and iron them where you want to cover the blemishes.

2) Use this step-by-step tutorial for sewing on a cute patch that you have made yourself to cover up holes or blemishes in your jeans. Or, just decorate your entire jeans wardrobe because you are going to make them sooo cute!

Here we go…Look at your jeans and determine the problems. These jeans have a couple problems. My daughter found a permanent marker and wrote on these jeans and she has a worn spot and hole in her jeans. (I am going to have to get creative to fix this and make it look good because they aren’t in the same position on each leg.)

Take a pin and mark your problem areas like this. Only pin through the top layer – not both.

Turn your jeans inside out and locate the area you need to work within. Place a pin at the top of the area and just below it. This is the minimum amount you will need to open up in the leg’s side seams.

Notice that the seams of these jeans are different. Don’t open the side with the flat fold seam. Use the other one – which ever side it is on. Open up the seam until you can lay your legs flat to work on them. (To tear serging, rip the needle stitches a few at a time until you have the length you need. Then, the loopers around the seam should just ravel off.)

(I need to confess something here. I was using this method of ripping the seams carefully. After about 10 minutes of time-consuming ripping, I got out my embroidery scissors and cut through the loopers on the serged edges I needed to open. Then, I took my razor blade and just carefully cut through the two lines of stitching to open the side seams. Jeans are harder to rip out than any other type of garment and I got impatient, lol!)

Now, you need some patches. You can get creative and make your own shapes or use a template. My favorite templates are cookie cutters. You can get some great shapes that way. You can also google practically any shape you’re looking for and find a variety of sizes to use as a template. However, I had this fabric that I thought would be a perfect template.

Next, cut your shapes from the template/fabric. Then, get some heat ‘n bond and iron it to the back of your patches.

Cut the shapes from the heat ‘n bond out a tad smaller than the actual patches and iron the heat-n-bond to the back of your patches.

After they have completely cooled from the iron, remove the paper backing from the patches.

Take the patches to your jeans and try placing them where you need the coverage. Then, get crafty with the rest of the patches that you’ve cut out. Once you’re satisfied with the placement, iron the patches into place on the jeans.

Now, you’re ready to go to the sewing machine. There are a variety of things you can do to sew the edges.

1. Sew just inside the edges with a thread color that matches your patch.
2. Satin stitch around the patches, encasing the edges.
3. Make your patches about 1/3″ larger, sew around the perimeter 1/3″ from edge and then “rag” the edges in the wash for a fringed look.
4. Use a decorative stitch to sew around the edge catching both edges as you work.

Here I just used invisible thread and did a zigzag stitch around all the edges of my patches. The stitching isn’t perfect. But, then, that’s the beauty of using invisible thread.

Once you’ve finished patching your pants, you are going to sew the seams of your legs back together. To fix the serged area, zigzag over the edge or use whatever wide stitch your machine does just inside the edge of the seam allowance. You need to make sure this is reinforced in case you are too active and the side seam opens on you and to prevent further fraying.

(I’m assuming that you don’t have a serger. If you do, then serge it back together after sewing the seam line.)

Enjoy your new-ish jeans!

Great Art Case!

Art Case Picture

I just made this great Art Case in less than 2 hours! I started after lunch and finished by the time my daughter came home from school. She loved it. I had to beg for enough time to take this picture. Now, she is busy filling and using this great case.

There’s an extra bonus too! I also think it’s easy enough for your child to sew, if they have a knowledge of basic sewing skills! What a great project for you to make together. I know everyone is looking for great activities during Spring Break. This would be a perfect afternoon or rainy day project.

I got the idea from one of my Twitter friends @thisiscarrie. She has posted this pattern on her blog FOR FREE. Head on over there now to get the instructions. You won’t be sorry. (They come complete with full-color photographs.)

Graduation gift I “just whipped up!”

I needed a graduation gift for the daughter of a friend of mine – she and her sister were the ring bearer and flower girl at my wedding! Look how cute they looked almost 14 years ago.

It’s hard to imagine it has been that long since our wedding. Sigh.

Anyhow, this high school graduate is moving into an upstairs apartment with a friend. I decided to give her a gift certificate to a local store so she can get something that matches her decorative taste.

The only problem was…I didn’t want to just put it inside a card envelope. So, I made this cool little wallet! (At least I hope its cool, LOL!)

I used some non-quilted remnants left from one of my doll carrier projects. On the outside this wallet has a velcro closure with a pretty flower button to match.

The inside has three card pockets on one side, a zip pouch on the other side, and some slide-in pockets between them.

I put my gift card in one of the card pockets. The card that shows how much the card is worth in the opposite slide-in pocket, wrapped it in tissue, and placed it in a gift bag with the card. I hope she likes it!

This post is being linked to the following project parties:

The Girl Creative Registered & Protected

Do you love tutorials?

I love tutorials! I want to know how to do something or how to do it better. Some folks think in different ways that help me see the “big picture” better (or with less time). I think that many of you like tutorials also – especially with the wonderful comments I have been given on my tutorials. I also have a few new ones planned to add to my tutorial page.

But, today’s post is about a blog that is all about tutorials. As a matter of fact, tutorials are all they post. They aren’t all about sewing either (but that is what I love the most).

Check out this blog. It is such a fun find! I could lose so much time there, LOL!

Totally tutorials tips tricks recipes how tos

Making Doll Clothes – #3 Easy Dolly Bib

We are going to use the concept of the “sandwich” from Making Doll Clothes #2 to make a bib to match or our dolly burp cloth.

Step 1 – Measure the width of your doll’s chest between the shoulders like this.

Step 2 – Find an appealing shape template that is close to the size of your doll’s chest measurement. I have selected from these heart shapes. Print out the size that is closest to the measurement (or, you can print them all out and place them over your doll’s chest to see how they fit).

Step 3 – Cut out the printed shape from the template and use it to cut your two coordinating fabric pieces.

Step 4 – Place the heart pieces on your doll’s chest where you want the bib to stay and measure around the back of the doll’s neck.

Step 5 – Add one inch to your measurement and then cut a strip that is two inches wide by the length you discovered. (My measurement was about 8 inches, so I am going to cut my piece 9 inches by 2 inches.)

Step 6 – Fold the strip at the short ends 1/4 inch and press. Next, press 1/4 inch on the long ends. Fold the strip in half on the long side and sew close to the edge on all four sides of the strap.

Step 7 – Now Cut this strap in half so that you now have 2 finished straps.

Step 8 – Place and pin the two strap pieces at the top each side of one of the fabric heart pieces that is facing up. (See illustration below #9)

Step 9 – Place the other heart piece on top of the heart and straps facing down. (You have just “sandwiched” the straps between the heart pieces)

Step 10 – Pin and sew around the shape using a 1/4 inch seam and leaving about a 2 inch opening as shown in the last picture above.

Step 11 – Clip the top of the heart in the center but not through the stitching.

Step 12 – Clip the bulk from the bottom of the heart to rid of extra bulk at the point. (See right picture above.)

Step 13 – Press the edges at the opening toward the center of the heart so that all the edges line up around the heart.

Step 14 – Turn the heart right side out and press. Stitch all the way around the heart about an 1/8 inch from the edge. This will sew the opening together.

Step 15 – Find a small piece of velcro and sew onto the ends of the straps to keep the bib on the doll.

Step 16 – Try the bib on your doll. Do you like it?

Now, find the burp cloth and give them to your little girl to feed and burp her doll. She will love them.

Once you learn the process of making these bibs, you can find and use a template for almost any shape. You could make matching bib and burp cloth sets for each season or holiday. The possibilities are endless. Registered & Protected

Making Doll Clothes – #2 Easy Dolly Burp Cloth

This tutorial is for a reversible burp cloth that your child can use to feed and burp her baby. I like to make mine out of flannel fabric because it is soft and also clings to your child’s clothing easily so it won’t fall when they are getting their baby ready.

I have used two variations of pink flannel. If you like you can use the same fabric on both sides. You just need two pieces the same size.

Step 1 – Cut two pieces of coordinating flannel fabric 8 inches wide by 11 inches tall.

Step 2 – Place the two pieces facing each other on the table. Pin all four sides of the rectangles together.

Place double pins on one of the top edges like this.

Step 3 – Starting at the double pins on the right, sew with a 1/4 inch seam all the way around the rectangle stopping at the second set of double pins.

Note: You can mark each corner like this to know where to pivot your machine needle to turn the corners.

Step 4 – Clip the corners like this. (Be sure not to clip your corner stitching.)

Step 5 – Using the opening at the top, turn the burp cloth to the right side pushing out the corners. (I have found that a small finger, crochet hook, or point turner will work well to smooth out the corners.)

Step 6 – Press the seams flat and tuck in the edges where the opening is at the top to be even with the seams.

Step 7 – Pin around the edges of the burp cloth as you did when you sewed the two pieces together.

Step 8 – Sew all the way around the very edge of the burp cloth to finish and sew the opening closed.

Step 9 – Cut all the loose threads.

Note: This is a basic “sandwich” tutorial that can be used for many types of items once you perfect it. It can be “filled” with batting to make it softer (ex: quilt), fiber fill to make it plumper (ex: pillow), any sort of bean (ex: bean bags), or any other thing you may think about. The size of the outsides and the filling of the sandwich define what it will become. It is up to you to create something new! Registered & Protected