Category Archives: Tutorials

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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.

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!

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!

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