Tuesday, November 30, 2010

“Simple” A-line Skirt and “Fancy” French Seams

I wanted to make something for my girls out of Heather Ross’ Far Far Away II fabric.  The Rapunzel print is super cute and I thought that it was perfect for going to see the new movie Tangled.  Of course this fabric can be a bit pricey so I didn’t want to have to use too much.  I found some for $12 a yard a bought just one yard.  Hmmmm… what can I make for two girls out of just one yard of fabric.  I know, skirts! 
I originally planned to just sew it up the side by the selvedge, hem, and make a waist band.  Then I saw a couple of simple tutorials for A-line skirts.  Since I had never made one before, I thought that I would give it a try.  I also thought that the heavier weight of this fabric would work perfectly. 
First lets give credit to the two tutorials that gave me the most help.  The Train to Crazy and Sugar City.  (Just click on the names to go to the links.)  I used a combination of these two tutorials and then decided to add some “fancy” French Seams.  O.K. they’re not really that fancy but anything French just seams fancier doesn’t it?  O.K. more about French Seams later.  Let’s get to the tutorial.
1/2 yard of fabric (This was just the right amount for my girls who typically wear a size 8)
3/4’’ elastic
Safety pin
Sewing machine, thread, etc.
A rotary cutter, cutting mat and straight edge are also very helpful but not necessary.

Measuring and Cutting:
First you will need to take three measurements.  Your child’s waist, hips, and desired length of skirt.
Next, you will prepare the fabric for cutting.

Fold your piece of fabric in a half matching up the selvedges.  The selvedges will be on the left and the fold will be on the right.

IMG_6264 Now you will fold the piece of fabric in half again.  Bring the folded edge over from the right to the left.  You will now have 4 layers of fabric.

Now for the first measurement.  Take your child’s hip measurement.  Add 2 inches and divide by 4.  You are adding the 2 inches for the seam allowances and you are dividing by 4 because your skirt piece is currently folded into fourths.  So lets say your child’s hip measurement is 26”.  26” + 2” = 28”     28” divided by 4  equals 7”.  Mark this point with a water soluble pen.  (Note you will be measuring from the folded edge on the right towards the left edge.)

Next measure the desired length of the skirt and add 2” to allow for the waist band and the hem.  So if your desired skirt length is 15”  
15” + 2” = 17”.  Mark this point along the right folded edge.

Mark the length of the skirt again along the left folded edge.  If desired, you can use a water soluble pen to draw a cut line between these two points.  Alternatively you can use a straight edge and a rotary cutter to cut between these two points in the next step.

Remember the point that you marked for the waist up at the top?  Draw a line between this point at the top and the point marking the length of the skirt on the bottom left.  The angle of this line is up to you depending on how much you want the finished skirt to angle out.

Next, cut along the angled line as well as the horizontal line at the bottom.  Cut through all four layers of fabric. 
Unfold the fabric.  This is what your finished pieces should look like.  There are to layers of fabric here, front and back.

Lets start with some “fancy” French Seams.  They are actually super easy.  I promise!
Lay the front and back skirt pieces wrong sides together.  Yes, I said wrong sides together.  Trust me. :)

Using about a 1/8” seam allowance, sew up the two side seams.  Don’t forget to pin first.

Trim away some of the seam allowance being careful not to cut your stitching.

Turn the skirt wrong side out and press seams.

With the skirt inside out, sew up these same two seams again using a 1/4” seam allowance.  That’s it.!  You just made French Seams!  Aren’t they great?!  No unfinished edges.  I have found that French Seams work best when sewing straight edges rather than curves.

Turn the skirt right side out and press.

Turn the skirt back inside out.  Fold down the top edge of the skirt 1/4” and press.

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Fold the top edge down again about 1”.  You can also use the 3/4” elastic as a guide.  You just want to make sure that you have a bit of wiggle room because you will be sewing a seam along the bottom edge of this fold to make a casing for the elastic.

Sew along the bottom edge of the fold.  Leave about a 2” opening to feed in the elastic.

Cut a piece of 3/4” elastic to the length of your child’s waist measurement.  Attach a safety pin to one end of the elastic and feed it through the casing until it comes out the other side.  I like to use those big safety pins with the pink tops.  They feed through so much more quickly.

Overlap the two ends of the elastic by about 1/2” and sew together using a zig zag stitch.  I like to do a couple of rows.  Pull on the skirt waistband until the elastic is fed back inside the casing.  Sew the last two inches of the casing closed.  I highly recommend trying the skirt on your child before sewing the casing closed.  I never seem to get this exactly right and it is a pain to get out the seam ripper to reopen the casing and adjust the length of your elastic.  I have even been known to let my girls wear the skirts for a day before I sew up the casing.  That way I really know if the skirt is fitting comfortably.

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Yippee, last step!  Fold up the bottom edge of the skirt about 1/4”.  Fold up again another 1/4’.  Sew along the folded edge to hem.

Your done!  You’ve made a super cute a-line skirt.  Now just add a super cute girl or two and go do something girly together.
(For some reason, my girls call our mommy and daughter outings “girls day off”.)
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Apparently, this pose holding their hair is called the “Rapunzel pose”.

Since the girls were all decked out in their new Rapunzel skirts, we just had to go see the movie.
(Which by the way was a little scary for my sensitive five year olds.  They did feel better after the happy ending.)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Baked Pumpkin French Toast


This post is going to be short and SWEET!  A few days ago Dana over at MADE posted a really yummy recipe for baked pumpkin french toast.  It looked really good so I decided to give it a try.  Oh my goodness!!! Super Yummy!  It was a nice breakfast to have over the Thanksgiving weekend when we had family around.  My mom said that we need to make it again for Christmas morning.  It’s perfect because you do all of the prep the night before and then just pop it in the oven in the morning.   If you would like to give baked pumpkin french toast a try, click here for the recipe.  Thanks Dana!



Friday, November 26, 2010

Giveaway Winner!

And the winner of the free Cabrio Tote pattern is …


Kelly who said …

This is a fantastic giveaway! Thanks Charity!
I am a follower of your lovely blog, and...
I have checked out Sew Spoiled's etsy shop - what great patterns! I love the 'Mommy and Me Backpacks' but since I have 3 boys I don't see any of them using the 'Me' backpack. ;)
I think I would actually make the 'Versatile Bag' - it's very cool how you can make it according to your needs!
Thanks for this opportunity!


Congratulations Kelly!  I’ll be in touch with your shortly.  Please be sure to send pictures if you make a  Cabrio Tote! 

Kelly also has a really great blog.  Click here to visit.

Don’t forget to check out Sew Spoiled’s Etsy shop too.  Leah has so many great patterns.  Click here to visit Sew Spoiled’s awesome blog.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!


(Just a few more hours left to enter the Cabrio Tote Pattern giveaway!  Click here for the details.)

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  I hope that all of you are able to share this special day with your loved ones.  I am thankful for so many things.  My husband, my children, our health, our home, etc.  I am also thankful that in this past year I have really been able to devote more time to crafting and sewing.  It really makes me happy and I really enjoy doing something that I like.  I’m thankful to have a husband who gets that and gives me the time to sew.


I have a fun little turkey shirt project to share with you today. 


Isn’t it cute?

There are two different ways to approach this project.  Depending on how old your children are and how much involvement you want them to have.



For the big kids.  Paint their palms and thumb brown and have them place their hand in the center of the shirt.  Allow this part to dry.  Then paint each finger a different color and place their hand on the original print.  We did one finger at a time with dry time in between.  I suppose that you could paint the whole hand at once but I was afraid that the paint might dry on their hand before they could make the print on the shirt.

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For the little kids.  Trace their hand onto freezer paper.  Cut out the handprint with an exacto knife.  Iron the freezer paper with the waxy side down onto the shirt and paint the turkey.

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Next choose the message that you would like to appear on the shirt and print it onto freezer paper.  If you don’t want to print directly onto the freezer paper you could print onto regular paper and then lay the freezer paper on top and trace the lettering. 



Cut the message out using an exacto knife. 



Iron the freezer paper onto the shirt waxy side down.  Don’t forget to save the centers of the a, o, e, etc. as you will need to iron those on as well.



Paint a couple of coats with dry time in between.  Allow plenty of dry time on the final coat and then rip off the freezer paper. 

 IMG_6182 IMG_6184

Important!  At this stage, place a piece of material over your painted areas and iron to heat set.  I forgot to do this step before I added the eye, beak and legs with the slick paint and it made it really difficult to iron the turkey.  Slick paint does not hold up well to ironing. 

After you have ironed, go ahead and add an eye, a beak, a waddle and some legs.  I used Tulip Slick paints.



That’s it!  Super cute turkey shirts!

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