Monday, January 24, 2011


I made my daughter a fairy (that really looked more angel) costume for Halloween out of a very large men's t-shirt, and I thought that with a few small alterations she would have a cute dress to wear to church or just around.  (She LOVES to wear a dress while she is climbing on the furniture!)  Well, a few snips here and a few seams there and I had  a cute little dress for her with a distinctly Jane Austen vibe working for it.  The dress is still just a little too big for her to wear while climbing the furniture, but that will change soon enough.

Here are the materials you need and the instructions for completing this project:

  • A large men's t-shirt (This shirt is size 4X with long sleeves.)
  • 1 package 1/4" elastic
  • Satin ribbon 2" width about 3 yards
  • Matching thread

Measure across the top of the shirt to determine your cutting line.  Do not measure more than 1" past the armhole seams of the t-shirt or you will have big bunches of fabric in the armpits of you finished dress.  My cutting line is 3 1/2" down from the top of the front collar, 5 1/2" down from the top of the back collar, and 1" past each of the shoulder seams.

Cut the new neckline and set aside the extra fabric.   

 Fold over the newly cut neckline and pin to make a casing.  The casing will not be smooth in spots because you are making a larger edge of fabric match a smaller edge.  You will need to do the best you can to ease the edges together.  The finished piece will be tightly gathered so the easing will not be noticeable.  Leave a gap (about 2") while you are pinning to allow for feeding the elastic.  I always pin this gap with a large "X" so I don't accidentally sew over my opening (Before you ask, YES, I have done that before). 

Sew around your casing leaving the gap open to thread elastic.

Let me take the opportunity to introduce you all to my sewing machine.  My parents bought it literally at a fire sale held by the local school district nearly thirty years ago. 

It was old as dirt back then and decorated with various bits of graffiti proclaiming the undying love of faceless youth throughout the ages.
BUT  This machine is a BERNINA and as such is a total workhorse.  It gets a tune up every now and again and just keeps on sewing.  AWESOME!

Thread your elastic through the opening left in the casing.  I always attach a large safety pin to the end of the elastic to aid in the threading.  I attach the opposite end of the elastic to the piece with another smaller safety pin to keep that end from being pulled into the casing while I am working (Before you ask YES I have done that too).

 Adjust the neck opening so that the gathers are even and the opening is well fitted around the neck of the intended wearer of the dress.

Trim the extra elastic and sew the ends of the elastic together.  Then sew the hole in the casing closed. 
Put the dress back on your model and measure for the sleeve length.  The closer you cut to the wrist band the longer or potentially puffier your finished sleeves will be.

Once the sleeves are cut, fold, pin, and sew sleeve casings following the above directions.  The sleeves are not as difficult to pin as the neckline because the taper in the sleeves is not as drastic.  I chose to make a long-sleeved dress, but it works just as well with shorter sleeves. Feed the elastic through the casing, adjust, and secure. 

Lastly, attach the ribbon to the dress under the arms of the dress.  There is no need to hem the dress because the bottom hem of the t-shirt becomes the bottom hem of the dress. 

Step back and admire your handiwork.  Add  some sassy accessories to complete the look.  Look out furniture, here she comes!


back view

I would love it if you became a follower of my blog.  You can also find me HERE on Facebook and HERE on Pinterest.  

If you enjoyed this sewing post you might enjoy these other posts about sewing...Make Your Own Snuggle Blanket, Upcycled Easter Outfit, and Sleep Shorts from Old Sheets.

Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Kids Document Keeper

It is the start of a new year, and that often makes one look around and take stock in their surroundings.  Like me, for example, it is time to de-clutter and do some organization.  I was given this great box at a baby shower before my son (now 5) was born.

I have used it from the very beginning to store all of his most important memories.  (I do not use this for his vital documents.)  I have certificates from swimming lessons, handouts from the pediatrician, and the hardware and instructions for converting his crib into a full-sized bed.  I made a similar document box for my friend's baby shower.  (Her son just turned 1 last week.)

Well, I am coming daughter is well over 2 and in need of her own box.  I cannot keep shoving her memories into her brother's box nor can I leave them in stacks all over the house. I am finally going to make her a box of her own.

Following you will find the materials and instructions you need to make your own box.

Here are the things you need to make your own document keeper:
  • A file box for hanging files
  • Hanging file folders (I found these cute folders at Walmart.)
  • Hanging file folder tabs
  • Labels for the folders
  • Bling to decorate the box

First, you have some options for making the labels for the tabs.  You can just write on the card provided with the tabs, OR you can print out your own more decorative labels on a piece of cardstock or label paper.  I used cardstock.  To get the sizing for the squares I made a table in a word document and adjusted the size around each square to be approximately 2' x 0.5".  Use label paper with labels measuring 1.75" x 0.5" such as Avery 8167 or 8927 if you choose the sticker option.  Of course, there are other options for labeling as well.  Use your imagination!

Here is a list of potential label categories, but you can make whatever ones are right for you.

Baby Care Information            Health Records              Cards & Letters
Age 0 - 3                                   Age 3 - 5                         Kindergarten
1st Grade                                  2nd Grade                       3rd Grade
4th Grade                                  5th Grade                        6th Grade
7th Grade                                  8th Grade                        9th Grade
10th Grade                                11th Grade                      12th Grade
Documents and Certificates   Pictures                           Portraits
Sports                                        Scouts                             Young Women
Coupons                                    Warranties                      Directions

Next, cut out the labels and slide them into the tabs.  Secure the tabs into each hanging folder alternating them across so that all of the labels are visible.  I always have a  few extra blank folders at the back of the file for things I haven't thought of yet.

Naturally, the decorating comes at the end.  I used rhinestone stickers and a vinyl rub-on from the craft store.  Now, the challenging part will be to keep my 2-year-old from thinking that this is her toy!

These large pieces of chip board came at the back of the hanging folder packages.  Save them for another project on another day!

Have fun making your own document keeper!

I am linking up to some of the great link parties listed on my Linky Party page.  Click HERE to see a full list.

I would love it if you became a follower of my blog.  You can also find me HERE on Facebook and HERE on Pinterest.

If you found this post useful, you might enjoy these other posts on organization: Fun In A File Folder, Feelin' Spicy, and I Am So Hooked Up!

Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


I don't even know where to begin...I am a former elementary school teacher who is taking some time at home to raise my children.  I have a son (5) and a daughter (2).  They keep me on my toes for sure!

I love to be creative.  I do a little bit of everything.  There was the knitting phase, the scrapbooking phase, I've been sewing since I was a child.  The list goes on and on and on.  I am also the queen of beginning a project and then losing steam somewhere in the middle.  My craft closet is stuffed full of partially completed creations.  My mind is equally stuffed with ideas for more.  My husband told me (kindly) that I cannot begin another project until I finish the ones I have patiently waiting for me in the craft closet.  I'm guessing that somewhere around 2015 I can try something new.  This blog will be the chronicle of my quest to finish my crafting projects, do some experimenting in the kitchen, and to introduce some organization to the clutter.  (Coming soon!  The spice cupboard)

I can't wait to get busy turning the crazy into creation!  Join me!