Thursday, May 30, 2013

Mini Boden Tshirt Knock-off

Elegance and Elephants has been running a series this month called Knock it Off where you try to replicate something you've seen that you love, possibly in a store or online.  I waited until the last possible minute to participate.  I saw this T-shirt over at Mini Boden and knew I had to make it!  You see, "super duper" is one of the phrases that the girls like to say and we think is absolutely adorable.  I had no idea it was a popular enough phrase to sell on a t-shirt.

I didn't sew anything for this shirt - just used iron on sequins and paint to replicate the look.  I printed out the phrase and cut out a freezer paper stencil, then painted some of the letters.  Then I ironed on the sequins to make the rest of the letters.  I already owned the sequins and paint from other projects, so the cost of this look was just the shirt ($4).  However, if I add the cost of the sequins and paint, this look would cost under $15.  That is compared to the Boden shirt that is $24.  I saved $9 - not bad!

Because I can never just make one item for the girls to share, I made another shirt with the phrase "Awesome" (another thing they love to say).  If I ever get a picture of them in these I'll update this post.  They saw the shirts when they were drying and were very excited to wear them!

Check out the other Knock-off ideas over at Elegance and Elephants and the Knock it Off Flickr page!

Elegance & Elephants

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Workday to Weekend

The last week of Project Sewn is here and the theme is Signature Style.  This theme was a tough one for me.  My signature style has changed a lot throughout the years.  It has definitely evolved since having the girls.  I wear a lot more black and easy fitting clothing now.  My closet is filled with clothes that I can't quite fit into again yet that are way more me than what I throw on lately.  Looking through my closet led me to discover I tend to buy items I can mix together in order to get more outfits for less.  I also noticed that I love prints and bright colors.  I'm always drawn to colors that stand out in the racks at the stores.  I have to talk myself out of buying the most obnoxiously attention grabbing color because it's usually the tackiest option.  I only buy neutrals if I need too, mostly for layering purposes (cardigans).  A big thing I also noticed is that I tend to gravitate towards tops that have something in the neckline to draw attention up.

My closet is pretty divided between stuffy work clothes and comfortable weekend wear.  I had a hard time sewing for just one look, so for this sew along I decided to make two looks to reflect my Signature Style.  They are nautical inspired, but look a little patriotic.  I guess I'm ready for the 4th of July!

Let's start with this skirt - part of my Workday look.  The fabric is a Riley Blake chevron.  Months ago I saw a tutorial on how to sew this skirt over at One Little Minute.  I almost made this skirt several times but had trouble setting aside time to sew something for myself rather than the kids.  Thanks Project Sewn for the perfect opportunity!  The tutorial was really easy to follow, but I probably wouldn't baste the pleats so far from the waistline if I do it again (which I likely will).  I spent more time with the seam ripper than I'd ever like to on purpose.  I decided to mix it up and have the chevron vertical on the waist band and I think it turned out really cute!  Also, shocker - I love pockets but I will omit them from this skirt in the future.  Having a side zipper next to pockets was a little awkward to sew and makes the skirt a little less formal than I had intended.  Speaking of pockets - check out the cute bird print I used.  I believe it is Jansdotter, Bella Tipu Bird in Schooner.

On to the top - I used the Casual Lady Top pattern and some cute striped knit from Girl Charlee.  I brought down the front neckline about an inch and a half because I knew I wanted to bind the neckline and add a tie.  I made bias tape and top stitched it around to meet at the shoulders.  Then I just tied them in a knot.  I got the idea from seeing a tutorial over at CINO.  Oh, and did you see that stripe matching on the shoulder?!?  I learned that I never want to try to match such little stripes ever again.

So that was my Workday look, on to the Weekend!  I typically wear yoga pants all weekend and grimace when my husband begs me to put on a pair of jeans.  It's sad when jeans aren't casual enough.  Time to try a little harder like I used to.  I decided to meet in the middle of sloppy and casual and make a knit fit-and-flare style skirt.  I still made it with a yoga waistband so that it was super comfortable - though you can't tell in the picture because the shirt is untucked.  Shirts don't get tucked in on the weekend!  The slinky pink fabric is also from Girl Charlee.

Thanks Project Sewn for the opportunity to try new things and sew along!  I had a lot of fun and built up some confidence to sew more for myself.  Voting for this last week of sewing along starts on Friday - head on over and check out all the wonderful looks!

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Sumo's Sweet Stuff

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Vintage and Lace

That's pony hair in her mouth.
So Skirt As Top and Craftiness is Not Optional have been running a series called Vintage May this past month and have encouraged others to sew along.  I had some fabric that I purchased from Joann's a few months ago that I knew would be perfect.  It reminds me of the type of dresses Cindy on the Brady Bunch would wear.

I made the dress using the Party Dress pattern from the Cottage Mama for the bodice and extending it out in an A line shape to the length I wanted.  I love the party dress pattern and think it is a great basic bodice.

I then traced around the neckline to make a pattern for the angled collar.  I added a zipper to the back instead of buttons for a more streamlined look.

I also thought some trapezoid-shaped pockets would be cute and functional for some mini pony toys.

This skirt was made with some lace left over from my 80s inspired top that I made during the Project Sewn sew along.  I attached it to some cute Riley Blake dot fabric.  I tried to give the top of it the gathered "paper bag" look, but decided against loops and a sash.  I also uploaded it to the Skirt Week  pool.  I probably should've made it a little shorter, but I make everything a size too big hoping it will last longer!  

 And now get ready for some monster faces!

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Sumo's Sweet Stuff

Friday, May 24, 2013

Oreo Mud

Finally, a three day weekend!  I want to share my favorite dessert recipe to whip up, in case any one needs some last minute ideas for a memorial day party.  Items you'll need:
  • Package of Oreo cookies
  • 1 stick of butter (melted)
  • 1 block of cream cheese (softened)
  • 16 oz whipped topping (I used Cool Whip)
  • 1 cup of powdered sugar
  • 1 small box of Jello instant Vanilla pudding
  • 1 small box of Jello instant Chocolate pudding
  • 3 1/2 cups of milk
You can mix up the recipe and use all fat free/low fat/sugar free ingredients, but I think this is a bit of a calorie bomb no matter how it is lightened up.  So I don't usually bother.  This is a 4 layer dessert that fits in a 13x9" pan.  Or you can make it fit into two 8x8" pans.

Layer 1:  Break up Oreo cookies to form a layer on the bottom (reserve at least 5 cookies for later).  Pour melted butter on top of cookies.

Layer 2:  Mix softened cream cheese with the powdered sugar and half of the whipped topping.  Spread on top of Layer 1.

Layer 3:  Mix the two boxes of Jello with the milk.  Let harden in the fridge for 5 minutes.  Then spread over Layer 2.

Layer 4:  Spread the rest of the cool whip on top of Layer 3 and crush the reserved cookies on top.  Refrigerate dessert.

That's it!  Quick and easy!  It is best to make this ahead of time so that the flavors can meld together and cookies can soften, but it can be eaten right away too.

Have a great Memorial Day!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Pretty in Punk

Week 3's theme at Project Sewn is Totally 80s!  I decided to sewalong again.  There are soooo many 80s trends - acid washed jeans/vests, neon, members only jackets, mini skirts, over sized shirts, lace, shoulder just keeps going.  Most of these trends are back.  Just looking around the playground this past weekend I was flooded with 80's inspiration.  90% of people were rocking a neon color.  There were a lot of wacky prints and over sized shirts too.
I really wanted to go all out but was afraid it would be too costume-y and I'd never wear it.  I had to hold myself back from trying to make a hot pink windbreaker.  I need some new workout gear so I considered making some spandex leggings and a fun off-the-shoulder top.  Then I thought it would be more interesting to make a color blocked neon skirt...maybe I still will!  But I wanted to use fabric I already had on hand so I stared at it until I came up with a look.

I had this stretchy pink and black houndstooth fabric from Girl Charlee that I had planned to make a t-shirt with but I thought its stretch would be perfect for leggings.  When I think 80's I think brightly colored leggings.  This fabric also reminded me of punk.  Punk clothing has been on my mind a lot ever since it was this year's Met Gala theme.  And Anna Wintour claimed "Pink is punk" (ha), so it seemed like a perfect choice for my 80's interpretation.
Leggings are so much fun to sew once you have a pattern.  I used the tutorial over at One Little Minute to draft a leggings pattern from my own measurements.  This took a little extra time than just tracing around some leggings already owned, but it was well worth it because the fit is amazingly perfect. 

On to the top - I had a hard time deciding on this look.  I knew I wanted to try out freezer paper stenciling, so my husband picked an 80's punk band he likes (Dead Kennedys) and I made a tank top with their symbol.  Actually, he told me to do Bad Religion or Social Distortion, but I liked the lines of the Dead Kennedys logo better.  I drafted a pattern for a racer back top using a t-shirt I already have as a guide and curved the bottom hem in the front and back.  I only used one layer of paint with the stencil to give it an aged look.  I then went back and hand painted some lines to give it more dimension.

I was afraid this was a little too plain for me so I picked up some electric blue lace (from Joann's) to overlay on the back!  Still not convinced I was finished, I added studs to the shoulders.  I wanted to add spikes but I couldn't find them locally.  Couldn't stop there, so I added a neon green panel of fabric to the back.  I tried to make it look a little slouchy.  I think the stripes echo a ripped 80's trend without cutting the fabric.  Think I have a enough trends?

No, not yet.  I also made some black lace gloves and a scrunchie.  A scrunchie, wow!  Never thought I'd do such a thing.  Can you believe American Apparel is selling scrunchies right now?

This is definitely different than my actual look during the 80s - I was pretty young, so my outfits consisted of stirrup leggings and over sized shirts.  And I would spray my bangs and crunch them into the perfect "wave".  Ha. 

I love this little outfit and I can see myself wearing it to a P!nk concert in a couple months, or the items separately.  Don't forget to vote for this look on Friday over at Project Sewn if you're into it!

Hard to see, but I'm wearing my old banana clip and scrunchie I made!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Touch of Vintage Sundress

I decided to sew along for week 2 of the Project Sewn challenge.  This week's theme was to make a
sundress so I was pretty excited.  I love sundresses and could wear one every day.  They're comfortable and can be dressed up with a nice jacket or cardigan and heels, or dressed down with some flip flops. 

Most of the sundresses in my closet that I love are knit, so I decided to use some pretty floral knit that I had gotten from Girl Charlee a while ago.  The floral made me think vintage, so I knew I'd want to create a sweetheart neckline and use piping.  I also thought it would be cool to add a current trend, neon, so I used some neon green piping to define a waist.  Maybe I should call this dress "A Touch of Neon".  I only put piping in the front because I thought I would add elastic to the back.  But the knit ended up being stretchy enough to not need it. 

I have no idea what I'm doing when making women's clothing and own only one pattern - the Casual Lady Dress/Top.  So I used that pattern as a baseline but completely changed it.  I decided where the waist would be and where I'd want piping.  I also curved the front of the top from the bottom of the arm holes to the fold.  Then added 1/2 seam allowances to my changes.  I measured myself to determine the strap width and length.  I thought I would make a halter, but decided it looked better forming a V in the back.  I tried to slope the back bodice to match that V line.  I used a peachy pink fabric from Girl Charlee for the lining since I only had one yard to work with of the floral knit.  I also added pockets - a must!

I gathered the skirt using pleating to try to keep the vintage vibe.  I tacked together some mini pleats at the center neckline to give it the sweetheart look.  I left the hem of the dress unfinished because it draped better that way, and also to keep it casual - it is a sundress after all!

Since the Casual Lady dress is made with some ease, I had to take the dress in a lot!  I should have measured myself better, but I was afraid to make it too small.  Luckily I had made a center seam in the back of the bodice so I took in 1 1/2 inches there.  It looked nice after that, but still a little ill fitting.  So I took in the sides a little from the piping down.  They are upside down darts - is that a thing?  I'm sure I did something wrong but I like the look.

 Looking forward to Week 3's theme - Totally 80s!!

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Friday, May 10, 2013

So Much Knitting

Finally!  This dress took me forever.

I found this Sweet Bluebells pattern many months ago on ravelry and got to knitting right away.  I think I finished 1/2 of it within a couple weeks and then set it down to focus on sewing projects instead.  Every once in a while I'd start up again while watching tv, but I wasn't too motivated because it seemed like it was turning out to be way too big for the girls to wear.  Therefore, I didn't do as many increases as the pattern called for.

Back with fabric covered button closure.

Every time I thought that I was almost finished, I'd hold it up to the girls and realize they had grown.  So I quickly wrapped it up and decided it would be a tunic/short dress.  I might embellish the bluebells some day, but I need a break from this dress. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Laundry Detergent

I'm loving this homemade laundry detergent right now.  It's super simple and only takes 3 ingredients.  I  was hesitant to use anything not specific for high efficiency washers, but it works fine.  In fact I feel like it helps my front load washer work better and mold less.

The worst part is grating the soap.  Recipe includes 1 cup of washing soda, 1 cup of borax, and a grated bar of Fels-Naptha soap.  Put it in a container with a lid and shake it up!  We only use 1 tbsp per load.

Ps, notice my awesome coffee mug I received for Mother's day a couple years back.  Makes me smile as I'm grating soap for laundry wondering how much time I have before the kids find a way to get into trouble.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Fabric doll house

A while back I pinned a bunch of sewing projects for the girls, and one of them was this fabric dollhouse tutorial from U.K .lass in U.S..  The girls saw a similar one at the neighbor's house and were in love with it, so I knew they'd be excited if I made one.  I wasn't planning on making one until closer to their birthday, but then Young House Love and Bower Power threw out their Spring Pinterest Challenge and I knew this is what I would tackle. 

Just a couple of princesses chilling in their fancy egg chairs looking out upon the garden.  All they need is some tea.

This was not a quick project for me.  The tutorial only included fabric dimensions for the inside to be one fabric and the outside to be another.  But I wanted the roof to be one fabric, the siding another, the inside walls another, and a lawn area to stand out.  I wish I would've made the floor a different fabric but I was afraid to make it too complicated. 

I can't find my notes, but I think the fabric pieces I used were these dimensions:
For the Outside - make a 21"x9" panel from 2 roof pieces 4"x9" and siding piece 15"x9"
For the Inside - make a 21"x9" panel from inside house piece 13.5"x9" and grass piece 8.5"x9"
Side Panels - 2 6"x9" siding fabric pieces joined to 2 6"x9" inside house fabric pieces using the pinning method discussed in the tutorial.

Use 1/2 seam allowances when sewing together fabric pieces.  It gets a little tricky assembling the house because the tutorial doesn't list a specific batting to use.  So it's hard to know how much or little to use.]

I like that you can take this tutorial and make the house look like a barn, a police or fire station, a log cabin, a school - any theme your child may be interested in.  I decided to keep it simple and make a little cottage.  I embellished the outside with some felt to add a door, window, flowers, and shrubs. 

Button flowers and picket fence.

Notice the little bunny button!

Of course I need to make another house so that each girl can have one - next I plan to make a log cabin with a fire pit, fishing pond, and stone path.  I also plan to make a tent and sleeping bags so their dolls can camp out! 

Notice the statement art piece - Monet's Water Lilies.  Love this fabric.

They've already told me this will be Cinderella's and Ariel's house and that they are best friends.  They thankfully love it!

Check out the other Spring Pinterest Challenge projects at - Young House Love, Sparkle Meets Pop, Redbird-Blue, and Bower Power.

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