September 22, 2014

Dress for a Three-Year-Old

Audrey turned 3 at the end of August, and I stuck to the "birthday dress" tradition. I've had this pattern pinned for a while now, while I worked up the gumption to try it. It is the DIY Bishop pattern by Claire Meldrum and can be found in the Sew Beautiful July/August 2012 issue. I downloaded the issue for about $5. 

Now, if you just Google "DIY Bishop", you'll find a handful of posts including Claire's blog about it (,  another blogger who made the dress in green for her granddaughter (, and the Sew Beautiful blog ( These are all important, because there are errors in the printed pattern and concern about the directions. Even reading all of the comments on those posts was helpful!  You can see why I had so much hesitation to get started: there was a lot to muddle through to get the measurements right and follow Claire's lead to not cut out a portion of the neckline. 

I chose to make a 4T, which was a bit big, but she can wear it with a sweater this fall. I LOVED doing the smocking!  I'm a sucker for handwork, anyway, and it really did go fast. It became addictive to see the honeycomb pattern come together. 

Other new sewing skills included sewing in a placket, sewing a thread loop, and French seams (which I added, and love!). I YouTubed all of those until I was comfortable and the placket was by far the most confusing. The pattern does not walk you through it - you are on your own with dress construction. 

The fabric is from Connecting Threads. It's the cutest darker purple I could find. Audrey loved it the day it came in the mail!  Whew!  She's all about the purple right now!

I'll be making this pattern again soon for both girls' Christmas dresses. Once the errors are overcome, it really is an easy sew!  

July 23, 2014

A Quilt for Aven

Our sweet friends from college put off having kids until educations were finished and careers were settled.  

When the time came to try, it wasn't working, so tests were done, and they found out she had a rare form of uterine cancer (rare for someone her age).  Which means hysterectomy.  Devastating.

But they were given a chance to go through a really tough series of treatments and surgeries to give them a chance to have a family.

They finished, and went to the doctor to start blood tests for infertility treatments (a given in her situation), and they were pregnant!  A sweet, beautiful miracle!

I tear up every time I tell the story.  God is so good!

December 30, 2013

2013 in Review

I wasn't really planning on doing an end-of-year post since I've hardly posted all year, but I guess I made more than I thought I did.  I even made a blanket not pictured here. So, from the top:

1. I birthed a baby: my sweet Andrea will be 1 year old on Thursday!!
2. My niece Molly's blanket
3. We did a winter garden this year and it was super successful!
4. I've made lots of progress on those hexies.  I will finish it in 2014.
5. I made about 3 sets of these car seat strap covers for the girls.  Super easy.
6. Audrey's dress for her second birthday.
7. Audrey's doll's dress.
8. Andrea's dress.
9. Andrea's bloomers.
10. Vera's blanket.
11. Audrey's 2nd birthday cake and party decorations.
12. Starting with August, I made new shirts for Andi's monthly photo shoots.
13. September shirt.
14. October shirt.
15. November shirt.
16. December shirt.  (I also made one for Audrey).

There are a few things I didn't include, like the 4 sets of hooded towels I made out of necessity for the girls. And the starts of quilts that still need attention.  I actually hope to finish a cheater quilt by tomorrow for a baby shower, so that'll get squeezed in before the end of the year.

The coolest part of my crafting is that I conquered some pretty big garment-making fears and made dresses for my girls. Yay!

The sad part of all this, which will be remedied in the new year, is that I did not make a true quilt this year.  Blankets, yes.  Quilts, no.  So sad.

Thankfully, I have resolved to make quilts for my 2 girls, and oh my goodness EVERYONE I KNOW is getting pregnant.  Lots of quick baby quilts coming to a blog near you.

Here's to a happy 2014!

September 22, 2013

Andrea's Criss-Cross Dress

I bought this pattern at Walmart about 5 years ago when my 
brother and his wife got pregnant with their first little girl. 

 I thought, as a first year student in dental school, that I would make this dress for my niece. 
Ha!  I didn't even make one for my Audrey!  

I finally realized, that if I didn't make one for Andi before the summer was out, I'd probably never make it. And it was Andi's turn for a dress, anyway!

I had also planned to make the very similar pattern by Maggie at Smashed Peas and Carrots with the perfect diaper cover by Dana Made It. I plan on giving those a try, too. 

My big 8 month old is wearing a size 12 months in most things, and I figured that if this size 12 months was too big, she could wear it longer. 

  Well, it's pretty big. In fact, Audrey can almost wear it as a top. 
But it's still super cute!  And so is my sweet girl!

The only really new things that I did was make covered buttons and buttonholes.

The covered buttons were super easy using a kit I got at Hobby Lobby,
and the buttonholes weren't nearly as scary as I made them out to be. 

I do recommend reading your sewing machine manual and
 testing out your buttonhole stitch on a piece of scrap first ; )

She wore it to church today with a long-sleeve onesie underneath it 
since there was a chill in the air.
Such a sweetheart!

August 28, 2013

Hooded Towel and Bath Mitt Tutorial

There's nothing worse than trying to wrap up a wet, squiggly baby with a small, poorly absorbing towel.  Am I right?  One of the best gifts we received were some beautiful hooded towels adorned with ribbon and lace and embroidery.  As pretty and fancy as they are, I really just needed more big, fluffy hooded towels to get the job done once Audrey got too big for her baby towels.  So I ran to Walmart, bought two bath towels and one hand towel and made up some big girl towels for Audrey.


With two little girls at bath time now, I've needed to make some more hooded towels, so I took pictures as I went in case you'd like to make some, too!

What you need:

2 full size bath towels
1 hand towel
matching thread
sewing machine


(I used 2 bath towels and 2 hand towels so they would match)

1.  Fold your hand towel in half like a hamburger (not a hot dog...) and cut it into 2 halves.

2. Make the hood:  Fold one half of the hand towel in half with wrong sides together, matching up the cut edges and sew a straight line with a 1/2" seam allowance along the short raw edge.    I like to go back and zig zag the raw edge as well.

3. Turn the hood right side out and poke out the point of the hood with a knitting needle.


4.  Find the center of the towel (long-wise) and the center of the bottom of the hood and pin them together with about 1 inch overlapping.  Make sure the pretty side of the bath towel is facing you and the back of the hood faces you, too.  I like the overlap because it gives some strength to the joined towels.


5.  Using a zig zag stitch, sew along the four sides of the rectangle created by the joining of the hood and towel with the 1" overlap.

 I usually do the edge along the bath towel first, then flip it over and do the 2 short sides and the edge of the hand towel next.

6.  Wrap up your wet little one and snuggle!

You can always pretty these up with trim or fabric!

I found these fluffy striped bath towels at Walmart and bought a bath towel and hand towel of each color so they could each have the stripes.  There was plenty of towel left over to make a couple of bath mitts to add to our wash cloth collection!

1.  Fold the towel in half with right sides together and trace your hand with a fabric marker.  Be sure to add a 1" seam allowance and flare out quite a bit at the wrist to give your hand room to go in.

2.  Pin the pieces together and cut out along your line.

3.  Sew the pieces together with a 1/2" seam allowance, leaving the bottom open.  Zig zag around the outside.

4.  Turn right side out and scrub a dub dub!