fabric

DIY Star Christmas Tree Topper

Last year, I found & pinned a tree topper offered by Land of Nod. This year, I decided I was ready to buy it, but of course, they no longer offer it. :(

So I did the only thing I could: Made my own — with a couple of changes to suit our family's style.

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It is a little hard to see in the photos, but I added a bright pink star under the white one &  hand-stitched the smaller stars and circle to the large main star with a decorative blanket stitch. I think it adds a bit of whimsy to a somewhat folksy design. And since I just can't help myself, I made up a pattern to share with you. You can download the pieces here.

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Once you have the pieces of felt cut out, Stack the two stars & circles, securing with fusible tape or similar. Repeat with the second set.

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Center the stacked stars & circle onto the large star, securing with fusible tape or similar. Stitch around edges of each small star & the circle with a sewing machine, or hand-stitch with a decorative blanket stitch. Repeat with the second set.

Place triangle piece on the front of the star and stitch 1/2 inch from the edge.

Clip curve. Repeat with the second set. 

Fold triangle to the back & iron to press in place. Repeat with the second set. 

Place both stars together, front to front. Sew around the perimeter, 1/2 inch from the edge, dot to dot.

Align the triangle pieces & sew together 1/4 inch from the edge, starting where you stopped on the star and continuing all the way around, leaving the space between the dots open. 

Turn the star right-side-out through the hole left in the triangle. Use the eraser end of the pencil, or other blunt object to help push out the star points.

Stuff the star with fiberfill, pushing it into the star points, leaving room in the body portion to push the triangle into it.

Hand-stitch the opening on the triangle closed using a ladder stitch. 

Push the triangle up into the center of the star, creating a cavity that you can slip over the top of the Christmas tree, securing your Star Tree Topper in place.

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Get some help and put the star on your tree & enjoy!!!!

I'm loving the way our family room looks this Christmas. I even added my new Christmas canvases to our walls. They were the PERFECT finishing touch.

DIY Tooth Fairy Pillow

I've discovered that the best way to be successful when it comes to a lost tooth is having an executable plan — and lucky for all of us, Phase 1 doesn't even have to be stealthy! I received my warning from the dentist, informing us at Big Sister's bi-annual check-up that a tooth would likely be gone within 6 months.

That got me thinking about tooth fairy pillows. From there I was able to work out what I envisioned for the pillow. So when she showed me the adult tooth already making its way through her gum, despite the baby tooth still in place, I was ready and had the pillow done the same night! :)

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It can even be a lot of fun to include your child in the fabric choices. I let Big go through my fabric stash picking out her favorites for each piece of the house. As I said before, this part doesn't have to be a secret!! In my world, that greatly adds to my chances for success! Since I love you all so much, I've helped out with Phase 1. I've put together a pattern & tutorial for our Tooth Fairy House pillow. You can follow along here, or I've made a Printable version, along with the Pattern pieces that you can download by clicking on the image below:

You are totally going to rock this Tooth Fairy thing!!

Enjoy!

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To get started: Print out the Pattern Pieces. Cut out all the pattern pieces, ensuring that they have printed at 100% by checking the measurement of the line at the bottom of the page in the box titled Print Test. It should measure 1 inch.

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Cut a piece of fusible interfacing slightly larger than the house front.

Follow the instructions included with the interfacing & adhere it to the house front fabric, then cut the piece out. Cut out remaining pieces as indicated on the pattern piece.

Prepare the pieces to be assembled

Place the Door Front and Door Back fabric RIGHT sides together and pin in place. Stitch a 1/2” seam along the curved edge as shown by the dashed line on the pattern piece, leaving the bottom open. Using a piece of interfacing that is just smaller than your stitching & 1/2” shorter (you can use the light grey portion as a pattern),  iron interfacing to both sides of the door. Trim the seam allowance to 1/4” and clip the curve as shown. Turn the door right-side-out and Press flat. Turn the open edge inside 1/2” and stitch closed 1/8” from the edge.

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Fold the Pocket fabric RIGHT sides together and pin in place. Stitch a 1/2” seam up each side, leaving the top open. Trim the seam allowance to 1/4” and clip corners as shown. Turn the Pocket right-side-out and Press flat. Turn the open edge inside 1/2” and stitch closed 1/8” from the edge.

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Fold the Tab fabric in half, RIGHT sides together and pin in place. Stitch a 1/2” seam up each side & across the top. Trim the seam allowance to 1/4” and clip corners. Turn the Tab right-side-out and Press flat. Following your sewing machine’s instructions, make a button hole, centerd on the Tab ~3/16” from the closed edge.

Assemble the House

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Center Ric-Rac or any other embellishment on the dashed line indicated on the pattern. Pin in place and stitch.

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With RIGHT side down, align edge of Roof to the dotted line indicated on the pattern piece and pin in place. Stitch a 1/2” seam along the pinned edge.

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Fold Roof up and press seam. Flip the House Front over and cut the Roof fabric to match the shape of the House Front.

Pin the Roof to the House Front & Baste 1/4” from edge. Using the dashed lines on the pattern piece as a guide, pin the Window in place and closely stitch around the raw edge a couple of times with a contrasting thread, adding window panes if you wish. As with the Window, pin the Pocket in place. Stitch in the same way along the sides and bottom, leaving the top open.

Before attaching to the House front, stitch around the door the same as you did the Window & Pocket. Using the dashed lines on the pattern piece as a guide, pin in place and sew along the Right edge, creating the door hinge. Allowing enough room for the button, fold the Tab around the door as shown. Use the dashed line & circles as a placement guide.

Open the door & pin Tab in place. Stitch where indicated by dashed line. Trim excess as needed.

With RIGHT side down, place House Back on top of House Front. Pin into Place. Stitch a 1/2” seam along the edge, leaving open between circles as indicated on the pattern piece. Clip top corners.

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Reach inside the house to pull open the cut-out corner on one side. Flatten so that the seams match up, with the seam allowances folded in opposite directions. Pin in place. Stich across with a 1/2” seam.

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Repeat on the other side, making sure that the seam allowance on the bottom of the house is folded in the same direction on both sides.

Turn the house right-side-out & stuff. Close the turning hole with a ladder stitch.

Put a tooth in the pocket and you are ready for the Tooth Fairy!!

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Now that the pillow's done, it's on to Phase 2. The money & the note. But don't worry, I'm here to help on those as well! Check out our Tooth Fairy Note Kit available in the shop! Your kids will love it!

xoxo Lori Danelle

New Curtains!

I'm looking forward to a week enjoying my NEW CURTAINS!!!!

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Yes, despite Mr. Maker and I both being sick, we finally managed to get these things up! And what do you think of my fancy, DIY curtain rods??

Perhaps not everyone's style, but they are PERFECT for us. I LOVE them so much!

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The bright colors are making me so happy! I really don't think there's a more perfect fabric out there for me right now.

I really want to keep our spaces light, open and airy, but I'm a bold, bright color kind-of-gal, so I was craving some loud colors! The curtains completely changed the room. I think I'm going to spend my week sitting on my couch just staring at how wonderful they are.

Yeah right. As if I had time for that. . . or could actually sit still for any length of time!

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What I'm actually itching to do now is re-finish our dining room table!

And hang some of the artwork & pictures that have been piling up in our drawers instead of being put on a wall.

Yeah, I'll probably tackle that one before the table. :) 
How about you? What are you exited for this week?

xoxo Lori Danelle

The Long Road to Curtains

When we first moved into our house, we made a very calculated decision not to do much in the way of decorating & revamping as we had learned, from experience at the Practice House, that what seems like the most amazing idea ever in the first month or two of living in a house, often turns out to be the exact opposite of what you really want once you've lived there awhile.

But now we've lived here for a little over a year, and I am very anxious to turn this place from a big empty box into our cozy & warm home! So recently I've been taking on little projects here and there as time allows. Unfortunately, time has not allowed much. Including getting my curtains off the pile on my shelf and hanging beautifully around my windows. And let me tell you, I REALLY want my curtains hanging beautifully around my windows!

Like I said on Monday, though they were delayed by a week-long work-trip to Vegas, they're finally complete. All 6 of them. But I didn't have curtain rods. So, of course, as I'm a Maker, instead of buying curtain rods, I going to make them. (Fun!) A trip to the home improvement store was in order. (Even more exciting!) Only the sales guy — who stood leaned against the wall and stared at me while I hunted for the items I needed, wasn't all that helpful when I asked him if he could cut some pipe for me. "Well. . . I could. . . but it will take a reeeaaalllly looong time. . . " Ugh! They didn't have 4 pieces I need and this guy obviously doesn't want to help me. I'm going home!! So I went back the next day with Mr. Maker in tow so that, A.) I could confidently decide on what length of pipe I wanted, and B.) He could deal with an unhelpful sales guy. So we figured out the length of the pipe, had it cut by a very helpful sales person, but they still didn't have all of the items I needed. So we went around the corner to the other home improvement store (I like how they cluster them!)  to see if they did. Nope. Not only did they not have them, they didn't even carry the item. Nice. So now it's Thursday and I finally have all the necessary pieces!

Yay!!!

I'm going to get these curtains up by Monday if it kills me!!
( I really hope these curtains don't kill me.)

xoxo Lori Danelle

My Perfect Christmas Present

For Christmas, I received the one and only present I asked for — and that was it!! Ha! Believe me though, this one present was honestly the only thing I wanted.

Wait. I should make a small disclaimer here before my husband gets mad at me. I did also get a trip to Disney World for Christmas, but since it happened over Thanksgiving and wasn't wrapped and under the tree, I'm choosing to not count it for purposes of this story. :)

Anyway, my present. The best present ever, I should say. Fabric.

I spotted and fell in love with Waverly's Santa Maria fabric in Desert Flower a couple of months ago when flipping through a Land of Nod catalog and saw it on an upholstered headboard. I knew almost immediately that it would be the perfect curtain fabric for the 3 windows in our family room/kitchen area. The price, however, was more than I could typically bring myself to spend. Thus, I decided to ask for it for Christmas.

Before leaving for Las Vegas, I HAD to get started on the curtains. You know the feeling, right? I'm making 6 tab-top style curtains. Before I left, I managed to get the tabs done.

I've now been home a little over 48 hours and have been so busy catching up with my girls and husband — and doing laundry — that I've been ignoring that nagging little voice asking me to sew some more. But I have a feeling by this weekend I will have caved and gotten some substantial work done on them. I'm so excited!!

xoxo Lori Danelle

DIY Candy Corn Bean Bag

Last week Mr. Maker shared with you how he built the boards for a bean bag toss that we used at the Fall Carnival. Today I'm going to show you how I made the bean bags that go with it. I loved the idea of making them look like candy corn — that way the kids could "feed" the pumpkin and the ghost! 

For 4 bean bags, you'll need 

6" strip of white fabric
6" strip of yellow fabric
6" strip of orange fabric
6" strip of canvas fabric
coordinating thread
bag of beans
Download Template

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You'll start with three stripes of white, yellow, and orange fabric. At stores like JoAnn's you can get as little or as much as you'd like cut, whereas non-chain stores will probably have a minimum cut of an eighth of a yard. However, I wouldn't trust JoAnn's to cut the fabric straight, so I always get more than I need. Cut the white & yellow fabric into 3" wide strips the entire width of your fabric, and the orange fabric into a 2.5" strip.

Pin your white & yellow fabric together. Sew with a .5" seam allowance. Pin the orange fabric to the yellow fabric & sew, again with a .5" seam allowance. Iron, pressing all seam allowances the same direction.

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Sew the whole strip to canvas, for extra support. I figured that since these things were going to be thrown around, we'd better be safe than sorry! I started on the white edge and sewed .25" from the edge. Then, because I pushed the seam allowance toward the yellow strip, I edge-stitched 1/8" from seam, on the yellow side. Repeat for the orane section, and then again .25" from the raw edge of the orange strip.

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I transfered the template to chipboard so that I could trace around it better, but that's not necessary. You can just cut out the template from a sheet of paper. Align the bottom of the template with the bottom of the orange strip. Trace around it with a fabric pen. Flip the template, align the edge of the template with the edge you just drew and trace again. Repeat all the way across your fabric.

Yes, I realize that some of the "candy corn" will be up-side-down, but my dislike for wasting fabric won-out over my dislike for things not being correct! :)

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With a ruler and rotary cutter, if you have one, cut along the straight edges. Then, cut the curves of the corners with scissors.

Match orange bottomed triangles with orange bottomed triangles, and white with white. Place with right-sides together and pin.

Sew together, using a .5" seam allowance, starting and stopping on the red dots from the template. Starting and stopping in the same place, zig-zag around the raw edge. Clip the curves, if you wish.

Turn the bean bag right-side-out.

Fill with about 1/2 cup of beans. Add or take away until it meets your desired fullness.

Fold the opening inside the bean bag and pin shut. Typically, I'd tell you to hand-stitch them closed, but because these are bean bags and not a throw pillow — and I was going for speed over aesthetics, I just went ahead and sewed them shut with my sewing machine. Not that noticeable on the white fabric, and had I had orange thread on hand, I would have used that on the orange bottoms. But I promise, while using them at the carnival we heard lots of exclamations on how cute the bean bags were, and none about the fact that I had machine sewed them shut! Whew!

Now isn't that just crazy cute!? And just in time for all the Halloween festivities coming up!

xoxo Lori

Buying Fabric is Scary!!

Following a text conversation yesterday – that spanned two and a half hours – where my friend was asking my advice on purchasing fabric, I realized something. If you've never done it, buying fabric is scary. As I kid I was constantly in and out of fabric shops, either with my Mom or Grandma. I had so many home-sewn dresses as a little girl that I can only think of one that was store-bought. And it wasn't very cute. But I loved it because it was store-bought and that was such a novelty. (Guess I can't really blame Big for this then. . .) My Grandma could always be counted on sewing me a Valentine's nightgown, an Easter dress, a Birthday dress, a Christmas dress, and then a whole bunch of just because dresses thrown in there as well. I almost always had a say on the fabric, so by the age of 5, I pretty much knew my way around the local fabric shops. My friend had not. In fact, she had just purchased her first sewing machine a few weeks ago.

So, as a result of that conversation, I thought I'd share a few of the basics (and by no means exhaustive) of what you'll need to know the first time you venture into that scary, but magical place they call the fabric cutting counter.

Fabric is priced by the yard (3 feet/36 inches). In a physical fabric shop (excluding JoAnn's and the like — they'll cut 2" if you want), the minimum that you generally can have cut is 1/8 of a yard – or a 4.5" strip. Online, it varies, but the most common seems to be a half yard — and be careful!! Some online stores list their prices by the half yard instead of the full yard.

Quilting/Fashion weight fabric — that is, fabric that is suitable for sewing a quilt or other crafts, and fabric that is suitable for sewing clothing — is typically 44" – 45" wide. Home Decor weight fabric and Upholstery weight is typically 54" wide. All fabric will have 2 cut or raw edges on the top and bottom and 2 selvedge sides, which are the tightly woven edge produced during manufacturing to prevent the fabric from unraveling and needs to be cut off for your project. Along one of the sides will be printed the information about the fabric, such as the manufacturer, designer, what line the fabric belongs to & the name of the fabric design. Designers somewhat annually come out with new collections of fabric, or lines, and will give them a name for reference. Typically, it will be a set of designs that compliment each other, and then those designs will further be broken into sets of color ways that go together. For example, they might come out with 8 different pattern designs, but they'll have a set of those 8 designs in warm pink & yellow tones, but they'll also have a set of the same designs in cooler blue & green tones.

In quilting, it is popular to purchase Fat Quarters & often a store will have pre-cut Fat Quarters by the bin-full available for purchase. Online, you can find several sites that offer Fat Quarter bundles of several fabrics for purchase. What makes these different from a standard Quarter cut of fabric is how the yard is cut. A standard Quarter cut will give you a short, wide strip of fabric, because it is cut horizontally.

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A Fat Quarter is cut both horizontally & vertically, giving you a nearly square piece of fabric.

So, this is by no means exhaustive of everything you need to know when it comes to fabric, but perhaps it will get you in & out of the fabric store without having a panic attack (or buying a full yard when all you really need is a half)! And, just because I want to make sure the new seamstresses out there know their fabric selection is not limited to JoAnn's, here's a list of some of my favorite fabric designers: Amy Butler Anna Marie Horner Heather Bailey Sandi Henderson Joel Dewberry Tula Pink Denyse Schmidt Oliver + S Heather Ross Lizzy House Tina Givens . . . and so many more! Have fun discovering your favorites.

DIY Hankie Dress

Remember this?  

We'll call this a guide rather than a tutorial. Almost everything about it will depend on your size and can use various sized of squares/rectangles, depending on how long you would like your dress to be.

Since I was using Anna Marie Horner's Square Dance fabric, which is naturally divided into 12" x 14" rectangular sections, that is the size of rectangles I used (however, I will refer to them as squares from here on out). For a longer dress, use larger squares.

For the first panel, take two squares and sew together, right sides together. Unfold & Press. Repeat with two more squares. 

Next, take the two sections you just sewed, and sew those together along one side, right sides together. Unfold & Press, creating a larger square.

Repeat this 3 more times for a total of 4 Large squares. 

Take 2 of the Large Squares and sew together along one side, right sides together, stopping approximately 6" from edge (adjust distance from edge based on your own height - you are creating the V in the neckline for the front & back here). Repeat with Remaining 2 Large squares. Unfold & Press, creating the front & back of the dress.  

Sew Front & Back together along sides, right sides together, stopping approximately 6" from edge (adjust distance from edge based on your own height/measurements - you are creating the V underneath your arms here).  

Finish the inside edges by continuing the fold from the sewn seams & then edge stitch 1/8" from the fold.  

To make the straps, cut 2 strips 2" wide x 10" long — unless you're taller than 5' 2" — then you may want to make them longer. ;) Fold & iron the strips in half, then fold the raw edges into the center fold & sew close to the edge on both sides of each strip. Attach the strips to the back 2 top corners.  

Try the dress on & pin the straps in place on the front 2 corners. Sew in place.  

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At this point, you may be finished.
Try on the dress, add/make a belt if you wish. If it lays right & you're satisfied, you're done!

However, when I tried mine on, it wasn't fitting right — I think if it had been longer ( ie., I had used larger squares) I would have liked it without any further adjustments. But as it was, it hung oddly at my sides when I added the belt — actually, it poofed out, rather than hung!

Thus, while I had it on, I pinned & adjusted it until I like it, then sewed along that line. (See the dotted line below.) I really liked the idea of the points along the bottom, but they just felt awkward & unfinished at that hem length, so I cut them off and then turned up & hemmed the bottom edge.  

Add that belt once more & enjoy!

xoxo Lori Danelle