Monday, December 14, 2015

sewing + gifting: Zipper Pouches

I'm definitely a creature of habit.  When Casey's out of town, I'll eat the same meal for dinner four nights in a row--till I realize I'm being weird.
And then I just keep doing it till he gets home.  Cause why disrupt things when you're in a good Strawberry Asparagus Salad zone?

And when it comes to sewing gifts, I guess I'm not much different.
Skirts, pillow cases, crib sheets...zipper pouches
I love sewing zipper pouches!
They're so easy, and cute, and yep....they're perfect inside all those tote bags.

So I guess the unpredictable part of the Zipper Pouch gift, is the way you mix it up.
Because I love a good surprise fabric inside.
Like wearing a red bra?
If I ever did that.
Maybe I should....
I love fabrics that coordinate with the outside but make you excited to see what's hiding within.
(this pouch is actually for me.  I couldn't part with it!)

And I also adore a good zipper, with metal teeth, and an interesting pull.  And the color and size of the zipper often determines which fabric I will use.
Who knew there could be such analysis of zipper pouches?

I buy most of my zippers here and here.
In fact a bundle of zippers makes a really fun gift.  I gave some to one of Lucy's friends who's gotten into sewing.
I just stuffed them in a little zipper pouch.  Done!
Because the stuffing and gifting is also the fun part.
And there are so many fantastic things to stuff inside!---handmade bias tape, piping, candy, fruit, recipes, jewelry, note cards.
I made this striped pouch for a good photography friend who doesn't sew much. So I thought these sample swatches would be an easy way for her to get crafty and make a garland.
And of course there's my favorite Wonder Clips.
Perfect for any sewing friend. 

And if you're feeling extra punchy, tie some vinyl or a pom pom on the end.  It will only make you happy.

Ready to make gifts?
Here's the video again to get you going:

Monday, November 30, 2015

NEW VIDEO: How to make a Pillow or Cushion with Piping attached

We've learned how to make Pillows.
We've learned how to make Piping.
Now let's combine those two together!...with a really fun trick.

We'll turn this: 

Into this: one continuous step!

Yep!  We'll create the piping AS we sew it to the pillow, or a seat cushion.
I love shortcuts.
I know you do too.

Just hit the PLAY button below and enjoy!

MADE EVERYDAY with Dana is a fresh new sewing show, where we create everyday items you will love and use.

To watch other episodes:
• Click the VIDEO tab at the top or
• Subscribe to my Youtube channel so you’re updated as soon as the episode goes live.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Don't forget the Sweet Potatoes! Don't forget the Pie!

Tomorrow's the big day!
Turkey and stuffing and rolls, oh my.

And if you're last minute planning (I may or may not have gone to the store twice this morning....and found a good parking spot both times. Thanksgiving miracle)....well, here are two recipe favorites from the Willard house.


Give them a whirl!  They never disappoint.
Happy Thanksgiving friends!
(check our more Recipes HERE)

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Babies + Polka Dots + a free Pattern

I love sewing for babies.
And I love sewing baby gifts.
They're just so easy and only take bits of fabric.

My favorite way to give a gift is the semi-homemade approach, mixing handmade with store-bought products.  Best of both worlds. 
So when JOHNSON’S® asked me to partner with them and their newly designed bottles, it was a polka dot match-made-in-heaven.  Too cute, right??
Ahhh. I love this stuff.  And I love it even better with chevrons and dots---cause I'm a total sucker for cute packaging.  But the baby wash and lotion are both so great.  All my kid have used it.

Hey, I even use it!---I have a travel-size bottle of JOHNSON’S® baby lotion I take on trips because it's one of the few lotions that doesn't feel sticky on my hands (and I just love that fresh baby smell).

So I was asked to create a DIY project inspired by the new bottle designs of JOHNSON’S® baby lotion and JOHNSON’S® baby moisture wash, sold exclusively at Target stores and
So I did what any of you would do.
I went to Target.
And bought every bright-colored towel I could find!
I knew exactly what I wanted to share:
They're so easy to make!  And they can double as a burp cloth, drool wipe, whatever you need.
I'll show you two cute version using terry cloth towels.

Then package it all up with JOHNSON’S® baby moisture wash + JOHNSON’S® baby lotion....and it's the gift that keeps giving, from snack time to bed time.

And your friends will be all like, whaaaat?
You made this for me??
Yes!   That's what friends + polka dots are for.
Okay, let's get started....

I've shared the Placemat Bib Pattern before, which I still love.  But this pattern is great because it fits any size head with a velcro closure in the back.

First, print the FREE PATTERN HERE.
There are two pages.
• Print at 100%. Do not "scale to fit". Check the 1 inch or 1 cm box to make sure you've printed to the proper size and adjust your printer if needed.
• Cut along the top pattern piece on page two and match it up with the bottom pattern piece on page one (at the black triangle).  Tape the pages together.
• Cut out the appropriate "size".

Now this pattern is sort of a one-size fits all.
So the two different "sizes" refer to a Single-layer bib and Double-layer bib.
• The Single layer is finished off at the edges with bias tape.
• The Double-layer is sewn together around the edges and turned right-side out (with a 3/8 inch seam allowance).
So grab your pattern and a fun towel and I'll show you both methods.


I can't decide which bib is easier to make--the single layer or double layer---it's a toss up.
Of course the real fun of this pattern is the fabric, or the towel you choose.  You can use many types of fabric for these bibs: standard cotton, knits, laminated cotton, diaper rags, terry cloth (towels).  Or you can mix it up with a towel on the back and a cotton on the front.  Many options.

When making a double-layer, choose towels that are not overly bulky or it will be hard to topstitch around the seams.  I found all these towels in the bath section of Target.  You can also use beach towels!

And just a note on terry cloth---it's messy.  There's no way around it. There will be little bits of towel on your clothes, table, and floor.  But it's a quick vacuum clean-up when you're done---so let your OCD simmer as much as you can till the end. 
Refer to the photo below.
• Cut out a front and back for the bib.  Fold the towel in half, place the pattern "on the fold" and cut out your first layer.  Then lay the first piece on your other towel and cut out the second layer.
• With right sides of the fabrics together, pin the two layers together, leaving an opening on one side, big enough for your hand to get in and out (see black dotted line)
• Stitch around the bib with a 3/8 inch seam allowance, leaving an opening (just use a standard straight stitch).
• Trim some of the bulk from your seam (but do NOT trim the area with the opening, or it will be hard to turn under)
• Turn the whole thing right-side out, and really use your hand inside to press all the seams out.
• Pin the opening closed.
• Sew the opening closed with a 1/8 inch seam allowance and continue topstitching around the entire bib.
• Now cut two small pieces of Velcro to create a closure in the back.  I like to round off the edges and trim each piece into an oval shape.
• Sew one velcro piece to the back neck area, and sew the other velcro piece to the opposite side, on the OTHER layer of the bib (in other words: sew one piece to the front layer, one to the back layer)
And you're done!
One soft, cozy, absorbent, reversible bib!


Some towels look awesome on both sides---like these polka dot ones.  So a single layer is another great option.  PLUS we get to use Bias Tape, which I love!  (read all about it and watch my video here).
You can use store-bought double-fold bias tape, or make your own.  1/2 inch-wide bias tape will be easiest to work with, but I really like the look of 1/4 inch-wide tape as well.  

• Using the "single-layer" pattern piece, cut out one bib piece on the fold.
• Grab double-fold bias tape and sandwich it around the raw edge of the towel.  No need to pin anything in place...
• Sew the bias tape in place, using a thread color that matches your bias tape.  Use your hand to continue sandwiching the bias tape and sewing portions at a time.
• When you get to the curves, go slow and just do your best.  It helps to lift your presser foot periodically (leaving the needle down), to readjust and to get the bias tape snug around the fabric edge.
• When you get to the end, fold the edge of the bias tape under and lay the end right over the start point and sew it in place.
This method of sewing bias tape is sort of the quick-and-easy way.  For a more proper method, check out this video and this tutorial. 

Now sew the velcro pieces to the back and you're done!

One single layer, reversible bib.
Of course with all those leftover can easily make 10, right?
Cause we know every mom can use them!
Now kick up your feet and relax, cause your baby shower gift is done!
 And when things start getting messy....
Mama knows the beloved baby bath is just one step away. 
Mmmm.  I can smell it now.

Thank you JOHNSON’S® + Target for sponsoring this post.  You can purchase the newly designed bottles of JOHNSON’S® baby moisture wash + JOHNSON’S® baby lotion exclusively at Target and

Sunday, October 25, 2015

First day of school: pepper linen + blue

I can't remember where I bought this fabric .  Because I have a growing pile of charcoal, dark gray, and pepper colored linen in my cabinet.  All from different sources; all looking lovely in a pile just waiting for me to sew.  I can't say no!

It's such a glorious color and weave combo.
It's like the weave itself is a pattern design.

So for Owen's first day of school, I pulled pepper gray from the beloved stash and sewed my boy some shorts. 

How is he getting so old?!
I released the KID Shorts pattern 2 summers ago....And now he looks like a teenager.
Okay.  Sort of.
He's still a goofy almost-8-year-old....who just the other day was teaching Lucy the old fart-noise-under-the-arm move.  Don't you love overhearing their conversations?  As if his methods were something new. 

And I know that KID shorts are nothing new---you see me sew them time and again.
But I guess that's the beauty of it.  I love sewing them again and again!
Check out all the options here:

For these shorts I made the Flat Front, with Front Pockets, and Piping, and Back Pockets.
I was so, so tempted to use orange-red piping on the pockets.  But that seemed too expected.  Haah.  Cause I know that's what you're thinking: Orange and gray.  Can she do it any other way?
Yes!  I really branched out!
Real revolutionary.

But I totally love it!
The color pops so well against the gray.
(If you've never worked with piping, watch my detailed video HERE)

And I couldn't believe it, but Owen finally moved up a size in the shorts pattern.  He graduated from a size 6 to a size 8!  This kid is growing fast, and usually just UP not out.  But I went for the size 8 so he can wear them for longer. 

Then I put it together with a simple Tee from Target and a new pair of tennies.  And the first day of school was ready to go.

It's funny to talk about shorts and school starting, since now it's rainy/pants weather.
But I feel nostalgic about the first day and loved putting my outfits together when I was a kid.  I've gotta document these moments for my kids too.

Happy 2nd grade Owen!
We love you little dude.
You can purchase the KID Shorts pattern with the button below (read all the pattern details here).