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).

Thursday, October 15, 2015

New VIDEO!: How to sew a Circle Skirt

Some of you have asked about MADE Everyday videos....and I'm happy to say that they're back!
I've missed posting about a few of them here on the blog.  So I'll catch up with that in the next while.  In the mean time, you can always watch them on the MADE Everyday Channel.
And if you subscribe, you'll get an email notification each time a new video is up!
Then you'll be all like:
And I'll be all like:

And together we'll be all like...WOW.
Please tell me you used to do that with your hands in 3rd grade?
Or as an adult?
Okay.  Well this new video is a total classic. I took one of our most popular tutorials---the Circle Skirt---and brought it to life (with a little rockabilly music to get you dancing). 

Circle skirts are so, so simple to make and only require a little bit of math, which we'll walk through together.  I'll show you how to make a single layer skirt:

And a double-layer:

Then you'll be making them for any age, and any size.'ll be using these skills to make costumes!  Mini Mouse?  Poodle Skirt?  50s girl?  Annie?
Yes. Yes.  and Yes.

Just hit play below and enjoy:

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 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.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

our favorite Halloween craft, every year.

Each September the kids start asking if we can pull out the Halloween decor.

Internally I groan...because I know it would run smoother if I pulled out the boxes at night (while they slept), and mentally inventoried the items in each box, decided where I'd like to place them in the house, and considered what we might add this year.

Then I realize how totally dumb and boring that sounds.

So I give in to the free-for-all....
With paper bats flying here and there.
Jack Skellington and Sally dolls being tossed like cat toys.
Shrieks of joy bursting from the kids as they rediscover treasures from yesteryear.
It's very Hallow-dramatic.

And never fail, once they spot the Little Rock Ghost Town it's all over.
"Ahhhh!  The ghost rocks!"
"Look! LOOK!"
They're suddenly engulfed in Ghost Town set-ups and story-lines. 

And in a funny twist of OCD fates,  I'm left alone with my box of decorations, to sort and scheme as I may.  Haah.  Life works in mysterious ways.
I'll chalk it up to Halloween karma.
And I'll make a mental note for next year to "pull the Ghost Town out FIRST."

Do you guys remember this Little Rock Ghost Town I posted about a few years ago??
It is truly our favorite Halloween treat every year!
I might even like it more than the Christmas decorations.
Ahh!  Can I say that?

The kids will play with the houses and rocks for hours.
And each day I find the town set-up in different locations---on the kitchen table, by the fireplace, on the coffee table (which is my favorite because Lucy puts all the couch pillows on the ground so she's nice and cozy while they play).

There's a system for everything.
Not sure where she gets that....
heh heh.

And I'm not sure what's happening here.
But I'm glad she's loving it.

A few things have changed with our Ghost Town over the last three years; and some have remained the same.  The kids added a slew of new ghosts this year.  We found more rocks down by the river, sprayed them white, and drew more faces (more details here).  Lucy and Owen have characterized each ghost and given them names, based on people we know.  And they can remember the name of each stinkin rock when I ask them.   Our entire family is in there, there are cousins, random neighbors that live by my inlaws, people who live on our street here in Texas.  It's kind of hilarious.

Many of the ghost parents go to work in the Tower of Terror, which is now called "the office building". It makes me laugh when I overhear Lucy dishing out information, "this is Trevor's office...and that's for Andrew's dad" (people from our church and neighborhood)
We've also added more houses and buildings.  
Last year Owen used a shoe box to make the Candy Cantina (based on the Mos Eisley Cantina from Star Wars).
And this year, construction exploded.  We added four new places!  
Owen requested a location for his new ROCK Star to perform.  So we made the Rockin' Raven, complete with a catwalk in the middle for dancing and performing.
Lucy made the Creepy Courthouse, with green moss on the upper deck.

And I helped Owen construct The Little House which he decorated inside and out, with paintings on the wall and rugs.
Ahhh.  I love this project!
It's the best!
Better than carving pumpkins!
I might have as much fun making these as the kids.  I just love that you can take a simple granola bar box and turn it into a cute, usable toy.  I really have fun decorating them.   And it's all about the Sharpie marker details.  It's what brings a building to life.
This is such a great project for the whole family to enjoy.

We even had our babysitter join in.  Why have I not done that before??
She's super crafty.  So we left a blue painted oatmeal container for her last weekend while Casey and I went on a date.  And she turned it into this:

So, it's been a growing year for Little Rock Ghost Town.
Especially when I consider what Clara looked like when we first built these homes...and how big she is today, playing alongside the other kids.
And though the kids keep growing older, some things never change.
Lucy three years ago:
And Lucy today:
She is still such a kid.
She loves her Taylor Swift and other tween things....but she will play princess toys or little figures with Clara whenever she asks.  
Such a sweetheart.  

Okay. You've still got a few weeks left to make your own little Ghost Town (more tutorial details here).
Start rummaging through that Recycle Bin.
I know you'll ROCK this.