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The Original Quiet Book, Part One

Okay so I’m about to slam you with posts about quiet book pages.  I’m actually writing a lot of these posts in advance and then scheduling them to publish automatically over the next few months.  I’m 8 months pregnant with our third child and am assuming that once he or she (we’re not finding out the sex this time and I love it!!) pops out, this blog is going to be the least of my concerns.  So I figured I’d stock up on a bunch of quick and easy quiet book posts and give myself some breathing room.  Especially since I’m also not currently involved in any projects and one of my goals for the last two years has been to revamp our quiet books.  I’m hoping this will be the motivation I need!

I can’t even remember now how I stumbled on quiet books.  I made J’s first one about 3 years ago and immediately became addicted.  You can tell that this was my first attempt and that I was just getting back into sewing after taking a 10+ year hiatus.  Not that my more recent pages (like Nolan’s quiet book) are amazing and awesome, but you can definitely see the difference in quality.  Hence why I want to revamp this one.

Fortunately I created a Word document that lists all of my pages, the inspiration pages I used to create each one and the materials I needed.  That’s going to make blogging about a project I did over 3 years ago ten times easier!  And I’ll be able to give credit to others where it’s due…I was wondering how that was going to work.

So this is the order the pages are in the Quiet Book.  First is a pirate treasure chest page.  quiet-book-pirate-page-3 quiet-book-pirate-page-2 quiet-book-pirate-page-1As you can tell, this one needs a lot of love.  I had seen a ton of lock and key quiet book pages when doing my research and I thought the idea of a pirate’s chest was neat.  I could put “treasures” like necklaces, gold coins and, for longer car rides, lollipops/other treats.  This and this example were my primary inspiration for my final product.  I didn’t want to “waste” two pages so I combined it all into one by nixing the treasure map.  I used this tutorial to make the pirate patch, which belongs in the chest.  I winged making the sword, which as you can see didn’t go too well.  The handle is super flimsy and I didn’t make the pattern pieces big enough to flip them so the raw edges were inside.  And I had some issues getting it to stick on the page.  There used to be a lock and key, but the red X I made wasn’t exactly great and the key wouldn’t actually stay inside.  And eventually the ribbon completely broke off so I had to remove the lock as well since the chest was now impossible to open.  J never really got into the pirate thing, so minus checking for candy every time she used her book (which 9 times out of 10 I forgot to put some in…) she never used this page.  I may or may not revamp this one for C…I haven’t decided yet.

Next is 5 Little Monkeys, which is actually one of my favorite pages.  J really enjoyed this one as well.  Definitely a keeper!quiet-book-5-little-monkeys-page-4 quiet-book-5-little-monkeys-page-3 quiet-book-5-little-monkeys-page-2 quiet-book-5-little-monkeys-page-1This one is actually still in pretty good shape.  One of the monkeys is lost and the number 2 pillow is missing its number, but other than that it’s good!  When I made the finger puppets originally they were too small, so I had to make another set down the road.  And of course those ones were too big.  I really despise making finger puppets.  That’s one of those things I’d just rather pay for!

I used this tutorial for the telephone.  I thought it would’ve been cool to find an old school telephone cord, but I couldn’t find one anywhere so I just stuck with ribbon instead. I used my Silhouette to cut numbers out of felt for the pad.

I really loved Imagine Our Life’s 5 Little Monkeys page but there was absolutely no way I could do anything that elaborate, so I dumbed it down for my skill level.  I loved the idea of having the monkeys tuck into the bed and that they each have their own spot.  I used my trusty Silhouette to cut out the numbers for the monkeys and pillows.  And then the damn things wouldn’t stay in the bed, so I ended up hot gluing velcro inside the bedspread to hold them in place.  For the monkeys I followed these instructions, just adding bellies and tails.  I even matched the googly eyes with the numbers!

Next up:  counting petals.  quiet-book-flower-page-2 quiet-book-flower-page-1I followed Serving Pink Lemonade‘s directions and used her template to make this page.  Except I have 10 instead of 8, so I must’ve resized it since my pages are bigger.

This one is a very straight forward page that, amazingly enough, is still intact.  Although I think it’s funny that the number 2 is missing, which is the same number from the 5 Little Monkeys page!  I did go back and draw the outline of the petals onto the flower since J was too young at that point to know which order they went in.  Looking back on it now, it really doesn’t matter if they were right or not.  I should’ve left it alone and she could order them however she wanted until she was old enough to look at the numbers and figure it out herself.  I don’t think J ever used it all that much, but since it’s still in working order I’ll keep this one as well.

Tie Your Shoes page.  quiet-book-tie-your-shoes-page-2 quiet-book-tie-your-shoes-page-1I relied on this tutorial for my instructions and template.  Totally not her fault mine turned out so crappy, haha…my sewing skills were just majorly lacking.

This one definitely needs to be thrown out and completely redone.  I like the background fabric that I used, but that’s about it.  The grommets are huge (this was early in my quiet book addiction so those are the only size I had.  And I hadn’t even heard of the magic Crop-a-Dile, which was going to make my addiction sooooo much easier!).  J was definitely way too young for this page.  I’m thinking about starting a brand new book for her with much smaller pages, and if I do this would be one of them.  Now that she’s 5 shoe tying is going to be an important skill.  Or I could just make one of those shoe tying boards.  Although then again, the kid refuses to wear sneakers and if this trend continues she won’t “need” to learn how to do it until she’s like 15.  Seriously, whose child is she?!

Okay, last one for today.  The fishing pages.quiet-book-fishing-page-2 quiet-book-fishing-page-1The link I used for my inspiration is now broken, so that blog must not be around anymore.  But I cut fish out of felt (they’re so realistic looking aren’t they 😉 ) and hot glued paper clips onto the back.  Then I made a fishing rod from a small dowel rod, tied (and hot glued) a piece of yarn around it.  I cut two worm shapes out of felt, put a magnet inside and hot glued it together and then onto the end of the string.  I made a pocket for the fishing rod, but as you can see since the rod is missing, it didn’t work all that well.

I know, these two pages are totally redundant.  I thought it would be a neat idea to have her “catch” the fish in the ocean and then put them in the goldfish bowl.  What a waste of space.  I mean she did use this page a decent amount, but not enough to justify taking up two pages.  I do like the idea of it and this would definitely be a page I would redo in the future for C.  Except I would make only the ocean scene.  And I would either make the sand on the bottom a pocket to store the fish and rod, or do what I ended up doing and making a special pocket on the cover just for the fish (the bottom one with the fish on it.  Obviously). j-quiet-book-cover-1So that’s it for today!  Check back next week for more pages in Part Two!

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The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round…

For my final quiet book page for Nolan’s Christmas present I decided to go with a Wheels on the Bus idea.  I have a Busy Bag that I made for J about 3 years ago and I wanted to go with a similar idea for Nolan, except in his quiet book.  All I did for the Busy Bag is cut out a bus from cardboard, design a bus in my Silhouette, print it off and glue it on and then glued strips of velcro on the windows.  Then I cut out pictures of family and friends and glued velcro on the backs.  Voila, now she could have friends and family members ride the bus!toddler-bus-busy-bag-She absolutely loved it.  So much so that it’s now falling apart.  A lot of the family members are missing, some of the velcro has peeled off of the backs of the pictures that we do have left and the bus itself is starting to come apart.  C is just about old enough to start playing with it himself so I’m going to update it here soon.  You can read more about the Busy Bag Bus here!

I googled and Pinterested (is that a word?  If it’s not already I’m sure it won’t be much longer until it is!) Wheels on the Bus quiet book pages but never really found anything that I liked.  The closest I found was this page to at least help me design the bus.  And although I thought the finger puppet idea was cute, Nolan already had farm animal finger puppets in his Barn page so I felt that would be redundant.  Plus I really liked the idea of using photographs of friends and family.

I started by making the bus in my Silhouette program.  quiet-book-wheels-on-the-bus-page-11I used the machine to cut my pieces out quiet-book-wheels-on-the-bus-page-6I had a brilliant idea for storing the pictures when not in use.  I would make a road on the bottom of the page for the bus to drive on and then sew a yellow zipper in the middle as the “line”!  Two birds, one stone:  a pocket and it adds detail to the page!  I bought a 9 inch zipper from Joann’s and got to work on the background. I sewed some blue fabric that I always use for the sky in quiet book pages (I’m finally starting to get a little low!) on the top two thirds of the page.  Then I cut out a rectangle of grey denim for the road.  I made it a bit longer than my page and cut it so it covered about the bottom third.  Then I cut a (not-very-straight) line across the middle for the zipper to go into.  If you look closely you can see that I didn’t cut it into two separate pieces–there was no need since my road was bigger than my page.quiet-book-wheels-on-the-bus-page-4I slipped the zipper in the opening and sewed it on by folding the raw edges of each side in about 1/4 inch on top of the zipper and stitching it down as close to the zipper as possible. quiet-book-wheels-on-the-bus-page-5As you can see it’s not straight at all (my M.O.) so I remedied that as much as I could when I sewed it onto the background.  To sew it on I folded the top edge about 1/4 inch down to hide the raw edge.  I didn’t bother doing that for the sides or bottom since they would be hidden when I sewed the pages together.quiet-book-wheels-on-the-bus-page-12Then I sewed all of the pieces onto my bus:  the black lines, the bumper, the stop sign and the lights. quiet-book-wheels-on-the-bus-page-9I placed it where I wanted it to go on the page, but didn’t sew it down yet; first I needed the velcro.  I cut a strip of the soft side of yellow velcro the size of each of my bus windows and sewed them on. quiet-book-wheels-on-the-bus-page-8I laid my bus on top to make sure the spacing was right and sewed it down.quiet-book-wheels-on-the-bus-page-7See that giant hole?  After the machine cut my bus out I couldn’t figure out why there was so much wasted space in between the driver’s window and the rest of the bus.  So I cut it out so more people could fit on the bus at the same time.  And then after I did that I realized why there was so much space there–for the doors!!!  Whoops!  I did a quick fix by sewing the scrap of yellow I cut off back onto the bus, and then the doors on top of that to hide it a bit (making sure to only sew the far side of each door down so they “open” and “close”.  I added another piece of yellow velcro there so someone could be “getting on the bus”.quiet-book-wheels-on-the-bus-page-10Originally I wanted the wheels to be able to spin, but that already happens on Nolan’s Fork Lift page so I decided I didn’t care that much for this one.  I found two matching white buttons and placed one in the “center” of each tire and then quickly hand sewed those through the tires and onto the page itself.  They wiggle back and forth, but don’t actually spin the whole way around, which is good enough for me.  And Nolan I’m sure.  As you can see I didn’t do a great job of making sure the buttons were centered.  It drives me crazy looking at it!!!  
quiet-book-wheels-on-the-bus-page-1Then I had Amanda email me pictures of friends and family.  I made them all the same size (about 1.5 x 1 inches), printed them off, laminated them, glued squares of scratchy yellow velcro on the back and voila!  Finished with Nolan’s Christmas present! quiet-book-wheels-on-the-bus-page-3quiet-book-wheels-on-the-bus-page-2

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Ladybug Quiet Book Page

The next quiet book page I made for Nolan’s Christmas present was the Ladybug page.  It’s a super simple page that’s also very popular–it’s all over the internet.  I decided to do one similar to this one, with a black zipper and snaps sewn on the backs of the spots.

I started off by cutting all of my pieces.  I have a ton of red costume fabric leftover from J’s Snow White Cape that I made for her last Halloween.  It’s not the most ideal fabric to work with, but it’s the only thing I had in plain red so it would have to do.  I cut out two half circles.  I cut another half circle out of a scrap of regular black cotton for the head and then seven circles from black felt for the spots.  quiet-book-ladybug-page-1I decided on 7 because I have a package of assorted sized snaps from a previous project and 7 was the most I had in the same size.  I figured it’d be too confusing if the snaps were different sizes.snapsI just eyeballed all of the pieces and I think the sizing actually turned out pretty well.  That definitely could’ve gone another way, hahaha!

I started off by hand sewing the snaps onto the red fabric and black felt dots.  
quiet-book-ladybug-page-8quiet-book-ladybug-page-3I absolutely despise hand sewing.  I was tempted to just use velcro instead, but I know it’s good for kids to learn the snaps–it helps with fine motor skills.  And I really hate using snaps.  The previous project I used them on was a Seasons page for J’s quiet book and I sewed a crapload of them on before I realized that I did them backwards–I put the bottom piece on the top and vice versa.  And then if I remember correctly (it was so traumatizing for me that I think I blocked it out) I sewed them on the wrong way on the Seasons pieces; instead of poking that part that sticks out into the fabric, I sewed it facing out.  Goosebumps just remembering that.  I think there were quite a few tears shed those days…

On the plus side that meant that I double-checked everything before I sewed it down.  And again after I sewed it down.  And again before I did the next snap.  Etc.  And I’m happy to say that I learned my lesson really well last time and I had zero problems with it this time!  Minus it being boring and time-consuming, of course.

I picked up a 7 inch black zipper from Joann’s and sewed it on.  I used my cheating method, as always.  I simply fold the raw edge of the fabric in about 1/4 inch and sew it as close as I can to the zipper.  Then repeat for the other side.quiet-book-ladybug-page-2Next I figured out where exactly I wanted the ladybug to go and sewed the black head down.  Since I was using fabric and not felt, I made sure use a zigzag stitch instead of a straight stitch to help with the fraying. I sewed it along the bottom and around the curve.  quiet-book-ladybug-page-4Then the ladybug, once again with a zigzag stitch. quiet-book-ladybug-page-5I added some googly eyes and twisted a pipe cleaner around my finger for antenna.  I hot glued them down.  quiet-book-ladybug-page-6And that’s it!  The dots are kept inside of the ladybug when not in use and then snap on to make her look beautiful.  Easy peasy! quiet-book-ladybug-page-10quiet-book-ladybug-page-9

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Step five: DIY Fort Kit for my brothers

I have two younger brothers, currently 7 and 9.  Technically they’re not related to me but it’s a long story and for all intents and purposes, they are.  I absolutely hate buying them presents for Christmas because it’s impossible to find something.  First, they’re ridiculously spoiled.  The amount of crap they have is astounding.  Second, they destroy everything.  Third, they don’t do anything except play video games anyway.  Nothing irritates me more than spending money on something that isn’t going to get used.  Last year I came up with a brilliant (and super cheap) idea:  DIY Marshmallow Guns.  I have no idea what tutorial I used but I don’t think it matters…they’re all pretty simple.  We spent less than $5 on both of them and although I doubt they were used at all after Christmas morning, I’m totally fine with it for that price!

I scoured Pinterest and the internet for another DIY idea for this year.  I never realized how difficult it is to find stuff like that for boys that age!  Everything just seemed dumb.  Finally I stumbled on DIY Fort Kits.  I was on the fence about whether or not it would be used, but I never found a better idea so a Fort Kit it is!

I checked out just about all of the tutorials on the general Pinterest search above.  I followed Pie Birds‘ tutorial the closest, but pulled ideas from other random ones that I added to it.

I made my list:

**2 twin flat sheets
**rope
**flash light
**clamps
**glow sticks
**clothes pins
**suction cups
**grosgrain ribbon for the ties 140 in

Everything was super simple to find except the sheets.  I bought all of it minus the ribbon and sheets from the Dollar Tree…best store ever!  I took it all of the original packaging and put it in some plain ziplock bags.  diy-fort-kit-8I picked the ribbon up from either Hobby Lobby or Joann’s…I can’t remember for sure now.  It was just two rolls of plain white grosgrain ribbon.  Which I don’t know why I had 140 inches put down…I didn’t even end up using all of one roll!  Darn, could’ve saved myself $3…

I looked everywhere for cheap sheets.  Walmart, Target, Ross, Marshalls, Goodwill and 3 local thrift shops.  They were all so expensive!!  I mean come on Goodwill, who pays $5 for a used single twin sheet?!  I finally struck gold at Big Lots and found a set of sheets on clearance for $7.  And not just any sheets…CAMO!  Perfect!!

Although flat sheets work so much better I decided that the fitted sheet would do.  Especially since I’m not even sure if they’re going to actually use this kit beyond the first day.  At first I was going to trim all around it, getting rid of the fitted part then folding the raw edges in and hemming it.  I decided that was entirely too much work.  Especially since I don’t understand why the fitted sheet won’t work, especially if you pull it tight.

First I cut the ribbon.  I cut 6 pieces that were approximately 12 inches long.  I folded them in half and then pinned them onto the fitted sheet.diy-fort-kit-2I sewed them on.  I used a straight stitch back and forth across the top (at the end of the sheet) about 6 times to make sure it would hold.  Then I zigzagged the other 3 sides to help keep the ribbon from fraying. diy-fort-kit-3I put one on each “corner” and one in the middle of each of the long sides.diy-fort-kit-1Done.  In my search I found two ways to attach the ribbon:  either in a loop, like I used above, or with two open ends so they can be tied.  I had no idea which way would work better so I decided to make one sheet with loops and the other with ties.  So for the flat sheet I cut 8 pieces of ribbon, this time about 20 inches each.  I folded each piece into a V shape and pinned it on.  I sewed them the same way as above:  a straight stitch a whole bunch of times along the edge of the sheet and then a zigzag for the other three sides.  diy-fort-kit-5I sewed one onto each corner and then one in the middle of each of the 4 sides.diy-fort-kit-4I had also seen a tip somewhere along the way that if you fold the corners in and sew them down it makes an opening for the rope to slide through.  I decided to do that as well.  Why not?diy-fort-kit-6Since this was a complete sheet set it also included a pillow.  I debated for a few minutes and then decided I mine as well use that too.  I cut it open on three sides so it was as big as possible, folded the edges in and sewed them closed. Then I cut four more pieces of ribbon, looped them like I did for the fitted sheet, placed them in the middle of each of the four sides and then folded the corners in like I did on the flat sheet for the rope to slide through.diy-fort-kit-7Sheets were done!  Now I just needed a bag.  Fortunately I’ve made a ton of those peek-a-boo storage bags for kids toys a couple years back so I already knew exactly how to make one (someday I’ll do a post on those.  Maybe).  It was even easier to make this bag though since it didn’t need a window.  I went through my fabric file and picked out a camo print.  I unfolded it and set all of my supplies on it to see how big I needed to make it. I made sure to cut it plenty big.  Of course I have no idea what the dimensions are.diy-fort-kit-9Then I took all of the stuff off, folded it in half (right sides together) and sewed the side and bottom edges.  It looked like a gigantic pillowcase.diy-fort-kit-13The downside to using this fabric was it turned out it was a jersey knit.  Which meant it folded up on me.  A lot.  And I was entirely too lazy to pull out my iron to make life easier.  See, this is why everything I sew turns out half-assed!  I mean it would’ve taken me 2 minutes to pull out my iron, plug it in, wait for it to get hot and then use it.  Lazy, lazy, lazy.

Next I made a casing for the rope at the top.  This is where the jersey knit really irritated me.  Normally I would fold the top edge down about a 1/4 inch and then fold it again to make sure that all of the raw edges are hidden, but that was impossible this time.  So I just folded it down once and then zigzagged it instead.  diy-fort-kit-14I left an opening about an inch wide about halfway on the front for the drawstring.  diy-fort-kit-15Then I picked out some string.  When a fabric store near me in Canada was going out of business I made sure to stock up on drawstring in a major way since I was making a ton of those peek a boo bags.  Which meant that I had a bunch of options.  I went with beige.  I attached a safety pin onto the end to make threading easier and then pulled it through the bag.  Normally I would attach the other end to the bag to make sure it didn’t get lost along the way, but I made the string so long that there wasn’t any fear of that.  I have absolutely no idea how long I cut the string.  Maybe about twice the width of the bag?  I just know it ended up being barely enough.  diy-fort-kit-17diy-fort-kit-16And that was it!  The bag was finished! diy-fort-kit-18Turned out that for once in my life I drastically overmeasured!  Once it’s all in there and closed the bag is only about half full.  Which I’m perfectly fine with.  Always better too large than too small!

I made a tag in my Silhouette program, printed it on regular printer paper and then laminated it using my awesome laminator.  I punched a hole in it and attached it onto the bag.  There we go, a Christmas present for two boys for less than $15 that’s original.  It may or may not get used, but whatever!  And I love this idea so much that I think as J and C get older we’ll be giving it to their friends as birthday gifts!  Another win! diy-fort-kit-19

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Step four: a new Cinderella dress. Obviously.

J has a Cinderella dress.  There was a woman selling 7 dressup dresses for $7 on one of the local yard sale FB sites (seriously, best invention ever!  I LOVE stalking those pages!) about 2 years ago which was when J was just starting to get into her dress up phase in a big way.  The Cinderella dress was a homemade one and its condition was already “gently” used (not that I’m complaining.  It was a dollar).  She absolutely adored that dress and wore it allllllllllll the time.  Although I’ve patched it up several times, it’s now beyond fixing.  There are holes all over the actual dress and it’s filthy.  That’s okay…I got my money’s worth…several times over!js-original-cinderella-dressWhen the latest Cinderella movie came out J and I went to see it.  It was her first experience in the movie theater and she absolutely adored the movie.  Even if she did come out of thinking that “courageous” meant “pretty”.  She adored the blue dress, like I’m sure every other girl out there, and said she wanted one.  So I decided I was going to make her one for Christmas.

First step:  research.  I pinned 3 DIY dresses from Pinterest that seemed to fit the bill:  this one, this one and this one.

I made a list of supplies:

*4 yards of blue tulle—sparkly would be a bonus
*3 yards of purple tulle
*blue zipper 7 in
*blue thread
*1 1/2 yards blue shiny fabric

Then I hit the stores.  I was trying to do this for as cheap as possible.  I ended up getting my tulle from Walmart for 97 cents/yard, the thread, zipper and costume satin from Joann’s on three separate occasions so I could use a 40% off coupon each time.  I also found some blue sparkly tulle at Joann’s.  I only bought half a yard of it…it was nearly $3 a yard and I figured I could just do one layer on the skirt to give it the necessary sparkles since I couldn’t find sparkly tulle for cheap anywhere.

Finally I got to work.  I read through all three tutorials to decide exactly how I wanted to make the dress.  I used Made for Mermaids the most.  I referred to Kiki & Company for the butterflies.  And I didn’t end up using the third one at all.

As usual, refer to the original blog for specific directions.  Read mine to know what not to do 😉

I started off by printing her awesome free pattern and cutting out my bodice pieces. diy-cinderella-dress-1I sewed them together as instructed:  each side piece to the front center; one for the lining and one for the front.  diy-cinderella-dress-2Then I added one back piece to each side.diy-cinderella-dress-3The straps were next.  I folded them in half and sewed the long edges, leaving the short ends open.  
diy-cinderella-dress-4I trimmed and flipped right side out. diy-cinderella-dress-5Then I put the straps in between the lining and front piece and sewed the two bodice pieces together all along the top.diy-cinderella-dress-6diy-cinderella-dress-7And then I realized my first mistake:  one of the straps was twisted.  diy-cinderella-dress-8So I had to rip the seam out and resew it, making sure that I pinned it the correct way this time.  After I flipped the bodice right side out I saw that my front piece and lining didn’t exactly match up along the straps.  Mistake number two!diy-cinderella-dress-9diy-cinderella-dress-10This one was very easily fixed, however.  I just folded the outer piece in to hide the raw edge and then sewed it down like that.  diy-cinderella-dress-11Then I went through and top stitched the entire bodice as instructed, so you couldn’t even tell my mistake there.  Score one for me!

Now for the tulle on the bodice.  I read through Made for Mermaids’ instructions about 10 times and then switched over to Kiki & Company but still didn’t understand exactly what I was supposed to do.  So I made it up.

One change I already knew I wanted to make was that I wanted to take Kiki & Company’s idea and use both the blue and purple tulle in the top.  That was a simple adjustment.

I cut a 20×54 inch rectangle each of the light blue and purple and folded them in half.  I only used one layer of the sparkly blue, so it was only about 26 inches.  diy-cinderella-dress-12Then I layered them so sparkly blue was on the inside and purple on the outside.diy-cinderella-dress-13I sewed along the long bottom edge. diy-cinderella-dress-14And then found the halfway point in both the bodice and the tulle and attached them together. diy-cinderella-dress-15I went back and forth about 15 times just to make sure it was going to stay put!  Then I squeezed the ends together as small as I could and sewed them down on each side.
diy-cinderella-dress-16The result is very unfinished.  But it’s tulle so it’s not going to fray.  It’s fine.  I’m serious, I’m such a dunce when it comes to reading simple instructions!  I’m sure everyone else understood exactly what Made for Mermaids was talking about, but not me.  I still don’t get it.  Of course part of my problem was that my tulle wasn’t as long as it should be–it should’ve extended past the bodice.  And then the ends would’ve been tucked inside the bodice.  But it’s fine.

Time to finish up the bodice.  I sewed each side closed.diy-cinderella-dress-17Then added the zipper.  I don’t like using velcro on dress-up dresses.  Although J needs help getting the zippered dresses on and off, I find that velcro loses its stickiness after awhile and then my life just becomes “Mama, fix my dress” 800,000 times a day.  It happened to both her Merida and Snow White dresses and I vowed no more velcro. So I installed my zipper using my cheating method found in my Glinda tutorial.  diy-cinderella-dress-18See how the tulle doesn’t reach the zipper?  So much for cutting it long enough and making sure that I found the halfway mark, hahahaha!  Good thing J will never notice.

And there we go, bodice is finished!

Time for the skirt.  I cut two pieces, 24 in by the width of my fabric.  Which I want to say was 54 inches, but can’t remember for sure now.  I followed Made for Mermaids’ instructions and cut the front piece at a diagonal so the front bodice would be pointed.

diy-cinderella-dress-19I sewed the two long ends together, flipped it right side out and gathered the top.  I also use a cheating method for gathering, which again you can read about in my Glinda tutorial.  I had to gather it about 3 times until it was small enough to fit the bodice.  And even then I think it ended up being a shade too large.diy-cinderella-dress-22Then I had J try it on.  I needed to make sure that I wasn’t going to make the same mistake with the Glinda dress and have it be too long.  The poor kid tripped about 68 times on Halloween night in that costume.  I’ve hemmed it since then, but still not enough because she has to hold it up when she walks.  I waited until she got home from school and had her close her eyes since it was a surprise.diy-cinderella-dress-20And thank goodness I had her try it on!  Look how long it is!!!!  Obviously my 5 year old isn’t nearly as tall as Made for Mermaids’ is.  I went ahead and trimmed about 3 inches off of the bottom, then folded the bottom edge under twice (taking off about another inch) and hemmed it.  diy-cinderella-dress-23Time for the tulle.  This was ALL wrong, so don’t do this.  First I took the sparkly blue piece since it was the smallest.  I put it around my waist to make sure it would be wide enough for J, which it was.  Then I took the light blue, folded it so it was about the size of the sparkly one and then kept on folding it over and over and over again until I was out.  I repeated with the purple.diy-cinderella-dress-24

I sewed them together along both short edges.  
diy-cinderella-dress-25This part took forever.  I had to readjust the tulle about 68 times, folding and refolding.  Which is why I was even more pissed than I normally would have been that this all ended up being a colossal waste of time.  It took me an entire nap time to do this part, and it all ended up being in vain.  I discovered my mistake when I went to put the tulle inside of the skirt and it wouldn’t fit.  Because the bottom part of the skirt is about 10 times wider than the gathered top…DUH!!!!!!!!!  I can’t even describe to you how upset I was at my stupidity.  Or how difficult it is to seam rip tulle.  Which was my next step.

Then I started again.  This time I laid out my tulle, put the dress lining on top and figured out how wide it had to be to completely cover the bottom.DIY Cinderella Dress 26The bad part was that I didn’t have enough sparkly blue to go around the entire thing.  On the plus side, the sparkly tulle was on the inside of the top sash, which meant that it was going to be on the inside of the skirt as well.  And between all the layers of tulle and the lining you really couldn’t tell unless you looked very closely that only half of the dress was sparkly.  I decided just to make sure the sparkly half went in the front.

I folded it all over and over and over again until it was lined up nice and neatly.  And the right width this time.
diy-cinderella-dress-27I had to sew it together in three spots to ensure the blue sparkly wasn’t going anywhere:  once on each end and then the two remaining pieces together to form the skirt.
diy-cinderella-dress-28diy-cinderella-dress-29diy-cinderella-dress-30Then I gathered it.  Obviously I did a stellar job of lining the different colors up.  diy-cinderella-dress-31

I’m serious, I have a newfound hatred for tulle after making this dress.  I despise it.  With a passion.

Then I tucked the bodice inside of the skirt tulle (right sides together) and the tulle inside the lining.  I pinned that sucker about 68 times and then sewed it all down.  This is me, which means it took me about 6 attempts before I finally deemed it good enough.  I did an awful job of making sure all three were lined up well enough and there were a bunch of pockets where there were holes or the bodice lining poked out or you could see the seam where I sewed the tulle pieces together.  And then it was not in a straight line going all around.  The first time I completely ripped all of the seams out and started from scratch.  The other 5 times I just ripped the trouble areas.  Finally I decided it was straight enough.  I trimmed the inside edges close to the seam and then zigzagged the entire way around to finish it.diy-cinderella-dress-32And then the dress was basically finished! diy-cinderella-dress-33diy-cinderella-dress-34See the line on the tulle on the left side of the bottom picture?  That was one of my trouble areas.  It’s because I didn’t line the tulle up well enough when I sewed it together originally and that part dipped down farther than the rest of it.  I fixed it as best as I could, but I couldn’t put it up any higher without the skirt being a lot shorter on the bottom.  Plus side?  It’s on the back.  And not very noticeable.

Another thing that I just couldn’t get to work was the point in the front.  I cut my skirt lining and tulle to a point as instructed, but it never emerged.  I don’t know if it’s because I didn’t gather the skirt enough?  Whatever, I don’t care.  She’ll never know the difference.

The top tulle sash bothered me a bit.  Since I didn’t sew it on properly you could see the line where I sewed the tulle together on the bottom.  diy-cinderella-dress-35Although I’m sure I could have hand stitched it closed (HA!  YEAH RIGHT!!!!) I opted for an easy out:  hot glue.  I tucked the ends under so I liked it and then put a few drops of hot glue on each side to hold it in place. diy-cinderella-dress-36Much better.

Finally, the butterflies.  I found a butterfly outline preloaded onto my Silhouette program so I made it what seemed to be a good size to go in the tulle.  I pasted 14 of the same size on there and then made one a lot bigger for the front of the sash.  I used the machine to cut them out of grey cardstock.  Then I followed Kiki & Company’s instructions and Modge Podged them several times.  I put a layer on the front, sprinkled some white glitter on them, waited until they dried, added another layer of Modge Podge, waited until they dried, did another layer, waited until they dried and then flipped them over and did one layer of Modge Podge on the back. diy-cinderella-dress-21Can you tell from looking at that photo that I’m not one of those moms with a severe glitter phobia?!  A little bit of that glitter is from the butterflies, but most of it is permanently lodged on the table from many, many, many past crafts.

I hot glued the big butterfly on the front.  diy-cinderella-dress-37I was planning on doing all of them, but I decided it would be best to wait until the dress was on J and then place them on.  I put them in a baggie and set them off to the side (hmmm, speaking of which…where did I put that bag??) for Christmas morning.  I am so excited for her to open this present.  I think she’s really going to love it!!!!!  It may not look nearly as nice or professional as my inspiration pins, but I don’t care.  I worked hard on it and although there are a few parts that I don’t like, all in all I’m thrilled with how it turned out.  Win! diy-cinderella-dress-39 diy-cinderella-dress-38

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Step three: DIY Hooded Towels.

I found these amazingly adorable hooded towels on Pinterest a year or two ago by Crazy Little Projects.  I fell in love with them immediately.  Not only are they super cheap and super cute, but, most importantly, they’re super easy.  I made J a duck towel for the bath and a shark towel for the beach about two years ago.  Last year for Nolan’s 1st birthday I made him either the dog or shark…I can’t remember now.  I want to say dog.

Since poor C is still using baby towels and J’s duck is looking a bit forlorn, I figured I’d make them each a towel for Christmas.  Although there are a ton of choices, it was super easy to decide on one for each:  Elmo for C and a Princess one for J.

I picked up my supplies:  a red bath towel and matching hand towel for Elmo from Target and a purple bath towel, matching hand towel and yellow hand towel for the Princess crown from Walmart.  There isn’t a particular reason I bought them at two different stores…just turned out Walmart didn’t have an appropriate shade of red for Elmo.  See, chalk it up to yet another reason why Target kicks Walmart’s butt!

Check out the Princess hooded towel tutorial on Crazy Little Projects’ blog for the clear and easy to understand directions.  I’m just going to give a quick synopsis and I’m sure it’ll be confusing since I can’t explain anything, haha.

Since the crown is a separate piece this one was a tad bit more “difficult” than the other towels I’ve made previously.  Which means not at all.  I started by cutting the yellow hand towel in half so the width was about 8.5 inches.diy-princess-hooded-towel-14Then I cut a crown shape from one of the halves.  Crazy Little Projects has a template if you want to use it.  I just eyeballed it.  I made the crown go the entire width of the towel (there were 4 spikes) and the tip of each spike was about halfway up the length of the towel. I laid the first one on top of the rest of the hand towel and cut out a carbon copy.  I matched them and sewed them together, leaving the finished edge of the towel open as instructed.  I flipped it right side out so the stitching was hidden.diy-princess-hooded-towel-15The jewels were next.  I scrounged up some sparkly purple scraps from a long ago project which worked perfectly.  Now Crazy Little Projects does it the smart way and has you use Heat n Bond on the back of the jewels and then attaches them using an appliqué stitch.  I didn’t bother.  Instead I cut out four diamonds and sewed them directly onto the crown with a zigzag stitch.  I’m sure it won’t last nearly as long but if there’s one thing you’ve learned about me by now it’s that I am L-A-Z-Y.diy-princess-hooded-towel-12diy-princess-hooded-towel-13Now time for the part I’ve done before:  making the hood.  I cut the purple hand towel in half the fat way and put half of it aside for a future project.  I folded the finished edge about 4 inches up and stitched it down.diy-princess-hooded-towel-11I folded the hand towel in half (so the folded part was on the outside) and zigzagged it on the back to form a hood.diy-princess-hooded-towel-9diy-princess-hooded-towel-10I flipped it right side out and then pinned the crown on.  I took Crazy Little Projects advice and took the hood into the bathroom so I could adjust the crown as needed.  Don’t I look nice 😉 diy-princess-hooded-towel-8I sewed the crown onto the hand towel along the bottom edge. Crazy Little Projects advises tucking the open edge of the crown in before sewing it down to hide the raw edges.  Since with mine the end of the crown is already a finished edge I didn’t bother folding it in.  It would’ve looked nicer, yes, but honestly I don’t think my machine could’ve gotten through all of those layers.  I recently broke a needle and was on my last one so I didn’t want to risk breaking this one and having to wait until I could make it to Joann’s to purchase replacements before finishing the towel.  It looks fine.diy-princess-hooded-towel-7Then it just needs to be attached to the towel!  First, Crazy Little Projects recommends folding the bath towel in 3-4 inches on each short side and sewing it down, which I did. diy-princess-hooded-towel-6Then you find the center of the towel by folding it in half and form a pleat that’s about an inch wide. diy-princess-hooded-towel-5Sew across it. diy-princess-hooded-towel-4Then take the hood, match the hood seam with the center of the pleat and pin together.  Make sure you match the right sides of the towel together.  Although as you’ll see in a minute for Elmo, it’s really not a big deal if you’re not paying attention and mess that part up.diy-princess-hooded-towel-3Sew the two towels together and voila, finished! diy-princess-hooded-towel-2 diy-princess-hooded-towel-1diy-hooded-princess-towel-21diy-hooded-princess-towel-20

The Elmo towel was even more straightforward than the last one and very similar to the towels I’ve already made.  Once again, refer to Crazy Little Projects Elmo tutorial for the complete (and better!) instructions. Especially since for some reason my camera did not like this shade of red and the photos are difficult to see.

So same thing.  Cut the hand towel in half the fat way, fold the finished edge up about 3 inches and sew it, fold the towel in half (with the finished edge on the inside) and zigzag down the back to form a hood. diy-elmo-hooded-towel-6 diy-elmo-hooded-towel-4Next cut out your face pieces.  I used regular fabric for the eyes and mouth and an orange towel for the nose (since that’s what I happened to have on hand).  I just eyeballed the pieces and am actually surprised at how well they turned out!  Usually circles are extremely difficult for me. diy-elmo-hooded-towel-9Once again Crazy Little Projects recommends ironing Heat n Bond to the back the pieces and sewing them on with an appliqué stitch.  And once again I ignored this advice and just zigzagged them on as is.  I’m sure they’ll be fine… diy-elmo-hooded-towel-8There was one step on here that I’ve never seen in her other tutorials before, including the princess one.  She instructs you to sew a line across the top of the triangle and then cut it where the seam is.  Not sure why, but not one to question experts I did as told. diy-elmo-hooded-towel-3Then I did the same things as above to the bath towel.  Folded each side in about 4 inches, sewed it together.  Folded it in half to find the middle, formed a pleat and sewed it down. diy-elmo-hooded-towel-7Matched the seam of the hood to the middle of the pleat in the bath towel and attached them together. And that’s it!diy-elmo-hooded-towel-1diy-hooded-elmo-towel-10Like I said I wasn’t paying attention to make sure the right sides were together with the Elmo towel so it turns out that the seams I sewed on each side of the bath towel are facing out, not in.  I actually made this exact same mistake on Nolan’s towel.  Fortunately unless you’re looking super closely you’d never even notice the mistake.  And even if it was an obvious mistake it’s not like a 20 month old is going to care.  He’s just going to be excited to see Elmo!  I can’t wait to give them their towels Christmas morning!

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The Flying Monkey. Best Costume Ever.

After J decided on Glinda the Good Witch from Wizard of Oz for Halloween, I knew C had to fit in the theme as well.  Last year J was Snow White, so myself, C, Hubby and our dog Jack were all Dwarfs.  I’m going to continue the family theme until the kids are old enough to express their own opinion for what they want to be–it’s so much fun!  This year, though, I decided to check myself, Hubby and Roman out of the family costume and just force C.

You can read about J’s Glinda dress here and here.

I  knew immediately that I wanted to make him a Flying Monkey.  Although it would go better if J was the Wicked Witch of the West instead, I didn’t care.  I checked Pinterest and Google for some DIY Flying Monkey costume ideas and found the perfect tutorial on ehow.com.  I made just a few changes…namely using grey felt instead of brown.  The monkeys are grey in the movie!!!  And the example child is even dressed in grey sweatpants under his costume, so why would the tail and wings be BROWN?!  I found that quite odd.

I spent $0 on this costume!  See, this is why it pays to stock up on felt when a fabric store is going out of business.  I have about a yard each of grey, blue, red and white felt just laying around, waiting to be used.

As instructed, I started with the wings.  J has about 6 sets of fairy wings in her dress up closet so I just picked the shabbiest looking pair and cut the bottom half off. I laid out my yard of grey felt and (very sloppily) cut around the wings, leaving about an inch border.diy-flying-monkey-costume-8Then I went about cutting out a billion feathers. I think this is how many I put on one of the wings.diy-flying-monkey-costume-11I placed them on the wings to make sure I cut enough before gluing anything down. diy-flying-monkey-costume-10I also decided to use the straps that came with the wings originally to attach them to the costume instead of hot gluing them to the vest.  Seemed much easier and more comfortable.  I cut the strap off of the half of the wings I wasn’t using, slid it to the middle and knotted it in place.  Then I folded the grey felt wing outline all around the edge of the wings, hot gluing it as I went.  I glued the feathers on one by one, making sure to cover all of the wings.  Finally I glued the strap down just to make sure it wasn’t going anywhere.diy-flying-monkey-costume-9

Easy peasy!

I moved onto the vest next.  I took one of C’s shirts, folded it in half, folded some dark blue felt in half, placed the fold on top of the fold and cut around it (minus the sleeves)–no need for a template.  I repeated to make a front piece.  I did make a template for the zigzag design because I think that would’ve gone horribly wrong otherwise, haha.  I  drew half of it on a piece of random construction paper, folded some red felt in half, placed the straight edge on the fold and cut around it.  Then I placed the red piece right on the white piece and cut around it, leaving about 1/2 inch border on the white.diy-flying-monkey-costume-7I went back to the following the tutorial.  I pinned the front and back pieces of the vest together at the shoulders and sides and sewed them together.  And then instead of hot gluing the red and white zig zag pieces together, I actually sewed them.  I’m not really sure why…just didn’t feel like wasting the glue I guess?diy-flying-monkey-costume-6And then I attached the zig zag design to the front of the vest, this time using glue.  Don’t ask my reasons, okay?!  I then cut the front in half, as instructed.  Once I did that though, I discovered the downside to having sewn it–it wasn’t connected where I cut, haha.diy-flying-monkey-costume-5I remedied that by glueing the red to the white along the two lines.  Ta-da, vest is finished!diy-flying-monkey-costume-4Tail was next.  I folded the grey felt in half and cut a tail shape out free handed.  It was 13 inches, about the length of C’s butt to the floor.diy-flying-monkey-costume-3I sewed it together around the edges, leaving just the end open, and then pulled it through so the seams were hidden.diy-flying-monkey-costume-1No, you’re not going crazy, that’s a different tail.  After I sewed the original one together I got stuck trying to flip it–I hadn’t made it wide enough and had a rough time pulling it through.  Surprise surprise.  Instead of fighting with it I decided just to cut a second one out.  This one is longer and fatter than the original.

After I pulled the tail through I snuck into J’s room and stole some of her fluff (I mentioned before that she’s obsessed with a bag of polyfil I bought awhile back.  She calls it her “fluff” and sleeps with it at night.  I either have to sneak some when she’s not looking or endure a ten minute long cry fest after asking her permission to have some.  I took the easy way out this time).  I shoved it inside, pushing it all the way to the bottom, until it was nice and full.diy-flying-monkey-costume-2

I flipped the vest over to the back, found the approximate halfway point and sewed the open end of the tail to the underside of the back of the vest (so you can’t see the end of the tail).  Bam, finished!  Seriously, this costume FLEW!  Hahaha, and that was totally not intention right there.diy-flying-monkey-costume-12

Last but not least:  the hat.  The piece de resistance!  I had a container of sour cream that’s been sitting in the fridge for about a month too long, so I dumped the remainder out and washed it.  I varied the tutorial instructions in one way–I used my hole punch to put holes in each side of the container and then tied my cord through the holes before doing any gluing.diy-flying-monkey-costume-15

Then I followed the tutorial instructions–traced the bottom of the container on some blue felt, measured the circumference and width, added an inch and cut the correct size rectangle out of blue felt.  I notched the top, although I don’t think I made my triangles big enough because my felt didn’t go on straight around the container.  Oh well.  I made half a zig zag shape on a folded piece of construction paper that was about 6 inches long.  I cut it out, folded the red felt in half, lined the fold of the template with the fold of the felt and cut it out.  I repeated the same steps for the white, once again leaving about 1/4 inch border around it.diy-flying-monkey-costume-14

I glued the blue felt around the sour cream container, covering it as best (and straight) as I could.  Good enough.  I glued the red onto the white, then the white onto the blue and voila!  The whole thing was finished!diy-flying-monkey-costume-16diy-flying-monkey-costume-13

Turned out I didn’t make the cord quite long enough to go around his fat little head.  He was not cooperating when I was trying it on him to measure so I must’ve made it a bit too short.  Luckily Hubby came up with a great idea that worked like a charm–even better than going under the chin I think.  Instead we put the cord around the back of his head.  It actually makes it a little bit harder for him to get off…at least for now.  Until he gets the hang of it, that is.

C hates the whole costume, hahahahaha.  Which I think makes it even better.  He doesn’t even like wearing the vest, which I can’t figure out for the life of me why that matters.  I think he’s the cutest flying monkey ever though!diy-flying-monkey-costume-19diy-flying-monkey-costume-18diy-flying-monkey-costume-19diy-glinda-dress-and-flying-monkey-costume-3diy-flying-monkey-costume-17j-and-c-diy-wizard-of-oz-costumes

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The Glinda Dress: Part Two

So as you found out here, J decided on Glinda the Good Witch for Halloween and I decided to make her costume myself.  Hey, why not?!  Check out Part One to see how I made the hoop skirt, crown and wand for the costume.

I relied very heavily on Make It & Love It‘s Glinda dress tutorial.  That’s the only reason I decided to tackle this project myself instead of buying one–because she had such a clear and easy to follow tutorial on exactly what to do.  It looked like a piece of cake!  And surprisingly enough (for me) it actually wasn’t too bad.  It was time consuming but I made sure to take my time for once.  And I didn’t majorly mess it up until the very end, which is huge for me.  Just goes to show how awesome and amazing Make It & Love It is!!!  All the credit goes to her.

So, materials.  This is what I used.

  • Pink fabric.  I bought plain pink costume fabric from Walmart.  I was waiting for it to go on sale at Joann’s but then just happened to spy an amazing deal at Walmart–only $2/yard!!!!  I didn’t have my list with me at the time and couldn’t remember if Make It & Love It said 3 or 5 yards so I purchased 5.  Turned out 3 was the correct answer…whoops.  I can’t complain with that price though!  One thing I do wish, however, is that I would’ve just spent more money and purchased something that was already sparkly.  That would have saved hours of sewing.  I think it turned out absolutely awesome the way it is, but I do wish I would’ve just paid the extra money for the sparkles already built in.
  • Pink sparkly tulle.  This is something else I waited for 3 weeks to buy to see if Joann’s would put it on sale.  They did not.  I was running out of time–we were headed to Jamaica for a week and the costume needed to be finished before we left.  I checked out Michaels and found this tulle in their sewing section.  Using a 40% off coupon that dropped the price down to $4 and some change for 2 yards…sold!  I bought two packages at two separate times so I could use the coupon both times.  I will say this–it sheds like there’s no tomorrow.  I’ve never sewn with glitter tulle before so I have no idea if that’s all brands, but just a heads up!
  • 12 inch pink zipper.  I could’ve gone with something shorter, like a 9 in, but oh well.  I bought it from Joann’s with a 40% off coupon.
  • Pink thread.
  • Rhinestones.  I just used the same ones as the wand and crown; these

I spent $22 on this portion of the costume.  Technically it should’ve only been $18 since I bought too much pink costume fabric.  But let’s face it, with how obsessed J is with dressing up I’m sure I can find a use for the leftovers sometime…

So!  I started off by tracing one of J’s shirts to make the bodice template.  I cut out 4 pieces in the costume fabric and cut two of those pieces in half for the back.   I cut out two bodice pieces out of the tulle and split one of those in half.  Then I sewed the three tulle pieces onto three of the costume fabric pieces.  I left one front and two back pieces without tulle–that’s the bodice lining.diy-glinda-dress-1diy-glinda-dress-3diy-glinda-dress-2This is why I wish I would’ve just spent the extra money on sparkly fabric.  First I had to cut the separate pieces.  And then pin them together.  And then sew the tulle to the lining.  Times 3.  And then trim the edges.  And then zigzag around all three pieces to finish the edges so they won’t fray or scratch J.  Doing just that took me one nap time itself.

I connected the front and back bodice pieces together, sewing just along the neckline like Make It & Love It instructs.

Next I cut out my sleeves.  I had absolutely no idea what size to make them.  I took a long sleeve shirt of J’s and measured how long the sleeve was to get an idea.  I should’ve made them 1-2 inches longer and 1-2 inches wider.  They ended up fitting her…perfectly.  Fortunately she’s a skinny kid and I don’t see her arms getting any fatter in the next few months so the costume should still fit her for quite awhile.

My sleeves were . I cut out two upper sleeves and two lower sleeves each in the costume fabric and the tulle.  And then I sewed the tulle onto each costume fabric piece in the same way as above–see what I’m talking about with it being time consuming?? Another nap time spent just sewing four pieces…diy-glinda-dress-4Then I worked on the puffy tulle part.  I understood the first part of Make It & Love It’s instructions no problem–I cut out the pieces and basted and gathered along the bottom line.diy-glinda-dress-5I would just like to point out that something else that I can’t do is gather.  So I always have to use the cheater’s way–I put my tension and stitch length both as high as they will go and then lightly pull on the top thread while I sew.  This creates the gather for me.  In my defense I tried it the regular way for the sleeves four times but just could not get it to work.  So I used the cheaters method instead.  And honestly I don’t notice a difference!
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I attached the sleeves to the bodice.diy-glinda-dress-7And then this is the part that Make It & Love It lost me.  I still don’t understand what exactly I was supposed to do with the tulle and sewing down the middle.  I ended up pushing about two inches of tulle towards the neckline and leaving the rest of it on the side of the sleeve.  And then I sewed down the middle, pretty much on top of where the sleeve and bodice connect.  I thought that was what Make It & Love It meant, but later I realized my sleeves look different than hers.  Mine turned out just fine though so I’m good with it!

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All of the tulle pushed to the sleeve side before sewing some down on the side of the neckline.

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Line sewn down on top of where the sleeve and bodice connect. There’s about two inches of tulle on the left side of the line, towards the neckline. The rest is on the shoulder.

The only part that turned out strange is that my tulle isn’t connected under the arm pit.  Now I could connect it by hand sewing it shut but I definitely don’t care that much.  It’s not going to fray and the rest of it sticks up so much that you don’t even notice it’s not connected.  And it’s on the bottom, pretty much in her armpit.  Yep, definitely not doing any hand sewing.diy-glinda-dress-21diy-glinda-dress-24I gathered my sleeve pieces (using my trusted cheating method) and attached them together.diy-glinda-dress-10diy-glinda-dress-9diy-glinda-dress-11

Then I pinned everything and sewed the sleeve closed.diy-glinda-dress-12Where I discovered a giant overlook on my part…I didn’t include the lining when I sewed the sleeves on!!  Whoops.diy-glinda-dress-14

The problem was super simple to fix.  I just ripped out the seam I had just sewn, from the wrist to the bottom of the bodice, attached the lining around the sleeve, trimmed and zigzagged it and then repined and resewed the sleeve and sides.  I’ve definitely made bigger mistakes before (and will make a giant one here in just a few steps…).  At least I realized it before I sewed both sides so I was able to hurry up and sew the lining in on the opposite side before sewing the armhole and side closed.

And I had a bodice!  diy-glinda-dress-15diy-glinda-dress-13Well, mostly.  It still needed a zipper.diy-glinda-dress-16I know this is going to shock you, but something else I never really got the hang of was sewing in a zipper.  I just don’t see the point of sewing it closed, adding the zipper and then ripping the seam open.  Just seems like extra work.  I always just fold the raw edge in about 1/4 of an inch, pin it to the top of the zipper and sew straight down.  I repeat for the other side.  I dunno, my method seems to work.

I’d just like to take a moment to point out that I’m dead serious when I say that I can’t cut in a straight line to save my life.  There is absolutely no reason why the right side of my bodice should be 4 inches shorter than the left side.  Absolutely none.  And yet it is.  Fortunately my zipper was exactly the correct size for that side.

Now I have a bodice!  I tried it on J and was pleasantly surprised.  I was a bit worried about the sleeves being wide enough to fit her arms, but they’re perfect.  I realized when she was wearing it that I never finished the sleeve edges.  Since they were already about 1/2 an inch too short as it was I didn’t want to fold them in to hide the raw edges.  I simply zigzagged them instead.diy-glinda-dress-26And now the skirt.  I did the tulle first, as instructed.  Instead of measuring the hoop skirt I simply had J put the bodice top and hoop skirt on and then wrapped the tulle around her.  I folded the tulle in half so the open edges were at the bottom of the hoop.  The length seemed perfect–covered all of the hoop skirt and only hung down past it a little–so I didn’t have to do any cutting.  What I did was cut off the uneven edges from where I had cut the bodice and sleeve pieces out of the tulle previously and then used all of that leftover stuff, plus my unopened 2 yard package.  It was about 3 yards total.  I sewed the two pieces of folded up tulle together along the sides, making one giant skirt.  I sewed it up one way and down another since I overlapped them about an inch and I wanted to make sure it was all connected.diy-glinda-dress-20Then I (cheat) gathered all along the top folded edge of the tulle.  I pinned it to the bodice, making sure to pull the bodice up through the tulle skirt, right side facing me.  It was a perfect gathering–exactly the right size.  I sewed the tulle to the bodice, trimmed as close to the seam as possible to get rid of some of the bulk, and zigzagged the whole way around to finish the seam.  I had J try it on to make sure everything was A-Ok.  And it was!!!!!

I was so close to being finished that I could taste it.  Which is probably why I made this last mistake.

I “measured” the costume fabric the same way that I did the tulle–merely wrapped it around J’s waist while she was wearing the bodice, the tulle and the hoop skirt.  Since I had 8 billion yards of fabric I actually had to cut my rectangle out this time.  I sewed the two ends together and clipped and zigzagged my seam.  I gathered the top.  I pinned the costume fabric skirt inside the waistline right on top of the tulle, connecting it to the bodice.  I sewed it all, then clipped and zigzagged the extra waist bulk.  All excited, I called J over so she could try her finished costume on!!!!!

Except it wasn’t.  The costume fabric skirt wasn’t big enough to fit over the hoop.  I almost started crying.  Dejected, I had her take it off and then I went to town ripping seams.  Then I had her put everything back on and I wrapped the costume fabric around her again, snipping the rectangle edges very carefully.  She removed everything while I sewed the new rectangle together, clipped the seam, zigzagged it, gathered the top, pinned the skirt to the bodice, sewed it, trimmed the edges and zigzagged.  I called J over again to put it back on.

And it still didn’t go over the f*cking hoop.  It was bigger, I’ll give myself that, but still not big enough.  That’s what I said some choice words and decided to stop for the day.  I was done.

The next day while J was at school and C was sleeping I decided to try again.  I ripped the costume lining out of the skirt and then cut it open where I had sewn the two pieces together.  I cut about an inch off of the side to get rid of the bulky seam.  I took the other costume fabric skirt, the first one, and cut it open along the two seams.  Then I cut a piece about a foot wide from the first skirt and pinned it to the second skirt.  I knew it was too much fabric but at this point I wasn’t taking any risks.  I sewed the three pieces together to form one really gigantic skirt, finished the three seams by clipping and zigzagging, gathered it at the top and pinned it to the dress.  Of course since this one was ridiculously wide the skirt was too wide for the bodice.  I didn’t care–I just gathered some more as I sewed them together.  See, this is where the cheating method comes in handy!!!  This time I didn’t finish the seam–I wanted to wait for J to come home from school so I could make sure it was big enough.

And it was.  Plenty of room to spare.  So I trimmed the seam and zigzagged it closed.  diy-glinda-dress-17diy-glinda-dress-18

I went through the whole dress looking for any holes or gaps and made sure to sew anything I found shut.  I trimmed everything.  And then I was done sewing.  Just in time too…I think someone would’ve been murdered (or something…like a giant poofy sparkly piece of clothing…) if I had to do any more.diy-glinda-dress-25

J strategically placed rhinestones on the bodice and I hot glued them on.  After looking at a picture of Glinda she decided she wanted some on the skirt itself and I said, sure, why not! diy-glinda-dress-22

And that’s it.  It was finished.  And with two weeks to spare before Halloween.diy-glinda-dress-28j-diy-glinda-dressTune in next week to see C’s fantastic and amazing and ridiculously simple almost-no-sew Flying Monkey costume!  Here’s a bit of a sneak peek.  It really shows C’s admiration and love for it.diy-glinda-and-flying-monkey-costumes-1

UPDATE:  See how long the tulle is in the pictures above?  Fortunately we went to a few Halloween events around town before trick or treating and I realized that the tulle is waaaaay too long.  Poor J kept on tripping on it and falling flat on her stomach.  How she didn’t rip the dress is still beyond me!  So I went ahead and folded the tulle under the costume fabric so they were the same length and then sewed it all around.  diy-glinda-dress-29diy-glinda-dress-30We’ll see if that solves the tripping problem…

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The costume to end all costumes: Glinda the Good Witch. Part One.

In mid-September J and I started talking about Halloween and what she might want to dress up as.  Obviously her immediate response was “Elsa!!”.  I’ll let her do the princess thing, sure, but let’s try to be at least a little creative for Halloween!  I got out of it by telling her that she can be Elsa if she wants to, but really Halloween is a great reason to get a NEW costume and not just wear something she wears all the time anyway.  She was thrilled with that concept and I was happy to not have one of a million Elsas on the street.

Since she already owns most of the Disney Princess dresses this was a problem for her.  The only ones she doesn’t have are the princesses she doesn’t really like anyway (Mulan, Pocahontas and Jasmine are it I think…).  She loves to play this “Good Witch” game at home.  Simple concept:  she puts on an old witch’s hat, grabs the broom and “rings” the doorbell by saying “ding dong!”  I then have to answer the door, act all surprised when it’s the “good witch” and invite her in.  And then she pretends she’s the good witch and joins C and I with whatever we’re doing.  Ridiculously simple and yet it manages to get on my nerves after the billionth time we play it.  But it’s one of her favorite pretend games so that got me thinking…what if she was a good witch?  And the only good witch that came to mind was Glinda.  Who was PERFECT.  Long poofy dress that covers her feet and is super sparkly, plus she has a crown and a wand.  Could she be any more up J’s alley??

The only problem was that J hadn’t seen the Wizard of Oz yet.  Which wasn’t really an issue at all.  I simply googled Glinda, showed her the pictures and she immediately fell in love.  I mentioned to a friend the following week what J’s costume was going to be but that we hadn’t watched the movie yet.  J went over for a playdate and the friend was “kind enough” to show her the movie.  Which actually made me really upset.  One–she’s at a playdate.  I don’t want her sitting around watching TV…that defeats the purpose.  She should be playing.  And two–I wanted to show her the movie!  I may despise that movie, but it’s still a rite of passage to see it for the first time and I was absurdly upset over the fact that she watched it without me.  Plus J is really sensitive when she watches new movies so I always watch things with her for the first time.  She asks a million questions and needs to know about the “bad parts” in detail before they happen, while they’re happening and while they’re over.  So that didn’t sit well with me at all.

But I digress.  Majorly.

So after we deceided on Glinda I searched for a DIY version.  And I found not only the perfect tutorial but the most amazing blog ever.  If you haven’t seen Make It & Love It you have to check her out.  Like right now.  I’ll wait.  She is so amazing.  I’ve done a couple of projects off of her website since making the Glinda dress and I love them all.

So the Glinda dress.  Last year Make It & Love It’s daughter decided to be Glinda and so she tackled the giant project and put up a clear and easy to follow tutorial on her website, which you can find here.  I’ll show you what I did but you’ll need to refer to her for the specifics if you decide to do one yourself.

I’m going to break this down into several posts since there was a lot of work that went into it.  And just the introduction on how we decided on the dress was really long, haha, so I can only imagine what this post would look like if I did it all in one.

In this post I’ll explain how I made the hoop skirt, the crown and the wand.  In Part Two, next week, I’ll go into detail about the dress.  And then Part Three will be C’s costume, which is…wait for it…a Flying Monkey.  Which honestly I love even more than the Glinda dress.

So, the hoop skirt.  This isn’t something I would normally even think about J having, let alone tackling it myself.  But Make It & Love It has a fantastic tutorial, of course, and it really does add a lot to the Glinda dress.  I think it ended up being just as important as the crown or wand.  Plus J loves wearing it under other dress up dresses.  Every pretend princess needs a hoop skirt!

So this is what I picked up:

  • 3 yards of white muslin.  That’s the fabric I use for my quiet books and I love it–cheap, light, easy to sew.  It just so happened to be on sale at Joann’s while I was there (for the first time for this project…) so I only paid 99 cents/yard.  I didn’t actually need 3 yards, but I always like to buy extra.  Especially since I have plenty of use for this in the future.
  • 2 spools of grosgrain ribbon.  Go to Walmart for this!  I got 2 spools of 7/8 inch ribbon, each with 3 yards, for $2 a piece.  Bargain!!
  • 1/4″ plastic Pex Pipe tubing.  I bought this one from Lowes.  I made it super simple by just adding this item and the next one (the rods) for store pickup at Lowes.  No need to ask an employee or wonder around for 5 hours or anything!  I bought 5 and ended up using 4.
  • 1/4″ threaded rods.  Here’s the one I ordered from Lowes.  It was cheaper to purchase a 24″ one and then cut it into pieces than buy smaller pieces, so that’s the route I went.  I ordered 1 and then asked Hubby to cut it into 8 pieces for me.
  • 3/4″ elastic.  I used a 40% off coupon at Joann’s, but realized when I bought the ribbon that it’s actually cheaper at Walmart.  Something to keep in mind for next time!

I spent $22 total on the materials for the hoop skirt.  Just in case you were wondering.

To give you an idea of my daughter’s size, she has a 22 inch waist and her length from her waist to the floor is 20 inches.

The first measurement was simple:  I cut a 22 x 91 inch rectangle out of white muslin.  I followed the tutorial and sewed the short ends together to make one giant skirt.  I ironed the seams open.

Figuring out the ribbon was a lot more difficult.  Here’s a photo of my trial and error sheet.  I think it took me about 5 tries before I found measurements that made sense.  diy-hoop-skirt-6I sewed the first line of ribbon the whole way across the skirt two inches from the bottom.  I used the selvaged edge just like Make It & Love It so I didn’t have to worry about hemming along there.  That saved me a bunch of time.  When pinning the ribbon down I made sure to follow along with the tape measure and check that I was still the same distance every time I placed a pin to help keep it in line.

I added the next line of ribbon 4 inches above the bottom one.  Turned out that I still don’t know how to sew in a straight line, hahaha, so even though I was really careful about pinning it straight, that didn’t translate quite as well as I had hoped while sewing.  The lines are all a little bit off but surprisingly not too bad.  I made sure to continue to follow along with the tape measure for each pin.

And then I realized after I sewed the first two lines on that they still weren’t spaced out correctly.  I did some on-the-fly math and figured out where to space the last two ribbons.  Here’s a photo of exactly where my ribbon ended up going in case that helps you.  Math just isn’t my strong suit.diy-hoop-skirt-1

I sewed on my last two lines of ribbon.  For each set I left about 2-3 inches of overlap along each opening just like Make It & Love It recommends.  I also stayed as close to each edge as possible.

Since I was running out of room at the top I made the top hem for the elastic as small as possible.  To keep the raw edges at bay I folded it in a tiny bit and then folded it over again, this time about 3/4 inch, to form the casing.  I found that it really helps to iron the fold down first and then pin–helps it stay so much better when sewing.  I threaded the elastic through, tried it around J’s waist to make sure it was a good size, sewed the two elastic ends together and then stitched the opening closed.

Then the pipe.  I followed Make It & Love It’s instructions for the bottom one:  threaded my piping into the bottom ribbon until I ran out, added a threaded rod, connected a second piece of piping and then fed it through until I reached the end of ribbon.  I cut off the excess pipe, added another threaded rod and connected the two end pieces.  This is the part that was a bitch to do–I actually had to have Hubby do it for me.  I just couldn’t connect the two pieces together and shove them inside!  Not enough brute strength I guess…

I did the second row.  And this is where I went wrong, although I didn’t realize it quite yet.  Because I’m a complete and total moron I was thinking that each hoop would automatically revert to a smaller size.  So when I threaded my second hoop in I did the exact same thing as I did the first time around…so it was exactly the same size.  And this where the problem was compounded even more–I had absolutely no idea that this wrong.  So I did the third hoop the same way.  And then when I was threading the fourth hoop and saw that it looked funky I knew something was amiss….

Fortunately the one thing I did do correctly was to not connect the third tier together.  I had to keep asking for Hubby’s help and he was doing something else, so I figured I’d just wait until I was completely finished and then ask him to push the remaining two together.  I decided to try it on J before pushing the top one through.  That was my saving grace.

I wish I had a picture of how ridiculous it looked.  Unfortunately I was on the verge of tears and taking a photo of my complete and utter failure was the furthest thing on my mind.  It was one giant square.  And about 8 times too big around J’s waist.  I almost lost it.

After some thinking I came to the realization that I was supposed to trim the tubes.  DUH.  And then I was irritated because I didn’t understand why Make It & Love It didn’t say that in her post.  After rereading it I realized she does say it and, in fact, gives the measurements she used for each tier on her daughter.  My bad.

I fixed it as best I could.  It was impossible to dig out the second tier since I had already connected the two tubes.  Well I’m sure it’s not impossible but I decided to focus on the other two rows first and see if I had to fight with it.  I chopped off about 6 inches from the third row and tried that.  It wasn’t enough, so I chopped off another 6 inches.  And then I threaded the top tier through.  I only used one of the 5′ sections of pipe, even though it didn’t go the whole way around.  I was afraid that if I connected another piece it wouldn’t fit around J’s waist.

As you can see in this photo, about 1/3 of the top row doesn’t have a pipe.  But I already had to cinch the waist a ton to make it fit with that much tubing in it and there’s no way I could pull it any tighter.  In fact, it’s still a bit too large around the waist and falls down a bit.  So it was just going to stay that way.diy-hoop-skirt-4diy-hoop-skirt-3The second row needs to be trimmed more so I can trim the third row even more and then finish off the pipe in the top row.  However, getting to the piping in the second row was going to be a giant pain in the tuchus so I decided to wait until the Glinda dress was finished and then I would see how it looked under that.  It really irritated me that it didn’t turn out well.
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Oh and I should mention that I didn’t end up closing the ribbon pieces.  Although I determined that once the Glinda dress was on only I could tell that something was off (since I knew to look for it) so I wasn’t going to mess with any of the tiers but there doesn’t seem to be any reason to worry about closing the ribbon.  That piping isn’t going anywhere…trust me.  And it’s on the inside so I’m really not concerned with fraying.  Like I said, I don’t know why I sew.  I really don’t have the patience for it.

So let’s switch over and talk about something that I did like:  the crown and wand!  Of course the star shape turned out a bit funky and they’re both shedding glitter like there’s no tomorrow (I wish I would’ve done them differently), but at least they fit.

I did mine very differently from Make It & Love It (you can find her tutorial here, in the same post as the rest of the Glinda dress).  This is what I used:

  • Grey felt.  I have a ton of felt on hand.  When we lived in Canada a local fabric store was going out of business and I went insane, buying yards of felt at a deeply discounted price.  So I decided to use felt for both the crown and wand instead of foam like Make It & Love It.
  • Heat n Bond.  I use this for quiet books all of the time so I took some and ironed it onto the back of the crown to give it some heft.
  • Dowel rod.  I picked one up at Joann’s that was about shoulder height on my daughter.  It was only 79 cents, but then I discovered a week later they were only 29 cents at Walmart!  Man!!!
  • Hot glue & gun.
  • Rhinestones.  J picked out this tub from Michael’s.  There are A TON of rhinestones in there.  Her costume is finished and we didn’t even end up using a quarter of them.
  • Spray paint.  For the dowel rod.
  • Glitter paint.  For the dowel rod and, originally, for the crown.
  • Grey Acrylic Paint.  For the crown and wand to help the glitter stick.
  • Glitter.  My original thinking was to have J just paint over the felt with some acrylic grey glitter paint I have leftover from another project, but I didn’t have much left and that stuff is expensive, plus it wasn’t turning out as glittery as I had hoped.  So I found a huge container of large white iridescent glitter at Walmart for a couple of bucks.  I figured she could paint it grey and then sprinkle the glitter on top.  FYI I do not recommend this method!  We made the crown and wand over a month ago and I’m still finding glitter all over the craft area.  And they’re both still shedding like mad.  So don’t do it!!!!  The acrylic glitter paint would’ve been a much better option even if it wouldn’t have turned out as nicely…
  • Poly-fil.  Just a tiny bit to fill the star.  I always have some on hand.  J calls it her “fluff” and sleeps with it at night.  And then has a huge meltdown anytime I need to use it.  I don’t understand my child…

$9 total spent on the materials for the crown and wand.  Since I already had just about everything already the majority of that was on the rhinestones.

Crown first.  I started off by taking my grey felt and wrapping it around J’s head to get the right size.  I cut it with about an inch overlap to make sure there was room to close it.  And then I cut it at the top so it was about a foot and a half high.  Next I freehanded a tree shape onto a spare piece of card stock like Make It & Love It.  diy-glinda-crown-2

I placed it on top of the felt and traced four of them.  Here’s the cutout on the felt since I didn’t take a picture of the crown itself… diy-glinda-crown-4Then I had J paint the felt with some acrylic glitter paint.  It just wasn’t glittery enough for either of us, plus it turned out kind of patchy (since I was letting her do it) so we switched over to regular grey acrylic paint and while she painted I sprinkled some white glitter on top and pressed it down to make it stick better. diy-glinda-crown-3The following day after it was all dried I tried it on her.  Still fit perfectly (which is impressive for me…I always cut things too small!) but the top points weren’t staying up.  I have a ton of Heat n Bond so I snipped it to the right shape(ish) and ironed it on the back, hoping that would make it stiff enough. diy-glinda-crown-1It’s not perfect but the points stay up a lot better now.  I had J paint it grey so it would (somewhat) match the rest of the crown.  It’s on the inside so it’s not very noticeable.

Finally we glued the jewels on!  I let her go to town, placing them wherever she wanted and then using my hot glue gun to attach them.
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Finished!

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The wand was really simple.  First I had Hubby spray paint the dowel rod with what I thought was grey, but was actually gold.  It had been sitting in the garage for awhile so either it had the wrong lid on (which indicated that it was grey) or it sat so long that it turned from grey to brown.  Not sure, but either way it wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for.  After it was dry I just had J paint it with the grey glitter paint and I decided it was close enough. diy-glitter-wand-1For the star I cut a template out of card stock, folded the grey felt in half, traced the star onto it and cut it out. diy-glitter-wand-6I had J paint it with grey paint and sprinkle more of the same glitter we used on the crown all over both sides. diy-glitter-wand-4The following day, after it was dry, I matched the right sides together and sewed it closed, leaving one of the sides open to stuff it and put the dowel rod inside. diy-glitter-wand-3I flipped it right side out, stuffed it with a handful of Poly-fil and added a few jingle bells that we had laying around so it would make some noise.  diy-glitter-wand-2We added more jewels, obviously. diy-glitter-wand-7Finally I shoved the dowel rod inside and used my hot glue gun to close the star up.  Finished! diy-glitter-wand-8j-diy-glinda-dress-crown-and-wand-1j-diy-glinda-dress-crown-and-wand-2So there’s the hoop skirt, crown and wand.  Check out next week’s post for the actual Glinda dress…and all my trials and tribulations making it.  Seriously, I don’t have the patience for sewing…