Sierra’s moustache shirt

It’s time to clear out the saved posts in my drafts and show them up here. I hope to get back to posting a little more regularly after a long hiatus. Even though I made this shirt last spring, now is the perfect time to revisit it. Sierra had mustache day in school last week, but insisted that she didn’t want to wear a mustache. No problem, child, you have a mustache shirt!

The shirt is store bought, and I made it using a freezer paper stencil. I found an image that I liked and printed it off. I transferred the image to freezer paper and cut it out. I ironed the freezer paper onto the shirt where I wanted the image to be.

moustache shirt

With the image in place, I used a stiff brush to apply fabric paint inside my stencil. In this case, I went for an ombre effect, so with each mustache, I added a little more white to my black fabric paint.

moustache shirt

When the fabric paint had dried, I went over with a layer of glitter because … glitter!

moustache shirt

The shirt turned out well, and the girl is happy with it!

moustache shirt moustache shirt

Do you tutu?

As the mother of two little girls, it really shouldn’t seem all the unusual that I would find myself making a tutu last week.  It is a well known fact that most little girls like tutus.

What is unusual about this brightly colored circle of tulle fluff is that I didn’t make this for either of my two little girls.  Nor did I make it for any of their friends.  I made for me!  (weird-o.  I know.)

There are tons of tutu-orials out there, so I”m not going to give you a tutorial.  This is what I did.

1.  Cut elastic to the size of my waist (hips, actually, as that’s where I wanted the tutu to fit)
2.  Sew the ends of the elastic together into a loop.
3.  Cut the tulle into pieces that were around 22 inches long and about 5-6 inches wide.  A lot of the tutorials say to use the tulle that comes on spools.  I did not.  It’s way cheaper to buy yardage.  I just cut the tulle into lengths of about 22 inches, folded it until it fit on my cutting mat and then used my rotary cutter to trim it to 5-6 inch pieces.  I bought 2 yards of each of 3 colors, but I have enough left over to make a tutu for at least one of the girls.
4.  Fold each length in half and loop it around the elastic.
5.  Stick the end with the two edges of the piece of tulle through the loop made by the fold at the other end.  Repeat, repeat, repeat, et cetera.  I alternated 3 pieces of each color.  Do not push the tulle too tightly together at first or it will stretch out your elastic.  I had to take a bunch out.

My husband is completely baffled that I not only made a tutu for myself but that I plan on running a 1/2 marathon in this tutu.  Yes, yes I do.  That’s totally crazy, right?  Right.  Well, maybe.  I have been running for over half my lifetime at this point, and I’m pretty competitive.  I’m certainly not the fastest person around, but I definitely push myself to the current maximum levels of my own personal fitness in a race.

On race day, I will be 20 weeks pregnant.  While I can certainly keep running for as long as possible during my pregnancy, I figure it’s probably not the best idea to take myself too seriously.  I have been giving myself little pep talks on all my run to tone down the competitive drive.  My friend Kim and my online friend Manda invited me to join a Facebook group with several ladies who are doing this same race and really want to go and have a good time.  I always want to have a good time at a race, but that’s not usually the main goal.  This time, “have a good time,” IS the main goal.  “DON’T take this race too seriously” is another.  As “serious runners” are not typically the type to wear a tutu to a race, this insanity of me wearing a tulle tutu to a race is a physical reminder of why I’m running this race and what, exactly, I’m shooting for here.

So, now you know something about me beyond that I sew when it’s dark outside.  Is this idea just bizarre, or what?  Also, does this tutu make me look pregnant?

Prairie girl skirt

The family of a friend of mine is dressing up as the family of Laura Ingalls Wilder for Halloween.  My friend enlisted my help to make a prairie girl skirt her younger daughter could wear for her costume.

Add a collared blouse, a bonnet and perhaps and apron, and she will be all set.  Since my friend’s child was not available this morning, I asked my stand-in model, Sierra, to show of the skirt for you.  The intended recipient is a bit shorter than Sierra, so the skirt will fall a bit longer on her.

The waist band is a simple gathered waist with elastic.

I googled “Laura Ingalls Wilder clothing” and many skirts were just simple, long gathered skirts.  However, I decided to go for the “fancier” version and added a bit of pink trim and an extra ruffle at the bottom.

Hope our little prairie girl likes it!

Novelty print charm square patchwork ruffle skirt

How’s that for a mouthful?!  We’ll get to the NPCSPRS in just a moment, meanwhile, welcome to my stop on the Plum and June Let’s Get Acquainted blog hop and [say this next part in a funny British accent] please allow myself to introduce … myself.

My name is Em.  I currently live in Virginia via Illinois, Missouri, and Connecticut.  I’ve been quilting for … let’s call it 2 years, since that’s when I decided my scrap bin from other projects was getting out of hand and needed to be dealt with.  I sew (and quilt) predominately at night (hence the name of this blog) after my two little girls are tucked in to bed.  I often just enjoy the soundtrack of my sewing machine and the absence of small voices yelling from the bathroom, “Mooomm!  WIPE MY BUM!”  But if I’m feeling musical, I usually turn on Pandora and my mood ranges from blue grass to classic rock to club dance music.

My family and I are presently in week one of seven and a half weeks away from home this summer.  We started in Virginia, drove to Illinois, then it’s on to Montana and back home via Colorado and St. Louis.  We will drive through 16 states in total.  It is the Epic Road Trip Adventure that inspired the Road Trip Quilt Along I’m currently hosting.  

Assuming I can keep up between all the events and travel, I will post a tutorial for a new state block each week.  We just started with Virginia last week, and I would love it if you want to play along.  You can join the Road Trip Quilt Along Flickr group here.  We’ll continue on to Maryland tomorrow if I can get the tutorial finished up.  My sister’s wedding is this weekend, though, so it might be Monday.

Okay.  On to today’s tutorial.  It was inspired by Beth’s suggestion to use novelty prints.  And by the great variety of charm packs that are available.  And by my two little girls.

While not technically a quilting project, quilters have charm squares, yes?  And quilters know little girls that love twirly ruffle skirts.  You don’t know any ruffle-skirt loving little girls?  Sure you do: your best friend’s granddaughter, your neighbor’s niece, you co-worker’s sister’s cousin’s kid.  Anyway, I’m sure you can find a recipient for this darling skirt if you don’t have a little girl handy (I have two in my immediate vicinity; three this week since we’re visiting my parents and my niece is here).


[This is for a skirt that will fit a 3-4 year old.  For a smaller child, you could shorten the bottom band or leave it off entirely.  In the latter case, you will just add a hem to the bottom tier of the skirt.  For a larger child, you can add a third tier of charm square.  I recommend 12.]

16 charm squares
5-inch x 37-inch strip for bottom band
3-inch x 26-inch strip for waist band
21 inches of elastic (or thereabouts, measure the wearer of the skirt)

Ruffle skirt tutorial

Lay out your charm squares in the order you would like them.  Seven charms for the upper tier of the skirt, 9 charms for the lower tier.
 Using seam allowances of 1/2 inch, (I only emphasize that because most of you are quilters and quilters usually use 1/4 inch seam allowances.  You need more here.) sew each tier together into a ring.
 Within each seam allowance, trim off excess with pinking shears and zig zag stitch along the edge so that your skirt does not fray when you wash it.  If you have a serger, use it here.  Iron all the seam allowanced to one side.
 Sew both your waist band strip and your bottom strip together along the short ends into a ring.  Iron the seam of each open and then fold each ring in half and press.
 Open the folded-in-half ring back up and then fold one edge over 1/2 inch and press.

[This next part is slightly tricky, so read carefully.]  Line up the raw edge of the bottom band with the bottom edge of the lower tier of the skirt.  The right side of the bottom band should be against the wrong side of the skirt.  (I know it seems unnatural.  Just trust me here.)  Sew the bottom band to the skirt with a 1/2 inch seam allowance.

Iron the band out away from the skirt, flip it up on the fold line to cover the raw edge and the line of stitches you just made and then top stitch down, very close to the edge.  Ta da!  Lovely bottom band.
 Time to ruffle.  Do not backstitch at the beginning and end!!  With a basting stitch (sewing machine set to longest stitch length), sew a line of stitches about 1/4 inch below the top edge of the bottom tier of the skirt.  (Some say to add a second line of basting stitches in case a thread breaks, but I usually just sew one line.) Firmly grasp the bobbin thread with one hand and slide the fabric along the thread to gather.  You will gather it until it is the same length as the top tier of the skirt (28 inches).
 Line up the top the edge of the bottom tier (that you just gathered) with the bottom edge of the top tier, right sides together.  Sew together with a 1/2 inch seam allowance.  Use pinking shears to trim the seam allowance and zig zag stitch along the raw edge.

Iron the seam toward the top.  Turn the skirt to the right side and top stitch along the bottom edge of the top tier, catching the seam you just ironed up.  This will keep the seam in place and help the skirt to lie nicely when it’s worn.
 Using the same technique as you used for the bottom tier, gather the top tier so that it is the same length as the waist band.

Line up the gathered top edge with the raw edge of the waist band.  As with the bottom band, the right side of the waist band will be against the wrong side of the skirt.  [I inserted a 3 inch piece of ribbon, folded in half, between the layers in the back of the skirt before I sewed them together.  This is optional, but my daughter looks for the “tag” in her clothes.]
 Iron the waist band away from the skirt, flip it down along the fold and top stitch very close to the edge.  Leave about 2 inches open to insert the elastic.
Attach a large safety pin to one end of the elastic, and thread it through the waist band.  Sew the two ends of the elastic together.  Sew the hole shut.
 Phew!  Did you make it all the way to the end?  Are you going to make a patchwork ruffle skirt?  Who is on your list?
 Be sure to check out my blog hop buddy today, Taryn at Pixels to Patchwork.

And if you missed them on Tuesday, go visit Cinzia at Deux Petites Souris and check out Kristy’s Red Herring blocks at Quiet Play.

You can find all the blog hop participants on Beth’s blog at Plum and June.


One thing, one week challenge: Ruffle skirt

It’s been a little quiet on the sewing blog.  We were out of town, so no sewing.  And since we’ve been back, I’ve been working on some things, but no finishes.  I suppose I could just show you what’s in the works, though (except for the secret. project.  I can’t show you that yet.).

A few weeks ago, I told you I was going to make a ruffle skirt for Sierra and asked for your thoughts regarding the coordinating fabric.  After considering the input, I ultimately decided to use: none of the above.  I know, the indecisive creative mind at work.  I was finally ready to get going making that skirt I had intended for months and months.  And then it sat in my sewing room for three more weeks.  Sheesh!

Last week, Amy posted another One Thing, One Week Challenge and I set my challenge to finish this skirt.  So, when did I finally finish it (with challenge finish deadline of today)?  12:28 this morning.  But!  It is finished!

Amy's Creative Side
Since I know you’re just sitting on the edge of your seat to see how it turned out, without further ado: Sierra’s ruffle skirt!
I ended up using this print by Carina Gardner.  While I do love the other fabrics I paired with it (the reason I own them!), I wanted something a little more spring-y or summer-y, and all but one of those were pretty dark.
Sierra put the skirt to the “twirl test” and … it passed!
It’s also great for stalking birds.  With an insect net.  She did not catch any birds.  She did catch a pinecone.

Fabric Friday + a poll

Many months ago, I won a yard of fabric from in a giveaway on No Big Dill.    I let Sierra pick the fabric and as she loves all things green, it’s no surprise she picked this chartreuse ruffle fabric.  I have always intended this fabric to become a skirt for Sierra (she did choose it!) but it has sat and sat in my sewing space, as I’ve been completely uninspired about how to actually construct the skirt.  I could have just sewed it up and added a waistband, but it needed something more.

Last weekend, inspiration struck.  My friend Sarah hosted a Matilda Jane trunk show at her house.  I didn’t have the budget to purchase any of the lovely items she had for sale that day (my budget is going toward fabric and supplies to move my business forward at the moment), when I saw this skirt, I knew just what to do.  This ruffle fabric needed a fun print at the top to make it complete.  So, now I’m ready to make this skirt, but I just can’t decide white print to pair it with.

Here are the options; each picks up a bit of that green in the ruffles:

Left to right: Timeless Treasures Owl Floral, Quilting Treasure Splendid Rhapsody, Michael Miller Beatrice Bloom, Blue Hill Fabric Basics Multi Dots on Black, Michael Miller Bird Song

Okay, I’m going to attempt my first poll: which do you like best?

I tried three times (from two different poll makers) to make a poll, but I couldn’t get it to embed. Just leave your thoughts in the comments, please. And any thoughts on how to add a poll to a blog post!