Archive | October, 2012

Sweet Dolly Hugs ~Fabric Tote Bag

25 Oct

Once in a while I see a sewing project or tutorial that immediately inspires me, makes me say “I need to buy THAT fabric and make THAT right now!”  I am sure this is exactly the reason that fabric designers post these sorts of things, and hire their wonderful and inspirational design teams.  This is what happened about nine weeks ago when I saw a post by The Cottage Mama for Riley Blake Designs.  The post was called “The Lolly Dolly Pillow”  I loved everything about this pillow; the colors, the fabric, the ric-rac, and of course, the dolly that was joyously affixed to the front.  Straight away I went to Etsy to find a great bargain on this fabric line.  It is called Dress-Up Days, it was designed by Shari Butler of Doohikey Designs for Riley Blake.  The doll panel comes in a few different colors; grape, aqua and orange, and blue.  The grape was my favorite, although the aqua and orange was a close second.  I bought my fabric from Raspberry Creek Fabric.  They had the doll panel plus they also had a fat quarter bundle with seven of the dress up days prints for a really great price, perfect!

I knew exactly who I was going to make this project for.  A good friend of mine has a really sweet little girl who loves her dollies.  I really like watching her play, she is a kind and good-natured girl ~ she takes on the little mommy role perfectly. Plus her birthday was coming up quickly! Before my fabric arrived I started thinking about my sewing project.  Although I loved the pillow, I felt like a pillow on it’s own might not be the right gift.  For one thing, I would probably need to make a little quilt to go with it and I just had too many things on my plate for a quilting project.  For another thing, while I loved the fabric, it may not go with the decor in her room.  So I came up with this idea – a fabric tote bag that she could store all of her dollies and doll clothes in.  Or whatever she wanted to put in it!  The tote bag has cotton batting in between the outer and lining layer of fabric, so it’s really plush and huggable.  It has some little handles so that she can tow it wherever she likes.  The back panel looks like the front, but instead of a doll I appliqued her initial onto the white fabric.  Plus who can resist an adorable doll hanging off of the front!

There are a TON of tutorials and websites with great instruction on how to make tote bags out there, so this is hardly an original idea.  I will let you know how I made this one though, just in case you want to make one for your very own sweet little dolly!


~5 assorted fat quarters (I used dress up days jacks in green, grape damask, solid purple, grape chevron, and grape floral)

~Dress up days doll panel

~One yard white muslin (or thicker fabric)

~Thread (mine was purple)

~ Scrap fusible interfacing and heat n bond ultra

~ Sewing machine

~ 1 yard cotton batting


First you are going to make your front and back panel.  I kept all of the fabric the same as the Lolly Dolly Pillow, but when I realized how big my finished bag was going to be, I decided to make it a bit smaller.  You can’t make it too much smaller though because the Doll will be too big!  Here are the sizes of my fabric pieces for the front panel: Chevron ~ cut two pieces 18.5″ long x 6″ wide White: cut one piece 11″ long x 8.5″ wide.  Grape Damask: cut two pieces 5″ long x 8.5″ wide.  Now go to the Cottage Mama’s tutorial and use her instructions to put together the pieces for the front panel.  Do everything all the way up to and including attaching the doll to the panel; stop when you get to the part about the ruffle, and come back!  Here it is again: The Lolly Dolly Pillow.

If you used the same measurements as I did, your finished front panel should be 18.5″ long by 11.5″ wide.  Now we have to create a back panel.  The easiest way is to cut the same pieces as you did for the front panel.  Since I had only one fat quarter of each print, I had to cut different sizes.  As long as the finished product is the same size as the front panel,(18.5″x11.5″) it will be fine.   Assemble the back panel just like you did with the front.   Instead of a doll on the back, you can personalize the piece of white fabric by adding an applique.  To do this I first iron a scrap of fabric to some heavy duty heat n bond.  Then I like to find a nice simple font on my computer, blow it up to the size that you like.  Before you cut out the letter, pin it to the fabric.  I find if you are cutting through paper it makes the fabric easier to cut.

Pin the letter to the fabric, cut it out.

Peel off the back of the heat n bond and position it in the middle of the white fabric.  Press it into place with your iron.  I used a no-stitch heat n bond ultra so that the fabric won’t fray.  If you are using regular heat n bond you should finish your applique by doing a nice tight zig-zag stitch around the design.

Next we need to cut some fabric for the side panels and the bottom of the bag.  For the sides I used a fat quarter of jacks in green.  Cut two pieces of jacks in green that are 18.5″ long and 10.5″ wide.  For the bottom of my tote bag I used solid purple.  Cut one piece of solid purple 18.5″ x 11.5″ for the bottom.

Now we need to assemble the pieces.  Take your back panel and place it right side up.  Grab your bottom piece and line up one of the longer edges with the bottom of your back panel.  The bottom panel will be a little bit longer, (this is so that your side panels will have room to be sewn on) just make sure your back panel is centered on it.Pin it into place and sew it together with a 1/2″ seam. Repeat this step with your front panel on the opposite side of the bottom, and your side panels on each side.  Once they are all into place, iron your seams.  Here are some pictures of these steps:

For the liner of your tote bag, cut 5 pieces from your white muslin that are the same size as your front pieces.  For example: 2 pieces 18.5″ x 11.5″, 2 pieces 18.5″ x 10.5 inches, and one piece for the bottom, 18.5 x 11.5.  Assemble them exactly the way we just did for the outer shell.

Next lay out a large piece of cotton batting on the floor.  Put the outer pieces of your bag over top and cut around, so that you have a piece of cotton batting the exact same shape.  We are going to sew up the sides of the bag now.  Put the piece of cotton batting on the wrong side of your outer layer.  With the outer layer right side up, line up the long side of the front panel, with the long side of the side panel directly beside it.  Pin them together (right sides together)  repeat this step with each of the other long sides.  Now sew down each of the pinned sides with a 1/2″ seam allowance, make sure to catch the cotton batting into the stitches as well.  Repeat this with the lining as well.  You should now have to “bag” shape pieces that are inside out.

Let’s make the handles.  You need two strips of fabric for the handles.  Mine were 3″ wide by 22″ long.  If I were making it again I would make them at least two inches wider.  Interface the wrong side of the fabric strips.  Now with the wrong interfaced side facing up,  fold over each long side 1/4″ and press.  Then fold over in half (wrong sides together, right side facing out) and press again.  Sew down each long side of the strip.

Last but not least ~ it’s time to assemble the bag!  Make sure the outer layer of your bag is inside out.  Pin your handles onto the inside of the sides of the bag.  The raw ends of the handles should be facing out the top.   I pinned mine two inches from the corner of the bag.    Turn the inner layer right side out.  Put it inside the outer layer.  Now the right sides should be together, are you with me?  Pin the bag together around the top, make sure all of the corners line up.  Sew all the way around the top, make sure you catch the handles in your stitching BUT leave about a 5″ gap open.  With this open space, turn the bag right side out.  Now use your iron to press everything nicely, turn in the fabric in the space that is still open.  Last but not least, top stitch all the way around the top of the bag, closing the open hole.  You are done!!!  What do you think?

I hope you enjoyed this post, thanks for stopping by!

~Lisa K


Free Printable ~ Blank Lego Minifigure

23 Oct

Have you seen that blank lego minifigure going around Pinterest?  I loved it, and I knew my boys would have a blast using their imagination to create things with it.  The only problem is that the original source is on  Flikr (Original drawing by Dutch Micro Figures).  This means that when you try and print it, the image will not print.  Flikr is a little stingy with their images.  I played around with things for awhile and managed to create my own printable blank minifig.  I was right ~ the boys just loved it!  And your children will too ~ there are so many possibilities that it brings.  So I will share the printable version that I made. Click here and print away: Free Blank Minifig

Here is my Benjamin coloring his lego guy

Thanks for stopping by, create away and have fun!


Howl at The Moon ~ Easy & Inexpensive DIY Wolf Mask and Vest

19 Oct

Sometimes I find myself so amusing.  I am referring to my artwork in the picture above, it’s so cheesy yet somehow I think it’s hilarious.   Oh well, enough of that.  Halloween is getting close, are you running around and panicking because you just got invited to a party and have NO idea what you are going to do for a costume?  I recently made a felt and fur wolf mask and vest for a friend of mine.  It was quick to make, very easy, and cost less than those cheapy generic Wal-Mart costumes that never fit right.  Does this sound good?  Great!  Just follow my instructions and I will have you howling at the moon in no time at all! AWOOO!!!

Materials for Mask and Vest

~1.5 metres grey felt

~1 metre grey fun fur


~ 24 inches satin ribbon


~sewing machine

~about 14 inches of elastic (enough to go around the back of your head from eye to eye)

Lets start with the mask.  I have made a free printable template in adult size for you, so first follow these  links and print each one (make sure you have the “fit to page” box clicked):  Wolf Mask Base Template and Wolf Mask Add-Ons  .  Once you have printed the templates, cut out each piece along the black lines, make sure you cut the eye holes out too.  Pin to the fabric indicated on the template and cut out your pieces as per the directions.

You should have all of these pieces:

Take the two grey base pieces of your mask and place them together.  First we are going to sew them together around the eye holes, about 1/4 inch from the edge. 

Next you are going to cut a piece of elastic to go around the back of your head.  The elastic is going to connect on the top spiky edge of the mask on each side.  My elastic was about 14 inches long.  Take your elastic and insert one side into the top spiky piece beside the eye hole, in between the two pieces of felt.  You are going to sew all around the edge of your mask, 1/4 inch from the edge, but start by sewing in your piece of elastic.  I like to backstitch over top of it to make it extra secure.  Continue to sew all around the mask until you get to the other side, to the top spiky piece.  Before you sew over that area, insert the other end of your elastic.  Again I like to sew over the elastic a couple of times to make it stronger.  Continue on sewing around the edge of the mask until you get back to where you started.    Now we are going to attach the add-on pieces.  Grab the t-zone piece and place it  on the centre of the mask, between the eyes.  Line it up nicely and sew it into place, sew 1/4 inch from the edge.    Place the nose piece on top of the bottom of the t-zone.  Stitch into place. And the last step for your mask is to use the fabri-tac to glue the eyebrows on – and you’re done!  Super easy, and quick to make.  And I think it looks pretty good too.

And now on to the vest…

This vest was kind of an afterthought.  My friend had mentioned that she might like a wolf mask for Halloween. I was making a Little Red Riding Hood Costume for her daughter so The Big Bad Wolf was a good choice!  I wanted to make the mask to surprise her.  I bought WAY too much felt and fur and I didn’t want it to take up prime real estate in my fabric drawer, and so the vest was created.  It was sewn together very quickly and easily, I will show you how to make your own.

First take a loose fitting shirt and fold it in half.  Fold your felt in half also.  Place the shirt on top of the felt, with the folded middle of the shirt lined up to the fold in the felt.  Cut around the shirt – approximately 1 inch out so that you have room for a seam allowance and the vest can fit over top of your clothing.  This will be the back of your vest.Now you are going to cut another piece just like this one, except this time you will not be cutting on the fold (you will have two separate pieces)  Make sure your felt is doubled up, put the back piece of the vest that you just cut on top of it so that you can get the same shape, and cut around it.Now keep these two pieces on top of each other, and from the edge of the neckline cut down on an angle about 4-5 inches to make the neckline look nicer.(or more if you are THAT kind of lady 🙂 ) You should now have three pieces of felt that look like this:  Next we are going to add fur to the front of the vest, and put the ribbon ties in.  If you have enough fur you could certainly cover the back of the vest too.  Put the front pieces of your vest on top of the fur and cut around.  THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT: Make sure you have the front of your vest pieces facing opposite sides.  I didn’t think about this and cut two of the SAME pieces of fur, and then I didn’t have enough fur to cover the entire front of the vest, so I had to improvise a  little.  I will show you the picture I took, and you can see my mistake, please turn your vest piece so that they are facing OPPOSITE directions! Now that you have two pieces of fur cut out to match the front pieces of your vest, you are going to sew them on top.  But first lets get our ribbon.  I used 1/2 inch red satin ribbon, although you could really use any colour that you like.  Cut your ribbon in to two 12 inch pieces.  Take the two felt pieces for the front of your vest and measure 2 inches down from the neckline.  Pin one end of your ribbon in this spot. Now place the fur on top of the front piece of vest, sandwiching the ribbon in between.  Make sure the fur is facing up.  Sew all around the edge of the vest, making sure the end of the ribbon is secured inside.  Repeat this step for the other front piece of the vest.  Now you are going to pin the back piece of the vest to the front.  The front pieces should be right sides facing up.  Pin at the shoulders and the sides, and sew with a 1/2 inch seam allowance.  Lastly we are going to add a little tail to the back.  Just cut a little tail shaped piece of fur and sew it on to the bottom middle of the back of the vest.   And it’s finished!   Do you like it?  It would look really cute over a black long sleeve shirt, and maybe a black skirt.  

Thank you so much for stopping by, and HAPPY HOWL-OWEEN!!

~Lisa K

Teddy Bear Tea Party Ideas~Cake Decor, Table Runner, Free Printable & More

16 Oct

Our sweet little daughter, Anna, just had her first birthday!  Anna is our third child, our first two are boys, so I was in heaven planning a little girls birthday party.  I wanted the theme to be “Teddy Bear Picnic.”  My husband felt that it wasn’t girly enough, and although I always think I know better, I understand that she is his daughter too – so I changed it to Teddy Bear Tea Party.  Husband was good with that!  In this blog post you will (hopefully!) find some good party ideas.  There is a link to a great dress tutorial and an apron tutorial, some excellent cake decorating ideas, instructinos for a beautiful flower and fabric banner and a table runner, and also a free teddy bear “thank you” printable at the end.

The Party Frocks:

Leading up to the party, I made Anna a cute little pink gingham dress.  I had pinned a tutorial awhile back on Pinterest (of course I have been pinning ideas for her first birthday practically since she was born).  The dress tutorial was from the wonderful blog “Craftiness is not Optional, if you would like to check it out here it is:  The Junebug Dress.  I also made a little apron, since she was going to be hosting a tea party.  You can find the tutorial for her apron here:  Sweet Cupcake Ruffled Apron.

The Cake:

Over the past couple of years, cake smash photo shoots have become very popular.  I did not do one with my boys but I couldn’t wait to do one for Anna!  I made a cake.  Okay I made a pretty fancy cake, considering she was just going to destroy it.  It was actually pretty easy though, and I got to try out another idea from Pinterest.  I made a round cake and crumb coated it.  Then I made some sculptable icing.  Have you ever heard of this?  I hadn’t either, I always use fondant on my cake.  The sculptable icing was definitely more pliable than fondant, but it was fairly easy to work with and I think it tastes much better!  Plus my son had a great time playing with it and making his own icing “sculptures”.  There is (of course!) a tutorial on how to make it.  It comes from “The Decorated Cookie” and you can find all of the great instructions here:  Sculptable Frosting.  For my cake, I “sculpted” a gingham picnic blanket using pink and white squares of the frosting.  I then rolled a little decorator tool over top to give it a quilted look.  Then for the top of the picnic basket cake I made an apple, grapes, watermelon, a turkey leg (as per my son’s request) a little teddy bear, and an ant (what’s a picnic basket without ants?).  I used a basket weave technique for the icing around the cake.  It might look daunting but it’s actually very simple – just have a look at these instructions.  I also made the number one and Anna’s name out of orange chocolate wafers and rainbow sprinkles.  This is also very easy to do.  Here is my method:  Draw your simple design on a piece of paper (so for me I drew the number one)  place the paper on a baking sheet, and put a piece wax paper on top.  Melt your wafers in an OPEN ziploc bag in the microwave.  Microwave for 20 seconds at a time, each time the microwave stops take the bag out and smoosh all of the pieces with your fingers.  When the wafers are fully melted, snip a small corner off of the ziploc bag and quickly trace the outline of your design and then fill it in.  Don’t worry if  looks a little lumpy and there are  holes, we are going to fix that.  Now put the ziploc bag down and with one hand on each side of the baking sheet, bang it on the counter several times.  Your design should smooth out and the holes should fill in.  Take a handful of little sprinkles and sprinkle them over top of the chocolate.  I like to put my chocolate designs in the fridge or freezer until they are fully hard.  When you are ready to use them, carefully peel them off of the wax paper and decorate away!

The Smash:

My good friend Jackie is also an aspiring photographer (lucky me!)  She was very excited to take Anna’s pictures,  she had all kinds of great ideas.   I was also grateful that she lent her home for this messy messy photo shoot!  She had some teddy bears and helium balloons set out for props.  She also made these adorable little pipe cleaner and pom pom ants to come to the picnic.  Here are some of the pictures from the photo shoot:

The Party Decor:

Since it is October and we live (almost) in the Arctic, Anna’s party had to be indoors.  I wanted my house to look like a garden, so I made lots of tissue paper flowers.  This was also an idea from Pinterest.  There is a great tutorial on this subject from a blog called “Rust & Sunshine”  she gives great instruction on how you can make all different types of flowers here:  Tissue Paper Flowers.  I made several of these flowers and put them in to vases.  Then I did something a little different.  I had a couple packages of 20 inch paper doilies.  I decided to make a table runner using the doilies and paper flowers.  To do this, I changed one thing about the flowers in the tutorial on Rust&Sunshine.  Instead of having the pipe cleaner stem facing downwards, I twisted it so that it was facing towards the top of the flower.  Then I cut it down to about 1 inch long.  This made the bottom of the flower flat.  I then got out my glue gun and glued one flower in the middle of each paper doily, then I glued the edge of each doily together to make one long table runner.  Mine was ten doilies long.  I made a mixture of white and yellow, and white and pink flowers.One of the other decorations I made was a name banner to go across our mantle.  Again I used the tissue paper flowers.  I made two and glued each one to a paper doily.  These made the ends of my banner.  Then I took a doily and traced the inner circle part onto a piece of paper to get the sizing for my letters.  I freehanded the letters “A” and “N” inside of the circle on the piece of paper.  This made sure that they would fit properly inside of the doily and that they were all the same size.  I grabbed some scrap red gingham fabric and some heat n bond ultra.  I ironed the bumpy side of the heat n bond onto the wrong side of my fabric.  Next I pinned the paper letters to my fabric and cut out all of the letters for Anna’s name.  I peeled off the back of the heat n bond and placed each letter onto one paper doily.  Then I pressed each letter into place with my iron.  Now I had six doilies – two with flowers and four with letters.  I lined it up so that Anna’s name was in the middle and there was a flower on each side.  Next I got out my glue gun and glued the doilies together, side-by-side.  And it was done!  I think it looked very pretty.


The Party Favors & Games

The loot bags were a lot of fun.  I got some brown paper craft bags from the dollar store, nothing fancy.  Inside were some big gummy bears and Hershey’s kisses.  There were some other dollar store items also, but my favorite item in the goody bag was these little bear and teapot cookie cutters.  I found them at our bulk store for .60 cents each, perfect price for a treat bag too.  I can just imagine the children at home making tiny little cookies with their moms.  Plus, if i’m being honest, I can’t wait to make some little cookies with them myself!   I was also very proud of my “thank you” labels that I made to stick on the goody bags.  The little label that I made and glued onto the bags read “Thank you for coming to my party!  My Teddy Bear loves you” awwwww!!  If you would like a free printable for your own party, here is the link: Thank you label  There are six labels to a sheet, just print, cut and glue.

Our party games were very basic, a must when entertaining one year olds!  Every child brought their own teddy bear.  For the first game we sat in a circle and did the nursery rhyme, “Teddy bear teddy bear turn around…etc” and the teddy bears did the actions to the nursery rhyme.  When the rhyme was over, each child (or mom) took a turn saying “teddy bear teddy bear” and then an action, for example, “Teddy bear teddy bear give a hug” and then they had to make their teddy bear do the action.  The second game wasn’t really a game, just a dance along to “Rock-a-bye-bear” by The Wiggles.  We can’t get enough of The Wiggles in our house, and sadly I know ALL of the dance moves!  So that’s about it, I hope you enjoyed this post.  Thanks for stopping by!

~Lisa K


Fall-Off-The-Bone Moist Turkey ~ with Bacon too!

11 Oct

My husband is not a turkey guy, but I always insist on making it at Thanksgiving because it is a tradition.  This year was no exception.  My husband did not argue with the dinner choice,  although he had two requests for me.  One was that he wanted the turkey to taste like bacon.  The second was that he wanted it to be a really moist turkey.  As luck would have it, a friend of mine shared one of her family secret recipes with me the day before Thanksgiving.  She told me, “Once you try this, you will never cook turkey any other way- it is the best!”  That was good enough for me.  I did try her cooking method, and I added my own seasoning and a “bacon weave”.  I have to tell you, she was right!  It was so delicious and moist.  We didn’t even really have to carve the turkey because the meat just fell off the bone.

I will share the cooking method with you, as well as the seasoning I used (you can actually use any kind of seasoning you like, it’s the cooking method that makes the turkey so moist), plus if I blog about it I can remember next year how I cooked the most delicious turkey ever!


Turkey (whatever size you like)

Bacon (8-10 slices)

1/2 Cup butter

Seasoning Salt

Poultry Seasoning


Kettle of boiling water

Remove giblets and wash your turkey.  If you are going to stuff it then go ahead and do that first.  Lay your turkey in the roasting pan with the breast side up.  Preheat your oven to 450 F.   Cut up your butter into small pieces and place the pieces all over your turkey.  Season well with seasoning salt, poultry seasoning and pepper.  Next you are going to create a little “net” of bacon to go over your turkey.  Lay out a piece of tin foil and put three strips of bacon on top of it.  Lay them vertically with about 1 1/2 inches between each one.  Now you are going to weave  five strips of bacon through those three pieces.    Take your tinfoil and bacon, and turn it over on top of the turkey so that the bacon is covering most of it.Boil a kettle full of water (about 1-1 1/2 litres) and pour it over top of the turkey.  Quickly seal it all in with a few sheets of tinfoil (it’s a good idea to have the tinfoil ready before the water boils)  Put your turkey in the oven.  Cooking times will vary depending on the size of your turkey and whether you have stuffed it or not, but this is very important: for the last 45 minutes of cooking time, reduce your oven temperature to 350 f, and take the tinfoil off the top of your turkey.  This will brown up your bird.

Here is a very helpful link to determine how long you should cook your turkey:  Turkey Cooking times

And using my turkey for an example, here is what I did:

My turkey was 8 lbs and un-stuffed.  I cooked it for 2 hours and 15 minutes, covered with the tinfoil at 450f.  Then I removed the tinfoil, turned the temperature down to 350 f and cooked it for another 45 minutes.  Again I want to mention ~ if you are not crazy about bacon, leave it off, use whatever spices you like.  The boiling water method, and covering your turkey with the tinfoil is the important part.

I kid you not, I will never cook turkey any other way, it was delicious and so moist!  The drippings also made awesome gravy.   Best of all, my husband totally approved, we also ate leftovers the next day and he said it tasted even better.   Thanks for stopping by!

~Lisa K

Mr. Potato-Kin ~ Toddler pumpkin fun

9 Oct

While we were out shopping yesterday, I noticed a bin of pumpkins with an excellent sale price attached to it. Since Halloween is still a few weeks away it is still pretty early to carve pumpkins, but $2 seemed like too good of a deal to pass up for some large pumpkins. It turns out the store had mistakenly put the $2.00 price tag on the pumpkins, but nevertheless the manager gave us the price advertised and we were on our way to a family fun pumpkin carve-off night.

We had two pumpkins. My husband and my four year old, Ben, were on one team. Sam, my two year old was on my team. How do you carve pumpkins with a toddler? In the past I have let them help scoop out the guts, that part is easy. Usually I then give them a washable felt marker and let them go crazy with pumpkin colouring for awhile. When they are bored of that I wash the pumpkin off and then ask them what type of eyes, nose, mouth, etc…they would like. Then I carve the face myself. This year I was about to do the same thing when I heard my husband (who was vigorously carving his pumpkin) say, “Prepare to meet…MR ANGRY EYES!” Some of you may recognize this line from Mr. Potato Head in Toy Story 2, you know, where he accidentally sticks a pair of shoes in his eye hole and runs into a wall…pretty hilarious stuff! Anyways, I immediately had this brilliant idea. I ran upstairs and snatched up my children’s Mr. Potato Head accessories. I came back to our little competition and used a small knife to make a hole for some eyes, ears, nose, and of course the little potato hands. Now my two year old could put any kind of face he liked on Mr. Potato-kin. For the mouth I actually had a bunch of glow in the dark fangs from the dollar store. I carved out a mouth piece that I could fit the fangs inside. This made it look a little more spooky and Halloweenish. My husband pointed out that there would be no holes for the candle light to shine through. We are going to fix it by drilling a nice pattern of holes in the back of the pumpkin. I am probably not the first person to ever think of putting potato head pieces into a pumpkin, but I had never seen it before so I thought I would share it with you.

Sam was happy that he got to participate and make his pumpkin his own. And best part, he can change it to look different whenever he wants. Thank you for stopping by, I hope you enjoyed this post!

~Lisa K

Sweet Little Red ~Halloween Sewing Tutorial and Free Pattern

9 Oct


Well here it is!  I had meant to get this posted by now, but after a week of sick kids, sick me, husband away on business trip, my daughter’s first birthday, and a large cutom order to finish up (so many excuses!!) it’s a little later than I had hoped.  The “Sweet Little Red” costume and photo shoot are done, and now on to the tutorial so that you can make your own – just in time for Halloween.  I really loved this project, and doesn’t that little model look so cute in her costume?  Her mom, Jackie, also did a great job with the photos.  The skirt on this dress is very full, so you could put it over top of a pettiskirt or tutu and it will flare out beautifully.  I love the little bavarian style criss-cross ribbon in the front, and the girly ruffle detail on the front of the bodice.  If you wanted you could also make the dress in blue gingham, maybe for a Dorothy costume.

This tutorial is for the red gingham dress.   It is for personal use only, however if you would like to purchase a limited commercial license please e-mail me at   If you would like to make the apron also, you can visit my apron tutorial here.  I have two patterns for this dress, one is 18 month size and the other is size 5.  Here is a link to the patterns:

18 Month Sweet Little Red

Size 5 Sweet Little Red

Materials Needed:

18 month
1 Meter Red Gingham                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Red or White thread                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   1/2 inch elastic (optional)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          12 inches of 1 inch red satin ribbon                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        .3 meters of white cotton fabric                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 1 meter of red faux suede string                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               ~A button
Size 5                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     ~ 1.5 Meters Red Gingham                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ~Red or White thread                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             ~1/2 inch elastic (optional)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     ~16 inches of 1 inch red satin ribbon                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         ~.3 meters of white cotton fabric                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        ~1.2 meters of red faux suede string                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ~A button

If you are not sure what I mean by red faux suede string, have a look at and enter in the search “red faux suede string” and it should come up with a picture.  Cut out all of the pieces of fabric as indicated on the pattern.   When you are done you should have 4 of the front bodice pieces, 2 of the back bodice, 2 sleeves, and 2 of the centre bodice pieces.  The centre bodice pieces should be from your white cotton fabric, and the rest will be in the red gingham fabric.

First step is to take your red satin ribbon and you are going to cut it into pieces that are 2 inches long.  If you are making the 18 month size you will need 6 pieces.  If you are making the size 5, your bodice will be longer and you will need 8 pieces of ribbon.Next you are going to place the ribbon on two of the front pieces of your bodice and figure out where you would like them to go.  Mine were all two inches apart.  Make sure that they will line up with the ribbon on the other side (use your measuring tape or a ruler!) Make sure you have at least 1.5 inches below the bottom set of ribbon because you will be sewing the skirt there later on.  Also make sure that the top row is at least 1/2 an inch from the top of the bodice to give you a seam allowance.  This next step can be a little tricky.  You need to sandwich the other pieces of the front bodice on top (if there are right sides, make sure the right sides are together) and the ribbon needs to be folded in half with the cut ends towards the outside of the sandwich.  The ribbon should form a little loop inside the “sandwich”  Pin everything in place, and then sew with a 1/2 inch seam, from the shoulder, down, over the ribbon, to the bottom.  When you get to the ribbon make sure that you catch all of the pieces.  The ribbon should be long enough that you can actually leave a bit of the ends sticking out of the side.  Here is a picture – the black lines represent where you will sew.  Now turn your front bodice pieces right side out and press well.  You should now have something that looks like the picture on the right.  Are you with me?  Excellent!

Okay now we are going to work on attaching the back bodice.  Take one of your back bodice pieces, place it right side up.  Arrange your front bodice pieces like this on top of it:

Make sure that the armholes line up; the sleeves won’t go all the way to the edge of the neckline but this is okay because there will be a 1/2 inch seam allowance when you sew it, it will all work out perfectly (trust me!)  Now lay your other back bodice piece on top.  If there is a right side make sure it is facing down; the wrong side facing up.  Pin together at the shoulders and neckline and sew with a 1/2 inch seam allowance like so:

Now we need to make an opening in the back of the dress so that the dress can be put on easily.  Grab the two pieces of the front bodice and pull them out to the sides.  Find the centre of the back bodice and from the neckline measure 3 inches down for the 18 month size, or  4 1/2 inches down for the size 5 version.  Then cut down in a straight line through both pieces of the back bodice. Grab your red faux suede string, we need to make a loop for the button to attach to.  To figure out how big you need your loop, I usually just make a loop, hold the ends with one hand, and test it by passing the button through.  It should just be a little bit bigger than the button, you don’t want the button to go through it really easily because it may not stay buttoned up.  I really hope this makes sense!  So, cut a piece of the suede string big enough for your button to pass through, and add an inch on the end for seam allowance.  Sandwich your loop near the top of the neckline between the back bodice pieces, just under where you previously sewed your neckline together.  The ends of the loop should be sticking out of the line that you just cut.  The loop part should be inside of the bodice.  We are now going to sew down one side of the line, around the bottom, and back up the other side with a 1/2 inch seam allowance.   Clip the inside of the corners around the bottom, so that when you turn it inside out it will lay flat.  Now we are going to turn the bodice right side out and press well with your iron.  Make sure that the side of the  back bodice line up nicely with the sides of the front bodice.

Lets take the two pieces of white cotton that you have cut out for the centre bodice.  Pin them together and sew up one of the long sides, along the top, and down the other side with a 1/2 inch seam allowance.  Leave the short, straight side open so that we can turn it right side out. Then turn it right side out.  Make sure that you get all of the little corners poked out – I use a chop stick, not very technical I know but it works for me.  Press with your iron.  Now we are going to create some ruffles for the front of your bodice.  I cut two strips of the gingham fabric.  My strips were two inches wide, and double the length of the front of the bodice.  First sew a zig zag stitch down one long side on each of your ruffle strips.  One end of your ruffle is going to be at the top of your bodice and visible, so we need to sew down one of the short ends.  Also, you need to make sure that each of your ruffle strips are opposite.  Look at the picture below.   The zig zag is on the right side of the first strip, and it is on the left side of the second strip.   Fold the short end over roughly 1/4 inch and press with your iron.  Fold over again 1/4 inch and press.  Then sew your folded end close.  Take the other long end that is still raw, fold over 1/4 inch and press down.  Fold it over one more time and press with your iron; now sew down the long side. Now we need to make it into a ruffle.  You can use whichever method you prefer; I like to set my stitch length to 4.5, crank up my tension, and sew just on the inside of the strip – on the side that you sewed your ZIG ZAG stitch.  Once you have two nice ruffles, make sure they are the same length as the front of the bodice.  Measure 1 inch in from the front centre of the bodice (the side where you made the little ribbon loops.  Pin your ruffle onto the front of the bodice, 1 inch in all the way down the front.  The side pinned down should be the zig-zag side, and the short end that you sewed down should line up with the top of the bodice.  Sew your ruffle strip onto the bodice, sew down just on the inside of the zig zag stitch, it’s okay to sew over top of the gathering stitch.  Take your white centre bodice piece.  Place it behind the front bodice pieces, line it up nicely with the top of the front bodice pieces and pin it.  You are going to open up your bodice so that the back piece is not behind it.  Now sew down the same line that you just sewed to attach your ruffles.  Hopefully this makes sense, your centre bodice should now be attached to the front bodice.  Here are some pictures to help out.    Take your bodice to the iron and press the ruffles down flat against the bodice.

Okay, now we are ready for the sleeves!! Hey guess what?  The hardest parts are over with!  Take your two sleeves and fold the long straight side over 1/4 inch and press, then fold it over 1/2 inch and press again.  DO NOT sew it down!  Now you are going to sew a gathering stitch along the top  curvy edge of your sleeves.  Open up your bodice and lay it flat, with the right side facing up.  Make sure your sleeve is gathered to the same length as your arm holes, you will probably have to ungather it a little bit.  Pin your sleeve to the arm hole, right sides together. Now sew your sleeve to your bodice with a 1/2 inch seam allowance These seams will be visible, so it is a good idea to finish them up with a zig-zag stitch or a serger if you have one.  Flip your bodice so that the right sides are facing each other.  Line up the sides of the bodice and the sleeves.  Pin together.  Unfold the edge of the sleeve that you ironed earlier.  Sew all the way up the side, and the sleeve to the very end that you just unfolded.  Use a half inch seam allowance.  Repeat on the other side of the bodice.  Again finish with a zig-zag stitch.Now let’s finish up those sleeves!  You have two options here.  You can leave the sleeve loose the way it is.  If you are choosing this option, all you have to do is fold the sleeve back the way it was and stitch around the top of the folded part, 1/4 inch from the edge.  Your other option is to put an elastic in.  If you are doing this, stitch around the top of the folded part, 1/4 inch from the edge, but leave a space  about 2 inches open.  This will make a casing for your elastic.  Take your half inch elastic and measure how much you need by placing it around your child’s upper arm.  Don’t make it too tight!  Thread your elastic through the casing, sew the ends of the elastic and then sew the opening shut.  Repeat the same steps with the other sleeve.

We are almost finished!  Now we have to make the skirt.  I wanted my skirt to be very full and gathered so that it would flow nicely overtop of a pettiskirt.  I took my material and folded it in half lengthwise.  From the remaining fabric I cut two strips, 9 inches wide for the 18 month size and 16 inches wide for the size 5.  The length was just the length of the fabric (so 1 metre for the 18 month and 1.5 for size 5)  Make sure your pieces are still folded in half.  Cut the ends of your strip at a backwards angle to make it an a-line skirt.Place the two pieces of your skirt right side together and sew up the sides (the angled edges) with a 1/2 inch seam allowance.  Zig-Zag stitch your seam.  Press the seams flat with your iron.  Now you are going to sew a gathering stitch along the top of your skirt.  If you have used the amount of fabric that I recommended, your skirt is going to be very gathered.  Sew your gathering stitch, leave long threads so that you can (carefully!) pull them and gather the skirt some more.  When you are done, the circumference of the skirt should be the same as the bottom of the bodice.  Make sure your skirt is inside out and your bodice is right side out.  You are going to pin the skirt to the bottom of the bodice, RIGHT sides together.  I like to line up the side seams of the skirt with the side seams of the bodice.  I hope you can see in this next picture how I pinned it together.  The bodice is inside the skirt.Sew your skirt to your bodice using a 1 inch seam.  And this part is very important: When you come to the front of the bodice, make sure that your white centre bodice is laying flat, and that your ruffle strips are also laying flat.  Make sure you catch the bottom of the ruffle strip in your seam.  This will help it to lay flat, and hide the unfinished edge.  Finish your seam with a zig-zag stitch or serger.  Now hem your skirt, I like to fold up 1/2 an inch and then again and sew, you can finish yours however you like.  Take your red faux suede string.  Fold it in half and put one end through the top left ribbon and the other through the top right ribbon on the front of your bodice.  Criss-cross your ribbon all the way down and tie it in a bow at the bottom.  The last step is to sew the button on the back of your bodice and you are DONE!!!

Thank you so much for following my tutorial, I hope my instructions are clear.  If not, please feel free to comment, I will change things as needed and do my best to help you out!  

Now just for fun – I had to make the size 5 dress for a customer of my Etsy shop and it just so happens that my son is a size 5.  I couldn’t resist trying it on him to make sure it fit properly.  He had fun jumping and twirling, but to his credit he did suggest that the customer would probably want me to throw the dress away and make a Ninja-Turtle Princess costume instead.  Of course I took some pictures…

Thanks again for stopping by!

~Lisa K

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