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Y’all know from my previous post that I’m constantly scouring magazines for of-the-moment pieces to copy…er, um…sew myself. Well, my latest project centered around three trends on the runway this spring and summer:

Floral + Pastels + Maxi skirt

Like this Alice + Olivia skirt from Neiman Marcus .. which sells for $698! Oh that's reasonable for my grocery shopping excursions!

Like this Alice + Olivia skirt from Neiman Marcus .. which sells for $698! Oh that’s reasonable for my grocery shopping excursions!

With this in mind yet wanting something waaaaay cheaper…aka. more casual … I came up with this……………………

My version: $27 … and took about 20 minutes to sew!

My version: $27 … and took about 20 minutes to sew!

And in case you’re wondering, here’s how YOU can make one too:

Grab some lightweight fabric and 2" elastic. The fabric should be the length from waist to hem + about 5". The elastic should be long enough to go around your waist comfortably.

Grab some lightweight fabric and 2″ elastic. The fabric should be the length from waist to hem + about 5″ x 2. (you’ll be cutting two identical rectangles – one for the front and one for the back.) The elastic should be long enough to go around your waist comfortably.

It's ideal to have someone else measure you..but let's face it - 8 year old boys aren't exactly the most reliable source. So, here's how I estimate the length.

It’s ideal to have someone else measure you..but let’s face it – 8 year old boys aren’t exactly the most reliable source. So, here’s how I estimate the length. PS: it’s a little known fact that messy rooms make for more accurate measuring.

Fold your fabric over, lining up the folds. Measure where you'll cut.

Fold your fabric over, lining up the folds. Measure where you’ll cut.

You'll have something like this. Two identical rectangles.

You’ll have something like this. Two identical rectangles. (The sparkly Tom’s are not necessarily going to occur…)

With right sides together, sew up both sides - my photo shows how a serger seam will look. Remember, if you use a sewing machine, your sides will look a little different

With right sides together, sew up both sides – my photo shows how a serger seam will look. Remember, if you use a sewing machine, your sides will look a little different.

Now you're going to make the elastic casing at the waistline. (It doesn't matter which end you use - they're both the same…whew!) You don't want the excess seam allowance creating bulk around your midsection, so I suggest making the casing just wide enough to cover the elastic and hold the seam…not too much longer.

Now you’re going to make the elastic casing at the waistline. (It doesn’t matter which end you use – they’re both the same…whew!) You don’t want the excess seam allowance creating bulk around your midsection, so I suggest making the casing just wide enough to cover the elastic and hold the seam…not too much longer.

I serged the raw edge of the casing; however, if you use a sewing machine, remember to have enough width to tuck under about 1/4" …like this.

I serged the raw edge of the casing; however, if you use a sewing machine, remember to have enough width to tuck under about 1/4″ …like this. 

Press the casing. Sew all the way around EXCEPT - leave a hole to thread your elastic through. Thread your elastic… and before you close up that hole - make sure the waistband fits! I was worried that I'd get the elastic too tight and then it would push out my muffin top, so I cut my elastic huge, then kept cutting away until I liked the fit.

Press the casing. Sew all the way around EXCEPT – leave a hole to thread your elastic through. Thread your elastic… and before you close up that hole – make sure the waistband fits! I was worried that I’d get the elastic too tight and then it would push out my muffin top, so I cut my elastic huge, then kept cutting away until I liked the fit. (yes, it’s inside out right now!)

My length was just right, so I simply used a rolled hem from my serger for the hem. If you're using a sewing machine, just hem as needed.

My length was just right, so I simply used a rolled hem from my serger for the hem. If you’re using a sewing machine, just hem as needed.

And you're done! Bam! Look at you!

And you’re done! Bam! Look at you!

I really really love this skirt! It’s super fun to wear, very comfortable, very forgiving of the figure, and even sexy if you ask me!  I’m wearing it to an Arcade Fire concert tonight…I’ll share photos of this little ditty in action tomorrow!

A NOTE ABOUT THE FABRIC YOU CHOOSE: in order for this skirt to "work" be sure to select fabric that is: flowey, lightweight, etc. and also that is pretty wide. The reason it works so quickly is because I chose 57" fabric which gave me 104" of skirt…give or take. Something narrower will change the dimensions. Make sense?

A NOTE ABOUT THE FABRIC YOU CHOOSE: in order for this skirt to “work” be sure to select fabric that is: flowey, lightweight, etc. and also that is pretty wide. The reason it works so quickly is because I chose 57″ fabric which gave me 104″ of skirt…give or take. Something narrower will change the dimensions. Make sense?

Alrighty, here’s the breakdown:

TIME: Literally 20 minutes, maybe shorter!

COST: I bought 3 yards of $13.00/yd fabric that was 30% off, so a total of $27! That’s a little bit better than $700…but maybe I’m a weirdo!

I hope you’ll make one of these…. I’m confident you’ll thank me!

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Every once in a while, that magic, life-changing event happens … you know the one I’m talking about.  The event where you have said to yourself, “I could make that”….and later on you ACTUALLY DO!  I haven’t experienced this sort of phenomenon much in my life, I admit, but how I cherish the memories (and the pieces) of when I have!!!

Let me tell you about this most recent happening …

We received a fabulous gift card to Crate & Barrel for Christmas.  I love this gift because it was the first time in a long time I didn’t feel like I was skipping school to roam around the store.  I was there LEGITIMATELY!  We had already purchased a rug online, so while I went to pick up my “ship free to store” purchase, I roamed around to figure out what to do with my remaining $60.

Isn’t it crazy how having NO money = I’M LICKING EVERYTHING IN THIS STORE BECAUSE I WANT IT SO BADLY.

Yet, having ACTUAL money = I CAN’T LET GO OF MY GIFTCARD. NOTHING IS GOOD ENOUGH FOR ME.

Well, among several things … my heart was divided between chalkboard placemats and these darling Napkin Rings:

These are regularly $4 each... on sale at this moment for $3.15 each.  Not expensive .. but say it with me, "I-can-make-that!"

These are regularly $4 each… on sale at this moment for $3.15 each. Not expensive .. but say it with me, “I-can-make-that!”

I mean really, aren’t these just so cute.  This photo from the store website doesn’t do them justice.  They’re large, burlap-looking, and so fresh and happy.  (I think these are actually hemp, but I like to pretend they’re burlap)

So, I took a picture, put it in my phone, bought some burlap.  Then I let 3 months pass by.  Then…. last night, the impossible happened.  I MADE THEM!

 

Here is mine.  I am completely smitten.  If it wasn't burlap, I'd lick it for sure!

Here is mine. I am completely smitten. If it wasn’t burlap, I’d lick it for sure!

Alrighty…for those of you who also like the looks of these, please read on for how to make them yourself!

Cut your strips.  Mine were approximately 3" and I cut across the full width of the burlap.  Remember - it's burlap!  Don't overthink it or try too hard.  Just cut that stuff up!

Cut your strips. Mine were approximately 3″ and I cut across the full width of the burlap. Remember – it’s burlap! Don’t overthink it or try too hard. Just cut that stuff up!

You'll also want to cut out felt circles whatever diameter you'd like your flowers to be.  Mine are probably about 3"-4" in diameter.  I used the lid to a container jar as my template.

You’ll also want to cut out felt circles whatever diameter you’d like your flowers to be. Mine are probably about 3″-4″ in diameter. I used the lid to a container jar as my template.

Now you're going to fold this in half and serge the two sides together.  If you don't have a serger, use your overcast stitch ... or, worst case, a zigzag stitch.  But come in closely ... you really should use a serger!  (good excuse to return that shirt you borrowed from your friend with a serger!)

Now you’re going to fold this in half and serge the two sides together. If you don’t have a serger, use your overcast stitch … or, worst case, a zigzag stitch. But come in closely … you really should use a serger! (good excuse to return that shirt you borrowed from your friend with a serger!)

Your strips will look something like this.

Your strips will look something like this.

Now you're going to start forming your rosette.  Have your glue gun ready, heated, and lots of extra glue sticks ready.  You'll use about 1 stick per rosette.  Start by tucking one end in just a bit and gluing.  Now fold that over again and glue.  Third, start tucking just a bit and glue.  Fourth, begin wrapping and glue as much as you can.

Now you’re going to start forming your rosette. Have your glue gun ready, heated, and lots of extra glue sticks ready. You’ll use about 1 stick per rosette. Start by tucking one end in just a bit and gluing. Now fold that over again and glue. Third, start tucking just a bit and glue. Fourth, begin wrapping and glue as much as you can.

Now, put a HUGE dollop of hot glue right in the center of your circle.  Place your rosette as it is right down in it an press.  Hold it for long enough for the glue to secure to the burlap.  From there, just place a line of glue, twist and stick the burlap.  repeat until you get to the end of your circle.

Now, put a HUGE dollop of hot glue right in the center of your circle. Place your rosette as it is right down in it an press. Hold it for long enough for the glue to secure to the burlap. From there, just place a line of glue, twist and stick the burlap. repeat until you get to the end of your circle.

Clip your burlap, leave about 2".

Clip your burlap, leave about 2″.

Fold the tail in and in again then glue to the back of the rosette.  All along the way, just glue glue glue.  Wherever it needs it, GLUE it!

Fold the tail in and in again then glue to the back of the rosette. All along the way, just glue glue glue. Wherever it needs it, GLUE it!

And here is what you end up with!  AAAHH.  dreamy.  Of course, you can do a million things with this... headbands, curtain tiebacks, wristbands, etc...but I'm making napkin rings, so keep reading for the rest.

And here is what you end up with! AAAHH. dreamy. Of course, you can do a million things with this… headbands, curtain tiebacks, wristbands, etc…but I’m making napkin rings, so keep reading for the rest.

Crate & Barrel used a small strip of hemp plus a dab of velcro for their version.  SHUH, as if!  That takes WAY too long.  So, I got some rick rack.  Cut it into 8 equal strips.  I think it looks nice and farmhousey, which is what I'm going for in my home.  You can use something fancier if you want.

Crate & Barrel used a small strip of hemp plus a dab of velcro for their version. SHUH, as if! That takes WAY too long. So, I got some rick rack. Cut it into 8 equal strips. I think it looks nice and farmhousey, which is what I’m going for in my home. You can use something fancier if you want.

Place a dab of glue right in the center of the back, then place the rick rack on it.  Top it off with a heavily glued small felt circle.  YOU'RE DONE!  Hug yourself.

Place a dab of glue right in the center of the back, then place the rick rack on it. Top it off with a heavily glued small felt circle. YOU’RE DONE! Hug yourself.

Here is your new place setting ... compliments of YOU!!!  Are you kidding me?!?  i love these!

Here is your new place setting … compliments of YOU!!! Are you kidding me?!? i love these!

I am speechless.  Okay, that's never true.  But if ever oh ever I were to be speechless, it would be now!

I am speechless. Okay, that’s never true. But if ever oh ever I were to be speechless, it would be now! (Did you notice that by making these myself, I was able to get BOTH the napkin rings AND the chalkboard placemats!?!  It’s good to be a sewer… in this case, a gluer!)

And see how the tiebacks don't even show.

And see how the tiebacks don’t even show.

I hope you’ll make these!  You won’t regret it!!!  And seriously… they’re on sale for cheap.  I won’t judge you for buying them as long as you make the napkins they will hold!  =)

Here’s the breakdown:

TIME: I got lost in a conversation with the young gal that lives with us … but I’m thinking about 10-15 minutes each.  I easily made 4 in an hour, so probably even less.

COST: $3/yd for the burlap.  I bought 1 yard.  About $2.50 for the rickrack and I got all 8 completed with one package. So total cost for all 8 napkin rings…. $5.50!  A great saving compared to the $32 I would’ve spent on these in January!

That’s all I’ve got for today y’all … I’m about to make dinner and let’s just say there’s a reason I don’t write a cooking blog!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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For day 10 of So Celebrate Sewing month, I thought I’d share how I made Ellie’s napmat cover.  It really is very easy to turn a plastic sleep mat into a fabulous personalized cushion!  And you all know I don’t mess around when it comes to EASY and FAST and CHEAP!

Which would YOU rather sleep on?

Grab yourself a regular plastic covered foam napmat.  I got Ellie’s at Walmart for about $8.  Yes, there’s a more expensive one…but really???  For fabric, the napmat measures 22″ x 44″, so you’ll need about 46″ of the main fabric and about 18″ for the pillow/contrasting part.  Plus scraps for the name applique.

Of course, I'm totally guessing on that measuring part because this is how I measure ... layout the napmat, lay your fabric on top. Make sure the ends of the fabric extend a little bit past the napmat and cut. Since the fabric is 45" wide, I knew it would fit perfectly around the napmat.

Then I just eyeballed how long I thought her pillow should be. (The napmat is only long enough for Ellie's body. It would be too short for her to just put a pillow on top. So, I designed this one to have the pillow extend past the foam.) Turns out the pillow was between 1/3 and 1/2 yard.

To keep the pillow from looking mushy, I cut a piece of scrap fabric exactly the same size - this serves as an inner pillow and gives structure to the pillow.

Now that you have your pieces cut, take the side of the pillow that will be the front, and applique your little one's name on top. ( I printed out her name using a Word document. Cut out the paper letters and used them as the template for the fabric letters.)

Match the centers of the main fabric and pillow fabric. Attach them together, right side touching - making sure the pillow lining is on top. You'll end up with one big piece of fabric - still 45" wide.

Now, you want to sew the fabric together like a big pillow case. Put right sides together, sew long the bottom and all the way up the side, leaving the top of the pillow completely open. Turn right side out.

Insert the napmat into the cover through the pillow hole.

You'll notice that the napmat wants to slide down, so I tacked it just a tiny bit at the top on both sides. This keeps it from sliding. Easy Peasy!

Now you'll need to sew the seam where the top of the napmat and the bottom of the pillow meet.

Now sew up the top of the pillow except for a hole wide enough to put your hand through. Stuff the pillow with fiberfill. And close it up with a final seam.

And you'll have yourself a perfectly fun napmat!

But then...how do we carry this little mat? With a drawstring bag, of course! I made sure to make the drawstring long enough to fit cross-body so I can have my arms free to carry all the gazillion pieces of glued beans I'll be holding!

So….I know what you’re thinking …”Um, Robie…how do you wash this?”

To which I answer…”Wash?”

Seriously – I chose to encase the napmat fully because it’s faster to make this way.  Yes, it was midnight the night before Preschool started!  If you want to make yours washable, I’d suggest sewing in Velcro at the two pillow seams – the top seam & the seam where the top of the napmat and bottom of the pillow meet.  Keep in mind you’ll have to use a pillow form rather than fiber fill for the pillow.  Then you’ll have yourself a washable napmat – you’ll just have to rip out those two little tacked seams holding the mat up.

I hope this comes in handy for you!  If you know another way to make one of these – please share!!!

See you tomorrow.

We’ll remember 9.1.01.

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As you may know, 2 weeks ago I participated in Sew, Mama, Sew’s Giveaway Day.  It was so much fun – I visited all kins of awesome blogs and won THREE things!!!

Well, I gave away 2 dresses.  One from my blog and one from my Etsy shop.

The blog winner chose a navy blue strapless dress with a yellow/white seersucker sash.  So that’s what I just finished for her.  I think it’s so cute and classy.  ….   ….   …. and a little bit boring.  So….. I added something.  Just the simplest, sweetest, nicest little flower pin. If I like it, I thought you might, too.  So, here’s a free tutorial on how to make these easy breezy things.  They DEFINITELY fall into the Under $5 and 15 minutes series!

Here's the pin attached at the bodice top. So sweet, right!?!

 

Okay… Let’s make ‘em!

As (almost) always - start with your scrap selections. For this pin, I chose 2 fabrics for the flower and a darker fabric for the covered button in the center. You can have as many layers as you want.

Determine how big you want the pin. Cut out 5 circles to that size. Then cut 4 circles a little bit smaller. Of course I didn't measure my smaller ones, I just cut them smaller. They're probably about an inch narrower, but just go with what feels right. These are meant to be slightly imperfect. That's the beauty of them!

Apply fusible interfacing to one of the Large circles. This is the back of the pin, so use the strongest interfacing you have. (Also, I forgot to photograph, but you'll need a circle of felt cut to this size as well)

Now, to begin assembling your flower, start with the 4 remaining large circles. Fold in half, right side out. Then fold in half again. You'll end up with 4 triangles instead of 4 circles.

Lay each of the 4 triangles on top of the interfaced circle as shown.

I suppose you could hand-sew this next step ... but yeah right. I just walk over to the machine and do the fastest, easiest little zig zag stitch. Nothing big or fancy, just enough to hold down each triangle in the center.

Now fold your small circles into the same triangle forms and place on top of the others. And yes, go do that ziggy zaggy thing again.

Cover a button, sew it in the center (yes, I did handsew it on! amazing!). Then, start digging through your stash to find that long lost pin attachment.

Now, find that felt circle that has fallen somewhere down around your workspace or into the kids' sandwiches. Keep tinkering with it until you have cut two snips for both ends to fit through nicely.

AND ... HOT GLUE that felt piece right onto the backside of the interfaced circle...make sure that you position it with the pin sticking out!

Pin it to something. Stand Back. Admire. Smile.

So that’s it.

It really is super easy and super fun.  I want a million of these.  You can attach them to elastic headbands, shirts, purses, shoes, even a dog collar!  Seriously y’all – go make some!

 

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