Thursday, December 19, 2013

DIY Gifts for Girls: Reversible Circle Skirt

I have a problem...a serious problem. I have grand plans in my head every year for all the sewing gifts I will complete. Lists and ideas begin in my head somewhere around September and then come December I find myself knee deep in another project. This year is no different. First came Thanksgiving and the idea of redoing my entire dining room, including the sewing of 6 slip covers, all in a week prior to family arriving. Now, here it is two weeks from Christmas and what am I doing? Painting my kitchen cabinets, of course! When will I learn? Really, when will I learn? But the good news is, my cabinets are looking AMAZING (can't wait to show you the makeover) and I have some quick and easy gift ideas to share in case you find yourself in my shoes and need fast, cute, and easy gifts to whip up this Christmas.

Have any little girls in your life you would like to sew for? I would recommend the incredibly fast and adorable circle skirt. I made my 8 year old and 3 year old nieces a couple skirts recently and they are hit with both ages. I mean, are you ever to old to twirl in a pretty skirt? I say fact, I may have to whip up a circle skirt for myself this spring as well. I will let you know if twirling at age 35 is in fact, still fun :)

There is always the classic circle skirt with all its twirling glory- and a wonderful tutorial can be found over at MADE. These are quick and easy to whip up, but if you have just a little more time on your hands, I would like to suggest checking out this adorable reversible circle skirt tutorial by Cherie of You & Mie over a This Heart Of Mine.

For my skirt, I used two inexpensive fabrics from the clearance section at Walmart as well as some orange double fold bias tape. The end result is two skirts in one and did I mention...hours and hours of twirling :)

Hop on over and check out these wonderful tutorials. This is great for BEGINNERS- and so fast and easy. I have another gift idea for friends or teachers up next- til then, I will be painting away :)


Friday, December 13, 2013

A Little Blue Maggie Mae

I have a weakness for little Maggie Mae's. This pattern is just so cute. I have made several before and don't see myself stopping anytime soon. One of my favorites was the one I made with an old pillowcase for a sweet little girl named Ella. 

I so hope I can find another pillowcase like this one again some day. I just love how it turned out. But the blue Maggie Mae I just created for another little cutie named Elise may be up there with my favorite. 

 This tunic was created with a thin corduroy from Joann Fabrics, a navy blue Kona cotton, hot pink piping and some Riley Blake neon cotton that I won from Project Sewn

I love the pops of pink in this top. You can find it in the lining of the pockets and the bodice as well on one of the back buttons and piping. 

The thin corduroy worked lovely on this top but if I am being honest...the piping, while cute, made the top a little stiffer than I would have liked around the bottom. 

I hope the little blonde darling who received the top is getting some good use out of it. 


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

DIY Chevron Maxi Tutorial

                             Skirt: DIY, Navy Sweater: DIY, Gold belt: thrifted, Yellow Scarf: DIY

Whew...that was quite a blogging break I took! I was never planning on being away but the last few weeks have been extremely busy with decorating, sewing, hosting holidays, traveling, etc. I have several projects to blog about, but haven't found the time to edit photos and posts. Hopefully I can get a few up before my next major task- painting the kitchen cabinets!!!!

A couple months ago, I set out to make my friend Melissa a chevron maxi skirt in the hopes of recreating this pinterest look:

For my friend's skirt, I stuck with the black and white look, but for mine, I went with navy. I tend to wear navy a lot more often and thought I would be able to get more use out of it. To start I ordered 4 yards of each (black and navy) fabric from I can no longer find the blue, but here is a link to the black. Both fabrics were a cotton spandex knit. They had a light and beautiful drape and are very soft, however they are a bit sheer and require a slip underneath. 


1. Begin by gathering the measurements need to create a pattern following Mad Mim's wonderful tutorial. The only difference I made to the a-line pattern was adding a few more inches at the bottom to create more of a flare. 

2. Draw your pattern onto freezer paper and cut it out. Lay your fabric out flat, with no folds. Lay your pattern onto your fabric diagonally to create one panel for your chevron skirt. (You will cut 4 total panels. 2 for the front and 2 for the back). I laid mine down to have the chevron point going down in the center and up at the side. The straight line side of the pattern is the center seam and you can see the stripe will be diagonal on the panel and will point down in the center where the panels will be sewn together.  To get the most out of your fabric, after cutting this panel, move the fabric over and cut another panel that is identical to this one. (One of these will be used in the front and one in the back).

2. Next, turn your cut panel piece over and use it to line up the diagonal stripe on the other side of the front piece. You will want to lay it flat on top of the fabric (right sides together), lining up the stripes. Make sure your straight line (the center seam) is still going to have the stripe pointing down. Then pin, pin, and pin some more. Make sure your lines are staying straight and then cut out your 2nd panel piece. Do the same for the back. After cutting you should have 4 panels.

3. Next, sew your 2 front panels together on the straight center seam line. To get your stripes to line up and not shift, use steam a seam prior to stitching.

 Remove a piece of steam a seam a lay it down the length of one center seam line. (Lay the steam a seam on the RIGHT side of the fabric.) Then peel back the tape and lay your other skirt panel on top (Right sides together) making sure you are lining up your stripes. Once everything looks good, iron the steam a seam to create a permanent bond. After it cools, stitch a straight stitch with your machine, making sure your stitching line is further in than your steam a seam so that none of the steam a seam shows once your skirt piece is opened right side out. (Make sure you use a needle appropriate for sewing on knit fabric and adjust your tension as needed).

4. Repeat step 3 for the back 2 panels. Then, stitch the front and back panels together at the side seams. Use your steam a seam on these seams as well to make sure your lines meet up correctly and stay that way prior to stitching. Finally, create the waistband and hem using Mad Mim's tutorial. On my skirts, I only used one straight stitch on my hemline, instead of using a double needle. Because I tend to flare my skirts more, there is plenty of room to walk without it pulling the hem which would break the thread.

5. Then find a stunning little model to pose with and rock your new chevron maxi skirt:


Friday, November 1, 2013

DIY Apron

A girl from my small group recently got married. As a gift for her shower I made her a Ruffle Apron using See Kate Sew's Ruffle Apron pattern. This apron is fun and flirty and comes together quickly.

For the fabric I used this Keepsake Calico Fabric in Swivel Capri and a Kona Cotton in Navy Blue from Joann Fabrics. Unfortunately, I figured out Kona Cotton in Navy is not all the same. After running out mid apron cutting, I ran to the nearest fabric store to me (Hancock Fabric) and bought some more. Came home to discover it is a different shade of navy than the Joann one...oops! 

I omitted the pocket on the front and added a ruffle in between the bodice and skirt seam. I think I need to whip up some more of these for Christmas gifts this year and of course one for myself!


Monday, October 28, 2013

Tutorial: DIY "Linen" Pleated Table Cloth

So...back in December of last year I set out on a New Year's resolution of completing a dozen designs in a year. I was going to take one room per month in my house and complete the decorating. Wanna know how many rooms I have shown? room. That is not so hot. I have actually almost finished 3 rooms, including my craft room and guest bathroom, that hopefully one day soon I will get around to posting. But, I have a room hanging over me right now- the DINING room. This room is the most neglected and will be hosting Thanksgiving in a month. The to do list includes: wainscotting, painting, slipcovering chairs, finding a buffet, curtains, a rug, and so on and so on. It is safe to assume this will NOT be ready in a month. But, I did complete one task- and in true Shannon style, this was not even on the to do list, because I am a procrastinator like that!

So, the story behind this tablecloth is that I was originally going to refinish the table it is on top of. My parents gave us this table as a hand me down and it is a solid table, but no longer our style. I wanted to give it a Pottery Barn black finish but then changed my mind and decided to buy a table, all to realize I am way too cheap to buy a table. I am hesitant to refinish it and I don't have the time right now, so I found a cheap way to give it a new look. While I realize this after photo isn't quite a wow moment...hopefully when all the other pieces of the room come together it will be. For now, this room is still a space housing empty boxes, unused furniture, and other random items...but I am working on it!

If you need an inexpensive solution for your table, here is an easy tutorial to follow. First, gather your supplies:
One large drop cloth (I had one left over from my outdoor cushions project so this was free for me)
Sewing Machine

1. Prep your drop cloth. You should not use it straight out of the package. It is stiff and needs to be washed. I washed this one a couple times with extra fabric softener to get it to feel the right way. I plan on bleaching another one for the chair slipcovers and hope it will turn out. Without bleaching it, it will give you a linen type of look.

2. Measure your table and determine your length and width. For my table, I used my length and width plus 8 inches of overhang on all sides. My table measured 70 inches x 36 inches.

     36 inches + 16 inches for overhang = 52 inches


   70 inches + 16 inches for overhang = 86 inches

Cut a piece of drop cloth for your length x width plus overhang. Complete the fitted corners by using this tutorial

3. Cut strips for your pleats. I wanted a four inch tall pleat, so I would need 8 inch tall strips that will be folded in half times twice the diameter of the table. I cut several 8 inch pieces by tearing the drop cloth. It tears in a straight line so you measure out 8 inches, make a small cut, and then tear all the way across the fabric. Once you have enough torn, sew the short sides, right sides together on the ends to create one long strip 424 inches long...yep, it is a long piece of fabric!

4. Next, iron the pleat strip in half length wise, wrong sides together. Begin to make your pleats. For mine, I decided to make my pleats every 3 inches and 1 inch deep. To do so, I placed my ruler on the edge, measured out 3 inches, then folded the fabric back on itself to the one inch mark and pinned. Then I kept repeating that process, ironing every few pleats, all the way around the entire strip of fabric. 

5. Once you have the pleats pinned, run a basting stitch on the top unfinished edge and remove the pins. This step is up to you, but you may want to serge the edge. Drop cloth frays easily and can get messy at this point. 

6. Now, take your fabric and pin it to your fitted table cloth. I played with mine a bit before deciding where I wanted it to fall. I ended up pinning it, right sides together, at about the 7 inch mark on my table cloth overhang. I pinned it all the way around until I came to the end of the fabric. I sewed my two pieces together prior to pinning the last section. There is a seam instead of a pleat here, but I think it blends in pretty well. 

7. Sew the pleats on, trim the seam and serge or zig zag stitch the seam to prevent fraying...and, viola, inexpensive table cloth that can easily be dressed up for holidays. 

Please feel free to comment or email with questions. If you leave a comment, please make sure you have your settings to allow for replies so I can answer you :) It should be as simple as taking off the "no reply comment" option in your settings.  Thanks, Shannon

Friday, October 25, 2013

DIY Diaper Bag and Clutch

My sister in law Debbie is due with her first any day now. We are excited to hear of the arrival and find out if we have a new niece or nephew! Back when she was about 2 months pregnant she asked me to make a diaper bag...and I finished it last week (nothing like a little procrastination.)
She wanted a medium sized bag and yellow and gray fabric. I found the modern chevron fabric at Joann in the new HGTV line. And the lining is made out of a gray and cream quilting fabric, also from Joanns that I am unable to find a link for :( The bag pattern is The Poppins Bag with a couple changes: I added Peltex fusible interfacing to the exterior pieces and added an extra elasticized pocket on the interior. I left off the toddler handle and used all the same fabric for the exterior pieces and scrunch instead of coordinating prints.
The interior is filled with pockets as well as 4 large exterior pockets, which makes it easier to organize all your baby bag needs.

In addition, I made her a matching diaper clutch/changing pad using this TUTORIAL. I made a couple small changes. My clutch is a couple inches wider and I added a button and buttonhole closure instead of velcro.

Inside it holds diapers and wipes.

And opens out to a nice changing pad.

When you are done, just fold it back up and it fits nicely in the bottom of the bag. 

For as long as it took me to get going on this bag, it came together quickly and I am happy with the way it turned out. I hope she gets some great use out of it. 


Sunday, October 20, 2013

DIY Tunic Top

I have been doing a ton of sewing lately...just mostly for other people or without pictures. Which has made my posts few and far between. I finished this tunic well over a month ago and finally got around to taking a picture of it. I used my own pattern (which is going to be put on here soon...really, I mean it this time!)

I used the basic bodice of the pattern and added a longer "skirt" to it. In addition, I moved the zipper to the side seam. I love tunics that allow me to wear tight jeans/leggings without feeling like my back side is way too exposed...while some ladies can pull it off, I am not one of them :)

The fabric was a clearance quilting cotton from Joanns that I picked up for a couple bucks. I love the orangey red of the top and the print. I think it looks much better in person, but these pics will have to do.

The same pattern was used to make a dress for a friend (to come on the blog soon) and this lace peplum top HERE.

Hopefully I can get my act together and get the pattern on here soon!


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Pattern Review: MADE Beach Robe

I finally purchased a pattern I have wanted to sew for over a year now. The MADE Beach Robe pattern can be found HERE.  When I saw the red and white version she made, I knew I wanted it. I still haven't made the white version yet, but I plan on it. For the robes I was making, I purchased towels from Walmart, but found it took two towels to make one robe. I only had enough to make a robe for my daughter (for some reason I bought two of the pink/purple print towel) and my son's towel would have to be put to the side for something else. As I debated over what to make it with, I settled on knit fabric, and I LOVE IT!
It is so soft and cozy. It is much easier to work with than the towel and doesn't leave a big mess. The downside is not a towel, so it is more to be used as a robe after toweling off after a bath. But, I still love it. I used some gray jersey knit, orange bias tape on the edges, and made the hood lining and tie bias tape out of Robert Kaufman Metro Living Circle fabric in gray. I love the gray and orange color combo, similar to what I used on these fabric baskets:

For my daughter's robe I used two towels and purple bias tape. I did not do the full tie on hers and I regret it...I think the full tie is much cuter!

My daughter can be a bit of a ham for photos...
But, at least she was enjoying herself which is more than I can say for my son...most of our pictures turned out like this:
But they both love putting them on after baths and staying warm and cozy. I am happy with the pattern and think it is so cute when it comes together. I would recommend doing the full tie and if you don't find a towel you love...give it a try in knit, you just might love it as much as I do!


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Quick and Easy Girl's Cape

Whew...I haven't posted in forever. I have been way behind on taking photos and you'll see, the ones I do have aren't great. But, I have been doing a lot of sewing, mainly for kids and have a few things to show you in the days ahead. The first is the cute and easy cape that I recently made for two little girls' birthdays. The two girls are sisters and ages 2 and 4. This cape pattern fits that age range and I thought it would be fun to have something that was matching (while they still allow that to happen) for the upcoming cooler weather. I made two capes in a couple hours and had a nice little gift for the party (which may or may not have been on the same day as I was sewing!!!)

I chose a thin corduroy from my stash (I think I found it at Walmart) and a pink lining fabric from Hancock. It is a fun and loud pattern and I think it looks cute together. I do whatever I can to avoid sewing buttonholes so this was made using an elastic loop for the button instead of a hole.

To do that, I simply added a piece of elastic (roughly 4 inches long) folded it in half and pinned it at the front top corner prior to pinning the lining on. Then once the lining was put on and it was turned right side out, I had the little loop closure to use for a button. 

 Here are a couple pictures of my daughter modeling this...moments before we left for the party!

It is great for throwing on top of your outfit on a cool day. I hope the little girls who received them are enjoying them!