Handmade Holidays Garland Tutorial and BIG GIVEAWAY!

Today I’m over at Skip to My Lou as part of the Bake Craft Sew & Decorate series. I am sharing a Vintage Christmas Light Garland Tutorial

vintage christmas light garland tutorial

These are quick to whip up for holiday decorating and gift giving. In fact, you won’t want to miss all the handmade gift ideas! I have joined over 100 bloggers to share some amazing homemade gift ideas, plus I get to be part of an amazing sewing giveaway too! Keep reading to enter!


This machine is sew AMAZING! She is a gem and her name is Rachel.


One lucky winner will receive this beautiful Baby Lock Sewing Machine ($799 Value) and $100 Worth of Fabric from Riley Blake Designs.
Ready to take your sewing to the next level? The Baby Lock Rachel is the star of any sewing class, and she’s here to help you. This computerized sewing machine is equipped with 50 stitches and push-button features to make every project easier. The value is $799. Click here for more details.
Riley Blake Designs amazing fabrics include cottons, flannels, sparkle cottons, organic cotton, knits, and laminates in a range of designer and basic prints. I love their fabric and fantastic customer service!

//widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.jsEnter the Rafflecopter giveaway here//widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Pumpkin Craft for Kids

This post was originally posted over at Craftaholics Anonymous. I’m sharing it here today, because although I originally posted this as a Halloween craft, it’s also perfect for any fall day. Can’t you picture little rows of pumpkins adorning your Thanksgiving table? So if you’re looking for a craft to keep the littles busy today, bust into your recycling bin for this one.

Kids’ Easy Pumpkin Craft

Pumpkin Craft for Kids

My kiddos love art, and raising creative kids is a high priority in our family. We tend toward free for all art, letting the kiddos have free reign of the craft supplies, creating whatever they wish. But occasionally we do a mom-directed craft, and I decided to add to our fall decor with a kid-crafted pumpkin patch!

Kids Halloween Pumpkin Craft using Egg Cartons Tutorial//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js


  • cardboard egg carton
  • orange and black paint and brushes (Can’t handle the mess of paint? Use orange markers instead!)
  • small pieces of green tissue paper or crepe paper
  • liquid school glue
  • scissors

1.Cut apart the bottom of the egg carton.

pumpkins 32. Trim down the sections of egg carton, so that they are flat all the way around.


pumpkins 43. Liberally apply glue along the edges.


pumpkins 54. Press the two sections of egg carton together. Hold them together tightly. I suggest setting it down on a table and putting something slightly heavy on top of it to hold it together while it dries. **If you’re doing this craft with really young kids, do these first few steps for them, as you may have to wait awhile for the glue to dry**


pumpkins 65. Once the glue has dried, paint your egg carton pieces pumpkin orange.


pumpkins 26. If you want to turn your pumpkin into a jack-o-lantern, use black paint to add a silly or scary face! It helps (especially for young kids) to use the thinest brush you have. You could also use a sharpie after the paint has dried.


pumpkins 87. Cut small tissue paper strips and glue them together onto the top of the pumpkin! You can also use a green curling ribbon if you have it on hand.


pumpkins 9Watch your kiddos be creative with their pumpkins! Because who said pumpkin vines can’t be pink??


pumpkins 10Once your pumpkins have dried, you’ll have your very own pumpkin patch! My boys love that they contributed to our fall decor. They’re so proud of their pumpkins!


pumpkinsAnd bonus for mom, you can use supplies you have on-hand! A free activity that keeps the kiddos busy and happy. Win for everyone!


pumpkins 11

Happy crafting!

Black Friday Sale!

The Bottoms Up Pants PDF pattern is on sale all weekend long (through Cyber Monday) for only $5! No coupon code necessary to get this deal.

Black Friday sale 2015 graphic

But if you join the If Only Designs Pattern Group on Facebook, you can find an exclusive code to get the pattern for only $4! (Be patient with me this weekend, if you request to join… I’m a one woman show around here! ;)

Happy sewing!

Crockpot Chicken and Easy Family Dinner Ideas

This time of year, I spend extra time sewing, wrapping, and prepping for all the holiday craziness. I find myself wishing for a couple extra hours in the day, especially that hour before dinner. Seriously, my kids turn into CRAZY people right before dinner. Is that just at my house?? This is why I need a couple of super easy meals a week. It makes me a little less crazy. Crockpot chicken is my go-to sanity saver!Crockpot Chicken and easy meal ideas


Crockpot chicken is one of my favorite meals, because it is so.stinkin.easy!

  1. Place chicken in crockpot.
  2. Add desired seasonings or herbs (I used fresh garlic, sea salt, and rosemary).
  3. Cook on low for 8-10 hours.

Crockpot chicken that's easy and yummy

That’s it! So simple! There’s no need to add any liquid to the crockpot – all the liquid you see in the picture above is made while the chicken cooks. So it stays perfectly moist! You can use whatever kind of seasonings your family enjoys. I typically use rosemary, fresh garlic, and sea salt. I also enjoy using paprika and garlic, or I have a greek seasoning that I love.

Easy dinner ideas for busy evenings

Then add a couple easy sides, like these new Bird’s Eye Flavor Full sour cream and onion potatoes. There are a bunch of different flavors, veggies and potatoes. Pop them in the microwave, and a few minutes later, you have a super yummy – and fast – side! You can find a coupon for $1.00 off here.

crockpot chicken easy meal ideas

Along with some steamed broccoli, this dinner had almost zero prep during that dreaded pre-dinner hour.

Easy meal ideas

I’ll admit, when these potatoes were cooking, I was a little skeptical. The sour cream and onion smell was STRONG. I was worried they would be a bit too flavorful, and that the kids wouldn’t eat them.

easy family dinner ideas

But that couldn’t have been further from the truth! Seriously, my kids DEVOURED them. They ate seconds and thirds and my eight-year-old declared them “the best potatoes he’s ever had in his whole entire life!” No joke.

Crockpot chicken

Between the fall-off-the-bone chicken and the best-ever-in-the-world potatoes, this meal was a total mom win. I love when I can get through a dinner without anyone complaining that they want to eat something else!

crockpot chicken - so easy to make

I’m all about adding some shortcuts in to make life a little easier! Make sure you grab your $1.00 off coupon, because every little bit helps in the wallet too. ;)


Wear to Where: Date Night!

With four littles at home, date night out is a rarity. So when it happens, I need to get my CUTE on! I want to wear heels and something beyond the usual jeans and T-shirt. I want to look good for my guy! When the adorable and amazingly talented Katy of Wild + Wanderful asked me to join in on her Wear to Where series, my Date Night Out look came together in my mind.Wear to Where Date Night Outfit

This series is awesome – fashion and sewing bloggers sharing their looks for different occasions like date night out, sunday brunch, tailgating, and a bunch of others. Seriously, so FUN! I love seeing all the different looks, both handmade and ready-to-wear.

wear to where if only they would nap

I’ll admit it: I’m obsessed with this outfit. Am I allowed to say that if I made it? Well, it’s true. I am.DSC_2209 copy
The top is the Lane from Shwin Designs that Shauna was so generous to send my way. The pattern is fantastic and the fabric is amazing. I snagged it from the remnant section of Jo-Ann’s, and it’s PERFECT for date night. Sheer = sexy.

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I only made one slight modification to the sleeve,  elastic at the hem. I love how it turned out! The pattern is so perfect for date night, the way it flows.

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I didn’t have quite enough fabric for the whole top, and I thought it would be fun to do a contrast back. The black is a sheer knit fabric, and ohmygoodness the contrast turned out exactly how I pictured it!

DSC_2227 copy

Let’s talk about jeans. JEANS! I’ve made a couple pairs of jeans so far (see them here and here), and I just hadn’t gotten the perfect fit yet. So I decided to start from scratch and make my own pattern.

DSC_2078 copy copy

And they are nearly completely perfect. [insert ridiculous girly squeal here]

DSC_2211 copy

The fabric is from Girl Charlee, and it has great recovery. I can wear them all day and they still fit great, unlike some of my previous jeans. I think I’m finally ready to step into the world of pay-through-the-nose denim, which I think will give me jeans that I really, really love.

DSC_2197 copy

And there I go, putting my booty on the internet again… but a pair of jeans that makes your butt look good is important!

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I’ll definitely be perfecting this pattern so that I can make more.

DSC_2235 copy

If I can go out with my hubby and wear jeans and heels, it’s a good night. Now all we need is a babysitter… which may actually be more challenging than making well-fitting jeans. ;)
DSC_2241 copy

Be sure to head over to Wild+Wanderful or Gardening in High Heels to check out the other brilliant bloggers, sewists and stylistas on the tour, as well as be able to link up your own looks and show us what you would Wear to Where!

Now let’s talk giveaway prizes for this tour!!
For the sewists:
Choice of 3 patterns from Cole’s Creations, Choice of 3 patterns from Made for Mermaids, Pattern of choice from Patterns for Pirates, Pattern of choice from Scientific Seamstress, Sewing-tee of choice from Sewing Stadium, Pattern of choice from Simple Life Pattern Co, Pattern of choice from StitchArt

For the Fashionistas: Set of 6 cards from Designs by Nicolina, 30 minute Social Media/Copy Consult by Gardening in High Heels, Tee of choice from Handmade Escapade, $20 Store Credit from Jenny Penny Designs, Tumbler from Joy+Tren

A big thanks to our amazing sponsors!
Cole’s Creations | Designs by Nicolina | Gardening in High Heels
Handmade Escapade | Jenny Penny Designs | Joy+Tren
Made for Mermaids | Patterns for Pirates | Scientific Seamstress
Sewing Stadium | Simple Life Pattern Co | Stitch Art

Click here to enter the amazing giveaway


Preschool Color Wheel Matching Game

If you have little ones at home, you probably find yourself looking for things to keep them busy while you’re doing something else, like making dinner, folding laundry or helping other kids. It’s a bonus when those activities are educational and don’t involve a screen! I made this Color Wheel Matching Game for my preschooler and toddler, and I use it to occupy my littlest boys while I’m homeschooling the older ones. You can use it any time including in the car!Color Wheel Matching Game Tutorial


  • 8 clothespins
  • small pieces of cotton fabric in 8 different colors
  • double fold bias tape (about 37 inches)
  • cotton quilt batting
  • paint in 8 different colors
  • permanent marker
  • scissors
  • sewing machine and thread

**For a no-sew option, glue or mod podge the fabric pieces onto a paper plate or any other flat surface**

1. Cut out 8 triangles – the short sides should be 6 3/4in. long, then cut them at a 45 degree angle (which is also known as “on the bias”) to make the triangle.

DSC_09492. Sew pairs of triangles into squares unsung a 3/8in. seam allowance. Press the seam allowance to one side and trim off the “tails” that are leftover at the corners.

DSC_09553. Sew two sets of squares together – make sure the points come together. Then repeat by sewing the two rectangles together to form one large square, pressing the seam allowances on each piece as you sew.

DSC_09564. Cut a square of fabric and a square of quilting batting the same size as the square you just made. Sandwich the batting in between, with the wrong sides of the fabric against the batting. Pin or clip these pieces together.

DSC_09635. Sew lines to quilt the batting in place. I sewed on either side of the seams, but you can do this in whatever design you choose.

PicMonkey Collage6. Cut the square into a circle.

DSC_09687. Now you’re going to add the bias tape. Open up and lay the bias tape onto the back side of the circle. Begin sewing along the first crease — but make sure you leave the first 1/4in. of the bias tape NOT sewn down. DSC_0971

8. When you get almost to the point you began on the circle, pause your sewing to fold the ends of the bias tape back (toward the underside of the bias tape). Do this with both ends of the bias tape. This makes sure that the raw edge of the bias tape is enclosed. Trim off any extra bias tape you may have. Finish sewing the bias tape onto the circle, over your folded ends.

 9. Trim the seam allowance to be about 1/4in. Do not cut through your stitching!

DSC_097810. Fold the other side of the bias tape over (the raw edge will be tucked inside) and topstitch it down from the top of the circle. The ends of your bias tape will be enclosed, as seen in the photo below.

DSC_098511.Take your clothespins and label one side with the color names. Then paint the corresponding colors on the opposite side.

Clothespins for Color Wheel Matching GameThen hand it off to your kiddos for color matching fun!  The color names are great for slightly older preschoolers or kindergarteners.

DSC_1009They can learn to recognize the color words, and they can use the painted side to check if they are correct.

DSC_1006The clothespins can be tricky for young toddlers – use your own judgement to know if your child is old enough to use these correctly, and carefully supervise them of course. If your child is too little for the clothespins, use it without them until they are. They can still have fun pointing out the different colors!

DSC_1078The painted side is great for toddlers and preschoolers who are learning their colors, and it can be played independently while you take care of other things around the house or even while you’re driving. If you’re in the car, have your child point at things out the windows that are the same colors!

DSC_1073 I love learning games that are fun, low-tech, build fine motor skills, and help share my love of fabric with my littles. :)

Happy sewing, friends!

Color Wheel Matching Game


Free Newborn Baby Pants Pattern

My absolute favorite thing to make for new babies is a pair of baby pants. Or three. I make my pants using this tutorial of mine, and now I’ve added a free newborn sized pattern to make it even easier for you!
Free Baby Pants Pattern


  • 1/4 yard of knit fabric
  • 15 inches of 3/4in. non-roll elastic (you may need to adjust this length based on the size of your baby)

For the time being, the pattern will be available for download only in the If Only Designs Facebook Group. Click over and join the group to download!
1. Cut two of the newborn baby pants pattern – make sure to reverse one (hint: fold your fabric wrong sides together, put the pattern piece on top, and cut two pieces)

baby pants 1

2. Fold the leg piece right sides together and sew down the inseam. Repeat with the second leg.

baby pants 2

3. Put one leg inside the other, right sides together. Pin together and sew the crotch seam.

baby pants 4

4. Turn right side out.

baby pants 5

5. Sew the ends of your elastic together with a zig-zag stitch.

baby pants 6

6. Fold the top of the pants down 1in. over the elastic circle. Pin the fabric in place. There are several options for making your waistband casing: use a coverstitch (my preferred method), double needle, or stretch stitch. Whichever you choose, make sure you don’t sew over your elastic. If you want to insert a ribbon/tag, now is the time to do it!

baby pants 7

7. Turn up the bottom of the pants 1/2in. and hem using your preferred method (coverstitch, double needle, or stretch stitch).

baby pants 8

Then admire your itty bitty newborn baby pants!

free baby pants pattern 1

Seriously, what is cuter than a row of baby pants?

free baby pants pattern 3

Well, maybe a baby in the pants! Since I don’t have any more bitty babies in my house, I sent these pants to my lovely friend Jodi at Sew Fearless for her sweeter than sweet baby boy. She shared this picture of him in the pants on her Instagram, and I just about died from the cuteness!


Sew all the baby pants!

free baby pants pattern 2

Download your free newborn baby pants pattern by joining the If Only Designs Facebook Group.

Happy sewing, friends!

Costumes of Halloweens Past

With Halloween approaching, I shared on my Facebook page that this year I’m not making one.single.costume. That feels a little like a dirty little secret! I’ve made quite a few costumes over the years, but sometimes the dress-up bin full of costumes and the half price thrift store costumes are a better decision.

I thought I’d share some of the costumes I’ve made, including some tutorials that could help you out in case you are making costumes this year. And if you’re not, well, you’re in good company!


The elephant costume I made, upcycled from old sweatshirts, is one of my all-time favorite costumes. It’s gotten a lot of love in our house. I made a simple grey sweatsuit to go with it (this is a big trend for my handmade costumes, because Wisconsin gets COLD).


This Luke Skywalker costume was super fun to make, and the boys still wear it all the time.

light-sabers-tutorial-1Of course, it was perfectly paired with these light sabers.


This iPod costume feels a little dated already, but could easily be an iPhone. I loved that it slipped right over his clothes and was easy to take on and off. Perfect for a toddler who may or may not even want to wear a costume!


The same year I made the iPod costume, I made this monkey costume. I didn’t put together a tutorial for it, but it’s pretty simple: brown sweatsuit with fuzzy fleece belly and arms, plus a hooded hat. (The cute baby peapod was a costume I found at half price)


We also used the brown sweatsuit another year as the base for a last-minute owl costume. This is one of the things I love about using sweatsuits as a costume – they can either be worn as regular clothing or as part of a different costume!


This Super Why costume was the first costume I made, and I kind of made it up as I went along. I used a green sweatshirt and a blue button-up as fabric – nearly all of my costumes have been upcycled, because I’m not one to spend lots of money on the dress-up bin.


These mustaches weren’t made with a specific costume in mind, but they’d be a perfect accessory to so many things, like Mario or wouldn’t they be perfect for Ron Swanson??


The same year I made Super Why, my little guy was a traffic light. Easiest costume ever!


This sword and shield set would pair nicely with a knight costume – the Knight Hoodie pattern from Charming Doodle would be perfect with these!

With all that in our dress-up bin, plus some clearance and thrift store costumes, can you see why I’m taking a break this year? I’d love to see what you’re making! And head over to Craftaholics Anonymous for a fun fall craft for the kiddos to keep them busy while you sew their costumes. ;)

Pumpkin Craft for Kids

Happy sewing, friends!


Sewing an attitude change

With all the beautiful home magazines and blogs out there, it’s so easy to fall into the comparison game. My house isn’t big enough, it’s not the right color, my couch isn’t the right color, blah blah blah. I do it. You probably do too.

It’s even harder when you aren’t living in your dream home. We’ve been in our house years longer than we expected to be, and some days it’s really hard to focus on what I love about it, instead of what I wish were different.


But a house is just a house. All of my babies were brought home to this house. I’ve watched them take their first steps, speak their first words, and grow and change everyday. This house full of memories and stories, and sometimes those are physically reflected in the floors or the walls! As the Nester says, it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.


When I feel myself getting into a funk about my house, sometimes a simple change is all I need to get a new perspective. New pillows are my go-to attitude changer.


I’ve been hoarding this Anna Maria Horner print for awhile, and these pillows make me happy every time I look at them. I tucked away the summer pillows, and these feel so perfect for fall.


I used this method for making the pillows and backed them with a dark blue sweatshirt fleece (cozy + kid friendly). In just 15 minutes, I felt a little lift in my spirits.


I know that pillows won’t change the world, but I do think they can change your attitude!

Happy sewing, friends!

Not just a T-shirt

It seems a bit ironic that right after I posted about my upgraded mom uniform, I post another T-shirt. But you know, old habits die hard. And truth be told, this is so much better than your average T-shirt. I mean, for one, it’s a Union St. Tee (hello…. love the Union St. Tee!). And secondly, this fabric is amazing.

If you don’t already own the Union St. Tee, I’m not sure we can be friends. Just kidding. Kind of. This pattern is my fave. I’ve made it into dresses and t-shirts (though I don’t think I’ve ever blogged a tee version), and the fit is perfect.


You know how you have your favorite store-bought T-shirt that you can just grab off the shelf without trying on? That you have a million of in different colors? That’s the Union St. Tee.


Okay, let’s talk fabric. Because FABRIC. This is the softest knit I have ever worn. Seriously, it is amazing. I want to make all my clothes out of this fabric. It’s April Rhodes Bound Pathmaker in Slate – I purchased it from the Imagine Gnats shop (affiliate link). She doesn’t have it in stock anymore, but as I was looking for it, I noticed you can get 10% off any order of $50+ with code sswfall through 9/30. Side note: Rachael has the best customer service and the fastest shipping.



I made the elbow length sleeve, since it’s fall. Plus, in Wisconsin, an elbow length sleeve can get you through many more seasons than a short sleeve.


I could seriously sleep in this shirt, the fabric just feels so good!


The fabric pattern takes it beyond your everyday T-shirt too, in my opinion.


T-shirts forever. ;)

Happy sewing, friends!