Author: Jess

I sew, I mom, I wife, I drink coffee.

DIY Extra Large Beach Tote + the most stylish baby wipes I’ve ever seen

When you head to the beach (okay, when you head anywhere) with kids, you end up bringing a lot of stuff for all the inevitable messes and disasters. Diapers, wipes, sunscreen, snacks, extra clothes, sunglasses, water bottles, towels, toys… basically everything you own. I knew I wanted to make an extra large beach tote for these occasions – one that you can stuff to the brim with all the necessities – and bonus points if the necessities look super cute, like these ridiculously stylish baby wipes from Huggies. Because just like I can’t pass up fabulous fabric, I love when the things I have to carry with me look adorable.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Huggies. I received compensation for this post and these products. All opinions are my own.

DIY Extra Large Beach Tote

Making a tote bag is super easy – it’s similar to my simple tote bag tutorial, but I’ve added a lining and an extra long strap. And pockets. But you can make this in any size, for whatever toting needs you have… farmer’s market, weekend trips, anything!

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I have yet to meet a mama of little ones who doesn’t use baby wipes on a daily basis. I take these everywhere – I even find myself using them when I don’t have my kids with me. But the regular crinkly plastic that wipes come in is not my fave. So when I first picked up this new Clutch ‘n Clean from Huggies, I was super impressed with the durable non-crinkly material. Hello, who hasn’t cringed as they’ve pulled out the noisy wipes in church?? It’s reusable, so you can leave the not-so-stylish containers under your changing table and refill this one when it’s empty.

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There are several designs to choose from, and I actually stood in the aisle for a full five minutes trying to decide which one was cuter. But in the end, I’m always drawn to the stripes! I also really love that the colors are bright, so I can easily spot them in my bag for those wiping emergencies. We have a lot of them, friends. And then when you need to run to the restroom, they have a super convenient strap, so you don’t have to bring your entire tote with you.

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Now grab some sturdy fabric from your stash so you can make an extra large beach tote too. :)

Bag dimensions

1. Cut your outer and lining fabrics (two of each). My approximate dimensions are in the photo above. You can make it any size you want, really, just be sure to make the lining an eensy bit smaller than your outer fabric. I suggest using a more durable fabric.

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2. Cut out your straps – again, the length is up to you. I made mine extra long to accommodate my tall husband, in case he needs to carry the bag also. Cut a strip of fabric that is double the width you want. (Mine was about 70in. long and 6in. wide, before it was folded.) Then sew the long end, with the right sides together. Then turn it right side out, press, and pin it to the outer fabric as seen in the picture above. Repeat for the second strap and second outer fabric piece. (you can see detailed pictures on how to make a strap in this tutorial)

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3. Stitch down the sides of the straps (you are only sewing through one layer of outer fabric at this point). Stop sewing about an inch from the top. Repeat for the second strap.

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4. Pin the two outer layers together – right sides together. Sew all around the three edges (not the side where the straps stick out).

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5. If you want to make pockets, now is the time to do it. Whatever size you want your pockets to be, cut your fabric twice the size of the pocket. Then fold it in half (right sides together), and stitch around the edges, leaving a small opening to turn the pocket right side out.

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6. Turn the pocket right side out, press (folding under the little section that you didn’t sew), and stitch down the three sides onto the right side of the lining fabric. Repeat this for any more pockets you want.

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7. If you want to divide a pocket into two, simply stitch down the center, making sure to back stitch at the top and the bottom.

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8. Now place your lining pieces together and stitch the three sides, just as you did with the outer fabric.

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9. Press down the top of both the outer fabric and the lining. You can finish the edges with either a serger or pinking shears (I would actually recommend doing this earlier, but if you do it now, make sure not to cut through your straps!)

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10. Pin the lining inside the outer fabric and topstitch along the top. You want to stitch over the straps, otherwise you’ll have a gap between your straps and your outer fabric.

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Now pack your bags and head to the beach!

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I love having everything I need all in one spot.

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The one thing I can never have enough of is tote bags. Okay, and fabric…

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You can find Huggies Natural Care® Wipes in stylish packaging in grocery stores and mass retailers nationwide.

Craft with your kids: Passport to Imagination with Michaels

I love everything about summer. Trips to the lake, camping, fireworks… oh, summer, you’re so delightful! We like to keep a pretty relaxed, schedule-free attitude around here, and the cheaper our summer fun is, the better.

I was recently introduced to the Passport to Imagination classes at Michaels craft stores. Have you heard about these? From June 16 – August 1, Michaels stores across the nation are holding these classes every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10am-12pm. And they’re only $2! There isn’t much you can take your kids to this summer for only $2.

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Kids ages 5 and up will experience culture through crafts with projects inspired by world-class museum exhibits from seven of North America’s best museums. Real art brought into real life? I love everything about this, and I can’t wait to take my oldest son!

You can register online or at your local Michaels store. I’ll be taking my oldest soon, and I’ll share all about it.

What are some fun summer activities you do with your littles?

Floral Shoreline Boatneck

One of my goals for the summer is to sew more for myself, and the Shoreline Boatneck (affiliate link) from Blank Slate Patterns is just what my wardrobe needs. Especially one in floral!
Shoreline Boatneck TopI’ve had this fabulous floral knit from JoAnn Fabrics in my stash for awhile. I used it ages ago on this top for my niece, but I had just enough left to make this suuuuper comfy top.

Floral Shoreline Boatneck

Like all of the patterns fromBlank Slate Patterns (affiliate link), this one is so well done and makes an incredible garment.

DSC_0452I sewed the short sleeve knit top version, but the pattern can be sewn with 3/4 or long sleeves and also as a dress. Plus, you can even make it in woven fabrics. I’ve also changed it into a gathered tunic (tutorial here). I love a pattern that can be used in so many different ways!

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And did I mention it’s a super quick sew? I made this one during naptime, from cut to hem. I may not have had time to do a load of laundry before the baby woke up, but hey, a girl’s gotta have some priorities… ;)

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I love the hem of this top – it swoops up on the sides. This means that it’s long enough to cover everything you’d want a shirt to cover, and there’s no awkward pulling it down while you’re chasing after the kids.

DSC_0449…not that I ever do that. Ahem.

Happy sewing, friends!

Learn to sew with Sewing School 101: an e-book review and GIVEAWAY!

If you’re new to sewing, you might feel a little overwhelmed getting started, learning all the ins and outs of your new (soon-to-be favorite) hobby.  Or maybe you haven’t yet started sewing, because you just don’t know where to begin, and you don’t have anyone to sit next to you and teach you what to do. Well, you are going to love this e-book. Sewing School 101, by my friend Nicole at Gidget Goes Home, is just what every sewing newbie needs!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. I was given this e-book to review, but all opinions are my own.

Sewing School 101

 

You guys, I cannot even begin to tell you how thorough this e-book is. If you have never sewn anything in your life, you’ll be able to read through this e-book and learn pretty much everything you could want to know before sitting down at your machine for the first time. Nicole walks you through all the supplies you will need, helps you get to know your sewing machine, teaches you basic stitches, and even shares some easy tutorials, complete with step-by-step photos.

Here’s what you’ll find in the e-book:

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Look at all the sewing goodness in there! No more excuses holding you back… it’s all in one spot!

I can’t tell you how many times I hear “I wish you lived closer and could teach me how to sew!” from friends and family who are far away. Oh how I really wish I had the time to sit down and teach everyone I know how to sew.  But let’s be honest… I have four kids. I barely have time to take a shower. So I now have the perfect resource to show them! And just like Nicole’s blog, it reads like a friend is talking to you. It’s like Nicole is sitting down next to you at your machine, telling you stories and sharing her experiences while she guides you on your way to sewing up a storm. And Nicole is totally on my list of blog friends I would love to sew-and-chat with.

You can purchase a PDF version of the e-book through Nicole’s site, and you’ll get any future updates for free. You can also purchase a Kindle version (but you won’t get any updates).

One lucky winner will win a copy of Sewing School 101! If you’re an experienced sewer, you probably have a friend who is new to sewing or has been wanting to learn for awhile, make sure you send her (or him!) over to have their chance to win :)

Enter the giveaway here!

 

Sewing School 101

Simply Summer Romper – Tutorial and Free Pattern!

This week is Romper Week over at Sewing Mama RaeAnna, and at our house we love a good baby romper. I have a super easy tutorial so that your baby can be as adorable as mine (well… I’ll still think mine is the most adorable, if that’s okay ;) as well as a free 12 month size pattern!

Simply Summer Romper - free pattern and tutorial

If you have a baby wearing a 12 month size, you can download my free Simply Summer Romper pattern here (affiliate link). If not, you can still make one. :) When sewing with knits, you can use a serger as I did, or you can use a zig zag stitch to construct the romper. This post is full of great resources for sewing with knits.

Making your own pattern pieces (if you’re using the free pattern, skip down just a bit, because you don’t need this part):

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Take a romper of your own and trace it – allowing for seam allowance. You could also put a T-shirt and a pair of shorts together and trace them as if they were one piece.

DSC_0306I like to cut out half of it and then fold it over to make sure the left and right sides are going to be exactly the same.

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I cut this romper out of an XXL T-shirt, so I left the sleeve hems in tact. If you don’t do this, make sure you leave some extra length for hemming.

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Make sure you trace the snap facings. Your back and front ones may be a bit different, depending on how the pieces look. You will want to cut two of the front facings.

Putting together your romper:

This pattern includes 3/8in. seam allowance.

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1. Put the two back pieces Right Sides Together (RST) and sew.

DSC_03112. Pin the back and front pieces RST at the shoulders and the side seams.

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3. Fold the sleeve piece RST and sew along the short edge (mine is hemmed in this picture, but yours won’t be, unless you are upcycling a T-shirt). Repeat with the second sleeve.

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4. With the romper inside out and the sleeve right side out, place the sleeve inside the arm hole. Pin the bottom point (where the sleeve meets the underarm) and the top point (where the sleeve cap meets the shoulder) then carefully pin the rest of the sleeve. Sew around to attach the sleeve and repeat with the other sleeve.

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5. Cut a 1in x 16in rectangle of ribbed knit (mine in the picture above is folded). If you’re upcycling a T-shirt, cut off the neckline and use it!

DSC_03166. Fold the ribbing with the short edges together and sew. Then fold the wrong sides together and press.

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7. Pin the ribbing along the outside of the neckline as pictured and sew.

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8. Then flip the neckline inside. You can topstitch if you’d like.

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9. Pin the back snap facing to the bottom of the back romper piece, RST and sew.

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10. Sew the two front snap facings together with RST.

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11. Interface one side of the front snap facing and half of the back snap facing.

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12. Fold the front snap facing with right sides out and press.

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13. Sew the front snap facing to the outside of the front romper piece. Press the snap facing down flat.

DSC_033214. Fold and press 1/4in. of the back snap facing down and then fold and press the whole facing in half toward the inside of the romper. The raw edge should be tucked in. Top stitch it in place.

15. Hem the bottom and sleeves.

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16.  Attach your snaps according to their instructions (I like KAM snaps for their ease of use, but I think that regular metal snaps give the garment a more ready-to-wear feel). That’s it – you’re done!

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Rompers in the summer are our favorite!

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This romper is a super quick sew, and is so comfy for these little playful bodies!

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Don’t forget to download your free Simply Summer Romper 12 month size pattern here! (affiliate link)

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Head over to Sewing Mama RaeAnna to link up your own romper and win some amazing prizes! But if you don’t have a romper to link up, you can still enter to win some great prizes :)

 Click here to enter the giveaway

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And make sure you check out all the other fun rompers this week! Like my friend Melissa at Sew Like My Mom who has something ADORABLE to share today!

 

Happy sewing, friends! :)

DIY Monogrammed Drinking Glasses

Do you have a man in your life who is tricky to shop for? Yeah, me too. In thinking about what to get my husband for Father’s Day, I decided to get him a nice set of drinking glasses (since all of ours have broken… I’ll let you take a guess as to how that might happen in our house. ;) That seemed a little bit… simple. So I wanted to crank it up a notch and add a monogram. It turned out to be super easy – so it’s not too late if you want to do it too!

DIY Monogrammed Drinking Glasses

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

dsc_0684Awhile back, I was sent this great set of Martha Stewart paints and stencils like these that I used for this project. I remembered that in that set was some Martha Stewart Glass Etch Cream.

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The process is really simple, though I would suggest practicing first, before using the item that you want to gift to someone.

DSC_02641. Stick the adhesive stencil to the glass surface.

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2. Apply the etching cream evenly. After taking this picture, I added a little more to even it out a bit.

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3. Leave it on for 15 minutes – don’t do less than that. Then rinse the cream off completely and peel off the sticker.

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This was so easy, I now want to glass etch all.the.things.

DSC_0281Cheers to all the dads this Father’s Day!

Take better photos of your kids’ handmade clothes!

Ever since I started blogging, I have become more interested in photography. I want to be able to take great pictures of my kids and the things I make for them. Alida of Alida Makes just came out with an e-book called Style That Kid! that is all about doing just that.

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When Alida offered me a chance to review her e-book, I knew I could trust what she had to say — because her photography is ah-MAY-zing! After a quick read of her book (yes!! you can read the entire book while sipping your morning coffee!), I put Alida’s suggestions to work.

style that kid5Yesterday, I posted about the Oakley Shorts I sewed for my youngest. The first time I took photos of these shorts, I wasn’t happy with how they turned out. But a slight change in styling offered a big improvement!

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The two sets of photos were taken in the same location (my backyard) and with the same adorable baby, but at different times of the day.

style that kid4Alida’s e-book gives great tips on how to easily amp up your styling and overall aesthetic of your photos, letting your little one and your handmade clothing really shine.

DSC_0157One thing I love about the Style That Kid e-book is that I didn’t feel overwhelmed. Because I don’t know a lot about photography, I can easily get bogged down with technical terms that I don’t always understand or don’t know how to apply to my real life picture taking. That wasn’t the case at all here – I felt like I could take what I read and use it right away to improve my photos.

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Not only are Alida’s tips helpful for any blogger or etsy shop owner who wants to improve their photography, I know that the tricks I learned in the e-book will make a difference as I take every day pictures of my kids too.

DSC_0215I know I’m going to go back and re-read Alida’s ideas and suggestions more than once!

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Be sure to check out the other reviews this week, I’ve already been impressed by some of the before and after shots I’ve seen! You can find the Style That Kid! e-book here. You can also enter to win your own copy of the e-book!

Click here to enter the giveaway

Oakley Shorts Pattern Review

Awhile back, my lovely and wonderful friend Melissa from Sew Like My Mom sent me her newest pattern, the Oakley Shorts and Capris. Since I loved her Kudzu Coveralls, I knew that I was going to love this pattern too.

Oakley Shorts

Being the fourth boy, this little peanut has gotten his fair share of hand-me-downs. But sometimes they don’t quite make it that far.

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Like all of Melissa’s patterns, this one comes together beautifully. It comes in sizes 12months – 8years, and has some adorable capri options for girls!

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I made the 12month size, and the fit on my little man is perfect. He’s wearing disposables here, and they are a little tight when he wears cloth. If you’re a cloth diapering family, I would size up or add a couple of inches to the rise.

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These are the absolute perfect summer shorts!

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You can find the Oakleys (and the rest of the Sew Like My Mom patterns) here. Come back tomorrow when I’m going to share some secrets about this photo shoot… including what the first one looked like, and the tips I used to improve it!

Happy sewing, friends!

No-Sew Vintage Sheet Bunting Tutorial

I’m in the process of de-brown-ing my living room, and part of that includes adding some new wall art. So I threw together a quick bunting out of a vintage sheet that took about five minutes – no sewing involved!

No Sew Vintage Sheet Bunting Tutorial

All you need is some fabric (I used a vintage sheet that I thrifted, but of course you can use any fabric you have on hand), some twine or string, and some fabric glue or mod podge.

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1. Fold your fabric and draw a triangle with chalk on the fold.

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2. Cut out the triangles – I cut four to fit my frame, but you can cut as many or as few as you’d like.

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3. Place the fabric over the string and apply the glue. I used Liquid Stitch (affiliate link), but you could also use Mod Podge (affiliate link) or whatever you have on hand.

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4. Then just fold over the fabric and press together.

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5. Repeat with all the other triangles to create your bunting!

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You can hang the bunting on its own or put it in an empty frame like I did. I just taped the string to the back of the frame.

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I used it as the starting point for a big gallery wall in my living room, which I’ll share with you later! A little bit of vintage fabric love on my wall makes me happy. :)

 

Adelaide Top

I’ve kind of switched gears a little bit in my sewing and have been sewing a lot more for myself. And it is so fabulous! I had the super honor of being an early tester for one of See Kate Sew‘s new pattern – Adelaide. Friends, I’m in looooove.
The Adelaide TopThis pattern is oh so lovely. It is a really fast sew, and like every one of Kate’s patterns, it’s incredibly well put together.

adelaide3This yoke detail is so fantastic. The pattern comes with a ruffle piece for the yoke, or you can use a pre-made trim like I did. I used a vintage eyelet trim and these fabulous vintage yellow buttons. The fabric is also vintage – a linen that I found at a thrift store awhile back. I basically love everything about this top.

adelaide2The darts on this early test version are a little high, and they’ve been adjusted in the final pattern.

adeladie4I hand sewed the hem with a blind stitch … and my six-year-old photographer got this excellent shot of it. ;) I am seriously addicted to sewing for myself now. And between this one and the rest of Kate’s new Garden Party line, I could be busy for awhile.

adelaideYou will adore this pattern as much as I do. The sleeves, the yoke… sigh. Perfection.