tutorial

Painted Planter Tutorial and FREE teacher appreciation printable!

You can smell it in the air… summer is coming! If your little ones are still finishing out their school year, chances are you’ll need a teacher gift or two. As a former elementary school teacher, I can tell you how wonderful it is to feel so appreciated at the end of a long school year! This easy DIY is something that teachers can enjoy year-round, and if you don’t have a teacher to buy for, make one for yourself!

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Supplies:

  • succulent planter (I found these fabulous ceramic hanging planters at Target. Here is a similar one and a glass one.)
  • paint {or a Sharpie marker!}
  • paintbrush
  • Free Thank You Printable

1. Choose the color and find a paint that is appropriate for the material of your planter.

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2. Begin to paint your design! I began with polka dots:DSC_5999

3. Continue to paint all around the planter until you’ve covered it as much or as little as you want. Experiment with fun designs, like these plus signs:

DSC_60244. Fill with succulents and the appropriate dirt/rocks.

DSC_60585. Then, if you’re giving these to a teacher, print off these easy thank you cards that say “Thank You for helping me grow” – I love a good punny thank you note!

Download the Free Teacher Appreciation Printable Thank You for Helping me Grow cards now

Each page has four cards, so you can print them out on card stock and have ready made cards for each teacher in your child’s life or print them onto regular paper and glue to the front of a card that your child colors. I found that they print perfectly on these postcards, which are perforated to it super easy if you have multiple teachers!DSC_6073

And if you aren’t in need of a teacher gift, just hang them up and enjoy them yourself!DSC_6098

Or maybe do both? Because let’s be honest, you just can’t have too many succulents around! So fresh and bright – great for a gift or great for your own home.DSC_6093

This is really one of my absolute favorite non-sewing crafts I’ve made lately, and I just couldn’t part with these two. So I had to make a different one to send with my oldest for his last day of his homeschool group. And hopefully my black thumb will be able to keep these lovelies alive. :)

Painted Planter

Simple Table Runner Tutorial

When it comes to home decor, nothing makes me happier than simple changes that quickly spruce up a room. As seasons change, I like to shake things up a bit – especially after the looooooong winter. This simple patchwork table runner is easy to make, even for a beginning sewer!

Simple Spring Table Runner Tutorial

I love easy decor that can be used over and over again. Use it to display a beautiful bridal shower buffet or host a bouquet of spring flowers. Or simply use it to cover up the marker stains on your kitchen table (ahem..) However you use it, your table will be happier for it!

 

make a simple spring table runnerSupplies:

  • non-stretchy woven fabric {I used 100% cotton}
  • sewing machine/thread
  • iron
  • scissors

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How to Make a Patchwork Table Runner Tutorial

Cut your fabric:

The size of your spring table runner will depend on how big your table is and how long/wide you want it. My table runner has four panels (15.25in x 20.50in), but yours can have as few or as many as you’d like. Just make sure you cut them all the same size. Also cut one long piece of fabric for the back of the table runner. I used a table cloth that wasn’t the right size for my table, but any woven fabric would work. This fabric should be the same length as your four panels once they are put together (mine was 81.25in). Alter the measurements to fit your table.table runner step 1

 

1. Sew two panels together, right sides together using 3/8 seam allowance. Sew the next panel to other side of panel two. Continue until all the panels are sewn together in one long row.DSC_4880

 

2. Press all the seam allowances open.spring table runner step 3

 

3. Press the outside edges of the panels under 3/8in. Repeat this with the long fabric that you’re using as the back side of the table runner.spring table runner step 4

 

4. Pin or clip the panels and the backing fabric wrong sides together. This is a good time to check that the front and the back are the same size. Then sew the two pieces together along the edges using a straight stitch.make a table runner

 

I put this on my table while my boys were playing outside, and one of them literally gasped and said “Wow!” when he came inside and saw it. So I call that a win! It really does bring a brightness to the room that winter definitely lacked. With a different fabric, it would be perfect for any season!

Spring Table Runner Tutorial from If Only They Would NapHappy sewing, friends!

Hack a Full Zip Pattern into a Half Zip

Today I have an easy tutorial for hacking a full zip sweatshirt pattern into a half zip. I used the Zippy Jacket (affiliate link) from Blank Slate Patterns, as this post was originally posted for the Blank Slate Sewing Team, but you can do this to any zip-up pattern.

Hack a full zip pattern into a half zip

I originally had no plans to modify this pattern, but I really wanted to use a red zipper. I counted four 7inch red zippers non-separating zippers in my stash (why??) but nothing long enough to make the jacket. But perfect for a half zip!

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I made the size 7/8 for my tall seven year old. The fit is just perfect, and he says it’s really comfortable. It must be, because he wears it all the time.

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The pockets are my favorite feature of this pattern. You don’t find a lot of sweatshirts with these rounded pockets, and they give you a great chance to give a little peek of an accent fabric.

If you too have a stash of way-too-short zippers (or a little one who does better with a pullover), turning the Zippy Jacket into a half zip is really easy.

1. Instead of cutting two separate pieces for the front, cut one on the fold.

DSC_07502. After sewing your pockets, begin your zipper install. Draw a line from the neckline about five inches. (You may have to adjust the length if you are making a very small size – this one was size 7/8)

DSC_07783. Cut down your five inch line. Fuse a small square of interfacing to the back, allowing your interfacing to go over your cut. Then make a slit thorough your interfacing, like in the above photo.

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4. Fold the front piece in half, right sides together. Sew a basting stitch from the neckline down to the bottom of your cut. Lay it right side down and press your seam open.

DSC_00315. Lay your zipper down on the seam. You want the bottom metal part of your zipper to be just below the end of your seam. Your zipper will be sticking out over the neckline, and that’s good. You can tape or pin your zipper in place. I like to put a couple of pieces of scotch tape on the back and then pin a couple times on the front.

DSC_07966. Turn the front piece over and stitch around the zipper with your zipper foot. Make sure you leave about an inch at the top (as you can see in the photo) to attach the collar. Then use your seam ripper to open up your basting stitch and remove the stitches.

*Truth be told, I like to remove my basting stitch first, before I stitch around the zipper. I like when the zipper is a little bit more exposed, when I’m using a colored zipper like I did here. If you do that, just make sure you pin around your zipper to keep it securely in place. So my picture above shows more zipper than yours would if you did yours the way I originally described. But I’m a sewing rebel like that..

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Then, complete the rest of the pattern according to the instructions, except for the waistband. Attach the waistband as you did the sleeve cuffs (I did not alter the waistband’s size), since there is no longer a zipper going to the bottom.DSC_0860

This is really a must-have pattern! I may or may not have have squealed with joy and sent pictures to a sewing friend after I finished it.

DSC_0922The main portion of the jacket was upcycled from an XXL sweatshirt I picked up at a thrift store. With the zipper and pockets in the front, I used the original front of the sweatshirt and made it into the back. We gotta show our Wisconsin pride!

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I’ve already dreamed up three other Zippy Jackets (affiliate link). Good thing I have three other boys who also enjoy a good mama made garment!

Happy sewing, friends!

Reversible Mouse Pad for Craftaholics Anonymous

Today I’m over at Craftaholics Anonymous with my first post as part of the 2015 Creative Team! Head on over for an easy tutorial to make your own reversible mouse pad!

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Happy sewing!

 

DIY: Turn a blanket into a wearable sleeping bag for baby

In late September, my family decided we were going to take a camping trip. The weather forecast was predicting amazing fall weather – in the 70s – but being that we live in Wisconsin, it was still going to fall into the 50s at night. Since we were tent camping, I started thinking about how to keep the kids warm at night. This was pretty easy for the big kids – fleece jammies and sleeping bags, maybe an extra layer underneath. But the baby? That wasn’t going to work. He doesn’t use a blanket in his bed, and the sleep sack he had been using (affiliate link – seriously my favorite not handmade sleep sack ever) was definitely not warm enough. Then I remembered this blanket that we had that would be perfect to turn into a wearable sleeping bag!

Turn a blanket into a wearable sleeping bag

The blanket I used is not super fluffy. It has a layer of batting inside, so it’s warm, but doesn’t have a lot of fluff or feathers or anything that would make it too difficult to sew.

DSC_0341I also made it reversible, because I like options. ;)

It’s really simple to make your own – all you need is:

  • a blanket (fabric/batting that you quilt yourself)
  • thread/sewing machine/etc.
  • double fold bias tape
  • KAM snaps (affiliate link)

DSC_05321. Trace and cut out the shape of your sleep sack. I used the bodice piece of the Kudzu Coveralls to start, since the back straps are longer than the front ones. I traced a sleep sack I had on hand to get the approximate shape. I added a little width and length, since I want it to last all winter. If you don’t have a sleep sack on hand, use a pair of pajamas to help you determine the length. You will want the back straps to be slightly longer than the front.

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2. Place the two pieces wrong sides together – or whichever fabric you’d like to be on the inside should be facing each other. Sew the two pieces together, starting at one armpit to the other. You can do this with a serger, zig-zag stitch or even a straight stitch, as these seams will be hidden.

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3. Now take your bias tape and pin it over the seam you just sewed. Open the bias tape and pin one side along the first fold line. Sew along that fold line.

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4. Now fold the bias tape over to the other side. Pin and sew it down. The top of your bias tape (at the armpit) will be hidden, so don’t worry about finishing it.

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5. Repeat step three along the armhole and the neckline – open the bias tape, pin, and sew down along the first fold line.

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6. I used the edge of the blanket for the top of the straps. If you didn’t, you will also need to enclose that in bias tape. Fold the end of the bias tape under.

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7. Fold over the bias tape edge over to enclose the seam (making sure the end of the bias tape is tucked under), pin, and sew it down. Remember to do this for both the armhole and the neckline.

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8. Add snaps to both sides of the straps. I added two sets of snaps on the back strap, so that if he grows I can adjust to a longer length.

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Now your baby will be warm and cozy all through the winter!

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This wearable sleeping bag worked perfectly for camping, and now that the weather has turned cold, we’re using it at home too. I don’t have to worry about having blankets in the crib, and I know that he’s super toasty warm.

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And we can flip it over when we feel the need to change it up.

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And flip it back again. Because that’s how we roll.

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Happy (warm!) sewing, friends!

DIY Boxy Zipper Pouch Tutorial

Zipper pouches are perfect for basically everything… and a boxy pouch that can stand up? Better than perfect. It’s easily a naptime sew (you know how I love those), so let’s get making!
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Supplies:

  • outer fabric
  • lining fabric
  • zipper

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1. Cut two outer fabrics and two linings. I made mine 8in x 8in x 8in x 10in. to make a trapezoid – but you can adjust the size as needed.

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2. Sandwich your zipper (mine is 7in) between one of the outer and lining, right sides together, and sew using your zipper foot. The outer fabric should be on the top of the zipper.

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3. Flip the fabrics back, press carefully (without melting your zipper!) and topstitch.

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4. Now repeat with the other set of fabric.

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5. Open the zipper (don’t skip this step!)

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6. Lay the lining and outer fabrics right sides together. Carefully pin together. Sew along the edges, leaving an opening at the bottom of the lining.

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7. Flatten the bottom of the lining and the outer fabrics. Sew across the corners and cut off the leftover triangle.

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The bottom should look like this when you’re done.

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8. Turn the pouch right side out, using the hole in the bottom of the lining. Then sew the lining shut. I like to hand sew this with a blind stitch, because I think it looks cleaner, but you can also straight stitch along the entire bottom seam with your machine.

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Then rejoice in your beautiful standing zipper pouch!

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Fill it with make up or hand sewing projects or throw it in your purse to hold all that random junk that doesn’t have a place.

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Happy sewing, friends!

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.

super easy DIY envelope pillow cover  if only they would nap

Straight Lines and Angles – Day 2: Lexi Made and a super easy envelope pillow tutorial

Day two of Straight Lines and Angles means more geometric sewing fun!

Today I’m excited to have Lexi of Lexi Made as part of this series. Lexi is a new blogging friend of mine who is super talented, in both her sewing and photography. I love these ankle zips she made for her daughter’s skinny jeans and hello, these four dresses for herself? So fantastic! Head over to her blog and see the adorable dress she made for her daughter!

Teaser

I recently came across some fabric that as soon as I saw it, I knew it needed to be in my hands. I know you’ve been there, right? :) I decided to make some really easy pillow covers with this super fab geometric print, but these covers have a cozy twist.

super easy DIY envelope pillow cover  if only they would nap

It’s backed with sweatshirt fleece!

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Supplies:

  • one square/rectangle of main fabric – the size will depend on the size of your pillow form
  • sweatshirt fleece fabric – you will need a little bit more than your other fabric, but again, the amount will depend on your pillow form
  • sewing machine/serger/sewing notions/etc.

DSC_03641. Cut your fabric square to fit your pillow form, remember to account for seam allowance. Then cut two pieces of sweatshirt fleece – they should be a little more than half the size of your main fabric. (I ended up cutting my fleece a little smaller than in the picture, as you can see in a later step)

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2. Press one of the long sides of the sweatshirt fleece over about 1/3in. and sew a straight stitch. Repeat this with the other piece of sweatshirt fleece. This step isn’t actually necessary with sweatshirt fleece, since it doesn’t fray, it just makes a more “finished” look for your pillow. I made this pillow using the same method and didn’t do this step. I’m pretty sure no one notices but me ;)

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4. Lay one of the fleece pieces on top of the main fabric – right sides together like this.

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5. Lay the other piece right side down, with the stitched seam on the opposite side.

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At this point, I decided that my sweatshirt fleece pieces were too long, and I wanted the seams closer together. I moved them like you see in the above picture and just cut off the extra fabric on the ends.

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6. Pin your fabric in place and sew all around. If you don’t use a serger, make sure you finish your edges if you use a woven fabric for your main fabric, because that will fray.

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Then turn it right side out and enjoy your new cozy pillow!

I can’t decide… living room?

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Or bedroom?

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Did you enter the giveaway yet??

giveaway

Alter a shirt pattern to a gathered tunic [a tutorial]

One of the great things about sewing your own clothes is that you can make them how YOU want them to be. Have a great shirt pattern? You can make a tunic from it really easily!

Alter a shirt pattern to a gathered tunic  If Only They Would Nap
When Melissa of Blank Slates Patterns offered to send me her Shoreline Boatneck Top and Dress  [affiliate link] pattern, I was super excited. I love her children’s patterns, but I have yet to sew one of her women’s patterns. This pattern has both shirt and dress options… but I’m a girl who likes to have it all ;) so I decided to make it into a tunic.

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You can do this with pretty much any shirt or dress pattern you own [or you can even alter a shirt you have in your closet!], and it doesn’t take much.

step 1
1. You’re going to cut the front and back bodice into two pieces. Firs, cut the top portion, both the front and the back bodice piece – but cut them about where you want the gathering to hit. Measure down from your armpit. The Shoreline Boatneck has a line on the pattern piece to lengthen/shorten, and I cut my bodice piece about an inch lower than that. The front and back bodice pieces should be the same length.

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2. Cut the bottom of the back bodice the same width as the pattern piece, but slightly longer. Measure down from where your gathering will hit down to where you want the tunic to end. [I ended up shortening mine after trying it on.]

step 3

3. Now cut the bottom of the bodice front. You want it to be longer [the same length as you cut the back piece] and wider, to account for the gathers. I made mine about five inches wider, cut on the fold.

step 4

4. Gather that front lower bodice piece you just cut. There are several different ways to gather. In this picture, I stitched a basting stitch and pulled on the bobbin thread to gather it. It’s more “proper” to use two lines of stitching.. but I tend to break the rules. ;)

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5. Gather your lower bodice piece to match the top of the front bodice. You want them to be the same width.

6. Sew the two front pieces together, then sew the two back pieces together.

7. Continue to follow the rest of the pattern instructions to complete your tunic!

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This mint green and cream striped Ponte de Roma fabric from Girl Charlee is amazing. I may or may not have snuggled with it after it arrived, it’s that soft. Don’t judge… you’ll do it too. It drapes really well and has a great weight. It has pretty quickly become one of my favorite knits to work with, I think.

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One of the things I love about Melissa’s patterns is her sleeves. They’re always perfect! I also added pockets to the tunic – because everything is better with pockets.

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Now excuse me while I go fill my entire wardrobe with Ponte de Roma tunics… :)

This post is sponsored by Girl Charlee, who provided the fabric for this tutorial. [Thanks, Girl Charlee!] All opinions are my own.

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Counting Stars and adding a tuxedo stripe to pants

The lovely Melissa and Stacey, fellow boy mamas from Melly Sews and Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy are in the middle of their Sew in Tune series. It’s super fun – sewing that’s inspired by music!

Confession: I don’t listen to a lot of pop music. I get a lot of my modern day musical education from The Voice. Or random songs I hear on Pandora. Which is actually where I found this one: Counting Stars, by One Republic.

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This song has a really catchy tune, and I find myself singing it throughout the day. Okay, and dancing in my kitchen with my boys. When I first heard this song, it made me think of my oldest, because he loves – I mean LOVES – anything that has to do with stars and planets.

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One of my favorite lines of the song says “I’ve been losing sleep, dreaming about the things that we could be.” And that’s one of the best things about my boy – he dreams big.

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The pants are self-drafted, with this super soft neon green corduroy [I believe it’s Limeade 21 Wale from Robert Kaufman] and tuxedo stripes out of a fabric that looks just like a sky full of stars.

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They have a slight flare to them and are flat front, with pockets in the back.

how to add a tuxedo stripe to pants

I added tuxedo stripes to the pants, which is really easy to do to any pants pattern.

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1. Sew each pant leg together at the outer seam. Cut a long rectangular strip of fabric the length of your seam. How wide you cut the strip depends on the size of your pants and how wide you want the stripe to be. Remember to leave room for your seam allowance.

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2. Fold over and press the long sides of the strip. I folded mine over about 3/8 in.

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3. Pin the fabric along the seam and sew in place with a straight stitch on either side. So easy!

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I used the Bond Top from Beatnik Kids for the shirt, modified without a collar and with an exposed zip. This is my third Bond Top now, and I really love this pattern.

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I upcycled a black tee and used a fabric that reminded me of planets.

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This was his “make my mouth the same shape as a planet” face. :)

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An outfit perfect for dreaming about all your future could hold… like jumping on the moon.

Make sure you check out all the other amazing looks in the Sew in Tune series at Melly Sews and Boy, oh Boy, oh Boy!

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