American Girl Dolls; every little girl’s love. Well, maybe not every little girl’s love, but definitely mine! And! We have the “fortunate luck” to live within minutes of a giant American Girl Doll Store!
However, when Christmas came along with the the American Girl Doll catalog, I just knew that the whole thing would be full of circled items. I was not mistaken! With “the sky’s the limit” wishful thinking coupled with sky high pricing, it was hard to pair down the Christmas list.
This was a call grandpa and some DIY!
DIY American Girl Doll Wardrobe
On the top of the list (coming in at around $300) was the Isabelle Wardrobe. It did not come as a surprise to me as she had recently received Isabelle as a birthday gift (in October). However, at that price, it would be all she would receive for Christmas. So, I started my Pinterest hunt for the perfect DIY American Girl Doll Wardrobe. I didn’t have to search for long, because I found a cute design with plans and everything right here!
I enlisted my father (whom is lovingly called Baba) to help with the word-working, and I sanded, primed, and painted. With the suggested Target washer and dryer set (an additional cost), the wardrobe was complete! The finished product ended up costing less than $50 and was more than we could have dreamed.
I got so much, that I was able to sew 2 skirts and 1 pullover. I am almost finished with the pullover and should upload the pics soon!
1 Skirt: 2 Ways
There are a couple ways to sew the waist band on a simple reversible knit skirt:
1: with a smooth elastic waist band, or
2: with a bunched elastic waist band.
This tutorial will walk you through making both!
But first, lets start with the basics. For this skirt, no pattern is needed. The hip measurement (or where you want the skirt to sit), and the length measurement, is all the pattern you need for this reversible knit skirt tutorial.
Hip to bottom of skirt measurement
Stretch fabric needle
Elastic Band 5/8 – 1 inch in width
Reversible Knit Skirt Tutorial
Step 1: Measure
After determining hip measurement, multiply by either 1.5 or 2 depending on how gathered you wish the skirt to be. Take that number and add 1 inch for the seam allowance. That is how wide your fabric for the skirt will be. **Make sure the stretch of the fabric is horizontal (side to side) to this measurement.
My daughter’s Hip measurement is 25 inches. 25 x 2 = 50 + 1 = 51 inches.
Step 2: Cut Fabric
Cut out a rectangle in the measurements determined above. My rectangle was 51 inches wide by 15 inches tall.
Step 3: Sew Side Seams
Decorative Flat Felled Seam
For a reversible skirt, I like to sew a decorative flat felled seam. To do this you simply pin the side so that the seams match up, and choose a stretch stitch that is decorative on either the front, back, or both. Sew a straight line down the length of the side seam, and trim the excess fabric on one side only. Trimming the fabric on one side will reduce bulk in the finished seam. The longer side will then fold over to the seam edge. Press flat with an iron. Turn fabric over and topstitch, preferably with a stretch straight line stitch (one that goes back and forth). When you turn the fabric over, there should be a decorative stitch the length of the side seam. This step can be repeated on the other side with the fold to even things out. Just make sure to leave out the trimming!
Step 4 (a): Smooth Waist Band
a. The elastic band should be roughly 2-3 inches shorter than your hip measurement for adequate fitting. It is best to measure on the person if possible.
For Example: my daughter’s hip measurement is 25 inches. The elastic band I measured to be 22 inches.
b. Instead of overlapping the elastic and creating bulk, I like to sew each elastic end to the durable piece of fabric as seen below. This reduces bulk, and provides stability. With a short zig-zag stitch, go over the end of the elastic 4-5 times. You can add a third row in he middle if you like.
a. Cut out a strip of knit (with the stretch going length wise) 2 x the width of your elastic plus 1 inch seam allowance. The length should be 1 inch longer than the .
For example: I used a 1 inch elastic waist band, so the width of my strip was 2 x 1 = 2 + 1 = 3 inches.
Fold strip in half and, using the flat felled seam technique mentioned above, sew the strip together to make a circle as seen below:
b. Fold strip of fabric over the elastic to make an encasing as seen below:
3. Attaching Waistband to Skirt
a. Before you attach the waistband, you are going to want to gather the top of the skirt. Simply run a straight stitch with a wide spacing (preferably 5 on the settings) about 5/8 in from the edge.
b. Divide the waistband and gathered skirt into quarters. With raw edges up, and right sides together, pin waistband to skirt (matching quarter markings) as seen below:
c. Sew the waistband to the skirt, with the same decorative stitch used on the side seams, stretching slightly as you go . Make sure you leave enough seam allowance to include a flat felled seam here if desired (turning up toward the elastic).
Trim any gathering stitches and marvel at your masterpiece!
Step 4 (b): Bunched Waist Band
The Reversible Knit Skirt Tutorial for a bunched waist is only slightly different than from the smooth waist.
Go ahead and sew the side seams exactly the same as above, however, we are going to leave out the gathering on the skirt and we will wait until the end for the elastic.
a. Instead of gathering the top of the skirt, we are going to fold it over 3/8 in. Then sew the same decorative stretch stitch for the entire length of the circle.
b. Trim the excess seam allowance and fold the sewn edge over again so that the casing is 1.5 inches (for a 1 inch elastic waist band). Use a straight stretch stitch to sew below the decorative bottom stitch (making sure you leave a 1 inch opening) as well as edge stitch on the top. This will give it a more professional look.
Using whatever method you like, run the elastic through the casing, being careful not to twist the elastic. Once the elastic is threaded through, utilize the same closing technique mentioned above for the smooth elastic band. Once complete, sew closed the opening on the casing.
What is the best part of Fall? Leggings! The most comfy thing a girl (or boy) can wear!
As part of Kids Clothes Week, I am making a pair of leggings. The great thing about leggings is that they are incredibly easy to make.
This tutorial will walk you through how to make a pair of leggings by using a pair you already have as a guide. However, you can check out this other fantastic tutorial here, if you need to make them from scratch using your own measurements.
Let the DIY Leggings Tutorial begin!
DIY Leggings Tutorial
1/2 yard knit fabric (for tiny ones!)
1 inch elastic band for waist (about 1/2 yard)
1/4 inch elastic band for rushing (about 1/8 yard)
poof of tulle for accent (optional)
matching polyester thread
marker or pen
ballpoint or stretch needle
double needle (optional)
Fold your pair of leggings in half length-wise to use as a guide. Trace around the leggings onto a sheet of paper (or many sheets taped together) with a pencil or marker. Once the outline is created, we are going to adjust. Because the elastic band has made the waist slightly smaller, we are going to draw lines straight up to meet the top as shown in the picture below.
Add 1/4 inch seam allowance to the side that is not straight up and down. The side that is straight up and down will be placed on the fold.
Add a one inch seam line to the bottom of the leggings as shown below.
Add 1 1/4 inch seam allowance to the top to allow for a 1 inch elastic waist band. If you prefer a smaller waist band, use that size plus 1/4 inch.
Cut out fabric carefully. Knits are prone to stretching, so they should be laid out on a flat surface. Try not to stretch the fabric as you cut.
Since 2 legs are needed, you will need to cut out two pieces on the fold. If the fabric has stripes, make sure the stripes are lined up by using one piece of cut out fabric as the pattern for the second as shown below.
Using your walking foot, double or twin needles if you have them, and polyester thread (for maximum stretch): Hem the bottom of both legs by folding the fabric in 1 inch. #5 on my machine provides a good amount of stretch, however, a straight stitch can work if you slightly stretch the fabric while sewing.
Note: If you want to do the ruched sides, now is the time! Iron the fold seam, open fabric, and sew the elastic to the wrong side of the material at the bottom of the pant leg.
One the bottom hems are complete (and side ruched detail), with a single ballpoint needle, and the zigzag stitch of your choice: sew the leg seam together until you reach the curved point (crotch). I like the zigzag with the straight line best: #10 on my machine. However, anything that give stretch to the fabric will work.
Once both legs are complete, sew the seams up the front and back (all in one go) making a U shape.
Add the elastic band to the top by encasing it in the excess 1 1/4 inch fabric. Now the product is done and any decorations (such as the tulle poof can be added)!
When we decided as a family to adopt rabbits into our life, the first and foremost decision we had to make was: indoors or outdoors? In the house or in a rabbit hutch? There seems to be a philosophical debate on whether or not rabbits are indoor or outdoor animals.
There are numerous websites dedicated to the philosophy of “house rabbits” detailing the reasons why indoor environments are vital to the well being of bunnies. Many of these reasons are related to social interaction, harsh outdoor climates, and an increased lifespan in the home. The philosophy of house rabbits tends to be very adamant that keeping a pet rabbit indoors is the best possible outcome for both the pet and the pet owner.
The other side of the debate tends to agree with all the positive aspects of indoor habitats, yet recognizes that rabbits are rabbits and, if properly cared for, can live a happy life outdoors in a rabbit hutch.
After careful debate, we decided that we would keep our rabbits outside – with the resolve to play with them outside every day. However, we wanted to make sure that they had ample space and excellent accomodations, so we recruited my father to design and build a DIY Rabbit Hutch: what we now refer to as the “Rabbit Mansion”.
DIY Rabbit Hutch
My dad’s philosophy is “use what you have”. In the case of the DIY Rabbit Hutch, we used wood left over from our newly assembled fence, hinges from old cabinet doors, and scrap wood from various projects for the top addition flooring and stair case. The DIY Rabbit Hutch is built in two pieces: the top piece fitting on the bottom piece like a lid to a pot.
Needless to say, the kids were thrilled with the new addition! The rabbits were too! For more woodworking projects by my dad, please see our “Tufted Headboard Tutorial” or visit his website, Masterwork.
A DIY Rabbit Hutch Blueprint Printable PDF is here! Visit our products page for more information!
Earlier this year, the kids and I succumbed to yet another pinterest phenomenon: Sidewalk Chalk Photography. In the heat of a Texas June day, we decided to make chalk paint, paint the driveway in the likeness of the Dallas skyline, and make one of the most adorable Father’s Day cards ever!
4-5 cups Cornstarch
Food Coloring (we used gel)
4-5 Cups of water
To make: Mix roughly 1 cup cornstarch to 1 cup water with 10-12 drops of food coloring (or until the desired color). We had no problem washing away the color when we were finished. However, we used Tempura Paint in black for the outline, and that took about 2 weeks to fully disappear.
4-5 Large Sponge Paintbrushes
We only had a few hours to create the chalk surprise, so unfortunately we had to deal with the sun and very hot concrete. I made the outline of the Dallas Skyline and the kids painted it in with the freshly made chalk paint and sponge brushes. The kids lasted about 30 minutes (which is 20 minutes longer than I thought) and I continued on. After while in the sun, I decided that to leave some of the buildings empty was artistically pleasing. It had absolutely nothing to do with the fact I was drenched from had to toe and ready to call it a day. It was an artistic choice :)
We were ready to pose for the photoshoot! All I needed to do was position the ladder in the alleyway in order to get to a perspective where the driveway was flat. I never was able to find this position, but it was close enough!
Posing the children was the most enjoyable part of the whole event. The kids loved coming up with silly poses and trying them out. However, we had to wait until 5:00 to get the shots as the concrete was so hot! Which gave us only 30 minutes before dad arrived. We quickly added stars and a moon to create the look of night and took photos in 30 second bursts! Oh the joys of a Texas summer. Hot enough to fry an egg! In the end, with a little photo editing to darken the photos and some text from a beloved book, we had a magical gift to give a wonderful father.
Tufted headboards are a little girls dream, and in my case maybe an even bigger dream to make one. When I saw the Eliza Tufted Headboard from Pottery Barn, I knew that I must have one for Cadence. But with a price tag near $1,000, I turned toward my inner creativity (and my father!) to make one from scratch. I had never made furniture or reupholstered anything before, but I knew with the countless tutorials on pinterest that we could succeed. My favorite tutorial came from The Idea Room. While I knew I wanted a deeper tuft than the one shown, I loved the step by step instructions, not only for the tufting, but the headboard frame as well.
Originally, a tufted headboard was all we were going to attempt. However, once I involved my dad, we got a whole entire bed frame! As I was not the one to make the bed frame, I cannot explain in detail how it was done. However, I can show step by step how the headboard was constructed as well as do over points along the way. Note: While the bed frame was made and prepped by my loving father, I had the pleasure of painting the bed which ended up with 3 coats of paint! My husband, of course, occupied the children during this process.
Piece of MDF board cut to your specifications
2 – 3 inch foam (we found ours at JoAnn’s)
Drill and 3/8 inch Drill Bit
Quilt Batting (Joanne’s)
Pillow / Doll Stuffing (Joanne’s)
Waxed Thread (JoAnn’s)
Button Making Kit with enough buttons for your project (JoAnn’s)
Material for the tufted headboard
2 sawhorses or 2 tables
Staple Gun and Staples
Make the frame. Follow the instructions from The Idea Room and cut the MDF board to your own specifications. We opted for a squared off look to offset how girly the tufted headboard is. Decide how many tufts you would like and how far apart you want them. Decide between square and diamond tufts We chose square to match the square frame. Mark where each button will be and drill holes all the way through the MDF headboard with a drill and drill bit We used a 3/8 inch drill bit. Our headboard is 39×28, we have 4 rows of 5 totaling 20 buttons spaced 7 inches apart horizontally and 6 inches vertically.
Line up the foam (which may be more than one piece depending on the size of your headboard) with he MDF board. With a pen, mark through the holes onto the foam. Cut holes in the foam about the same size as the buttons with a pair of scissors or a knife. Once the holes are made, line up the foam and the MDF and glue together with the spray glue. This will ensure that it does not move!
I found that to get the perfect tufted look it was best to add balls of fluff in the middle of each tuft. I carefully added the quilt batting on top, adjusting the balls of fluff accordingly.
Now is a good time to make the cloth covered buttons. I ended up having to hand sew mine on as the fabric was so thick- taking me about 2 hours! In the beginning, we tried following the instructions of sewing the buttons to the headboard to make the tufts, but they kept breaking. Eventually we ended up sewing smaller, shirt sized buttons on with the waxed thread and upholstery needle to make the tufts, and then sewing the decorative buttons on afterwards.
Step 5 – shaping the tufts, was by far the hardest part. My dad ended up helping more than he thought he would as it needed so much strength! We placed the foam topped headboard on two sawhorses so that we could get underneath. After gently smoothing and softening, we pulled the button into the foam hole with the upholstery needle, and wax thread. My dad, being the strength, pulled the wax thread underneath the headboard until I told him the depression was sufficient (and eventually, evenly depressed with the others – as this is no easy feat) and he would then staple the excess thread to the headboard in a W pattern. Surprisingly, the quality of the tufts was not determined by the depth. In fact, we barely pulled the buttons into the foam. The extra fluff and quilt batting is what made the tufts look full and round. The 20 tufts took about 3 hours to make, but it was worth every minute!
After the tufting, assembling the headboard was a breeze! After a little more smoothing and softening around the edges, we trimmed the excess fabric and stapled it to the back. The headboard was complete! All we had left was to assemble the rest of the bed and marvel at our masterpiece.
Autumn Flag Banner Tutorial + Front Porch Makeover
Autumn is right around the corner and we could not wait to get started decorating! With 14 days left until fall we are a little early, but anything to get our minds off this heat is worth it!
The project started off as a fall flag banner for the fireplace, however, after some thought, I decided to use it to decorate our front porch- the front porch that has never been decorated in the 2 years that we have lived here.
I have always wanted to have the decorating skills that are plastered all over pinterest. In truth, I have never been much of a decorator- leaving most of the work to my husband who has a talent for decorating that obviously exceeds my own. Today, however, the kids and I attempted (and succeeded) in making a very festive fall flag banner. We searched high and low for unused objects in the house to use for the fall porch makeover. We were able to use 2 black vases, our original doormat, a small pedestal, and three pumpkins. The rest we went to find at Hobby Lobby and Lowes.
At Hobby Lobby, we found fabric and hemp rope for the Autumn Flag Banner, 8 decorative flowers, 1 flower bunch for the wreath, a basic natural grapevine wreath, a bronze initial, and a side table on sale.
The total bill came out to: $138.00 – pretty amazing!
Especially when compared with the before photo found here!
Autumn Flag Tutorial:
So, I know there are a million fall flag banner tutorials out there, but the method of using Heat n’ Bond for the letters and sewing for the actual flag is my favorite. Alternatively, you can use the Heat n’ Bond for the flag as well, however, the below instructions include sewing.
Fabric colors for 8 flags ( I used 5 colors in 1/8 yard each)
Muslin Fabric in 1/2 yard
Black Fabric for letters in 1/8 yard
Heat n’ Bond
Sewing Machine (if stitching)
Print out the flag template from www.flairytale.com found here. I resized it to fit an 8×11 sheet of paper to make a 10×7.5 inch triangle. I then printed out the letters to spell “autumn” in the font: Script MT Bold 350pt.
Using the template, cut out the fabric into 8 flags of your color choice, and 8 more in the muslin. Set aside.
Trace the letters backwards or mirror image onto the Heat n’ Bond paper side. Once complete, place the Heat n’ Bond onto the wrong side of the black fabric and iron for 2-5 seconds. Once cool, cut the letters out, peel off the sticker one at a time and iron them onto the fabric flag.
Sew the finished front flags to the muslim backs right sides together. Sew the long sides of the triangle together, leaving the top edge open. Trim and turn right side out. fold the top edges in toward each other 1/4 inch, press flat. Fold edge down and sew a pocket for the hemp rope about 1/2 inch deep.