June 11, 2013

::American Girl and/or 18" Doll Dress Tutorial::

I can't stop making these dresses for all the girls I know.  Want to make some too?  Here's how I do it:

Cut one piece of fabric 11" x 26".  Cut two strips of fabric 1 1/2" x 11".  

Lay the fabric out so that one of the long sides (26") is closest to you.  This will be the bottom hemline.

Serge the raw edge of one 26" side and then fold and press it 1/4".  

If you don't have a serger, fold and iron the raw edge over 1/4" and then fold and iron it over again another 1/4" to hide the raw edge.

Sew the hemline closed with a straight stitch.

A second option is to flip the fabric over so that the raw edge is facing down, line up rick rack with the hemline and sew a straight stitch.  It will close the hem and also attach the trim.

Here is what the finished hemline and rick rack look like.

Fold the fabric with right sides together, lining up the two short edges as accurately as possible.

Sew the two short sides together with a straight stitch and a zig zag along the raw edge OR serge them.  Press to set the seam.  You know have a tube.

Pull the tube apart so that the seam is laying in the middle of the tube and press it to one side.

Turn the tube of fabric inside out, smooth out the layers and press neatly. 

Fold the tube in half so that the pressed seam is laying on the other edge of the tube.  There will be four layers of fabric.

Now let's work on the arm holes.

Lay the dress so that the folded edges are on the left side.  You will be cutting out the 2 armholes at one time.


1 1/2 inches straight across the top of the neckline and

 3 1/4 inches straight down toward the bottom hem line.

Line up a small bowl or other circular shape that fits between the two measurements and trace the shape to form a curved line.

You need to make it large enough to fit around the doll's arm.

Cut along the line and discard scrap piece.

Unfold the dress and you should have two armholes on each side of the tube.

Time to finish the armholes.

Take one 1 /12 x 11"strip and fold in half lengthwise with wrong sides together.  Press.

Open it up, fold one edge to the middle and press.

Fold the other edge to the middle and press.

Fold both sides together on middle line and press.

Place the raw edge of the armhole into the folded trim, much like putting a piece of paper into a file folder.  Pin the trim on if desired.

Sew along the edge of the folded trim to attach it to the dress, making sure to completely envelop the raw edge and catch the trim along the back as well.  Adjust as you go along to keep the raw edge from slipping out.

Cut off excess trim.

Repeat on the other armhole.

After both armholes are completed, lay the dress down with the neckline facing toward you.  Press flat with hot iron.

Fold neckline over approximately 1/4".  Press with a hot iron.

Fold neckline over a second time approximately 7/8".   Make sure that the casing is wide enough for a small 3/8" ribbon to pass through easily.

Stitch along the edge of the casing in order to close it.   Backstitch at the edges so as to secure casing.

Repeat on the other side of the neckline.

Thread the ribbon through the neckline on both sides.  Put the dress over the doll and tie a pretty bow on one side.

Got questions?  Leave them in the comments and I will answer them!


June 6, 2013

::My Girls, My Nails and My Vintage Goodies::

I'm slowly embracing the camera and all the happier for it.

With the littlest after bath time.

My last Kindergarten Mother's Day celebration.  *tears*

My last kindergarten picnic. 

Watching my oldest play softball all spring was a great way to spend our time.  Even her sister agreed on most days.

The Brooklyn Flea came to Philly!  I've always wanted to go but have never made the trip to NYC so when I heard it was coming here, I was so excited.  It's in the Northern Liberties part of town at a place called the Piazza at Schmidts, an Italian style open-air plaza by the old Schmidt's Brewery.    Jared Kushner, aka Ivanka Trump's husband, now owns the Piazza and brought the Flea here.  Ivanka was down there on Sunday but I didn't see her!  If you live in the area, you should come check it out.

Some goodies I picked up at the Flea.

My new favorite vintage glasses for drinking Pellegrino with lemon.  They inspired my weekly manicure.  The color is OPI's Jade is the New Black.

Last week's color was Essie's Bobbing for Baubles, a dark, deep navy blue.  I love it.

Happy almost Friday!


April 28, 2013

::Behind the Camera and What I've Been Up To::


How are you?

What have you been up to?

In between Tball, softball, swim team and being outdoors during the long-awaited springtime, I've managed to squeeze in some quiet time which I've needed desperately.  I'm being a little selfish these days.  

Like most moms, I've given so much of myself to my children and it's been to my detriment.  The constant care and nurturing of my three girls over the last 12 years has left me depleted and lost.   Now that they're older and in school for longer periods of time, I've forced myself to take better care of me.  This includes actually showering every day, putting on make up, long walks, a nap here or there, reading during the day and all those good things that feed my soul.  These are all such minor and little things that add up to a huge change in my state of mind.

Surprisingly, I don't feel guilty.  I don't feel guilty and I can't believe that.  I had to work at not feeling guilty that the house was a mess or that gourmet dinners weren't on the table at 6pm sharp.

But I've noticed a huge difference; I feel calm and peaceful and happy.  And for that, I am grateful.  

Because when the first one gets off the bus at 3pm until 9:30 at night when the last one falls asleep, I'm much more patient with the girls (and the husband) and not so exhausted and cranky at dinner/homework/bed time.    

During my quiet time I've been working on blocks for the Virtual Quilting Bee with Amy Smart @Diary of a Quilter.  What do you think?  Do you like this one?

I think it goes well with these.


I've been reading about one women's journey to from panic to peace.  I could use a little more peace and a lot less anxiety in my life and she shares some great ways to do that in her book.

Cuddling with the kiddos has been at the top of the list.  My oldest just turned twelve and I feel the years just speeding by.   I cringe when I think about a few short years from now when she will be out of the house.  One day I'm going to look back and be so happy that I cuddled with my girls instead of putting laundry away in drawers and keeping my kitchen crumb-free.

I've been chain piecing blocks for Bloom Bloom Pow Quilt-a-Long with Lee @ Freshly Pieced while this one keeps me company.

I've signed up for Sewing Summit 2013.  Cannot wait!

I've been learning to use a 60* triangle ruler to cut Bloom Bloom Pow triangles.  Trying to keep the ruler from moving around while I cut has been so hard.  I'm hoping my mistakes don't mess up my quilt in the end.

And I've been getting in front of the camera with my pumpkins.   When I first had Colleen, my oldest, I called her my little peanut.  I call each of my girls 'peanut' and also 'pumpkin'.  I think I picked this up from our mom.  I use the words like you would use "honey."  I'll say, "Come here pumpkin and let me brush your hair."  The other day, one of Maeve's friends heard me call her 'pumpkin' and roared with laughter that I "...called her a pumpkin!"  I'm now wondering if they are funny or odd terms of endearment.  Is it strange?  I don't know but I've used them forever and I'm pretty sure our mom used those words too.  They are affectionate and special to me but now that I think about it, it might seem pretty funny if I heard a mom call her child a 'squash' or an 'olive' or some other food product.  But that's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

Hope you had a great weekend.  Have a great Monday!