A Classy Ragdoll Dress

The back cutout detail is my favorite! 😍

I love dressing up. Both in fancy things and in costume-y things. But I also know that realistically I don’t need a closet full of Disney costumes (unfortunately), so I try to find ways to combine my nerdiness with my need for functional clothing, and my latest attempt is a knit version of the Belladone Dress by Deer and Doe. It’s funny the way I get ideas, too. This was spurred by the fact that Facebook advertized some cute Sally (from Nightmare Before Christmas) leggings, but they were only available in kids sizes! Thanks a lot, Facebook. 

Anyway, it sent me down a little bit of a rabbit hole, in which I contemplated if I would really wear those leggings enough to search and search, or if I’d rather make something. The answer is almost always making something. And again, Spoonflower to the rescue! They had some beautiful fabric called “ragdoll scraps” which would work perfectly. They had a small and large version, and I went with the larger one. I also have had the Belladone pattern laying around for over a year, and I love the back cutout detail, so I decided to go in that direction. While it might not be an everyday dress with the fabric I picked, it would definitely be more than just a Halloween or Comic Con outfit.

Choosing the fabric type was a bit trickier. With the sampler pack I got from Spoonflower, I was looking for something sturdy, comfortable, and not too thin. I also wanted something with a bit of drape, because I like to twirl. Even though the pattern calls for woven fabrics, I decided to go with the Organic Cotton Knit. It’s not crazy stretchy like jersey, and it’s thicker, too. If I got lucky, maybe I wouldn’t even need a zipper! Will I ever do a pattern exactly how the instructions tell me to? We may never know 😉

I got to cutting, and (just like the other Deer and Doe patterns I’ve done), the instructions were well made, and the dress started to come together well. The darts were a little funny since I used stretchy fabric and a zig zag stitch, but I’m probably the only one who will notice that.

This pattern was the first time I ever did this type of armhole and neckline binding with bias tape. I got thin double fold black bias tape, but I think I probably could have just done single fold. It would be slightly less bulky, but I’m actually quite pleased with how these turned out, especially for my first try!

At a certain point, you get to where you can kind of put the dress on like an apron, and when I did that I noticed it was BIG! But it’s probably because the fabric I used has stretch, but the pattern calls for woven, non-stretchy fabric. So, wearing the dress like an apron, I grabbed the fabric behind my back and figured out how much extra there was. I pinned the dress back right sides together, and sewed a seam about 1.5 inches from the edge of the fabric. I went down only as far as below the waistband (in case I didn’t like it), and pulled it over my head. It fit great! And without a zipper! Woohoo! I then finished the back seam, tapering out to the edge of the fabric to keep the skirt nice and full.

The hem is not your standard hem - it uses a facing. I don’t really know why you’d choose one over the other (maybe a decorative touch?), but I liked the method, and it seems to give the skirt a bit more body? I don’t know. It looks good, though. A normal hem would probably work in a pinch, though. I also decided to do a top stitch, rather than an invisible stitch, to finish the facing/hem. Because Sally’s dress is made of scraps, and she is literally all sewn together, I figured a black visible seam would compliment the outfit nicely.

I decided to finish the outfit with a bow headband - Sally has red hair and I had some leftover burgundy velvet from another project that would be a fun accent.

 Photo by  Maddie Camilli

Put it with some burgundy boots and you’ve got a dapper Sally costume!

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Make a Workout Tank from a T-shirt

While I love dressing up and making cute outfits for special occasions, most of my laundry ends up being workout clothes. In these summer months, it's hard to want to wear T-shirts instead of tank tops and lately I feel like I've been running low on tanks. I like to wear them to yoga and when I’m running. Also, I’m not a big fan of running in t-shirts because I’d much rather have a racerback tan than a farmers tan (because I’m vain), plus tanks are so much more breezy! These hot days have been killing me and I just don’t have enough tanks (without doing laundry every other day) for yoga and running right now. Rather than go out and spend money (which I would love to do ), I figured I’d get by with some tanks made from tees!

A few years ago I did the Enchanted 10k in Disney World with my hubby and sister, and hubby never wears the princess-y workout top we got with the race, so I decided to make it into a running tank!

First I grabbed a tank I liked the shape of, and got cutting. I liked using my rotary cutter, because I could leave the shirts flat on my cutting mat, but scissors will work just fine, too. Also, try the shirt on a lot while you’re making cuts. You might find that fewer steps result in a shape you really like!

  1. Lay your T-shirt down flat, and lie your tank on top of it. Either mark where you’re going to cut with a pencil or tailor’s chalk, or just use your rotary cutter and cut off the sleeves and neck. (You could leave the neck, but I prefer a lower cut for a workout tank.) You might be done! See what you think of this shape.
  2. Take your cut up T-shirt, and fold it in half the awkward way - so you can see your side seams. This helps you keep your cuts consistent/symmetrical on the right and left sides. At this point, I made the neckline lower and the racerback more pronounced. You could also make your armholes larger and lower in case you want a bit of breeze on your abdomen.
  3. Keep trying on your shirt and repeating step 2 until you’re happy. You can err on the side of caution and make lots of minor adjustments - you can always cut away more fabric, but you can’t put it back!
  4. Optional - stitch up the arm holes and neck hole. Using a binding stitch, you can quickly go around each hole to keep the fabric from fraying. However, most t-shirt fabric doesn’t really fray much, so you can skip this step as long as you don’t mind how it looks. If you really want to go crazy, you could always create a neckband or use some stretchy bias tape and give your tank a more finished look. This of course takes more time, makes you take out your sewing machine, and just might not be necessary for a quick tank you’re just going to sweat in.
  5. A fun touch would be to accentuate the racerback shape by tying a bow around the fabric at your back - I did this to wear to a 5k fun-run with a friend.

Keep in mind that this won’t fit you snugly like other tanks you might already own. I think some of the charm in a garment like this has to do with it’s roughness, and the fact that your sports bra will probably be showing a little. Plus, you’re mostly just going to be sweating in it. No one will care if it’s perfectly tailored to your body.

Happy Sweating!

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Quilted Tote Bag

Last month I went into Joann’s without much of an objective (and a cocktail loosening up my brain - don’t worry, hubby drove 😉). It had been a couple months since I had been in, and I might have gone a little crazy. I bought four nerdy fabrics that I had no specific purpose for, but knew I had to have because finding affordable Disney, Harry Potter and Star Wars fabric that is good for something other than kids or fleece blankets doesn’t always happen!

Photo by my incredibly talented friends, Adam Dooms (www.adamdoomsmedia.com) and Shelby Ilyse

Today’s post is going to focus on the project I came up with for this fun sugar skull Star Wars fabric (I don't see this specific fabric online, but there are quite a few fun options available on Joann's website right now). Usually I do things like skirts, but the style of this print reminded me of purses I’ve been seeing in Disney World (or more recently on Instagram, since I live in Colorado), so I decided to make a quilted tote bag - my attempt at a Vera Bradley style bag.

I have never quilted anything until this project, so I was a bit nervous, but I also figured that the print (with it’s black background) would be very forgiving with me using black thread.

I Googled around for some quilted bag tutorials, and the one I’m adapting from for this project is the Hushabye Tote. This tutorial has internal and external pockets, and says that this bag could work well as a diaper bag (note to self for future gifts). I decided to just make mine an extremely simple tote bag with no bells and whistles, though, because I’ve been wanting one to carry books/music/instruments to my weekly rehearsals. I was actually surprised with how “small” this bag turned out since the original poster said it would make a great diaper bag, and I made my fabric pieces slightly larger than they said to (about 16” squares). Maybe with the pockets it would be good for a diaper bag, but I think I would definitely make it a bit wider to be more similar to diaper bags I’ve seen women use. I also noticed that some tutorials mention putting cardboard in the bottom of the bag, but I decided not to do that, because I like the idea of being able to throw the bag in the washer and dryer (which I might have had to do already, because I spilled chile on it).

So without further ado, here’s how I made my adorable new tote purse!

Supplies:

  • Outer fabric (~½ yard) - This was the Star Wars fabric for me
  • Lining fabric (~½ yard) - You could use the same fabric as your outer, but I went with a plain black quilting cotton
  • Fusible fleece (1 ⅓ yards)
  • Medium-heavyweight fusible interfacing (1 yard)
  • Matching thread (or contrasting, depending on the look you’re going for!)
  1. Wash and iron your fabric. 
  2. Cut two 16” squares of your main fabric, lining fabric, fusible fleece and fusible interfacing. (Note: some my pictures show a rectangle because I was considering making a longer bag, but decided to cut it down after I had finished step 7)
  3. Cut a strip of your main fabric that is ~4” by 42”, and a strip of fusible fleece that is 2.5” by 42”. This is for your strap.
  4. Press the strap fabric in half, then line up the fusible fleece strip down the middle and iron into place. Re-press the strip in half, then press the extra fabric over the fleece on either side.
  5. Sew three seams down the strap piece lengthwise. Cut it in half to make two straps.
  6. Iron the interfacing to the lining, and the fusible fleece to the outer fabric.
  7. Quilt the outer fabric and fleece as desired. I did 1” squares (ish) on the diagonal. They’re not perfect, but the print of the fabric was very forgiving.
  8. Attach one strap each to the right side of the fabric, about 4” from the edges of the fabric, using a scant ¼” stitch (so it lies inside your seam allowance later).
  9. Place the outer pieces right sides together and stitch up the sides and bottom.
  10. Cut out 3” squares from the bottom corners, and box them. Grab the right angles of each piece, and pull them away from each other, which flattens the fabric, giving you a more-or-less straight edge, which you then sew up (I had to google around to fully understand what boxing entailed. It’s not hard, but it’s hard to describe. That's why I’m including pictures!)
  11. Sew the lining pieces right sides together on the sides and bottom, but leave a 6” or larger gap at the bottom, which you will use to turn the bag right-side out.
  12. Box the corners of the lining.
  13. Turn the lining right-side out and place inside the quilted bag (which is still inside out). Line up the seams on the side, and pin in place. Sew all the way around.
  14. Turn bag right side out by pulling through the hole you left in the bottom of the lining.
  15. Stitch up the hole in the lining. If you really care, you can do it by hand, but I figured since I was using black fabric, black thread, and this sat at the bottom of my bag (which hopefully no one will look at too closely), I just used my machine.
  16. Top-stitch all the way around the top of the bag.

The finished product! 

This whole project only took me a few hours (spread out over two evenings), and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out! It was a happy accident that it ended up being smaller than I thought, because it works very well for a roomy tote-style purse. I showed it to my parents and both of them were surprised I had made it - which, considering my mom loves Disney bags and I’d never made anything like this before, is high praise!

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The Fox and her Hound

Fall 2017 has been hectic - so much that I didn’t spend nearly as much time as usual on my costume. I don’t really know where the idea originated, but it occurred to me that having a foxhound as a prop was perfect, and I’d just be a fox!

Most of my costume is just normal clothing within a fox’s color scheme. I already had these reddish pants, black boots and a white tank top. I went to Target and found this orange plaid button up. It’s a size too big, but it’s what they had, and it’s super comfy.

Foxes, of course, have some very distinct features that humans don’t have, though, like pointy ears and a tail, so I got crafting. I googled around a bit on how to make these things, but then just kind of winged it. 

I went to Joann’s and they didn’t have quite the shade of fur I was looking for, but because I didn’t have much time, this brown was going to be close enough, especially with all my other colors.

When I was googling around, I also saw the idea to make fur gloves. I splurged a tiny bit on softer dark, dark red fur. I only got like 8 inches, so it wasn’t much of a splurge, but per yard, this fabric was about 4 times as expensive as the brown and white I got.

Gloves:

  1. Make a cylinder big enough for your hand to fit in.
  2. Put your hand in and mark where you’d like to make seams to fit. You can mark with pins (be careful of your hand), tailor’s chalk, or just wing it. If you err on the side of too big, it’s easy to take in a little.
  3. Repeat step two for your entire hand. After you’re happy with the fit, trim the extra fabric off and trim the opening for your fingers so it’s not too long. I rounded mine a bit, too.
  4. Turn right-side-out and put them on!

Tail:

  1. Make the outline of your tail with the main fabric. Make triangles of white for the tip of your tail.
  2. Attach ribbon to main fabric on the side you’d like to be facing your butt.
  3. Attach the white triangles to the main fabric.
  4. Stitch around the edges, leaving just enough of an opening to turn the tail right-side-out and to be able to stuff it.
  5. Turn it right-side-out and stuff it.
  6. Close up the opening. You could probably make it look nicer if you hand stitch it, but I decided to use my sewing machine because it’s faster, and it was only a couple inches. I wasn’t going for perfection. 

Ears:

  1. Cut pieces of white for the inside and brown/red for the outside. I also decided to use scraps from my gloves as a dark accent on the tips of the ears, like foxes seem to have naturally.
  2. Hot glue these pieces together.
  3. Hot glue them to a headband.

Note: They were a bit floppier than your average fox’s ears, especially after the first wear, so if I were to do these again, I might put a layer of cardstock or even cardboard between the layers, or use wire around the edges. They were still pretty cute floppy, just not as fox-like as they could be.

I also did my makeup, loosely based on this YouTube video. I used white and black face paint crayons from Joann's and liquid eyeliner, eyeshadow and bronzer I already had - luckily I have a few palettes of fun colors including reds, browns and oranges. In the video she is able to blend her white a bit after she applies it to her face, but I found with the face paint crayon you need to blend right away. Also, the black face paint I used on my top lip ended up rubbing off a little onto my bottom lip, but it wasn't terrible looking.

First makeup attempt

Second makeup attempt

And there you have it! A totally simple fox costume! And it becomes Disney-fied when I have my pooch with me 😉

Hubby got in on the action by dressing as as fox hunter - he found a super cheap red blazer at a thrift store and used clothes he had already. Turned out to be a super cute family costume!

Trying to get the hound to hunt the fox

The hound barely tolerating a family portrait

The hound not caring about the scared fox

Hope everyone had a Happy Halloween!

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