Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Handmade D-Signed Tulle Embellished Sundress Knock-Off, Joyful Princess Style!

I'm so excited to share my first "knock-off" project with you all!  I say this is the first because I had a lot of fun challenging myself to create this dress, and the result was very rewarding, so I am looking forward to more "knock-off" sewing projects.  

Not long ago we came across this D-Signed Tulle Embellished Sundress while shopping at Target.  

I loved the style of the dress, but hated the metal studs on the top bodice band, and I wasn't really a fan of the fabric choice.  I knew that Hailey would love the dress, especially the tulle, but wouldn't be a fan of the bow attached to the crossed straps in the back of the dress. (Think about sitting in a car seat with a big "bow knot" pushing up against your back.) So, I got to thinking, why pay $24.99 for a dress we "sort of liked" when I could try to make my own version of the dress for less?  

I had seen how Heidi at Elegance & Elephants was hosting a "Knock-It Off Series", and seeing others blog about their awesome "Knock-Off" projects was all the catalyst I needed to create my own "Knock-Off" project!  Allow me to introduce to you the "Knock-Off D-Signed Tulle Embellished Sundress"! 

I don't know about you all, but I just LOVE it, from the front... 

... to the back!

Ready to hear how I did it?.....

I first started out with the Sis Boom Betty Ann Top/Dress pattern as a base for the dress. I absolutely love this pattern and all of the options it includes.  Most of all, I love that the pattern includes the option of adding ruffles to the straps. Adding the ruffles to the dress made it "school friendly" so that was a must since I knew Hailey would want to wear this to school as much as possible.  

In order to "knock-off" the top bodice portion of the D-signed dress I added 2" to the top band pattern piece.  To do that I cut the pattern piece in half width wise, then cut out a 2" piece of computer paper that was the same width as the pattern piece, and taped it between the two pieces I had just cut.  In doing this I added an extra two inches to the front bodice length.  You will want to add an extra two inches to the back bodice length to accommodate for this adjustment when cutting out your pattern.  Simply cut the pattern piece out at the cutting line 2" below the cutting line you used for the front. 

I lined this dress with a light-weight yellow cotton, to allow for the tulle embellishment.  To do so I cut out a second front bodice and back bodice pattern piece.  You will want to cut each of these "front and back bodice lining pattern pieces" two inches shorter then the pieces you cut out for your main dress.  

To add the tulle to the bottom of the lining I cut out four strips of tulle that were twice as long as the bottom of the bodice pieces and 3 & 1/2" wide.  I stacked them into two layers of two strips, then gathered each stack by using a long machine stitch 1/2" from the edge of the tulle, much like you would gather a ruffle etc.  I then pinned the gathered tulle strips 1/2" from the bottom of the hemmed lining and then top stitched them in place.  

I then cut out a second top band pattern piece without making any alterations to it.  I used this to cut out a second top band for the bodice. This second piece would become the second top band layer of the front bodice, where my button embellishments would be added. (see close up below)

The original dress was embellished on the top band with metal studs.  This was my least favorite aspect of the original dress.  In my "knock-off" version I choose to embellish the top band of the bodice with three cute little flower shaped buttons.  Hailey picked these out herself from Hobby Lobby and they are the perfect buttons for this little detail.  

To add this second smaller top band I folded and pressed each of the long edges over by 1/4".  I then lay the band over the bottom portion of the larger top band making sure that the bottom of the smaller top band covered the bottom of the larger top band, and pinned it in place. Next, I top stitched along the upper portion of the smaller top band. Then, I attached the three buttons by hand, spacing them evenly, from the center out. 

Then I thought, I couldn't make a "Knock-Off" without making it even better then the original, so I added pockets!

Every little girl LOVES to have pockets for their treasures right???  To add the pockets I followed this great tutorial from Jess at Craftiness Is Not Optional, she even gives you a pocket pattern to use! 


This was the first time I've added pockets to anything and I'm sure that I'll be adding pockets to all of Hailey's dresses from now on.  I may even pull the store-bought dresses she has out of the closet and add pockets to them!  It really was an easy addition and totally worth her excitement over having pockets in a dress.  

Once I added the pockets I then finished the construction of the  dress as directed in the pattern after that point.  And wha-la we had a super cute (in my opinion more awesome) "Knock-Off D-Signed Tulle Embellished Sundress" for my little princess!

If you are wondering, the fabric I used in the construction of this dress is "Pam Kitty Happy Dot" and I was lucky enough to win a yard of it from my favorite fabric shop Skye Reve Fabrics a while back.  I loved it but was hoarding it until I found the perfect project and I'm so glad that I had it around for this project!  I had also purchased an additional yard so I have some more of it to play with!  

Since the fabric was really a freebie, all I paid for was the buttons, the lining fabric, and the tulle.  (The thread and elastic notions I needed I already had on hand.)

So, with about $1.99 for buttons, about $1.33 for lining, and about  $2.50 for a roll of tulle (that I have a LOT more of left to use) I spent less then $6.00 on this project!  

So...this is a win for Hailey and a win for Mommy!  I see many more "knock-offs" in my future! 


Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Casual Lady Top for ME!

So excited to be sewing for myself these days! 

Okay, honest truth, I've made three items for myself since I've started to sew over four years ago.  

The first was a disaster, but in my defense, it was the first sewing project I ever took on and I was teaching myself.  I was able to come up with a finished product (a miracle in itself) but it wouldn't even go over my head!  After that it took me over three years to try to sew another clothing item for myself I was so scared to tackle the "curves".  Over the years I've continued to teach myself and have finally grown the courage to sew clothing for ME!  The second item that I made for myself not only fit great, but it turned out amazing, seriously, I get compliments every time I wear it.  So, that encouraged me GREATLY!  

That second item (the first wearable one I made) inspired me to continue my learning process.  In April, I came across The Casual Lady sewing pattern by Andrea Pannell and I thought it would make for a perfect third sewing project.  And, I'm happy to announce that I love the results!


The pattern is suitable for beginners, offers a top and dress length, includes eight sizes, and at the time a portion of the proceeds were donated to charity.  I did notice that the pattern is on sale as of today, but I'm not certain how long the sale is in effect.  (I'm not affiliated with them in any way, nor am I being compensated in any way.) 


I purchased this fabric from Hobby Lobby, it's a light-weight knit, which is perfect for the weather here in Florida.  I loved the lace detail mixed with the blue.  It has a casual feel but had a little "pop" to it.  I have to tell you that it is super soft and comfortable. A little tricky when doing hems because it had the tendency to roll, but other than that I was really happy with my fabric selection for this project.  

As an aside, I really love our trees.  We will be moving in less then a month and the trees in our yard were planted by my husband over eleven years ago.  I've watched them grow through the years and will miss them.  It's strange how moving "hits you" a little bit at a time.  I digress....

After my epic failed attempt at sewing for myself I am going to take this moment to brag about how well I did lining up the stripes for this project.  I was pretty meticulous about it and they line up perfectly, which for me was a big "pat yourself on the back" moment.  I also choose to add a slight curve to the bottom hem of the top, just to make it "different" then the tops I currently own.  

Bam!  Look at those stripes at the seam line! Sorry, I'm just really proud of myself, and just can't hold it back.  I've purchased several patterns for myself to try out, and my awesome husband took me to the fabric store this weekend to build up my stash of "mommy fabric".  My goal is to stitch up a new item for myself every week for the entire month of June and to share them with you all. 

Maybe it will inspire one, or some, of my readers to learn to sew for themselves too!  It is so rewarding to take fabric that was nothing and turn it into something.  I'm very happy that I gained the courage to "tackle the curves" and now I wonder why it took so long!  

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Pirate Day at School and Memorial Day Weekend Giveaway!

Argh!  Today is "Pirate Day" at Hailey's school and I had a lot of fun getting her ready for the day!  

I just happened to have some remaining Pirate Fabric from the supplies I had for a boys outfit in my shop that turned out being the perfect fabric for this Pirate Princess outfit! 

I admit that I wish I could have went along for the day, but I can not WAIT to hear all of the stories she will have to tell this afternoon about the pirate adventures she had at school!  

To be a child again! 

Children always amaze me with how imaginative, carefree, and inspiring they are.  

If we can not turn back time to be a child again perhaps we can learn to imagine, inspire, and set aside our worries.  

The world would be a much better place wouldn't it? 

Now THAT is a world I would like to explore!

Speaking of inspiration, in honor of the men and women that gave their lives preserving our Freedom, we are hosting a giveaway on our Facebook Fan Page now through Memorial Day.  

These men and women are the reason that we and our children live in the United States of America and have the Freedom that we do.  Please remember them this weekend as you celebrate with your friends and family.  

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Stitching for the Feline Friends

I've been stitching up toys for feline friends that are in shelter and/or rescue situations as part of this months Hopeful Threads project, and just had to share!  

Kristy from Hopeful Threads actually came across my Facebook Fan Page during a giveaway back in March, and I'm so thankful that she did!  I LOVE the idea behind Hopeful Threads and couldn't wait to join in the sewing fun for one of her monthly projects.   

Each month she announces a sewing project that directly supports a charitable organization, or a group in need.  The sewing community that supports Hopeful Threads is amazing, and they return her "call of action" by stitching up items for the project, and shipping them her way!

This months Hopeful Threads project is "Celebrating Our Animal Families and Friends", sewing items for service pets and animals in shelters/rescues.  

I have six of these little catnip and fluff-stuffed fishies ready to ship to Kristy, and hope to have another twelve little toys to stitch up before I close up the box and send it her way.  Life has been crazy around here so I haven't been able to jump into the action until this month, and I really wish I could stitch up some more! 

This cause is near and dear to my heart, being an animal lover, and as my husband has coined me an "animal-whisperer", I just had to find time in our chaotic lives to donate something to this cause.  Our feline furbaby "Sox" was once a stray cat roaming the streets, and he means the world to us.  Our family wouldn't be the same without him!  

If you have time to stitch up something for Hopeful Threads in honor of a furbaby that has changed your life, head to Kristy's blog or Facebook Fan Page to find out more information.  And no need to worry about finding patterns and inspiration for your donations, Kristy shares free patterns and tutorials with you here

Happy stitching! 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Saturday Swoon.....Fabric

It's Saturday, and I will admit, I'm having a "lazy day".  I have plans to get more creative later, but with a few busy weeks behind me I needed some "lazy time" first.  My creative mind never really sleeps, I'm either dreaming up my next sewing project, searching for the "must have" fabric for that project, brainstorming a new craft, catching up on my favorite blogs...you get the point, it never ends.  

One of the fun things about creating is getting to share it with others, so I thought I'd share some of the fabric that I have been swooning over recently with you all!  

Truth be told, I want it all, but these are a few of my most recent favorites, perhaps you may want to swoon with me!  

I have to start with fabric from the new Circa collection from Sis Boom .  Jennifer Paganelli is the brilliant mind behind the amazing vintage-inspired collections of Sis Boom Designs.  I just love her, she is truly supportive of handmade businesses and a joy to chat with.  One of these days I WILL get my hands on both of her books as well. (Insert humble plea for family or friends to remember this as my birthday nears.) This is just one of the fabrics to swoon over in the collection, the Bradlee in Rose.  LOVE!

From one of my favorite fabric designers to one of my favorite fabric shops...

I LOVE Skye Reve Fabrics!  I Could list just about everything as a "swoon" from this shop, but this one is my current favorite.  This is Girlfriends, Mermaids in Surf, from designer Anne Kelle.  Not only do I love this one, but a certain little girl has her eyes on it as well.  The only thing holding me back from purchasing some is my pile of "to do" projects.  I have to get through some of those before adding to the pile once again.   Natasha is the brains behind this awesome shop, and she is a joy to do business with.  (Secret...if you follow her on Facebook she gives away Free Fabric every Friday!)

It's no secret that the majority of my swooning for fabric is inspired by what brings the most joy to my own daughter.  This fabric is her in a "nutshell"...Princess Kingdom, in Natural from Alexander Henry.  It's on back order now, and I am not surprised.  I love it! I can SO picture a dress for my little princess out of this fabric.  Fingers crossed it comes back in stock! 

I've also noticed that I gravitate towards fabrics with birds, especially ones with a more "vintage" feel to them.  This fabric is one of the many "bird fabrics" that I swoon over, it's called Wrenly, and comes from the designer Valori Wells.  

And last but not least, although Halloween is months away, this print from Bella Blvd for Riley Blake Designs is too cute, in fact it's called Too Cute To Spook!!!!  This is Spook Crew in White and I just think they are anything but spooky and totally adorable!  I just KNOW I have to get some of this for some Halloween themed goodies!

For now I'm going to continue to "virtually swoon" over these and many more fabrics online, after all we are getting ready to move, and my "fabric hoard" has grown substantially. 

Now that I'll have a dedicated sewing space I hope to change that "hoard" into awesomeness.....and when that happens perhaps my swooning can change into collecting for my creative purposes (AKA shopping).  

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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

DIY "Keys Please" Key Holder Craft Tutorial

I am so excited to share my first craft tutorial with you all since officially returning to blogging!  

I seem to spend more time looking for my keys lately, so I thought having a designated place for them would help me out.  I put together this "Keys Please" key holder to remind me to hang my keys in that place so that I can end my frantic searching.  

Quick Note...I used my Silhouette to cut out vinyl for the lettering, but you could certainly use stencils for the lettering along with paint or paint pens if you do not have one of those handy machines.  As an aside, I have to tell you that I've had a Silhouette for years and only started using it a couple months ago. This is actually the first time I have used it for a vinyl craft project.  Now that I've used it I plan to get a LOT more use out of it, especially with moving into a new home next month. 

Here are the materials I used for this project...

  • Wooden Base (Any shape/size you would like, mine is about 9 & 1/2" wide and 6 & 5/8" tall.) 
  • Acrylic Paints (I used Martha Stewart Crafts Multi-Surface Satin in Chamomile and Wild Salmon.) 
  • Coordinating Scrapbook Paper (For decorative trim.) 
  • Scrap Paper (For creating your template.) 
  • Paintbrushes
  • 5/8" Cup Hook Screws (I used 3 for my hanger.)
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Mod Podge (I used the Orange/Gloss version.)
  • Silhouette Machine OR Letter Stencil (You could also paint the wording free hand if you wish.) 
  • Vinyl
  • Vinyl Transfer Paper
  • Hardware to Hang your Finished Key Holder

Now you are ready to craft!  

To start, grab your scrap paper and your wooden base . Flip your wooden base upside down, on to the top of the scrap paper.  With a pencil, trace around the border of the bottom of the wooden base, as well as slightly up each of the sides.  With my project I traced each side an inch up.  (If any pencil marks transfer to the wooden base simply erase them.)  *I admit I painted my first coat, then did this step, you could do it either way.*

Then, remove the wooden base from the scrap paper, and use a ruler to connect the two side lines.  Now you will have an outline for a template to cover the bottom portion of your wooden base, where eventually your keys will hang.

Use your scissors to cut out the template you created.  Place the template over the bottom portion of your wooden base and trim any pieces of the template that are overhanging the base, if needed.  You want a template that will reach the edges but that does not overhang the edges. 

Since your paint will need an hour to dry, set the template aside for now and work on painting your wooden base.  Depending on your color choice you may need to paint more than one coat.  For my sign I did three coats of each color, allowing each to dry an hour before the next coat.

While your paint is drying you can work on creating the decorative trim for your key holder.  At this point, you have verified that your template is the perfect fit.  Place the template on top of your coordinating scrapbook paper and trace around it.  Cut the scrapbook paper just inside of the tracing line you made from your template.  Now you should have your decorative trim ready to go, just to be sure, you can place it over the bottom of your wooden base to make sure that the edges match up.  (Make sure the paint is dry first!) 

Once you have painted your wooden base to your liking you can add your scrapbook paper, or decorative trim, to the base.  Starting at one end of the scrapbook paper use a paintbrush to apply a thin coat of Mod Podge to the underside of the paper.  Then, smooth it down onto the wooden base, making sure you are matching up the edges of the scrapbook paper with the edges of your wooden base as you go.  You will want to do an area of about 1" to 2" at a time because the paper will have the tendency to curl.  Repeat this process until you get the entire piece of scrapbook paper adhered to your wooden base.  

Now you will paint a thin coat of Mod Podge on top of your scrapbook paper decorative trim.  You will want to be sure you apply the Mod Podge to all of the edges of the scrapbook paper as well.  Allow this to dry completely before proceeding to the next step.  

I choose to add my Cup Hook screws now, but you could add them after adding your lettering if you wish.  Since I was adding three of them I first determined where the middle of the wooden base was, and added my first screw there, then spaced the other two an equal distance on either side.  

They just twist in with your fingers, easy peasy!  (Just be careful to keep them upright when twisting, rather than at an angle, or they will go into your base crooked.)  

You're almost done!  Now add your lettering using whatever method you would like.  For those that use a Silhouette I used the ld carefree font by ScrapNFonts for my lettering.  Last but not least, add some hardware to the back of your wooden base to hang it from the wall.  

And there you have it, a finished key holder!  Since we will be moving soon I didn't hang mine up, instead it will get packed up with us and be the FIRST of MANY DIY projects to come for the new home decor!  

I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial and if you choose to make a "Keys Please" holder of your own I would LOVE to see it!  Feel free to share them on my Facebook Fan Page!  


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Giveaway Winner and Part One of Amazing News!

Our New Beginnings Giveaway Winner has been announced!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congrats to Meagan and thank you to everyone who entered!  We do a giveaway almost every week either here on the blog or on our Facebook Fan Page so make sure you check in often.  

If you saw yesterday's post you know that AMAZING news was on the way today...here is "Part One" of it...

We put a contract on a new home yesterday afternoon!  For those that were not aware, our family has been planning a relocation for almost a year and the time is FINALLY here to make the move...well almost...the home will be done around the middle of June so we won't be moving just yet, but we are well on the way! 

This home is our dream home, the perfect size, a backyard much bigger than the backyard we currently have (which is pretty big in itself), the perfect layout, the perfect area....you get the point, it's well, perfect for us.  

We had no intention of buying a home that was under construction, it was just meant to be.  The resale homes we looked at weren't exactly what we were looking for. This is the first house we looked at, and the only one that we truly loved.  It was meant to be!  

That leads me to the spot in the house that I am thrilled to share with you all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

See that open door area to the left of the front of this photo?  Use your imagination a little and envision opening a set of double doors to a sewing and crafting oasis inside that room...yes, I will FINALLY have a REAL sewing studio and craft room!  

Every time I think about it I could just cry, I'll spare you the tears but let you know that I am beyond happy for what our family has been blessed with.  I am so very proud of my husband who works so very hard at making our dreams come true, he is amazing! (After this I probably owe him for life, but that is perfectly fine with me!)

So, rest assured that I'll take you all along our relocating adventure, and that there will be MANY sewing and crafting projects coming along the way soon!!!!  

And someday soon I will share "Part Two" of the AMAZING news!  I'll give you a hint...it pertains to the new sewing studio....TO BE CONTINUED.
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