Thursday, January 30, 2014

Mommy and Me Matching Shirts Tutorial

This post has been waiting to be written for a while, and I am very excited to finally be posting it! After buying a lovely pile of fabric with my leftover Christmas money at JoAnn's, I decided that I absolutely had to make matching sweaters for Z and myself out of this adorable, barely fuzzy, sweater-type material. We have worn them to church twice now (I told you this tutorial has been in the works for a while!), and we have gotten lots of sweet compliments on them. The best part is, they are super easy! They come together really fast. All in all, they have been a hit, and I want you to be able to make some, too!

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Mommy and Me Matching Shirts Tutorial

You will need:
  • Stretchy fabric (I would get 2 yards, especially if your fabric is directional. I like to err on the side of caution, though!)
  • Contrasting knit fabric or ribbing for the collar, cuffs, and bottom of the shirt
  • Sewing machine/serger, thread, scissors, rotary cutter and mat, pins, etc.
Step 1: Lay a shirt that fits well out on your folded fabric. Fold the sleeves down from the armpit seam to the edge of the neck so that it makes a straight line. Trim along the bottom, top, and one edge, leaving 1/2 inch for a seam allowance.

Step 2: This picture doesn't show it very well, but all you need to do is the piece in half, matching up the corners of the bottom and top of the shirt and cutting up the last side. (Doing it this way just helps make sure that it's symmetrical.)

Note: If you would like to make this into a dress (like I did in my baby version), simply continue the line of the shirt down to the desired length.

It should look something like this.

Step 3: Cut out the sleeves. Folding along that same line I mentioned earlier (from armpit to edge of collar), this time measure and cut the sleeves. Make sure the fold and seam on your original shirt match up with the fold and seam on your new sleeves.

It will look something like this.

Step 4: Lay your main body pieces together, right sides together. Match up the sleeves (also right sides facing in), matching the edges of the armpits (the tops might not match up perfectly, but we'll fix that later). Pin in place.

A little bit farther away.

And it is already starting to look like a shirt!

Step 5: Sew along the front and back shoulder seams (use a serger or stretch/zigzag stitch). The sleeve and side of the shirt will still be open.

Steps 6 and 7: Pin all along the sleeves and the side of the shirt and sew.

Step 8: Flip it right side out, and put it on. Mark where you want the shirt to end at the bottom and on the sleeves.

Step 9: Trim off excess fabric.

Step 10: Using your contrasting fabric, cut strips 3 inches wide. Fold and trim them to the same size as your sleeve, including 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Note: You will notice that the pictures up to this point have been of my shirt. For the edges, I am using pictures of Zia's dress. The steps are exactly the same for the adult shirt, though I should note that I stole my edges from a shirt I didn't like that was the same style, so mine are not all 3 inch wide strips. The cuffs and bottom of the shirt are probably about 6 inches wide. The collar is quite thin, but I am thinking about redoing it. Anyway, this is the way to do it "from scratch." Just clarifying!

Step 11: Repeat for the bottom edge of the shirt.

Step 12: For this piece of edging, I like to cut it just a little smaller than the exact edge of the shirt to help it lay flat.

Step 13: Make sure right sides are together, and sew up the short edge.

Step 14: Fold each little piece in half with the seam on the inside. This will leave you with a short, fat tube that has a fold on the bottom and raw edges on top.

Step 15: Take each piece and pin it in place, raw edges together. Match seams where possible.

I put the seam on the collar in the back. Since the collar band is just slightly smaller than the neckline on the shirt, you will need to stretch it just a little bit.

Step 16: Sew all of your edges. With the collar, stretch the fabric as needed to make both pieces lay flat as you sew.

Ta-da! Zia's little dress is too cute!

Forgive my selfies...

Embellish with a cute bow!

Then take a church selfie since you are just too cute to not do so. ;)

Come on, doesn't every mommy secretly want to have matching outfits with her baby girl?

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This one's my favorite. I'm so glad I made Z's little matchy bow. Too cute!

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With our cute daddy. :) We're lucky to have him!

That's it! Two adorable shirts in just a few steps. Even a beginner can tackle this project! I hope you do!


Loving Your Look--Step 2--Do Your Research

Hey, friends!

I don't know how many of you are following my little New Year's Resolution to love my look more, but it is turning into quite the adventure! I can't wait to share some of my experiences and tips with you.

Let me start off by giving a little bit more background to this resolution. As I've said in previous posts, my style has changed a lot over the past few years. I learned to love wearing color when I was pregnant, and I missed the bright colors of my maternity clothes after I went back to my pre-pregnancy wardrobe. I have also been working out again and losing weight (thanks largely to breastfeeding, I'm sure), and that has made some changes necessary. I originally made this resolution to fix up my closet in order to better suit the new me, but it has quickly changed to a much bigger resolution.

I want to love everything about my look--my hair, makeup, clothes, shoes--and I want to do it without spending ridiculous amounts of money. Becoming a mom this past year changed me in so many ways, and I kind of feel like a different person. I want to feel at home in my own skin again, and that's where this resolution comes in!

Alright, back to business. I have posted a few refashions and one post with some de-junking tips. I hope that didn't bore you too much. I just get overwhelmed by organizing sometimes, so I figured I would share the tips that have helped me. Today I am going to talk about the very next step.

Step two to loving your look is....RESEARCH!

I know, I know. That sounds ridiculous. But hear me out. There is a lot more to looking good than going out and buying new things. That's where the research comes in.

For all the rest of you stay-at-home moms who are just wanting to switch things up and feel pretty again, this is a good place to start!

Learn about YOU.

That sounds silly, but I'm serious. Who are you? What do you like to wear? What colors look best on you? What hair style would both fit your lifestyle and your face shape?

Trust me, it's fun research. And remember, this isn't about critiquing yourself one bit! This goal is all about loving yourself more.

I like to use Pinterest for these questions. It is a good resource for images (usually) linked to posts, articles, or websites that can help you in your quest to love your look. Here are some that I have used in my own research:

Body Type Quizzes:
You Beauty's was my favorite, but there are lots out there. This isn't crucial, but understanding your body type can help you figure out what clothes will look and feel good on you. Once you figure out your body shape, search Pinterest for tips and tricks to dress your body best. There is a lot of good information out there!

Face Shape Quizzes: and The Hairstyler both have quizzes that I tried out. Knowing your face shape is important for picking a good part, hair cut, and makeup styles. Again, once you have your shape figured out, search the web for ways to flatter your face.

Skin Tone Quizzes:
Seventeen offers a quick little quiz to figure out your skin tone. This can help you understand which colors will compliment your skin. It makes it a lot easier to know what colors to wear when you have a feel for what will go well with your particular skin type.

Eye Shape:
This image from Listotic can help you figure out what kind of eyes you have. Learning that I have prominent lids helped me find some makeup styles that suit my eyes much better than other styles I have worn before. This tutorial brought me one of my new favorite everyday looks, and I found it because I was looking for makeup that would work well for my specific eyes.

Using the same research style, figure out all there is to know about your body. A lot of things you can tell just by looking! Eye color, hair color, hair type--basically all the facts. Then you're ready for the next step.

Figure out what you like. And what you don't like. Forming opinions on different styles of clothes, makeup, and hair is a big part of figuring out your own style. Search Pinterest's Beauty and Women's Fashion pages, or search for more specific things. Figure out what speaks to you, and embrace those things.

Things I've been embracing lately:

  • Boot cut and flare jeans: I realized the other day that nearly every pair of pants I own is "skinny jean" style. Now that I'm back in school, I have been eyeing other students' clothes to try and figure out what I like. I found myself being a little jealous of others' wider-leg jeans, so that helped me decide to go out and buy a variety of styles of pants. Since my recent weight loss has caused my pants to almost fall off on more than one occasion, I finally broke down and bought a few new pairs of pants this week with my birthday money. (5, to be exact. All $5 at Plato's Closet. They are having an awesome sale, if you have one near you!) I did buy one pair of skinny jeans, but I bought mostly boot cut and flare jeans, and I love them. I didn't realize I had missed them so much! I took some silly pictures while I shopped. These boot cut jeans are probably my favorite! They're a little long, so I can also wear them rolled up without having them become capris. I often have trouble finding jeans that fit right and have enough length for my relatively long legs. Used jeans are often the best way to solve this problem, since I can find so many different styles and sizes all in one place.

  • Anybody else stand on their shoes to avoid standing on the nasty floor? Ha! My socks kept coming off as I tried on pair after pair of jeans, so I was extra paranoid about stepping on the floor. :P
  • Darker hair: After about four years of consideration, I finally decided to dye my hair darker. My original color was a blonde-brown, and it is now a darker reddish brown. I love it. I wish I had a good picture of it to post, because it is so cute! My sister-in-law is in beauty school right now, so she was able to get me a good deal! I feel like my darker hair also helps me to embrace my fair skin and light blue-green eyes. It is a flattering color on me, and I have gotten lots of compliments! Better picture coming soon, but for now I'm stuck with this picture I took at PayLess while Austin let me get out of the house for a little bit a few days ago.

  • My body shape: After taking the body shape quiz mentioned above, I was in a little bit of denial. Austin (the adorable, ever-helpful hubby) said that I can always change body shapes. It's not like I'm stuck with one forever. I agree with that, but I also realize that my bone structure and genetics makes me mostly lean toward a certain body type. My hips and rear are the largest part of me, and learning how to dress to elongate my torso, draw attention to my face, and balance out my body has been very helpful. Longer shirts, cardigans, scarves, and other things have helped me to feel even better about my look. 
Point being, don't be afraid of your body. Embrace yourself, switch things up if you don't like them, and learn to love yourself and your look more!

I hope this has been helpful! I have already figured out a lot about myself that I never really thought about before. It's been fun to get to know myself a little better! I hope you enjoy it, too.


Friday, January 10, 2014

Loopy Felt Flower Headband Tutorial

Having a baby girl means that I make a lot of headbands! They are so fun and easy to make, and doing it myself saves me a lot of money! One of the easiest and cutest ones I've found has gotten Zia so many compliments that I feel like I have to share it!

I originally shared this picture when I announced my Etsy shop in this post. I figured out how to do it from this post over at Craftiness is Not Optional (another blog I really love). I had a pretty hard time finding this tutorial after seeing a picture with no tutorial floating around on Pinterest. I was so happy when I finally found it, and I hope my post helps even more people find this adorable method for making headbands.

Forgive the bad lighting, as usual. Nighttime crafting makes for dark pictures! Mom's gotta do it while she can though, right? :)

To make one of these adorable headbands, you will need:
Felt (acrylic or wool will work--I used cheap acrylic felt)
Green felt scraps for leaves
Hot glue gun and glue
Rotary cutter, mat, and ruler (optional, just makes it a little easier)
Soft elastic for headband

First off, cut two strips of felt along the longer edge of your felt. I made my strips 2x11 inches, but you can really do any size depending on how big you want your flower to be.

 Now get your hot glue gun and glue along one edge. Fold the other side up so that it is folded "hot dog style." Make sure you do this pretty fast so your glue doesn't cool before you finish.

After doing this with both strips, you will have two long, skinny pieces.

They should look something like this.

Using sharp craft scissors (tiny ones would be ideal), cut from the folded side until you hit the hot glue. I made two white flowers--one with small petals (just under 1/4 inch), the other with large petals (closer to 1/3 inch). Look at the finished product below to decide which size you like better. Use the same size snips on both pieces. (Don't follow this picture for your two strips. I was just trying to show the two sizes I tried for my two flowers.)

 Now glue just a little bit of the bottom portion where you didn't cut...

...And roll tightly, holding in place until it sets.

Keep gluing and rolling.

It should start to look like this on the "good" side.

When joining the second piece of felt to the flower, just glue it right next to the end of the other strip. Don't worry, you can't even tell where they start and end once the flower is finished! Keep gluing and rolling until you finish the second strip.

I probably should have cropped this picture down a little more, but I just love all those happy little soon-to-be-flower strips in the background. :P
 Flatten out the finished product a little bit by gently pushing the loopy petals away from the center. That's it for the flower! 

The back will look something like this.

The front will look like this.

 Here is the difference between the two petal sizes. I like both looks, but I think I like the smaller petals better for the white flower.

Now go and make a bunch of these in lots of different colors!

 I have also made tiny flowers using one 1x11 inch strip. They are pretty cute. :)

You can even mix-and-match colors, if you want!

Aren't they fun?

Here is a close-up of the smaller flowers.

From this angle, you can tell that each color of felt has a slightly different texture. Keep that in mind when you're buying your supplies. I like the softness of the pink and red felt, but the lavender felt makes the petals look a little more distinct.

 The little ones are cute, but I am in love with the big ones. I have made so many!

 To take this simple flower one step farther, you can pair a large and small flower together on a clip or headband.

The very last step is to glue on some felt leaves and a soft headband! (I use this chart to help me figure out about how big to make headbands. Measuring on your baby will be the most accurate, though!)

Then put it on a cute baby and admire your handiwork, of course. ;)

And make up a nickname for your silly baby who loves to pull her headbands down. (Zia Crooked-Bow--She's so tiny in this picture!)

 You can't see it very well in this picture, but she is wearing one of the tiny flowers.

This one, to be exact.

 Anyway, sorry about the picture overload. I just think these are so much fun. I hope you make a bunch and love them as much as I do! I only made the two headbands for Z originally, so I am excited to have so many more for her!

If you want one of these headbands made just for you, check out my Etsy shop! This listing is for one of the large flower headbands, but I do custom orders, too! Just send me a message. I love working with people to create just what they have in mind.