24 entries categorized "sewing"

Giveaway & Craft Book Review: Sew Pretty T-Shirt Dresses

I was recently given a beautiful craft book to review:  Sew Pretty T-Shirt Dresses (and I have one to give away!  Hang on a minute; let me tell you about it first...). 

The book has over 25 patterns for t-shirt dresses for little girls.  Wait, even if you don't sew much!  Here is what I really really like:  the dresses all begin with a t-shirt.  All you do is add the skirt material and embellishments.  And they are cute.  


Even though the book's patterns are especially for girls aged 2 to 8, I find the patterns easily adjustable for my 10-year-old.  Even just using the concept is helpful!  

The book is a glossy, quality paperback with full-color illustrations and photographs throughout, including a 12-page T-Shirt Dresses 101 tutorial. 


To Learn More about Sew Pretty T-Shirt Dresses:  Visit

To Purchase the Book, or to View Pages:  Visit the Sew Pretty T-Shirt Dresses page on Amazon (if it's still out of stock, visit the publisher at Sixth & String Books

To Enter the Giveaway of one book shipped to one winner for free:  Enter the information into the entry form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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A Simple Box for Thread (& Dozens of Free Sewing Tutorials)


I recently noticed where our ballerina keeps her sewing thread, and thought it was such a good idea, I wanted to share it with you...



You can find those boxes at Michaels, in the wooden objects section.  It holds three thread spools neatly. Great idea, right?  She's a smart kiddo.

Speaking of sewing (aren't we?  speaking of sewing?), Sew Mama Sew is showcasing the most wonderful free sewing tutorials on the 'net, categorized for us!  Here is Imagination, here is Color (which includes this amazing Scrap Map of America that I will make for our little school room), and here, under Growing, is a recipe for Lemon Sugar Scrub (so, obviously, it's not all about sewing).  There is one category for each weekday of November, so surely we can find a gift idea to sew!

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On Turning 14 (& Sewing an Infinity Dress)

Our ballerina turned 14 recently! Right before she turned 14, she sewed an infinity dress. Have you seen those? They're dresses that can be worn this way and that way, thanks to two very (very) long strips of fabric that may be folded or wrapped in different ways.

image from www.flickr.com

Our gal used a purchased pattern because I had a hard time finding a pattern online. But now that there's Pinterest, the patterns are easy to find! You'll notice our version is a bit more "decent" than some versions. Our girl is, after all, just 14. We didn't want the dress wide open down to her belly button.

image from www.flickr.com

She used a t-shirt-type fabric (you can tell I know nothing about fabric names!) from Hancock Fabrics on the clearance rack for just 99 cents a yard. The dress takes about 5 yards so our cost was only about $6 with the pattern.

I must have taken too many pictures...

image from www.flickr.com

Here's a view of the back. There are many ways to tie this dress; this is only one way:

image from www.flickr.com
And here is the front, tied the same way:

image from www.flickr.com


Isn't 14 such a sweet age? Happy birthday, baby girl!

A Handmade Christmas: How to Make a Disappearing Nine Patch Quilt Top

I wrote this tutorial  in February of 2008 and it is still the most popular post on Just Pure Lovely, bringing in a lot of new readers.  It's crazy that I could help anyone out, as I was a brand new quilter when I wrote the tutorial.  It's even crazier that I was brave enough to write it.  Here you go:

Project: A Tutorial for the Disappearing 9 Patch Quilt Top

First, select your fabrics.  If you're like me, the decision takes a while, so just hang fabric swatches up like laundry on a clothesline, adding one/taking one down every time you walk by until you notice that you're not taking any off anymore.  That's what I do.

Quilt Swatches

Or you could be less indecisive and just go to the fabric store and choose quickly.

Cut the fabric into squares.  I cut 4" squares, but you can choose another size. I forgot to take a photo of the little squares.  Sorry.  You can imagine 4" fabric squares, right?

If you want to make a doll quilt like mine, which is about 18"x13", you will need 27 squares.  I used 9 different fabrics (see them above), so I cut 3 squares of each fabric.
Is that too much math for you?  It is for me.  Let's not do any more math. 

Sew the squares together, to make "9 patch" quilt blocks, which are each 3 squares wide by 3 squares long.  You'll see what I mean in the photos below.
Quilt 2

Square up each 9 Patch.  I like this part.  It allows me to get the piece back into a square shape.  After the way I iron (lumpily) and the way I sew (crookedly), it is a lucky thing indeed that I can square up the piece.  I squared my pieces to about 10-11", I think.   Just get them square again.
Quilt 5 
Cut the 9 Patch in half.  Oh, yes. I did just say that.  You can hold your breath but don't close your eyes.
Quilt 3
(I used a rotary cutter. That's what that pizza slicer-looking thing is doing there.)
Cut the 9 Patch in half again.  Yep, again.  Keeping the pieces together in their original position (as if you hadn't cut it already), cut it again, this time across).
Quilt 4
See? They are cut and they look still pretty.  Now catch your breath again.
Quilt 6

Turn the cut pieces in any direction you fancy.

Quilt 7
Arrange all of the pieces in the order you find most pleasing.  Indecisive person that I am, I spend quite a while turning the squares, adjusting, counting (oops, I mentioned math again), and worrying over them.  This time, our 10yo daughter said, "Mom.  It's fine."  And I said, "I'm obsessing again, aren't I?"

She wisely kept silent.
Quilt 8
Sew the pieces together. As in the other quilt I made, I worry that you experienced quilters might giggle-snort into your coffee when you see my multitude of blips, tucks, and, ugh, a complete misalignment (I don't like to pin things before I sew them).  Look at the photos below after you set down your cup.
I love the Disappearing 9 Patch for the way it covers up glaring errors, like those I make while quilting.  It's a good design for new quilters like me.

Quilts on Grass copy

Add embroidery (if you like), batting (if you like), a backing fabric...then machine or hand quilt the pieceThen bind the edges as you like.

I've loved embroidery for years, so hand quilting is appealing to me.  Blissfully ignorant of any quilting rules (there are some, right?), I am freehand-quilting, going in a square here, creating a little trail there, making tiny plus (+) signs there.  I know I have much improvement to make in my stitches, which should be even & tiny and not wonky & big like they are. In embroidery, we don't deal with such thick layers.

Here's a peek at the quilting and embroidery progress so far:

 Quilt Pink Belle Closeup copy


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Craft Book Review: Craft Hope

It's always a fun day in our house when a book arrives in the mail, but when a craft book arrives, we're positively giddy.  "Our" and "we're" in that sentence is our 13yo daughter and I, who both love to review craft books. 

Craft Hope is an extra special book to review. 

It was written by Jade Sims, a mommy of three who created a site called Craft Hope, where readers  are encouraged to sew/knit/create a certain craft project, then send it to a charity organization.  That's a beautiful idea, don't you think?

If you get the book, you may want to jump right in and participate in Project 10, which is to choose any project from the book (or a project from Craft Hope) to complete by December 31st.  Make two, because you'll need to give one away.

Our ballerina and I are busy dreaming and creating lately.  We want to make so many of the projects, like the sock monkey, the take-along quit, the clay seed balls, and this  doll:

image from lovelyballet.files.wordpress.com
(photo by our ballerina, age 13)

Our ballerina started on that doll this week.  It doesn't have it's head just yet.  I emailed her over the weekend (yes, we do live in the same house) to request that she photograph her doll's progress, and she responded this morning with, "Oh, I already posted a photo.  It's on my blog." 

Does she sound like her mama, or what ?!

The Bottom Line:   Yes, she sounds like her mama.  And, yes, I would buy the book even if I had to choose between it and 2 Starbucks White Chocolate Mochas. It has a wide variety of crafts in it, from beading to sewing to working with clay.  And it has wonderfully unique ideas for crafting for charity. 

Where to Get the Book:  Any bookstore for $17.95;  Amazon has it right now for a great price at $9.87

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It's Raining Again. Now What?

image from www.flickr.com

It's raining again.  Not in the way it was raining problems last week and the week before and the week before that, when everything and its cousin decided to break, all in a row. I didn't even tell you yet that our Wii passed away, too, when the internet modem did.  We didn't realize that for a full week, since that was how long I thought of excuses to not start back up exercising on the Wii Active.   Finally, when I talked myself into exercising on it again, low and behold, the Wii was fried.  Lightning struck out house in a magnificient fury one day, sparking off our cast iron chimnea and giving our 10yo a little shock as he stood twelve feet away from the porch overhang (he's fine, it was just a tiny little shock - a wee conversation piece for a full ten minutes).

We thought the sparks and the shock were the thrill of the lightning strike.  Then we noticed that the internet modem was fried.  And, this week, we also noticed that not only was our Wii also fried, but its trusty battery-backup surge protector (harumph!).

Since lightning struck the Wii, we can assume God has spoken.  I really shouldn't work out anymore...that's what I think that meant.

Back to the rain (my, how I ramble when I write at midnight!) -- It's raining every day lately, but not in a depressing sort of way.  It's raining in a coastal, subtropical way, in spurts and bursts, sometimes with the sun still shining, sometimes only in the front yard and not the back, but always for mere minutes until it moves on to rain on somebody else.  It's a fascinating thing.

While it's raining for ten minutes, or two, all in a deluge, whatever shall we do?

That's what I was wondering the other day, when I decided to fix my Land's End woven bag that somehow tore open while performing its duties at the beach.

image from www.flickr.com
I'm glad I didn't toss the bag out, as I considered doing several times.  It was an easy thing to mend.  But because it is now elderly and has stitches, it may no longer go to the beach.

image from www.flickr.com

Now I need another rainy day (or two!) to use up all that yarn.


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His Workshop & Her Studio: 2

Good morning!

Here is what I was doing early yesterday morning, before breakfast and coffee, even…

image from justpurelovely.typepad.com

There is nothing like having her own studio space to motivate a gal.  “Studio” by the way, is what I’m calling my side because I’ve always thought it would be wonderful to be an artist or a designer, and although I shall likely never be either, because I like who I am as I am, I still think I should have a “studio” like a real artist or designer would. Which I’m not.  But the room, the studio, doesn’t know that.   

image from justpurelovely.typepad.com

And there’s good old Dad, drywalling.  He put up with my pout about how long drywall takes to dry, then tried his very best to make it hurry up.  

On the “His” side of the garage, is the “workshop,” which I so named because I’m hoping a lot of carpentry-like work will go on in there. 

image from justpurelovely.typepad.com

These aren’t really “his” and “her” sides, just so you know.  We can move around.  The boys will come paint in the studio, no doubt, and we girls can wield a scrollsaw over in the workshop side just as well as any boy thankyouverymuch. 

Sometime later, mmm hmmm, this fine thing came along to lay down the floor.

image from justpurelovely.typepad.com

 I like watching him work on projects, which is why I make myself look busy staining cabinets.

image from justpurelovely.typepad.com

I’m too busy “working” to clean the house even.  But I'm terrible at staining cabinets.  Still.  Sigh.  Somebody has to look at him work!

To be continued......(on Monday)

p.s. Here's a link to the first post:  How Things Can Get Out of Hand Around Here

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Quilting is on My Mind

Disappearing 9 Patch Quilt tutorial

 Amy left a comment saying she followed my Disappearing 9 Patch tutorial to make a quilt for her neice for Christmas.  (note later today:  I tried to post a link to, and photo of, her quilt, but it's not working this afternoon/evening, so I'll keep trying and post when able.)

I'm so proud of her for sewing her first quilt, and proud that I - a beginning quilter- was able to help another beginning quilter out.    I'm especially tickled that Amy was able to understand my instructions!

Quilting has been on my mind lately, thanks to the arts & crafts display at our local library.  On display, along with a smocking book and a how-to-make-books book I discovered the Elm Creek Quilts series by Jennifer Chiaverini.  Don't tell me you already knew all about those books!  I wish I had known of them years ago.  They are well-written, inspiring, and twaddle &  smut -free! 

Have you ever become interested in something, only to find yourself surrounded by it all at once?  Or maybe it's just that we're finally paying attention, and it was already there. Anyway, that's the way it has been with quilting lately.  I keep bumping into quilting conversations, fingering my grandma's 60-something-year-old quilt, finding extra moments to read about the Elm Creek quilters, and today I took a nearly-forgotten doll-size quilt top to the movies (to stitch on the way, not in the dark theater!  I prick myself often enough as it is).  Quilting has been on my mind!

I'm wondering:  what's interesting you?

An Apron to Sew

Fall weather makes me want to do things.  Does it you?  I want to Do Things like bake bread, stir stew, sew an apron...

my ruffled apron

And if I'm going to sew an apron, why not a ruffled apron for baking that bread and stirring those stews?  This apron was an easy one to make, even for me - a straight-lines-only amateur seamstress.  Want to sew one, too?  I'll try to help get you started. Here's how I did it...

First, a piece of muslin cut to the size of the apron (but a few inches less than the length desired):

strips on muslin by you.

Cut fabric choices into folded strips the width (horizontally) of your muslin, and twice the length (vertically) you prefer each strip to be. 

strips cut by you.

Fold the strips in half (into one long strip).  Sew the strips closed along the long side.  The strips will then have one raw, long side (with sewing stitches shown) and one folded long side.

strips by you.

Turn under the raw edges of the shorter ends and sew shut.


Sew the strips onto the apron, along the raw, long side of each strip.  I found it easiest to sew from the bottom of the apron up, allowing the last ruffle to hang over the bottom edge of the apron.

sewing ruffles by you.

For the tie, I sewed an extra long strip of fabric, folded it over the top edge of the muslin, and sewed along its length.  It looks like this...

tie by you.

And, viola!, an apron!  A ruffled apron, no less!

finished apron by you.

Oh, p.s., if you don't have a fancy machine, don't worry.  We don't need a fancy machine to sew things!  Mine is an old ugly thing after 16 years of sewing.  It was my first Christmas gift from that handsome man I married and still peek my eyes open to every morning.  It's humble, but it can still sew.  That's what matters to a sewing machine anyway.

my old sewing machine