Category Archives: sewing

A Few of My Favorite Sewing Tutorials

I just learned to sew last year. I immediately started looking for clear, easy to follow tutorials online so that I could practice and make fun stuff! My sis in law sent me to a great site with wonderful tutorials (I’ll share in a minute) for making clothes for the kids. It’s so much fun! My kids are at an age where they think I am superwoman and can do anything. They think I can make anything with fabric or yarn… it’s great… and I love to see them wearing the clothes I’ve made. It makes me feel very accomplished. Thanks to Pinterest, I have found gobs and gobs of great tutorials. Here are a few of my favorites… I’ve tried them all, as you’re about to see, and can vouch for how easy to follow they are.

First up… The Simple Skirt from Made

I have made several of these for my girls. I love doing this because I can custom make them to fit. Big Sis is a tiny little thing… her clothes are always falling off of her. If I get the right size in the waist, then it is too short… If I get the right size for the length… then it is too big in the waist. These skirts are great.

Moving right along…

This past winter, I made the girls several jumpers… again.. custom made for their size. Below are the outfits I made for Christmas. I also made matching pants for Big Brother:

The jumpers are so easy and quick… you can find the tutorial here. I have played around with the width of the bodice, the buttons on the back, etc. I made a patchwork one with mary engelbrite and denim fabrics that turned out really cute. I prefer to not use as many buttons down the back as the tutorial suggests, but hey… whatever floats your boat.

The pants are from another tutorial found on Made… you can find it here.

Onto my newest love… Peasant Dresses! I have made quite a few of these this spring. They are so fun and you can do so much with them. You can dress them up with ribbons or pockets… you can use them for church or for play. My girls love them:

Dress up your outfit with some fairy wings, heels and a necklace and you are good to go!

Oh and did I mention… these dresses are great for dancing!

This was her Easter dress… Big Sis and baby girl had matching ones as well.

There are several peasant dress tutorials out there, you can find the one I used here.

And of course… those cute little Easter dresses just had to have matching bloomers:

Don’t you just want to eat her up?!?!

The bloomers tutorial is another one from Made (can you tell I like her style)… you can find it here.

I have a board on Pinterest just filled with tutorials I want to try. Here are a few that I see coming in the near future:

Baby Pinafore

Anywhere Chair

Busy Book Using Old Clothes

I’d love to hear back from you… what sewing sites do you frequent?

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DIY Christmas Part 3- Jesse Tree and PJs

Last year, we introduced the Jesse Tree to our advent season. I really like the idea behind the tree because it starts at the beginning… Genesis and shares stories from the Old Testament that show the anticipation and prophecies of the Savior. It shares all the way through to the birth of Christ. Every night, we read a devotional and then add an ornament to our tree. Now.. you can get really fancy and buy a Jesse tree kit with ornaments and all… or you can go the route I did and make your own paper tree to tape on the wall and print out some ornaments, laminate and use tape to stick them on each night.

You can read more about how we do our Jesse Tree by clicking on the above picture.

Here are a couple of more handmade gift ideas. A sewing machine is needed for the first, but not so much for the second.


One of our favorite things about Christmas day is that we get to wear PJs ALL DAY! Seriously… my kids look forward to this all year! This year I made the kids PJ pants and picked up some thermal shirts on clearance at Wal-Mart… Tada… new PJs! Also… we moved from sunny Florida to the mountains of North Carolina this year and I realized that we needed some new hats. I used the left- over fleece from the pants to make hats as well.

I used this tutorial from one of my favorite sewing blogs, MADE to make the pants. It was super easy and took me less than an hour per pair!

For the hats, I used this site. You can use a sewing machine to do it faster… or if you’d rather just hand stitch, it still wouldn’t take much time. You may need to adjust your measurements if making it for a child.

Come back tomorrow to find out some free, family traditions we have. I’d love to hear from you as well. What are some of your favorite family traditions at Christmas time?


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DIY Christmas Part 2- Memory Game Tutorial

Here’s an easy little gift to make from your fabric scraps. Use your scraps to make a classic memory match game. It’s super cute and one of a kind. This does not take much in terms of sewing ability. It’s very simple.

Materials needed:

Fabric Scraps

Felt squares (about 3 inches by 3 inches… all the same color)

Coordinating thread

sewing machine is nice to have, but not necessary.

1. Prepare your fabrics- Cut 3 in by 3in squares of felt (all the same color)… cut your fabric slightly smaller, 2 1/2 in by 2 1/2 in. I used about 10 different fabric patterns… I cut two squares from each pattern… so ended up with 20 squares (10 pairs).

2. Layer the fabric square on top of the felt, right side up. Lock in your stitch (using a straight stitch, sew one or two stitches and then reverse for one or two stitches)

3. Zig Zag stitch around the entire piece. Repeat for all 20 squares



Now you are ready to play memory match. Shuffle the pairs and place them face down on the table. Take turns picking two at a time to find matches. My kids totally LOVE playing this game!

You can totally make this game to fit your style or the style of the person you are making it for. You can use random fabric scraps or go for a theme (colors, cars, bears, etc.). Be creative and have fun!


Was this tutorial helpful for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Easy Flag Banner- A Tutorial

I have lots and lots of little fabric scraps laying around that I just can’t seem to part with. We just moved into a new place and the kids’ rooms needed a little sprucing up.. so I took those scraps and turned them into flag banner window treatments. Now… I only made about 8 flags per window… you can make your banner as long or as short as you want. The size of the triangles depends on you as well.


scraps of fabric

bias tape or ribbon (long enough to go the length of your banner with a little on each end)

coordinating thread

seam allowance is up to you.. I used abut a 1/4 inch seam allowance

Now… let’s get down to business…

1. Cut a triangle template from paper… just slightly bigger than what you want your finished flags to be.

2. Cut several triangles from fabric… you need fabric on the front and back on the flag…. so if you want 8 flags, you need 16 triangles.You can do the same fabric on both sides or different… it’s up to you.

3. Place two triangles, right side together and sew down the sides. Leave the top open. Turn right side out and press.

4. Top stitch (1/8 inch allowance) down the sides.

5. Repeat for all the triangles. Place them in the order you wish them to be on your banner.

6. Fold the bias tape over the tops of the triangles, pin in place. Arrange and pin all your triangles in the bias tape. I used wide single fold bias tape. You could also you wide ribbon.

7. Sew the length of the bias tape… make sure to catch the fabric as you go.

8. Hang and enjoy.The picture doesn’t do it much justice… but Big Brother is pretty excited about it!

You can do so much with these banners… you can use random fabrics, themed fabrics, etc. The possibilities are endless. And really… this is such an easy project and a great way to use up old scraps and brighten a room!

Was this tutorial helpful to you? I’d love some feedback!

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Been Pinning… Sewing Stuff

I am addicted to sewing… and apparently to Pinterest…

So here are some of my favorite sewing pins (so far… I’m sure there will to be more to come). I think my Homeschool and my Sewing Boards have the most pins on them.

Parachute Man. Big Brother wants one for Christmas… so I figured I try my hand at making one!

I saw this jumper… and saw how incredibly easy it was… and have now gone jumper crazy for my girls.

I can’t keep makings clothes for the girls and leave the boy out!

Who doesn’t need to have the low down on where to find great prices on fabric?!?!

So that’s what I’ve been pinning… how about you.. do you pin?

Follow me on pinterest!!



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Money Saving Monday- A Lesson from the Amish

Today’s tip comes from the Amish (I think)… I’ve been challenged by this saying quite a bit over the last couple of years. I grew up in a family that didn’t really want for anything. If I wanted a new _____________, I’d just go get it… even if I had a perfectly good one at home. Here’s the saying…

Use it Up
Wear it Out
Make it Do
Or do without

My son recently got Spiderman swimsuit in a hand me down bag. The label said it was the right size, but the elastic had been worn out by the previous owner so it just would not stay up on my little guy. We were using a safety pin to hold it on, but that got lost. We are at the beach this week and I thought… well… I’ll just get him a new suit… no big deal. But… it would have been like $8.99 at Target… and for us, that’s money that should be used elsewhere. I was in process of convincing myself to buy the boy a suit when I remembered that I had brought my sewing basket with me on the trip. Fifteen minutes and a few stitches later, tada! The suit was ready for use. It stood up to crashing waves in the ocean and cannon balls in the pool.

Now… before you go thinking, “How can they afford a week at the beach, but not a swimsuit?”… You should know that we are staying for free in my parents beach condo. My husband is painting the condo and the kids and I are reaping the benefits!

How will you save money this week? I’d love to hear your tips… weelittlemonkeys (at) gmail (dot) com.

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Appliqued Initial Shirts- A Tutorial

I just love personalized stuff!!! My kids do too. They think it is so fun to have their names or initials on bags, shirts, journals, boxes, beds… ANYTHING!!! My sis in law has an embroidery machine… which is super fun and she has made us some pretty cool things. I only have a regular sewing machine, but quickly learned how to add appliques to shirts, pillows, etc. Most recently, I have been making simple skirts with matching letter shirts.

This tutorial is all about adding an appliqued letter to a shirt. You can use the same method to add any shape. All you need is:
– scrap of fabric
– fusible adhesive (I used heat n bond)
– shirt or other fabric to attach applique to
– coordinating thread
– iron

 1. Follow the directions on your fusible adhesive for ironing on to the wrong side of your fabric.

 2. Before peeling off the paper, trace your letter(s) of choice BACKWARDS on the paper. You can do this freehand or print a template using your favorite font (I think this is typewriter or sprocket… I like to use those. Curlz is another fun one). Measure your shirt to determine what size you want your applique to be.

 3. Cut out your letter, peel off the paper, center the letter on the shirt (wrong side down) and follow the manufacturer’s directions for ironing onto the shirt.

 4. Sew around the letter using a zig zag or straight stitch. Make sure your shirt isn’t bunched or layered. Smaller shirts can be tricky… you don’t want to sew the shirt together ;). I recommend doing your stitching directly on the applique. The stretchy fabric of the t-shirt can be tricky and make this process tougher than it needs to be.

In reality, the heat n bond doesn’t have to be used. It acts as a stablizer and keeps the applique in place. You can just use pins to attach your applique to your shirt before you sew (you might want to add some light- weight interfacing between the applique and the shirt if you choose this method).

That’s it… super simple and very cute!!!

If you’d rather have me do the work for you, check out the outfits and personalized pillows offered in my etsy shop!!!

Use MONKEY10 to save 10%… and I ALWAYS offer FREE SHIPPING!!!

If you found this tutorial helpful, I’d love to hear back from you. I *heart* comments!!!

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Felt Crown- A Tutorial

My six year old is home with mom and sisters all day long. He is surrounded by My Little Pony and Princesses. He doesn’t mind. He’s a good sport. His dinosaurs play well with the ponies. Lately, my girls have been very into dress up. On any given day, Snow White or Belle or Sleeping Beauty will make an appearance in our home. Unfortunately, dress up stuff for boys is not as easily accessible as it is for girls. I am working on making my little Prince Charming a prince outfit… the starting piece was the crown. The one I made was very make-shift, very quickly done and not well planned out. I think it turned out well though… here’s how I did it.

Materials needed
Assorted colors of felt (big pieces for the crown… I used about 1 1/2 sheets for the crown and scraps for the jewels)
coordinating thread

1. Measure around your child’s head and add one inch for your total length of felt. I can’t remember the exact measurement of my son’s head, but we’ll just say it was 23 inches for the purposes of this tutorial. Cut two identical pieces to be the main crown piece. It cut the entire length of a piece of felt (about 11 inches). Cut two rectangles to finish the headband. Because the crown length was 11, I cut each of the rectangles 6.5 inches (to equal the total 24 inches needed). I hope I’m making sense here.

 2. Cut jewels from your scrap felt and sew to one of the main crown pieces.

 You should have 4 pieces that look roughly like the above picture.

 3. Place the two main felt pieces, right sides together with headband pieces sandwiched in between.

 4. Stitch around the entire piece, being careful to only catch the ends of the headband pieces as you sew. Leave a two inch opening on the bottom for turning.

 5. Turn the pieces right side out and top stitch the crown piece.

 6. Bring the ends of the headband pieces together. Overlap about 1/2 inch and sew together to complete the crown.

 Please forgive the poor quality of the pics. I couldn’t find mt camera. But… here he is… Big Brother the King! He was so excited to have a crown (he’s been using the plastic inside of a play construction helmet as a make-shift crown. When I figure out how to make the rest of the king’s outfit, I’ll let you know!

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Diaper Wallet- A Tutorial

I am going to try my hand at yet another tutorial… and perhaps another one next week… and maybe the week after that…I might just go tutorial crazy!!

A diaper wallet is a handy little tool that can be used to hold diapers on one side and wipes on the other. Diaper wallets are fantastic for keeping in the car for those times when your diaper bag is running on empty. I like to slip my diaper wallet in my big mom bag… so the diaper doesn’t get all squished and wonky and covered with whatever food my child tossed in the bag when I wasn’t looking. And… if you’re really in a pickle, you can flip the wallet over and use it as a make shift changing pad. These are so incredible easy to make and are a great baby shower gift.

 The diaper pictured is a size 4. 
 Fold it up and tie it shut… and you’re ready to go!
Materials needed
12 in x 12 in square in main color
12 in x 12 in square in lining color
12 in x 5 in rectangles in main color for flaps (cut 2)
7 in ribbon (cut 2)
coordinating thread
choose your seam allowance… I did about 1/2 in

 1. Fold under 1/4 in hem (lengthwise) to the wrong side on flap. Press and sew the length with a zig zag stitch. Repeat with other flap.

 2. Layer lining and hemmed flaps. Right side of lining facing up, right side of flaps facing up.
 Place ribbon on top of layers with a small end sticking out. See pictures.

 3. Place main color fabric, right side down on top of layered pieces. Pin together. Be sure to pin the ribbon so it doesn’t slip when sewing. Stitch around all 4 sides, leaving a two inch opening for turning. I like for my opening to be in the middle of the bottom. Turn and press.

 4. Top stitch around the entire piece.

Add diapers and wipes and you’re good to go!

I hope this tutorial is helpful. My sis in law is the first person I saw make one of these. I would love to hear back from you if you decide to make a diaper wallet using this tutorial! If you’d rather let me do the work for you, check out my etsy shop!


Filed under crafts, diaper wallet, DIY, sewing, tutorial

Toys Schmoys (27)

Why bother buying expensive toys when Mommy’s empty sewing spools get the job done!

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