Pirate Costumes

In school, I had an internship at an independently owned historical costume shoppe. It was full of huge, heavy gowns and elaborately trimmed costumes from all different eras. I wish I paid more attention and learned more. All I wanted to do was try things on.

Halloween costumes are a big deal in my house. I save the random bits and pieces in a chest and reuse pieces. I have enough gear to easily costume Bella’s entire classroom. This year, we are being Caribbean pirates. We being my husband, daughter, & myself-PLUS my 2 nephews, & baby niece. We’ve got a lot of work to do!

I used this pattern to make pants for Julian & Evan, and vests for Julian, Evan, & Bella. They each chose from a pile of fabrics and trims to help plan their design.

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I wanted a flat waist band in front for my nephews, so I sewed elastic just in the back instead of all the way through elastic casing.It’s kind of tricky because you have to pull and stretch while you sew. But I didn’t want them to look like they were wearing pajamas. (Julian chose shades of brown, gold, & burgundy)

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Evans costume is very official looking. Once I get all the gold buttons and trim on, I think he’ll need a tri- corner hat to complete his look.

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Bella’s costume is more cutesy & less authentic than the boys, so i may just sew Halloween ribbon on her vest. I resized an adult shirt (see tutorial) and added a fabric insert in back.

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Now I’m adding ribbon on the sleeves & neckline. I don’t have enough black lace to go around the bottom and neckline, but I’ll pick some up next time I’m out.

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I’ll be making her knee length breeches, and Krystal will be making her an enormous tutu.

If your wondering about baby Sofie…we know it will be black & red, and feature another fabulous tutu. I’ll make her some cute pirate leggings, and a fabric sash for her waist…but we haven’t gone past the planning stage for her yet. Her costume will have to be last minute since they grow so fast at this age.

Look out for Part II, coming soon. We still need to find some shirts for the boys, and make waist sashes, treasure bags, and hats. Refashions & accessories, easy peasy puddin pie.

Then, I’ll get to work on mine & Edson’s costumes for Part III. Im keeping mine real simple, and may already have pieces I can use. His costume will have to be much more tailored and functional, so i want everything else marked off the to do list first. I’m going to have to concentrate, take my time, and do it right. I’ve never actually made him any clothing. I want him to be impressed.

Anyways, thanks for stopping by, and I hope you’ll come back soon!

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How To Make a Decorative Pocket

Today I’m working on a simple tote. I love embellished pockets because they give an easy project more flair.

How To Make A Decorative Pocket

I started with a basic pocket. I cut a rectangle about 10″ by 5″. I folded it in half with the right sides facing each other; pinned and stitched the 3 raw edges. I left an opening approximately 2″, so that I could turn it right side out. You should trim the edges so that it’s nice and straight.

Once you turn it right side out, fold the edges of your opening inward, press, and top stitch. You’ll end up with something like this:

How To Make a Decorative Pocket | SewsNBows

(As you can see, I did not trim my edges before I turned it!)

Then I added 2 rows of ric rac. I used a narrow zig zag stitch.

How To Make a Decorative Pocket | SewsNBows

Here, I made a fabric yoyo. These are my fave. I put them on everything. This is also why I hoard even the smallest scraps of fabric. Here’s a great tutorial from Connecting Threads: Fabric YoYos 2 Ways

How To Make a Decorative Pocket | SewsNBows

How To Make a Decorative Pocket | SewsNBows

How To Make a Decorative Pocket | SewsNBows

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How To Make a Decorative Pocket | SewsNBows

I slapped that puppy onto my pocket….

How To Make a Decorative Pocket | SewsNBows

Then I stitched the pocket to a little Bible purse I made for my friend Cindy. She goes every Wednesday and twice on Sundays. She sneaks candy to the little kids so they’re always extra good when they sit next to her!

How To Make a Decorative Pocket | SewsNBows

Now I’ve got to work on Halloween costumes. I’ll be embellishing my resized pirate shirt tomorrow. Hope you’ll visit again soon!

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How To Resize A Button Up Shirt

How to Resize an adult shirt for a child

I’ve got to make Bella a pirate shirt for her Halloween costume. (Watch me work on this years’ costumes!) I don’t feel like spending a lot of time or money on this part of the costume. It won’t show much under her vest anyways. I asked around and a friend gave me a shirt to mutilate. It’s an adult size small. I like the sleeves, they’re already sort of piratey.

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(In this photo, I’ve sliced off the collar. I plan to add some lace there.)

First, remove your sleeves. This shirt is serged inside, so I used scissors. If you have “invisible” seams, use your seam ripper instead. Do not hack through both layers. Make a small incision, then carefully work your way around the sleeve. The front of the sleeve is shaped differently than the back, and you’ll and up with part of the shirt attached to your sleeve. If only I listened to my own advice.

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Mark your new cutting lines. You can accomplish this by pinning while wearing it (if it’s for you) and then marking. A real seamstress or tailor will use a hip curve to draw a nice clean line. If its for someone else, have your victim put on the shirt inside out, then mark it. Do as I say, not as I do. I’m just eyeballing it since Bella’s in school. It’s very important that you make sure your seams match, and leave some slack for a seam allowance.

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DO NOT fold your shirt in half and cut both sides at once ( like I’m about to do.) it’s extremely important that your sides match. Get out your ruler and get it right. Tailors chalk is nice here, since it’s easy to remove if you need to adjust your lines. I use the Singer disappearing ink fabric pen. A touch of a steam set iron removes it quickly and easily.

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Here, I’ve cut off the side seams. I adjusted my sleeve opening to make a smaller hole. I cut a little at a time until it looked right. Again, I just eyeballed it, which is WRONG. Im being very, very naughty. You can use a good fitting, similar shirt for reference. An armcye is a specialty drafting tool for sleeve openings. I haven’t seen mine in years.

Now, your sleeve will be bigger than your sleeve opening. We will have to ease in the fullness to make it fit. There are several ways to do this. We can do a puffed or gathered sleeve, or stitch a placket or dart. Since this is a pirate shirt, I’ll go with a gathered sleeve.

Let’s mark your gathering line. They will go along the shoulder curve as seen below.

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To sew a gathering stitch, set your machine to the tightest tension, and the longest stitch length. On my Singer, that’s a 9 for tension and a 4 for stitch length. You will sew from your starting point to the ending point that you marked. Do not back stitch. Leave a few inches of tail on all your threads. Your gathering stitches will be removed later. You may use a different color thread if you wish. This will make it easier to see. It’s really easy to accidentally seam rip your actual stitch line rather than the gathering stitches.

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After pinning, we’ll tightly hold one of the threads while gently tugging our fabric, creating gathers like this:

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But don’t pull your gathers yet. First, match up your armpit seams. I put X’s on the armpit seams below. Just in case I lost ya. ( I’m sure there’s a technical name for armpit seams. Who cares.)

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Make sure your sleeve and shirt have their right sides facing each other. (Right sides meaning the part that shows when you are wearing it.) Nothing like sewing a sleeve inside out! hang on, I’ll show you how to tuck your sleeve inside the shirt. It’s easy. Don’t be scared.

My shirt is inside out, and my sleeve is right side out. See how I lined up the armpit seams? Basically, I made the X’s kiss. Then I pinned them. Now they are stuck together forever. They better learn to get along.
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*A note: you are most likely sizing an adult size shirt down to a smaller adult size. Since I’m sizing and adult shirt down to a child size, I had to lengthen my gathering stitch line on both sides. This is because I have to make an adult sleeve fit into a child sized armcye. So, my gathers will be obnoxious and probably kinda ugly. Yours will just have a slight gathering at the top of the shoulder. Mine might have to go all the way around. It’s just much faster than me making a whole pirate shirt. Plus, free is the right price for a shirt that will only be worn once.

Next, we will pin the center of the sleeve cap to the shirt shoulder seam. See below.

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Now we pin around, pulling gathering stitches to fit. You want your fullest gathers at the top shoulder seam, easing into smaller gathers. Make sure you have a nice, tight fit.

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Stitch it up. Rinse, lather, and repeat for your other sleeve. Remove your gathering stitches using a seam ripper. See the purple thread? This is where different colored thread comes in handy.

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I sliced off 4″ from the bottom, leaving a 1 1/2 seam allowance. You probably won’t need to change the hem. I have to because it was WAY to long for Bella.

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I’m not hemming it since I still have to add pirate details. I’m adding lace around the collar and sleeves, and a small slit in the back for ruffles. The ruffles will cascade down the small of her back and curve around following the hemline sort of like this:
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(It will have a bow with long tails and her pirate tutu will be peeking out from under the bow. I absolutely have to tell you the details.)

For tutorial purposes, I’m stopping here. This is the finished product.

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I hope someone finds this useful! It probably takes longer to read the tutorial than to actually do it.

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My Craftroom isn’t Crafty!

Business Card Holders

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Ive been working on these business card holders…but I can’t concentrate!

I’m overwhelmed. I have no space in my craft room, and it’s becoming unfit working conditions. I’m kind of a neat freak so it’s driving me insane.

I’m going to have to recruit some help from the hubs. Edson is the king of DIY & home repair. I know he can figure out a way to make everything work for me. Heres what I need to function for now, just until we build our new house.

Custom sewing table. I need space for my sewing machine & serger, plus enough room to layout and cut fabric.

Something to put thread on. I have a neat thread organizer, but I need something on the wall within reach of the table. All of my things are in various organizers, but they’re starting to stack up.

An armoire for fabric stash. I’m currently using the cabinets above the washer & dryer. I have one of those super efficient, giant Stanley toolboxes full of notions and interfacing. Freestanding toolboxes are not a home decor must have. I have a refashioned nightstand full of scraps, trim, and applique materials. I have a smaller Stanley tool organizer that sits on top of the night stand, full of my buttons, feathers, glitter, and gems. Above the cabinet sits one of those flat plastic bins, and its full of paper crafting stuff and miscellaneous craft treasure I refuse to part with. I know ill need it all for somthing..someday. The sexiest thing is my enormous blue plastic tub filled with ribbon. Parked right in the MIDDLE OF THE FLOOR. I’m out of space. Period.

Some custom shelving with built in trays..to sit on the wall within reach of my machines. I have seam rippers, fabric markers, scissors, etc in jars and boxes all over the place. It’s tacky & I can’t stand it.

A file cabinet or custom shelving to house my patterns. I’d love to browse through without pulling them all out.

A “staging area”… A drop down background I can use for photos. Also I need some mannequins. I can make the dress forms if he can fashion the stands they go on. My photos will look more professional. (Better photos, and a better layout for my pattern review page will make this blog what I want it to be.)

I know this sounds like a lot of work, but y’all don’t know my honey. He can do anything. Once I tell him, I bet he can’t wait to get started. He can work magic. You’ll see.

Once I get the after photos, I’ll post the before pics. Right now I can’t bear anyone seeing this disaster.

PS: We have outgrown our small home. But I do love it. Edson has literally remodeled every piece of it, and done a beautiful job. I’ve just amassed a large amount of equipment & materials in a short period of time. I don’t want to be ungrateful for our blessings.

I feel like a turd complaining about one room when there are people without a home. :(

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This was one of my very first blog posts! Check out the first phase of my remodel here.

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Vintage Doll Sewing Patterns

Simplicity 3729 Vintage Doll Clothes Pattern

I love looking at old patterns. I love to watch fashion change, evolve,and repeat. I can always redraft a too-wide lapel or too-pointy collar, but I confess I rarely do.

Someone brought me an old pattern a while back. It wasn’t old enough to be vintage, and not anything anyone would wear this decade. But I had to open it up and see if there were any salvageable pieces in there, even though I was pretty confident that there wasn’t.

When I started laying the pattern out, I realized that all the pieces didn’t match. There were parts of 3 different patterns! I started googling and guess what I got?

Simplicity 3729 Vintage Doll Clothes Pattern

I got the cowgirl boots & gun holster! These are for a 21″ doll. A Shirley Temple doll maybe? I forgot to see what year this pattern is from. I’m super excited though.

I can’t wait to find a little pistol so I can make this for Bella’s American girl doll. The whole world is politically correct now, & kids aren’t supposed to play with guns anymore I guess. I grew up with 2 brothers. We played cops & robbers, cowboys & Indians, and other shoot em up games all day. None of us are serial killers.

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