The Split Pant Incident

Well everything went just fine with the first pairs of pants I made for a couple of months. They went through the wash several times beautifully but one day when I picked up my kids from school, I noticed Maya had split the crotch seam open. It is a good thing she is only three and couldn’t care less! Another few years and she would have been mortified and I would be to blame!

split pants

If you have ever spent any time with a three year old, you understand how it is impossible to get factual information about an event that happened in your absence. They will say the most random things and you never really know the whole truth. After trying for 10 minutes to pry out of her how it happened, I believe she might have fallen and it split then. However, she also told me she was playing, she was sitting, and once that it wasn’t even ripped at all, so who really knows.

I was afraid to sew it back up as is because it might just happen again! I needed to put in some extra material and didn’t know how to go about it until I noticed my yoga pants had extra material sewn in!

yoga pant

It was the perfect solution. Well perfect if you knew how to do it properly!

I fudged it. I figured as long as it looked O.K. from the outside, then it didn’t matter.

First, I cut out a scrap piece of the same fabric.


Then I sewed the top two edges on with a straight stitch and added a zig-zag stitch along the edges.

half way

Next, I cut the scrap to fit the bottom corner and sewed and finished the edges the same way I did the top two. It’s a little rough on the inside.

inside pants messy

As well as the outside.

finished patch sewn up

But you can’t tell I have done a thing to them when she is wearing them. Hopefully it will last! I guess we will know in a few more months.
maya runningMaya in pants


Knit Nitwit

finished knit shirtsWell it was bound to happen. Things were going too smoothly in my sewing adventures. I guess I needed a reality check. I kept reading blog entries about sewing with knits being difficult but they always ended with something along the lines of “don’t be scared… go for it!” So I decided to give it a try.

I wanted to make some little boy clothes since I had only focused on clothes for the girls so far. The weather was cold and my little man needed more long-sleeve shirts. I decided to use the shirt tutorial from MADE since the pant one I did recently was successful. I went out and bought three different colors of solid knits from Joann’s and set to work.

First, I needed to create my own pattern from a existing piece of clothing. I decided to sacrifice a 24-month onesie. I cut it apart and traced the pieces on some large art paper already scribbled on by my kids.

onsie cut up

I then added a ½ inch seam allowance to the traced images. Labeled them and cut them out.


Then I cut my pieces of fabric out.

cut fabric

Sewed the ribbing on.

neck ribbing sewn on

Looks good so far, right?…Ugh.

First, after beginning to assemble my sleeves, I realized they were too narrow at the wrist. I did have to fudge the long sleeve pattern because my onesie was short sleeved so I redrew a new pattern that I hoped would result in a better fitting sleeve.

new and old sleeve

I then re-sewed the newly-cut long sleeves and assembled the rest of the shirt. It was difficult to sew the sleeve to the shirt because it was too narrow to fit even the free arm but I got through it by placing the entire shirt on top of the machine’s bed and sewing slowly so I wouldn’t catch extra shirt material in the stitches.

sewing sleeves on

I then hemmed the bottom, turned it right side out, and tried it out on my son. Pretty cute huh?

calder with shirt on

That doesn’t seem too bad? Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the part where AFTER I made a second shirt for him, I had to stretch it to fit over him (I had tried to make it slimmer in places) and I heard the stitches snap. That is the moment I realized you can’t just use any ol’ straight stitch to sew up a knit garment. So, I disassembled TWO shirts, researched what stitches to use and sewed them back together again!

I tried two different stitches on the sleeves to determine which stitch to use on my fabric. For the top sleeve, I used a stretch stitch and the bottom is a zig zag stitch.  Since the stretch stitch caused more puckering, I went with the zig zag.

sleeve stitches

Before I finished sewing the shirts together, I had adjusted my zig zag a bit more and ended up with a pretty clean stitch that still gave enough so as not to break when stretched.

As for the bottom hem, I found a straight stitch with a long stitch length worked just fine.

I thought I was in the clear until I did this…

sleeve sewn on inside out

Yep, I sewed that sleeve on inside out! Oh well. I ripped that sucker off and sewed it on correctly.

So now I have two long sleeve shirts finally finished and it is 70 degrees outside. Hopefully, he will get to wear them at least once before he outgrows them!

Appliqué Tutorial for T-Shirts

finished shirtI have an addiction. I can’t seem to stop buying digitized appliqué designs and have way more than any one person should EVER need. Every time there is a sale, I get excited. Then, there are the freebies! I just can’t help myself when it comes to freebies!
My son recently turned turned 2 and I  decided to make him a birthday shirt to wear to school. I dug through all my birthday-themed appliqué files and found one suitable for a little boy. I have also come to realize that I have a lot more girl-themed appliqués then boy. More reason to shop!

So as promised… here is my appliqué tutorial. Yep, I know there are plenty of them out there but I have noticed that everybody does it a little differently. Here is the way I am currently doing it for my shirts:

Supplies needed:


  • Embroidery machine 😉
  • T-Shirt
  • Appliqué design file
  • Fabrics
  • Iron-on tear-away stabilizer
  • Cut-away stabilizer –  I like Sulky tender touch because you can also iron it on the inside of the finished shirt to keep toddler skin from being irritated by the embroidery.
  • Embroidery thread
  • Scissors – I have a pair of small curved Fiskars scissors that are perfect for this. The curved edge helps you cut really close to the edge of the appliqué fabric.

I borrowed major parts of my process from Cole’s Corner and Creations. Her tutorial is a lot more involved. I am always looking for ways to cut corners with my projects so I have eliminated some of the steps that didn’t work for me. I also am not making shirts for anyone but my children so if you are making a shirt for a gift or profit, I suggest you use her tutorial instead!

All right, here we go!

First, I iron a vertical crease down the front of the shirt.

ironed crease

I then cut a piece of tear-away stabilizer slightly smaller than my hoop. Fold it both vertically and horizontally. Line up the vertical crease of the tear-away with the vertical crease in the shirt and iron it to the inside of the shirt. (Pay close attention to which stabilizer I am using where in this tutorial. I know it can get confusing! I have underlined each type to help you.)

creased stabelizer

If you have ironed out the crease, then re-iron it.

Place a piece of cut-away stabilizer in your hoop and pull on the edges until it is tight.

hooped drum

Use the creases you made in your shirt to align it evenly within the hoop and then pin the shirt to the cut-away stabilizer that is tightened in the hoop.

pinned to hoop

Make sure the outside of the shirt is facing up when you place your hoop in your machine.

And make sure your sleeves are not tucked underneath!!!

sleeves out

If this is your first time using an appliqué design file, there are 3 parts to each section.

  1. The First Outline – lets you know exactly where to place your fabric
  2. The Second Outline – sews down your fabric
  3. The Final embroidery – puts down the decorative stitches

Let the machine run the first outline and then place your fabric.

first outline

Run the second outline. Use your curved scissors to cut the fabric off as close to the stitched edge as possible without cutting the thread. You may have to remove the hoop from the machine to do this. Be careful not to shift your hooped material.

second outline

cutting away fabric

Run your final embroidery.

final embroidery

Repeat with the rest of the design.

Please try not to be discouraged if you run into issues. I always seem to have a problem of one type or another. You can usually figure out what is happening by reading your machine’s manual or searching for help online.

This time it was that my needles kept breaking.

needle breaking

I was pretty frustrated until I finally realized my kids had been playing with my machine and had turned the tension dial too tight! I loosened it and didn’t have another issue! Luckily, I also had plenty of extra needles.

After finishing the appliqué, I decided to embroider my son’s name underneath the design. To do this, I unhooped my finished design, tore off the tear-away stabilizer and cut off the cut-away stabilizer. I then started back at the beginning by attaching the folded stabilizer and continuing on through the steps I used to prep the shirt the first time around.

I do have quite a few fonts I have downloaded but I found it easier to use the ones that came pre-installed on my machine. I suggest you run a few sample sizes on a scrap piece of fabric so you can determine the right size lettering for your project.

practice font

Once you have determined the correct size and placement, re-hoop your shirt centered on where you want the middle of your text to be and embroider away!

Here is Calder (with his big sisters) wearing the finished shirt on his birthday! Can you believe this is the only thing I have made for him. I really need to come up with more little boy sewing projects soon!school Calders bdaysmall

Triple Ruffle Pants

By far, the one thing I have sewn that gets the most attention are the triple ruffle pants I made for my girls. Every time they step out of the house wearing them, I get tons of compliments and inquiries as to where I bought them. I get the biggest rush when I get to say “I made them”!girls with TRpants

The pattern is from Foo Foo Threads on Etsy. I already owned the fabrics from that unused stack of single yards I bought back when I first got my sewing machine. I needed a pattern that I could make twice while only using three different yards of fabrics together and this one was perfect.

Here are the fabrics:

They are all Michael Miller fabrics but they are a few years old so they may be hard to locate.

  • Multi Gnomes
    black gnomes
  • Multi Handy Gnomes
    green gnomes
  • Black Summer Mushroom

The pattern came with a .pdf with photos to walk you through the construction process! Perfect for someone like me still trying to figure things out.

Since I bought the pattern and tutorial, I do not want to give away too much about their construction. I can talk about my mistakes though since there were plenty of them. I might also add that none of them were the fault of the pattern or tutorial!

3rufflesMy first mistake was that I only made 3 ruffles for the first pair instead of six (three for each leg) and then panicked because I was afraid I didn’t have enough material left. Luckily I did!

ripping ruffle hemThen, when I prepped those six ruffles, I hemmed both edges! I have NO idea what I was thinking when I did that. I then had to pull out my seam ripper and take half of them back out. Ugh!

I also have had to reopen and close the waistband on both pairs because either I measured my kid’s waist wrong or they both shrunk overnight!

Because my daughters have different size waists and leg lengths, I made each pair to fit a specific girl. Of course, even though I let them choose which fabric they wanted in the beginning, they now want to wear the other’s pair! I just can’t win!

I will say the scariest part of the whole process was getting to this point…

whole pants

and then doing this to them!!EEK!

cut pants

It was all worth it though. Check out the movement these pants have!M chasing ballM on trikeN riding bike