The Candy Dress – A Tutorial

I am addicted to sweets. I am constantly buying candy and I am always trying to find ways to use the colorful packaging in my projects. Here is Sienna’s new favorite dress I made using a colorful Nerds box and some tie dye:

She wore it for three days straight. I finally got her out of it tonight by promising she could wear her tinted goggles to dinner (see bottom of the post for that photo).

She pretty much looks like she got tangled up in the Willy Wonka conveyor belt.

Look how great all these packages are! The Nerds were my favorite for Sienna and I thought the Hot Tamales would be perfect for a boy. I scanned them into my computer…..

….and printed them out on transfer paper. This was the first time I’ve used Dharma Trading’s Super Soft Transfer Paper and I am now officially hooked…..this stuff just feels like part of the fabric after one washing (the other stuff I was using felt a little plastic-like….and is going in the trash).

For this particular dress I made a patch to sew on, but you could iron the transfer directly onto the dress as well. Make sure to follow the directions for the transfer paper you are using.

Peeling the backing off is the best part.

I adhered my patch to the dress using fusible web and then stitched it into place.

Once the transfer was finished, I soaked the dress pieces in water (with table salt) to prepare them for dying.

After soaking for a few minutes, I took the pieces out of the water, squeezed the excess water from them, twirled into little spirals and secured with rubber bands.

Next, I covered them with pink and purple dye, wrapped them up tight in plastic and left them overnight.

The next morning I rinsed out the dye and ran the pieces through the wash. Here are the finished pieces before I sewed the rest of the dress together. I love how the dye becomes part of the transfer.

Sienna’s replacement outfit for dinner tonight…..only because she got to wear the goggles.

This tutorial is part of a series for the Lil Blue Boo / Dharma Trading Challenge running until the middle of February. If you haven’t checked it out yet please do! All levels of design/sewing/printing encouraged to enter! Entries are due by February 15, 2010.

Screen Printed Drapes & Pillows – A Tutorial

My husband has been bugging me for years to add window treatments around the house….but they are always either too expensive or I haven’t found ones I like. So I made my own….and it was so much easier than I thought it would be!

So happy with the result.

I wanted drapes that were simple and elegant but also that fit our informal living style. I love how they “pool” on the floor…..adds a little drama to our everyday living space.

I especially love how the morning sunlight comes through the sheer fabric.

With my leftover fabric I made some simple covers for our existing couch pillows to coordinate the room.

I made the small rectangular pillows from scratch with linen-like fabric.


Note: Before starting your screen printing you will need to create a screen. See my Screen Printing 101 tutorial on how to create a screen using photo emulsion. If you want to use a simpler design than shown below you can also try the contact paper screen printing method.

Here is the design I created using “damask” dingbats. You are welcome to use it (just click on the image and then save to your desktop). I couldn’t find my original file so this is a scan.

I started with 108″ plain white muslin (using my 40% off coupon it was about $3 a yard). For tops on measuring your window for the amount of fabric needed see my curtain tutorial (with download).

You will need a large area to spread your muslin out onto. I used my back patio, but you could use a driveway as well. Just spread a tarp or large drop cloths out to protect the muslin.

You can use the “fold” lines on the muslin as vertical guides and use a long piece of wood to mark your horizontal guide lines. I used a disappearing ink pen to mark out where my designs would be.

I used Versatex screen printing inks in the colors: Umber and Brown. I added Versatex Fixer which eliminates the “heat setting” step (i.e. no ironing to set the ink).

Mix your inks together (four 4oz tubs was plenty for pillows and drapes). I added a little black to get a darker brown.

Start your printing! Allow yourself to have errors (for character!)… will look like you meant to have imperfections. Place your screen flat onto the fabric. You will probably want to have a piece of cardboard underneath each section you are printing (I used flat boxes). Apply a small glob of ink at the top of side of the image……..and pull the ink down the screen with the squeegee. You might have missed some areas so I like to go over it a few times carefully. Do a test run first on a scrap!

The first one is the hardest! Then it gets easy!

You can do several rows at at time. Just keep your tape measure and disappearing ink pen nearby so you can mark guides as you go.

After the first layer has dried, turn your design around and screen the mirror image.

A finished complete image.

A finished drape! I screened in the hot sun and it only took minutes to dry.

Once all my drapes were dry I brought them inside for sewing. For the top of the drapes, I folded the edges over 1.5″ and then over again 1.5″ and sewed all the way across. I didn’t even hem the sides or bottom, I just serged them with white thread. If you want a more finished, formal look see my tutorial on curtains here.

A curtain rod for a 16 foot slider was not really in my budget so I modified a store-bought rod to fit across the 17 foot span. You can buy 6 foot finished wood rod pieces at your hardware store, just make sure to buy the connecting screws too. I bought three rods and cut about 6″ off the ends. I had to re-drill holes for the finials at the end. I purchased 4 brackets for the rods to sit on.

I cut 2 squares from my leftover fabric for each coordinating pillow.

I screen printed the design diagonally onto the pillow squares.

Once the pillow fronts had dried I pinned them together and sewed the outside edges leaving a small opening for stuffing.

I had my best helper stuff the pillows.

And I sewed the pillows shut with a blind stitch.

This technique is so versatile that you could use it in any room of the house. How about printing a similar duvet and large square euro pillows for a master bedroom!

My little one is the most excited about our new drapes because she gets another hiding place!

Patterns for Haiti!

Update: As of 6pm Pacific time over $800 raised!

100% of all pattern sale proceeds to go to Three Angels Haiti today! We raised $759 a few days ago and I hope to raise some more funds for them with your help again! All of the Three Angels Orphanage children are now on U.S. soil and Three Angels Haiti is now turning their attention to the people who still need help in Haiti. Please go visit their site and read some of the updates. They also take donations through the site as well.

Just a note about why I picked Three Angels Haiti: I became aware of Three Angels a few months back through Shannon Hoffman, the director. She was looking for some sewing projects to teach some of the girls in a sewing class. She explained to me that a simple sewing project, whether a toy or a dress or a Christmas ornament, could be the only hope some of these girls/women would ever have. It just moved me beyond belief that a simple pattern or craft idea that we take for granted everyday could eventually be a livelihood for a young girl somewhere else.

Resolution Subway Art – Tutorial

How to make vintage subway sign-inspired art. DIY tutorial via
This was my submission from the SYTYC “New Year’s” Challenge….I finally won a challenge! That puts Dana and I into the final two this coming week!

I haven’t made resolutions for the past few new years because I usually forget about them after a few weeks. This year as a family we came up with a short list of things we wanted to focus on everyday and I made the list into a large piece of art. I love that this large 3 foot high wood piece is reminiscent of an early 20th century subway sign.

How to make vintage subway sign-inspired art. DIY tutorial 2 via
It is durable enough to hang in an outside eating area:

How to make vintage subway sign-inspired art. DIY tutorial 3 via
It is simple enough to rest on a side table:

How to make vintage subway sign-inspired art. DIY tutorial 4 via
And it is bold enough to display on a mantle as the focus of a room:

How to make vintage subway sign-inspired art. DIY tutorial 5 via
Here is how I made it:

Step 1: I bought a ready cut 2′ x 4′ piece of wood from my hardware store and had them shorten it to 2′ x 3.’

Resolution Subway Art - Tutorial step 1 via
Step 2: I also bought long wood molding strips that were 1/2″ wide and 1 1/2″ deep. I started on one edge of my large flat piece of wood and marked where I would need to cut.

Resolution Subway Art - Tutorial step 2 via
Step 3: I used a large mite saw to cut the corners at a 45 degree angle. If you don’t have a mitre saw you can use a simple plastic mitre box and hand saw. There are only a few cuts so it won’t take that long.

Resolution Subway Art - Tutorial step 3 via
Step 4: I squeezed wood glue onto one of the long edges of the underside of my large board…..

Resolution Subway Art - Tutorial step 4 via
…..and turned it over onto one of the long wood trim pieces and used hammer and nails to secure it.

Resolution Subway Art - Tutorial step 4a via
I repeated this step, fitting each piece carefully into place until my piece looked like this:

Resolution Subway Art - Tutorial step 4b via
Step 5: I used these little “nail-in” brackets from the hardware store as well to secure the corner pieces.

Resolution Subway Art - Tutorial step 5 via
Step 6: I sprayed the entire wood piece with primer.

Resolution Subway Art - Tutorial step 6 via
Step 7: I sanded it down to remove any significant wood grain. Then I sprayed the entire piece with white spray paint.

Resolution Subway Art - Tutorial step 7 via
Step 8: I created this little template using Powerpoint to that I could space the letters for each line. Feel free to use this one or at least parts of it. Click image below to download:

Step 9: I printed out my resolutions on regular sized paper. Then I took it to Fed Ex/Kinkos and used the large copier to enlarge it to the exact width I needed (cost about $4).

Resolution Subway Art - Tutorial step 9 via

Step 10: I cut strips of vinyl contact paper the same width as the wording (the vinyl contact paper came in a 12″ height so I could only fit 3 lines at a time on each strip).

Resolution Subway Art - Tutorial step 10 via
Step 11: I used spray adhesive to attach the photo copy to the top of the contact paper. (Note: Do NOT apply to the paper side of the contact paper, you will be peeling this off later.)

Resolution Subway Art - Tutorial step 11 via
Step 12: Then I trimmed around each line of words.

Resolution Subway Art - Tutorial step 12 via
Step 13: I evenly spaced each set of words out along the board marking a “guide” line with pencil below each. Then I cut out each letter, peeled off the paper back and adhered to the board.

Resolution Subway Art - Tutorial step 13 via
Step 14: I used a brayer to make sure each letter was adhered smoothly to the board.

Resolution Subway Art - Tutorial step 14 via
Step 15: I sprayed the top and sides of the board with black spray paint. I did one coat at a time letting each dry well before applying the next coat.

Resolution Subway Art - Tutorial step 15 via
Step 16: Once the board was completely coated and had time to dry…..

Resolution Subway Art - Tutorial step 16 via
…I carefully peeled off each contact paper letter.

Resolution Subway Art - Tutorial step 16a via
Step 17: I used a white paint pen to touch up any letters that needed it.

Resolution Subway Art - Tutorial step 17 via
Step 18: Last step was to attach screws eyes (1/3 of the way down the back) and wire to hang!

Resolution Subway Art - Tutorial step 18 via



Visit the following tutorial too! Click the image for the post:

Subway Art Pillows: DIY Subway Sign inspired pillows via



….you all are REALLY amazing. In just a few short hours today, you helped me raise over $500 for Three Angels Haiti.

My husband came home for lunch yesterday and we were watching the news and discussing how much we could afford to give to Three Angels and we came up with the idea of using my blog/store to help raise some money. I never expected such a response. I thought maybe I’d be able to raise $100, maybe a little more…….but never thought it would go near $500, or OVER!

What totally blew me away…..some of you already HAD all my patterns and still bought one or two AGAIN just for the donation. I feel like there is a little army out there just waiting to help and respond!

Anyways, thank you. Thank you for being so generous, thank you for being so supportive, thank you for being so appreciative, thank you for all the encouragement you give me everyday.

I just don’t think I can stay up tonight until midnight for the final tally, so I am going ahead and sending Three Angels Haiti the first $500 donation so it can hit the ground tomorrow because I know they need it. I’ll figure out the total tally by the end of the weekend as I sew up some more dresses to sell.

Goodnight. We are so blessed. Pray for Haiti.


Change to the LBB / Dharma Trading Design Challenge

I’ve decided to change the “give back” portion of the LBB / Dharma Trading Design Challenge. Instead of donating dresses to the local charity I mentioned, I’ve decided to sell a few of them on Etsy (as well as some existing stock I have) with 100% of the proceeds to be donated to Three Angels Haiti Orphanage. I’ll be listing some over the weekend. I know I had mentioned donating the dresses directly to Three Angels Haiti, but I think the money is crucial for medical supplies and other basic necessities. I created a section on my Etsy store named “Three Angels Haiti.” As usual I’ll be posting the listings on my Facebook page so keep a look out. I know everyone’s budgets are tight but if your little girl needs clothes….you can help out at the same time!

Update: 100% of all pattern sales today go to Three Angels Haiti. As of this update $322 raised!
Update 2: $460 raised as of 3:28 Pacific time!

Another quick note: The leggings pattern is almost done. It was a success with my testers and I’m adding some additional options to the pattern like ruffles, length options etc. I will announce all the winners of the giveaway tomorrow so you can keep entering until I draw…I just have to figure out the easiest way to pick 15 winners from 800 fans on Facebook! Thank you all so much for the amazing response….so overwhelmed!

If you’ve convo’d me or emailed in the last day I’m sorry that I haven’t had a chance to get back to you! I promise I am going to be sewing like crazy this weekend and next week to accommodate your requests!

Lastly….make sure to enter the challenge and force me to sew more dresses for a good cause!


Faux Camoflauge – A Tutorial

I love different color camouflage…but could someone please tell me what someone in pink and purple camouflage is trying to blend into? A Dora Episode?

Anyways, I was trying to come up with a simple way to make something that kinda looked like camouflage. Below is what I came up with and it worked pretty well for the look that I was going for (click here to see how I did the hearts):

Faux Camoflauge - A Tutorial via
Step 1: I took some white cotton interlock fabric and soaked it in 2 gallons of water with about 1/4 cup of table salt in it. Then I took the fabric out, squeezed the excess water out and set it aside.

Faux Camoflauge - A Tutorial Step 1 via
Step 2: I cut a 3′ x 3′ piece of plastic sheeting (the kind that you use for a drop cloth when painting).

Faux Camoflauge - A Tutorial Step 2 via
Step 3: I took a packet of iDye and a small 8oz squirt bottle……

Faux Camoflauge - A Tutorial Step 3 via
…..and stuffed the small iDye packet into my squirt bottle. (This is the BEST invention ever by the way…..iDye is in a small water soluble plastic bag that dissolves in water. I LOVE this because I don’t dye my hands!) The dye color I used it a light Kelly green….it looks very dark in the bottle because I had it so concentrated.

Faux Camoflauge - A Tutorial Step 3a via
Step 4: I filled the squirt bottle with hot water and shook it until the dye was completely dissolved….it will be VERY concentrated.

Faux Camoflauge - A Tutorial Step 4 via
Step 5: I gathered up the wet cotton fabric by sliding it along the plastic sheeting….

Faux Camoflauge - A Tutorial Step 5 via
…and using string I tied it tightly together.

Faux Camoflauge - A Tutorial Step 5a via
Step 6: I tied the fabric together in several places so it eventually looked like this:

Faux Camoflauge - A Tutorial Step 6 via
Step 7: I took the dye and covered the fabric starting at the strings. Once I coated one side, I then turned the fabric over and douse the other sides….covering the entire piece with a generous amount of dye.

Faux Camoflauge - A Tutorial Step 7 via
Step 8: After covering all the strings, I used the rest of the dye to completely cover the sides of the fabric (this photo shows the fabric before being completely doused)……

Faux Camoflauge - A Tutorial Step 8 via
…….and then I rolled it up in the plastic sheeting and left it overnight.

Faux Camoflauge - A Tutorial Step 8a via

After 24 hours, I unrolled the fabric, rinsed in in the sink and then put it in the washing machine for a complete washing. Basically the strength of the dye slowly bleeds through the fabric overnight….the final untouched areas will be dyed as you wash out the fabric and as it goes through the washing machine! Voila….faux camo!

Faux Camoflauge - A Tutorial Step 8b via

This tutorial is part of a series for the Lil Blue Boo / Dharma Trading Challenge running this month. If you haven’t checked it out yet please do! All levels of design/sewing/printing encouraged to enter!

Random Ideas and inspiration

Seriously, sometimes the most random things will spur ideas. This little heart print was inspired by a Burlington Coat Factory commercial (ever seen their logo?). This is why I need to keep a notebook by my bed….so in between Jersey Shore, The Bachelor and Lifetime Movies I can jot things down!

Random Ideas and inspiration via
I’ve been printing the hearts on soft cotton interlock for some Valentines skirts and dresses:

Random Ideas and inspiration 2 via
Just having fun with it and mixing the hearts into different prints.

Random Ideas and inspiration 3 via
Someone emailed me and requested a twirl skirt so here it is:

Random Ideas and inspiration 4 via
Can you guess what my other new pattern is?

Random Ideas and inspiration 5 via
I’ve had a few St. Patty’s requests too… I dyed and screened a few variations of this too (tutorial for dyeing to come soon):

Random Ideas and inspiration 6 via

Random Ideas and inspiration 7 via

Random Ideas and inspiration 8 via

Speaking of random. A friend brought his daughters over last night to play with Sienna while he and my hubby painted something. Checking on the girls I found that they had somehow convinced Sienna to dress up as a Kangaroo….doesn’t she look thrilled?

Random Ideas and inspiration 9 via

What is the most random thing that inspired an idea for you?

Final Two!!!

I am still a little in shock that I won the last challenge….I really thought that Vanessa and Dana would be the final two! It is bitter sweet because I’ve become such great friends with the two of them over the past few months….I hate to lose anyone in the competition!
My tutorial for making the resolutions “subway” art is over at SYTYC today. It will be up on Lil Blue Boo next week. I had a lot of fun making it and it really completes our kitchen/breakfast room.
Final Two via
This week Dana and I have a week off…which I HAVE to use to come up with my final project! I have some ideas but haven’t figured out how to do them yet. Anyways, go over to SYTYC today and vote on the submissions for the next round of crafters! I can’t wait to just be an observer next time!
Final Two 2 via
Two other things:
Make sure to enter my legging giveaway! I’m giving away over 10 patterns now!
Final Two 3 via
If you haven’t checked out the Lil Blue Boo / Dharma Trading Design Challenge, you are missing out on the chance to win some great prizes! I’m already receiving some great submissions! Even if you are just beginning to sew you should challenge yourself! You could take home the win!
Final Two 4 via

New Lil Leggings Pattern

I have two new Lil Blue Boo patterns that are almost ready for the shop! The Lil Leggings pattern will be ready beginning of next week….it is out with my fabulous testers right now for final tweaking so I thought I’d hold a giveaway over the weekend! It is a great pattern that shows you how to use recycled knits or knit yardage to make custom leggings sizes 6M to girls 8. There are directions for using a regular sewing machine or a serger. This isn’t the final cover….but it works for now:
New Lil Leggings Pattern & Giveaway! (Updated For the SECOND time) via

Have a great weekend!