Nesting Doll Belt (with Download)


After making my latitude/longitude belt last week, Boo needed a belt of her own. I dye some cotton webbing and made a little nesting doll repeat to make this cute D-ring belt for her. This is an extension of my 30-minute belt tutorial and I’ve added a download of the mini nesting dolls if you would like to make one of your own!

Note: The result of this project will only be as good as the quality of transfer paper you use. The Dharma Trading Super Soft Transfer paper is the only brand I use… leaves no plastic look or feel and the pigment actually becomes part of the fabric. I just checked and they have it back in stock too!
I started with cotton webbing/belting and used iDye to change the color…instead of putting it in the washing machine I just used a bucket making sure all the dye was completely dissolved before I added my belting. I like to leave the belt to “bob” and soak in the solution because I think it adds some marbling/distressed texture but if you don’t like this effect just make sure to stir often and keep the belt submerged in the dye solution.

The color ended up slightly darker than I expected…..

….so I gave it a quick dip in a diluted bleach/water solution:

Like my other belt tutorial I printed off the images onto transfer paper and cut them into strips:

I ironed them on according the directions….one after the other….

until my belt was full of cute little nesting dolls:

Add your D-rings as in the original tutorial and you are finished! Another simple gift idea!

Nesting Doll Repeat

Copyright © 2010 by Ashley Hackshaw/Lil Blue Boo. All rights reserved. This nesting doll repeat and individual nesting doll images are for personal and home use only. Please email me at ashley (at) lilblueboo (dot) com for more information. Thank you for respecting my copyright! View copyright information here: Registered & Protected

Sewing Machines, Fabric and Christmas

Last Saturday I took my sister Perry (visiting for LPGA Q-School) on a trip to L.A. to go fabric shopping. Our first stop? Alberoni Sewing Machine for a new industrial Juki machine. Roy Alberoni was there to greet us bright and early…..his father started the business in 1929! I love businesses with that much history. Alberoni is like a candy store for the serious seamstress….a machine for practically everything you can think of. They even make custom feet attachments for any type of binding or hem etc. Their machines make True Religion jeans, life jackets, Kevlar vests for the military….you name it, they make it.

Then I met Able. Able has been a sewing machine technician for 30 years. He’s soft spoken and serious….and is an expert on these machines. I think I asked him a total of 4,000 questions. I learned more from him in 10 minutes than I’ve picked up in years of sewing! For example, I mentioned that my other serger blades had been dulling more quickly recently…..immediately he knew that I had just been over-tightening them.

Speaking of machines….how long do you think it takes to thread this sewing machine? 33 needles, 33 spools of thread. It takes Able about 3 hours. And if a thread breaks….they have to start all over again. I don’t think I have that kind of patience! Can you guess what this machine makes? See the bottom of the post for the answer.

After Alberoni, Perry and I headed to the Fashion district in L.A. and came home with lots of fun stuff:

I’ve already made a small dent in my new finds:

My sister spent the rest of her stay making a nursery painting for a friend of hers using all my supplies. I had total deja vu with this painting…..I swear it looks EXACTLY like I painted it…handwriting and everything. (Compare to some of mine here)

A new “made to order” dress added to the shop this week! I thought it looked like a holiday dress so I added a silk screened Christmas tree to it:

Then I had some requests for a matching doll dress….which I can never pass up. Each dress comes with a small bag of scraps so you can make hair accessories if you like:

I am so in love with Boo’s Apple Tree House doll….I think I’m in the queue for another custom 10″ doll and I can’t wait!

Boo and I finally got our matching LBB shoes in the mail! I think they turned out so cute! Mine are all wet in the photo because I was chasing Diesel around the yard early this morning as he attacked the gardener Zacarias.

Working on lots of new patterns and Lisa starts this next week finally so hopefully I’ll be publishing some new patterns soon! I’ve got one coming up really soon but it isn’t being published by me so you’ll have to wait and be surprised!

Have a wonderful weekend! I’ve got a contest on my Facebook page right now to name a new style of top I just finished…I’m liking the name “The Weekender” but I can be persuaded to change it if a better name comes up!

Answer to the machine question: It makes those rows and rows of gathering on ruched tops!

Goodnight and Good Luck – Made to Order & Semi-Custom

A new “made to order” dress in my shop….available to order for one week. I’m starting to offer a new style almost every week so to keep continuous stock available….most are based on one-off rare knit finds that I stumble upon! You can customize your sleeve style as well: my elephant ear (oversized flutter) sleeve, short sleeve, long or 3/4 sleeve.

“Goodnight and Good Luck” is a silk screened asymmetric dress/tunic with a hand silk screened Chinese “luck” symbol on the front and back. The bottom knit is a silky lycra knit that falls beautifully over jeans or leggings without getting hung up.

Photos by Kristina/Imagine That Photography of her daughter Katy wearing this style of dress. Love these!

And today is the last day to order the “made to order” funky fall “Owl C Ya dress”…they will all be cut tomorrow!

30-Minute Personalized Belt (A Tutorial)

Are you thinking about holiday gifts yet? This is such an easy belt to make and can be personalized with any words or images. My plan was to make a belt for myself that had a favorite quote on it but all my favorite ones were almost a paragraph long….so I decided to make my belt with the longitude/latitude coordinates of where Mr. LBB, Boo and myself were born (similar to the pendant I made for the SYTYC contest).

So many ideas came to mind when making this…here are just a few to help you brainstorm for gifts:

*A kid’s belt with your cell phone number when at Disneyland in case they get lost!
*A Pi belt for a numbers lover: 3.141592653589793238462643383.
*A belt filled with names or birthdates of grandchildren for a Grandparent.
*A mini nesting doll belt or skull/crossbones pirate belt.
*Personalized tote bag/handbag straps.
*Inspirational quote or verse belt.

All you need for this project are: cotton/belting webbing (must be cotton, the iron will melt any plastic webbing and if you plan to dye the webbing a different color), D-rings, and Super Soft Transfer Paper.

Step 1: Set up your images or words and print off a copy to make sure it will all fit on your belt. Print the final copy off onto Super Soft Transfer Paper. Make sure to print in reverse! (I use Powerpoint to set everything up and then save the image as a picture that I can easily import back in and drag to reverse.) Note: I used “1942 report” font. You can download it here.

Step 2: Cut a piece of cotton/webbing long enough to fit around your waist adding about 10-12″ for overlap. Cut out your images/words and place them along the top of the belt in the order you want to add them.

Step 3: Follow the instructions of the transfer paper…..but make sure you use a hard surface like table….not an ironing board. For the Super Soft Transfer Paper you will use the hottest setting and iron firmly back and forth for about 20 seconds.

Peel off the transfer paper backing the image is left behind!

Repeat for each image until you have covered the belt:

Step 4: Insert the D-rings onto one end of the belt…….

…..and fold the belt over and secure it by sewing it together as shown below or you can also sew it shut with a needle and thread:

Step 5: Fold the other end of the belt over about a 1/2″…..

…..and secure it by sewing it shut:

Step 6: Treat the raw edges so that they won’t fray using Fray Block or craft glue.

I love the finished result: A funky, one-of-a-kind belt filled with special meaning…..a perfect conversation piece!

What will YOU make with this tutorial? I’d love to hear your ideas!

Shop LBB Patterns Today to Sponsor a Child!

Last night we decided to sponsor a child through Three Angel’s Children Relief to start teaching Boo how we can help others outside of our community. My goal today is to sell enough patterns to sponsor another child! Three Angels Christian Academy (TACA) provides uniforms, textbooks, instruction and often, the only meal of the day for over 300 children from preschool to 6th grade.

Through midnight tonight….all net pattern proceeds go towards sponsorship of a child from Three Angel’s Children Relief!

Just a note about why I picked Three Angels Children’s Relief: I became aware of Three Angels last year 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. Then the earthquake hit Haiti. I found that by selling patterns for a specific cause I could raise more money than I could ever afford to give on my own! Thank you for helping!
Update: $145 in total raised! All donation receipts are always posted once the donation is made. While charitable amounts could probably remain anonymous I think that any website/individual who is asking you to “buy” something to raise funds should provide a paper trail.

So much news! Where to start?!

The past week has been a blur because my sister is here visiting for LPGA Q-School. She made the cut today so cross your fingers she plays well tomorrow! Yay Perry! While she’s here though I made her model one of my new silk screened adult tees that I made for the store. The Chinese Dragon silk screen was designed by Stephanie Corfee exclusively for Lil Blue Boo:

I LOVE when the weather starts to cool off in the desert at night! Look at this view!

I’ve finally started to make more BOY things! Introducing BOY by Lil Blue Boo!

Of course as soon as I made the dinosaur shirt Boo thought it was hers….so I had to make a pink version:

I’ve been working on this new slouchy, layering shirt style….the Layer Cake Top. I hope to publish a pattern for it soon!

Mischievous (don’t worry, she didn’t squirt me with water)…..

I’ve also added new “Made to Order” items in the store available for a limited amount of time (about a week) and then I’ll rotate in new designs:

And the biggest news? I’ve taken on a lot over the last few months with my little handmade clothing line….it’s kind of taken over and I’ve realized that I need help! After months of talking about it, I finally convinced my friend Lisa (you might know her from Ellebows!) to come and work with me full time! She’ll be helping me with everything from photography to creative design so that I can spend more time on tutorials, patterns and new things! I am SO excited! She starts in 2 weeks….so just bear with me until then!

So stay tuned!!! Lots of amazing stuff coming soon to Lil Blue Boo! Have I mentioned lately that my “to do” list is about 50 pages long?

Saturday LBB Gallery Share – One AMAZING Ladybug Party

I LOVE getting photos of kids wearing the dresses I’ve made…..but these photos take the cake! Claire’s mother Melissa put together the most amazing ladybug-themed birthday party. Click on any of the photos below to see the fabulous decorations, food and games!

A few more fun photos…..

Sandi sent this one in of her daughter yesterday….a perfect September 11th tribute!

And another great photo from Kristina of her daughter and her friend having an impromptu modeling shoot in Lil Blue Boo dresses:

P.S. I know I’m a day late on the gallery share. Just pretend I posted it yesterday :)

The Lil Blue Boo / Dharma Trading Great Ugly Knit Upcycle Winners!

Finally! The winners of the Lil Blue Boo / Dharma Trading Great Ugly Knit Upcycle! The judges (Amy, Ashley, Kari, and Rachel) narrowed the entries down to 15 finalists. After a week long vote, I finally get to announce the winners! Congratulations to Jamie and Shirley! Make sure to click the link at the bottom to see the rest of the entries!

Thanks to everyone who entered the contest! Are you ready for another big challenge soon!?

First Place (527 votes):
Cowgirl Skirt and Headband
Made by: Jamie Fox
Four ordinary, tacky shirts were used to create ruffles for this precious skirt…and even the scraps were used for shirt detail and hair piece.

Second Place (480 votes):
Embroidered Monkey Jumper
Made by: Shirley Clark
Two boring brown shirts were transformed with a touch of bright pink and a little embroidered monkey applique. Extra details include metallic gold thread for the crown and hot pink rick rack.

The Prizes:

First Place:
$50 Gift Certificate to Dharma Trading
Singer 2932 Sewing Machine
$25 Gift Certificate to Lil Blue Boo

Second Place:
$25 Gift Certificate to Dharma Trading
$25 Gift Certificate to Lil Blue Boo

Click the collage below to view the entire gallery:

"My Lucky Starr"

….that’s the name of the dress that I made today in hopes of helping a precious 5-year-old named Katie. Just over a week ago Katie’s family found out their beautiful daughter, Katie Starr has Cone-Rod Dystrophy which is a degenerative retinal disease with no cure or treatment. This will cause Katie to lose her sight if a cure isn’t found.

I don’t know why things like this happen to precious children and their families….I feel like God has a lot of explaining to do one day….my list of questions just keeps getting longer for him. The questions are on hold though….and I am a “do-er”… I did the first thing that came to mind: make an extra special dress. 100% of net proceeds from the sale of this dress will go to Team Katie Starr’s fundraising efforts to fund hereditary retinal disease research.

{Click the photo below to view the auction}

Please consider helping in any way you can to find a cure for Katie and all others affected with this disease. Visit here to learn more about Katie and her family.

To get you even more excited about the auction, here are some recent photos by Monika McSweeney Photography of the asymmetric style:

And one last photo I got from Kristina of Imagine That Photography. I was taken aback today at the number of people that I have come to know that are affected by or know someone affected by degenerative eye disease and blindness. For example, I learned from Kristina that her mother was involved with Recording for the Blind and was even the editor of a cookbook that sold 9,000 copies with all proceeds going to the organization. It’s these little tidbits that I would never know or think to ask about!

I don’t often dedicate myself to one cause….because it allows me to spread awareness about the causes that are near and dear to the hearts of people I meet along my Lil Blue Boo journey :)

Might be a little slow this week. My sister arrived today for LPGA Q-School! So excited to have her here for two weeks!

Layering Paint for Depth (A Tutorial)


I recently finished this custom painting for a client and thought it would be a great chance to share how easy it is to use layering to create an interesting background for a painting.

Here is the finished painting framed:

This tutorial is just an example of what you can do…..the more layers you add the more interesting your painting will become. I use acrylic craft paints and spray paints for my layers and I always love to experiment with different gels and mediums as well!

First I start out with a small piece of hardboard or Gessoboard (gesso means it is pre-primed). It won’t warp and it doesn’t have sap or woodgrain. It is also thin enough to frame under glass. You can buy it in several sizes.

Step 1:
Paint a base coat.


Step 2: Block off several areas with painters tape and paint each block a different color. I started with a yellow block….


….and then added a brown block. You’ll have to paint in stages using the painters tape.


Once the yellow and brown block dried, I removed the tape…..


….and added another color block. It is okay for the blocks to overlap too. It will just add more texture.


Step 3: Once all my color blocking was dry, I took the piece outside and used a wall stencil and some spray paint to cover it with a design:


Step 4: Next I took a lighter shade of brown acrylic paint and painted over the stencil design in some thick uneven coats to add texture. It doesn’t have to be perfect….you are going to add more layers after this!


Step 5: Once all my layers were dry, I took a watered down version of my original base coat and covered the entire painting:

Step 6: Once the top layer was dry I took a sanding block and sanded down different layers of the painting until the previous layers began to show through.

Step 7: After I have a base of a painting finished…..


…I use a simple stencil to draw out letters with a pencil and then I paint over them carefully with a tiny brush.

The finished lettering:

I’ll use a paint pen to add some other small details.

Step 8: To complete the painting I use a sanding block to distress the edges and then I coat with thin coat of water based varnish!


Here is a similar one I did in pink. Just change up your paint palette!

A gift they’ll treasure forever!

See some of my other painting tutorials for more ideas and information on materials and supplies:

Personalized Nursery Art

Nursery Art – Layering with Collage

Resolutions “Subway” Art

Transferring an Image with Gel Medium

How to Fake a Landscape Painting

Distressed Folk Art Painting