Tag Archives: sewing

A “Tutu”rial

Little A's Fabric Tutu!

Little A’s Fabric Tutu!

As I shared in the last post, Little A is about all things girly. I really wanted to sew her a “pretty dress” (her words) for Christmas, but I’ve actually never sewn a dress before and waited until too close to Christmas to feel confident enough to risk not having it completed or screwing it up!

So, I decided to make a fabric tutu. I had seen pictures of fabric tutus on Pinterest early on in my pinning days, and I actually made one that Poppy wore in her 9 month photos. I knew it would take some time to complete but that it was pretty simple, so I went for it!

Noelle's nine month photos | renetate.com

Poppy’s nine month photos | renetate.com

For A’s tutu, I chose 5 coordinating fabrics that, to me at least, scream who she is! Her bedroom theme includes butterflies, so I thought it was perfectly fitting for her tutu to, also.

I didn’t want to ruin the surprise, so I had to estimate A’s waist size. She is a tall and skinny little thing, so I wanted to make the fabric strips longer than they were for Poppy’s. I have also found that the waist band should be sewn ever-so-slightly smaller than the waist size so that it fits nice and snug – not too tight, not too loose. I sewed the elastic to form the waistband thinking I was pretty close on the diameter. Turns out, after I had finished the tutu and tried it on Poppy for size, I was way off. Poppy’s waist is bigger than A’s AND Poppy wears cloth diapers, so anything that fits A should be relatively snug on Poppy. In actuality, I think Poppy’s diaper was the only thing keeping the tutu up!

If this happens to you, know that it’s a simple fix. I just slid the fabric out of the way and stitched up part of the band. I guess the plus side to my “mistake” is that perhaps she will be able to wear it ever longer – we can just rip that correction seam out when the time comes.

I was shooting for 45 strips of fabric based on my experience with Poppy’s skirt. And, since I had used 18 inch long strips for Poppy’s tutu, I thought closer to 24 inches would work well for A’s. Others have recommended that I simply not tie the strips of fabric in half but instead tie at one end so that I have more length. I really considered this for this second tutu, but I ultimately decided that I liked the fullness of the extra fabric in the skirt, and I also like the smooth waistband.

I cut each strip about 2 inches wide; but that’s the fun thing about this tutu – imperfections are barely noticed and even somewhat encouraged to help produce the whimsical feel. I cut my fabric with pinking shears, and I actually ended up only making the strips about 22 inches long due to my desire to maximize the fabric I had.

This next step is optional. It does add quite a bit of time to this tutu; and, frankly, I don’t know yet if it’s worth it. I choose to put a stitch in each fabric strip all the way around about a 1/4 to a 1/2 inch from the edge. Again, don’t stress perfection. I sew as quickly as possible, so my stitches are hardly perfectly spaced or 100% straight. Other tutorials I’ve seen don’t have this added step as the fraying that will eventually happen is desired.

This optional step does take some time, but I am happy to do it.

This optional step does take some time, but I am happy to do it.

I also don’t mind the fraying, but I’d like to know that eventually the whole thing won’t just fray away. Hence, the stitch.

Once each fabric strip has been sewn, start tying! Do your best to tie each strip in the middle with the two tails hanging the same direction – what will be “down” once your little sweetie is wearing her tutu. I didn’t think too much about this with Poppy’s tutu, and I sometimes have to wrestle the fabric to get it repositioned to lie down.

Tutu in process.

Tutu in process.

With A’s tutu, I followed a loose pattern with the fabric, but you can tie those strips on however you’d like.

When you’re finished – show it off!

Helping Mommy model her cousin's tutu.

Helping Mommy model her cousin’s tutu.

Little girls in tutus... What could be sweeter?

Little girls in tutus… What could be sweeter?

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Fabric Gifts

LittleA

Little A playing peek-a-boo with me this past August.

This Christmas, Poppy drew her cousin in the gift exchange. Little A is only 7 months older than Poppy, and they are really sweet friends. For a host of reasons, I haven’t yet taken the opportunity to make anything for A like I have for her big brothers; so for Christmas this year, I really wanted a personal touch.

I procrastinated a little too much, but I finally decided on a fabric memory game and a fabric tutu. Little A LOVES all things girly, so I knew the tutu would go over well. And, after sneakily chatting with A’s mama, I determined the memory game would work great, too (I suppose you could say I’m a Christmas gift espionage pro. Ha.).

So, several months a few days before Christmas, I set to work on her gifts. I know, I know… I definitely cut it close; but, remember these? They took quite a lot of my time.

I used this photo as inspiration for the memory game. I just LOVE fabric, and I loved the quality that shown through the photo. For better or for worse, though, the link appeared to lead nowhere (silly Pinterest), so I had to just make it up as I went.

I decided 12 matching pairs would produce an appropriate size game that would work for A’s age, too. I went through my fabric on-hand, and I chose twelve of the most different or distinguishable prints I had. Using a stencil from my old scrapbooking days – is it weird to refer to “the old days” when I’m only in my twenties? – I used my handy dandy water-erasable marker to trace around the fabric to show the exact picture I was looking for. I used the exact same section of fabric for each pair, if that makes sense. For example, for the red with white polka dots, I wasn’t picky; but for the various colored giraffes, I wanted the same pink giraffe on each game piece.

All of the pretty fabric cut and laid out.

All of the pretty fabric cut and laid out.

After tracing and cutting those, I set to cutting the fabric for the backside of the game pieces. Most of the time, seeing an inspiration photo is very helpful, but sometimes it can trip me up. Because the game pieces in the photo had white backs, that is what I subconsciously ended up shooting for. I had a large cream-colored sheet that I thought would work. I knew that the prints would show through, but I thought once I used the “steam-a-seam” between the fabrics then I would be okay.

I was wrong. Bummer.

See, no bueno...

See, no bueno…

Thankfully, my mom had a large black sheet; I am so glad! The black ended up looking so much richer than the cream would have. And, because I had wasted so much time making a pattern to cut the cream, tracing it, and cutting them all out, I was tired enough that I didn’t even trace the black fabric. I just eyed one and cut the rest as close to the same as possible. It went much more quickly and worked out just as well.

All the black fabric cut and ready for the next step!

All the black fabric cut and ready for the next step!

The Steam-a-Seam worked perfectly; I had zero complaints with it.

Bought this at Hobby Lobby, and it worked like a charm!

Bought this at Hobby Lobby, and it worked like a charm!

After adhering the fusible webbing, I was able to begin finishing each piece. My methods started out a little shaky; but one-third of the way through or so, I had it down. Each piece of black fabric was cut and adhered in such a way that the edges could be folded over twice – once to meet the edge of the game piece and once more to fold over the edge of the game piece – finishing (or hiding) both raw edges.

I ironed quite a bit to help the fabric stay in place while I sewed. I chose not to use and pins, however, as I was able to manage the fabric well enough without them. I would iron one short edge and then both long edges over the top of the ironed short edge. Then, I would sew clear across the one short edge. Finally, I ironed the remaining edge – a short edge – and then sewed the remaining three edges, corner to corner.

All complete!

All complete!

I will admit that this project took a little time to complete – but isn’t it worth it?! I am so happy with how this fabric memory game turned out that I can hardly wait to make one for Poppy.

Part two coming soon! can be found here!

I couldn't help but post this - one of their most recent pictures. <3

I couldn’t help but post this – one of their most recent pictures. ❤

Quiet Books

I am so excited to finally show you all what I accomplished for Christmas this year!

I was finally able to make my daughter and my nephew a quiet book each. I say “finally” because I had hoped to make these last year for Christmas, and it didn’t happen. Frankly, though, I think the books are better suited for them at the ages they are now. A year ago, they might not have “gotten it” yet.

I scoured Pinterest for ideas – there are SO many good ones. I would probably have to sew 100 quiet books to do the “pinspiration” justice. I brainstormed and organized my ideas probably back in early October.

Because they are little (and because I’m really just a beginner seamstress), I decided to focus on the basics – zippers, buttons, snaps, etc.

Originally, I had loftier goals than what I ended up achieving, but I am so happy with them that I’ve forgiven myself. Also, I ended up making my nephew’s book slightly smaller. I also decided that because he’s a two-year-old active little guy that I would do my best to make him a great book but one without any removable pieces. Mission accomplished. I just didn’t want my brother and sister-in-law to be stuck chasing down tiny pieces!

I made Poppy’s without worrying about removable pieces – we’ll find out soon enough if that was a good choice or not. Hee hee.

So here they are!

Quiet books

They are made solely out of felt. I think that one day I’d like to find ambition enough to use normal fabric; but for now, felt seemed easier.

My daughter’s book:

Page 1 is her name, and page 2 is a ballerina slipper.

Page 3: Button flowers (with extra in the pocket). Page 4: A zipper lady bug whose spots are attached with snaps.

Page 3: Button flowers (with extra in the pocket). Page 4: A zipper lady bug whose spots are attached with snaps.

Page 5: A pie to weave. Page 6: Shapes to match, attached with velcro.

Page 5: A pie to weave. Page 6: Shapes to match, attached with velcro.

Page 7: Adjustable clock with button center. Page 8: Mailbox with spinning flag (attached with snap), velcro mailbox door, and pocket in the grass.

Page 7: Adjustable clock with button center. Page 8: Mailbox with spinning flag (attached with snap), velcro mailbox door, and pocket in the grass.

My nephew’s book:

Page 1 is his name, with the letters permanently sewn on. Page 2 is a tennis racket to weave.

Page 3: Football laces to tie. Page 4: A mailbox page just like cousin's.

Page 3: Football laces to tie. Page 4: A mailbox page just like cousin’s.

Page 5: A tent to zip. Page 6: A clock like cousin's.

Page 5: A tent to zip. Page 6: A clock like cousin’s.

I used button holes and metal rings to attach the pages. I considered using ribbon through the button holes, too, but decided to stick with the rings.

Bound with button holes and metal rings.

Bound with button holes and metal rings.

Originally, I had planned to use some fusible interfacing between the two pages, but I decided I liked the thickness and stability of the pages without adding anything to them. So, I trimmed them to match a bit, sewed a zig-zag top-stitch, and called it good.

For what it’s worth, I sewed my button holes in at 2 inches, 6 inches, and 10 inches.

Here are the links where I got my inspiration: nephew’s book and daughter’s book.

Thanks for looking! I hope to start making some more quiet books soon to help fund our adoption. Would that interest you?