Suspender Skirt Tutorial

I just spent the most amazing weekend up in Portland at Quilt Market hanging out with talented, fun and inspirational seamstresses, fabric designers and shop owners from all over the country!  I really want to tell you more about my experiences soon, but since I’m still recovering from my busy weekend, I thought I’d repost this tutorial I did a year ago for the fabulous series, Vintage May, which is running again right now!  The hosts, Jessica of Craftiness is Not Optional and Kristin of skirt as top, have rounded up some fabulous guests to showcase some vintage and vintage inspired looks, so be sure to check it out!  I was part of the fun last year and I never reposted the tutorial here, so in honor of Vintage May II, here ya go!


Hello vintage lovers!  It’s amazing what Kristin and Jess have put together here and I’m so honored to be a part of it!  I must have run through 50 ideas for what vintage-inspired creation I wanted to share with you before deciding on something – the possibilities are endless!  I decided to go through some old family photos to see if I could find some inspiration there and I saw a particular style pop up a few times in my mom’s childhood photos.

(Left photo: My mom, standing in front, with her two brothers and mother
Right photo: My mom, center, my grandmother, upper left and their neighbors)

(My mom, lower right, with her brothers and uncle)

I loved the simple and classic style of the jumpers my mom and her neighbor are wearing in these pictures.  So I created a suspender skirt for my daughter and I’ve got a tutorial so you can make one too!

(Did I mention this was from a year ago?  Check out these old pics of Yuki!!)

It’s got a bit of a school uniform vibe, but it’s still cute enough to be worn anywhere.  It’s a simple high waisted pleated skirt with a flat front and elastic in the back.  The buttons in the front are just for fun and completely optional.  The suspender straps are sewn in the front and adjustable in the back for longer wear.  You could easily use this technique to attach straps to any style skirt, pair of shorts or pants.  If you want to make the straps completely removable, you can follow the directions for the back of the skirt in the front, and then the skirt can be worn alone or with the suspenders.  So many options!

Ok, let’s get started.  You’ll need:

Fabric (about a yard, depending on the size)
Contrasting fabric for pockets (optional)
Buttons 2-4
1″ wide elastic and safety pin
Sewing essentials

*I used a 1/2 seam allowance, unless stated otherwise.

Measure your kid’s “waist.”  I say “waist” because it depends on where you want the skirt to sit.  My skirt is so high up it’s practically her chest measurement!  Your skirt pieces will be the “waist” measurement by the desired length of the skirt and you’ll need two.  So I cut 2 rectangles that were 18 x 12 inches.

You’ll also need 4 pocket pieces.  I just drew a pattern freehand in what I thought was a “pocket-like” shape.  Make sure to cut two and then flip the pattern over for the other two.

For the waistband, cut a long rectangle that is the “waist” measurement times 1.5, then add a few inches for good measure.  So I multiplied 18 x 1.5 = 27, plus a few inches – I probably cut mine at 32 inches (I always cut waaay more than I need then trim later).  The height is 4 inches.

For the suspenders, you’ll need to measure your child from the “waist,” up over the shoulder across the back (remember the straps will criss-cross in the back) and then add about 6 inches to this measurement.  The height is 3 inches and you’ll need 2.  So I had two strips that were 3 x 20.

I hope I haven’t lost you already!  Here are my cut pieces, note that the waistband and straps are folded up in this picture.

Working on the right side of one of your skirt pieces, we’ll make some pleats.  We basically want to get this piece of fabric to be half of the waist measurement, plus one inch.  So I need my 18 inch wide fabric down to 10 inches.  The size and amount of pleats will depend on the size of your skirt and how you want it to look.  Mark the center of the fabric and then two equidistant marks on either side of the center.

Fold the fabric on the marks toward the center and pin.

Add more pleats on either side, playing around with the size until your skirt piece the right size.  Press your pleats, pin, sew them down using a 1/4 inch seam allowance and press again.

Place your pocket pieces right sides together on your skirt front and back.  Sew down the straight edge of the pocket.

Press the pocket pieces open.  Lay the skirt pieces down right sides together lining up one side and pocket piece.  The back skirt piece will be much larger than the front still, so just do one side at a time.  Sew them together using a 1/2 inch seam allowance, then trim and finish the edges by serging or zig zag stitching.

Flip the skirt right side out and press.

Put the skirt aside while we prepare the suspenders.  Fold the strips in half lengthwise with right sides together and press.  Sew down the length of the strip and down one end.  This will give you one closed end, but leave the other open.  Trim the corner.

Turn the strip right side out using a pointy object to poke the corners out.  Press the strap flat and top stitch around 3 sides, leave one end open still.  Repeat with the other strap.

Now for the waistband.  You’ll want it to be the same measurement around as your skirt.  Lay your skirt down (the front and back will not line up, but that’s ok), and lay your waistband down folded in half (right sides together) with one side lined up and mark the other edge of the skirt.  Add 1/2 an inch to that and mark again.

Cut the extra fabric off, pin and sew along the line to create a loop.

Press the seam open and fold the bottom of the band to meet the top.  One edge of the loop should be raw and the other folded.  Press the fold.

Open up the waistband and pin one raw edge to the top of the skirt, lining up the seam with the one of the side seams of the skirt.  Sew the skirt and waistband together all the way around with a 1/2 inch seam allowance.  Make sure the pleats are laying nice and flat.

Flip the waistband up and press.  Fold the top of the waistband down towards the wrong side 1/2 inch.  When the waistband is folded down it should just barely cover the stitching at the bottom of the waistband.

Fold the waistband down and pin in place.  We’re going to make the casing for the back of the skirt first, so starting at one side seam top stitch along the back of the skirt just above the seam.  Make sure the inside of the waistband is being caught in your stitching.  Stop at the other side seam.

Cut a piece of elastic that is half of the “waist” measurement.  My waist measurement was 18, so I cut a piece of elastic 9 inches long.  I don’t add more for seam allowance because I like my elastic to have a bit of pull.

Using a safety pin, thread your elastic through the casing.  Before the end of the elastic is about to be pulled completely into the casing, sew up the waistband along the same line as the skirt’s side seam catching about a 1/2 inch of the elastic.  Continue pulling the elastic through until it’s about 1/2 an inch past the other side seam.  Top stitch the waist band vertically along the skirt side seam.

Flip your skirt inside out and slide your suspenders into the waistband by about 1/2 an inch.  Pin in place.

Carefully turn the skirt right-side out.  Top stitch just above the seam where the skirt meets the waistband.  Flip the suspenders up and top stitch along the front of the waistband just below the top.

Almost done!  Hand sew buttons into the back of the skirt catching only the inside of the waist band (not the elastic or the outside of the skirt).

Mark on the straps where you want the button holes to be.  I made a few on each strap so I could adjust the length of the suspenders.

Hem the bottom, sew buttons on the front if you want and you’re done!

I played around with two different lengths in these pictures.  High waisted and HIGHER waisted.

Maybe too high?

Thank you so much for letting me share this tutorial with you today!  If you have any questions or think a part needs some clarification, please let me know – I’d be happy to help!  If you’re interested in the pink top my daughter is wearing, stop by my blog for a little how-to on this remix of Oliver + S’s Jump Rope Dress.

If you make a suspender skirt using this tutorial, please add it to the you & mie flickr group!  I LOVE seeing your creations!


I’ll be back with some fun photos from Quilt Market later this week.  Seriously, it was SO. MUCH. FUN.  Can’t wait to share it with you 🙂

Colour Pop Top Knock-off {tutorial}


Knock if Off is a series hosted by the fabulous Heidi of Elegance & Elephants and is one of my favorites.  Knock offs are awesome – we all do it – see something at the store and think, “I can make that!”  That’s why so many of us sew in the first place!  The series is already going strong, and you can check out projects from the last 2 weeks here!

For my project, I recreated this Applique Colour Pop Top from Mini Boden.


It’s a perfect top for summer and really simple to make.  Plus you can customize it with whatever applique you want!  It doesn’t take much fabric and is great for showcasing scraps of cute fabric.  I actually think this is the perfect project to make from an old t-shirt if you have one laying around, and that makes the project even simpler!  Anyways, versatile top, simple to sew, and great for the upcoming summer months – makes a perfect top to knock off!



Fun right?  I’m going to show you how to make your own!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Fabric (I think anything light to medium weight is fine – linen, cotton, knits, etc. and amount will depend on what size you’re making, but for most kids, 1/2 yard will be plenty).
  • Scraps of fabric for applique
  • Strips of fabric for shoulder ties, or store bought bias tape if you’re looking to skip some steps 🙂
  • Paper backed (double sided) fusible web (I use Pellon 805 Wonder-Under)

ColourPopTop3I’m still trying to work through my stash and not buy new fabric, so I dug through stash for all the solid cottons I could find.  Ended up using some leftover linen from this coat and a bunch of scraps from various projects.  The yellow fabric is actually polka dotted because I couldn’t find any solid yellow 🙂

To cut your main fabric, find a top that fits your kid well – a loose fit tunic is probably best.  Measure the width of the bottom.  Add one inch for seam allowance and that will be the width of your fabric.

ColourPopTop4For the length of the fabric, I used the same tunic to measure the general length.  The top of your fabric will be folded over twice to create a casing, so add that to your measurement and know that this will hit at the top of the chest (not shoulders).  Also remember to add about 1.5 inches for hemming the bottom.  You need two of these rectangles – one for the front and one for the back.


Fold one of the pieces in half lengthwise to cut out the armholes.  I just eyeballed this, but draw and cut a curve in the top corner (not on the fold).  The top inch and a half will become the casing, so this should be a straight line down before it curves.

ColourPopTop6When you open up your piece, it should look like this.

ColourPopTop7For simplicity sake, I decided to make the front and back of the shirt the exact same, so using the cut piece, trace the same curve on the 2nd rectangle.

You will also need to cut two strips of fabric on the bias for finishing your armholes.  I cut my strips at 1 inch by about 12 inches or so (and had a lot extra).  You’ll need your scraps of fabric for the applique.  I had 6 colors and 2 circles of each and my circles were about 2-2.5 inches, so I cut little rectangles that would fit two circles on them.  You’ll also need fabric for straps.  If you’re using pre-made bias tape, you can skip this step, otherwise, cut 2 strips of fabric that are 2 inches wide and 30ish inches long (does not need to be on the bias).  Again, mine ended up being longer than necessary, but you can always trim them later.


Now let’s get started with the applique!  Be sure to follow the directions for your particular fusible web.  Cut your fusible web into rectangles slightly smaller than your fabric scraps.  With the Pellon Wonder-Under, there is a papery side and a rough/web side.  The rough side will be ironed down to the wrong side of your fabric.  Repeat with all the fabric scraps.

ColourPopTop9You can easily draw on the papery surface of the fusible web, so sketch your shape out (or just start cutting if you’re feeling daring!)

ColourPopTop10Cut out your circles and play around with placement on your fabric.  Be sure to leave 1/2 an inch on either side for seam allowance, plus room to hem the bottom as well.

ColourPopTop11Once you’ve got it just the way you want it, carefully peel off the paper backing and adhere the circles to your main fabric with your iron.  Be sure to read the directions of your fusible web first!  Wonder-Under requires a damp cloth between the applique and the iron.  Once you’ve got all your circles fused on, top stitch around the edge of the circle with coordinating thread.  Take your time, rounded edges are always tricky – but if they aren’t perfect, no worries!  It just adds character! 🙂

ColourPopTop12Repeat with all the circles.

ColourPopTop13Fun!  Now we need to construct the top.  Lay the front and back pieces with right sides together and pin the side.  Sew up the side seams with a 1/2 inch seam allowance.  Finish the raw edges with a serger, zig zag stitch or pinking shears, if desired.

ColourPopTop14Press the seam open.  To finish the armholes, take your bias strips and press one edge in about 3/8 inch towards the wrong side.  Repeat with the other strip.


To finish the armholes (click on the picture below for a larger view):
1. Pin the bias tape along the edge of the armhole (right sides together).  Raw edges should be aligned (not the folded edge).
2. Sew along the edge of the armhole with a 1/4 inch seam allowance and then press the bias tape up.
3. Flip to the wrong side and fold the bias tape twice, once along the previously pressed crease and then again to encase the raw edge.  Pin and sew along the edge of the bias tape fold.
4. Trim an excess bias tape, press flat and you should have a beautifully finished armhole! Repeat with the other side.

ColourPopTop16Once you have your armholes finished, we can finish the front and back neckline.  Fold the front edge down about 3/4 inch towards the wrong side and press.  Fold down another 3/4 inch, press and pin.  Sew along the edge to create a casing (leave the two ends open).

ColourPopTop17Repeat with the back.  To create your ties, fold your strips lengthwise, wrong sides together and press.  Fold the two edges in towards the center fold (folding your strip into fourths) and press.  For the ends, unfold the strip and tuck the end in about half an inch.  Fold it back up so you’ve got a nice clean end.  Then top stitch around all open edges.  If you’re using pre-made bias tape, you can just skip right to the top stitching step.

ColourPopTop18I went ahead and eyeballed the tie length, but ended up shortening them after I put them in the top.  So, if you want to top stitch everything but the last few inches, you can finish that part after you’ve measured out the exact length that you want.

Using a safety pin, thread one tie through the casing on the front of the top, and the other tie through the back casing.  Tie them (and trim and finish edges if necessary).

ColourPopTop 25

Then hem the bottom to the desired length by folding and pressing the bottom edge twice towards the wrong side and stitching close to the folded edge.




Now you know how to make a simple and fun summer top!  And think of all the endless applique possibilities!

If you make a top using this tutorial, please add it to the you & mie flickr group!  I LOVE seeing your creations!

OR if you’ve made your own knock off project, be sure to add it to the Knock It Off Flickr Group.  And don’t miss out on the rest of the series over on Elegance and Elephants!

So before I go, I couldn’t not share how goofy my kid is, but for some strange reason during this photo shoot, Yuki decided to sing “Doe A Deer” from the Sound of Music at the top of her lungs on repeat.  Oh how I wish these photos captured sound . . .

ColourPopTop23I love her . . .

ColourPopTop 24Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Reversible Spring Coat Tutorial

I’m re-posting this Reversible Spring Coat tutorial that was originally up on iCandy Handmade for their Basic Bodice Series.  The premise of the series was that if you have a great bodice pattern and some ideas for mixing it up, you can pretty much make anything!

ReversibleCoatSo I decided to take a basic dress bodice and turn into a reversible coat!

It’s going to take a bit of pattern altering, of course, but I’ll walk you through it and it’ll be pretty simple!


And the finished product will be a sweet and practical coat for your little one!  I used 2 lightweight fabrics (nani iro double gauze and linen) to make a spring coat since I know the weather will be warming up soon.

You’ll need:

  • 2 fabrics (yardage will depend on what size coat you’re making)
  • 4 buttons (or as many as you desire, just be sure they are the same size and you have enough for both sides of the coat)
  • interfacing (optional)
  • bodice pattern
  • sleeve pattern (or draft your own)
  • tracing paper
  • ruler

I started out with Made by Rae’s Geranium Dress pattern for my bodice because it’s the pattern I’ve been using for dresses recently, but you can use pretty much any basic bodice pattern.  I went up one size because this is outerwear and I want it to fit over clothes, so instead of 2T which my daughter usually wears, I cut out the 3T size bodice pattern.

Basic Bodice Coat1The original pattern has the front bodice piece cut on the fold and a button placket in the back, but we want our button placket in the front and will cut our back piece on the fold.  So, the first step is to cut the extra off the back bodice.  Place the front bodice pattern on top of the back bodice pattern lining up the bottom of the armhole and bodice.  Mark the fold line onto the back pattern and cut on the line.

Basic Bodice Coat2Depending on your bodice pattern, you may want to lower the bottom of the armhole.  I trimmed off a bit starting from half an inch down.

Basic Bodice Coat3On your tracing paper, line up the straight edge of your back pattern piece with the edge of your paper and trace the shoulder seam and armhole.  I raised the neckline so it hit about an inch higher at the fold line.

Basic Bodice Coat4From the bottom of the armhole, use a ruler to make an A-line shape for your coat.  You can make it whatever length you want.  The bottom hemline is slightly curved.

Basic Bodice Coat5For the front pattern piece, you’ll want to take another piece of tracing paper and tape it so it hangs over the straight edge of the back coat pattern by 1.5 inches (1/2 an inch for seam allowance and another 1 inch for the button placket).  Place the front bodice pattern to top so that the bottom of the armhole and the straight edge lines up with the back piece.  Trace the shoulder seam and armhole of the bodice pattern.  I brought the neckline up by about 1/2 an inch.

Basic Bodice Coat6Remove the bodice pattern and trace the side seam and bottom hemline from the back pattern piece.  Make sense?

Basic Bodice Coat7_1Here’s what my pattern pieces looked like.

Basic Bodice Coat8

You’ll also need to draft a sleeve, collar and pocket pattern.  For the sleeve, I actually used one that I already had.  To make sure it’d fit, I cut a muslin of the sleeve piece and after I sewed the front and back pieces together of the coat, I checked to see if it would fit in the armhole, then adjusted the pattern as necessary.  If you don’t have a pattern piece for a sleeve, you can find many tutorials for drafting your own with a simple web search.

For the collar, I used this tutorial by Vanessa of LBG Studio.  And for the pocket, I took a piece of paper, folded it in half and drew the basic shape that I wanted.  Be sure to add seam allowance!

Basic Bodice Coat9Basic Bodice Coat10

From Fabric A, you’ll need:
– 2 front pieces
– 1 back piece (cut on the fold)
– 1 collar piece
– 2 sleeves
– 4 pockets

And from Fabric B, you’ll need the exact same thing.

Now we get to the sewing part!

Basic Bodice Coat11

*If you are using super thin or flimsy fabric, you may want to fuse interfacing to one or both of the collar pieces to add more structure.  I did not.*

Place your collar pieces down (1 from Fabric A and 1 from Fabric B) with right sides together.  Pin and sew the outer edge.  Clip rounded edges to reduce bulk when you flip the collar right side out.

Basic Bodice Coat12Flip right side out and press flat.  Top stitch around the outer edge, if desired.

Basic Bodice Coat13Place two pocket pieces together (right sides together) and pin.  Sew around the edge, leaving a 1 inch opening.  I like to sew along the opening as well because it helps flip the seam allowance in when you turn the pocket right side out.

Basic Bodice Coat14

Flip the pocket right side out, press flat and sew onto one of the front coat pieces.  Stitch close to the curved edge of the pocket, back stitching several times at the tops of the pocket to reinforce the corners (don’t sew the pocket closed!)  Repeat with the other 2 pocket pieces for Fabric A.

*Again, if your fabrics are really thin, you can add a strip of interfacing to the front coat pieces where your buttonholes and buttons will be.  Cut two strips of fusible interfacing 1 inch wide.  The length will depend on how many buttons and where you will place them.  Fuse them to the wrong side of your front bodice pieces 1/2 an inch from the edge.  I skipped this step too.*

Basic Bodice Coat15Pin and sew shoulder seams.  Press them open.

Basic Bodice Coat16Open up the coat at the shoulder seam, right side up.  Find the center of the sleeve and pin that to the shoulder seam, right sides together.  Continue pinning the sleeve to the armhole carefully.  Sew and press seam.  Repeat with other sleeve.

Basic Bodice Coat17Line up the side seams and the bottom of the sleeve, pin and sew (right sides together).  Repeat with the other sleeve and side seam.  Turn coat right side out and press.

Basic Bodice Coat18Take your prepared collar and line up the center with the center of the back of the coat.  You want the right sides of Fabric A to be facing up for both the collar and the coat when you lay them on top of each other like this.  Pin the inner edge of the collar to the neckline of the coat.  Baste the collar to the coat.

Basic Bodice Coat19Repeat all of the steps with Fabric B (except for basting the collar).

Basic Bodice Coat20To attach the two coats, lay Fabric A coat down, right side up.

Basic Bodice Coat21_1Lay the Fabric B coat on top, right sides together.  Sleeves should be on the inside.  Pin the entire outer edge and sew together leaving about a 6-8″ opening along the bottom.

Basic Bodice Coat22Pull the sleeves out.

Basic Bodice Coat23Take one of the sleeves and fold it out (towards the wrong side) by about 1.5 inches.  Slide it inside the other sleeve, line up the bottom seams of the sleeves and pin the ends of the sleeves together.

Basic Bodice Coat24

Sew the sleeves together along the pinned edge.  Go slowly and untwist the coat to your left as you go along.  Repeat with other sleeves.

Flip the coat right side out through the opening in the bottom.  You’re almost done!!  Press all the edges of the coat out.  Hand sew the opening shut using a slip stitch.  If you want, you can top stitch along the entire outer edge of the coat.

Basic Bodice Coat25

Sew your buttonholes where desired and attach your buttons.  You’ll want to either use the same buttons on both sides or at least use the same size buttons.  I sewed buttons to both sides of the coat at the same time using one thread.

You’re done!

ReversibleCoat1Now your kiddo has two stylish coats in one!


I hope you guys have fun with your bodice patterns and are realizing all the endless possibilities a great pattern has.  If you sew up a reversible coat using this tutorial (or any from this site), I’d love it if you shared it with us in the you & mie flickr pool!

Thanks for stopping by 🙂

Confused Geese Pillow Cover {tutorial}

Like I said, I didn’t make too many Christmas gifts this year.  But I did make one more.  This is the last one.  I’m pretty sure.

Our best friends, Sanjai and Jude, are truly amazing.  They invite us over to their house every week, cook amazing meals, are the BEST with Yuki and overall, just take great care of us.  Over the last several years we’ve become very close and their house has become our second home.  And it. is. gorgeous.  If you follow me on Instagram (@youandmie), you’ve probably seen pictures of their house.  And one day maybe I can give you a full tour because it really is magazine worthy.

Anyways, we love spending time there and so does Yuki.  They take great pride in their home and they have amazing style.  When I was thinking of a gift for them, a throw pillow seemed most appropriate because I knew they could put it wherever they wanted and switch it out with other covers depending on how they were feeling/decorating at the moment.

Around that time, Jessica from A Little Gray posted a work-in-progress picture of this pillow cover she was working on and she happened to mention “flying geese” in the caption.  Lucky for me, because I didn’t know these cool triangle patterns had a name!  (but of course they do).  Once I looked up what “flying geese” were, I was hooked.  I’ve totally fallen for the triangle craze and I was drawn to this particular pillow cover.  I was just going to copy it exactly, with a row of triangles, but as usual, I had to go and make it all complicated 😛

So I played around in my sketchbook a bit and came up with this design.

Confused GeeseConfused Geese1I call it the Confused Geese Pillow Cover.

Why confused?  Because all of my geese are flying in different directions . . . get it!??

Haha.  Anyways, it’s a simple envelope pillow and I like the way it came out except it’s a bit too snug on the pillow form.  I had read somewhere that for an 18×18″ pillow form, a 16×16″ cover would fit well.  But it’s a bit too snug, on two sides anyways.  Maybe I’d give it an extra inch for room if I were to make it again.

I used a mustard linen blend that I had originally bought for another project – but it ended up being perfect for this.  Great color, soft enough for comfort but sturdy enough for a throw pillow.  The geese and center diamond are made from fabric scraps in my stash.  The dark gray is the chambray I used for my Darling Ranges Dress, and the light gray is a quilting cotton that I used to make my first pair of pants ever for Yuki when she was about one.  I never blogged it, so here’s a picture.

Simple Baby PantsAwww, baby Yuki learning to walk . . .

Anyways, there are tons of great tutorials out there to teach you how to make flying geese (which is how I learned), but in case you wanted to put together this exact pattern, I thought I’d show you how.  There are a lot of numbers, but I have all the measurements for you, so even if you’re not a quilter or you’ve never made flying geese before, it’s really quite simple.  I will say, however, it takes a bit of patience and attention to detail if you want all your corners to come out sharp.  Mine certainly aren’t perfect (so don’t look too close)!!

As I mentioned, my finished pillow cover was 16×16 inches.  I’ll give you all the measurements for that (and in parenthesis I’ll note the size I’d use to make a 17×17 inch cover).  If there is no parenthesis, you should use the measurement listed for both size pillow covers.

For your main fabric, you’ll need:
– 4 squares that measure 7 x 7 inches (7.5 x 7.5)
– 4 rectangles that measure 4.5 x 3 inches (4.5 x 3.5)
– 12 squares that measure 2  7/8 x 2  7/8 inches
– 2 rectangles that measure 12 x 17 inches for the back of the pillow (12.5 x 18)

For Accent Fabric A (which in my case is the dark gray chambray), you’ll need:
– 2 squares that measure 5.25 x 5.25 inches

For Accent Fabric B (the light gray), you’ll need:
– 1 square that measures 5.25 x 5.25 inches

You’ll also need:
– a 17 x 17 inch (or 18 x 18) piece of fabric to use as backing for the pieced pillow cover.  I used my main fabric, but you can really use whatever you like as it will only be on the inside of your pillow cover and won’t really show.

*seam allowance for piecing the entire pillow top is 1/4″
*seam allowance for sewing the pillow front to back pieces is 1/2″

Ok, to start, you’ll need to make your flying geese!  Grab one Fabric A square and 4 of your 2  7/8 squares.  The large square will become the “geese” (large triangles) and the small yellow squares are called “sky” pieces.

FlyingGeese01Now go and follow this tutorial on how to make 4 flying geese.  I like this tutorial, not only because it’s easy to understand but because she is making the exact same size geese as we need!

Take your time and make sure to sew straight and press well.  This will help get neat looking triangles.  Now repeat with Fabric B to make 4 more flying geese.  You should have 4 geese with Fabric A and 4 with Fabric B.

To make the diamond in the center of the pillow, you’re going to need your last Fabric A square and the last four 2  7/8 squares of your main fabric.  It’s going to start out a lot like you’re making flying geese.

FlyingGeese02Draw diagonal lines from one corner to the opposite corner on all 4 of the small “sky” squares.

FlyingGeese03Place one “sky” piece in the corner of the large square with the diagonal line cutting across the corner (not lined up with the corner).

FlyingGeese04Sew 1/4″ along the inside of the line (towards the center of the large square).  Cut away the excess fabric directly on the line and press open.

FlyingGeese05Going clockwise, place another “sky” piece in the next corner and repeat (you can see that I accidentally sewed on the outside of the line and then went ahead and unpicked it, even though it was going to get cut off in the end!  Doh!)

FlyingGeese06Repeat with the next corner.  Trim and press.

FlyingGeese07Done!  Now you’re ready to piece all your geese together!

FlyingGeese08Line up one edge of your diamond piece with the base of a Fabric B triangle, right sides together.  Sew with a 1/4″ seam allowance.  Press open.

I didn’t take pictures of every step here because it gets a bit repetitive.  It should be fairly straightforward though.

Attach a Fabric A “goose” to the Fabric B “goose” in the same way.  Repeat to the opposite side of the diamond.  Your center panel is now pieced and should look like this:

FlyingGeeseLayout(Excuse my rough sketch – it is not to scale)

Sew one of the 4.5 x 3 inch (4.5 x 3.5) rectangles (in the main fabric) to the top of the panel and one to the bottom, using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Set that aside.  Sew together the top of a Fabric B triangle to the base of a Fabric A triangle.  Then attach the top of the Fabric A triangle to your 4.5 x 3 (4.5 x 3.5) inch rectangular piece of the main fabric.  Press each seam open and repeat with your last two geese.  These are what your 3 pieces should look like:

FlyingGeese10Following along so far?  Ok, good!

FlyingGeese10_1Grab your 7 x 7 (or 7.5 x 7.5) inch squares and sew them onto the sides of the 2 small rows of the triangles to complete the side panels.

FlyingGeese12Line up the edges (right sides together) and sew with a 1/4 seam allowance.  Repeat with the other 3 corner pieces and your side panels should look like this:


FlyingGeese14Now sew the side panels to the center panel with a 1/4 inch seam allowance and your pillow cover top is complete!!

FlyingGeese15Place it on top of your 17 x 17 (18 x 18) inch backing and quilt the layers together however you like.  I kept it simple.

Now to complete your pillow cover, take one of your 12 x 17 (12.5 x 18) inch rectangles and hem one of the longer sides by folding under by 1/4″, pressing, folding under another 1/4″, pressing and then sewing along the fold.  Repeat with the other back piece.

Now to sew the front and back pieces together, place your pillow top right side up on a flat surface.  Place one of the back pieces on top, right sides together, lining up 2 of the the corners and with the hemmed edge towards the center.  Place the other back piece, right side down, also with the hemmed edge towards the center of the pillow, lining up the corners.  The back pieces should overlap by about 6 inches.

Pin along the outer edges of the pillow and sew around all 4 sides with a 1/2″ seam allowance.  Trim and/or finish edges as desired, turn right side out and press.

You’re done!  If the construction of the front and back pieces is confusing without pictures, search for “envelope pillow tutorial” and I bet you’ll find a million.

Now stuff the pillow cover with your pillow form, step back and admire your work!

photo(24)If you make a Confused Geese Pillow Cover, don’t forget to upload your photos to the you & mie flickr group!

Hope you all have a wooooonderful weekend!  3 days off for me – yipee!

Quilted Jacket {Mini Boden Knock Off}

Since I’m on a little vacation, I thought it might be a good time to bring home some guest posts that were originally posted on other blogs.  This is one of my favorites from this past year (did you see my top 12?) that was posted on Elegance and Elephants for her Knock It Off series.  Enjoy!


I love sewing all sorts of things, but sewing for my daughter is my absolute favorite.  I’m also a huge fan of Heidi’s and I think this series is absolutely brilliant – I mean, who doesn’t love a good knock off?!

But I didn’t realize just how hard it was going to be to pin down just ONE thing to knock off!  There are soooo many awesome store bought outfits out there just waiting to be made at home.  I checked out some of my favorite knock-off inspiration pinboards (here, here, and here) and consulted with my favorite idea girl, Kristin, and with her help FINALLY decided on this Mini Boden Quilted Jacket.


I love that the jacket is super stylish, warm and comfy and the bias tape finishing actually makes the construction really quite simple.  I also love unisex patterns AND, get this, it can be reversible!!  The most time consuming part is the quilting, but it goes quickly once you get going (or you can buy pre-quilted fabric).  So let’s get started!

You’ll need:
– Main fabric
– Lining fabric
– Batting
– Double fold bias tape
– 4 buttons (or 8 if you’re making a reversible jacket)
– Chalk or fabric marking pen
– Coordinating thread
– Walking foot (optional)

Draft your pattern:
To draft your pattern, start with jacket or top that fits well and draft the back piece on the fold.  The jacket has a slight A-line shape, so draw a slight slant from the bottom of the armhole to the bottom corner of the pattern.

I need to mention that my jacket turned out quite snug on my daughter and I’m wondering if the batting had something to do with that.  I’d suggest giving your pattern some extra wiggle room when you draft it.

To draft the front piece, trace the shoulder, armhole and side and bottom of the back pattern.  The neckline should scoop lower and the center should extend past the back piece (mine extended 1.5 inches) and round your edges.

Using your well-fitting jacket, draft a pattern for the sleeves, a 3 piece hood and a pocket.

Cut your fabric:
Here’s what you’ll need to cut . . .

*If you want to make the jacket reversible, cut 4 pockets of the lining fabric as well.*

When I cut my batting, I pinned the main fabric to it and just roughly cut around it in case the batting shifted.

Now, we quilt!  We’re only going to quilt the main fabric to the batting.  Because I’m sorta anal, I wanted to center my diamonds.  So first mark a line down the center of the pattern piece.  Then make another line at 45 degrees.  I decided to make my lines 1.75 inches apart, so I cut a piece of cardboard of that width to help mark the rest of the lines.  Once you have your lines marked, sew along each line, using a walking foot if you have one.

To center your diamonds, draw a 45 degree angle going the other direction making sure to cross a point where the center line intersects with one of the lines you already quilted (red dot).  Use your cardboard ruler to mark the rest of your lines and quilt.  Trim the excess batting.

Repeat these steps to quilt all of your main/batting pieces.

Construct hood:
With right sides together, pin the curved side of the hood to the center panel and sew.  Repeat with the other side.  Press seams open.

Top stitch along the inside of your hood seams.

Attach pockets:
Position your pockets (right sides together) on the front and back pieces of the jacket, making sure they line up.  Sew along the straight edge.  Press open.

Attach shoulder seams:
Pin the front and back pieces right sides together at the shoulder and sew.  Press seams open.

Attach hood:
Line up the center of the jacket back with the center of the hood and pin, right sides together.  Pin the hood along neckline.  You want at least 2-3 inches of the jacket front to extend past the edge of the hood (I had to trim my hood back a little bit for it to fit).  Sew the hood on and press seam open.

You’ll have the extra seam allowance along the top edge that extends past the hood.  Trim that down and round the edge (I think this will make more sense as you’re sewing).

Attach sleeves:
Pin the center of the sleeve to the shoulder seam and then carefully pin the rest of the sleeve along the armhole, curving the fabric as you go.  When sewing, start from the shoulder seam and work your way down to the bottom of the armhole slowly.  Then start back at the shoulder seam to sew the other side of the sleeve.  Repeat with second sleeve and press.

Top stitch along the inside of the sleeve seam.

Side seams:
Turn your jacket inside out and pin the sleeves, sides and pockets together and sew.  Clip corners.  Flip your jacket right side out (your pocket will automatically be turned in) and press seams well.

Construct lining:
Follow the same steps to construct your lining, omitting the top stitching (if you are making a reversible jacket, add the pockets as you did previously.  If not, skip those steps).  This should come together really quickly and easily this time around!

Attach lining:
Once your lining is complete, slip it into the outer layer of the jacket, wrong sides together.  Make sure to carefully line up the seams and edges.  Pockets should be pointed towards the front of the jacket and be hidden between the lining and jacket.  Baste along the outside of the jacket very close to the edge to attach the layers together.

Binding edges:
We’re almost done!  To finish the edges, unfold your bias tape and starting from the bottom of the jacket, a few inches from a side seam, pin your bias tape along the edge of the jacket.  Make sure to leave several inches of bias tape free before you start pinning.  Continue along the entire edge of the jacket, being careful around curves.  You should have one continuous long edge starting at the side seam, up the front of the jacket, around the hood, back down the other side and along the bottom.  When you get close to where you started, measure where the ends will meet and sew the two ends of the bias tape together.

Sew along the crease of the bias tape closest to the edge.  Flip the bias tape over the edge of the jacket and fold the other edge of the bias tape back under.  Make sure to cover the stitch line with the edge of the bias tape and pin.  From the outside of the jacket, top stitch along the bias tape just next to the seam.

For the sleeve, measure the length around the sleeve and cut two pieces of bias tape one inch longer.  Unfold your bias tape and sew the ends right sides together with a 1/2 inch seam allowance creating a tube.  Press seam open.  Pin the bias tape along the edge of the sleeve and repeat same steps as before to attach binding.

Buttons and buttonholes:
Sew on your buttons and make buttonholes where desired.  If you are making a reversible jacket, sew buttons to both sides of the jacket.

And you’re done!


I hope you can make your little one something warm and comfy this season.  Please feel free to visit me at you & mie some time and if you make a quilted jacket, please add it to the you & mie flickr group because I love to see your creations!

(Faux) Leather Accent Foldover Clutch

Last month, Kristin shared a tutorial for a foldover doily clutch that was so super cute and seemed like the perfect gift for the upcoming holiday season.  Then I saw Vanessa‘s hand stamped foldover clutch with a block of vegan suede which was damn near perfection.  Which made me think of Delia‘s lil leather shoes that she’d make out of thrifted belts and purses.  Basically I just steal other people’s ideas and mix them all together into something a little different, because that’s how I came up with my go to Christmas gift for this year, the . . .

Foldover Clutches1 triangle_clutch1

I basically took Kristin’s tutorial and added faux-leather to the bottom.  For the large triangle clutch, I hand stamped my own fabric.  So there are a bunch of ways you can mix it up, or you can go with the original doily clutch just as it is – regardless, the tutorial is FANTASTIC.  Really simple, very clear and well written and so cute and practical – I highly recommend it.

So I started by going to the thrift store and looking for some cheap purses in great colors and with enough material to cut into rectangles for the bottom of these clutches.  If you are going with faux-leather, you can pick one up for just a couple bucks.

NaniIro Clutch

For this clutch, I busted out some Nani Iro Little Letter Flannel in sage green that I bought from Miss Matatabi because it matched soooo perfectly with this light brown leather I found.  I actually used the zipper from the original purse as well, which is why it matches so perfectly!  And I decided to go a little fun and funky with a tassel zipper pull 😛  The lining is a Japanese double sided gray and white fabric that I used in Yuki’s nursery.  These materials just came together so beautifully and I love the combo so much it really hurt to give this clutch away!  But it’s headed to someone who I know will appreciate it, so that makes me happy.

Anyways, I’m going to give you some tips that I learned about sewing with leather and show you how to remix Kristin’s foldover clutch to make a leather accented clutch.  It’s easy!

Leather sewing tips:
– Look for leather that is not too thick or hard (it’s obviously harder to sew with and your seams won’t press flat)
– Use a denim or leather needle – you’ll need something heavy duty that will hold up sewing two layers of leather
– Lengthen your stitch (so as to not perforate the leather)

Also, when choosing your fabrics, pick something in similar weight to your leather.  If you’re using a thick heavy leather, don’t use a flimsy fabric – it just won’t work.  You can use canvas or duckcloth, or add interfacing to your fabric.  Likewise, if your leather/faux leather material is very thin, a regular cotton will probably be perfect.

Alright, let’s get started!  If you’re using an old purse, carefully cut out the largest panels of material possible.  Also feel free to cut and save any other hardware you might want to keep (zippers, buckles, etc).

Leather3The rectangles of fabric in the original tutorial are 10×12 inches, so you’ll want to cut your leather 10 inches wide.  The height will depend on how large you want your leather block to be (and how much you have).  Be sure to add 1/2 an inch for seam allowance to the height.  Cut 2.

Leather4To figure out the size of your coordinating fabric for the outside of the clutch, you’ll want to take 13 and subtract the height of your leather piece.  That number will be the height and your width will be 10 inches.  The reason for this is that you want your finished piece to be 12 inches and you’ll need 1/2 an inch on each piece for seam allowance.  So for example, if I cut my leather piece at 10 inches by 4.5 inches, my fabric will need to be 10 inches by 8.5 inches (because 4.5 + 8.5 = 13).

Leather5Cut your lining fabric according to the tutorial directions.  You should have 2 of everything.

Sew your leather to your outer fabric by placing them right sides together, holding them in place with paper clips or binder clips (you don’t want to/won’t be able to pin the leather).  Sew them together with a 1/2 inch seam allowance.


Press your seam flat (but be careful pressing the leather – use a low heat and test it out on a scrap piece of leather first).


From here you can follow the original tutorial exactly!  The only part that is a little different is when you are sewing the front and back together, you’ll have to take some extra steps  switching your needle and thread colors.  I like to sew the leather first and then the regular fabric.  If your leather is pretty thick, you may want to round your bottom corners instead of trying to make them square.

Leather8Be sure to clip your corners.

Leather9And that’s it.  Kristin’s tutorial will walk you through the rest!

Maya Clutch


The hand stamped version required an extra few steps, but was totally worth it.  I carved a simple triangle shape and used fabric paint to make a fun pattern on canvas.

trianglestamp(testing on paper)

trianglestamp2Once it’s dried and set, you can cut and assemble as instructed above!


I had so much fun sewing these up these last couple of weeks and even more fun watching friends receive them.  It’s been a big hit, so if you’re looking for a last minute gift to sew up for someone stylish and special, definitely go check out Kristin’s foldover clutch tutorial.  You won’t regret it!

So are you still working on some last minute gifts or other holiday projects or are you all done?  Truth is, I’m so behind that I know I’ll be working past Christmas.  Better late than never right? 😛

Snowflake Tree Skirt

Hello!  I hope that those of you who celebrate Thanksgiving had a wonderful one.  I had a great week relaxing, eating and spending lots of time with family and I ended up taking the week off of blogging!  But now I’m back and super pumped about some fun things coming up.

It’s crazy how quickly the holiday season is approaching.  I’m a pretty bad holiday blogger because I never do projects early enough to share them with you guys.  But I did do a couple of holiday posts last year, back when I had like 2 followers, so I thought I’d bring them back.  The first is a tree skirt that I made for my very first REAL Christmas tree.

Haha, pretty dinky tree, huh?   We weren’t really sure if we were going to get a real tree last year, but Yuki was starting to understand holidays, so on a whim I bought this lil beauty at the supermarket.  I wanted to make a skirt, but since it was my first try I didn’t want to buy a bunch of new fabric, so I just used what I had at home – some gray and white felt and white fleece.  It’d woulda been nice if I’d had more festive color, but otherwise I’m really pleased with the way it came out!

I had this huge piece of dark gray craft felt that I bought for another project, but never used. I knew I wanted to use it up and it was the perfect size. It was a bit dark though, so I planned on accenting it with white snowflakes.  I found this tutorial online for a cute snowflake stocking and used it to make my tree skirt snowflakes. Here’s how I did it:

First I cut my main fabric (the gray felt) into a large square, about the size I wanted the finished skirt to be. I folded it in half and then in half again, so it was a square. Then I cut the fabric in an arc, from one edge to the other (with the folded corner on the inside of the arc). If you want to be precise, you can measure from the corner to the edge (which is your radius) and measure and mark (with chalk or pins) the same distance around until you get to the other edge. Sorry, I didn’t photograph this part, I hope it makes sense. I also cut a quarter circle from the corner for the center of the skirt.

This is when the fabric was still folded in fourths, after cutting:When you unfold it, it should look like this. I cut a straight line from the outer edge to the inner circle for an opening.I wanted to make a scalloped border, so I took some white fleece and cut it into 2″ strips. I had to cut about 5 strips and sew them together to make it long enough to go around the outer edge of the circle.

I used a round cap to make the scalloped design and then cut it out.

I lined the straight edge of the scalloped border with the outside edge of the skirt and zig zag stitched them together all the way around. Then I considered top stitching the scallops down for some nice detail, but after realizing it would take too long and be really hard to make it look nice, I opted for some fabric glue 🙂

Now for the snowflakes! The post I mentioned earlier has some templates for snowflakes that I printed out. I traced them onto white felt.

I used my machine to sew along the lines.

The most time consuming part of this project was cutting out the snowflakes, but I just turned on a movie and cut away!

Finally I glued them on with some fabric glue and I was done!

The best part about this project was that I already had all the felt, fleece and glue, so I didn’t have to buy anything extra.  Now we got our tree and skirt and all we need are some presents!

Have you started your holiday decorating?


Library Book Bag with Reverse Applique

Yuki started preschool this fall and we were introduced to a book lending program through her school called BookTree.  It’s a great program that sends home 10 books a month that are selected specifically for your child’s interests and reading level.  You return them after a month and get new books to take home.  We tried it out for free for a month and Yuki LOVED the books, but the truth is, it costs money and we just can’t afford to pay for borrowed books when the library offers them for free.

But trying out the program totally motivated us to be better about getting new books from the library more regularly.  One of the fun things about getting the books from BookTree was that the books would come in a nice black tote bag and we kept the bag right by our reading spot.  All the borrowed books would stay in the bag so we didn’t get them mixed up with our books.  Yuki loved going into the bag and picking out the books for the night and then putting them back for the next day.  So when we decided not to continue BookTree and go to the library instead, I felt like a special book bag was in order.

To make the book bag, I used Dana’s Reversible, Lined, Color-blocked ToteTutorial.  It’s an awesome tutorial and I love the way the bag came out so much!

I added a little pocket on the inside to hold my library card.  I also like to tuck the little receipt in there in case I want to check the due date.

I lined the bag with this ADORABLE fabric from Joann’s – it’s Alexander Henry Market Stalls Pastel.  It really drove my color choices for the accent fabrics on the outside.

So I followed Dana’s tutorial exactly, making a lined version (not reversible) but added the little pocket inside and a reverse appliqued/color blocked panel around the whole bag.  It was a pretty simple process (though a bit time consuming) that I think adds a lot of character to the bag.  Since you can use this technique on pretty much anything (backpack, clothes, place mat) and you can change the word to anything or any name, I thought I’d show you how I did it so you can go and personalize your next project.

You’re going to need:
– some scraps of fabric
– double sided fusible web (the kind with the paper on one side)
– computer and printer (optional)

I started by printing out letter stencils onto regular paper in the exact font and size that I wanted.  You can also free hand draw your letters.

After you print your letters, cut them out.  Place each letter on your fabric and cut a rectangle about 1 inch larger than your letter on all 4 sides.

After you’ve cut out all your rectangles, sew them together with a 1/2 inch seam allowance.  Trim the seams and press them open.

If the strip is not as long as your project is wide, add rectangles to the end.

Cut your fusible web into a long rectangle slightly smaller than your pieced fabric and iron it to the wrong side.  Trace your letters and be sure to flip them so they are backwards.

Carefully cut your letters out and make sure to save all those little holes!

Peel off the paper backing and place it on your project where you want it to be.  Then flip it up so that right sides are together and your letters are upside down, making sure to adjust for seam allowance.  You’re going to want the bottom edges to line up after you’ve sewed it together and flipped it back down.

Sew the pieced strip to your backing, flip it down and press well to fuse.  Top stitch the top edge of your pieced strip very close to the edge.

(I stopped taking pictures at this point for some reason)

If you have any of those little holes to go inside letters, place them carefully and iron those down as well.  Then I did a tiny zig zag stitch around each letter.

For the back of the bag, I did the exact same thing without the fusible web (and the letters, of course).  Then assemble the rest of the bag per the directions!

And that’s it!  Now head to the library and fill it up with books!

We actually did head to the library with our new tote bag, but between trying to pick out new books and chasing my lil one around, I only got one picture.

But now the bag is living comfortably in Yuki’s room next to our reading spot housing 10 new exciting books for us to discover.  And I’m so excited to go back to the library every 3 weeks to find new literary treasures for my little one.

What else can you imagine using this technique for?

Happy sewing and happy reading! 😛

Rain Cloud Costume

Halloween is almost here!!  I LOVE making costumes and a few weeks ago, I posted this tutorial as part of The Train To Crazy’s Handmade Costumes series – click the link to see all the creative costumes that have been shared so far!

Since then, this costume made it onto the list of 21 Most Clever Halloween Costume Ideas for Kids on Babble, was selected as inspiration for Craftbaby’s DIY Halloween Costume Contest (go check it out and enter your costume!) and yesterday it was featured in a Martha Stewart Living article, DIY Kids’ Costumes from our Favorite BloggersMartha Freakin’ Stewart, people!!  I nearly died.  (Check out Kristin’s Fanstastic Mr. and Mrs. Fox outfits on the Babble and MSL lists too!)  I really didn’t expect any sort of reaction to this simple costume, so I’m, quite frankly, shocked.  And psyched.

Anyways, I wanted to bring this post home in case you didn’t see it and since Yuki was feeling under the weather (get it!? :P) the first time around, I decided to take some new pictures for this post.  Enjoy!


Over the last several years I’ve made quite a few costumes including a Totoro costume for my daughter (it was a big hit!) and several others you can see here, including Russell from the movie, Up.  But I’m a total procrastinator and also super indecisive, so I haven’t even started figuring out what my daughter, Yuki, will be for Halloween this year.  So in the meantime, I thought I’d whip up a simple costume using only materials I already had a home.  Presenting . . . the Rain Cloud costume!

I wanted to make something pretty simple and very comfy.  I knew that Yuki would not be down with anything too big or cumbersome attached to her, so I kept it small.  And a lot of this stuff, you might already have at home!  So let’s get started.  Here’s what you’ll need.

For the pants:
– Pants or leggings in a “sky” color (blue, gray, white)
– Fabric paint
– Contact paper (or freezer paper)

For the cloud:
– White fabric (cotton, fleece, a white sheet, anything will do!  I used fleece and gauze because that is what I had at home)
– Ribbon (for the shoulder straps)
– Fiberfill or batting

The part of this project that took the longest was waiting for the fabric paint to dry on the pants, so I would start there.  Make rain drop stencils from the contact paper and stick them to your pants.  Use fabric paint to fill in your stencils (be sure to read and follow all the directions on the paint that you use).  I made 3 shades of blue and used two for each rain drop for a kinda gradient/ombre look.

I painted the pants in 3 stages – first the front of the pants, then when that was pretty dry, I removed the contact paper stencil and flipped it over and painted the back.  Then I split the pant legs open and painted a few more drops down the outside of the legs.

After the paint is almost completely dry, I hung them up to finish drying completely over night.  And those are da-DONE!

In between the stages of painting and drying, you can work on your cloud.

First, use a shirt to draw out a cloud pattern.  You’ll want the sides of the cloud to extend past the edges of the shirt (we’ll connect them later), but the pattern shouldn’t go past the shoulder to restrict arm movement.  Add seam allowance.

Cut out 4 layers of the cloud pattern.  I used fleece for the inside of the costume and gauze for the outside, so 2 clouds of each fabric.

Cut 2 pieces of ribbon for the straps.  Lay the inner fabric right side up, then the ribbons right side up.

Lay the outer layer right side DOWN, being sure to tuck all the ribbon inside the cloud.  Pin the layers together.

When you sew the back of the costume, be sure that you flip the direction of the pattern.

Sew around the cloud leaving an opening in the bottom.  Snip each point close to the seam.

Turn it right side out and press.  Fill with a thin layer of batting or fiberfill.

Hand sew the opening shut.  Quilt the cloud however you like to hold the filling in its place.

Stack the clouds right sides out and sew the edges together.

Try it on your model and mark how long you need the straps to be.  Trim your ribbon, fold the edge under and sew it to the back of the cloud.


Pair it with some rain boots if you got ’em!

Sad cloud . . . err, happy cloud?

Yuki actually has a pair of rainbow striped pajama pants that would give this outfit a totally different look!  I bet there are a bunch of ways this costume could get adapted.

Thanks for having me, Andrea! I’m loving all the handmade inspiration in your series and feel lucky to have been a part of it!


Have you picked out Halloween costumes for this year?  Are you making or buying?  I’m still looking for costumes for our family, so if you have any brilliant ideas to spare, leave me a comment 🙂

Sora and the Cloud (and more painted fabric)

So speaking of old projects, here’s one that is loooooooooong overdue.  Do you remember Katy’s Once Upon a Thread Chapter 3?  Back in May?  Like 4 months ago?  So this project is from then.  And I’m not quite sure why I haven’t blogged about it yet – because I like it a lot.  I made this hat and backpack in May, photographed them in July and now I’m blogging about them in September.  Yikes.  I was tempted to just save them for the next chapter of OUT, but I probably would have completely forgotten about them by then.

Anyways!  If you don’t know what Once Upon a Thread is, it’s this amazing series that is hosted by Katy of No Big Dill, where she and her awesome guests take their favorite children’s books and make literature inspired sewn creations.  Well she has an OUT flickr pool where anyone can sew along and add their creations, so I thought I’d join in.  Of course, the last “chapter” of the series has long come and gone, but I’m going to post my submission anyways.

The book I chose was Sora and the Cloud by Felicia Hoshino.  The book is written in both Japanese and English and it has the most AMAZING illustrations.  It immediately drew me in, with the warm, soft, dreamy pictures that looks like a combination of drawing and watercolor.

The story is about a curious boy named Sora, who loves to climb.  “Sora” means sky in Japanese.

“Little Sora loves to climb.  As he grows, he climbs over everything in his path.”

“He even climbs people!”  (Hmmm . . . sounds like someone I know . . .)


“Then one day Sora climbs a tree.  Up he climbs, higher and higher, as if there is no end.  Peeking through the branches at the top, what does he find?”

Sora finds a napping cloud and cannot resist climbing aboard and they embark on an amazing adventure together.

They travel above the city discovering new and old things together from a magical perspective.  I won’t give away all of their adventures, but I’ll tell you, it’s like this story is straight from my dreams!

The character Sora, reminds me of my daughter, Yuki, because she LOVES to climb just like him.  As Yuki grows up and her personality starts to really show, I definitely see her as a curious, adventure seeking girl.

When I first saw the book, I wanted to recreate Sora’s entire outfit from the cover – I think it’s adorable.  But at the time that I was working on this, it was spring, and the outfit was too “fall.”  So I opted for just the bucket hat and a little drawstring bag that Yuki could tote around as she set off on her adventures.

I am really into the Setacolor Transparent Fabric Paint that I used for the Painted Purple Cardigan and the idea of painting my own fabric.  I wanted to try to recreate the soft and warm, watercolory look of the book illustrations.  I was particularly drawn to this page and all the colorful dots that were part of the amusement park.

So I decided to paint dots in similar colors on muslin.

It took me quite a bit of experimenting to get the right colors and the right amount of water (you can see a lot of bleeding with some of the dots, but I decided to just go with it).

I used the Oliver + S Bucket Hat pattern to make a reversible bucket hat with the colorful dots on one side and a tan home decor fabric on the other.

I used A Little Gray’s tutorial for making the hat without hand stitching.

For the drawstring backpack fabric, I was inspired by the inside cover of the book.  It is based on a traditional Japanese sashiko embroidery pattern, but with a touch of soft color.

(The author is local and was at a fair selling these books, so my sister bought the book and had the author/illustrator sign it for Yuki!  Cute huh?)

I was considering trying my hand at actual sashiko embroidery, but I thought sticking with stamping and painting fabric was more up my alley.  It was so much fun and turned out looking exactly how I wanted it to!  So here is how I created my faux sashiko.

First I saturated my fabric with water (I used two pieces of muslin – one for the front of the bag and one for the back).  Then I used some watered down blue and green and painted all over so the colors blended together.

When it was dry, I heat set it by ironing it.  I set one piece aside for the back and only did the sashiko print on the front.

I created the “embroidery” print with a handcarved stamp.  You’ll need a carving block and a carving tool.

1. Draw a circle on your carving block (trace something circular if you’ve got it).
2. Carve away everything except for a thin outline of the circle.
3. Create a dotted line look by carving away small, evenly spaced pieces of the circle.  Trim the block as close to the edge of the circle as possible.
4. Using a ruler, stamp a row across the bottom of your fabric using fabric paint with the edges of the circles touching each other.  Place the ruler along the center of the first row of circles and add your second row of circles staggered from the first row.

Your first three rows should look like this.

Repeat until the entire fabric is filled.  (Oooh, the difference between natural and artificial light!!)

The last touch that I added was some color to try and resemble the page in the book.  I watered down the paint quite a bit so that the color would be subtle.

Here, the paint is still wet.

And dry!

Then I used this Drawstring Backpack tutorial from Prudent Baby to make the small backpack.

And there’s my little climber – ready for adventures!!

Phew!  Feels good to finally have that posted!  These pieces were super fun to create and I love that they are completely original because I created my own fabric prints.  I really can’t recommend these watercolor fabric paints enough.  The possibilities are absolutely endless!

Thanks for letting me share this out-of-date project.  I’ve got lots of old and new ones to share over the coming weeks, so please bear with the back-and-forth time jumps, season switching and hair style changes you may be seeing a lot of 🙂

Happy Hump Day!

(Hey!  You know what tomorrow is?)