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1  Re: Monkey Cupcakes w picture! in Dessert by cheytown on: April 06, 2009 09:59:04 PM
thanks! i just made these for my DD's 1st bday. (they were white and choc, but my 3yo decided they really should be green.)

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2  newbie bitty bee cakes and hive in Dessert by cheytown on: June 25, 2008 10:50:07 PM
DD had her heart set on a bee hive cake for her 3rd birthday after spying a  DIY cake in Family Fun magazine. why, oh why, oh why, can i not just follow the instructions? being a total cake dummy, and having more enthusiasm than knowhow, i quickly got in way over my head. but i'm just thrilled DD was happy, it all tasted good, and my hive didn't collapse when i started cutting. Smiley

DD had fun frosting these mini cupcakes and putting on the sprinkles, jellybeans and mini marshmallow "wingdings".

regular size cupcakes. kinda melty.

the hive. oh, the hive. composed of one too short classic wonder mound, an additional 9" round, a cookie, and bunches of glorious cake spackling.

valuable lessons learned for the next time!
1. betty crocker frosting is not good for making flowers.
2. do NOT store decorated cupcakes in an air tight container overnight (who knew they would MELT???)
3. when you don't know what you're doing and somebody way more clueful than you tells you something will be easy peasy, understand that what she means is it will be easy for HER, not you. (thanks sis! Grin)
4. if you are using the Wilton Classic Wonder Mold doll skirt cake pan thing, make sure to use enough batter.
5. mushed up cake and frosting makes great cake spackling paste, and frosting can hide a multitude of sins.
6. a soon-to-be 3yo can help you decorate cupcakes, but she will lick your frosting knife and steal your jellybeans.
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3  need help - skirt to dress recon in Clothing for Kids: Discussion and Questions by cheytown on: July 21, 2007 02:46:47 PM
so i got this cute skirt at a garage sale, figuring i'd make a quick twirly dress for the girl.

the trouble is this: i need to take in at least 6 inches at the top, but i really don't want to lose any of the fullness of the skirt. it also has a side zipper which i'm thinking i need to keep. how do i do this quickly and painlessly? (i.e. without taking apart and regathering)
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4  Re: plaid Elvis pleats (lots o' pics) in Clothing for Kids: Completed Projects by cheytown on: July 12, 2007 03:29:56 PM
...but that's adorable!
how do you do those pleats?  because i'm pleat-illiterate  (and maybe just plain illiterate, i have no idea how to spell that word!)
thanks! i believe they are called "box pleats." there are probably tutes already, but since i took some pics and because i'm procrastinating on doing a bunch of other stuff, i'll see if i can explain how i did it...

Step 1 -
Cut up your existing skirt pattern. I wanted 3 pleats, so I needed to find and mark the middle. Since my pattern wasn't a simple rectangle, to find the middle, I simply folded the center edge in at the top to meet the seam line, creased it, then unfolded it. Then the same at the bottom. Then I drew a line connecting the top middle and bottom middle. I hope that makes sense. (Also, to clarify, in my pic, "CENTER" is the edge to place on the fold.)

Step 2 - Cut your pattern apart and cut 2 of each piece out of your skirt fabric, leaving extra for seam allowance where needed. Make sure to cut mirror image pieces either by flipping over pattern or cutting 2 at once out of folded fabric. I used pins to remind myself which edge was the top and which pieces went in the center.

Step 3 -
Cut 3 rectangles of contrasting fabric the same width and roughly the same height as the pieces you've already cut.

Step 4 - Sew all the pieces together at the sides.  Make sure you get them in the right order. It's pretty obvious, but because I somehow don't have a photo I'll spell it out: left side piece, contrasting fabric, center left, contrasting fabric, center right, contrasting fabric, right side.

Step 5 - Fold each pleat along the seam lines so that the edges of your skirt fabric meet in the middle of the contrasting piece, hiding the contrasting piece. Sorry, I somehow failed to get a pic of this, too. Anyway, then you baste it all and go along with making your skirt/dress as usual.
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5  plaid Elvis pleats (lots o' pics) in Clothing for Kids: Completed Projects by cheytown on: July 11, 2007 04:02:45 PM
my MIL gave me a thrifted button shirt to recon into a dress, but it turned out to have a big rip right along the placket (that's fancy for "the part of the shirt with the buttons/buttonholes." just learned that. who knew?). anywho, so i thought i'd make a top. and then this happened...

i was thinkin' i'd do the pleats in a solid color, and as i stifled a yawn, the unused Walmart Elvises (Elvi?) were like, "hey baby..." so i took a chance. i consider myself to be pattern-mixing challenged, so hopefully this doesn't look like crazy clown outfit i live in fear of.

the pleats open up when she walks. hee.

the top edge and one strap are edged in the Elvis fabric. the other strap is pure King. there is even a little Elvis head on top of her right shoulder. they are that way due to my indecisiveness, but i'm gonna try and pull it off as creative flair. shhhhhhhhh, don't tell!

the straps angle in on the back to make up for the fact that i really wanted to do criss-cross straps, but i didn't end up making my straps long enough. if you look closely, you can see my pink zigzags over my criss-cross attempt mishap - had the straps safety pinned on and was trying to wrangle the girl out of the dress when it ripped. ouch. i was thinking of sewing a little olive green ribbon bow over it. too much? also, if you look really closely, you can see the yellow Ralph Lauren polo player logo. ha ha.

and finally... as modeled by my patchy lawn...

thanks for looking! questions/comments/thoughts always welcome.  Smiley
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6  Re: Old tee to cute lil' dress (somewhat Image Heavy) in Clothing for Kids: Completed Projects by cheytown on: June 11, 2007 01:28:17 PM
I wanna try this one now!  But I think the shirt its self is half the cuteness!

i know what you mean. i've gotten some really nice comments from people who say i could make and sell these for the big bucks, but i'm not sure the appeal would be there with any old shirt. (that, and i'm too slow and sloppy to sew for others!) not that this is the only shirt in the world that would work for this, but the graphic elements do a lot for the dress.

in any case, i think if you made one from a plain tee and added some sort of stenciled or appliqud stuff, it would be super cute, too.  something along the lines of this embroidered Glug Baby dress which was one of my original inspirations...

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7  Re: bandana pants anyone??? in Clothing for Kids: Discussion and Questions by cheytown on: May 17, 2007 08:06:50 PM
Here's the Martha bandana pants pic. Sorry craftster shrunk it. Let me know if you can't read the instructions...

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8  button shirt to toddler dress recon *MINTY FRESH TUTORIAL* in Clothing for Kids: Completed Projects by cheytown on: May 14, 2007 04:01:19 PM
(Also see livvyloo's awesome tutorial for making matching sleevy pants out of leftover long sleeves.)

I picked up this shirt at the Goodwill recently - boring shirt, but interesting fabric. I was thinking I'd recon it for myself when the little girl demanded to "hold mommy's new shirt." I took one look at her clutching it, and i knew it was meant to be hers...



Now i guess it's time to make a matching diaper cover! Wink

So ridiculously EASY! (with the exception of the knife pleated trim - i have no idea what posessed me to put myself through that!) All I needed was a few measurements - no need to make a pattern or anything. Using the original shirt's buttons, etc. saved me from that nonsense. The back yoke made a nice lined bodice - it was even slightly gathered where it joins with the skirt part. The straps used the existing sleeves - I made one straight cut to get each strap piece. And they are one piece with elastic - no gathering! yay!

Thanks for looking!

(click small pics for larger versions)
Okay, my first tutorial! I apologize in advance for any math you may have to do. Hopefully it all makes sense and I wasn't overly wordy - I wasn't sure how much detail to go into about what. Please don't hesitate to ask questions! And if you find a better or quicker way to do any of this, please share!

What you'll need
  • A button down shirt with a back yoke (see above pic). I used a men's size M and was able to get a 4T out of it.
  • 1/2 inch elastic (about 1/2 a yard)
  • About 1.5 to 2 yards of trim. As for width... mine sticks out 3/8 inch at the top and 1 inch at the bottom. If you are really keen on learning to knife pleat, here is some good reference. http://slightly-obsessed.blogspot.com/search/label/Tutorials
  • Chest Measurement (of wee one all the way around)

A Couple of Terms
bodice = the back yoke of original shirt
skirt = the part below the yoke of the original shirt

Step 1: Convince your wee one she is a tiger and an empty box is her jungle. Apply snacks frequently. Wink

Step 2: Cut the shirt apart! But CAREFULLY along the seam lines. You should end up with something similar to this.

Step 3 - Dress Front: The back of the shirt will be the front of your dress. Decide where your finished top edge will be and mark it. The easiest way to determine this is to grab your little tiger out of her jungle box and hold the dress up to her (folding the top edge over). Or you can try guessing based on existing garments. My finished bodice was 4 inches from the skirt to the top edge. And if you lack a magic floating hand thing that makes fat pink lines (doesn't EVERYBODY have one of those these days?), I suppose a fabric marker or tailor's chalk will do. Wink

Next, fold the shirt back (your dress front) in half. Cut a shape like this:

Remember that the magic pink line represents your finished top edge - leave some extra above it for seam allowance.
C = Chest plus a few inches for ease, divide by 4, then add some for seam allowance. (ex: Tiger girl's chest measurement is 21 inches and I added 3 inches ease. Divided by 4 that's 6 inches. With a half inch seam allowance, that's 6.5 inches wide I needed to cut.) You can kind of guess at the length and cut long - you'll trim excess later. I knew I wanted a finished dress length of 23ish inches, so I cut this piece to measure about 18 inches from top to bottom of the skirt part - that allowed plenty for a hem or seam allowance. As for the width at the bottom, go as wide as the shirt for the fullest skirt.

Ta da!

Step 4 - Dress Back: The shirt front is going to be your dress back. The IMPORTANT thing here is to mark your finished top edge about 1/4 inch above the top of a buttonhole so you will have a button at the top of your dress. Also, at this point, you should use a seam ripper to remove any pockets from the shirt front.

Why baste when you have tape? Wink
I taped the two sides together to keep them from shifting as I folded and cut the dress back.

Fold in half and cut. (I found I needed to pin it due to the thickness.) You are going to cut the same shape as you did for the front. Use your dress front as a guide - be sure to line up the finished top edge marks so things align properly.

Ta da!

Step 5 - Straps:
Here is what your shirt sleeve hopefully looks like if you cut it open and lay it flat:

Which I guess you don't even really have to do since now I want you to fold it in half and cut it:

You are going to use the top bit. Again, hopefully it looks like this:

Now on to quickly finishing the edges. You can use your preferred method, but this is what I did... Turn the straight edge under (somewhere between 1/8 and 1/4 inch) and press. Do the same for the curved edge, but turn it under a second time and press (is that called a narrow hem?). Feel free to snip off the funky pointy end bits:

Fold up the straight edge to make a casing that fits your 1/2 inch elastic. Press. Top stitch the curved edge to finish it. (Open out your casing while you do this.) Sew the casing. Here is what you should have now:

Now thread a piece of elastic through and stitch at one end. Safety pin elastic to fabric at other end. You will be able to adjust the strap length later. I started with 8 inch pieces of elastic.

Hooray! No gathering! Smiley

Step 6 - Attaching Straps, Top Trim, Etc.:
The bodice is two layers. I'll call them the front and the lining. Fold the front piece inward along the "finished top edge" mark you made earlier and press. Fold and press the lining piece to match:

Use an existing garment or the actual wee one to determine spacing of straps. Baste the straps to the front piece only. Then pin the front bodice to the lining, sandwiching a piece of trim in there behind the straps, and sew across close to the top edge. Making the trim is left as exercise for the reader. Wink You could leave it off, but I found the neckline was lower than I wanted without the trim. (You could shorten the straps and cut a curve at the underarm if you don't want to do trim. Take a look at a "real" dress to see what I'm talkin' about.)

Step 7 - Finish Back Edge: Unbutton the top few buttons - you don't want to space out and sew your two sides together! Finish the top edge on both sides, remembering to use your finished top edge mark you made earlier. I trimmed excess off the top, turned under 1/4 inch, pressed, turned under another 1/4 inch, pressed, then top stitched. Alternately, I suppose you could make a facing or something, but I'm pretty sure it would involve making a buttonhole, and who wants to do that? Wink Sorry I don't have a pic of the process, but here is the inside back of the finished dress. (Uhhh... I'm pretty sure it's just the angle that makes it look so uneven. Yeah...):

Step 8 - Sew Front to Back: Do this in the usual way. With right sides together, top edges lined up, etc. After I did this, I found the top line of stitching on the back didn't line up with that on the front, so I stitched another line across the front. Also, I used my overlock on the side seam allowances and then sewed them down (is there some fancy name for that?).

Step 9 - Attach Straps to Back: Turn dress right side out and make sure it's buttoned. Lay dress flat with back facing up and front/back top edges lined up. Use the safety pins to attach straps to back of dress, and try it on the wee one if possible. (While you're at it, you can check the length of dress for hemming purposes.) Adjust elastic to lengthen or shorten straps. I did some stuff to the end of the strap here to have a tiny bit nicer finish, but it's more difficult to explain that it is just to do. If you are really at a loss here, I can try and explain. Anyway, assuming you have a nice fit and properly positioned straps, sew those puppies down! (I matched positioning from front and also made sure strap width at top edge was same in front and back.) I also sewed more reinforcement here. See above pic (the lowest line of stitching is not reinforcement - it is where i sewed elastic to strap). I left the straps longer than I needed because I had some vague notion I'd maybe lengthen it as the girl grew.

Step 10 - Finish bottom edge! You can simply hem here, or you can add trim, a contrasting band, a ruffle, whatever. Be sure to unbutton the dress in back, again because you don't want to sew the two sides together. I trimmed off the excess at the bottom (it ended up a couple inches too long), and then I added the knife pleated trim by sewing it to the outside of the dress (right sides together).

Then I flipped it down and top stitched.

Done! Smiley

I hope you will use this tutorial to make cute little dresses for all the little girls in your lives, but please do not use it for profit without my permission. Thank you!
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9  Old tee to cute lil' dress (somewhat Image Heavy) in Clothing for Kids: Completed Projects by cheytown on: May 04, 2007 03:56:17 PM
First, a million thanks to vegbee for the inspiring tutorial! (Unable to resist the urge to complicate things for myself, I attempted something a little different, but without vegbee's tut, i would have been lost.) This is my first recon, and i fear my ambition exceeds my knowledge/skill at this point (that, and i have a lot to learn about sewing stretch fabrics!) but, overall, i'm pretty dang happy with how it turned out!

I recently unearthed a box full of my old tees and rather fortuitously discovered Craftster soon after. I knew immediately what had to be done. This shirt was destined to be the first one sacrificed due to its cringe-factor. Not that the sentiment is so wrong (gender stereotypes are bad blah blah blah), but i'm a lot more mellow about that stuff than i used to be. Plus, the art on the back pretty much sucks. (I'm pretty sure the only time I've worn this in the last decade or so was during a bathroom scrubdown or other equally fun task - that would explain some of the weird discolored spots.) Anyway, i figured it would be used for practice. Who knew it could become something so cute? yay!


the front is not sooooo bad

back "gender propaganda" art... eeeek!

The Dress...

dress front. cross neck, based on a couple of Old Navy dresses the schmoo is rapidly outgrowing and a $uper cute Glug Baby dress i saw online. i was kind of sad to lose the girl on the shirt front - she was the only thing the shirt had goin' for it, but she had to go for the greater good. there just wasn't enough fabric to keep her intact AND avoid using the stuff on the shirt back. I did have to use some stuff from the back, but at least i got to use the part with the little tiny skull. heeee.

dress back. the black is cut from another tee. i also sewed a little flower onto it because it seemed like it needed something.

Action Shots!
(in the neighbor's driveway. like she can't run around and be cute in front of our own house? whatever. i can only hope someday she'll be posing like vegbee's monkey!)

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