Friday, May 30, 2008

No Sew Fleece Pillow

fleece (whatever size you need)
Stuffing (enough to fill your pillow)
scissors or rotary cutter
Straight edge and cutting mat (if you use rotary)

For the following pictures I use 22"x22" fleece fabric on one side and 22"x22" plush fabric on the other. Make sure the fabric is soft... both right sides and wrong sides will be exposed. You will want 8" longer total on top and sides, then what you want your finished project to be. You can also use a pillow form inside instead of just stuffing. It will probably give it a more even look. These are for my kids and will be on the floor a lot. I used about a 1/2 bag of the walmart mid size bag of stuffing. For the large pillow I used 2 1/2 bags.

You will want to lay the fabric wrong sides together on top of each other. Take your rotary cutter or scissors and cut 4"x4" squares out of the corners.
All around the edge cut 1" wide strips, 4" long. Leave attached, do not cut them off the fabric.
Now, go around the edge and tie double knots, top to bottom. Kinda like the first knot when you tie your shoes, but do it twice.
Leave a few open in the middle of one of the sides, so you can stuff it.
Then, stuff it.
Tie the last few strips together.
Voila, you've got yourself a pillow.

How to create pleats

I am a person that works best with only guidelines, I do not like being constricted to patterns, making each of my items more unique than the last. Working this way means learning some techniques and skills that allow the creator to manipulate the fabric to his or her desire. One thing that allows you to do that is pleating. It gives two dimensional items a three dimensional appearance and character. Adding depth, shape, movement and character. This is my simple worded and plain explanation of different ways to pleat. Hopefully this will spark some creativity in all of you and you will be able to add this to your personal arsenal of skills and techniques. You can use any of these in variations in your sewing and tailor it to your style, creating gorgeous items out already beautiful items.

What you will need to consider


One thing to remember is that when deciding to pleat is that certain fabrics pleat better than others. A nice crisp cotton or linen will pleat wonderfully, creating nicely formed folds, and irons up beautifully, whereas something a little more slinky or slippery like satin will not hold those folds so beautifully. So keep in mind crisp fabrics work great and slippery fabrics are difficult.


Pleats are great for adding shape to any item. If you are going for a sleek look, using large pleats are a great asset. It will help the fabric lay flatter and help create a clean overal look. Small pleats throughout a garment can help create a look that is loose and empire waist design.


Adding pleats will help give your item movement, creating the illusion that the garment itself is moving instead of just the person inside of it. You will also need to remember you adding fabric to create this characteristic in the garment. Remember as children how we would spin around and watch our dresses poof up, well this is the same movement you are putting into every item you add a pleat to. Use that inner child and create something spectacular for the child or woman that is going to wear that item. Help her to feel like she can release her inner child and go with that. Movement is a great way to help you and her express herself. Sorry If I sound corney here.

As you are considering what sort of movement and shape you want to add to your garment, you need to also think which direction you want this to go in. You can fold your pleats all in one direction or fold them in facing each other or even have them going in all directions.

I like to turn my pleats facing the direction that that side of the garment is facing, right side of item, means my pleats face right, left side goes left, but hey I am peculiar that way.

Making a pleat

This is basically a very simple process of folding, pinning, ironing, and then sewing everything down. You may want to start off with keeping your pleats even, unless you like to make things look off center and having it all different measures. That is me. Make sure to keep your iron hot, you will return to it several times. You may want to hem your item before you add your pleats, it will prove to be slightly difficult when you go to hem your item after you have added your pleats, epecially on short items or long pleated items.

Now there are several types of pleats and ways to create these pleats. I am will try my best to describe these and I hope you can use these after you have read this.

Pleating with topstitching

Find the center of the front of the garment and then fold your pleats outward, evenly and toward the side of the garment they are facing. Pin your pleats as you go, and iron them all down really well to make the pleats crisp and flat.

Sew your pleats down on the fabric. At the point where you want the pleats to seperate from the fabric, stop sewing them down and topstitch each pleat beyond the point of anchoring.

Inverted Pleats

To do this find the middle of your fabric, pick to equally distant points and bring those points together, pin and iron in place. Flip over and sew the edge of each side of the pleat down with what will be a hidden stitch. This will help hold the shape of the pleat as well as fasten your contrasting fabric to your garment. Then anchor the pleat at the top, fold over the top edge and sew across. To get a differant look do the same thing but in the reverse.

Freeform Pleats

Here you just sort of make folds in which ever size you want and then anchor it with a stitch across the top.

That is it ladies, go and incorporate this into your items and see how much more definition this gives them and whatever the result make sure you are having fun.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Personalized Father's Day Card

Here's a quick and easy how-to for making your own Father's Day card. Personalize it by adding your own photo and don't forget to date this keepsake! Once you have all of your materials gathered, this quick-and-easy card can be assembled in about 15 minutes. All of your materials can be purchased at the local craft or discount store.

You will need the following:
~2 pieces of 8 1/2" x 11" or 12" x 12 " plain colored cardstock (I used brown and orange).
~An 8 1/2 x 11" or 12" x 12" piece of patterned cardstock, look for one with your preferred theme. I chose a Father's Day embossed print).
~Adhesive mounting squares, photo safe glue-stick or double-sided tape.
~A paper trimmer or a ruler and scissors will do fine.
~A pencil (with a white eraser)
~A photo of your child or children that can be cropped.
~ Optional - decorative edge scissors (I used stamped edge)
1st, choose one piece of plain cardstock. With ruler and pencil, measure and mark off a 10" wide x 7" long rectangle. Use scissors or paper cutter to cut out the rectangle. Fold the rectangle in half, making a 5" x 7" vertical card.
2nd, cut 3 rectangles from the patterned paper:
a. 2" wide x 6 3/4" long
b. 2 7/8" x 3 3/8" long
c. 2 1/4" wide x 2 3/4" long
cut 1 rectangle from the colored cardstock:
d. 2 1/4" x 3 1/4"
cut 1 from the photo
e. 1 3/4" x 2 1/4"(draw an outline of the rectangle around the area of the picture you want to keep).
If you have decorative scissors, use them to trim around the edges of all the rectangles except d. and e. (as shown in the first photo).

~Take rectangle a. and apply adhesive to the back side all around the edges. Turn over and place this along the left side of the card.
~Take rectangle d., apply adhesive to the back and stick it to rectangle b.
~Take the photo (e.), apply adhesive to the back and stick it to rectangle c.
Apply adhesive to the backs of rectangles b. and c. and place them as shown in the photo to the left.

Finally, if you desire a little color on the inside of your card, cut a rectangle out of the left-over colored cardstock, 4 1/2" x 6". Put adhesive on the back and adhere it to the inside of the card. Trim with decorative scissors before adhering if desired.
Last but not least, don't forget to add your personalized message to Dad!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Noteworthy Hello

In a world where e-mail and instant messages have become the rule sometimes the good ole fashion letter gets left behind. But no one is immune to the good feeling that comes when the mailbox is opened and there sits a bright colored envelope or a small package. Letting someone know you took the time to write, address and send a note is as almost as important as telling them hello or thank you. Make someones day today by sending them a handcrafted note of thanks or love.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Repurposed Pillowcase Style dress from An Old Shirt by Rockerchic

So many people love to repurpose! I know that I do! Heres a great way to show Dad how much you care on Fathers day!

You can take an old shirt that belongs to him, or Grandpa for that matter, and let your little princess wear it on Father's Day!

Heres what you need:
Iron and Ironing board
Sewing Machine
Seam Ripper

Old Shirt (long or short sleeve)
Spool of coordinating ribbon

Start out with your shirt laying flat. It's probably better to pick out a shirt that is of a more feminine color, but make sure it is a man's shirt... women's shirts are darted and curved and mens are more straight, that makes it easier to make the dress from.

The first thing your going to do: Take off the pocket. Remove the pocket, carefully so as not to put holes in your shirt, so we can move it and place it lower on the shirt later.

The Second thing: Cut the sleeves off. Cut below the line where the seams are, go ahead and cut them both off.

This is what your shirt should look like now:
Now, it's time to measure the length of your dress. Take your tape measure and mark where you want the length to be, from the bottom. I wanted mine to be 19 inches long from the neckline to the hem. So I measured 20 inches, marked, and cut across (where the arm holes are) to the other side.

Make sure you iron the fabric now, before you do anymore cutting or sewing. Unbutton the shirt and iron all the wrinkles out. Make sure you iron the pocket too, even though it isn't attached.

You should at this point have something that looks pretty simple to finish up.

We're going to put cases in for ribbons to tie at the shoulders. And put the pocket back on.

Lets go ahead and put the pocket back on:
Find a spot that you would like to have the pocket. I usually put mine near the bottom so there easy to put things in. Some people like to keep them in the breast.

Find a good spot, then pin your pocket in there. Sew it back on with your sewing machine.

Now, we're ready to start making those casings, and finish things up.

Serge the top of the fabric now, make sure you serge inside those armholes too.

After the entire top is serged, now it's time to take it to your sewing machine.

We're going to finish the armholes first. Roll the armholes inside to the wrong side of the fabric, and sew those down.

After your done finishing the armholes, now it's finally time to make the casing.

Take the top back to the ironing board, heat up your iron, and fold and measure down one inch, then press it with the iron.

After both sides of the casing are pressed, you can sew them down now. Just sew along where you had previously serged.

After you sew down your casing, now it's time to put in the ribbon.

Pick a ribbon that coordinates well with your fabric. I picked a white with a floral print and a little yellow in it.

Cut two equal lengths of ribbon, maybe about 2 to 3 ft each.

Attach a large safety pin in one end of the ribbon, and pull it through the casing. Do the same with the other side too.

When you have the ribbon pulled through, you can sew a little line in the middle to keep the ribbon from coming out.

Personally, I don't do that b/c I like to change up the ribbons after awhile.

When there in, take a lighter and barely torch the ends of the ribbon. This will keep the ribbon from fraying.

When you've done that, then it's time to tie up the shoulders.

You should be finished at this point... we are leaving the bottom of the dress as the original shirt.

Here is the finished product:

I hope you enjoy making your pillowcase dresses as much as I do! If you have any questions, I'll be glad to help you out!

This week's Cafemom Etsy Moms Featured Artists are:

AeBaby for her Patches the Puppy entry in our OH BABY theme!! Visit her wonderful shop where you will find a variety of unique items for Mom, baby and tot. Lots of care and detail go into everything so you can be sure that everything will be perfect!!


Patches the Puppy

2 pc. Baby Tag Blanket and Crib Blanket for Little Boys in Blue Fleece Fabric, Lovey Toy


24 Ct. Crayon Roll, Pink Hearts

and.... Sheepishmagoo for her Asian Themed Onesie and Headband

You can visit her adorable Etsy shop at
where she also makes pillowcase dresses and a ton of other goodies. Just tell me what your ideas are and I'll see if I can make them happen!

Asian Themed Onesie and Headband


The Boredom Earrings

Friday, May 23, 2008

For the Love of Fabric; a Review of Fabric Row in Philadelphia

This is a review by fellow cafemom's , Jenola Style, on her trip to Fabric Row, in Philadelphia, PA. Jenola Style is run by sisters creating delightful homemade items for babies, children and moms.

First off I'll let you know that this may be the only time since I've been a child that my older sister, my mom, my grandma and I went out for a day without kids. I am very grateful to my husband for watching the kiddos for me all day. We got to Fabric a little after 10. There were sporadic bursts of slow traffic and construction. (We made good time, of course I was driving, so that may be why.) The first thing we did when we got there was try to find a bathroom. Most of the stores would not let you use the bathroom unless you were buying something. We were lucky enough to find 2 stores where we didn't buy anything, but still were allowed restroom privileges. Fabric Row consists of about 3 1/2 blocks of various stores, about 28 of them were fabric stores. Most of them were home decorator fabric, which I love. But, we weren't looking to reupholster any furniture. If I was selling more bags, I would of bought up a bunch. Most of the prices on the home dec stuff was pretty reasonable. We found some apparel weight fabric also. One store had a lot of Micheal Miller fabrics at $8.95 a yard. (I can get it cheaper through a fabric co-op.) I did get a few things. A couple of them seemed to be vintage. The photos show the fabric I purchased and it's a little heavier than normal apparel. I need to wash it to make sure it holds up.

We also stopped two places to eat. One was lunch. Can you say Organic?? All types of different flavors and textures. It was a little scary walking in there. The name of the market was Essene Market & Cafe.

We also stopped off at another food place on the way out. My mom wasn't able to eat much of her meal, cause it was spicy, so we had dessert. It was a place called Famous 4th Street Delicatessen. The desserts were huge. I'm putting pictures of them on here. If you can't tell the desserts are served on dinner plates. So they are quite large.

All in all it was a fun trip, but we probably won't return.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Simple Pillowcase Dress

Pillow case dresses are cute and comfy and can be worn year round by adding a shirt underneath during colder months and even adding some tights or leggings! Very versatile as well because size is easily adjusted between 3T - 5T by either gathering the dress tighter at the ribbon ties to make it a little smaller or loosening it up to make the dress a little bigger.
A pillow case dress is easy to make and the possibilities for personalizing are endless. You can use fabric of your choice or even an actual pillowcase :)

You need:
7/8 yd of 45" cotton fabric
thread to match
3 yd of 7/8" ribbon
sewing machine and basic skills

Measures appx. 20" at chest from side seam to side seam (40" total) and 25" length; fits 3T-5T

1. wash and iron fabric then fold in half and cut along fold
2. create a pattern for arm holes from scrap fabric or paper appx. 4.5" across top and 7" down straight side

3. with right sides together, pin pattern in place and cut arm holes at upper corners, curve to the inside straight edges of pattern and fabric matching (you should have two identical pieces after you cut)
4. place right side of fabric to ironing board and fold the arm holes 1/4" over, press. fold over again and press to from a clean edge, pin in place. Do this for all 4 arm hole sections

5. Sew along the edge of the fold. Iron flat as needed since the fabric will tend to curl after sewing

6. Match front and back with right sides together, matching arm holes. Pin and sew side seams with appx 1/2" seam allowance.

7. Turn right side out. Now it's time to add the ribbon. Cut 2 pieces 45" long
8. Fold the top edge of the dress 1/4" wrong sides together and press

9. Place the ribbon across the dress and fold over the top edge again, encasing the ribbon leaving a little "gap" to prevent the ribbon from being caught in the seam. Repeat for the other side. (We'll stitch it later, but right now you need the finished top to measure the length for the hem)

10. To finish the hem turn dress inside out and measure 25" from the top edge mark with a pin or tailor's chalk

11. Fold the bottom up to the mark with wrong sides together and press the entire hem making sure both sides are even and iron. Fold again to form a finished edge and pin in place

12. Sew all the way around at the top edge of the fold, careful not to to catch any other parts of the dress in the seam! (It's easy to do when sewing the hem.)

13. Now it is time to do the ribbon. Sew across the top as shown in the photo. Make sure you do not sew any of the ribbon. Repeat for the other side. Make sure your ribbon can slide easily back and forth. Fold the top as shown in photo, making sure the ribbon is even. Mark the middle with a straight pin and sew up and down (top to bottom) Just a little stitch back and forth to hold the ribbon in place.

14. Turn your dress right side out and iron. Cut off any dangling threads. Time to seal the ribbon ends. I like to use a lighter as fray check is always messy for me and can stain. Take a lighter (on low flame) and whisk it swiftly back and forth on your ribbon ends. This makes a clear seal. Practice on a scrap piece of ribbon first til you get the hang of it.

Congratulations. You have just made a pillowcase dress.