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Arden’s not an exceptionally squirmy sleeper, but she does move around enough to get uncovered and often wakes up cold.  We use sleep sacks – Aden + Anais have nice muslin ones that work great, especially in the summer when you just need a little something – but there are never arms on sleepsacks.  So, I thought I could figure out some kind of a solution to the problem.

My approach to this went through a couple of iterations.  First I was planning to sew buttons to the fitted sheet and then do buttonholes to attach the flat sheet.  I figured I’d have to be sure and use extra-large buttons to ensure they weren’t a choking hazard if one should happen to come off.  I was also concerned that she’d end up lying on top of a hard button and wasn’t liking that so much.  Then I realized I could just use ribbon and not have to worry about buttons at all.  So here’s a little tutorial on how I made stay-put toddler bedding:

What you need:

  • Fitted crib sheet(s)
  • Flat crib sheet
  • About 1 ½ yards of ribbon
  • Sewing machine that can make buttonholes
  • Cute toddler!

I started by first making a cozy crib-size blanket out of snuggle chenille.  We’ve got some super-soft and cuddly blankets that Arden loves, but none are hardly any bigger than her and I wanted this to be a mini-version of an adult bed (minus a pillow).  I also had to make her a flat sheet.  The only place I’ve seen flat sheets for toddler beds is part of a set that includes a comforter and I want to use the blanket from her crib set as a coverlet.  I found a white twin sheet on clearance for $4.99 at Target and cut that down to size, finishing the new edges to match the original.

Tacking Ribbon

Next, I tacked 18″ lengths of ribbon to the bottom corners of the fitted sheets – about 1″ in from the end of the pocket seams. 

And another set about 25″ up towards the middle edges of the mattress.  This length is about the distance from Arden’s feet to her chin.  This way she shouldn’t be able to get her head stuck under the stay-put part of the blanket.

Buttonholes

Then I made pairs of buttonholes on the flat sheet to match the placement of the ribbons on the fitted sheet.  On the top set, I made them about 1 ½” closer to the edge of the sheet so I wouldn’t be pinning her tight to the bed.  My machine does automatic buttonholes using the button to set the length.  I just found a button the same width as my ribbon to guide the machine.

Ribbons Pulled Through Buttonholes

I tucked in the sheet and pulled the ribbons up through each of the buttonholes and tied a bow.

I left the outside center tie undone so we can put her into bed and tie it closed.  I had originally planned to do buttonholes on the blanket as well, but I decided that wasn’t necessary.  As long as the sheet stayed on top of her, the blanket should as well.

I couldn’t resist a gratuitous cute toddler photo of our test run.  She seems to like it, and is snoozing soundly while I put this post together.  I’ll add ribbons to the rest of her sheets, and probably make up another flat sheet with the buttonholes.  Don’t you just love it?  I know I do!

I’ll be linking up to the parties in my Linky Party Directory.

Following the tutorial for The 90 Minute Shirt on MADE, this meets my hour-a-day requirement for the Kid’s Clothes Week Challenge for days four and five.  I know it’s called The 90 Minute Shirt, but it took me a bit longer than that, and I had to make up my pattern following the instructions here, also on MADE. 

Pattern

Here are my completed pattern pieces.  This part was pretty easy and straightforward.  I used a onesie that fit Arden recently, and then used a shirt she’s wearing now to get the sleeve length.

Double overedge

 Since I don’t have a serger (Dave if you’re reading this – hint, hint for Christmas!), I found a stitch on my sewing machine that I thought made a close approximation – double overedge.

Completed shirt

Here’s the finished product.  I did exactly what Dana warned about and wrapped the envelope backwards and had to tear it out and do it the right way.  This was even after I turned it right side out after pinning.  Mostly I think it was because the shirt of mine I used for this project is ribbed and really stretchy, so my front and back didn’t look all that different.  I have another shirt and different ribbing to try this again, so I’m considering this a trial run.

Mug shot

It fits her pretty well, although since the shirt was super stretchy is looks a bit loose.  If I do this again with this type of material, I’ll make sure when I pin the ribbing on that I keep the shirt from stretching. 

Anyone have any tips on how to get an 18 month-old to sit still long enough to get a decent shot with a point and shoot?  I see all these fabulous pictures you all are taking, and I cannot for the life of me figure how you do it.  This was one instant after I asked her to sit still for a minute, and then she was off again…

Tackling Erwin

See?

Remember the jeans I refashioned into a pencil skirt for me a couple of days ago?  Well, here they are again!

All done!

I really liked the nice big hem on these jeans and knew as soon as I started the skirt refashion for me that I wanted to do a toddler skirt for Arden.  How handy that Homemade by Jill also had a tuturial for a baby skirt as a guest on another blog I’m following – Kojo Designs!  I wonder if she had leftover parts from her jean to maternity skirt refashion as well?  Her tutorial was for an infant, so here’s my stab at it with a few changes to resize to toddler:

So, here’s where I cut the bottoms off the jeans to make my pencil skirt.

Remember me?

Next, I had to sew the pieces together to get a tube of the appropriate width.  Arden has an 18″ waist, and I figured that the pleats would take up about 8″, so I wanted to start with a 26″ tube.  I used a ruler and rotary cutter to get a nice straight line.

Straight edges

I sewed the pieces together using heavy duty thread and a denim needle.  I finished the seams with an overcast stitch (you can zig zag or serge if you have a serger), and then sewed the finished seams down to prevent any rubbing.

Overcast edges

 I cut the height to 7½” and finished the top edge.

Finished tube

Next, I cut a tube of t-shirt material 5″ x 18″.  I did one piece instead of two in Jill’s instructions, but either way works.  I went with 18″, so the completed tube would be a little smaller than A’s waist and help it stay up.  I switched thread and put in a ball-point jersey needle.  Probably overkill on a simple seam but since I have the needles I should use them, right?

t-shirt tube

Then I pinned for the pleats.  I used a centered box pleat in the midlle like Jill, but since I had the seams from the jean legs in about the right spot I made the single pleats go to the outside to highlight this detail.  I pinched ½” of material for each pleat, and the single pleats are about 2″ out from the center pleat.  Repeat on the backside.

Pinned pleats

I sewed the pleats in place with a 1/4′ seam.  Finally, I folded my t-shirt tube in half with the seam inside.  With raw edges together, I pinned the tube to the skirt.  I sewed it on with an overcast stitch to finish the edges and allow it to stretch.

All done!

So, now for confession:  I adjusted all the measurements in my tutorial because somehow I had measured Arden’s waist as 21″ and completed this whole project based on that.  What’s that saying - measure twice, cut once?  I blame it on a toddler who won’t sit still for even a moment!  Anyways, it’s still cute on her and doesn’t fall off or anything.  It will just fit her for longer!  She’s wearing it to daycare today even if it is a little too big.

Extra roomy toddler skirt

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I have a pair of jeans I got in a post-baby attempt to be a little more current, but every time I wear them I spend the entire day hiking them up.  I’ve begun referring to them as my “just say no to crack” jeans.  So, into the refashion pile they went.  I’ve seen a few tutorials on how to refashion jeans into skirts, but most of them show where you can see the crotch and leg seams and inset the fabric from the bottom of the legs in the middle.  These are cute, but not quite what I was wanting.  Homemade by Jill has a tutorial for refashioned jeans to maternity skirt that is exactly what I was looking for, minus the maternity band.  So, here’s my version using Jill’s as inspiration:

"Just say no to crack" jeans

I started by using my handy-dandy seam ripper to rip out the inside seams.  For cheapo jeans, these were surprisingly well-constructed, and this took a while.

Inside seams opened

With right sides facing, I pinned the seams together and marked a line using a ruler and chalk to continue in a more or less straight line from the legs to the front and back seams.  I had to sew the butt three times to get a nice smooth transition without any lumpy butt.  I placed pins at the front and back where I planned to cut the skirt off, and stopped a few inches below the marker for a slit in the back.

Marking sewing line

I tried it on again to check the length I wanted to cut (this is where the lumpy butt corrections came in) and marked it.  Then using my quilting rulers to be sure I cut a line straight across, I cut the bottom off.  I have plans for the bottom of the legs – watch for a related post!

Cutting bottom of skirt

Then I finished all the raw edges with an overcast stitch.  You could zig zag the edges, or do a rolled hem to cover the edges.  If you have a serger that would be even better,  but until I get a serger, I like to overcast.  I also top stitched the slit opening, using the existing crease from the original seam.

Finished edges

On to the hem.  I wanted a hem nearly as wide as the jean’s orginal 2″ one, so I went with 1 ½”.  I pinned the hem and sewed ½” from the overcast edge.

Pinning hem

Lastly, I clipped all the stray threads, and ironed the hem.  I’ve been wearing it since I finished it, and I think it’s going to work tomorrow!  Final picture – I did have my husband snap one of the rear view, but I just couldn’t bring myself to post it.

Front

The jeans had a lot of stretch, so these are surprisingly comfortable for as narrow of a skirt it is.  I’m pleased with the final result, and I’m sure I’ll be wearing the skirt more than I wore the jeans, since I had to be very careful about choosing a top long enough to cover my rear.

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Arden's play refrigerator

I am super-geeked about this project.  Arden loves it already, and I am pretty darn pleased with myself for making it for her!  Super-hubby Dave has been busy with major outdoor projects for several recent weekends (fence installation, garage demolition), so I decided that Labor day weekend would be my DIY weekend.  I was inspired by Brittany on Mommy Words post for a DIY Play Kitchen.  I found the same plans on Lowe’s that Brittany used.  

First, to get a little time without “help” from Arden.  The win-win solution:  A hike with Daddy!  

Gearing up for a hike with Daddy

  1. I had the plywood cut at Lowe’s.  Since I don’t have a table saw, this seemed like the easiest solution.  They didn’t even charge me a cutting fee.  I had to cut the 1x6x8 board for the rails, stiles, toe kick, and cleats using a skill saw.

    All cut and ready to go

  2. Construction of the box.  The plans called for actual cabinetry construction with pocket screws.  I didn’t think this required that level of craftsmanship, so I glued and nailed the box together, and then glued and nailed the rails and stiles, etc. to the box.  Much quicker and in the end, way easier to fudge the inaccurate cuts (Lowe’s, not mine of course!).

    Completed box

  3. I filled in the gaps, nail holes and the rough ends of the plywood with wood filler, then sanded everything down.  Arden had since returned from her hike with Daddy, and was now “helping”.  Good thing she wasn’t around for the sawing and hammering!  Sophie the dog also got into the action by repeatedly stealing one of the sanding blocks and running away with it.

    Arden "helping"

  4. I painted the cabinet light blue to match the garage sale find kitchen play set I already had, and put the 12″ deep wire shelving onto the cleats.

    Arden using her partially complete play fridge

  5. I attached the doors to the cabinet using flush mount self-closing hinges.  Arden “helped” some more.

Now for some of the things I did that I think are really cool:  

  1. I attached a Closetmaid spice rack to the inside of the refrigerator door to act like the door organizers.

    Spice rack as a shelf doors

  2. I made handles out of dowels painted with stainless steel spray paint to match the kitchen play set.

    Dowels for handles

  3. I primed the refrigerator and freezer doors with magnetic paint before painting them the darker blue to match the kitchen play set.  Now she can attach magnets to her completed refrigerator!  I love it!

    Magnetic primer

So, here’s the completed project with the kitchen play set I was matching it to.  The scale is a little bit off, but I like the size of the play fridge for Arden.  

Complete play kitchen

Good luck!  This was a pretty ambitious project for me, but I think it was totally worth it and turned out really well.  Please feel free to comment with any questions.

The final product

This project started percolating after I had gone through the bins of my pre-pregnancy clothes for like the third time, trying to see if any of my favorites would fit.  A depressing task.  I know I have about 20 or so pounds to lose, but I also need to face facts that things just aren’t ever going to be the same as they used to be.  My shoulders are even broader, my ribcage has spread, and after 13 months of breastfeeding, the girls have found new resting spots.   

There were a couple of shirts that I loved, but I had to resign myself to the fact that even if I lost the weight they simply were never going to fit again.  I was inspired by this refashion from Kalleen At Second Street.  

Here’s the shirt I started with.  So long, old friend.  I loved you well!  

Refashion target

I used a dress of Arden’s as the “pattern”.  More on that later.  

Inspiration dress

I started by removing the collar, as the scale of the collar and the neck opening were too large for an 18-month old.  

Collar removed

Using the inspiration dress as a pattern and using chalk to mark the cut lines, I cut the bib placket out, and cut the yoke piece for the front of the dress and the back of the dress.  I made sure to line up from the bottom of the shirt so I had finished hems to work with instead of having to do my own. 

Tracing silhouette

I gathered the bottom part of the yoke piece using a basting stitch and gathering the bobbin thread, just like the inspiration dress shows.  I pinned it together matching the gathers along the bottom and sewed in place, and then finished the seams with a overlock stitch, since I still haven’t gotten a serger.  I attached the back of the dress to the completed front.  I had to rework the armholes and neck hole a little. 

Completion of bib placket

I deconstructed some of the bottom of the pintucked and ruffled placket and used those for the sleeves.  I took the cuffs off and used those pieces for the collar as they were a better scale and gave it a bit of a mandarin collar.  

Sleeves and collar

Here’s the finished product next to the inspiration: 

Inspiration and refashion

It’s totally cute on, and I’m probably the only one who notices the flaws.  So, here’s what went wrong and what I learned from my first refashion attempt: 

  • I should have had or made an actual pattern.  I used dressmakers chalk and a constructed dress as my pattern, which ended up being very haphazard.
  • I needed to have a better plan in mind before I started.  It all came together, but using the placket as sleeves was not my original intention, and I had to piece the front part of the dress together because I had already cut a big hole in the back of my shirt for the dress back.
  • This was supposed to be a dress, but it’s more tunic length.  Again, I didn’t plan well and a pattern would have ensured that I kept the length.

I have two more shirts that I plan to do something similar with.  Hopefully, I can take my learnings from this refashion and get something even cuter next time! 

Ready for "school"

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monogram

One of the main features of Arden’s nursery is a peg rail going around the room.  The idea was a bit of a collaboration between my mother and myself.  I knew I wanted some kind of a detail going around the room, but I didn’t like the idea of a chair rail.  Mom suggested using knobs, an idea which I really liked.  Once we had a general idea in place, I began getting the nursery put together.  

I didn’t want a super girlie-girl room, since the ultrasound tech didn’t seem 100% sure that Arden really was a girl (she was).  So, I went with two shades of green – lighter on top and darker on bottom for most of the room, and used the lighter green for the funky angles and little nook where the bench and two closets are.  Pardon the picture of my gigantic belly, but it’s the only picture I have showing the painted room before the peg rail. 

Painted walls and week 25 bump photo

Then I had to source the knobs.  I wanted to find vintage/antique glass and metal knobs, but a couple of trips to the local antiques center yielded nothing.  I found a few knobs at Home Depot, but I still wasn’t finding the right mix of knobs.  I found an online store called myknobs.com (I know, a bit obvious, but they had what I was looking for), and rounded out my selection of knobs. 

I got 7/16″ x 2 5/8″ pine molding to make the rails out of and painted them white.  Since these were cabinet knobs and meant to mount on something of which you could access the back, I had to attach the knobs to the rail before installing it.  As the lumber was thinner than a standard cabinet, I also had to get shorter screws of the same diameter so the knobs would lie flush to the lumber.  I measured and cut the boards to the lengths for the wall sections, and planned out where the knobs would go.  I think I used 11″ spacing, with the knobs centered on the wall sections for shorter sections. 

I drilled the holes for the screws at the marked intervals.  I needed the screw head to be below the surface of the board so it would mount flat on the wall, so I drilled a shallow hole on the back of the board larger than the screw head.  I put tape around the drill bit to ensure I didn’t drill too deep.  

Drilling the shallow hole on the back of the board. Sophie is "helping".

Then I attached the knobs using the shorter screw.  They needed to be on good, as I wouldn’t be able to access the screw again once the boards were installed. 

Attaching the knobs

Then I attached the pieces to the wall using finish nails.  I filled the nail holes and asked my brother to caulk along the top and bottom of the boards to get a nice finish. 

Finished product

Awesome sign made by my AXO sister Tina Doepker

I put up the curtains and all the bedding and had carpet installed.  The dresser and desk were my childhood set that I painted black and changed out the hardware several years back.  We got a black crib and everything looks really nice together.  The crib is convertible to a toddler and then full size bed, so it will grow with Arden. 

The peg rail has turned out to be way handier than I ever anticipated.  We have signs, the diaper stacker, wet bags, coats, blankets, and towels hung on the knobs all around the room.  Here’s a photo showing it in action during Arden’s first bath at home: 

First bath at home

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