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Oh man, you guys, it’s been FOREVER!  I promise I’m still sewing, just not blogging.  I decided since my little guy gives me minimal time to do anything that I would sew instead of blog when I have some me time.  So that is what I’ve been doing.

If you follow me on social media, you have probably seen all of the pics I’m going to share.  I have made mainly clothes because I’ve found that they are pretty quick and oh so cute on the kids!  This post is going to be items that I finished in 2015!  Yes, it’s been that long.  (hiding under a blanket)  The pics are also all taken from my cell phone without the best lighting or backgrounds.  So I apologize for that, but maybe they can still inspire you to create!

Here goes (most links are affiliate links)!

2015 Halloween Costumes: Jake and Cubby from Jake and the Neverland Pirates

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Lillian was on a Jake kick and wanted to be Jake for Halloween.  So that is what she was!  We decided that Owen would be Cubby, so they could coordinate.  I used this vest pattern as a template, but did make a lot of changes, such as cutting off the front to make Cubby’s vest have a wider opening and add a collar for Jake’s vest.  For the leggings, I used PAB’s Lollipop Leggings pattern.  The red shorts were actually the Castaway Cargos by PAB without the cargo pockets and I added an orange square on the side.

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A pic taken with Dad.  This was seriously the only way to keep both of them fairly still to get a pic!  The head pieces were just cotton/lycra from purpleseamstress cut into a strip for Jake’s and a triangle for Cubby’s.  Cubby’s bandana is the same fabric as Jake’s leggings.  The fun thing about the leggings is that Lillian was able to wear them for more than just the costume.  I gave Owen’s to a friend and her daughter has been wearing them.  The white shirts were just t-shirts from the store that I cut to match the cartoon characters.

Holiday Concert Dress/Christmas Dress

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This dress is the Very Merry Party Dress by PAB.  The fabric is a silver and black border print from the collection Celebration Glitz by Michael Miller.  It’s gorgeous fabric and perfect for the holidays.  It might be a little harder to find now though.  The sash is ribbon from Hobby Lobby.

I just did a basic version of the dress instead of adding the pintucks.  I felt that the fabric did enough to fancy up the dress.  Don’t be afraid of a dress like this.  It was a pretty easy sew and being able to use quilter’s cotton is an added bonus.  It does have an invisible zipper, but if you’ve followed my blog for very long, you know that I think invisible zippers are easier to install than regular zippers.

Castaway Cargo Pants

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These pants are the Castaway Cargos by PAB.  I actually made Lillian a pair as well but with teal accents instead of green.  Lillian’s were way too big so they are still sitting in her drawer.  I didn’t go off of measurements and since these are naturally a wider/baggier pant they just didn’t fit right.

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They were so cute on Owen though!  I used a thin corduroy so that they could wear them in the spring as well as the winter.  The accent is a Kona solid quilter’s cotton.  I love the details about these pants.  There is a faux fly and of course the cargo pockets on the side.  I used snaps to close the pockets instead of buttons.  You can choose to make the cargo pockets with pocket extensions or keep them flat.  I chose the extensions so that there would be a little more color peaking out.

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Here is a picture of the back which shows off the welt pockets.  I wish I had better pics to share with you because these pants are just too cute.  I used green thread to topstitch to add a little more detail.  This might be one of my favorite things that I have made because of the little details.

Teacher Gifts

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For Owen’s daycare teachers I made Noodle-Head’s Open Wide Zipper Pouches.  I then let them choose which one they wanted.  I have made quite a few of these pouches now and they are fantastic!  I still use the large one for my toiletry bag when we travel.  I need to make a few more for myself instead of using the Clinique bags!

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For Lillian’s teacher’s holiday gift I also made the open wide zipper pouch, but this time I made “paper” out of solid quilter’s cotton and had Lillian hand sew her teacher’s name onto it.  I then appliqued the whole thing onto the pouch before sewing it together.  I had Lillian first write her name with a FriXion erasable pen and then hand sew over it.  That way she had something to follow and when she was done I could just iron over it and the pen would disappear.

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Here is the final project.  I think it turned out so cute.  Not to mention how proud Lillian seemed after finishing.  I would have had her sew the whole thing, but she wasn’t really interested.

Christmas Jammies

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I also made the kids some Christmas jammies.  I once again used a PAB pattern….the Alex & Anna winter PJs.  Yes, I love PAB patterns.  I think everything that I have made has turned out and she has so many patterns that work for boys or girls.  I love being able to use one pattern for both kids.

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I got the fabric from Euro Girls Boutique (use coupon code sewingnovice for 21% off your order).  Actually, I just received more fabric for this year’s Christmas jammies.  I will use the same pattern because it’s comfy for the kids and a super easy sew.  This pattern is one of the first ones that I made using knit and a serger.

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I think the kids looked like little elves in their Christmas jammies.  So cute!  Lillian still wears hers even though it’s not anywhere near Christmas.  Owen would, except he outgrew them.

So I think that wraps up the 2015 projects that I have mobile pics of.  I have a few projects that I actually have good pictures of that I will hopefully share before the end of 2016!  Eeek!  I need to get back into a better blogging routine.  Actually, just a better routine in general.

Disclaimer: I am an affiliate of Peek-A-Boo Pattern Shop and Amazon so I get compensated for any orders placed through the links in this post.

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Did you remember that I have a free pattern for a hooded towel?  Well, I’ve added on to it a few times to make it cuter and wanted to share how I did it.  I’m going to do the tutorial making a monster, and then will randomly share pattern pieces for other options. 

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I made the monster hooded towel for Owen because he outgrew the baby hooded towels very quickly.  What is awesome about the ones that I make is that even Lillian can still use them because I use a regular size bath towel.  So really, an adult could probably use them….might be kind of odd though. 

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Are you ready to get started?

Supplies

  • Bath Towel (I really like the Target ones because of how soft they are)
  • Hand Towel for the hood
  • Quilter’s cotton (amount/colors vary depending on what you want your monster to look like)
  • Thread (I use Mara 100 and Maxi-Lock Serger Thread from Wawak (discount code at bottom of post))
  • Heat’n Bond Lite (it has to be lite so you can sew over it)

Prep Your Pieces

Go ahead and download the pattern pieces for the hooded towel and for the monster pieces.  To start out, cut out the towels the same way as directed in the hooded towel post.

Next, iron the Heat’n Bond Lite onto the back of your eye fabrics, following the iron settings on the package.  Then, trace the pattern pieces onto the back of the Heat’n Bond Lite and cut it out.  I like to do it this way because it’s easier than trying to iron on the Heat’n Bond Lite onto the fabric when they are both the same shape and size.  Less room for error this way; plus I don’t get the adhesive on my iron.

Cut out the monster hair and teeth out of quilter’s cotton.  I chose to use a different color for each piece of hair, but you can let your imagination run wild.  You can also do more or less hair pieces and more or less teeth.  It all depends on the look that you are going for.

Sew the Monster Pieces

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Using a 1/4″ seam allowance, sew together the hair pieces with right sides together on one short side and both long sides (the purple fabric).  Next, trim your corners (green fabric). Then, turn right side out (orange fabric) and iron flat (blue fabric).  Repeat with all of your hair pieces.

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Now do the same thing with your teeth pieces….sew with right sides together on the two long sides using a 1/4″ seam allowance.  Trim your corner, turn right side out, press flat.

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Overlock or serge the bottom edge of the front hood piece.  You could also go ahead and sew on the teeth, but I prefer to do that in a later step.

Applique the Eye

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You should already have the Heat’n Bond Lite ironed on to each eye piece.  Now you want to iron each eye piece onto the front towel piece.  Start with the largest circle (white) and iron onto the towel piece according to the directions on the package.  Don’t forget to take the backing off first or it won’t stick….I forget at least once every time I’m appliqueing something.

Since each circle (other than the highlight in the eye) is a decent size smaller than the last one, you can go ahead and iron all three on and then sew.  If they overlapped at all, you would want to sew each one and then iron the next one over the top.

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Once the three circles are ironed on, go ahead and begin sewing around the edge with the same color thread as the circle that you are sewing.  That way you can’t really see your sewing.  There are different choices for stitches when appliqueing so find what you like and write it down for future reference.  I prefer a blanket stitch, which on my machine is stitch 39 and I widen it to about 2.5.

Once you have the three larger circles appliqued on, iron on your eye highlight and stitch around it. 

Now your eye is complete.

Attach the Teeth and Hair

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Now get your teeth pieces and place them with raw edge down and even with the overlocked/serged edge of the hood piece.  Sew along the edge to attach the teeth.

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Iron the overlocked/serged edge toward the back of the front towel piece and sew in place.  You are essentially hemming the edge.

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When doing this, your teeth should now be facing down and the raw edge should be toward the back.

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Put your hair pieces facing down with raw edge against the raw edge of the towel like in the above picture.

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Sew in place with less than a 1/4″ seam allowance.

Assemble the Hood

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Now pin/clip your two hood towel pieces with right sides together.  The hair pieces should be in the middle of the two towels.

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Overlock or serge the two pieces together.

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Turn right side out and you can see what your monster looks like.  I prefer to iron what I just sewed, but since the towels are so thick, it doesn’t do a whole lot.

Assemble the Towel

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Place the back of the hood to the back of your bath towel.  Be sure to center it on the long edge of your bath towel.  Pin or clip in place and then overlock or serge together.

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Iron and then sew down the overlocked/serged edge.  That way it looks better and hopefully won’t rub against your child as much. 

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Your monster hooded towel is now done! 

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Wawak Review

You probably noticed that I mentioned Wawak above.  They are a company that I have been purchasing from for a few years now.  I started out just buying serger thread and now I buy all of my thread from there.  The Gutermann Mara 100 is great quality and there are so many colors to choose from, that it can actually be difficult to decide on a color!  I did purchase the thread color chart so that it would be easier for me, but have also found that I am picking colors that were in a sample pack of Gutermann thread that I purchased shortly after starting to sew. 

Since first purchasing from them, I have discovered that they have a lot of the notions that I need for sewing.  Which include thread, needles, zippers, elastic, and even things like grommets, which I used for curtains for Owen’s room.  They have the brands that I would purchase anyway, and their prices are fantastic so I haven’t been to Jo-Ann Fabrics in a very long time.  I tend to prefer to buy items online if you haven’t noticed. 

I found out first hand that they have excellent customer service!  I was looking to get some cording for a pair of pants that I wanted to make for Lillian.  I have never purchased cording so I wasn’t really sure what I was looking for.  Anyway, I decided to email them asking the difference between their cotton piping and micro cording.  This was after only ordering from them twice, so I wasn’t a well established customer.  They saw that I was already a customer and emailed me back stating that they had mailed me a small sample of both the piping and the cording.  It was so nice to see the items instead of trying to understand the difference by reading an email. 

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Now through the end of the year (12/31/2015), you can use promo code WSN1215 to receive 10% off of one order of $50 or more on Wawak.com.

Disclaimer: I am an affiliate of Amazon so I get compensated for any orders placed through the links in this post. 

Post Sponsor:  Wawak.com  (I received a small compensation in order to share Wawak with you, but all opinions are my own.)

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Happy Holidays everyone!  I hope that you have had a fantastic 2015.  We’ve had a pretty good and busy year.  I know this is a tad early, but Thanksgiving is a holiday too!  Plus, I wanted to share a gift with you.

2015 Holiday Card

Lillian and Owen are doing great!  Lillian loves school; especially math!  She is also having fun taking gymnastics and swimming classes.  Owen loves to explore and just moved to a new room at daycare.  I think he is enjoying being with the bigger kids and getting to play outside more.

I am starting to feel like I have more time to sew, so hopefully this year I can blog more and more as time goes on.  There are still a ton of items on my list and even if I check something off, I quickly add more.  Isn’t that what being creative is all about?

This year, I (with the help of some shop owners) want to give you (yes, all of you, if you choose to take it) a holiday season gift.  I contacted a bunch of the shops on my “Where I Buy Supplies” page to see if they would offer you a discount for their shop.  Guess what!  Most of them said yes!

So, head over to my “Current Promotions” page to see what discounts you can get.  Be sure to continue to check back because there are more coming in December and January!  It’s kind of like the gift that keeps on giving. 

As an FYI….I only list companies that I have purchased from and would purchase from again.  Most are my go to shops and many are small at home businesses, so even more reason to support them!

Have fun shopping and I hope you are able to treat yourself to some sewing supplies, whether it is a new pattern, fabric, or even thread.  Have a great Thanksgiving!

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Today, I want to show you how to make a pillowcase with what is called a flange, as well as review a company called PillowCubes.com and offer a discount.  The flange is the decorative piece in the solid color; it really just adds visual interest.

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I decided to make a pillowcase that would match Owen’s room once he is in a toddler bed.  I chose a 12 x 21 polyester woven pillow form from PillowCubes.com which seems to be a great size for a crib/toddler bed.  I used my invisible zipper tutorial, but pieced the front of the pillowcase.

Cutting Out the Pieces

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To get started, you will need three pieces for the front of the pillowcase.  Since my pillow form was 12 x 21 (actual size 13 x 22 as posted in the additional info tab on the PillowCubes.com website), I knew I wanted the back and front pieces to be 12 x 21 (subtract an inch from the actual pillow form size).

I wanted about a 1/3 to 2/3 ratio, so I took 21 and divided by 3 to get 7.  This would be my smaller piece.  I added 1/4” for a seam allowance.  Actually, since I promised I would be completely honest on my blog, I have to confess that I forgot about the seam allowance before cutting out my fabric.  So each piece of my pillowcase is actually 1/2” smaller than I wanted it to be.  I didn’t have enough fabric to recut so I went ahead and sewed it up with my fingers crossed that the pillow form would still fit….and it does….snuggly.

Anyway, back to the tutorial.  I should have added the seam allowance to get a piece that was 12 x 7 1/4.

For my larger piece, I took 21 minus 7 to get 14, added my seam allowance to get 14 1/4”.   So I cut the piece 12 x 14 1/4.  When figuring out the total sizes, you do not need to include your flange, because it doesn’t add any length to your pillowcase.

If you weren’t adding a flange or using two different fabrics, you would just cut out your fabric to be the 12 x 21.  If you aren’t using a flange, then the above two pieces would still work; you just want your total length after piecing everything to be 21.

I was originally thinking that my flange would be 3/4”, but since I forgot about my seam allowance on my main pieces, it ended up being an inch.  Honestly, I think I like that it is an inch.  It could probably even be a little larger if you wanted.

So, to get an inch flange, you will need a piece of fabric that is 12 x 2 1/2.  That is the size of the flange you want (1”) doubled, and then the seam allowance doubled.  So 1 + 1 + 1/4 +1/4 = 2 1/2.

My 4 pieces were as follows:

circle fabric 12 x 7 1/4
chevron fabric 12 x 14 1/4
flange 12 x 2 1/2
back fabric 12 x 21

Front Assembly

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Now that the pieces are cut out, let’s start with the flange.  Fold and iron it in half with the long sides together.  So you will get a piece that is 12 x 1 1/4.  This will end up being a 1” flange with a 1/4” seam allowance.

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Next, put your 12 x 14 1/4 piece right side up.  Then, on the top right with the raw edges together, put your flange piece on top.

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Next, put your 12 x 7 1/4 piece right side down on top of your flange piece.  Be sure to line up the raw edges of all three pieces.

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Pin or clip and sew together with a 1/4” seam allowance.  If you have a directional print, you might want to line up everything like in the below picture and then layer.  It will end up with the flange and smaller piece lined up on the left side of the larger piece….if you want the smaller piece on the left for your final pillowcase.  Hopefully that makes sense!

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Open and iron your flange toward the large piece so that it lays flat.  At this point, I suggest serging or using a zig zag stitch on your seam so that it won’t fray when you wash the pillowcase.  I forgot to do this until it was too late.

Shorten and Install Your Invisible Zipper

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Now it’s time to install the invisible zipper.   If your zipper is too long, you can easily shorten it.  I did this by first cutting my zipper to 12”.  Then, a little away from the bottom, I added a “zipper stop.”  To do this, I actually used my button stitch on my sewing machine, so that way my machine didn’t try to move the zipper through the machine.  I increased my stitch width so that it went to each side of the zipper teeth.  To get the perfect width I had to manually turn my needle wheel and adjust my width until it was on each side of the teeth.  Be very careful because you don’t want to break your needle from hitting the zipper teeth…this is why I manually turned my needle wheel.  I then just let the machine sew a stitch back and forth so that my zipper wouldn’t come off of the end.

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I then inserted my invisible zipper using my own invisible zipper tutorial since it had been so long since I used my invisible zipper foot.  It’s super easy to do and I highly recommend an invisible zipper foot.

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Above is how the edge with the invisible zipper should look.  You can barely tell there is a zipper there!

Finishing the Pillowcase

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After your invisible zipper is installed, sew around the remaining edges.  It’s a good idea to also serge or reinforce with a zig zag stitch so that the raw edges don’t fray.

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You can sort of see my serging along the three edges that don’t have the zipper.

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Clip your corners and turn your pillowcase right side out…

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insert your pillow form….

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and you have a finished pillowcase…

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with an invisible zipper!

PillowCubes.com Review and Discount Code

Now I want to talk a little about PillowCubes.com.  When Kevin, the owner, first contacted me about his pillow forms I didn’t think that working with him made sense for my blog because the pillow forms were sold in bulk.  Well, he listened to the fact that not everyone wanted to buy in bulk and decided to begin selling pillow forms individually.  When I found out, I decided to go ahead and try out a pillow form.

As I mentioned above, I decided on the 12 x 21 polyester woven pillow form.  There are so many choices to choose from that it’s not an easy decision.  You can get square, rectangular, round, or bolster pillow forms, ranging in sizes from 5 x 5 to 40 x 40.  But you aren’t limited to what they have in stock, because you also have the option to do a custom order pillow form.  The next option is the filling…polyester, multiple down options, eco-friendly, etc.  You really can find whatever option you are looking for.

The quality of the pillow form is excellent.  It’s a really full pillow form as you can see in my pictures.  As I mentioned in my tutorial that you might want to serge the edge of your pillowcase, PillowCubes.com does just that to their pillow forms.  I’ve basically only purchased pillow forms from Wal-Mart and the quality of PillowCubes.com pillow forms is definitely much higher quality.  I am not an expert when it comes to pillows, but I can tell that these are made to last, just based off of my own sewing experience.  One of the other perks about buying from PillowCubes.com is that all of their pillow forms are made in the USA in Tennessee.

Kevin was kind enough to offer my readers a 10% discount on one order from PillowCubes.com.  Just use coupon code “SewingNovice10” at checkout for your 10% discount.

Disclaimer: I received my pillow form free of charge in exchange to share PillowCubes.com with you.

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I think I mentioned that Lillian asked for a sewing machine for her 5th birthday.  Well, she asked and she received.  We got her the Brother CS6000i from Amazon and so far it’s a fantastic machine for her!  I will write up a little machine review like I did for mine, but for now I just want to talk about the basic skirt that she made.

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We used the standard method of creating the skirt, but I did serge some of the edges with her on my lap so that it was a little quicker than ironing the hem and elastic waistband.  Since she is only 6, I did all of the cutting with my rotary cutter and ironing, because I’m just not comfortable with her doing them yet.  Maybe in a few years I’ll feel comfortable having her cut and iron, but just not yet.

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I let her pick out the fabric from my stash and she chose this flowery fabric.  I think it’s perfect for a skirt and am pretty sure that I planned on making a skirt out of it when I bought it!  I guess we think alike.  I then took her measurements and cut out the fabric.  We then got started.

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I showed her how to thread her machine, including how to wind the bobbin.  We then used wonder clips (her favorite thing) to keep the fabric from shifting while she was sewing.  I usually just line up the edges and try to make sure they stay straight, but thought it would be easier for her using the clips.

I then instructed her on where to line up the edge of the fabric on the machine.  Prior to this skirt, she did do some practice sewing on paper and scrap fabric, as well as make a tote bag, which I will probably show you later.  I was next to her the whole time watching her sew, but she did all of the work.  I was super impressed with how straight she was able to sew.  I gave her pointers along the way on how to keep the fabric straight and lined up.

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A feature of her machine that I love is the speed control.  It was nice to have it set on the lowest speed so that even if she pushed too hard on the foot pedal, I knew that the machine wouldn’t go any faster than that setting.  It is a very slow pace, but I think it was a great speed for a child learning to sew.

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I think she did a fantastic job making her very first skirt.  She did get distracted easily, but that doesn’t surprise me.  I hope she learns to love to sew even if it’s years down the road.  She always tells others that her mommy made her shirt, skirt, whatever she is wearing that I made, so I hope she can feel even better when she tells someone that she made it!

Disclaimer: I am an affiliate of Peek-A-Boo Pattern Shop and Amazon so I get compensated for any orders placed through the links in this post.