Monthly Archives: October 2012

Happy Halloween!

Since we aren’t dressing up this year, Sadie has to get in the spirit for all of us (poor dog).


Did you spot Ollie photobombing and plotting his escape?



How to Make (Your Dog) a Tutu for Halloween

Or, how to make your friends question your grip on reality…



Trust me.  There’s a good reason for this tutu.  I’m not (totally) crazy.  Sadie is a big dog.  She’s so large and black and fuzzy she can scare little kids until they learn she just wants to lick them.  I want to make sure she looks as cute as possible so she’s not intimidating to our trick or treaters as we sit on the porch. 

She’s 35” around at her chest and about 31” at her waist.  They just don’t make Halloween costumes for her size. She’s even small for her breed.  Poor girl. The only option I could find anywhere was a costume on Etsy that, while adorable, was $90!  Come on! 


I found some tutu tutorials (say that five times fast) through Pinterest and knew they could be modified for Sadie.  It was so easy (and cheap!) All you need is tulle, elastic and a sewing machine.  Actually you could even stitch the elastic by hand.  A rotary cutter will make this much faster but you could certainly use scissors.  All together, it probably cost me around $10-$15.

IMG_9559_edited-1She had to supervise

This process works for a child’s tutu also.  For a dog, you only need to fill the waistband with tulle 1/2 to 2/3 of the way around.  All these measurements are pretty rough – I wasn’t precise for this project!

  • Measure the following on your dog:
    • Her waist – this is for the elastic waistband.
    • Length from where the tutu will sit to the tail – this will be the length needed.
  • Sadie’s waist was 31” so I cut a piece of elastic about 28” long.   You want it to stretch to stay in place.  It will also stretch a bit when you put on the tulle. I overlapped it about 2 inches (the picture below was my first try – I shortened the elastic after trying it on). Sew ends together.


  • The tulle I bought was the type on the bolt and was about 54” inches wide. I cut 2-3” strips.     Or better yet, use the kind that comes on a spool.   I used about 5 yards, give or take. If you’re making one for a small child, you would want to use more strips that are cut shorter.


  • Continually try to keep your cat from snagging the tulle.  He’ll think it’s a fun new toy.IMG_9538_edited-1
  • Wrap the elastic around something stable.  I used a chair because the diameter was big enough.  Wrap each strip of tulle around the elastic and secure with a knot (I think it’s a slip knot.  I could be wrong.)  Push the strips close together.IMG_9548_edited-1
  • Keep doing this until you’ve worked your way around the elastic for a child or roughly halfway around for a dog. 
  • I took an additional 2 or so yards and doubled up the strips.  I placed those shorter strips on the sides and on top of the longer strips.
  • As it was, it was a little long so I just scrunched up the tulle to make it fuller and fluffier and trimmed any stragglers.
  • Laugh at how cute and ridiculous your dog looks. 


Tomorrow the whole outfit comes together…

Apron – Simplicity 2555


After making a couple garments with mixed results, I wanted to try something easy with no fitting needed.  My husband got me an apron probably eight years ago and I wear it every time I cook or bake (I’m very messy).  I have definitely gotten my use out of it but it has seen better days.  So, I decided to replace it using a pattern I bought a few months ago. 

I went to brunch with my friends and their kids last weekend and when I showed their daughter (my goddaughter) the pattern, she piped up and said, “make me an apron!” I thought that was a great idea! Not only would she get a cute apron, I could use some of the fabric I love but probably won’t use for clothing and check out how the adjustable straps work.  I’m so glad I did.  She looks so cute!  I worried the entire time I was making it that it would be too small.  I don’t have kids to compare against and it looked so tiny!  The thing is: she is tiny! Plus I learned that the thicker fabric I will use for my version (the non-gathered option) probably won’t work for the straps – I’ll use ribbon or a thinner fabric for those.

audra apron PicMonkey CollageAnd, yes, that is an adorable Ohio State cheerleader outfit under there!  We were at my friend’s celebrating her sons b-day while watching the Buckeyes beat Penn State.  Go Bucks!

This is a very easy pattern as long as you are familiar with facings and gathering.  If so, it’s as basic as you can get.

The best part of this pattern are the straps and ties.  They’re all one piece and can be adjusted as needed to make the top fit properly in addition to tying around the waist.  The facings functions as a casing.  They adjust perfectly fine with the quilting cotton I used.  It might be too tight to allow easy movement of the straps with the canvas I was planning to use on my version.




The only negative part is how you finish the seam connecting the bib and the bottom.  You have to think about that in advance if you don’t have a serger.  There are no notes about it in the instructions.  Left as is would feel bulky and eventually unravel.


Speaking of sergers , maybe the best part (other than being able to give it to my goddaughter) was that I got to use my latest gadget – a serger!  I’m so excited to have one and it should really speed up my sewing and improve the quality of what I make.  I used it for the first time here and it’s a little messy and the wrong color (I only had black thread) but it really cleaned up the seam.  I can’t wait to use it more!


IMG_9522_edited-1Next up?  Finding a nice half apron for my Mom and a new apron for me!

Sewaholic Renfrew

IMG_9479_edited-2It’s been awhile since I made anything.  It has been such a crazy fall, it was nice to get back to sewing.  Strangely, it’s another knit cowl top.  I’m repeating myself already!  But I liked the pattern and decided to give it a shot.

I am a big fan of Sewaholic.  I’ve been following Tasia’s blog since early this year when I picked up sewing and love her helpful tone and easy to understand content.  I’ve purchased a few of her patterns but hadn’t actually tried any until now.

Other than days when I have work appointments, I live in jeans; I wear knits year round. Though I love the look of blouses sewn with woven fabric, realistically I know I will get more use out of an assortment of knit tops.  I’m not about to iron a shirt just to work at home with the dog and cats!  So, it made sense that I would try the Renfrew pattern.  People all over the blogosphere rave about the versatility of this pattern and the praise is well deserved.IMG_9487_edited-1

(Hi, crazy eyes)

With that said, I have mixed feelings about this pattern.  First, I wasn’t sure about the band at the bottom.  Was it going to look frumpy?  I think it can veer into frump-land on me.  Choosing the cowl neck and 3/4 sleeve options helped.  But it’s the bands on the sleeves and waistband that are the key to widespread use of the pattern – you don’t need a coverstitch. This pattern is designed to be made with a normal sewing machine.  No serger required.


The directions are clear and easy to understand.  The one exception is step 6 – there was a typo that was frustrating.  Since I’m still a beginner, I used the instructions word for word and ended up sewing the cowl incorrectly until I found others online with the same problem.


My other frustration has nothing to do with the pattern – it was my own faulty decision making.  My measurements fell in between sizes so I went with the smaller size based on the finished garment measurements and the fact that it was a knit.  Sounds good in theory but I used a black doubleknit.  It was nice to sew but barely stretched at all.  I was stuck in there like a sausage!  Worse were the shoulders – they were tiny!  Who knew I had such broad shoulders?  Unwearable.  Bummer.

I traced the larger size and used a knit with more stretch and it worked great. Next time I make it I will make the sleeves a bit longer (and maybe more narrow).  I may try a longer version hemmed with a double needle to get a more traditional ready-to-wear look. Either way, it’s a great basic that goes together quickly.


In the meantime…


I’ve been super busy with work travel and deadlines so haven’t posted lately.  I am working on a couple projects which should be up soon.  In the meantime, here are some pictures of Sadie in the reversible Halloween bandana I made her.  Yep, I’m a dork.