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Matching Shweshwe Wrap Skirts for the win!

2017 November 16

I swore I would never create matching clothing for our family, but then I had an opportunity to do it – and the idea was too good to pass up. So, my oldest and I can now be twinsies with matching wrap skirts. And I love them! (And so does she.) Of course, you can make it as a longer skirt for yourself as well. The panel choices are lovely!

This post is sponsored by Meerkat Shweshwe. They also provided the Yinyang Indigo Makoti Skirt kit.

mommy and me, wrap skirt, shweshwe, tutorial

mommy and me, wrap skirt, shweshwe, tutorial

mommy and me, wrap skirt, shweshwe, tutorial

mommy and me, wrap skirt, shweshwe, tutorial

mommy and me, wrap skirt, shweshwe, tutorial

mommy and me, wrap skirt, shweshwe, tutorial

mommy and me, wrap skirt, shweshwe, tutorial

My oldest is turning 10 tomorrow ~ double digits! ~ and when Céleste (from Meerkat Shweshwe) and I were talking about this post I thought a wrap skirt is a great tween option for her. It’s a little bit more grown up than an elastic waist and still fun enough that she can hang off of walls and such! Case and point…

mommy and me, wrap skirt, shweshwe, tutorial

Plus, I know the South African shweshwe fabric will hold up to any wear and tear she gives it. My youngest’s reversible pinafore (free tutorial) gets lots of wear. It’s been washed countless times and still looks like it’s brand new. Plus, this fabric is so soft that she loves wearing it! I wish you could touch it – the weave looks a bit like linen – but tighter – with the thickness of quilting cotton and beautiful drape! (Apparently my cat really likes it too!)

Anyhow – back to the Makoti Skirt Kit. Makoti means “New Bride” and a traditional custom in South Africa is that new brides wear specific clothing, including a makoti skirt, to show that they are married. The skirt kits are easy to make – honestly, I thought it would be harder to match the border print and it’s not at all. Plus it’s comfortable, drapes well and is easy to fit to any body type. Side note – you should totally snag this red one for Christmas.

Find a mini tutorial so you can make the child’s skirt after a bit of exciting news from Meerkat Shweshwe…

Meerkat Shweshwe 2 Year Discount and Giveaway!

Meerkat Shweshwe stocks more than just skirt kits. They sell precuts and yardage of authentic 3 Cats shweshwe imported directly from South Africa. Plus, you can find quilt patterns and kits as well.

They are offering a 10% discount on everything in the shop from November 17-19 using the code “2yearsold” to celebrate their 2 year anniversary!

PLUS – follow them on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter so you don’t miss the giveaway in December. You could win a Double Irish Chain Mini Quilt Kit in Holiday colours! (Or sign up for the newsletter through the link at the bottom of their website to be reminded!)

How to Sew Two Skirts from one Makoti Skirt Kit

mommy and me, skirt, tutorial, shweshwe

  1. Choose your skirt kit based on the length and height of the border pattern. You will need enough length above the border’s center point for an adult-sized skirt, and below it for your child-size skirt.
  2. Use the instructions to sew the adult skirt almost to completion. Before hemming it, mark the center of the border print, then cut the skirt apart and hem the adult skirt as indicated.
  3. For the child’s skirt – wrap the remaining bottom panels around your child to measure how many panels you will need in their final skirt. My daughter is a skinny size 8 and we used 5 panels. Unpick the seam to leave the 5 panels together and set the excess panels aside.
  4. Cutting the remaining waistband fabric into 2 or 3 evenly sized widths. (I used two 3″ wide lengths.)
  5. Follow the same instructions as the adult sized skirt to finish your child-size skirt. Insert elastic into the back panel if necessary for a closer fit. (See photos for steps.)shweshwe wrap skirtshweshwe wrap skirtshweshwe wrap skirtshweshwe wrap skirt tutorial
  6. Tada! Hope you love this as much as I do.

Please share your projects, I’d love to see them! #alongforthreadride

Teal and Red Annabelle Maxi Dress

2017 November 9

Never in a million years would I have matched these fabrics. Teal and red were not on my radar, but I’m glad it happened, because every time I see this dress it makes me happy.

Annabelle Maxi Dress

Annabelle Maxi Dress

Annabelle Maxi Dress

Annabelle Maxi Dress

Annabelle Maxi Dress

My youngest chose the teal fabric from my sponsor Fabric Spark at the spring Creativ Festival in 2016. I was a bit at a loss of what to match it with when she decided to use it for her Easter dress this year. I had been saving the red and navy (Elizabeth Olwen print from Joann’s) to match with a royal blue, but it had the same teal – maybe they’d match? Turns out it’s a fun mix, perfect for my fun-loving little one.

The Annabelle maxi dress pattern is one of my favorites. I love the maxi length, and the chevron skirt allows for a fun mix and match of fabrics. It is a bit tedious sewing the skirt panels together, and you must be VERY careful when cutting and sewing them or the lines won’t match up. Trust me, I learned the hard way! This skirt got taken apart and re-sewn several times… That said, it’s so lovely when it’s finished!

Annabelle Maxi Dress

Annabelle Maxi Dress

Annabelle Maxi Dress

Annabelle Maxi Dress

I’ve made this dress three times in the last few years. A teal in chambray, and two in embroidered white. The bodice is so forgiving, the back can be made to fit very easily by changing the elastic length. I also love that it is easy on and off – no buttons or zippers to install!

Since I’m usually procrastinating until the last minute, I keep using patterns that have been made before. It’s simpler and they are already sized to fit. Plus I know the girls will like them, and wear them, which is super important!

Do you have a go-to pattern I should check out? Would you be interested in a post with links to my go-to patterns?

A Violette dress for Easter, the easy way – no tulle!

2017 November 6

Today is the day – I’m finally posting my oldest’s Easter dress! Hooray!

The Violette dress pattern has a classic shape. The low back and wider boatneck front neckline have looked amazing in every fabric I’ve used so far. The first versions I made were full tulle versions, and (as referenced in the title) this fabric version is so much simpler!

This dress is sewn from two florals we purchased from Canadian online fabric shop Country Clothesline. My oldest picked them herself at Creativ Festival last spring and I was happy to get it off of my to-sew list only a year later! The exposed Lacie Zipper was from Border Creek Station, another lovely Canadian shop.

Since I rarely make the same thing the same way twice, I did change a few features on the dress.

  • Lace ruffle underskirt
  • Exposed Zipper – the original is made with a button back

And there’s usually an Ooops… Having the original (already-fitting) pattern pieces traced from the first round of these dresses seemed like a good place to start – but once it was cut the back was way too small. Not sure if I drafted the zipper incorrectly – but I had to add in two side back pieces, similar to the curves on the front – to make it fit. After a small heart-attack, it wasn’t too terrible a fix!

The ruffled lace underskirt (I’m sure there’s a proper name for that…) was made by piecing together some sample fabric pieces. They were squares ranging from 8-12 inches across or so, and the piecing is pretty much invisible unless you know it is there. They came from the same sample box my friend gave me to make these Annabelle dresses.

Speaking of Annabelle dresses – my youngest’s is coming up soon! Maybe even this week…  You can get a peek in our Easter-day photo.

Fall Potato Chip Skirt – it’s reversible!

2017 November 2

You ready for some super-old photos of my youngest? These are from fall of 2015 – and she was so tiny then! Crazy how much they grow up in two years…

I have lots of project photos in the vault, and figured this fall is a good time to start digging some out – so I’m hoping to start posting them leading up to this Christmas. Always a good time to dig out old projects, since I’m usually making new ones as gifts and can’t post those until January!

This skirt is the Potato Chip Skirt pattern and I’ve made it twice before. This popular Very Hungry Caterpillar skirt and a My Little Pony/Avengers mash-up in a post about sewing with licenced fabrics. Funny thing, in that post I wrote ~ Quote: “One day soon I will post about the other two skirts.” ~ end Quote. Hmmm…. soon, eh?! At least I’m posting the last one now!

I will spare you the review, since it is in this post already, but I will take time to say (again) – definitely this is a great pattern! It turns out very professional every time and looks so cute. I have in mind to make a jean skirt for my oldest with it, since it has a tween vibe and the pattern runs up to size 13/14.

The kitten and gold fabrics are from my local shop and the first-generation Cotton and Steel is from my sponsor Fabric Spark.

Truth be told about this particular skirt – despite the very ADORABLE KITTENS – she didn’t wear it that much… I made it a bit on the small side and wasn’t very practical for my very active 5 year old. She loves her comfy track pants!

Just out of curiosity – do you think someone would buy this if I put it in a de-stash? I’ve got a lot of lightly worn handmade dresses that the girls have outgrown and I’d love for them to see a happy home again!

Cookies and Milk Halloween Costume

2017 October 26

My youngest is hilarious. I have no idea how or where she saw this costume – but she has been wanting to be a cookie since September. Which is super-fun and requires me to make a “working” milk carton treat bag – of course!

This costume is surprisingly simple to make, thankfully – because I had a lot of doubts before getting started!


  • Felt outer, appliqued with felt chocolate chips.
  • Brown Broadcloth inner, 1″ smaller all around than the outer felt cookie.
  • The felt outer was hand-pleated and pinned to fit the smaller broadcloth. Then sewn around, leaving an opening. When it is turned right side out the felt bunches out at the pleats, giving it depth.
  • I added a bit of stuffing, and then “quilted” it between the chocolate chips to help the stuffing to stay in place.
  • The straps are double-thickness felt, sewn only to the broadcloth.
  • The sides are about 4″ wide and sewn to the edges of the felt and broadcloth.
  • She wanted a bite out of the cookie, so I cut that out of the original circles before sewing. Top-stitching it afterwards helped it to stand out.

Milk Carton:

I contemplated taking tutorial photos – but since my time was limited, here are a few quick details.

  • The whole thing is white felt on the outer, with white broadcloth as a lining, to prevent the felt from stretching once it gets filled up.
  • I started with a flat rectangle and appliqued the blue and red ribbon onto it.
  • The sides were sewn together by flattening the fabric and sewing up the edge.
  • The bottom is a square, each side is sewn on separately.
  • The top is folded like a carton of milk – I used one from our fridge to get it right. The fold lines are top-stitched and I added Velcro around the top as needed for it to fold properly. Surprisingly this worked really well! The felt was stiff enough to hold the shape.

Cup and Straw Headband:

  • The cup was glued to the headband, with a piece of felt underneath to hold it on.
  • A round piece of cardboard, covered in felt “milk” was glued in. Before gluing, we added a hole for the straw and hot-glued it in as well.

Unfortunately, we have a lot of photos of the headband (being top-heavy) falling off. So we’ll need to augment our strategy before next week. Even if we don’t find a fix, the Milk Carton makes a great place to hold the headband!

On our early trick-or-treat trip to Niagara Falls, we went to the Hershey Store – it’s our family favorite MUST STOP for the kids - and they were so pleased with her cookie costume that the manager gave us a free personalized extra-large chocolate bar! It pays to dress up early, I think!

Over the Rainbow – a Dorothy Halloween costume

2017 October 24

“There’s no place like home… *click, click* There’s no place like home…” *click, click* Unless, of course, you can trick-or-treat at other people’s homes and get free candy!

This year, we watched The Wizard of Oz with our girls, probably in the spring or early summer. They LOVED it, and my oldest declared she should be Dorothy for Halloween. Of course, I LOVED that! (lol)

This  costume is so fun to make, and like most years, I used a simple elastic-back bodice (as in Anna and the Pirate Princess) since it will fit more easily. This costume was pretty simple – and I have a good base of knowledge (read: lots of practice!) for making these now, so I could concentrate on making the fun details.

A few things we took from the original costume:

  • Bias-cut bodice details and hem detail
  • Rounded bodice top
  • Straps and buttons on both front and back
  • Puffed sleeves! (though we chose to make them long for our chilly Canadian weather)
  • Bias-cut neckline detail
  • Red ruby slippers
  • Toto (flat, more details below)
Notes on the sewing/glittering:
  • Dress and Shirt:
    • Dress: Annabelle pattern – bodice sized-up a bit for a longer fit, simple gathered skirt
    • Shirt: Vintage V-Neck pattern with puffed sleeve variation, self-drafted the length for the sleeves
    • The buttons are sewn-on without working buttonholes.
  • Ruby Red Slippers:
    • We glittered some old ballet flats with regular glitter. (It will stick well enough for Halloween, but not much longer!)
  • Toto:
    • I made a “Flat Toto” (similar to Flat Stanley) with a fabric printout on the front and felt on the back.
      • To print on fabric: Cut a piece of freezer paper to letter size. Adhere it to a same-sized sheet of (in my case) broadcloth. This will allow it to go through your printer. Print the image.
      • It will be a bit light in colour, and won’t withstand washing – but it is a quick alternative to buying a stuffie.
    • We sewed a metal loop to one side and attached a toy leash, so it could be attached to the basket.
  • I found actual Wizard of Oz fabric on sale at my local shop and bought enough to hide a border of it underneath as the dress lining. It’s fun that she has the actual characters in her costume!

We went to Niagara Falls (very near to us!) and did an early trick-or-treat run last weekend. My Dorothy had so much fun being recognized and the photo-shoot was impromptu at a cute picnic area we found to eat our lunch.

As my “little” girl gets older it’s fun to note what things she’s excited about. This year, it was thrilling to get to wear real pink lipstick as part of dressing up, and important that the costume was as perfect and “real” as possible. I am imagining that soon I will be hovered over as I sew – just to ensure each part of it is exactly right!

Halloween Costume Sewing Tip #10

2017 October 10

Halloween Sewing Tip #10:

Use all the fun and unique machine settings. Embroider, add text – be creative!

If you are anything like me, you default to what you know best. Using straight, common stitches and expanding to zig-zag when the need arises! With this last costume tip I want to encourage you to try out some of the fun stuff your machine can do.

Costumes allow you to be creative, even a little silly! Too much embellishment is never a problem. Use the opportunity to try out something new. Add a row of that decorative stitch you’ve been wanting to try or some Halloween text if your machine has a built in alphabet.

I recently found some glow in the dark embroidery thread at my local fabric store (on sale!) and thought it would make a fun Halloween themed project. The embroidery function on the Skyline S9 made quick work of the simple text I wanted. It has yet to turn it into the candy-basket I’m envisioning. But, how fun is it that it glows! And I’m pretty sure any child would be over-the-moon about glow in the dark on their costume. Plus, did you know, embroidery thread isn’t only for embroidering – you can use it for any decorative stitch as well!

Most of all, be sure to take lots of photos and have fun creating a costume you and your kids can treasure (and maybe enjoy laughing about!) for years to come. I hope you’ve found lots of inspiration in these Halloween Costume Tips. Thanks for coming along on the journey!

P.S. You can read more about machine embroidery in last fall’s series of posts.

Follow all 10 Janome Halloween Costume Tips with Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Bloglovin’.

Disclaimer: I am a Canadian Janome Artisan. Janome provided artwork (with my photos) for this project and the Skyline S9 on-loan machine I am currently using. As with all the products I write about – I always tell you my own honest opinion.

Halloween Costume Sewing Tip #9

2017 October 9

Halloween Sewing Tip #9:

Embellish trims to make your costume unique!

So, you are following yesterday’s tip (Ribbons and sequins are your friends.) and can’t find the perfect one? How about making your own? Use a zigzag, decorative stitch or multiple lines of straight stitches to create unique ribbons to add to the costume. If it is very special – and destined for the dress-up box, you could even spend time hand-stitching with embroidery weight threads.

If you are inclined to make a lot of unique trim, I’d recommend investing in the Janome Ribbon Sewing Guide. (It really would have made making this embellished gathered skirt (tutorial!) a lot more fun.) The machine foot makes embellishing unique trim easy! Trying it out for the first time a few weeks ago, it was user-friendly and simple to install. It screws directly into the machine’s needle plate and holds the ribbon in place as you stitch.

I tried a few Halloween-friendly trim ideas using the decorative stitches on my Janome Skyline S9. Since these won’t be usable for our costumes this year (maybe next!) I think I might use them for a themed shirt, or as hair ribbons closer to the end of October. The “Boo Cat” ribbon NEEDS to be used, it’s so cute! Uses in the future? Maybe school-spirit themed ribbons with their school name on them? Or personalized BFF bracelets.  #bestmomever

Follow all 10 Janome Halloween Costume Tips with Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Bloglovin’.

Disclaimer: I am a Canadian Janome Artisan. Janome provided artwork (with my photos) for this project and the Skyline S9 on-loan machine I am currently using. As with all the products I write about – I always tell you my own honest opinion.

Halloween Costume Sewing Tip #8

2017 October 8

Halloween Sewing Tip #8:

Ribbons and sequins are your friends!

Ok – you might not agree with me yet – but it’s true! Ribbons, sequins and trims are so fun. Use them with abandon in your costumes. They add the perfect touch, and – ribbon in the right places, allow you to match the look of a higher-end, more professional costume.

In relation to being more professional, I got to try out the coolest sewing machine foot for this post. Janome Canada lent me a Ribbon Sequin Foot and it is amazing! (And so much fun!) Clip the foot on and feed the ribbon through it and sew. The ribbon follows the direction of your seam and can be sewn on with a decorative stitch. It was so easy! I pointed the presser foot and let the Skyline S9 attach the ribbon.

This means CURVES! Imagine multiple rows of curvy ribbon sewn to the bottom of a fancy ball gown or down the back of a dinosaur costume. I wanted to test this out, so I fused a half-circle to a scrap of fabric and stitched around the edge with ribbon. Then I outlined it with a second piece of ribbon, just for fun, LOL. The sequins in the photo would have gone on next, but I managed to purchase one that wouldn’t lie flat, and was fastened with elastic. Apparently I have a thing or two to learn about sequins. LOL. #newbie

Follow all 10 Janome Halloween Costume Tips with InstagramFacebookTwitterPinterest and Bloglovin’.

Disclaimer: I am a Canadian Janome Artisan. Janome provided artwork (with my photos) for this project and the Skyline S9 on-loan machine I am currently using. As with all the products I write about – I always tell you my own honest opinion. 

Halloween Costume Sewing Tip #7

2017 October 7

Halloween Sewing Tip #7:

Knits make ideal costumes. They are quick to sew and the variety of finishes and prints allows you (and your costume) to be more creative!

Knits (most stretchy fabrics) are great base fabrics for any costume. Plus they are fast to sew! Knits don’t fray so you can leave all of your seams unfinished – and even un-hemmed. (gasp! LOL)

The stretch also means you don’t need closures or a perfect fit. The costume will stretch over your child’s body when they put it on. I used a length of thrifted jersey to create my daughter’s simple Star-famous princess costume a few years ago.

Here are a few basic tips you need to follow when sewing with knit fabrics:

  1. Cut your pattern pieces with the stretch going around the body – not vertically up and down.
  2. Use a ballpoint needle. Regular sharp needles will create holes in your seams.
  3. Use a stretch stitch. The seams need to stretch with the wearer. Many sewing machines have a dedicated stretch stitch, or you can also use a zig-zag stitch.
  4. Don’t stretch your fabric as you sew. Allow the fabric to feed naturally through the machine as you sew.
  5. Use a Walking Foot or Dual Feed Foot to help layered fabrics feed through your machine in unison.
Ready for more? Find more in depth tips you can use: 12 Tips for Sewing Knits!


Follow all 10 Janome Halloween Costume Tips with InstagramFacebookTwitterPinterest and Bloglovin’.

Disclaimer: I am a Canadian Janome Artisan. Janome provided artwork (with my photos) for this project and the Skyline S9 on-loan machine I am currently using. As with all the products I write about – I always tell you my own honest opinion. 

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