Jean Apron Tutorial

I’ve been meaning to sew an apron for awhile now, but I never think of it when I sit down to sew. Today I saw a tutorial for a jean apron, and I decided to go ahead and see what I could come up with. The original idea came from A Girl and Glue Gun, and I’m so grateful she posted it, because I would have never thought of the idea on my own.

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Here’s the tutorial for my version.

What you’ll need:

1 pair of jeans (or rather, one leg)

3/4 yard of medium weight cotton (I used a 56″ twill fabric)

First, you need to cut the leg off your pair of jeans.

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Cut down the middle of the leg. Be careful to stay in the middle of the seams, otherwise your apron will be crooked.

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Open up the leg. The wider side will be the bottom of your apron. Now, I wanted a fuller apron, so I added a fabric panel to each side. To do that, lay the apron directly on top of the cotton fabric. Using the edge of the apron as your pattern, draw your panel right on the fabric. Make the panel pieces as wide as you like. Of course, I didn’t get pictures of this–which is sad, because it would have made much more sense if you could see this step. 

Sew each panel piece to the sides of the apron. I used a serger for a nice finish, but that’s optional.

The next step is to cut the sides off the top of the apron. This will form your apron ‘bodice’ and the waistline. Keep in mind, the bottom of your cut is where the ties will go. The picture below shows the apron cut before the side panels are attached. I wouldn’t do it this way again, so make sure to sew your panels on first.

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The next step is to make the binding for the raw edges. I decided to do mine exactly like I would a quilt. Cut your cotton fabric into 4 4″ Strips. Sew the strips together and prepare your binding by pressing in half lengthwise. Press each edge toward the middle, fold the whole thing in half, and then press again. Your strip should look like this:

Notice how the raw edges meet in the very middle.
Notice how the raw edges meet in the very middle.

Starting at the waist, right sides together, pin the binding to the side of the apron, across the bottom, and up the other side–stop when you reach the waist on the other side. Do not bind the bodice yet. Sew an inch from edge. Cut the extra binding and set aside.

Fold the binding over the raw edges and stitch in place using a zigzag stitch.

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Decide how much binding you need for the neck of the apron, cut and set aside.

Find the middle of the remaining binding, open it up, and pin it to the top middle of the apron. Begin to pin the rest of the binding down. When you get to the slope leading to the waist, you will need to create small pleats to follow the curve. Fold them as you go and pin them down.

Stitch the binding in place. Before you fold the binding over, press the pleats and then baste the raw edge. This will keep the pleats in place when you fold the fabric over. Once you’ve basted both sides, fold the raw edge in, and then fold the entire binding over like you did before. (There’s a lot of folding going on!)

Note: This can be tricky. Be patient and take your time. 

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The extra binding hanging off the ends will form your ties. If there’s not enough–this will depend on how large your apron is–you may need to make an additional strip of binding.

Stitch the whole thing with with a zigzag stitch.

When you’re done, your edge should look like this:

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Finish the binding for the neck with a zigzag stitch, fold the raw edges under, and then sew it to the top of your apron.

You’re done!

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Homemade Strawberry Syrup Recipe for Strawberry Milk and More

Have you ever looked at the ingredients on the bottle of strawberry syrup? I did, and then I wished I hadn’t. My son absolutely loves strawberry milk, but after we ran out of the only bottle I’ve ever purchased, I didn’t buy any more. He asked for some yesterday morning. When I told him we were out, he asked me to make some. I have never thought to make strawberry syrup, which is kind of silly because I make elderberry syrup all the time.

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It was very easy to make, and though I didn’t make a large batch this time, I’m assuming it would can well. Here you go: Homemade Strawberry Syrup.

Ingredients:

1 lb of strawberries

1 cup of sugar or honey (I used turbinado sugar)

1 tbsp lemon juice

1. Cut the stems off your strawberries and then cut into quarters. Toss into a small saucepan. Add just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan.

2. Cook on high heat and then turn to medium once it starts to boil. Cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes.

3. Mash the berries.

4. Strain the juice and berries through a mesh strainer. Make sure to ‘squish’ out all the juice before you discard the pulp.

5. Transfer the juice (it will be about 1 cup) back to the saucepan and add sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Boil 1 minute and then remove from heat. (If you choose to use honey instead of sugar, simply stir it into the juice–no need to boil it in.)

6. Let cool slightly and then add the lemon juice.

7. Transfer to your jar or container.

Fun ways to use strawberry syrup:

1. In milk

2. In herbal teas (any of the Celestial Seasonings berry teas would be fabulous)

3. Add a few tablespoons to a glass filled with ice, and then fill with sparkling water for a yummy strawberry soda.

4. Over pancakes and waffles

5. In oatmeal

6. Over ice cream

7. Mix with your favorite vinegar to make a strawberry vinaigrette dressing

8. Drizzle over quick breads

9. Drizzle over fruit pies or crisps

10. Whip with cream cheese to make a strawberry dip for graham crackers

Note: Since this strawberry syrup doesn’t contain food coloring, your strawberry milk will not be pink. This is not a problem for us, especially since I was trying to stay away from the dyes. If you have a picky eater that demands pink strawberry milk–I totally understand that–feel free to add a few drops of food coloring.

Now that we’ve made strawberry, just think of the possibilities! Raspberry! Blueberry! Blackberry! Oh my.

How to Sew a Full Princess Gown

I see every holiday as a chance to sew my daughter a princess dress. The bigger the skirt, the happier I am. The problem is, it’s not always easy to achieve a very full skirt if you’re following a pattern. Yes, there are patterns that are better than others, but I’ve found myself disappointed on several occasions because the skirt wasn’t ‘poofy’ enough. That’s not a problem any more; I finally figured out a solution.

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Last year, after studying Chelsea’s amazingly full, floor length ballet skirt I had my eureka moment. Honestly, it was so simple that I was almost embarrassed I didn’t think of it myself. Most patterns I’ve found instruct you to attach a strip of tulle to the bottom half of your skirt lining. This gives you a very nice shape, but not a gown. The ballet skirt had yards and yards of tulle gathered and sewn directly to the waistband with a lightweight fabric over the top. The results? Super poofy! You have to have a full layer of tightly gathered tulle sandwiched between your skirt and your lining! If you want a very full skirt, you simply can’t use a strip of tulle at the bottom, and you can’t hide your tulle under too many weighty layers of fabric.

I finally got a chance to try this out with Chelsea’s Christmas dress.

I followed my pattern, but instead of attaching the strip of tulle to the lining, I gathered 4 yards of tulle, still folded from the bolt, and sewed it directly underneath the lightweight top fabric.

Below, you can see the lining underneath, the layer of tulle, and then the very lightweight skirt…and my daughter’s jeans she had on. Oh, and I made the bodice a size too big because I accidentally bought the wrong pattern–but that’s a whole different story. She’ll be able to wear it next year, so–you know–whatever.

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It doesn’t look like much tulle, but it really did the trick. If you want it even fuller–think hoopskirt–you could sew an additional 5-6 yards of gathered tulle to the bottom half of your tulle layer.

By the way, I made the shrug with the same pattern I used in my fur shrug tutorial. It’s also lined, but because this minky fabric isn’t as bulky as faux fur, I didn’t need to make the larger size to compensate. I would also like to note that I think it looks like a rug. No matter–she picked out the fabric and she loves it.

Happy sewing!

Girl’s Fur Shrug Tutorial

Have you seen the cute fur vests and shrugs in the stores this season? I love them! I don’t love their price tags. I decided to buy some faux fur and make a shrug for my daughter. After a little trial and error, I’m very happy with the way it came out!

Let’s get started!

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First, you’re going to need a pattern. I’ve used McCall’s 6547 shrug pattern before, and I liked the way it turned out, so I used it again.

I made the shrug two sizes larger than she would usually be in. The faux fur is very bulky so you have to make it a little larger to compensate. This pattern is for an unlined shrug, but we’re going to make a lining, so make sure you buy fabric for that as well.

Your first step will be to cut out the lining pieces, and then sew them together at the shoulders using 5/8″ seam allowance.

Lay your fur out, furry side up.

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Find the grain of your fur. Lay your entire lining on the fur, right sides together, following the grain as indicated on the pattern pieces. Pin it down.

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Cut all the way around the lining, giving yourself about an inch of extra room to work with. To avoid fur everywhere, use little snips to cut the fabric itself. The scissors will push the little hairs aside if you are careful. This is hard to explain–you just have to do it to see what I mean. You’ll still get some fur on your table, but not nearly as much.

Stitch the lining to the fur, leaving the side seams open.

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Trim the fur to about 5/8″.

Now, you’re going to pull the fabric through one of the side seams so that your raw edges are all on the inside of the shrug.

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Press the lining so it lays nice and smooth. Be very, very careful to move the iron quickly. You don’t want to melt the fur fabric. Oh, what a horrible mess that would be!

The last step is to finish the side seams. First, I sewed the seams with my machine, as you can see below, and then I serged them. Sewing them first helped smoosh down the fabric–it’s quite bulky.

If you don’t have a serger, or if you don’t want any inside seams, you could turn the edges under and hand stitch them. It would look very nice. In fact, it would look nicer than serging it, but I have a rule about hand stitching. I don’t do it. Ever.

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You’re all done! Easy, right?

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Christmas Books – Turkey Claus and Project

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Turkey Claus by Wendi Silvano

 

Turkey Claus is all about a turkey who travels to the North Pole to personally deliver his Christmas wish list to Santa. There’s only one thing on his list–he doesn’t want to be eaten for Christmas dinner. The book is cute and funny, and we really enjoyed it.

After we read the book, we dressed up Turkey in his Santa disguise! I used an online coloring page for the the turkey. I didn’t use a template for the Santa outfit, but it was pretty easy to wing it. Ha ha! Wing it–get it? He’s a turkey. Sorry…

And yes, my son is wearing a Bumblebee costume. Why? I have no idea.

Our Turkey Claus Project!
Our Turkey Claus Project!