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Frugal Things I Did Last Week

1 Jan
Just some of the appetizers and treats served at our Christmas party.

Just some of the appetizers and treats served at our Christmas party.

Christmas has come and gone can you believe it?  I hope you all had a blessed Christmas celebrating our Savior’s birth!  I have been crafting and sewing like crazy this past month.  🙂  I am so thankful that I was able to sew more Christmas presents this year than any year yet!  I had a great time blessing my family in this way.

I made my sister a checkbook cover using this tutorial.  I used scrap material leftover from other projects so this project was practically free!  I couldn’t get the ruffle part of the tutorial to work out for me so I appliqued a K on it instead.  I am so pleased with how it turned out.  I might just have to make one for myself.  🙂

Katelyn's checkbook cover.

Katelyn’s checkbook cover.

I made the hubby a homemade vanilla milkshake instead of him heading to Sonic.

My handsome man modeling Bekah's new hat.

My handsome man modeling Bekah’s new hat.

I made my sister Bekah a fun fleece hat using this tutorial.  I used scrap fleece fabric I had on hand.

We ate soup for three meals last week.  I made Sneaky Potato Soup (with broccoli instead of cauliflower) and Crock Pot Tortilla Soup.

The eyeglass cases literally took minutes to make!

The eyeglass cases literally took minutes to make!

I made my mom and sister eyeglass cases out of a Vera Bradley purse (the zipper was broken beyond repair).  It literally took minutes!

I made a nightgown for my cousin Katie for Christmas.  I also made a matching one for her American Girl Doll and a sleep mask, sleeping bag, and pillow.  I hope she enjoys playing with it as much as I enjoyed making it.  I can’t believe how many creative sewing and DIY ideas there are out there for American Girl dolls.  🙂

Our Christmas open house was so much fun!

Our Christmas open house was so much fun!

We had a Christmas open house at our home that was lots of fun.  Besides the shrimp that we purchased everything else was homemade.  As shown in the picture above we served vegetables with Red Pepper Hummus (both from Aldi).  I also made a cheese tray using fancy cheeses and crackers from Aldi.  (Aldi continues to be such a blessing to my family!) We also served: deviled eggs,  popcorn balls, yum-yums, Pecan Tarts, Peppermint Kisses, Chips & Dip, Potato Chips, cupcakes, m&ms, bacon wrapped water chestnuts, fudge, and nuts.  For drinks I served: homemade hot chocolate (kept warm in a Crockpot), water, and punch (my late Poppie’s recipe).  We ended up with lots of leftover cookies which I froze and took to my parent’s house for Christmas.  (They still tasted great!)

I made Elijah a fleece no-sew blanket with fabric I purchased on Black Friday.  He loves it!

About half of the Christmas presents were purchased or made before the month of December.  I hid the majority of them on the tallest shelf of my closet.  Anytime I would find something at a great deal that I thought a family member would love I picked it up and added it to my stash.  By purchasing presents at stellar prices I am able to minimalize our Christmas expenses while maximizing our giving.  🙂

I sewed a Christmas sleeper for my son Elijah.  This wasn’t an incredible savings but such a fun memory!  I made my first sleeper for Eli-pictures coming soon!

How did you save money this past week? 

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Sew a Drawstring Nightgown (or dress): Simplicity 1722 Review

28 Dec
Simplicity 1722 Tween Drawstring Nightgown

Simplicity 1722 Tween Drawstring Nightgown

This has to be one of my favorite Christmas presents that I made this year!   I used Simplicity 1722 to sew a nightgown for my eight year old cousin.  I sewed a straight 8 no adjustments.  She wears a size 8 in ready to wear so that is what I made.  I didn’t measure her but this fit her perfectly!  (I wish I had taken a picture of her wearing it!)

I sewed View B with lace trim purchased on a spool from hobby lobby.  The flannel was from Hancock’s.  This pattern used single fold bias tape for the casing for the elastic under the bust.  I had never done this before but it was pretty easy.  What was neat about this pattern was that it is one of Simplicity’s “Learn to Sew” patterns.  It has the most detailed instructions I believe I have ever seen on a pattern as well as helpful hints.  I even learned something myself!

The only difficulty I had with this pattern was getting the elastic in the waistband to look uniform.  I”m still not sure exactly why.  I ended up just playing with it until it looked more uniform. Although the pattern calls for 3 1/2 yards of lace for size 8 I was able to get by with just 3.  😉  This project only took 2 hours top to bottom.  How could you not love such an adorable pattern that comes together so fast.  Overall this pattern is wonderful!  I think it would also make a lovely dress for summer time!

Since it was for a little girl I couldn’t resist sewing up a cute little matching dress.

A sweet little matching nightgown for my cousin's American Girl doll.

A sweet little matching nightgown for my cousin’s American Girl doll.

Sew a Baby Bath Robe: Simplicity 3711 Review

20 Dec
Front View

Front View

I decided to sew a sweet little baby robe for my niece Zuzu for Christmas this year.  I used Simplicity 3711 which is a baby bath robe pattern which includes a hood.  I made a size Large for my 1-year-old niece.  I think she wears a size 18-24 months in ready to wear.  The robe was plenty big on her so I think this pattern must run a little big. 

Back View

Back View

I used a soft flannel fabric purchased at either Hancocks or JoAnns (I can’t remember.)  This robe is lined with a soft flannel solid fabric and includes a hood which I thought was adorable.  It is a little bit harder to find a robe pattern that includes a hood.  Flannel will fade overtime but I almost always choose it when making baby gifts-just remember not to iron it.  I did find that this pattern was much more time-consuming than Simplicity 3584 that I made for Elijah last year. 

Prior to this project I had never sewn a flat felt seam.  It was nice to learn a new sewing technique!  The seam was very easy to sew and looked wonderful along the hood. 

The rick rack along the front and hood really adds a sweet touch.  I also included a label with the size.

The rick rack along the front and hood really adds a sweet touch. I also included a label with the size.

I absolutely loved the rick rack which I attached along this robe.  If I were making this for a little boy I would probably skip the rick rack and try piping instead.  I skipped the applique on the front as I thought the flannel print was plenty busy enough.  One thing that I didn’t do on this robe that I should have been to attach the belt.  On Eli’s robe I sewed the belt onto the back of the robe so that it doesn’t get lost.  You could also add belt loops. 

Overall I loved how this project turned out.  I will probably add it to my baby shower possibilities list.  😉

Elijah’s Dinosaur Costume: McCall’s 6185 or MP249 Review

4 Nov

Eli love love loved his costume!

 

I’m not sure what I was thinking when I decided to sew Elijah a dinosaur costume.  I definitely WASN’T thinking about the 80 steps involved!  I ended up skipping a few but there were 70 steps to this project no joke!  This was my first attempt at sewing a costume and I think I probably should have settled for a superhero cape and mask like my friend Erin made.

Eli had an absolute blast dressing up and having fun at our church’s Trunk or Treat.

 

I won’t lie.  This project was LONG.  Just cutting out all of the pieces took 2 1/2 hours!  I should have known then this project would take forever.  😉  I seriously considered giving up and scrapping this project but I persevered.  Elijah was giddy with excitement over the prospect of his costume.  He would sit and watch me sew for what seemed like forever.  Periodically he would come into the sewing room and ask if he could try it on.  😉  It did take all of my free time for 3 days straight but I finished it.  The face below made it all worth it!

The face that made all of the long sewing hours worth it!

I sewed view B in a size 3.  The measurements on the envelope are not helpful at all.  My son is 37″ tall and this costume was really big on him.  (He wears size 3t ready-made clothing.) As far as the actual sewing goes I did make a few slight changes.  I did not line the hood.  I don’t know why in the world you would want to line it.  This saved nearly 10 steps.  Hooray! 🙂

The seam allowance varies from 3/8 to 5/8 so be careful to sew accordingly.  I had a really hard time adding elastic in step 22 to the wrists so I omitted it for the time being.  The hands seemed to stay on well despite this.  I do wish that the tail was removable as it is pretty heavy. (I don’t know if I would make this for a young toddler as it may be difficult to walk in.)  I also followed the applique instructions to a T but the eyes and nose kept coming off so I ended up hot gluing them to the costume.

I don’t know if I would say this was a fun project-it was really long and awkward to sew at times with that big old tail!  The result was very nice.  Eli has really enjoyed wearing it around the house and has perfected a very loud ROAR!!!

 

McCall 6237 Review: Elijah’s First Hoodie

14 Oct

Eli had a great time at the zoo with cousin Anna while sporting his new hoodie.

With fall officially here I thought it was fitting to sew Eli his very first hoodie.  I dug through my pattern stash and found McCalls 6237.  It includes a little girl’s dress, cargo pants, and hoodie.  I sewed Eli a size 2 but added 1″ to the sleeves and bottom.  The pattern gave only 2 measurements breast and waist which I found incredibly unhelpful.  Here are my son’s measurements: breast 21, waist 10, weight 30 pounds, and height 37″.  It really was a guess on which size to make.  🙂

Side view. I’m really glad I added the 1″ to the bottom.

I used a soft anti-pill fleece fabric that I had in my stash.  (I promise I”m making a nice dent in it so I can go shopping on Black Friday.)  😉  I used 1 yard just as the pattern suggested and an 80/12 Ball Point needle.  I’m still not very good at using the right needle but I think this was a good choice.

You will be able to see the wrong side of the fabric along the inside of the hoodie so keep that in mind.

The actual sewing was pretty straight forward.  This pattern is great!  If you make it and plan on adding a size tag or cute made by mom label be sure to sew it after step 10.  I didn’t and mine ended up fairly crooked!  I also skipped the topstitching in step 12 and used a Welt Seam on step 11.  I was excited to try a Welt Seam again since I had just learned in September how to do one.  It turned out to be  a bad idea because the seam looks a little off.  Note to self: don’t add a Welt Seam unless the pattern calls for one!

Elijah getting ready to ride the train. Perhaps his favorite attraction at the zoo!

Overall this project turned out pretty nice.  I was excited about it and would highly recommend the pattern.  Unfortunately it is now out of print but you may be able to find a cheap one on Ebay.  (It is pretty hard to find a pattern for a toddler hoodie so it might be worth a little hunting.)  The hoodie was a little bit snug around the neck but perhaps Eli just has a big head.  If I end up making another one I may try to widen the neck opening.  He was so tickled with his hoodie especially since it has pockets!  🙂

Simplicity 2461 Review: Toddler Dress

30 Sep

A fun print for a little country girl I know.

Yesterday one of Eli’s friends from church had a birthday.  Of course I wanted to make something.  I originally thought I would sew up a crayon roll or art smock.  After browsing through my pattern stash I came across a darling little dress pattern Simplicity 2461.  It’s a toddler dress pattern size 1/2-4.  (I originally purchased it to make a dress for my cousin but then decided on the art smock.)

I did have a little trouble with the zipper. 🙂

This pattern was fairly straight forward.  I had a little trouble with the zipper and had to rip it out the first time and re-sew it.  The back of the bodice didn’t line up the first time.  I don’t know that this is the pattern’s fault probably just my somewhat inexperience with zippers.  I still haven’t sewn that many probably only around ten or so.  I do think the dress would look better with an invisible zipper but I didn’t have one of those on hand.  Blue would also look better than yellow but I like to use what I have on hand.  (I live far away from a fabric store and Walmart’s selection is pathetic.)

I had never sewn on hook and eyes before so I might have done that incorrectly.  There were no instructions as to how to sew on the hook and eyes so my placement might be off.  I’m not sure I like the idea of the hook and eye on a toddler dress since toddlers are awfully squirmy.  😉

Back View

I used my serger to finish all of the seams which was especially important since I squeezed this entire dress onto a yard of fabric.  (It called for more than a yard but that was all that I had.)

I added rick-rack along the hem stitching. I love the added pop it brings! This pattern includes a large 2.5″ hem.

I added the rick rack along the bottom.  I think it would look super cute with rick-rack on the collar as well.  Piping would also look really sweet along the front bodice but I didn’t think of that until after it was sewn.

I had never sewn a Peter-Pan collar before and I don’t think mine lined up exactly.  I did find it annoying that the collar is supposed to be sewn at 3/8″ instead of 5/8″ but this is not listed in the pattern only on the tissue pattern.  I”m not sure if it is correct or not but I sewed steps 8-15 at 3/8″.

Hoping the little girl loves her animal dress.

I didn’t take any measurements of the little girl I was making this for I just knew she was petite and wore an 18 month size.  I debated for a long time trying to figure out if the 1/2 or the size 1 corresponded to that size.  I ended up making a size 1.  I don’t know why they don’t just tell you what ready to wear sizes they correspond to.  Overall this is a sweet pattern and I love the finished product.  I just hope it fits!  🙂

Frugal Things I Did Last Week

27 Sep

The hat I made for Eli last week using a free tutorial and free fabric.

 

Brandon, Eli & I went hiking at Big Bone Lick State Park which was free (minus the gas).  We stayed a couple of hours and had a lovely time.  They even have a bison herd there.

I used THIS tutorial from Melly Sews to make a Gatsby (Newsboy) hat for Elijah using scrap material my mom had given me.  I used a scrap piece of plastic canvas instead of buckram to line the bill.  It turned out way too big for some reason but I’m still glad I made it.  The only cost involved was the minimal cost of thread.  🙂  The hat turned out a little bit big (I don’t know why) but I may add a tuck in the back.

I purchased 3 Kwik Sew patterns when they were on sale for under $5 each.  These patterns are wonderful with excellent instructions.  I also paid $4 to have them shipped which is still cheaper than my driving to a fabric store to buy them.

Visited a thrift store and 2 consignment stores this past week trying to find Eli fall/winter clothes.  I succeeded in purchasing 1 pair of pants, some new underwear, 3 shirts, and a darling pair of boots.  I also purchased 2 baskets with liners to use for organization and something for Christmas for Brandon.  (I’m not saying what it is because he does read the blog.  I just don’t know how closely he reads it.)  😉

I made Cloud Dough with Eli using the rest of a bottle of baby oil we already had.  See my post here for the recipe.    😉

I made homemade Basil Pesto from basil from our garden for the first time.  I served it over top of Bow Tie pasta.  At Brandon’s request I also made homemade marinara sauce for dipping from our garden tomatoes.

I ordered a Christmas present (nightgown) shipped for less than $2.

I washed several plastic baggies to re-use.  Not only is this frugal it is great for the environment.  I do not however re-use any bag that has had raw meat stored in it.

I made homemade cleaner (orange vinegar).  I infused orange peels for 2-3 weeks in vinegar and then removed the orange peels.  So far I”m about 50/50 on whether I will make another batch of this.  I personally don’t care at all for the smell of vinegar (although it is crazy frugal) but the orange scent does help a lot.  Next time I may increase the ratio or orange peels to vinegar.

What sort of frugal activities have you done this week?