one for the noggin

can you say “saucy maiden”?
Not without looking like a dork, I can’t.

My first hat pattern – McCall’s 4607, reviewed at

Cut lining out from something soft.
I used a $0.25 pillowcase from the thrift store!

Make pattern marks on the WS of the interfaced piecing.
I also recommend sewing the lining top + crown before the main body of the hat – so that you can get the darts down well.

Edgestitch from the WS of the hat! It will be more accurate. And don’t use contrasting thread unless you are an amazing topstitcher or have big, clanging brass balls.

Hat and lining basted –
and the ribbon (just what I had lying around) ready to be tacked to hat lining.

Sassy “backwards” position. Note how edgestitching really shows up – so don’t f*ck up!

Frolick outside in the garden!
My version turned out big enough for me to grow some nappy dreds in there.

goodwill t-shirt + snot-nosed brat = S-A-S-S-Y

look as good as your white-trash momma!

Skirt A (on left) is made from a t-shirt and velveteen remnant ruffle; Skirt B (on right) has a contrast casing and is made up of old t-shirts and embellished with a sharpie.

Rokken like Dokken.

RS, WS – “right side” and “wrong side” of material
SA = seam allowance

Use 1/2″ SA unless otherwise specified.

Cut the body of the skirt:

Skirt A:
The width of this piece will be equal to (hip width + 2″). The length of this piece should be (desired skirt body length + 1 1/2″). To get an idea for the body, you want this part of the skirt to come down to the top of the thighs. For my three year old, I wanted a skirt body length of 6″. Her hip width is 21″, so I cut out a 23″ (21″ + 2″) by 7 1/2″ (6″ + 1 1/2″) rectangle (Figure 1).

Figure 1: rectangular body piece.
For Skirt B, your casing would be the same width.

For Skirt B:
You would keep the width the same as Skirt A, but the length would only be skirt body height plus 1″. You would also cut a casing piece 2 1/4″ inches by the skirt body unfinished width (23″, in this example).

The width of the ruffle piece is about twice the length of the body: 1.75*(skirt body width) or 2* (skirt body width). in this example, (2 * 23″) = 46″. This does not have to be exact. The ruffle length is the desired length of the ruffle plus 1″. Sew a double-fold hem on bottom edge.

This is the point you would embellish the body or ruffle of the skirt (baste lace, applique, etc). If you’re going to applique, consider stabilizing the knit piece first.

Use half-inch elastic and cut (waist size – 2″). My toddler’s waist is 20″ so I cut 18″.

Skirt A:
Join skirt body sides. Clip seam and zigzag finish. Turn skirt inside out. It should look like a tube. Fold the top raw edge down to the WS 1″ and zig zag evenly, close to the raw edge on the WS. Leave about 1″ open. Thread the elastic through. Pin elastic together and try the skirt body on your model, if you like. Sew the elastic together, overlapping about 1/2″ and making sure it is not twisted. Slide the elastic in evenly in the casing and close the seam.

Skirt B:
Fold the casing strip in half length-wise, WS together. Pin folded raw edge to top raw edge of skirt body RS together; sew. Press. Thread elastic through casing, making sure not to twist. Pin elastic ends to edges of casing. Join skirt body sides. Clip seam and zigzag finish (Figure 2).

Figure 2: finished side-seam.

Adding ruffle to body of skirt:
Mark in 1/4 increments on body of skirt and ruffle (Figure 3). Sew together, matching the marks and pleating by hand as you go (Figure 4).

Figure 3: quarters marked and pinned.

Figure 4: pleating as you sew.

Please note that I made a ruffle out of velveteen on the Skirt A. If you use a jersey knit (i.e. t-shirt) the ruffle will be less stiff and flounce out less. For a flouncier effect with a woven, you would cut a large piece shaped like a doughnut.

make ’em cart their own stuff

Packing to preschool, in style.

Here is a cute little backpack I’ve been making for the toddlers around the hood. The pattern used here is called totpacks and can be bought from Sewbaby. It is a good beginner pattern and provides a lot of opportunity for embellishment.

RS, WS – “right side” and “wrong side” of material
SA = seam allowance
FF = fashion fabric
CF = contrast fabric

As per all tutorials here, these instructions are in addition to (not replacing) those in the pattern.

Cut out all pieces and make markings on the WS of fabric. If you plan to use webbing and fittings for the straps, cut the straps out at 1/2 the length supplied by the pattern. If you plan to make an overlay (which I did for the top front piece) cut out the appropriate pieces in the CF. In the case of the front or top-front piece, you can cut the FF / heavier fabric along the fold line, rather than the specified raw edge. Then fold your overlay fabric over as the pattern suggests in step 1 and topstitch.

Continue on as pattern specifies. If you like, you can make a different pocket (I made a gusseted pocket with a buttonhole closure on the flap). If you do make the pocket provided in the pattern, there are some tips to getting a good looking curved pocket. First, consider cutting out a cardboard template that is 1/4″ smaller on all sides than the desired finished size (I keep this with the pattern, see Figure 1).

Figure 1: pocket piece and guide (project with gusseted pocket).

After cutting out the pocket, clip the curves and iron the pocket around the template. Pin pocket in position and go slowly on the topstitching. This needs to be near-perfect on the curves, especially if done on with a contrasting color. Sew from the center bottom of the pocket and end with a triangular structural stitch (Figure 2), then repeat for the other side.

Figure 2: reinforcment pocket stitching, blurry-style.

Baste straps as marked to RS of back piece (Figure 3). This is the opportunity to use webbing if you want to have adjustable straps. After basting straps, you may want to pin them to the back so you don’t catch them as you finish the project.

Figure 3: strappy.

While fitting the side piece to the front and back, be sure to clip the side piece as specified and pin well for a good fit (Figure 4).

Figure 4: Pin like you mean it, girl!

After the side piece is sewn to the front and back pieces, clip to 1/4″ along inside SA. Finish with zig zag. Turn right-side out and top-stitch the back and front side seams (Figure 5).

Topstichin’ is bitchin’!

This is a bit tricky when you are doing the front of the backpack, so go slowly. Topstitching will add more durability and look more professional (Figure 6).

It’s the minute details your child will care
much about!