Tutorial: Adding piping to a skirt hem

Tutorial: Adding Piping to a Skirt Hem
Froo had a cute dress from Target with a piped hem. The finishing is horrendous, but I guess that’s the way it goes with store-bought clothing on the cheap. When I made Froo a skirt awhile back, I decided to write up a tutorial on how to add piping to a skirt hem, that is completely encased. I tend to put piping on just about everything, since it’s such a great way to add a pop of contrast and create dramatic lines.

I used the free Lazy Days Skirt pattern by Oliver + S because it is oh-so-simple (a 1-piece skirt!) and the hem is completely straight. If you are going to add piping to a skirt with a curved hem, you will need to modify the tutorial by creating a curved bottom hem (at Step 6).

Step 1
Cut your skirt pattern. For my almost 6-year old Froo, I cut a 17″ skirt. Cut another length of fabric 3″ wide. This will become the bottom hem.
Tutorial: Adding Piping to a Skirt Hem
Step 2
Following the pattern instructions, sew up the skirt to make a tube. Line the edge of the piping to the front edge of the skirt. Using a zipper foot, sew the piping onto the skirt. Position your needle to sew as close to the cording as possible–I sew directly on top of the stitching on the piping. Start sewing 2″ from the back seam and finish sewing 2″ to the back seam. Leave a tail on each end that extends 1-2″ beyond the back seam.
Tutorial: Adding Piping to a Skirt Hem
Step 3
To ensure you get a nice finish on your piping, follow the next set of instructions. Sophie, from the blog C’est la vie, has an excellent tutorial on adding piping with clear photos on finishing piping ends.
Tutorial: Adding Piping to a Skirt Hem
Step 4
Pin or clip the piping into place. Line up the piping fold with the back seam. Finish sewing the piping to the edge of the skirt hem.
Tutorial: Adding Piping to a Skirt Hem
Step 5
Sew the bottom hem into a tube with the same seam allowance as the skirt tube. Iron seams open. With right sides together, pin or clip the bottom hem to the skirt, sandwiching the piping in between. Match up the back seams.
Tutorial: Adding Piping to a Skirt Hem
Step 6
Using the original stitching as a guide, sew 1/16″ (or super close) to the left side of the seam. This ensures that any thread that is sewn on the piping will not show through to the other side.
Tutorial: Adding Piping to a Skirt Hem
Step 7
Fold and iron bottom hem 1″. Then iron entire bottom hem up so that the piping is at the bottom.
Tutorial: Adding Piping to a Skirt Hem
Step 8
Replace the zipper foot with the regular foot and topstitch the hem in place. At this point, you will want to match your thread colour, since it will show on the front of the skirt.
Tutorial: Adding Piping to a Skirt Hem
Step 9
Finish the waistband of the skirt. That’s pretty much it! Iron your skirt, or don’t (I didn’t!). It’s up to you, really. I’ve found that with piping and an additional bottom hem, there’s enough weight to the hem that it doesn’t wrinkle as much.
Tutorial: Adding Piping to a Skirt Hem
I guess I should have ironed. Oops.
Tutorial: Adding Piping to a Skirt Hem
Step 10
Take photos of your model wearing the skirt, if she’s willing. I love that the piping on the hem is completely encased–you can see a peek of the inside of Froo’s skirt and it still looks great.
Tutorial: Adding Piping to a Skirt Hem
Tutorial: Adding Piping to a Skirt Hem
About the fabric: it’s definitely a favourite–both Froo & Boo love to point out different sea creatures (Boo is obsessed with the Octonauts) and it just feels happy. I pinned it a couple of years ago–it’s called Kelp Forest by Kokka, but I’m pretty sure it’s nowhere to be found on the Internet. Sorry to have kept the good stuff hidden, but I thought you’d like to know. I’m always so curious when I see awesome fabric on a sewing blog and the fabric is unidentified, but anyhoo…

Happy sewing!
Tutorial: Adding Piping to a Skirt Hem

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Perfect Pattern Parcel: The Lady Skater Dress

Perfect Pattern Parcel #1: Lady Skater Dress
I made a dress. But hold on a life-altering moment, I made a dress that I actually like AND one I would wear often AND could work like a boss* (those were actually part of the sewing instructions!). I’m not entirely sure what that means, but I LOVE my new dress!
Perfect Pattern Parcel #1: Lady Skater Dress
I’m participating in the Perfect Pattern Parcel #1 blog tour today! Bloggers extraordinaire, Jill (Made with Moxie) and Rachel (Imagine Gnats), have put together a great selection of PDF patterns to support independent designers and to encourage a growing community of makers. Proceeds from Parcel #1 will raise funds to Donors Choose–a charity organization that helps students in need. I’m honoured to be sharing my handmade dress with you!

Parcel 1 CollageThe Skater Dress by Kitschycoo / Dandelion Dress & Top by Seamster Patterns / Summer Concert Tee by Dixie DIY / Ava by Victory Patterns / Accordion Bag by Sew Sweetness

I used black bamboo stretch French terry, my all-time favourite knit, which is also the same fabric I used for Boo’s art museum vest and trousers. It is sooooo soft and drapes beautifully. I would highly recommend bamboo stretch French terry because it doesn’t curl, making it easy to lay flat, cut and sew.
Perfect Pattern Parcel #1: Lady Skater Dress
I chose the 3/4 length sleeve option. Then I decided to mix things up a bit and add a cowl neck collar with side zippers, the same way that I made Froo’s yellow sweater. I inched up the front neckline by 3 inches and attached a 5 inch collar. The zippers give me options for wearing the collar in different ways. Scroll down for a mini tutorial!
Perfect Pattern Parcel #1: Lady Skater Dress
I can see this dress becoming a staple in my wardrobe. Which is surprising since I hardly ever wear black, solid colours, or dresses. I live in jeans and shirts with happy colours and interesting patterns, polka dots, florals and graphic prints.
Perfect Pattern Parcel #1: Lady Skater Dress
The dress came together really quickly. The instructions were clear and straightforward, with oodles of useful information on sewing with knit fabric. I even bought black serger thread to match my fabric! I like the cowl neck collar the best folded over once.
Perfect Pattern Parcel #1: Lady Skater Dress
As for outfitting the Lady Skater dress, I’m obsessed with my moccasin boots. I can’t help it. I wear them with everything! I ordered the very last pair that just happened to be in my size on sale, as a Christmas present from the hubs. They didn’t arrive for over a month, so I woefully thought they weren’t meant to be. Meanwhile, the hubs felt bad and surprised me with a Wacom tablet for Christmas. Then my boots arrived and I have been wearing them ever since!
Perfect Pattern Parcel #1: Lady Skater Dress
As for my mini tutorial, bear in mind that the zippers have some weight, so the collar doesn’t stand up on its own. If you want a stiffer collar, you could back the fabric with fusible interfacing. Otherwise, let’s begin!

Start by measuring your neck opening and using the calculations in the photo, cut your collar pieces. My zippers are from zipit. You can play around with the placement of the zippers, as long as the width measurements will add up using the calculations below (click on the photo to enlarge):
Perfect Pattern Parcel #1: Lady Skater Dress
Using a zipper foot, sew the tops of the zipper down to the backside of the zipper. Trim edges.
Perfect Pattern Parcel #1: Lady Skater Dress
Sew both zippers to the back collar piece first, following the photos below:
Perfect Pattern Parcel #1: Lady Skater Dress
Sew a loose gathering stitch 1/4″ from each length of the front collar piece.
Perfect Pattern Parcel #1: Lady Skater Dress
Your collar should now look like this:
Perfect Pattern Parcel #1: Lady Skater Dress
Baste the bottom of the collar closed and put a pin to mark the centre front & back of both the collar & dress. Pin the collar to the dress, with right sides facing together. Serge or sew together. Reinforce the zipper ends by sewing across the bottom of the zipper, trying to get as close to the metal bottom as possible. I don’t have a clear picture of this (sorry!).
Perfect Pattern Parcel #1: Lady Skater Dress
Et voilà!
Perfect Pattern Parcel #1: Lady Skater Dress
There’s still some time to get your Perfect Pattern Parcel #1 before the sale ends tomorrow! There’s also a rafflecopter giveaway for your chance to win some great prizes.

Thanks for visiting! Be sure to check out what participating bloggers have created with their parcels:

One Little Minute / SeamstressErin Designs / One Girl Circus / casa crafty / the quirky peach / Kadiddlehopper / Sew Caroline / Groovybabyandmama / Fishsticks Designs / the Brodrick blog / verypurpleperson / sew a straight line / Adventures in Dressmaking / true bias / Idle Fancy / La Pantigana / Crafterhours / Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy Crafts / Max California / YoSaMi / la inglesita / Diary of a Chainstitcher / four square walls / Lauren Dahl / Sewbon / mingo & grace / Dandelion Drift / VeryShannon / Sanae Ishida / buzzmills / Sew Jereli / Figgy’s / a happy stitch / Disaster in a Dress / Things for Boys / mama says sew / sew Amy sew / Sew Busy Lizzy / Made With Moxie / imagine gnats

Busy Placemat for Boo (with tutorial)

Boo loves construction trucks, rescue vehicles, trains, airplanes and tools. I used to cringe at the sight of fabric with dump trucks printed all over it. Now I welcome it with excitement for my Boo. His joy cannot be contained at the immediate recognition of the aforementioned objects of his love. I never thought I would know the difference between a backhoe, excavator and grapple skidder.
Busy Placemat for Boo
Anyhoo, one morning, Boo & I were enjoying orange juice and coffee at Peet’s Coffee. To keep Boo from squirming off his chair, I drew him a picture of a neighbourhood, so he could play with his little firetruck on the page and put out the fires I drew. I even drew him a cat in a tree, but really, don’t firemen have better things to do?? It kept him busy for a long time, so I knew I would need to make him one that’s more permanent.

I started with the drawstring bag from the oliver + s book, “little things to sew“. I wanted to make a bag that would be big enough for a placemat, all of the fun pieces and some of Boo’s favourite trucks. As always, this pattern does not disappoint!
Busy Placemat for Boo
A peek inside:
Busy Placemat for Boo
The outside fabric is organic cotton called Shipyard, by Timeless Treasure. The hubs picked it out for Boo in the clearance section, the time we went to Hart’s Fabric in Santa Cruz. The lining fabric is quilting cotton from Jo-Ann.

I made Boo a tool belt with the same fabric a couple of month ago, after I saw him trying to shove some of his tools down his pants. My little handyman won’t stay still for a photo:
Boo's Toolbelt
The placemat is double-sided, one for a grassy green landscape, the other, a construction site surrounded by dirt. I fused the 2 pieces of felt together with Pellon Wonder-Under, which is sort of like double-sided tape. I added an orange triple-stitch around the edges to match the stitching on the drawstring bag.
Busy Placemat for Boo
The rest of the project is made up of felt pieces. All of the pieces have at least 2 layers, fused together with the Wonder-Under. I did this to make the pieces more durable–some of the pieces from Froo’s quiet book are starting to rip and wear down. Also, the double-stick webbing makes the pieces nice and smooth, while still soft, which would not happen if I used glue. I put them in a clear Ziploc bag, making it easy to spot pieces.
Busy Placemat for Boo
Let’s build a little neighbourhood–starting with some roads:
Busy Placemat for Boo
Busy Placemat for Boo
Oh no! There’s a fire at the house! Wee-wOO-WeE-WoO.
Busy Placemat for Boo
I think I’ll need to make a mailbox for one of Boo’s favourite trucks:
Busy Placemat for Boo
Ok, time to build something. Off to the construction site!
Busy Placemat for Boo
Boo loves playing with these decorative marbles. He uses the front loader to scoop them into the dump truck.
Busy Placemat for Boo
Here’s a quick photo tutorial of how to put the felt pieces together. Uh, please learn from my mistakes–I’m not sure how I’m going to clean my iron. Also, it’s a good idea to keep your desk clean, unlike mine, since the felt pieces are small and quick to disappear.
Tutorial: Busy Placemat for Boo
I think this Christmas gift for Boo will be a hit! Nevermind that the perspective is way off, nothing is to scale and my felt pieces are lacking in detail. I think this placemat will keep him busy at a restaurant, which will make going out to eat all the better. Last night, Boo was not happy with his dinner, so he got up and walked to the door saying, “I’m going to drive daddy’s car and go to a restaurant. All. By. Myself.” My not-yet-3-year-old already sounds like a teenager. We got him to finish his dinner after threatening a lump of coal in his stocking.

Some of the presents under the tree had already been “accidentally opened”, so this one will be hidden until the 25th. I’m hoping to get one last handmade gift done before Christmas!
Bartacks and Singletrack : want to go all the way with me?
p.s. The amazing Lightning McStitch of Bartacks and Singletrack, is hosting a challenge to complete all 21 projects from the book! I’ve sewn up 5 projects from the book so far, this being my 6th. I love seeing all of the unique interpretations and the faces of little ones enjoying their handmade goodies. The flickr group is full of wonderful creations from the book!

Datura Blouse + Bias Tape Hem Tutorial

Froo & Boo: Bias Tape and Buttons
Have you ever started a project and never got around to finishing it because of something small, like buttons? Or a bias tape finished hem? Or both? That’s what happened with my Datura blouse.

When I became a contestant for the Super Online Sewing Match, I had to send in a self-portrait. Holy smokes–who knew it would be so hard to find a decent photo of myself? All of the photos I’m in either include Froo or Boo or both. Even finding a photo of just the hubs & me is rare. So I threw on my Datura blouse with an open-flap back/unfinished hem and asked Froo to take a photo of me. This is the photo that ended up on the Sew Mama Sew blog:
Datura Blouse by Deer and Doe Patterns
Does the fabric combination look familiar? I must have been in a creative rut, sewing a shirt for myself using the exact same fabric in a baby girl’s dress:
Roses & Chambray Dress
In a “who wore it best?” contest, my little niece would win hands-down, with 100% of the popular vote. I must have thought it worked so well on her, that it would work on me, too. I was completely outstyled by a baby–I guess that’s why I never got around to finishing the blouse. The weather also cooled down considerably in July, so that might have something to do with it. Excuses!

The Datura blouse pattern is available from the Deer and Doe pattern shop. I think the chambray and country roses are fitting for my first ever French pattern:
Datura Blouse by Deer and Doe Patterns
But nothing is more chic than covered buttons:
Datura Blouse by Deer and Doe Patterns
Yay! My buttons are finished! I took the easy way out and omitted button holes, sewing the buttons straight through both layers. I used size 5/8″ covered buttons to make a dozen buttons, mimicking the look of a wedding gown. C’est romantique, non?

I would delve into the details of sewing construction, but I don’t remember making this blouse. Looking through my past posts, I must have started at the end of June, which isn’t that long ago! I’ll share what I do know:

  1. I made the blouse in size 38 and the fit is parfait.
  2. The instructions are sparse. Par exemple, the instructions read, “Stitch the remaining bias tape as hem facing, at the bottom of the blouse.” No illustrations, no detailed step-by-step dialogue guiding me through my confusion.
  3. I will definitely make it again. Encore!

I thought I would provide a mini bias tape hem facing tutorial, if you’re a visual learner, like me. As a disclaimer, I’m pretty new to bias tape and the method I use is the one that makes the most sense to me. There are oodles of online tutorials on how to make bias tape (I’ll leave you to find your preferred method), but not too many on how to sew a hem facing with bias tape. Even the good ones I’ve found are missing the crucial photo on how to start and finish when hemming with bias tape.

I made some bias tape with quilting cotton from Jo-Ann. I chose to use quilting cotton because it is heavier than chambray, creases better and provides structure. Besides, the dusty aqua with small and squishy polka dots is a fun surprise on the inside of the blouse! I cut 1″ strips on the bias and used the #12 (1/2 inch) Clover bias tape maker. This is what single-fold 1/2″ bias tape looks like:
Datura Blouse Hem Facing Tutorial
My brain looks at that and I immediately think, there are 2 folds, that must be double-fold bias tape. Oh no no no. If you were to take single-fold bias tape and fold it again, in half, that would become double-fold bias tape. So my 1/2″ single-fold bias tape can be transformed into 1/4″ double-fold bias tape:
Datura Blouse Hem Facing Tutorial
Step 1: Leaving a 1/2″ tail, align right side of bias tape on top of the right side of the shirt, a scant 1/4″ from the bottom edge. Pin.Datura Blouse Hem Facing Tutorial
Step 2: Tuck in the tail to align with the edge of the placket. Pin. (My placket is purposely inside out because I liked the look of it better this way.)
Datura Blouse Hem Facing Tutorial
Step 3: Using the fold line as a guide, sew the bias tape onto the shirt. Your stitch line + scant 1/4″ edge should give you less than a 1/2″ seam allowance. Sew until you are about 2″ from the other end of the shirt.
Datura Blouse Hem Facing Tutorial
Step 4: Trim bias tape to leave 1/2″ tail and tuck it in (as in Step 2), then sew down.
Datura Blouse Hem Facing Tutorial
Step 5: Press bias tape up, towards the bottom of the shirt, tucking the edges of the shirt underneath the top fold.
Datura Blouse Hem Facing Tutorial
Step 6: Trim edges as needed. Then press to the inside of the shirt.
Datura Blouse Hem Facing TutorialDatura Blouse Hem Facing Tutorial
Step 7
: Press entire bias strip on fold.
Datura Blouse Hem Facing Tutorial
Step 8
: Starting from the bottom edge, top stitch the bias tape to the placket, then pivot the needle at the corner to top stitch the entire length of the bias tape. (I really should have started on the other side–I had to shove the shirt through the neck of the sewing machine!)
Datura Blouse Hem Facing Tutorial
Datura Blouse Hem Facing Tutorial
Step 9: Press everything in place and admire your work.
Datura Blouse Hem Facing Tutorial
Datura Blouse Hem Facing Tutorial
Step 10: Have someone take photos of you wearing your new Datura blouse. Froo was behind the camera again:
Datura Blouse by Deer and Doe Patterns Datura Blouse by Deer and Doe Patterns
I must admit, I love everything about this blouse! If I had a wee complaint, it would be my lack of bottoms to match–I wear jeans 90% of the time and chambray on denim is just too blue. I haven’t worn these khaki pants in about a year. I kept trying to put my hands in my pockets, but the pockets are horribly shallow.
Datura Blouse by Deer and Doe Patterns
Datura Blouse by Deer and Doe Patterns
When I took off my blouse, Froo poked my belly and asked, “mommy, why do you look like a pumpkin?” I couldn’t stop laughing! Underneath my Datura blouse, hides a pumpkin–I feel a bit like Cinderella. Yet another reason to love the Datura!

Happy Father’s Day!

Happy Father's Day!
The hubs is a difficult person to give gifts to. There are many reasons, of which I am sure are common among most men, but the main reason is that he doesn’t want me to “waste” money on him, insisting he doesn’t need anything and has everything he wants. What he doesn’t realize is that it puts more pressure on me to give him a meaningful gift and robs me the joy of giving gifts (because it really does make me happy). He is slowly learning to graciously accept gifts, especially when the kids are involved.

This morning, the hubs took Froo & Boo to our local doughnut shop for breakfast doughnuts. He usually takes them on the weekend, to give me a bit more time to sleep-in. The last time the hubs went, he told me that the doughnut man said, “see you next week!” I panicked, worried that we were eating too many delightful fried puffs of dough. So I put a stop to the weekly weekend doughnuts. The hubs was sad because he felt like he broke a promise with the doughnut man–who is so nice and gives Froo & Boo free doughnut holes for the car ride home. For Father’s Day, I decided the hubs should mend his relationship with the doughnut man.
Doughnuts for Father's Day
Doughnuts for Father's Day Doughnuts for Father's Day
While my family was out, I made coffee and cleared the surface of the fridge to make room for the hubs’ gift.
Coffee & Doughnuts for Father's Day
Ta da! Shrinky Dinks photo magnets. The hubs likes to collect magnets on our travels, so I thought a couple of personalized magnets would be extra special. The idea was based on this pin, but I came up with my own variation, since the hubs never wears neckties.
Father's Day Shrinky Dinks Magnets Father's Day Shrinky Dinks Magnets
Froo also made her daddy a princess-themed card:
Father's Day Shrinky Dinks Magnets
This was my 2nd attempt at Shrinky Dinks (you can read about my first attempt here)–they turned out much better this time. I left them in the oven for a full 6 minutes before pulling them out and flattening them down with a spatula. They pop out a bit more on Froo’s pink magnet board:
Father's Day Shrinky Dinks Magnets
Since the Shrinky Dinks sheet is printed using an inkjet printer, I tried to fill up my entire sheet before printing and made a couple of square photo magnets of the hubs birthday several weeks ago and small keychains. The circles started off at around 1.5″ in diameter, but ended up a mere 1/2″ circle. Very tiny–just like Froo & Boo when they were newborns:
Father's Day Shrinky Dinks Keychains
Father's Day Shrinky Dinks Keychains
I used Photoshop to edit my photos and add text–making it much easier than writing out my message on paper. I erased the background around each of our heads, but it wasn’t necessary to get it really fine since they were cut out afterwards. A screenshot of my layout on a letter size document at 300 pixels/inch:
Shinky Dinks Photoshop Layout
It’s important to lighten the photos drastically. You can see how the washed out photos in the before photo results in normal looking colours in the after photo:
Shrinky Dinks - Before Shrinky Dinks - After
A HUGE Happy Father’s Day to my dad (Haboji) and my dad-in-law (Yeye)! We love you so much! Froo & Boo are incredibly lucky to have you both in their lives.

Froo & Boo are excited to have their daddy at home, after he spent an entire week in Las Vegas for a nerd conference. I am relieved and thankful that he is home–these 2 boogers require oodles of energy! I hope you have a very Happy Father’s Day!
Froo & Boo Father's Day

The “half” handmade hostess gift

* This post was pre-written at the beginning of December when I was making handmade Christmas gifts that I wanted to keep a surprise. We are now back home in the SF bay area after spending 3 weeks in Vancouver. I’m itching to start sewing again–it’s been so long! *

The older I get, the more I appreciate useful gifts. When I was younger, my dad once came home from a Korean golf tournament with a box of instant noodles for hitting a hole-in-one. The big prizes were: laundry detergent, sacks of rice and the most prized, gallons of sesame oil. For participating, everyone went home with bars of soap or toothpaste. I never understood why the prizes couldn’t be more interesting. But I get it now–unless something is going to be used in the home, it becomes useless.

After our big move, we got rid of a lot of “stuff” and I am trying to do with as little new “stuff” as possible. I still love shopping, I’m just a whole lot pickier and much less sentimental. Unfortunately, handmade gifts usually fall under the “sentimental” category. So this post will try to explain how my brain works at coming up with ideas for useful handmade gifts.

These are the 3 kitchen towels we own. Old, dingy and gross. I definitely need new ones. I’m not sure why we always have all 3 out at the same time–on laundry day, we have no kitchen towels. Hmm… maybe I should make some.
Kitchen Towels
Ok, why make my own kitchen towels when there are perfectly good ones at Williams-Sonoma? The towels cost $19.99 for 4. To purchase, cut and hem terry cloth fabric, there is no reason for a cost-benefit analysis here–it’s a no-brainer. Besides, the towels have an amazing texture, they’re absorbent and lint-free.
Williams-Sonoma Towels
Ooooh, look at this lovely fabric on sale at fabric.com (both by Michael Miller: “Retro Put a Lid on It” in nite blue and “Sorbet French Toast” in agua–now sold out.). These prints make me want to drink coffee in pretty cups. But wait, I don’t need it. Maybe I can add a border to the bottom of the Williams-Sonoma towel. I should go to the mall to pick some up. Oh my, the towels come in navy blue, too! SOLD!
Fabric for Kitchen Towels
I love my new kitchen towels! I should make some for Mama & Yeye for hosting us over the Christmas holidays–I can never find a towel in their kitchen. I should make some for my parents, whose towels are older than mine. I should make lots and lots!
Half Handmade Kitchen Towels
Half Handmade Kitchen Towels
Half Handmade Kitchen Towels
I’m so glad I didn’t make my own towels! These ones even come with a loop to hook onto the inside of the pantry door.
Half Handmade Kitchen Towels
Hey, who’s that cutie peaking at me? I better close the door before he comes looking for snacks.
Half Handmade Kitchen Towels
So that is what goes through my mind. How to make them? Super easy, trust me.

  1. Measure the width of your towel. Optional: prewash towels and fabric.
  2. Cut a piece of fabric 5″ high x (width of your towel + 1″). Optional: serge or zigzag edges. 
  3. Iron all sides down 1/2″ so the edges are tucked inside.
  4. Pin fabric to the bottom of the towel. I kept a small border of the towel showing around the edges.
  5. Top stitch the fabric onto the towel.
  6. Make 11 more.

Great gift for anyone with a kitchen, really. It can also be combined with a bunch of other useful kitchen things like nice-smelling hand soap, cooking utensils or a cookbook. For my in-laws and parents, I combined the 2 kitchen towels with Trader Joe’s Fresh Linen Scent Anti-bacterial Hand Soap, Peet’s Holiday Blend Coffee and Ghiradelli Peppermint Bark with Dark Chocolate. All 100% useful gifts (especially the last one).
Half Handmade Kitchen Towel

Sweet Photo Advent Calendar Tutorial (0 Calories!)

Disneyland
It has been a busy weekend! The Froo & Boo family spent American Thanksgiving at Disneyland in Anaheim. It was my first time at the original Disneyland. I’ve been to Disneyland in Paris and Tokyo–years ago, long before I developed my coffee addiction. It was my first time at Disneyland with kids. Froo & Boo were awesome! They enjoyed the characters, sights and rides–all without a single meltdown. The hubs & I are utterly exhausted. I am running a major sleep deficit–must budget more time to sleep. But there are handmade Christmas gifts to be made. What to do?

This is the one photo of Boo with the Perry the Platypus stuffy that we bought him before he dropped it on the ground 10 minutes later, nowhere to be found. We checked the Lost & Found office to see if anyone had turned it in. I filled out a form, without a hope of seeing Perry again.
Perry the Platypus as Agent P
This afternoon, I received this in the mail:
Perry the Platypus
Yay Disney!

Now for my photo advent calendar. I do paper crafts, too. I used to make really detailed cards and scrapbooks. Now I prefer the quick and easy crafts that I can do with Froo. So I decided to make an advent calendar that Froo could help me make. I realize that this tutorial is a little late, but seriously, where did the month go??

Here are the supplies you’ll need:

  • A 12″x12″ photo (crop a photo into a square, or use an Instagram photo and send it online to Costco.com, pick it up 2 hours later for only $2.99!)
  • A 12″x12″ cardstock scrapbook size piece of paper
  • A ruler & level
  • Acid-free photo safe glue stick
  • Scissors or paper cutter
  • Wall mounting putty
  • Stamping ink pads (I used red & white)
  • Pencils with erasers on the end
  • Number stamps (I got mine at Target from the Curiosity Shoppe line)

Photo Advent Calendar Supplies
Step 1
Draw gridlines using a light pencil on the scrapbook paper. Since there are 25 days to Christmas, you’ll need 5 columns x 5 rows of equal width and height. That works out to 2.4 inches, or roughly 6 cm. After drawing your gridline, stamp your numbers from right-to-left using the red ink. Follow the diagram below:
Photo Advent Calendar
I stamped it the wrong way and got terrible results. I’m fine with it since we are leaving for Vancouver on the 15th and will not get to complete our advent calendar anyways. So I am leaving it up with the complete photo showing.

Step 2
Using the eraser on the end of the pencil, stamp the ink pad gently and fill your page with confetti dots. Froo is a lefty.
Photo Advent Calendar
Step 3
Glue your photo to the back of the scrapbook page. Using your scissors or paper cutter, cut along the gridlines. Then using the wall mounting putty, place each number square on the wall. (I bought the Staples brand, which I find to be super sticky. I usually use the blue one, which I much prefer, but I couldn’t find it.) Use the level to make sure your pieces are not crooked. Optional: create a mini bunting by cutting tiny triangles out of washi tape. It is safe on walls and easy to remove.
Photo Advent Calendar
Step 4
Here is the fun part–turn over one square every day until you reach the 25th of December. Your picture should slowly start to reveal itself. This would be a really fun surprise for Froo & Boo if they hadn’t seen the original photo to begin with. And that’s it! A quick and easy advent calendar without all the sugary sweets.
Photo Advent Calendar
The countdown is on. I cannot believe we are quickly approaching Christmas! I am used to having Canadian Thanksgiving at the beginning of October, with oodles of time until Christmas. I am feeling very rushed, especially since we are going home for the holidays!

Why cutting fabric is like playing Tetris

I hardly ever follow the recommended pattern placements for cutting fabric. I like the challenge of figuring out how to minimize fabric waste. So I rearrange pattern pieces, keeping the grainline and fabric prints in mind, until I am completely satisfied that I have wasted the least amount of fabric possible. All those years of playing Tetris have somehow paid off. Although it does slow down the sewing process–it usually takes me several days to finally cut my pieces.

So imagine my disappointment after finishing my Wiksten Tova in Nani Iro and my fabric remnant looked like this:

Since the confetti-dot print is heavily saturated in the middle of the fabric and gets more sporadic and non-existent near the selvedges, I had a hard time thinking up a project for the remnant. After staring at the fabric, I realized I could make an infinity scarf! I made one using this tutorial last Christmas for my mother-in-law and really liked the drape and look of the scarf. I wouldn’t call this post a “tutorial” because I used Anna Maria Horner’s original tutorial, but just a step-by-step process on how I made my version.

Again, to minimize waste, I simply cut out a rectangular-ish shape by cutting straight lines.

One side is completely uneven, but as a wrapped scarf, it doesn’t even matter. The one important thing that I forgot to do was to make sure each end is the same width. (You’ll see why later on.) The total length of the fabric was about 62″. At its widest point it was 12″.

After cutting out the rectangle, I flipped the fabric over so the right sides were facing each other. I pinned it together to hold it in place. I don’t always use pins, but with such a long continuous piece, it’s a good idea so the fabric top doesn’t shift too much while sewing.

I put a small marking 1/2″ from each end and on both sides. This is an important step! Do not start sewing from the edge, but instead, start and finish sewing at your markings.

I sewed both sides with a 1/4″ seam allowance.

I then finished the cut edge with a zig zag stitch. I dream of the day that I have a serger to finish my seams! After zigzagging the edges together, I cut off the frayed bits and pieces, being careful not to cut into my stitches. I love my quilted fabric notebook that I got from a hand-printed textile shop in India.

The next couple of steps require ironing, my least favourite task. I wear wrinkly shirts all the time, just to avoid ironing. My ironing board is wretched, so I covered it with some cute fabric. Here are the steps: 1. Press seams. 2. Flip right-side out and press seams flat to one side. 3. With seams on the very edge, press both sides together.

Then I pressed one end 1/2″ back, right-sides facing together. This was done on both ends. Then the 2 unpressed ends are pinned together and sewn, making sure that there are no twisty loops in the scarf.

So here’s where I messed up. If both ends were the same width, the edges would line up perfectly. Instead, I had one end wider than the other. So I folded a pleat in the centre. Since this seam will be worn at the nape of my neck, I figured it wouldn’t be such an obvious mistake.

After I sewed the ends together, I zigzagged the edges together and zigzagged each open end individually.

Now for some more ironing. Ugh. Here are the steps: 1. Press sewn seams and one end to the inside of the tube. 2. Using the pressed line as a guide for a fold line, press the other side while tucking in the edge. 3. I realize now that this is just step 2 with the iron at a different angle.

Almost done! Now for the top-stitching. The original tutorial calls for hand-stitching, which is my 2nd to least favourite task. So I went ahead and machine stitched it altogether. The stitching on the backside mostly fell in between the seams and doesn’t look too horrible. In the pictures below, you’ll notice that I inverted the outside pleat. This was not intended. Oops.

Finally, some photos of me wearing the scarf. The first one as a single loop.

This one shows the scarf wrapped twice around my neck. Super soft. Super lightweight. Super cozy, without being too warm. Perfect for the SF bay area.

A close-up. You can’t even tell that one side is uneven.

I made a couple of blunders, but take a look at this:

From 2 yards of fabric, I only have a couple of itty bitty scraps left! These scraps are going into a scrap bin, of course. I’m not sure what they will become, but as in Tetris, it is completely satisfying to clear every last brick.