Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sewing Tutorial: Custom Flared Skirt

Sewing Tutorial: How to create a custom skirt pattern that fit's almost anyoneI am always excited when somebody requests a custom project. It makes me extra happy when it's my own child. Her request, a superhero skirt with her favorite Marvel characters. Apparently she had seen the fabric on one of our recent trips to Jo-Ann.

The skirt hangs 17 1/2 inches from the waist and the pattern can be modified to fit just about anyone. I used 100% cotton quilting fabric. There are so many color and pattern choices available, you are sure to find the perfect print whether it's princesses, ponies or superheros.


  • 24 x 24 inch piece of paper
  • pen or pencil
  • ruler
  • sewing tape measure
  • 1 1/2 - 2 1/2 yards of fabric
  • 2 yds of 2-inch wide elastic
  • sewing supplies (scissors, pins, thread, sewing machine, iron)
  • disappearing ink fabric marker (optional)


To make my design, I reverse engineered one of my daughter's other skirts. Here's how...
We'll start by drawing the pattern. You can use pen or pencil. I used markers just so it would photograph better.

Fold your paper in half and then open it up again. The pattern piece is symmetrical, so this creates a nice center line.

Now you'll need to do a little math, but don't worry.
Measure the hips of the person you are making the skirt for and add one inch. (For me it was 39 + 1 = 40) That's the number you will be using for the hip dimension.

Draw a rectangle at the top of your pattern that’s 5 inches long and (1/8 x hip) + 1 inch wide.

(The one inch here is for 1/2 inch seam allowance for each side.)

Make sure your rectangle is centered on the fold. It will make things easier later.
Next, draw a 17 1/2 inch line from the bottom of the waist, down the center fold line.

At the bottom of that line, draw a perpendicular line that's twice as wide as the waist line at the top.
Draw in lines that connect the bottom edge to the bottom of the waist band.
If you want your skirt to flare a little bit, add a slight curve to the sides of the pattern between the bottom of the waist and the bottom of the skirt.

Fold your paper in half again and cut out the pattern piece.
Before you cut the fabric, make sure to wash, dry and iron it. Fold the fabric in half, lengthwise.

There are a couple different ways you can lay out your pattern pieces depending on the width of your pattern pieces.

For wider skirts, lay one pattern piece on the fabric and another folded in half along the fabric fold.
For thinner skirts you may be able to fit two pattern pieces side by side, slightly staggered.

Cut out 8 fabric pieces.
Once you have your 8 pieces cut, you can begin assembling the skirt.

Pin two pieces, right sides together, and stitch along the side using a 1/2 inch allowance. Repeat the process to attach the remaining six pieces.

Do not sew the first piece to the last piece yet.
You may also want to serge or do a zig zag stitch along the seams so the edges don't fray.

Press the seams to one side.
Next, you'll create the waistband. Press the waist edge of the skirt over 1/2 inch, wrong sides together.
Now fold over 2 1/2 inches, press and pin. Stitch around 1/4 inch from the bottom of the waistband.

Measure your skirt recipient's waist and cut the elastic one inch shorter that their measured waist.
Insert the elastic into the waistband so that 1/2 inch sticks out on either end. Pin the elastic in place.
Pin the first and last pieces of the skirt, right sides together, and stitch using a  1/2 inch allowance.

Try on the skirt to ensure that the waist fits properly. If the skirt is too tight or too loose, you can easily open up the seam along the waistband and make adjustments.

Trim the elastic and serge or zig zag stitch along the seam if desired.
All that's left is the hem. You may notice that there are little points at the bottom of each seam. Trim them off.

The skirt has a 3/4 inch hem.
The easiest way to do this is to draw a line 1 1/2 inches from the bottom edge of the fabric with disappearing ink.
Fold the edge of the fabric up to the line, wrong sides together, and press. Then fold the fabric one more time, press, pin, and stitch.

A customized skirt is sure to put a smile on any girl's face!

Sewing Tutorial: How to create a custom skirt pattern that fit's almost anyone

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Recipe: Four Layer Coconut Cake

Recipe: Four Layer Coconut Cake for birthdays, Easter or other special occasionsWhen I think of April, I think of coconut cake. I have made this cake once a year for the last 20 years. In fact, I bought my Tupperware cake container specifically for this cake. It's my mother-in-law's recipe and my husbands favorite cake. It's a great for celebrations like birthdays but would also be a delicious finale for an Easter dinner or other special occasions.

Now, those of you who know me, also know that I am not the cook in the house. So, I'll admit that in the early years of our marriage, I took a shortcut and made this as a two layer cake instead of four. The cake still tastes the same, but even I can appreciate that adding those extra two layers just fills the cake with love and it's worth the effort.


  • white cake mix
  • 7 oz flake coconut
  • 1 1/2 c sugar
  • 16 oz sour cream
  • 4 oz Cool Whip


Bake two, round 8 or 9-inch cakes according to the package directions. Remove the cakes from the pan and let them cool completely.

Place the cakes in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Remove the cakes from the freezer and use a bread knife to carefully cut each cake in half horizontally.
For the filling, combine the coconut, sugar and sour cream. Set aside one cup of the filling.
Place the first layer of the cake on a dish and spread 1/3 of the filling over the cake. Add the second layer and top with filling, then the third layer and the last of the filling. Place the fourth layer on the top.
For the frosting, mix 4 oz Cool Whip with the reserved 1 cup of filling.

Frost the top and sides of the cake.

Cover and refrigerate the cake for at least 6 hours before serving.

Invite your friends over, blow up some balloons and it's a party!

Recipe: Four Layer Coconut Cake for birthdays, Easter or other special occasions

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Crafty Saturday Show and Sell #14

As I was perusing the items from last week's link-up, I was drawn to the pretty notecards. Call me old fashioned, but I like sending and receiving notes in the mail. It's exciting to get something besides advertisements and bills in the mailbox every once in awhile. Believe it or not, I even have a pen pal who lives in Finland. I'll have to share more about that story soon.

6 Seagulls Notecards by CarolaBartz
Antique Bottles Notecards by AnnaRobertsArt
If you'd like to see more of my favorites, check out my Facebook, Twitter, Google+Wanelo and Crafty Saturday Show and Sell Pinterest board.

Also, I hope you’ll take a moment to share this Crafty Saturday post with your friends on Facebook, Twitter or Google+. The more, the merrier. It’s quick and easy with the share buttons on the top left side of the page.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Product Review: Glu6 and Recycled School Glue

Product Review: Glu 6 and Recycled School Glue by Nine Lives ProductsIf you've been hanging around here for long, you already know that I enjoy upcycling projects. Turning something that could be considered trash into something useful or pretty is a fantastic achievement! That's why I was very curious when I received an e-mail from Nine Lives Products asking me if I would like to sample their product. It's glue made from styrofoam. I loved the idea, so I was excited to give the glue a try.

Glu6 is made from those big blocks of styrofoam, like the ones packed around TV's and small appliances. Then it's mixed with plant-based ingredients that dissolve and shrink the styrofoam. The result, a gooey glue that dries clear and it smells like citrus. Science is awesome!

I received three types of glue: craft paste, non-porous glue and recycled school glue and couldn't wait to start crafting.

Crafts I have made with Glu6 recycled styrofoam glue

First, I used the craft paste to create paper beads that turned out lovely. I was even able to give them a shiny finish by coating them with a layer of the non-porous glue.

I also used the craft paste to make Christmas card ornaments. Again, I was very pleased with how the paste worked on paper.

I used the non-porous glue to create bottle cap magnets. I previously used hot glue when making bottle cap magnets and always end up singeing my fingers. Ouch! Then, over time, the hot glue usually peels away from the bottle cap, adding insult to injury. My Glu6 magnets, however, have held up for months and not separated.

Another project I now use the non-porous glue for is fairy garden houses. In the past I used silicone glue to stick the little metal doors to the clay houses, which works fine, but smells terrible when you apply it. Instead, I tried the Glu6 when I made the prototype for a class I am teaching in a few weeks. It worked perfectly and my students won't get headaches from the silicone fumes when we make them.

Recently, I used the recycled school glue to make paper flowers and a paper flower ornament out of magazine pages. They are a lovely way to celebrate Earth Day later this month.

Overall, I was very happy with all three varieties of Glu6. All of them have held my projects together well. I also like that all three dry clear so you don't have to worry if you are a little sloppy. You should know that a little of this glue goes a long way. I'm also happy that the craft paste and non-porous glue are now available on Amazon as well as the Nine Lives Products site.

I would recommend using the craft paste for big paper projects and the recycled school glue for more delicate ones. The craft paste's wooden applicator made it easy to evenly cover a large surface with glue. Whereas the nozzle on the school glue made it easier to apply more precisely to small areas.

How to clean the nozzle of Glu6 non-porous glue

The one concern I had about the non-porous craft was that the tip clogged up. I'll admit, it could have been user error. I didn't close the tip after using the glue and everything got gunked up. Fortunately, I discovered that the clear outer lid actually pops off if you pull it a bit. Then you can just use a pin or toothpick to remove any dried glue from the inner portion of the tip.

Many thanks to the folks at Nine Lives Products for the samples and for creating an effective and useful product that reduces waste in the landfills!

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