Halloween · Halloween costume · kids clothing · Kids fashion · Pattern Hack · pdf patterns · sewing · Tortoise · Uncategorized

Tortoise Costume

I briefly was a part of Raspberry Creek Fabrics blogger team (and absolutely LOVED IT!) I wanted to share it here as well. This has somewhat been edited since I originally wrote it. All photos and writing are my own.

Hello, I’m so thrilled to share my sons costume for Halloween (2021) with all of you. My son has been turtle obsessed for a couple of years now and has wanted one as a pet for just as long. Well, this past July we finally decided to add a baby sulcata tortoise to our family. We are all absolutely smitten with him or her (we won’t know gender until around 4 years of age). Of course, that only made his love for turtles grow more.

When I asked both my kids last month what they wanted to be this year I was not at all surprised when my son said tortoise. My mind immediately started to ponder ideas on how I could make this happen for him. I mostly couldn’t wrap my head around how I could create the shell while still allowing it to have volume and dimension. I took to google first to see if I could find any tutorials, that turned up no luck. I saw this as a challenge accepted, I would take this opportunity to try something new and really get my creativity flowing. 

I absolutely love RCF fabrics so I wanted to check what taupe/light brown shades they had available in the shop that would work for my vision. The khaki tan french terry fit the bill perfectly. All RCF french terry always amazes me with how soft and cushy it feels, my son was getting his dream costume but would also be so incredibly comfortable!! (Win, win!)

Once I decided on fabric, I moved onto what patterns I wanted to use as my base. For the pants I immediately thought of the Drew Joggers from Petite Stitchery Co. The rouching detail option perfectly depicts our little torts cute wrinkly legs. For the top I knew I wanted to attach the shell to a hoodie, I went with the Hannah from Sonia Estep Designs (which has since been discontinued) and used the crossover hood option from the add on pack. 

Rouching detail on the drew joggers.

For the base of the tortoise shell, I did a standard oval. Now, let me note that I have a projector and I have found that I love using it for more than just projecting patterns. I also have a Cricut, so I used design space to make an oval in the shape I wanted and projected it onto my cut mat, over the back bodice, to visualize how large I wanted it. Once I determined the size I wanted the oval to be, I cut it out. I then lined up the back bodice of the hoodie and centered the oval over that with right sides together. To secure the two I used wash away wonder tape, then measured 1.5” from the edge of the shell and sewed all the way around using a zig zag stitch. (You don’t want to sew too close to the edge or you’ll interfere with the remainder of the hoodie construction) 

Next, we’re going to work on the top of the shell. To make sure we can add volume but keep the sides at a 1:1 ratio you’re going to measure the circumference of the oval. I marked the top center and bottom center and measured the distance between those two points which came to 27.5”. You’re then going to make two half circles, the straight line being the measurement you got for your oval. The fun part is you now get to decide how large you want your shell to be, there’s no wrong answer here. Once you’ve made your two half circles, you’re going to use your serger or sewing machine to sew the two half circles on the curved edge right sides together. (I used a 1/4” seam allowance)

Half circles cut out.

Before attaching the top of the shell to the base I decided it would be easiest to add the scutes (the darker plates on the top of the shell) first. There are a few ways you can do this, you can use a fabric marker and draw them on, use another color of fabric and sew them onto the shell, you can use an embroidery machine, or use HTV (heat transfer vinyl). For my muslin I used fabric markers. While it didn’t look terrible a friend mentioned it gave Teenage mutant ninja turtle vibes and I must agree with her. The fabric marker was also inconsistent and didn’t give full coverage. So, I decided to go for HTV. I went back to my Cricut design space and made a mockup of the shell so I could play around with how I wanted my scutes to look. I found that using a standard hexagon shape but narrowing the height and bringing out the width it gave the look I was going for. After completing my mockup, I used my Cricut to print out the scutes in pieces. (With the round shape it would be very difficult to have it all in one piece) 

I started by finding the center of the shell and using a pin to mark it. I also marked the center points of the first scute I wanted to place and lined the two up. After adhering the first scute I worked from top to bottom then moving my way outward. This step was by far the most challenging. It took time and patience to ensure I didn’t iron on the htv with a crease in the fabric.

Now that the scutes are finished we are going to attach the upper shell to the base shell.  I’d like to note that before doing so I made a small little tail by cutting out two narrow triangle pieces out of the main fabric and one out of fusible interfacing. Once my tail was put together, I basted it to the right side of the shell base with the flat edge to the edge of the shell (you don’t want to cut off your tail!) You’re then going to sew the two shell pieces sides together. This means your back bodice will be sandwiched between the two. I marked the top and bottom center points of the base and matched the top shell pieces center points. Before stitching you’ll need to decide how you’d like to enclose your shell, (remember you still need to turn right side out, so you need to leave a small opening!) you can ladder stitch or use an invisible zipper. I went for an invisible zipper in a similar color so I could remove the poly filling for washes.

After turning the shell right side out, I then used a zig zag stitch and sewed around the entire shell to add detail and try to mimic what an actual tortoise shell looks like. My stitches are ¾” long and about 1” spaced apart.

Close view of the stitches around the entire shell.

Next you will finish construction of the hoodie pattern you chose before moving onto filling the shell. During construction of the hood, I added eyes and nostrils using black htv. If you have an embroidery machine, I think that would look even better! Sadly, I don’t have one yet. Finally, you’ll fill your shell with poly fill and sew it closed if you left an opening. Now we’re done! My son is absolutely in love with how it turned out and has asked to wear it whenever possible. I can’t wait for him to show it off to everyone this Halloween. 

Thanks for joining me today!

Until next time,

Afton

This post may contain affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase through this link, I may get a % at no additional cost to you. Thank you! Happy creating!

kids clothing · Kids fashion · sewing · St. Patrick's Day

If you’re happy and you know it!

Cue the kazoo music, okay but seriously, thank you so much to those who reached out to me about my last blog post. You seriously touched my heart and made my day. Now onto today’s topic. I always look forward to Raspberry Creek Fabrics holiday fabrics, the designers are amazing and they’re always offering something unique. My most recent order from them consisted of Valentine’s, St. Patrick’s, and Easter fabrics. Since I started sewing clothing for my family, it has truly become a tradition to sew them a new top for every holiday. Okay, not every holiday, but several of them. I had a very productive week sewing together 3 tops for each of my children and a pair of leggings for my daughter. I’m going to start by sharing my children’s St. Patrick’s Day hoodies because well, that’s what they wanted to wear to school today. As I stated in my last post, we now live in the state of New York. (No not the city, the suburbs) although both my kids love to call New York the “big apple.” This means that we have more cold months than warm months. (Huge Bummer!!) It also means that I can’t do cute bubble shorts or tanks quite yet. I had to remind myself of this when ordering from RCF and planning out patterns I was going to use. I so desperately wanted to make Ellie a pair of bubble shorts for her Easter outfit, because omg little girls in bubble shorts. ADORABLE! Then back to reality, it will most likely still be pants weather come Easter. Oh right, back to St. Patrick’s Day.

Like I said, cue the kazoo music. My son got a kazoo in his music class yesterday, so we’ve been humming tunes since.

I almost always let my kids pick out their own fabrics, coincidentally they both picked out fabrics from the Happy Paddy collection by Bri Powell. My son immediately said, “the dinosaur!” as soon as he started looking. I mean a t-rex wearing a leprechaun hat, how creative and fun! My daughter chose the smiley faces for herself. Aside from the yellow cuff ribbing (which is from Bow Button Fabrics) all of the fabric bases are French terry for these projects. The pattern I chose is the Be Creative hoodie from Ellie and Mac patterns. Ellie and Mac are the true champion when it comes to color block patterns! I love to color block; it just adds a whole new creative aspect to any pattern.

I chose a panel for the front bodice of both hoodies, I also used the retro stripes (which do look so retro, makes me think 70’s) as the top color blocking for both the front and back. I didn’t want Tayln’s hoodie to be too much t-rex so that’s why I continued the stripes for his sleeves. Ellie’s on the other hand, I felt would look better with the smiley faces for her sleeves. While nothing is wrong with having too much t-rex or any of one pattern for that matter, it’s just not the look I was going for. I really wanted each fabric design to stand out in their own way. This is the third year I have included the solid Kelly green into their St. Patrick’s Day tops. This has never been intentional, it’s just that perfect bright green that you think of when you think St. Patrick’s. Then again, that solid has always been included in the fabric design we pick every year, so really, I’m just trying to match. LOL. Although, I may make a point to make using Kelly green as a tradition, because why not?!

I have made Tayln a Be Creative Hoodie once before, with that one I did a plain hood with no grommets, drawstring etc. This time around I wanted to give it a shot. While I have worked with grommets several times, I’d never done patches. Now I know this is such a simple addition, it still adds extra detail to the hood which I love. I used my best friend, aka wash-a-way wonder tape to keep the patches secure while I stitched them into place. Typically, I make my own drawstrings for projects using fabric, this time I used a black polyester cable/pillow cord from Wawak. I initially planned to use a similar white polyester cable/pillow cord, but I didn’t pay enough attention to the size difference and when it arrived, I was shocked, it’s twice the size of the black and just makes me think of a rope you’d use to tie back your drapes. So black it was, and what a happy accident it turned out to be because it really brings out the black in the print, specifically the smiley faces.

It never seizes to amaze me at how a simple yard of fabric can become whatever you dream it to be. I think that’s it for this blog post, I hope you enjoy it! Always be true and always be you. (My new mantra for myself, but that’s for another time)

Until next time,

Afton

This post may contain affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase through this link, I may get a % at no additional cost to you. Thank you! Happy creating!

Uncategorized

Valentine’s hoodies with heart pocket hack

Happy Tuesday everyone! I’m super excited to share one of my most recent makes with all of you! Last year I made my daughter a hoodie with a heart pocket for valentine’s day and wanted to include the same hack again for both kiddos! It’s a super simple and fast hack and I’ll share how I did it below.

For both of my kids I used the Tami hoodie from Pattern Niche, the only differences being the hoods. My son’s the standard hood, my daughter’s the double hood with drawstring. (I’ve learned over the years that my son can’t have drawstrings on his garments as they make their way into his mouth) All fabrics came from Raspberry Creek Fabrics; the prints are part of this year’s Valentine’s collection and will be available until Valentine’s Day.

For this hack you can use any top or hoodie pattern that you prefer. First, you’ll cut all your pattern pieces as the tutorial indicates. Once you have all of your pieces cut out you can set everything aside except the front bodice. You’ll want to use a pin/clip or fabric pen to mark the center bottom of your front bodice piece.

Now we get to move onto the heart pocket! At this time, you’ll decide the size you want to have the heart pocket. I jumped on the projector train last year for cutting out my pdf patterns. That being said I’ve found it very useful for more than just cutting. I’m a very visual person, so I placed my front bodice on my cut mat and projected a heart over the top and played with the sizing. One thing to note, if you choose to do this and aren’t using a program like adobe that allows you to set the scale. This is perfectly fine if you’re just planning to trace the projected image though!

I used Cricut Design Space to print out my heart on cardstock so I could have a hard copy. (If you do it this way, make sure to measure the heart that’s projected over your bodice and adjust the size. (The one in design space will be much larger than the image projected) After I got my heart cut out, I folded it in half and placed it on the fold of the fabric I was using.

Grab your front bodice piece and use that mark you made for the center bottom to line the heart up. Also take this time to take into consideration seam allowance or hem allowance. You do not want to line up the bottom of your heart with the bottom of your bodice, when it comes time to hem or add a band that part of the heart will be hidden. I just eye bawled this, it doesn’t need to be exact. Once you’ve determined the center bottom is lined up, grab a ruler and make sure the whole heart is aligned in the center.

Example of aligning the heart with the center.

Yay, our heart is lined up! Before we stitch, we need to do more things. First, we need to secure our heart in place so there’s no shifting while sewing. You can do this by using pins, or I like to use Wash away wonder tape. I use wash away wonder tape for nearly every single project I make. It works just like double sided tape, then washes away when you wash your garment.

The second step we need to do is use a fabric marker to mark where you want your pocket opening to be. If you’re omitting a pocket and just want it to be an accent, you’re free to sew the heart in place! To mark my pocket opening I used my ruler again to make sure that the openings on both sides lined up with the other. How large you want the opening will depend on the wearers size. My sons pocket openings are slightly larger than my daughters because he’s bigger.

All that’s left is to is stitch down the heart to the bodice. Make sure to stitch as close to the edge as possible, and don’t stitch closed your pocket openings! Assemble the rest of your top or hoodie as indicated in the instructions and you’re done! My kids both love their new hoodies, more specifically my son. Once he realized that the heart was a pocket, he told me I was the best and coolest mom! Mom win! I hope I inspired you today!

Afton

This post may contain affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase through this link, I may get a % at no additional cost to you. Thank you! Happy creating!