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 · Uncategorized · Valentine's Day

I’m a sucker for you.

Or maybe lollipop, lollipop, I can’t decide. Either way I’ve been singing both songs in my head since we took photos.

Let me back up a little bit, yesterday my kids school district called a snow day due to an incoming storm. However, you’ll see this was unnecessary when you notice a lack of snow in our photos. I understand they were erring on the side of caution because the weather can be unpredictable. As I’ve mentioned in the past both of my kids have special needs. One of those needs is speech therapy (my son has apraxia of speech, and my daughter is suspected to have it.) Wednesday is our speech day, typically it’s after school but because of school closures our speech therapist reached out to us inviting us to come earlier in the day as the worst of the storm was expected to come in the afternoon. (Still, not very eventful here. Although I’m not mad about it. I hate the cold.) We accepted this offer, at first, I was extremely disappointed to hear about this “snow day” as both kids missed Monday, and my son missed Tuesday due to illnesses. I didn’t want them missing another day of school and I honestly needed a break now that they were feeling better. Then with more thought I turned a negative into a positive, we could spend time together having fun (we also went shopping to spend some Christmas gift cards of theirs) and, bonus, I could grab some photos and video of their new Valentine’s Day tops.

I had Tayln and Ellie wear their V-DAY shirts to speech therapy so we could try to grab photos afterwards. Speech is about 15 minutes away and because of this I’m still learning that area. After speech I decided to scope out the surrounding area for a place that could make for a great background. Much to my luck just up the road was a beautiful pond with a gazebo overlooking it. I pulled into the small dirt parking lot and asked my kids what they thought. They both agreed that it looked fun, so we unloaded from the car and headed towards the gazebo. It was so serene, and I could see it become a sanctuary to just be lost in thought and enjoy nature. To add to the excitement there were a handful or two of ducks swimming around in the pond. My kids were both so tickled and this brought my daughter to forget why we were there in the first place and just wanted to look at the ducks. My son on the other hand was like, okay, we’re here for pictures can we do that first then enjoy the ducks? Because it’s still winter and it’s cold. These ducks must be fed by visitors often, as they continued to follow us wherever we went, my kids thought that this was the coolest thing. My son started spouting all the information he had on ducks, how the males are called drakes and they are the ones that are green and brown. The females are primarily brown with black specks. I was so amazed by his knowledge of this! Okay, anyway….

My son’s choice of fabric was this red and black multi-stripe from Raspberry Creek Fabrics which is part of the “For You” collection for Valentine’s Day 2023. I showed him the adorable panel that would pair with it and said yes, I now opt for the adult panels for Tayln. We chose French Terry for the fabric base to make sure he would be warm and cozy. I’m a sucker for Bow Button Fabric’s ribbing (see what I did there), so that is what I used for the neckband, cuffs and waistband. The ribbing she carries has a great stretch and recovery and it holds a press SO WELL! Sav’s sweatshirt from Greenstyle Creations is my all-time favorite slouchy sweatshirt for adults and kids. Tayln is usually between sizes in all patterns because he is extremely slender but also very tall for his age. For this pattern he was between size 7 and 8, I chose to make a straight size 8 since this pattern is already intended to be slouchy and oversized. When he first tried this on, he was unsure about it and in his words thought it “looked girly.” I reassured him that a girl or boy could pull it off and that he looked very handsome in it. This made him feel much better about wearing it. What do you think? Doesn’t he look so handsome and very cozy?

My daughter was a complete spit fire when it came to taking these photos. As I stated before, she saw the ducks and that was all she cared about. After my son finished his pictures, I pulled a lollipop out of my pocket to give to him as a thank you for taking pictures. (The pictures are for me; they could care less about them.) This caught Ellie’s attention rather quickly. “WAIT! YOU HAVE LOLLIPOPS?! I WANT ONE!” I reminded her that she would earn hers after some photos. She pulled herself together (somewhat) to take pictures. The idea of this soon to have a yummy lollipop brought a huge smile to her face while she proceeded to try and stand still but couldn’t help but jump up and down yelling “lollipop, lollipop, lollipop” over and over.

Ellie did not much care to pick out her V-DAY fabric, so I chose for her. I know she loves candy, so of course she’d love the Red Black and White Sucker Heart Print Fabric. This is also from the same “For you” collection from Raspberry Creek Fabrics. I again, chose French Terry as the fabric base (and also used the same ribbing as what I used for Tayln’s.) In 2021 I made Ellie a Hannah hoodie from Sonia Estep designs, which has since been discontinued. I used a neon fuchsia and carmine brushed French Terry from Fab Clique Fabrics and cut out a heart shape to make as the front pocket as I did for her hoodie last year. I also included elbow patches. Since then, I’ve decided to incorporate a heart applique to her Valentine’s tops.

I was initially so torn on which pattern to use for Ellie. Ultimately, I decided on the Janie top from Petite Stitchery Co. I considered making the panel a pocket like I did last year but decided it would take away from the elasticized waist in the pattern. After I cut out the pattern pieces, I took the front bodice and placed it face up on my cutting mat. Using a projector to cut out patterns is such a game changer and time saver (and it saves some trees), anyway, I like to open Cricut Design Space and add a heart shape design. With the projector I am able to project this image over my cut mat, the same as I do when cutting out a pattern. From there I play around with the sizing I want to use for the front applique. I am a visual learner so this helps me to ensure I will be happy with the final outcome. Once I decided on the sizing, I removed the bodice from the cut mat and centered the panel with the heart. (I still use youth panels for Ellie by the way.) Then I simply use my rotary cutter to cut out the panel. I was afraid that the panel alone against the sucker/heart fabric would blend too much so I cut out a slightly larger heart in black French Terry to separate the two fabrics. This also helped bring out the small hearts in the fabric. I write in more detail on this from last year’s blog post if you’d like more information on how I added it to the bodice etc. This will help me from repeating myself (I already do that enough as a mother, LOL)

I think that’s it for me for today! We definitely made some fun new memories yesterday and I plan to bring them back to this gem again. It’ll definitely be more enjoyable once it warms up. I also made a TikTok featuring some video from our shoot if you want to check it out! I hope I gave you fellow crafters some inspiration today, and if I did, please let me know because I’d love to hear! Always be true and always be you.

Until next time,

Afton

Saying goodbye to the ducks on our way back to the car.

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

Sew ready for spring!

Spring and summer are my favorite times of the year! I love when everything starts to bloom and the longer days of sunshine! We’ve already had a few days of 70 degree plus temps, so it has really kicked my spring/summer sewing motivation into gear! A couple weeks back I was able to grab these adorable coordinating prints from Bow Button Fabrics. I’ve had my eye on the milk and cookies print for quite some time now to use for my milk obsessed daughter. (This print has been stocked in a few color ways so there’s something for everyone)

CL jersey from Bow Button Fabrics

I knew for the Red mini spots I wanted to make some bubble type shorts. After searching through my existing pattern collection and not finding exactly what I had envisioned I decided to shop around all of my preferred pattern companies and found the kids tulip-blossom shorts from Petite Stitchery Co. While this pattern is designed for woven fabric, a quick search in their Facebook group showed that some had used this pattern for knits! I decided to stick with her measured size of 4t instead of sizing down to get more of a bubble look. The only adjustment I made was taking in the leg cuffs about 1.5″ to keep the legs more gathered.

For her top, I knew I wanted the milk and cookies to be the focal point with a pop of the dots. The pattern I chose was the top version of The Cartwheel Collection from Love Notions. First, I’d like to add that I LOVE how this pattern is packed with multiple options! I love the peekaboo opening in the back to give her more breathability when we’re at our peak temps this summer. I was quite impressed how fast and easy this pattern was to put together. I had it done in about a half hour!

I think this whole outfit fits her perfectly and she is obsessed with it. She is on day 2 of wearing it, I did get to do a quick wash on it this morning before she went to school! I see this outfit being worn often and need to add more of both patterns to her spring/summer wardrobe. Have you made these patterns? What do you think of them?!

She picked most of her poses for these pics and I love them!

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!