Ready for a new MADE Everyday episode?
One that does NOT involve sewing??
AND has me wearing a trash bag as my wardrobe?

We’re going to take some everyday items….

And turn them into really cool home decor items!

You probably did this as a kid with yarn and a balloon….turning something soft into hard sculptured shapes. I remember making a large Easter egg once and filling it with fake grass.  There are so many uses for this technique.

But today I’m going to show you how to make perfectly round yarn or hemp globes that will look professional
and unique in your home.  Then use them to decorate a nightstand in the Guest Room….

Or paint them with acrylic paint to get that perfect shade for your space.

Or better yet….turn them into lamps!
We’ll leave a hole in the top and bottom:

And then I’ll show you how to actually get a light-fixture to work in there and stay put.

Ready to get messy?
I know you want a trash bag shirt too.

Just hit the play button below and enjoy….

MADE EVERYDAY with Dana is a fresh new sewing show, where we create fun things using everyday items.
To watch other episodes:
• Click the VIDEO tab at the top or….
• Subscribe to my Youtube channel so you’re updated as soon as the episode goes live.


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I guess I’ll make 65 jars of jam…

by Dana on July 15, 2014

What was I thinking?
I was sorta thinking.
And you know how it usually goes?….if you’re making 5 you might as well make 65?

And a 2 hour project turns into a 2am project.
But you know what? I love it!
Making jam is really fun.
And there’s nothing prettier on a white kitchen counter than colorful fruit.

So, you want some Strawberry Freezer Jam??
If I could send you a jar, I totally would!  Because I uh, have a few to spare.

Of course it’s soooo easy to make.  So STOP, right now.  Go to the store.  Buy a few ingredients and make it this evening!
You will laugh at the simplicity!

If you’ve never made jam before, I shared a Recipe Tutorial for it last summer.

And since we finally used the last jar….making 65 new jars seemed like the perfect way to christen the new kitchen.

The great thing about making Freezer Jam is it doesn’t require all the boiling, sterilization, and other steps that true canning requires.   The steps are minimal, the cost is minimal, and just one of those 2-pound strawberry containers above will fill 5-6 pint jars (below).

Then you just cut, chop (or smash), mix, and mix, and pour.

Btw, I love having a single-tub sink.  We had one in the last house as well and I will never, never go back to 2 tubs.  You can fit everything in there, including a large cookie sheet when it needs to soak.

But back to jamming.
Just follow the recipe on your pectin box or check out my details here.
Then watch it all transform from yummy, into extra yummy.

And if you want it to last all year, just go ahead and pick up 6 boxes of pectin.
Then you can make all this!…..

Of course it’s best to consider how much freezer space you have, or you might be (cough) giving your husband that sheepish smile when you try to actually store (shove) 65 jam jars in there with the frozen peas and chicken nuggets.
We might need to buy another freezer, to hold my inexpensive hobby.
Cause that totally makes sense.

The good news is, I have plenty of jam to give to friends and neighbors!
It’s wonderful to have little gifts on-hand.

And it’s also wonderful to carefully see how many different ways you can stack 65 jars.

I set them on the table to take a picture and Lucy thought it was a fantastic game.  She carefully stacked and restacked, made a castle, created an army of jam soldiers, and then brought out the Perler Bead people to live in the strawberry castle.

Whether it’s a rock or a jar of jam, I love how kids find a way to pretend play.

Stop reading and get jamming!


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Happy Friday friends!
I hope your summer is going well!

And for some of you, summer means living among these fantastic views and buildings that make my heart smile.

Absolutely. Breathtaking.
I need to see that with my real eyes.

So….Casey and I are planning a trip to Norway, Sweden, and Denmark!  And I’d love your expert advice.  If you have any restaurants, destinations, touristy must-sees, or local hang-outs you recommend, please let me know in the comments!

We’re spending 2 days in each city:
• Oslo
• Stockholm
• Copenhagen

(photo source below here and here)

And I really, really want to see some fantastic Fjords in Norway.
Does anyone know the best spot?  the best route?  the best way to do that?

(photo source below)

Thanks for your help!
Have a fantastic weekend.


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Reversible + KNIT, First Day Dress

by Dana on July 8, 2014

The first thing many of you ask when I share a new project is…Can I sew it with knits?
Yes! Yes!
The answer is (most likely) YES!

So if you bought the First Day Dress and Top Pattern, and would like to sew it with knit fabrics, then let’s do it!

And let’s do it with Gleeful Fabrics from Sew Caroline and Art Gallery Fabrics!

I’m so happy I get to be part of Caroline’s blog hop, showing off her new fabric line….because not only does it come in gorgeous woven cottons, but a few of the prints come in KNITS!  And when this pretty package showed up in the mail, I thought…..
First Day Dress…..

And how about a dress that’s  FULLY reversible!  So it fits your every mood?


Okay, let’s get started.

We’re making a peplum Top.

This tutorial is based on the First Day Dress Pattern which you can purchase by clicking the button below.  And you can read all the details here.

Add to Cart

You don’t need to use knit fabrics to make the dress or top fully reversible. But it sure makes it cozy and soft, and gives you even more fabrics options to work with.

If you’ve sewn the dress or shirt before then you know that the style is pretty much reversible already.  But to really make it work on both sides, you need to sew a matched hem (page 20 in the pattern), and you need to consider your back closure: either a button or a tie.

The pattern calls for a button and elastic, which works well on one side of the fabric.  However, when you reverse the shirt you end up with a button on the inside, touching the body.  Now if the button is flat enough, you could sew one on each side of the shirt and call it good.

But….if you sew a tie on each side of the back slit, it makes the shirt fully reversible and looks adorable with that little bow in the back.  Hooray!

So grab two different knit fabrics. for your Outer and Lining layers and lets start cutting.

I’m using a polka dot fabric purchased from Michael Levine, and the yellow Sun Springs print from the Gleeful Line by Sew Caroline.

Now let me just say how fantastic these Gleeful knits are.  The fabric washes beautifully (and will shrink a bit, as is expected of all cotton knits—so always remember to pre-wash before sewing!) It’s more of a lightweight knit and it sews beautifully.  I found myself hoarding leftover scraps for future projects.  The fabric would work wonderfully for a pair of  leggings, a baby blanket, basic Tee, KID shorts, or check out Delia’s jammies she made using the same fabric.  Darling!

When it comes to cutting and sewing with knits, just follow the same instructions as outlined in the pattern, laying the pattern piece so the grainline marking runs parallel to the selvage.  This ensures that the fabric will stretch horizontally, from side to side, across the shirt.

Cut out all your pieces, as outlined in the pattern.

Now let’s talk about Straight stitches vs. Zigzag stitches.
• You could sew (most of) the shirt with a serger, if you have one.
• Or you could sew the shirt with zigzag stitches.  A zigzag is a stitch that stretches with your fabric (like the photo of the waist seam below).  A straight stitch cannot stretch, and will snap and break, if it’s sewn in the direction that the fabric stretches.
• Or you sew with a combo a zigzag and straight stitches.  That’s what I like to do.

A good rule of thumb
• Use a zigzag stitch for seams that run in the direction of the fabric stretch, and on areas of the garment that will stretch with wear (around the waist, the neckline, the hem of a t-shirt—if it’s a basic Tee style).
• Use a straight stitch for seams that do not stretch with the fabric (shoulders, vertical side seams).

Now these are not hard and fast rules but rather, recommended guidelines.
So, when sewing the First Day Dress (SWING styles) in knit fabrics….

Sew the following seams with these stitches:
Waist seam (bodice to the peplum or skirt) – Zigzag stitch
Shoulders - Straight stitch
Sides – Straight stitch
Neckline and Back Slit – Zigzag around neck and straight stitch around the slit.
Topstitch around neckline – This should be done with a zigzag as well, so the neck can stretch when a head goes inside.  However, I opted to NOT add a topstitch because I didn’t want the look of an exposed zigzag stitch.  So I just pressed the neckline well with my iron and skipped the topstitch.
Armholes – Straight stitch. These armholes are large enough that they won’t need much stretch, so a straight stitch is fine. And since the armhole stitching is more of topstitch, I prefer the look of a straight stitch here.
Hem – Straight stitch.  If you were sewing a basic Tee, you’d want a zigzag, since the hem of shirt often stretches around a waist.  But with this particular peplum style, the hem won’t stretch very much, so a straight stitch is great.

When sewing with knits it’s important NOT to stretch the fabric as you go.  Try to let the machine feed the fabric for you.  It helps to hold on to straight pins (photo below) with your right or left hand to guide the fabric through without it stretching.

Now let’s talk about the back tie.

Instead of using a button and elastic, let’s sew two strings—each about 15 inches long—into the back slit.
You can use all sorts of things for the tie: bias tape, lace, twill tape, fabric, etc.
What I love to use is knit fabric string. There’s no sewing involved and it looks really cute.

To do this, cut a skinny strip of knit fabric right along the grainline (parallel to the selvage).  Then yank and pull the string and the edges will roll up, sort of making a “tube” of fabric.   And you have your strings!  Easy!

Then insert each string in between the Lining and Outer layers.  It’s easiest to go in through the armholes and then to the back slit.  Pin and sew each strring in place in the two corners of the back slit.  Make sure you leave enough room for the seam allowance at the top of the ncekline (as outlined in the pattern instructions).

Follow the rest of the pattern details for sewing your shirt, and you’re done!

One reversible and STRETCHY top, ready for whatever mood you’re in.

And when it comes to tying the tie in back, here’s another helpful hint to get it to lay flat and in the proper direction….

Whether you’re right-handed or lefty:
• Tie the strings one over the other.
• Then start tying your bow with whichever side of the string is “up” (left photo below)
• If the left side string is higher (or “up”), turn that into a loop first with your left hand (or vice versa if the right side is “up”).
• Then with your right hand, wrap the other string around and pull it through to make the other side of the bow.

I know it seems silly to explain. But it can be frustrating when your bow won’t lay as flat as you’d like.

Now it can!

And that’s all folks.
Happy Sewing!

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