8 years of Halloween Costumes

by Dana on September 19, 2014

Am I allowed to say the word Halloween before October 1st?
Eek. Hope so!….because that’s all that Lucy keeps talking about at our house.
Mom have you started the costumes???

She and her girlfriends want to dress like Lalaloopsies, which I think is adorable…..and guess which pattern might be fantastic for that?….The First Day Dress! (assuming she doesn’t want to be one of the crazy lalaloopsies, like the mermaid.  But I think she’s hoping for Peanut).

So to get me in the mood for making costumes—rather than complaining and procrastinating—I gathered photos from the last 8 years of costumes.

Most are homemade, some are semi-homemade, and some are storebought—which I gotta be honest, can feel just as awesome as slaving away making something.  There are upsides to both.

So, here’s 8 years of sewing in a costume time capsule….

Last year I loved doing a semi-homemade/storebought routine.
Owen wanted to be Luke Skywalker.  And when I asked what we needed he said,
“we have everything!  I’ll get it together!”

My favorite part of the costume was the reversible hooded cape, which I made for the kids years ago.  I had made one for each of them.  And seriously….they are THE MOST USED item in our costume bin, constantly.  My kids love them, friends love them.  I should make more.  Read the details here.

With Owen being Luke, Lucy wanted to be Padme….which made this store-bought costume so fantastic.  Done!

Of course I thought they looked a little more like Wesley and Buttercup….

The year before that, Owen also wanted to be, yep….a JEDI. Specifically—Mace Windu.  This time around I made a few items and threw them together with things we already had.  It was also the first year the kids did not dress as an ensemble, which gave me mixed emotion.  They were growing up and also learning to have their own opinion.

Clara was a very simple Little Red Riding Hood.   (And I’m suddenly realizing….did I not even dress her up last year??   Guess I’ll have to make up for it this year.  Sorry 3rd child).

Lucy’s costume was one of my all-time favorites.  She wanted to be Sleeping Beauty….but we gave it a twist.  Just like the fairies in the movie, we couldn’t decide if she should be pink, or blue.  So we did both!  Just pick which side you want to stand on.

It was especially fun because her friends dressed up like the fairies, Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather.

The same year (not on Halloween) Owen dressed up like Marty McFly from Back to the Future for the Film Petit series.  I had a blast putting this together, since this is a classic favorite at our house.  And this year is the 30 year anniversary!  That’s heavy.

And Clara was as a 50s diner girl.

Going back another year to when Lucy was 5 and Owen was 3….the kids wanted to be bats.  And if you live in Austin, TX—the city of bats—-you can only say YES to that request.

These were pretty simple costumes—I made wings and hats from felt and satin, then combined it with black clothes.   The kids were so cute together.  And spectators really loved watching them “fly” down the Congress Bridge in downtown Austin.

This year, my niece in California wants to be a bat so we mailed the costumes to her and the fun will continue!  I love when costumes get good use over the year.  And these ones definitely have with my own kids.  They’re pulled out of the costume bin at least once a month….even though they’re much too small now.

In 2010, the kids were a Costume Wonderland, as Alice and the Mad Hatter.

This photo shoot was really fun; the kids loved having a pretend tea party.
Has anyone noticed that I’ve taken photos in the exact same grassy field for the last 4 years?  It just always seems to work!

The year before, Lucy was obsessed with the book Green Eggs and Ham.  So we went with Dr. Seuss characters—Sam I am and the Cat in the Hat.

And back before there was a nice camera, or even a blog….the kids dressed as Halloween Traffic, since Lucy was really into STOP signs.  She pointed them out wherever we were and would say “S-T-O-P…STOP!”

Owen’s traffic light was a simple romper made of felt.  Oh he’s so tiny!

And another all-time favorite was Lucy’s 2nd halloween costume…. Little Strawberry Girl!

And finally, the very first year of making kid costumes, we went as Back to School Night.  Wow.  I got Casey to wear a “dress”.  What a man!

And there you have it!….8 years of ideas.

This makes me excited to get sewing for this year.
I hope you’re motivated too!  And if not, just head to the store and don’t think twice about it.

QUESTION for you guys:  I’ve been thinking about making a pattern for the Bat Costumes and wonder how many of you would be interested? I wouldn’t have it done in time for this year…..but could do it over the summer for next year.
Anyone interested in bat costumes?  They’re really fun as dress-ups all year long.


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speaking of IKEA….

by Dana on September 16, 2014

Remember when I made that Big Bag from a couch cushion cover from the IKEA As-Is section?
It was a….cinch!
Heh heh.

And just reminds of the many reasons I love IKEA: Smart, affordable, simple….and creatively inspiring.

Funny thing looking at those old photos….I’m wearing the same shirt I eventually turned into my semi-homemade Maternity Shirt Tutorial.  Wow.  Was I really pregnant THREE years ago??
It’s weird to think that I’ll never go through that again.

But it’s not weird to think how many more countless times I will go to IKEA.
Haah.  I guess they’re part of the family!
And probably part of your family too.

So I was thrilled when the curator of the IKEA museum in Sweden contacted me about my Sewing Room from the old house.  The museum (which is not open yet) is currently putting together exhibits for both the BILLY Bookcase and the KLIPPAN sofa—showing how universally loved these items are.  And showing what people do with them.  She noticed that I use my BILLYs to hold fabric and asked if I would contribute my story to their blog.

Um. Yes please.
So if you’d like to hear a little BILLY tale, head on over!

And if you have your own story to share, you can submit on the site as well!
There are many fun stories and photos on there.

Over and out.
I need an IKEA cinnamon roll.

(please note: this post is NOT sponsored by IKEA.  I just truly love them.)
(and p.s…..can you spot any of the First Day Dress fabrics in there??  I see three….)


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Moving from a smaller space to a larger one is great because there’s extra room to wrestle on the floor with dad (and leave LEGOs strewn about, for days).
(just watch your step)

Of course the funny thing with any house is that the furniture that once fit perfectly, in that perfect room, might not work in the new house layout.
And that was the case with our old table.
It was great in the old house; but too small for the new one.
It looked funny.

So, time for a new dining table adventure!

In a previous Home Building post I shared that fun green wallpaper we had installed.  And I had taped out a space on the floor where I thought a table should go.

Cause if you remember our old house, the dining table looked like this:

It was an old antique I found at a garage sale for $30!  It just needed a new facelift, which you can read about here.

And for many years it served as my white backdrop for photo styling, when the kids were so tiny.

I’ve really loved that table.  But we really needed something larger to fit the space.
So I started researching.

At first I thought about having one made.  Or maybe we could make it ourselves?
Maybe a very dark wood top with white legs?….to tie in with the exposed beams in the great room?
I still love that idea.

But then I went to IKEA, and found these, and it was just too easy.
(Norden Table •  Sigurd ChairsSigurd Bench)

The table is probably more space than we need….it actually extends to 119 inches!  Eeek…which just means we need to have friends over for dinner more often.  The table would be fantastic for a Thanksgiving get-together…and we could even pull it out onto our deck, which we did a couple times this summer.

Mostly, I love how well it fits in the space.

And the chairs make me smile, because they look like they’re smiling…..and remind me of school chairs, and being a kid.

I went for benches on each end so it would be easy to get in and out of the exterior door.  And so little kids could easily climb up and down.

….and torment older siblings.

…and so I’d be shocked at how tiny they look sitting all the way at the end!
How did I get to this point in my life?  Just yesterday I was single and living in Los Angeles.

Now, a word on the color.
I was a little worried about choosing a light wood shade since the floors look like driftwood and the beams in the great room are quite dark.  But.  I’m trying to pull in some more “natural” design pieces into the home so it feels more cozy.  I’m not a person that likes brown and tan, so this is a stretch for me.  But I think it’ll work.

…and it might be a good excuse to buy this rug for our great room.
Which, maybe I already did.
What is happening to me?? Brown? Tan?

I do think it’s possible though to pull bright colors and naturals in together.
That’s what I keep telling myself.
And guess what?….see those white bar stools below??  I JUST finished the covers last night!  Six of them.  I’m tired of sewing.

And I should point out one home feature in the photo above—the “floating” ceiling above the dining room table.  It was our architect’s idea to have the dining room pop down, since the great room pops UP.  Originally, we wired for rope lights to illuminate the box up toward the ceiling, which I was really excited about.  BUT.  We failed to put the rope lights and the large drum light on separate light switches….so they both came on at the same time.  And the large light overpowered the rope lights.  I was bummed.  And the only way to fix it was to cut into the wall, where we had JUST installed wallpaper the day before.
Let it go. Let it go!
So instead they installed a plug up there in the box.  So if I ever want to hang a mess of white Christmas lights from that ceiling, there’s that option.
Christmas Dinner at the new table with a bunch of lights, some chocolate-dipped gingerbread softies, and maybe a few sparkle skirts or a sash?  Sounds lovely.

Little by little the house is coming together.
It might take a few years before it’s fully decorated.  But that’s the journey.

You can read more about our new home adventure in these posts here:
We’re building a new home!
Groundbreaking Party
From foundation to frame 
Stucco, shingles, and a pretty paint job 
Sheetrock, paint, and a double-decker deck
We moved!…and an ode to the old house
Tile, Flooring, Countertops, and Color 
Guest Room makeover 
Mosaic Tile and Wallpaper
The big Chandelier

Have a great day!


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TUTORIAL: Skirt with a Sash

by Dana on September 12, 2014

My favorite item of clothing to sew for any girl is a skirt.
There are just so many ways to mix it up!
And with cooler weather coming, this version is a fun (and easy) way to dress-up for a holiday party, a Fall wedding, or just a day out shopping with mom.

It’s a Skirt with a Sash.
….a sash that can be tied in a bow, tied in a knot, tied in the front or in the back.

It gives the skirt that perfect bit of character and charm. And, it will impress your friends as they admire your sewing skills. Because although it might look tricky, it’s actually quite easy to make.

And like most of my favorite skirt projects, it’s a fairly quick-sew for such a fancy looking skirt.  Then pair it with a store-bought shirt and you’re ready for the party.

Here are some versions we’ve tried so far (click a button below for the full tutorial):

http://www.danamadeit.com/2014/05/tutorial-sparkle-skirts-with-a-simple-satin-lining.html http://www.danamadeit.com/2014/05/tutorial-sparkle-skirts-with-a-simple-satin-lining.html

Let’s get started!

The Skirt with a Sash takes either the Simple Skirt or a Lined Skirt and adds a sash on each side of the waistband.  Of course this sash can be added to any basic skirt.  So if you’ve sewn a skirt before just keep on reading.  And if you’ve never made a skirt, I recommend reading through the Simple and Lined tutorials first.

In the Satin-Lined Skirt tutorial we learn how to add a satin lining and separate waistband for your skirt. which is what we’ll be making here.

Here’s what you need:

Fabric Types:
You can use a variety of fabrics  – cotton, satin, lace, chiffon, knits.
For my particular skirt, I used lace for the outer, satin for the lining, and satin for the waistband and sash.

Elastic Type:
I prefer Braid elastic because it tends to not roll-up inside the waistband the way other elastics might.  You can use 1-inch or 2-inch wide elastic.  For this skirt I used 2-inch wide to give the waistband a chunky look.

The Concept:
We’re going to create two sash pieces, sew them into a separate waistband at the side seams, sew the waistband on to the skirt, and string elastic through the waistband.  So, we need to cut two separate waistband pieces and two sash pieces.

Cutting and Sizing
Refer to the Simple or Lined skirt tutorials for details on measuring and cutting basic skirt pieces, then cut the following….

• Waistband
First you need to decide if you’re using 1-inch or 2-inch wide elastic.

If you’re using 2-inch elastic, the width of your waistband pieces should be cut 5.5 inches wide (2 inches for one side of the elastic + 2 inches for the other side + 3/4 inches of fabric edge to iron under + 3/4 inches at the other edge).

If you’re using 1-inch wide elastic, cut your pieces 3.5 inches wide (1 + 1 + 3/4 + 3/4 inches)

The length of each waistband piece should be the same as your basic skirt pieces.  In a nutshell: measure your waist, multiply it by 2 or 2.5 or 3 (depending on how full you want your skirt to be) then divide that in half.  This is the length for each waistband piece.

So for my daughter, I’m going to make a skirt 2.5 times her waist size.  She has a 20 inch waist so I need to cut TWO waistband pieces that are 5.5 x 25 inches.

• Sash pieces
For 2-inch wide elastic in the waistband, cut the Sash pieces 2 + 2 + 1/2 + 1/2 inches, or 5 inches wide.
For 1-inch wide elastic in the waistband, cut the Sash pieces 1 + 1 + 1/2 + 1/2 inches, or 3 inches wide.

For the length of each sash piece, take 1/4 of your waist measurement and then add approximately 25 inches (there’s some wiggle room with that measurement so you have extra length to tie the bow on the skirt.  We’ll cut off the excess in later steps).

So for my daughter with a 20 inch waist I need to cut TWO sash pieces that are 5 x 30 inches.
Okay, we’re ready to SEW!

Have a wonderful weekend!

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