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Taming Wild Horses – The Making of my First Pattern Called Pasture Pals

Big News!  Some of you have been asking for years and finally I finished a sewing pattern for my sock unicorn, horse, and zebra!  The pattern is called Pasture Pals and is ready for you to buy today!  To make it an even sweeter, it’s currently 40% off!  Yea!  You can find it here.

And now for those of you who like the long back story and to see variations I’ve made over the years, here you go:

This post is years in the making.  When I first started The Nesting Spot in 2009, I made sock and glove animals.  I loved making them but after my third child was born it became too challenging to keep up with the demand and I didn’t charge enough for my time.  So, I stopped making them to the dismay of some.  I still get so many people coming to my shop in search of them.


I considered creating patterns for my animals over the years but between being conflicted about giving the information away and also the huge hurdle for me of figuring out how to make a pattern, I continued to put it off.  When I moved to Scotland I thought it was time to finally write them as shipping from here is more expensive and complicated. With my unicorn and zebras being among my top sellers I decided to start with this pattern.

I started the process more than once, but each time I’d get stuck at some point with questions like which computer programs would be best to use, should I use pictures or illustrations, how detailed to make the instructions, and on and on.  I would just become a deer in headlights and put it off to focus on other, more familiar items on my to-do list.

Finally last year, almost exactly a year ago, I was approached by a woman who wanted a pattern for the unicorn so she could make one for her granddaughter.  In the past, I told people no or to check back because I had plans to make one, but this time I used it as the push I needed to finally get going.  I do so much better when I have a deadline and the accountability of someone counting on me.

In 2 weeks I created the first draft of the pattern and sold it to her for a reduced rate with the promise I’d give her the full pattern for all 3 animals when I finished it.  Since this was happening in Oct-Nov., which is the busiest time of year for me with making my ornaments, finishing it was put on hold.  Then finally a few months ago after more starts and stops and getting stuck or frustrated I made some leaps forward.

Nothing about this has been fast or easy for me.  It’s really pushed me out of my comfort zone.  Someone might look at it and wonder what all the fuss was about, but for a novice like me it was a lot of work.  With the groundwork laid, I’m very hopeful the next pattern will be much faster to make!

My mom suggested I call the pattern “Taming Wild Horses” because it was such a beast to get done.  I thought it was a clever idea but ended up going a different direction.  But, I am so thankful to say that I did tame those wild horses!  The 12 pages full of instructions, photos, tips and patterns are available for you to make your very own versions of the sock horse, unicorn, or zebra!  They make wonderful baby, birthday, or Christmas gifts.  Or you know, just because.

The pattern is normally $9 but right now it’s on sale for 40% off!  So get it while the price is extra good!  Here’s a little sneak peek at some of the pages so you can get an idea of what it looks like.

I really hope you like it!  Please send me pictures of the unicorns, horses, and zebras you make.  You can email them to me at jocelyn@thenestingspot.com or tag me on Instagram or Facebook.  I’m thenestingspot for both of those platforms.

 

 

Indian Elephant Stuffed Animal

Indian Elephant from The Nesting Spot

The other animal I made as a baby gift over Labor Day weekend was this little elephant.  My husband’s cousin and wife are expecting their first little one (a boy) soon.  They actually live in India but are in the States visiting family right now and waiting to have baby boy.  So, when I heard they’d be coming I knew I wanted to give them something special to take back with them to India.  We didn’t want to give them anything too big since they’ll have to figure out how to pack it back but hopefully this little guy can squeeze into most places.

Indian Elephant from The Nesting Spot

He is from Abby Glassenberg’s second book Stuffed Animals.  It is a great book if you are looking to learn how to construct stuffed animals, draft their patterns, or even just to follow her patterns to make some really cute little guys.  Another plush designer, Mignon Prider, made one herself but added beautiful embroidery to make it look Indian.  So that was my inspiration to try to do something similar but try to keep it as kid friendly as possible.  I made it all in fleece except for the cotton for the ears and the felt tail.  I took my time with the sewing not wanting to make any mistakes.  I had never sewn underbody gussets before but thankfully everything seemed to work the first time.  It was really invigorating to sew something new and complicated looking that came out so well.

Elephant from The Nesting Spot

I really like how the elephant looks without the tusks or mouth.  In fact, I was so excited to get to this point that I forgot I had sewn tusks and a mouth for it.  I was ready to sew on the blankets and call it a day.  If you wanted to you could leave it just like this and then everything would be machine sewn and strong.  I wanted to show you how it looks with and without the tusks so you can see that it is versatile and can be made just the way you want it.

I did make my ears slightly smaller than the pattern calls for since Indian elephants have smaller ears than African elephants.  I also used safety eyes to give my guy a more awake and happy look than the original.  Abby’s elephant has felt eyes and eye lids which make him look sleepy to me.

Elephant from The Nesting Spot

Elephant from The Nesting Spot

I love that little tail.

Indian Elephant from The Nesting Spot

Indian Elephant from The Nesting Spot

Indian Elephant from The Nesting Spot

 

elephant detail shot

1.  A close up of the blanket on the head  2. The blanket on his back.

I did a blanket stitch around the edges of both.  I have done blanket stitches many times but it is always a long time in between so I usually have to watch a tutorial online to remind me of the steps.  The interior designs I just made up as I went.  I wanted something pretty simple so started with the orange designs and then added the yellow and red.  They are not perfect because I just eyeballed them but I was happy with how they turned out.  I hand sewed the blankets around the edges to attach them to the elephant.  The thread is hidden by the blanket stitch and fluffiness of the fleece.

Indian Elephant from The Nesting Spot

Finally, I added the tusks and mouth.  I wish I had a picture that showed the mouth better.  I like how the elephant looks with these final details but it was kind of a pain trying to figure out the right placement.  The tusks kept wanting to stick out at different angles.  That was probably the longest part of the process for me was sticking on the tusks.  And it being for a child I wanted to make sure they were sewn on tight but it was awkward at times making that happen without the stitches showing.

Indian Elephant from The Nesting Spot

We also gave them one of our favorite baby books, The Happiest Baby on the Block, as a more practical gift.  We have given so many copies of that thing.  But we have found it so helpful.  Thankfully they didn’t have a copy yet and actually have a collection of elephant items for baby, so it all worked well!

Have you bought and tried any patterns lately?  From a book or online?  What were your thoughts?  Got any favorites you’d like to share?

Tutorial: Easy DIY Zebra, Horse, or Unicorn Costume

 

DIY zebra costume tutorial

Every year for Halloween I try my best to make the biggest impact I can with the costumes for the least amount of work and money – it’s a necessity with 3 kids.  Some years I’ve found great deals on Ebay or at Goodwill and gotten a store bought costume (my littlest will wear his big brother’s skunk costume this year which was an awesome Ebay find).  Other years I’ve made key elements paired with some items we already had to make a really fun costume.  You can see the costumes I’ve made in the past here.

DIY Zebra Costume

This year my 4 year old daughter asked me to turn her into a zebra.  I had planned on finding a white hoodie and sweat pants to paint but wasn’t finding anything.  I ran into Walmart to see if they would happen to have some and instead found the perfect thing…someone else already did the work for me and made a fleece zebra sweat suit!  I am not a big fan of most animal prints and zebra print particularly can be hard on my eyes unless done in small doses but for actually dressing up to BE a zebra, it’s perfect!  Of course my daughter was content to just wear that to pretend to be a zebra but I knew we could do a bit more work and make it really cute.  And she was using a snake plush stuffed into the back of her pants as the tail…and that wasn’t gonna work long term.

DIY zebra costume from The Nesting Spot

A great thing about this costume is that by changing the color and making the mane longer it could easily become a horse costume.  And then if you make a horn and add that on top it can be a unicorn!

 

To make a zebra costume you’ll need:

Zebra hoodie and pants  I found mine at Walmart for about $13. If you can’t find ones already made you could find a white outfit and either paint black stripes or use black duct tape to put stripes on.

Comfortable black shoes

1/4 yard zebra pattern fleece

1/4 yard black fleece

Small amount of white fleece

Black thread

Hot glue gun

Safety pins

Cardboard…can be from cereal box or anything from your recycling can

1 sheet white card stock

Templates for head, ears, eyes, and muzzle

Zebra Template 1

Zebra Template 2

 

Cut everything out.

From the zebra fleece:

-2 ears facing opposite directions

-1 tail rectangle – 8″ x 3 1/2″

-2 faces, with one cut about an inch bigger all the way around so it can fold over to the back of the cardboard.  (It doesn’t have to be perfect, just eye ball it.  The edges will be hidden.)

From the black fleece:

-1 tail tip -5″ x 5″ piece

-1 mane -10″ x 20″ piece

-2 muzzles

-2 eyes facing opposite directions

From the white fleece:

-2 ears facing opposite directions

From cardboard:

-1 face

From card stock:

-2 ears cut a bit smaller than the fleece ones

 

Make the Ears

zebra ears inside out

Place one white piece and one zebra piece right sides together.  Stitch around, leaving the straight edge at the bottom open.  Repeat one more time for the other ear.  Clip the curves and the top of the ears seen in picture above.  Turn the ears right side out.

zebra ears

Cut out two ear pieces in card stock making them about a quarter inch smaller all the way around.  I had to cut a little extra off the bottom making it about 4 inches tall.  Place each piece inside the ear.  It will make the ear bend a bit and help it to stand up straight when worn.  After the card stock is in I put a big dot of hot glue at the bottom middle to press hold the sides together and give it that zebra ear shape.  I waited to do this until I was glueing the face together.

Make the Mane

Zebras’ manes are actually striped but I thought the black would be a nice contrast so it wouldn’t just blend in with all the other stripes.

zebra mane

Fold the large black rectangle in half (hot dog style as seen above) then fold it in half again.  Sew a line along the edge of the folded side.

zebra mane

On the side that was not sewn there will be a folded edge and two raw edges.  Cut the fold open so that there are four raw edges.  Then cut slits all the way down to make the hair.

Make the Tail

zebra tail pieces

Roll the small black fleece square onto itself.  Lay the zebra tail fleece rectangle right side up and put the rolled black square on top of it in the middle with the edges lined up.

zebra tail step 1

Fold the zebra fleece over the black fleece with right sides together.  It will make a little burrito.  Sew carefully along the long open edge and the side where the black fleece goes to the edge.  Make sure to not sew the black fleece in the long side, only the bottom edge where the two ends are.  Leave the other end open.

zebra tail step 2

Turn it right side out.  Cut slits in the black fleece to make the hair and shape it to come to a point if you like.

zebra tail step 3

Make the Face

zebra face materials

zebra face cardboard

I used cardboard from toy packaging but a cereal box would work great too.  Just something to help the face not flop down over the child’s eyes.  Bend the cardboard to make it rounded.

zebra face

Glue with hot glue the bigger zebra fleece onto the front of the face.  Glue the black muzzle and black eyes.

Note:  Please be careful with the hot glue!  I have been using hot glue forever but burned three of my fingers doing this and one of my thumbs has a big blister!

zebra face step 2

zebra face step 2

Cut slits around the fabric that is hanging past the cardboard.  You can see this in the pictures above.  This will make it easier to turn it over and glue it down on the back without lumps.  Use the hot glue to glue all those slits down on the back. Do the same thing with the muzzle.

finished back of zebra face

Glue the smaller zebra fleece on the back to cover up all the overhang on the back.  Glue the muzzle down on the back and trim the extra off.  This way if any of the bottom is showing it will still look nice.  (The picture above is of the back.)  This was also helpful because I was able to attach the head to the hoodie using safety pins to attach the fleece on the back.

Assembly Time!

Now that you have all the pieces you can choose how to assemble it.  I had thought about sewing the ears and mane on but decided to try just safety pinning them and it ended up working great.  Hot gluing is an option as well.  It depends on if you want to be able to use the clothes again for another purpose.

First, I put the hoodie on my daughter to see where the face should be on the hood.  Once I got that I used two large safety pins going through the hoodie and the back fleece of the face to hold it on.

Then I could play around with the ear placement.  I just played with it until I found a spot that looked natural.  At this point I also just had the hoodie sitting on my knee so that my daughter didn’t have to keep standing there and I could work it easier with all that maneuvering/pinning.  I used 3 safety pins per ear to make them stand up the way I wanted them to.  This took some trial and error but only took a few minutes.

I started the mane a little bit on the forehead of the zebra face and then followed the seam on the back of the hoodie.  I made my mane long enough to go onto the back a bit but if you’d like yours to end at the neck you could just make it shorter.  I put a safety pin through the hoodie and edge of the mane every few inches.  To keep the “bangs” of the mane attached to the face I ended up hand sewing them onto the face fleece since I figured a safety pin would show.

Lastly, pin the tail to the back of the pants.  I pinned mine just below the waistband.

simple zebra costume DIY zebra halloween costume

And that is it!  It looks like a lot when all written out step by step but it is actually pretty simple.  Please let me know if you have any questions.  And remember that fleece is very forgiving and hides lots of flaws.  I didn’t pin anything when cutting or sewing it and didn’t cut perfectly straight lines and you’d never know.

And just because she’s too cute I’ll add a couple more pictures.

DIY zebra costume DIY zebra costume

zebra out take
Ha, the donkey wanted to get a little taste of the zebra ear I think! Thought this was pretty funny.  Congrats for making it this far in the post.

And this tutorial is part of a Halloween Craft Tutorial Link Up with 12 other Halloween crafty ideas!  Thank you Alicia from Felt with Love Designs for organizing the link-up!

Halloween Crafty Tutorial Link-Up

Bugs and Fishes // Family Living on a Budget // Felt With Love Designs

Good Critters // GYCT Designs // House Full of Boys

Hugs Are Fun // Knot Sew Normal // Mommy in Sports

My Pinterventures // The Nesting Spot // Woods of Bell Trees // Year of Sarah

Baa Baa Black Sheep

little lamb

Over Labor Day weekend I spent the evenings sewing two stuffed animals for two different babies.

The first one was for a sweet little girl that was born a few weeks ago.  She is the first girl in a household full of boys.  I had seen the free pattern for a little sheep recently by Abby Glassenberg for Sew Mama Sew and had pinned it on Pinterest to remember it for later.  (I have a bunch of great free patterns for stuffed animals pinned on there!)  I figured this could be a great time to try out the pattern.  It looked like a simple pattern that wouldn’t take too long but is also super adorable.

little lamb

I really enjoyed making this little lamb.  It was fun picking out the fabric and really making her my own.  The one that Abby made has embroidered eyes, nose, and mouth but I really wanted to use safety eyes.  And I just embroidered a little nose.  That is one of the great reasons to sew, you can customize things just the way you want them.  I also tied a ribbon around her neck to add some color.  I added a bell on the ribbon too which looks cute and is fun to hear ring but I told the mom that if she doesn’t want to hear it or worries that the ribbon is a choking hazard she can always just take it off and save it for when her daughter is older.

little lamb

little lamb sewing pattern lamb face

I hope the little one who received it will have fun playing and snuggling with her.

reading to little lamb reading to little lamb

little lamb

If you have never sewn an animal before this would be a great one to try.  It’s free,  so if you just completely fail (which I don’t imagine you would) you aren’t out money on the pattern.  There are good step by step instructions and photos which help you along the way.

Abby makes gorgeous patterns and in fact the other animal I made is one of  hers as well from her book Stuffed Animals.  I’ll show you that one next week.

And while we are talking about her patterns.  She just made one for Wild Olive.  It’s a free pattern for a flying squirrel and it is the cutest thing I’ve seen in a while!  I definitely have to find a reason to make one soon.

 

And So It Begins

insides of elephant ornaments

Well, it’s that time of year again.  No, not back to school or the winding down of summer, it’s time to be making Christmas ornaments.  If I don’t start making them at least by mid summer there’s no way I can make them all in time so that they are ready for the rush once October and November hit.  With more homework now that my oldest is a big first grader (WHAT?!)  and with the birthdays of my youngest turning 2 at the end of this month and my oldest turning 7 in November, and with making Halloween costumes ahead of time so they can be shared on line in time, and Thanksgiving, and tons of family coming over to stay with us over the next few months, well, I just have to pretend it isn’t 100 degrees outside right now and get into the Christmas spirit.

One thing in my favor is that I am finally not pregnant, nursing, or dealing with the sleep issues of a newborn so I have high hopes that everything will get done earlier than ever this year.  I’ve gotten in a good pace these last couple weeks so I just need to keep it up so I can enjoy myself during the holidays instead of being holed up sewing.

This year I am introducing some new animals to my collection.  They are a whale, bear, dove, and sheep.  Plus my ever popular elephant and rabbit will of course be available.  I still have some of my classic shaped ones, octopi, and moons available as well.  My hope is to get them made and photographed to be listed this month.  There are some very organized people in the world who already started contacting me about ornaments back in July.  Wish I could be that on top of things.

I hope you all had a relaxing summer.  I loved not having the structure that comes with school.  We could keep the kids up a bit later if we wanted to go do something fun and not worry about waking up the next morning to be somewhere.  There were also no lunches that had to be made ahead of time and I didn’t have to wake the little kids up from nap to pick up brother from school.   It is nice having the house a bit quieter now that there is one less child in the house during the day though.

We did a bit of traveling this summer.  My husband is a youth and college minister at a church and so summer is his busiest time.  He is usually gone a good bit of it with going to camp and multiple mission trips and retreats etc.  This year though the camp had extra space and so the kids and I tagged along and stayed in a separate motel like room.  It was a bit hard at times trying to keep them happy with us all in one room.  And I didn’t want them to change the experience for the youth but we got in a groove and had a fun time.  I also got to go on a trip to West Virginia with the high schoolers which is my first trip away from the kids since my oldest was 8 months old.  We drove through Mississippi so we could leave the kids with my parents and then kept on going to West Virginia.  It is such a beautiful place.  Everyone was so friendly.  It is always so interesting to travel to different places and see how people are so similar but also so different.  And to also see if stereotypes are close to reality.  We helped one church paint their old sanctuary (with super high ceilings) that has now become a youth room.  They had told the youth 7 years ago that they’d paint those old paneled walls but haven’t had the chance to do it, so it was nice refreshing that space for them.  We also helped a tiny church in an old coal camp do a little backyard bible club for some neighborhood kids.  It was all a lot of fun and hard work.   I’ve missed getting to go on these things.  The kids had a great time too and got to see all their grandparents at some point which was nice.

So, we survived all that and now are settling into our new schedule of being in school.  And it’s to the grindstone I go with all these little ornaments.  I also just sewed two stuffed animals as baby gifts that I’ll be sharing here soon.  I already gave one away and next week will give away the other.  I was on top of things and actually got photos taken of them this time before I give them away.

*The picture at the top is a look at the inside of my little elephant ornaments.  It’s a view not usually seen by most.

 

So, did you have any adventures this summer?  Are you glad to be back in the school routine or hating it?  Have you done anything creative lately?  I’d love to hear!

Baby Gift Idea: Crib Art

Awhile back, my mom made another gift for our littlest, William.  It is a bumper of sorts to put in his crib.  But it wasn’t made for the reasons bumpers are usually made, it’s like a piece of soft art for him to look at while he’s stuck in his crib.  She thought it would be a fun way to introduce some animals to him.

I thought I’d show it to you since the idea of it wouldn’t be hard to recreate.

animal bumper artFor the purposes of taking pictures I hung the bumper on the outside of the crib but normally it would hang on the inside.  Although, it could actually be used on the outside as well for the child to look at while they crawl around the room and learn to pull up on things.  This would be especially good if there was already a bumper being used in the crib.

My mom used different background fabrics for each animal but if you wanted to keep it simple you could use just one long piece of fabric cut the width of the crib.  Sandwich some batting in the middle of two pieces of fabric and you’d have your background.

As you can see the animals are basic silhouette shapes and then just sewn on with pretty stitches from a sewing machine.  You could do this by googling animal silhouette images.  Then just print out the shape and use it for a pattern.  Another idea would be to use fabric that has images on it that you like.  You could cut out those images and then sew them on.

Some of the animals also have a few details that are embroidered on.  See the pictures below of the butterfly and the cat.

To attach it to the crib there is ribbon sewn into the seam of each end to tie around the rungs.  I would recommend putting  in at least one more in the middle as well if not a couple to keep it from drooping.

You can really do as little or as much as you want with a project like this.  Even a beginner could have fun playing with the machine to see what they can do. Part of the charm of a handmade item is seeing the little imperfections and signs that it was made with love.

animal bumper art bird squirrel butterfly fish cat

Gift Idea: American Girl Doll Sleeping Bag

american girl doll sleeping bag tutorial

We have friends who have twin girls who recently turned 9.  I have seen the girls a few times with American Girl dolls and for their birthday they asked to go camping.  So, I thought, why not make the dolls sleeping bags of their own so that the next time the family goes camping the dolls can get in on the fun too?

I did a quick search online to see what else had been done before and to find out the dimensions needed for 18″ dolls.  I came across a few sites but used this one as my main resource.  I followed the dimensions but didn’t follow the directions completely.  Although, maybe I should have since mine ended up being a bit bulky at the bottom corners.

american girl doll sleeping bag tutorial

Basically, I cut out my two rectangles, sewed around the edge with right sides together.  (I used fleece for the inside and cotton for the outside.)  I turned it right side out and then folded it in half so that the fleece was on the outside.  To sew the open hole closed (that I used to turn the bag right side out) and turn the long rectangle into a sleeping bag all in one motion, I just tucked in the fabric at the hole and then sewed along the edge of the bag from about half way down and then across the bottom.

Then I just turned what now looks like a sleeping bag right side out so the cotton fabric was on the outside and it was finished.  I think the version I linked to is probably less bulky the way they did it but if I read the directions correctly it seemed you would see the raw edges of the seams on the inside of the bag which I didn’t want.

To help visualize what I just wrote here are some very basic drawings.  Hope they make it a little clearer.

sleeping bag tutorial step 1

sleeping bag tutorial step 2sleeping bag tutorial step 3

For the pillows I cut two rectangles of fleece 5″ x 6.5″.  And you just sew around the edges with the fabric right sides together.  Clip the corners, turn right side out, stuff, and then do a ladder stitch to close the opening.

I am pretty terrible about putting off sewing things until the day before they are given (even though I may have planned it and gotten the supplies well in advance) so this was a great project for that since you can’t get much easier than sewing some rectangles together.  The hardest part for me was finding some fabric in my stash that was big enough and I thought might fit their personalities.  The twins are very, very identical in their looks and general preferences but their dolls are not so I decided to give them different looking sleeping bags.

sleeping bag for 18 inch doll

To spruce up the look of the bags with a practical way of keeping all the pieces in place when not in use, I also sewed a piece of elastic in a loop (to figure out the size needed I just put the elastic around the rolled bag and pillow with a little bit of overlap) with a pretty flower on it.  If I had had my thinking cap on I would have sewn the elastic into the bottom seam of the bag like a real sleeping bag (like I showed in the instructions above) so that the elastic would always be attached and not get lost, but I didn’t think about it until I had finished the first one and I didn’t want the bags to be different in that way.

I cut out a flower and leaf from felt and made yellow yarn pom-pom and hand sewed them onto the elastic to hide where the two elastic ends met.

american girl doll sleeping bag diyI thought they turned out very cute and I loved the extra detail of the flower on the elastic.  It really made it look extra special.  I didn’t have a doll to try them on so I hope they fit, but hopefully they were fine.

This is a great sewing project for beginner sewers.  Please feel free to ask for any clarification if my instructions weren’t clear.

Does your household have any American Girl dolls in it, or other 18 inch dolls?  Have you made anything for them?  What are some other ideas that are cute and easy to help accessorize them?  My daughter is a bit young for them but I’m sure there will come a point when she’ll be into them.

 

DIY Tinkerbell Costume

Well, these posts are taking longer than I’d hoped, but now that we made it past Josiah’s 6th birthday party I’ll try to speed things up.

I’ve already written about my littlest Peter Pan costume here.  Now it’s time to talk about Tinkerbell.

DIY Tinkerbell Costume from The Nesting Spot

While Josiah took to the last second to make a decision on a costume, Audrey knew from the beginning that she wanted to be Tinkerbell.  I figured it would be easy enough since she looks like her.  I think she turned out pretty cute if I do say so myself!

DIY Tinkerbell Costume from The Nesting Spot

DIY Tinkerbell Costume from The Nesting Spot

I wanted to try and make something that looked like the actual Tinkerbell from the different movies, not just a green tutu dress that is Tinkerbell inspired.  I looked around the web for tutorials or pictures to help.  I did find some handmade costumes for sale that looked like I wanted but didn’t find any tutorials.  Ken and I were at JoAnn’s and I was looking around at all their green fabric to see what could work.  I wanted something comfortable.  I found some green knits but nothing quite light enough.  Then I saw another pretty fabric that was a shimmery and looked like leaves because of the texture of it.  In the newer Tinkerbell movies her dresses are made of leaves so I liked copying that.  The fabric was a bit sheer though so I bought the knit fabric to go under it.  I figured extra layers would help keep her warmer in this minimal dress as well.

diy tinkerbell dress from The Nesting Spot

I used another sun dress that she has as my reference for size.  I made the under layer first.  It is very simple with just front and back pieces.  I cut it long so that I could cut the bottom later.  I really didn’t want to end up with it being too short.  The top layer I made using four pieces.  I really just made it up as I went and kind of winged it.  I was inspired by this.   I did use her measurements though.  I also had to try both layers on her a couple times and take in the sides or make other adjustments to make it just right.  After getting the two layers the way I wanted I put them on her again to measure how much tulle would be needed for the straps.  Tinkerbell’s dress doesn’t have straps but we’re not doing that on a 3 year old.  I did want to give the illusion a bit though so I bought a quarter yard of nude colored tulle for a few cents at Hobby Lobby.

Note: You may notice a crease in the different parts of the dress.  I’m assuming that is where it was folded on the bolt.  I prewashed both green fabrics and am surprised it didn’t come out.  I really wasn’t paying attention to it and didn’t notice it until I was finished.  I don’t know if that kind of fabric can be ironed or not.  If you know tell me in the comments.  But really, it wasn’t too noticeable in real life.

tinkerbell dress sized from sun dress

tinkerbell dress straps

I pinned the two layers together and the tulle in between them as well.  I also tried it on her to make sure I was putting the straps in the right place.  The dress is FAR from perfect if you look at the seams closely but I try not to worry too much about a costume that will only be seen a few hours.  After it was all pinned I sewed two  rows around the top and backstitched over the straps to make sure they were extra strong.

Finally, I put it back on her and just needed to measure how much to cut off the bottom to make the skirt with the cutouts.  I debated sewing the layers together or doing other things but ended up just not worrying and just cutting the two layers to match (although they often lay in different positions when she moves).  I just kind of eye balled it.  I was afraid that the top leafy layer was starting to fray so I did a zig zag stitch close to the edge all the way around just to keep it from fraying too far.  I kind of liked the added detail.  Knit doesn’t fray so I left it alone.

tinkerbell dress

Surprisingly, the hardest thing for me to find was the wings. I looked everywhere….at least twice.  Finally, I ended up accidently seeing at the 11th hour that a local gift shop was selling Halloween accessories and I popped in to find that they indeed had angel wings for only $3.50!  I had been seeing every type of wing imaginable in my quest for good Tinkerbell wings but they were every other color of the rainbow.  I also saw some really awesome fairy looking wings but they were around $18.  Um, no.  Can’t do it. You may be asking yourself why I didn’t just make some.  Well, I could have but I really just wanted to keep this simple and not go through the trouble of trying to form coat hangers and get the panty hose to work etc.  I just figured this would be an easy short cut. Who knew it’d be so hard?  But in the end the angel wings (with halo) worked great.  They definitely looked more to me like fairy wings than angel wings.  I did bend the corners of all four wings though to make them a bit more pointy and fairy-like.

tinkerbell wings

Because there was such a large piece of cloth in the middle of the two halves I wanted to disguise it a bit so it wasn’t so obvious that it was fake wings on her back.  I wanted them to look like they were just coming out of her dress…you know, like a really fairy would.  I also didn’t want to use the arm straps that came with it because that would detract from the look.  I didn’t want to cut the straps off though so that when Audrey plays with them later at home she can just slip the wings back on.

tinkerbell wings

So, I used a scrap of fabric leftover from cutting the top dress layer and just wrapped it around the middle a few times and then safety pinned it down.  Then I just slid the straps under the cloth and they stayed put.

tinkerbell wings

I safety pinned the wings to the back of her dress.  I actually didn’t do this until we got to the Fall Festival because wings and car seats don’t mix.

tinkerbell dress and wings

Tinkerbell wears huge pom-poms on her shoes.  These are super easy to  make.  I grabbed some white yarn that I already had and cut out a piece of cardboard to wrap it around.  Choose the cardboard width to be half the diameter of the finished pom pom.  There are tons of tutorials online on how to make them.  Here is one.

Tinkerbell shoes and pom poms

At first I had trouble figuring out how I would attach the pom poms without hurting the shoes.  But then I had a flash of brilliance and remembered some barrettes I had bought long time ago to use for something else.  Thank goodness for hoarding supplies!  I simply used another long piece of yarn, tightly tied it around the center of the pom so you couldn’t see it and then tied it to the barrette.

pom pom clip diy

Then all we had to do was clip it to the top of the shoe.

tinker bell pom pom

I had been going back and forth about what she should wear for shoes.  Tinkerbell wears green shoes but I don’t see those often and wasn’t sure how to make them.  Finally, I decided that she could just wear some brown mary janes that she has but I was staring at her new gold shoes and thought that even though they aren’t true to the movies, they were fairyish and would also be comfortable for lots of walking.

tinkerbell shoes

And I think they turned out pretty cute!

At the last minute before we left I finally had a chance to look up how to do a sock bun. I had heard of them but hadn’t never seen how one was actually done before. I watched the first youtube video that popped up on Google and it looked very easy. I found an old sock that had no mate, cut it and started wrapping it around Audrey’s hair. First of all, it is always hard for me to pull her hair back because of the way her hair lies. It does not like all going back in one direction. Lots of lumps happen. Second, her hair is still very thin so it really wasn’t enough to fully cover the sock and it kept trying to slide out all night. But I just kept tucking it back in and it looked good enough. For someone with fuller hair this is definitely an easy way to get the Tinkerbell hair look.  Oh, and this photo shoot was done after Halloween so her hair was done quickly just for the photos.  It actually was a bit better on the actual night.

Okay, well, about wraps things up. If you have any questions please ask! I hope to get the last costume written about before Thanksgiving. haha!

DIY Tinkerbell Costume from The Nesting Spot

Sloths are the New Owl

Over the last few months my oldest has been begging me to make him a sloth.  Yes, you read that right, a sloth.  Where he got that idea, nobody knows.  I put him off for a while because I had so much else going on but finally I knew it was time to sit down and make one for him.  What’s funny is that during the same time my Etsy Finds emails were showing that sloths were currently trending.  So, I guess my son is a trendsetter and he doesn’t even know it.

Whenever designing any type of stuffed animal I like to look online to see what the real animal looks like and then also at other stuffed animals to see what others have done to translate the real thing into a huggable form.  From this I get my own ideas and draw my design and make a pattern.  I used fleece that I had leftover from last year’s owl ornaments.  It is the perfect sloth color and very nubby.  I wanted it to be something I could hang by it’s arms like a real sloth – although it didn’t turn out right in the end.  I considered putting Velcro on the hands so it can hang from things.  I hesitated because that would mean one of the sides would be scratchy from the Velcro.  I can always add some later one though.  I had safety eyes and noses and had fun using them.  I also used black wool felt for the claws and face.  As you’ll see it is a three-toed sloth.

I knew little sister would want something as soon as she saw her brothers but I didn’t know what she’d want so I waited to make something for her.  She is definitely in a phase of life right now where she wants to do everything like her brother so another sloth it was.  This time I wanted to put the arms closer to the head to help it be more balanced to hang correctly.  I also wanted to add a little tummy to make it a bit girlish while still just looking like a simple sloth.  It took me a few tries to get that stomach right.  Finally I realized I could make it the same as the face and it would lay correctly.  I also made it a two-toed sloth with brown wool felt just to change things up and make it easy to differentiate between the two.

Both kids love their sloths and play and sleep with them.  Audrey has really been into playing with the things I have made her lately.  She asks about each toy to see if it is one I have made.  I’m sure it won’t be long until the baby wants one for himself as well.

While taking pictures of the two big kids today the little one was dying to come outside too.  I hesitated at first but finally let him crawl around while taking pictures of Josiah.  Of course the whole time he was trying to eat rocks and leaves.  I can’t believe he’s going to be 1 in less than a month and a half.

Baby Gift Idea: Stuffed Animal

I’m surrounded by people having babies right now and that is a great thing!

handmade stuffed rabbit from The Nesting Spot

My cousin recently had a beautiful little girl and so I wanted to send her a handmade gift. I had been told that the nursery has lavender and light green in it so I decided to make a little rabbit using those colors. I cheated a little and used my pattern from The Black Apple Doll and just changed it up a bit. (You can see my previous posts about the dolls I’ve made here and here.)  All that was needed was to make an ear pattern. I have also found that when using this doll pattern that I like to add a seam allowance to the arms and legs so that they aren’t too skinny. I embroidered the eyes and nose on so that there wouldn’t be any choking hazards. Safety eyes would have also been a really cute option though. I also added a cute little wool felt peter pan collar.  An added bonus is that it is machine washable if done on delicate and laid out to dry so it is very practical as well as cute.handmade stuffed rabbit from The Nesting Spot

I had a lot of fun making it and am happy that there is a little piece of Texas over in her Arizona nursery now.

handmade stuffed rabbit from The Nesting Spot

This type of project is great because it uses very little fabric and comes together fairly quickly. I used fleece for the bunny fur and all of the materials were ones I already had on hand.  So, not only is it fast but economical.  But of course even though I didn’t spend an arm and a leg on it doesn’t mean it isn’t worth much.  On the contrary, it is a one of a kind gift that will hopefully see many years of love.