Friday, June 21, 2013

Sewing Tutorial: Bandage Style Knit Skirt

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 I could basically live in a comfy knit skirt all summer long. Most days I can probably be found wearing a skirt like this, with an old t-shirt I've got laying around and my Toms. That way, I feel like I'm wearing pj's, but it actually looks like I made some effort to get ready. With a skirt, life is just happy, breezy, carefree, and let's be honest, wedgie-free. (hehe)

The gray skirt you see on the left was a lucky find at Target. It's one of my favorite skirts and a definite staple in my closet. It's very easy to dress up or down. I was intrigued by the unique cut of the fabric, so I decided I would try to figure out how to make my own version. To be honest, I didn't really have a plan start to finish. After each step, I was crossing my fingers, hoping it would turn out. Good news, it turned out! Hopefully this tutorial will help you think of some fun, new ways to make a skirt.

 I chose a 3" wide yellow waistband to give it some quirkiness.
(I bought mine at Ruffle Fabric a year ago... looks like its gone. Search Etsy though)!

It can also be worn so the waistband isn't showing, and any color can be worn along with the skirt.

So let's get started. I'll show you how I made this skirt!

1 yard knit fabric, with good stretch
1 yard lining, I like 100% polyester
1 yard thick elastic for waistband (or enough to wrap around your waist)
medical or freezer paper for pattern drafting
ballpoint needle for machine
machine, pins, rotary cutter, mat
opt: double needle for your machine
opt: serger

*There are some really great tutorials on the web for knit pencil skirts and other techniques. Rather than reinvent the wheel, I'll link to a few steps in their tutorial for your reference.

1. I drafted myself a pattern to create a knit pencil skirt. I used this amazing, in depth tutorial from Adrianna at Crafterhours. For this project, I don't think it was totally necessary to draft a pattern, I could have traced an existing skirt. But I just wanted to give her awesome tutorial a shot!

2. After I drafted my pattern, I retraced it onto medical paper. I flipped the pattern over so there wouldn't be a fold in the pattern, I needed the entire front and back piece.

3. I laid my copycat skirt on top of the paper and marked where the panels were on the skirt. I did this on the left and right sides.

Then, I used a ruler to connect the lines. Instead of tracing a skirt, you could most likely "eyeball" where you want your slanted panels to be and create your lines using this picture as a guide. There is no right or wrong measurement.

4. Once I had my front piece ready, I repeated everything for the back. Notice that my back is a few inches larger than the front. I love the customized fit I'm getting by using my own measurements (see step 1).

5. I didn't want an A-line skirt, so I rounded off the bottom edges just a bit. I actually wish I would have taken off just a little more! (Next time...)

6. Once your panels are drawn, cut them all apart. You should have 4 sections. Label them all with a number, and write front or back on each piece.

7. Time to pin your pieces down. I placed them on my fabric where the greatest stretch of the fabric would be going across my body. Granted, by slanting our pattern pieces, we're not totally sticking to all the rules of stretch and grain, but who cares! :) Be sure to leave at least 1 inch between each piece, sine you'll need to account for seam allowances. Also, be sure to line the bottom edge of each piece exactly up to a stripe in the fabric (if yours has stripes). This will make it look... awesome!

8. Pin your pattern pieces down. I found it easiest to cut with a rotary cutter, mat, and ruler. I simply added 1/2 and inch for the seam allowance, by using my ruler. Do this on every single edge!
 9. Once things are all cut out, you can line them up to see what your skirt will look like. Cool!
Remove your pattern pieces.

 10. Now its time to sew your panels together. It's pretty basic, just sew right sides together for each panel. I sewed with a ballpoint needle in my machine, and used a slight zig zag stitch (set at 1). I used a 1/2 inch seam allowance, but next time I will try 3/8. You don't need to edge finish the raw edges. You can trim it down though, with pinking shears if you want.

11. Once your panels are all sewn together on the front and back skirt pieces, you can sew up the side seams. Place them right sides together. I tried to get all my panel seams to match up (they all matched perfectly except for one). Use lots of pins. Again, I used a small zig zag stitch and sewed at 1/2 inch.

12. I wanted to line my skirt since there are so many seams on the inside of it. I used 100% polyester that I found at Joanns for a couple dollars a yard. I simply cut 2 pieces the same width as my front and back skirt pieces, and 1 inch shorter. My lining does fray, so I used an overlock stitch for the top and sides of each piece. I hemmed the bottom by folding it over 1/4 inch, twice, and using my zig zag stitch. Worked like a charm.

13. Not pictured... sorry! I placed my lining piece inside my skirt, with right sides of each piece facing outward. Then I basted the top edge of my lining to the top edge of my skirt.

14. I measured my elastic around my waist. Make sure its snug but not too tight. Then I trimmed it to my size, and then sewed it right sides together, opened the seam, and zig zagged down each side to keep the raw edges from fraying. I used a yellow thread to match the elastic.

15. There are several ways to sew your skirt to the elastic. Visit Delia Creates for some great ideas! Not sure if I used the best method to pin it, but I made it work :) I did not sew right sides together. I sewed the right side of my skirt to the wrong side of the elastic. Make sure it overlaps enough to cover the basting stitches.

16. I used a small zig zag and yellow thread. Sew and stretch the elastic by pulling it slightly as you go around.

17. Last step is the hem! tried on my skirt and decided where I wanted it to be, then cut off a little excess fabric. I used a double needle for the first time, thanks to Katy from No Big Deal and her great tutorial. I should have followed Delia's advice and used stay tape in the hem. Next time!

 And guess what... that's it!!! I am so excited that my skirt turned out. I honestly had no idea if it would. Phew! And I love it and plan to wear it all the time :)

Please leave a comment if you make a skirt like this, I would LOVE to see it! Or, you can upload it to my Flickr page

 Thanks for visiting my blog!

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200x200 photo GC-FamilyEA200_zps38b7cf28.jpg
My knit fabric came from one of my all time favorite online fabric stores, and a great resource for all sorts of knits, Girl Charlee. It looks like this actual fabric is sold out, but seriously there are so many other fun stipes and prints. If you do happen to go shopping over there, use my code "FAMILY10" for 10% off your purchase. (Girl Charlee is a sponsor of my blog, but they did not ask or pay me to mention them. I just wanted to since I used their fabric and I LOVE it)!

I made this skirt as part of the Summer Sundress Series on one of my favorite sewing blogs, Melly Sews (you might remember her as one of our Sew-vivor Champions earlier this year)! The other ladies participating in this series are so incredibly fun and talented. I love sharing the same passion for sewing that they all have. It's fun to see all the different dresses/skirts that have been made so far.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Russian Guluptsi Recipe

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Don't click away just yet.... I know the food pictured may not look 100% delicious, but I promise it tastes awesome! Aren't those little Russian Dolls so cute? Don't you just want to eat them up? Hehe. This is one of Troy's favorite meals. (It's a basic dish using rice, beef, cabbage and spices). If you are looking for something new, easy, healthy, and affordable to make for dinner this week, try this! I make this like once a month at our house, since everybody likes it.

I learned the recipe from my big sister, Kate. She did a study abroad in St. Petersburg, Russia when she was in college. She lived with a Russian family, who cooked for her. She has taught me several recipes that I just love, and this is one of my favorites. She says there are several ways to make Guluptsi, but this is the version her host family made most often. It's sort of the "poor man's" version.

My sister dug out a few pictures from her time in Russia and sent them to me. I was so tickled to add these to my Russian Gulupsti post.

This is her host family's kitchen. Can't you just picture them making Guluptsi in there? :)

I brought this meal to a church party a few weeks ago for an "international cuisine" themed dinner. This recipe is great for large gatherings, because it makes a ton and isn't too expensive. Plus its gluten-free, which is great for many people these days. And, it makes great leftovers!

Russian Guluptsi:
2 cups brown rice / 4 cups water
beef base (or broth)
1 lb. ground beef
1 onion
3 garlic cloves
1 pkg shredded cabbage (or coleslaw mix)
a couple TBs olive oil
salt and pepper
1 tsp dill (if you have some fresh in your garden, that is the BEST)!
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano

1. Cook rice. I use enough beef base for 4 cups of water. You could also use beef bouillon cubes, or substitute 2 cups of the water for rice with beef broth.
2. Brown beef and drain. Set aside.
3. Cut onion, fry in olive oil. Add garlic at the end.
4. Add cabbage, cook down for a few minutes.
5. Add browned beef.
6. Add rice.
7. Add all seasonings to taste, and more olive oil so its not dry.
8. Toss to stir.

*Use the largest frying pan you have. I am lucky to have a nice big wok, which is perfect for this meal, but a large pan should also work.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Disney Dollars for Kids- Free Printable

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Thanks for stopping by my little Disney Week series today! My parents recently took our family on a trip to Disney, so this week I am sharing a few tips and ideas about preparing for our trip and pictures from our vacation.

A couple of weeks before our trip, I created some "Disney Dollars" for our kids, which we used in place of our regular allowance (which is just a couple of coins a week, which can be used to purchase toys that I have sitting in a special bin). These Disney Dollars were such a fun deterrant from our normal weekly allowance routine. The kids had extra pep in their step and worked hard to earn them. (This is how we finally potty trained our 3 year old boy. Yay)!

We let our kids earn their Disney Dollars to save them for souvenirs on our trip. They handed over their Disney Dollars, and we took care of the real tab. We didn't necessarily place the same monetary value on the actual items as the Disney Dollars were worth.

We actually only let the kids spend about $10 each, which was within our budget. With the leftover Disney Dollars that they had, we let them "buy" ice cream and other treats... which were actually free on the cruise, and which they could have had without their Disney Dollars, but they don't know that :)

The little bucket was home to the Disney Dollars. Once earned, the kids put them into their individual tins. (found at Target)

These printables are free for you to use, for personal use only. Before downloading, I would love for you to follow my blog in some way. If you use these printables, I would LOVE to see what you do with them! Email a picture (familyeverafter at gmail) or leave a link in the comments if you have a blog!
Download here

Here are my other Disney posts:
 16 Disney Inspired Outfits, modeled by my little sis :)
Disney Vacation Countdown, free printable

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Disney Vacation Countdown- Free Printable

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Our family recently got back from a trip to Disney World and a Disney Cruise. It was a vacation that we had been planning for 2 years. Bless my parents heart, they took us 5 daughters, plus our spouses and families. We all live in different states throughout the US, so we don't get to see each other all that often. It was the trip of a lifetime, and I am incredibly grateful for having such a wonderful vacation! My kids started asking when our trip was probably 3 months before it was time. So at our one month mark, I decided it would be a great idea to count down the days... not only for the excitement and anticipation, but it really helped them visualize how many more days there were until we left.

 I love this paper ring idea, making it look like Mickey's ears and trousers. I did not come up with the idea; I have seen several versions of it floating around on Pinterest. As far as I can tell, it originated here or here. Check out both of these posts for some fun family activities to help count down the days, in addition to the paper rings! For me, getting ready for a 2 week vacation at the end of the school year was enough to worry about, so we didn't do a daily activity, but I think its a fun idea. Neither of the posts offer a printable, which is why I made my own to share with you!

The countdown was really quick to put together- I just used construction paper, staples to keep the rings together, tape for the ears, and a hole punch to get the small white dots.

I made this printable, and printed it on white cardstock. Then I made a yellow paper medallion and glued it onto that. In addition to the papter rings, I wanted a place to write out the number of days so we wouldn't have to count the rings each day. I originally planned to use two Mickey ears (printable found below) for my countdown, but I got really tired of cutting them out. So my next plan was just to cut them out of chalkboard vinyl and use chalk to write new numbers every day. (You don't need a cutting machine to do this... I just used scissors)! The vinyl worked out much easier! I left the Mickey ear printables on this post just in case there's anyone who prefers them, or if you have any other grand ideas to use them for!

I used a bistro pen (a chalk marker), to write on my vinyl.
Chalkboard Vinyl from Silhouette.
Bistro Pen found here.

These printables are totally free for you to use (for personal use only). All I ask is that you follow my blog in some way :) If for some reason you are having problems downloading, please leave a comment.  I hope you get some fun use out of these printables!

 Download: 8 x 10
Download: 8 x 10

PS- If anyone uses these printables, I would LOVE to see what you do with them! Email a picture (familyeverafter at gmail) or leave a link in the comments if you have a blog!

Thanks for stopping by Disney Week on my blog! Check out yesterday's post for 16 Disney Inspired Outfits, modeled by my little sis :)

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