STILL sewing for Halloween! Or, why I hate sleeves.

I got stuck, and left the Big One’s Harry Potter robe alone for a while, Too long, actually.

I am much closer to done after some work over the past 2 days, though.

I have realized that 1) It would have been cheaper and far less frustrating  to just buy it, and 2) I shouldn’t attempt projects without a pattern if I don’t have previous experience and/or a really good tutorial.

I’m making a fully lined, hooded cloak with bell sleeves and a toggle button closure. I ordered a Ravenclaw patch on Etsy – cheap, quick shipping and perfect! It totally creates the mood and will finish the look.

The sleeves. Oh, the sleeves. Normally I sew bags — tote bags, makeup bags, zippered pouches, backpacks, messenger bags — nothing with sleeves. I have made girls dresses with short, elastic hemmed sleeves. With a tutorial. This I’m doing all on my own, and it’s been a LOT of learning experiences! Yesterday I ripped out one lining sleeve 2 times, and the other lining sleeve one time. Then I decided to sew the end of the sleeves together, but when I turned it right side out it was a Frankenstein arm. NOT right. Ah, well. Set it aside, I’ll rip it out tomorrow.

The Little One wanted to be Anna from Frozen, and when I found just what she wanted, WITH a capelet that had a “jewel” at the neck, I ordered it — under $20, shipped? Fine. Good. Great! And it’s super cute and she loves it.

I can only hope after the hours put into the Harry Potter robe, the Big One love it, too.

Still Harry Potter obsessed!

Universal Orlando was amazing, and we totally kept the secret until we were about to walk out the door to get on the plane! Kids had a blast, despite 2 days of rain, and we saw and did just about everything we had hoped to do!

As suspected, the interactive wands were a huge hit. The girls picked out their own wands, and then they could use them in certain “shop” windows to get things to happen – medallions in the cobblestones gave a spell to say and wand movement to use. Sensors hidden in the display reacted to their wands, and made something happen in the display – at the bakery, the cake topper skated around the top of the cake (no visible track), in another one, they turned on a bunch of second-floor lights. Lots to do, and it was quite entertaining. Their favorite was the interactive skeleton in Knockturn Alley, who mimicked their movements. Great fun! Also amazing: Butterbeer ice cream, frozen butterbeer, the Hogwarts Express, the Knight Bus, the Ministry of Magic phone booth, butterbeer ice cream, the rides, the rides, the rides, the amazing detail in the highly-themed atmosphere and did I mention butterbeer ice cream yet?


The Little One cannot be swayed and wishes to be Anna from Frozen. But not that green Coronation dress costume you can find everywhere, oh, no, she wants the blue one. The blue one that doesn’t seem to be made over size 3T. Mama does NOT want to make that blue dress costume!

The Big One, being Very Thoroughly Harry Potter Obsessed, asked me to make her a Ravenclaw House cloak. I had 2 yards of decent quality black felt, but purchased another yard just in case. I won’t need it for this one, but when the Little One sees how awesome her big sis’ cloak is, I may be making another cloak, but in Slytherin green. Or Hufflepuff yellow. She’s little, we haven’t quite gotten a House picked for her yet!

So I’m basing the project off this post on Burda Style: It’s not a pattern, per se, but I managed to draft it OK. The black felt exterior is done, now to cut and sew the blue broadcloth lining.

She tried it on today and it’s too big – sleeves and overall length are too long. I think I’m going to try to hem it all so that I can just let it out as she grows. Not sure the felt will hold up to that, though.

At My House Right Now

In other news, Play Doh is making a comeback in popularity in my house this week. What’s the hot toy right now in your house?


Have you started thinking about or working on holiday gifts yet? Winter will be here before you know it! If you’re anything like me, you know the stress of last-second sewing and mental pleading that the post office delivers a package on time to your sister. And mom. And …

I am determined this year to do 2 things: 1) MAKE more gifts (Things I’ve sewn for others in the past have been very well received!) and 2) Start early and avoid the “should have mailed this sooner” guilt.

Looking to make several wallets for female friends and family members. Thinking of using this tutorial from Color Me Domestic which is a take on All Wrapped Up’s Patchwork-y Bifold Wallet Tutorial for some of the adult women on my list.

For the kids, I was thinking of trying Noodlehead’s Zippy Wallet Tutorial but I’ve never done a snap like that. Another blogger said it was quick and easy, and it’s so cute! Any advice on snaps?

I’m looking for a small wallet tutorial that has a zippered pocket for change, too. Hmmmm… may just have to create my own!

Quick back to school project!

A stash-buster, too!

Using remnants from other projects and even scraps of interfacing, I whipped up this pencil case using the Pencil Case tutorial at Bits and Pieces.

The soon-to-be kindergartener has had fun putting pens, pencils, toy cars, little dolls, etc., in (and out!) of the pouch.

Can you tell the 5-year-old picked out the fabrics? She especially loves the tabs.

Fun little pencil case!

Fun little pencil case!

She picked stripes for inside, too, naturally!

Boxed, lined pencil case

Boxed, lined pencil case

This went together in about an hour. I think we spent about that long picking out fabrics from the scrap basket.

She really thought she wanted a violet zipper, but Big Sis convinced her red was the way to go. I concur!

Look at these fun fabrics!

Fun prints! Fun colors! Fast, easy scrap-busting project! Hurrah!

These are awesome little zippered pouches, great to throw in your purse to organize all that stuff that usually embarrassingly falls out at the worst possible moment. Or, add a wristlet and carry all the essentials – great for a phone, small camera, cash and keys.

Mostly using this sew4home wristlet tutorial but also incorporating Dog Under My Desk’s neat and tidy zippered pouches tutorial for a polished, secure, no-raw-seams inside finish.

These make great gifts. This speedy project is a stash-buster, lets you try your hand at mixing and matching prints. Yes, there’s a zipper – but fear not! This is as basic and as easy a zipper installation as you’ll ever come across. If you’ve never done a zipper, this is a great project to learn on, because if you totally mess it up (You wont!) you won’t waste a lot of fabric.

Here’s a few of my takes on this great little pouch!

All zippered up! D ring can hold keys, a carrabiner, or a wrist strap.

All zippered up! D ring can hold keys, a carrabiner, or a wrist strap.


Opened up. See the pretty lining? A great size for your purse essentials.

Opened up. See the pretty lining? A great size for your purse essentials.

Super fun color combos! With a small project like this, you can use bright, wild colors for a fun little bag!

Super fun color combos! With a small project like this, you can use bright, wild colors for a fun little bag!

Linen adds a classic, timeless look and feel, and holds up wonderfully.

Linen adds a classic, timeless look and feel, and holds up wonderfully.

Busy busy busy

Summer. I love it. The heat, the relaxed schedule, the kids enjoying life and each other’s company … when it’s all working together, it’;s amazing. Ah, this life!

I have been busy busy busy at home – we’re painting the interior of the new house. OK, new to us; it’s an old house.

I have been busy busy busy at work – corporate laid off dozens in my location over the past two days, so it’s been stressful and sad.

I have been busy busy busy  with the girls – fun in the yard, fun at the library, school shopping is done, school sewing is not even started, but we have plans! Fabric purchased and tutorials picked out, it’ll get done, hopefully, in these last weeks before school starts. I am planning peasant dresses for both girls, fully lined rainbow skirts with a scalloped hem … stay tuned!


I have been busy busy busy sewing – since last I posted, I have made reversible bucket hats for myself and both girls, some American Girl Itty Bitty Baby doll clothes  (including this self-drafted, shirred bodice sundress from a scrap!) and a messenger bag as a gift for my Mom. Which I have to finish tomorrow.

Stay tuned for tutorial reviews on each of these projects!


I’m Betsy. A 30-something, working, suburban mom of two. I’m into sewing (for me and my young daughters), photography, reading, TV, and chocolate. Oh, and wine. Please, sit for a spell and join me!

Here’s my most recent sewing project – a fast and easy three-layered skirt, perfect for summer, and best of all, both girls love them!

I used this layered skirt tutorial from Crazy Little Projects. It’s designed for a baby, but it was easily scale-able up to a 6T and a 7, which my girls are wearing now.

It’s important for every home sewist mama to have their children’s measurements written down. I have a cute little notebook on my sewing table that has chest, waist, waist-to-knee  and shoulder-to-just-above-the-knee measurements for each of my daughters. That makes it easier on everyone, since every time I try to measure them it ends up being something akin to a WWE Battle Royale. Then, each time they go up a size in store-bought clothes, simply measure them again.

My oldest, destined to be a supermodel, picked out her own fabrics from my stash. I guided my little one, a preschooler, toward the fabrics for hers. Both girls love their skirts, and are asking for cherry/watermelon/cherry skirts, too. Good thing I have more fabric in my hoard (oops, I mean stash) – and these are so easy to make, I can’t say no! Next time I make one, I’ll take photos of the process and post my measurements.

I may also find a different way to encase the elastic – there ends up being a LOT of fabric to sew through with this method.