Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Frozen Elsa Costume Using McCalls Pattern M7000

My daughter's much loved Elsa Frozen costume had reached the end of it's days. Not only was it ripped and stained, it was also too small. I'd looked in the shops for the next size, but found no luck. So when I was walking past the local fabric shop and saw 40% off everything, I thought it was time to make one myself.
The Frozen Elsa costume made with McCalls Pattern M7000. I made the biggest girls size for her so it has a pretty ugly hem for now, but it will last her for years as I can redo the hem when she grows.

My daughter and I located the Elsa costume pattern which we'd seen featured in the store a while ago and chose some material. $50 dollars later we left with three different materials, for the outside of the dress, and a pattern.  Is it any wonder sewing is now just a hobby if that's how much a costume costs to make with 40% off!

McCalls M7000 pattern for a Frozen Elsa costume along with the material we bought to make it.

Now it has been a long time since I've sewn anything from a pattern.  I'm talking more than 25 years ago!  So it was as much an adventure for me as it was for my little girl!  It was just like getting back on a bike and I had a lot of fun with aspects of the pattern my previous sewing adventures hadn't included like a zipper, an overlay, making a loop for a button out of thread, and lining.
The old much-loved, but torn and too small, store-bought Elsa costume.

Now I have to warn everyone that the McCalls M7000 pattern is a proper dress pattern.  Don't let "costume" make you think easy or quick! You are going to end up with a well-made, lined dress.  And the Elsa dress is not just any dress, but really two dresses in one thanks to the overlay or cape. The material in the cape also bumps up the price of making this pattern and of course the time it takes to make the costume.

The Frozen Elsa costume made with McCalls Pattern 7000. I made the biggest girls size for her so it has a pretty ugly hem for now, but it will last her for years as I can redo the hem when she grows.
But for me it was all worth the time and effort.  I have a very happy girl with an Elsa costume that now fits her, and will fit her for a long time to come. It is made the old fashioned quality way with quality materials so it shouldn't tear like the store-bought one. I made the largest kid's size possible so it will last her for as long as possible - the only downside in that approach is the huge hem in the dress and the overlay.

I would definitely recommend this pattern if you are looking to make your own Elsa costume provided you have experience with sewing patterns and it isn't a last minute project.

One last piece of advise, the back of the pattern didn't state it, but you will also need a zipper, button, and lining for the costume.  You will find the details for the button and the zipper in the included instructions. For the lining, you will need the same amount of material that you need for the bodice.

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Book Review - Peppa Pig - 150 Things to Make and Do with Peppa

On our last trip to the local library, my 3 1/2 year old's attention was caught by a Peppa Pig book called "150 Things to Make and Do with Peppa". I must admit I was reluctant at first to get it for her thinking it might be a little too old for her (i.e. a nightmare for mummy) but she was so excited by it that we did borrow it. On getting it home I was pleasantly surprised by what a good child's activity book it is and really wish I didn't have to return it because it has so many great activities that I can see my daughter wanting to do for years to come.

If you are worried your child isn't enough of a Peppa Pig fan to want to do 150 Peppa Pig related activities then you needn't. While each activity has a tie in to Peppa Pig, sometimes the tie in is quite loose. For example, the book shows you how you can make a hot air balloon with paper-mache that looks like a hot air balloon that appeared in a Peppa Pig episode. But if you hadn't seen that particular episode you'd probably be scratching your head as to what makes it a Peppa Pig activity,

"150 Things to Make and Do with Peppa" features a variety of activities including art and craft, drama and dress-ups, baking and games. It covers special times of the year including Easter, Halloween, Christmas, and birthdays. There are activities to keep both girls and boys interested as well as plenty of gender-neutral activities. Every page is bright and colorful with lots of pictures of Peppa Pig and the gang to compliment each activity.

Any household with a craft box is going to find that most activities can be done with what is already in the craft box (or the box you are just about to put into the recycling bin!). And the books reuse of household items like shoe-boxes and paper plates makes you feel quite free to substitute with what you do have on hand. For instance, we didn't have the pink wrapping paper suggested for the "Princess Peppa Book Cover" pictured below, but we did have some pretty sparkly paper which suggested itself to us as a a book cover suitable for a princess!

Our version of the "Princess Peppa Book Cover" from activity 142 of "150 Things to Make and Do with Peppa"

We have also made "Peppa's Theatre" from activity 6 of "150 Things to Make and Do with Peppa" and the puppets from activity 7. Our first performance of the included short play will start just as soon as we locate all of the puppets again!

We have loved the activities we have made with "150 Things to Make and Do with Peppa". It would be a great resource book to have on your bookshelf - each time my daughter looks at it she finds a new activity she wants to do.

You can purchase your own copy of "150 Things to Make and Do with Peppa" from Amazon and other big book retailers.

If your child is a Peppa Pig fan, you might also want to see the Peppa Pig birthday cake I made.

Don't forget to check out my tutorials for more fun activities to do with kids.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Raffia Loom Flowers

I just love the cute flowers you can create with flower looms. But have you thought of making a flower out of something that wasn't yarn or wool?

Raffia Loom Flowers

I recently picked up some raffia on clearance at my local art & craft store to make crochet some raffia hats.  When I went to look for some yarn to use to make a flower for a greeting card, inspiration struck - that raffia "yarn" would surely make a fantastic loom flower and I was right don't you think?

In addition to greeting card decorations, a raffia loom flower would be a fantastic addition to a raffia / straw hat or bag. You can also use your finger to gently smooth the corners out of the ends of the petals.

I finished these raffia loom flowers off with some white yarn (with sparkle) for a bit of contrast.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Chenille Socks for Kids

My daughters new winter pyjama's don't have enclosed feet like her old ones do so I told her she would need some bed socks. She immediately asked me if I could make some for her.  Despite never having made socks (and a failed attempt under my belt), I immediately said yes.

Knitted Chenille Bed Socks for Children

A look through the yarn collection for something suitable yielded some chenille yarn in white and pink. Having already made an animal security blanket / lovey out of the white chenille, I know how hard it is to work with, but I knew that pink chenille was just the thing for the fluffiest, cuddliest, warmest, girlyest bed-socks for a 3 year old.

My next task was to track down a pattern for chenille bed-socks for kids suitable to a sock knitter newbie. Nothing too specific there right? My first dilemma was the thickness of the chenille. The packet made no indication, but I'm sure all chenille yarns are not created equal. Patterns for chenille socks used all sorts of needle sizes. In the end I went with the knitting needle width suggestion on the packet - 5.0mm and looked for a pattern for chenille socks for 5.0mm knitting needles.

The pattern gods must have been smiling down on me that day! In retrospect I feel like I found a pattern which sums up many years of sock making wisdom. The choices for cast-on, toe, wedge, and heel all seem so perfect. If it gave a bit of direction with the cast off and had the correct number of stitches to cast on, it would be without flaw. I highly recommend the pattern, just cast on 12 (6 each side) instead of 10 and Google a stretchy cast off when you get to that stage. Oh and it is FREE! You can find the chenille sock pattern I used on Ravelry.

The instructions say the pattern is suitable for a beginner sock knitter. I absolutely agree with this, but I'm not sure how I feel about using chenille for a first sock. On one hand, chenille makes for the warmest, fluffiest socks - just the thing for bed socks. But chenille is oh-so-hard to fix if things go wrong - all you can see is fluff and it is incredibly difficult to "read" your knitting. But if you do make mistakes, fluff is good at hiding them. Definitely don't try chenille if you are new to knitting, socks are difficult enough.

I have a very happy little girl, and I'm very happy with my first successful socks! I made them a little big so they hopefully fit her for a few years, but otherwise they fit her perfectly. Following on from my success with these socks, I might even get that sock yarn out from my first failed attempt at making a sock and try again!

Monday, 19 March 2018

Make a Doll's Wardrobe

Make a doll's wardrobe by up-cycling some cardboard packaging

Coat-hangers often come with doll's clothing, but what are you supposed to do with them? Make a doll's wardrobe of course! In this post I'll take you through a project I worked on with my daughter to make a wardrobe for her Barbie's clothes. You can make one to suit any doll, you just need to choose a box that is the appropriate size for the coat-hangers and clothes.

What you will need:
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Scissors
  • Wooden skewer
  • Hot glue gun (adult use only)
  • Washable paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Gemstone stickers (or similar to make handles)
  • Washable PVA Glue
  • Masking tape
  • Newspaper to protect surfaces
  • Smock
  • Keep an eye on the cardboard boxes coming into your home for one that would be suitable for a doll's wardrobe. You might be lucky and find something with flaps that can be used for the doors or you may have to attach doors yourself. Ideally you don't want to be taping a hinge on as this doesn't make for a sturdy join. Instead, look for something with a fold in it that you glue to the side of the cupboard as in the photos. Remember that you can always cut cardboard to size too.

Keep an eye on the boxes and packaging coming into your home for something suitable for a doll's wardrobe

Don't forget you can cut something down to make it suitable

You can attach doors to your doll's wardrobe if your box doesn't have suitable flaps, but for a robust join, you don't want to be attaching them with a sticky tape hinge
  • If you need to cut the cardboard to suit, do that now. Glue pieces together if required. Use masking tape to hold the cardboard pieces in place while they dry. Washable PVA glue is great to use as little kids can get involved in this step. Allow the doll's wardrobe to dry
  • Paint and decorate the doll's wardrobe any way you like. Gemstone stickers are particularly suitable for decorating a Barbie wardrobe. Allow the doll's wardrobe to dry.
When the glue is dry, it is time to paint your doll's wardrobe
A painted doll's wardrobe, ready for the rail and door knobs
  • The next step is to add the rail to the doll's wardrobe. Hold a wooden skewer up to the wardrobe to measure how much you will need. Trim the wooden skewer and trim off small amounts until the rail fits perfectly.

Hold the skewer up to the doll's wardrobe to work out where to cut it. If needed, keep trimming small pieces off the skewer until it fits like a glove.

  • Test the position of the rail before you glue it in place. Make sure the wardrobe door closes and the clothes hang properly. Mark the position of the rail.

Test the placement of the rail before gluing it into the doll's wardrobe

  • (Adult step) secure the rail in position with generous dollops of hot glue 
Time for adults to use the hot glue gun to secure the rail in place

  • (Adult step) add gemstone handles with hot glue. Allow glue to dry.
  • Hang up Barbie's clothes in her brand new wardrobe!
    When the glue is dry, hang up Barbie's clothes in her new wardrobe!

    Sunday, 4 March 2018

    Children's Easter Bunny Mask

    Create these Easter Bunny masks with the free printable in this post. A tutorial on how to make the masks is available at

    When the shops are full of Easter eggs it must be time to do some Easter-themed craft with the kids! If you aren't confident in your own drawing ability, and the kids are too young to draw themselves, then a printable what you need. There are so many free and fantastic printables available on the Internet. Just type "free Easter Bunny mask printable" into Google and switch to the "Images" search and you will find lots to choose from.

    I wanted to have a go at creating a printable myself so I created this free Easter Bunny Mask printable for the kids to use. Since I was so impressed with the results, I've put up a tutorial on which takes you through how to create the Easter Bunny mask on the left hand side of the picture in this post. The picture on the right shows what the mask would look like if you didn't unravel the cotton wool balls. Younger children could find this easier than dealing with unraveled cotton wool.
    Create an Easter Bunny masks with the free printable in this post. A tutorial on how to make, and decorate, the mask is available at

    I really enjoyed putting this printable together - it's a way for both mother and child to express their creativity with the same craft. If you like this printable and would like to see some more on this website then please let me know.