Category Archives: Sewing Rogue

Bridesmaid dress, revisited

Look out readers: I have a few Sewing Rogue posts up my sleeve! I had to save this one until after Christmas since it was a gift for my BFF, and I didn’t want her to see it before I gave it to her. Here we are about 7 years ago at her wedding:

I’m ordering people around I guess? It was the only picture I could find that showed the full dress, so deal with it.

Anyway, pretty dress, right? Everyone looked good in it. Well, unfortunately this dress has been collecting dust since that day, and its even moved with us a few times. It was time to revisit the dress! I wanted it to get the attention it deserved, instead of being packed up in our storage space all the time. So I decided to make a pillow out of it. Strangely enough, it matches BFF‘s bedroom decor, so it was a slam dunk.

First I got all my supplies:
-one bridesmaid dress with sash
-matching thread (I had thread to match the dress and the sash)
-matching 14″ zipper
-one 16″ square pillow fill


I used this tutorial, which is really good. I’ll to my best to show my steps here. Sorry for the bad lighting, the sun was setting and I was really pushing the daylight on this one.

1. Iron the material


2. Measure 16″ of the fabric and leave about 5/8″ on each side for a seam allowance (17 1/4″ total)

3. Cut two of the squares and place them with right sides together.

4. Center the zipper on one of the sides and pin.

5. Sew a 5/8″ seam from the very edge of the pillow to the top stop of the zipper. Do the same for the bottom stop of the zipper.

6. Baste the zipper opening shut at a 5/8″ seam allowance. Press open with iron.

7. Lay fabric out flat with right sides separate and facing down. Pin the zipper sides to the seam allowance you just ironed, keeping the zipper teeth centered over the seam.


8. Using zipper foot on sewing machine, baste each side of the zipper to the seam allowance.

9. Zipper is in! Now you just need to take out your basting stitches to show the zipper.

There it is, little nugget!

10. With right sides together, pin the other three sides and sew:

11. Trim the corners so they aren’t so bulky:

12. Stuff your pillow in!

zipper works!

13. Now time to do something with the contrasting sash. I found this tutorial for making a fabric flower and followed it to make this little navy rose. I used matching thread to hand-sew this little guy together.

14. Then I took the pillow fill out of the pillowcase and hand-sewed the flower to the pillow. This was not a scientific process at all. I just wanted it to feel sturdy and I didn’t want seams to show.


15. Tah-Dah!


Here is is making its debut on our couch:


Happy new year!!!

Tagged ,

Conservatory lovin’

Last weekend I spent a few hours at the Garfield Park Conservatory. Aside from a totally overbearing mom (whose voice, btw, I can only liken to a cat in heat) trying to take pictures of her antsy daughter, it was quite pleasant. It got so bad at one point that I almost walked over and asked the little girl to please take one for the team and smile so her mom could get the GD picture and the rest of us could have some peace. Anyway, everything else in the garden was beautiful. And they didn’t even mind that I set up my tripod like a crazy lady to get some of these shots.

Spring is in the air, even here in Chicago!






DIY iPad and Kindle sleeves

Look out, its a sewing rogue post!

I randomly won an iPad right before Christmas. I know, I couldn’t’ believe it either. So far, I’m lovin’ it, especially for traveling.

The only problem: iPad cases are expensive and ugly. I couldn’t find one that I liked for under $40. Since I just wanted a simple felt case, I decided to make one myself. I looked everywhere for thick felt. It was hard to find, but I finally found a color and weight that I liked at filzfelt.  I picked gender-neutral gray/yellow in the hopes that I’d have enough extra yardage to make a case for the Kindle that the huz got for Christmas. Filzfelt sells 18″x18″ squares, which, according to my calculations would be enough for both the Kindle and the iPad.

18″x18″ square of thick felt (mine was 3mm thick)
Microfiber cleaning cloth that is about 8×10
One sheet of fusible web (I used Steam-a-Seam)
Heavy duty sewing thread
Heavy duty sewing needle (not sure if you need this, but I used one to be safe)

I cut the felt so that I had 1/2 inch on either side of the iPad and Kindle. Then I cut the microfiber cloth and Steam-a-Seam to about 7.5 x 9.5 (approximate dimensions of the iPad). I only lined one side of the iPad case with microfiber fabric to save money, but you can line both sides if you like.

Then I ironed the microfiber cloth on using the Steam-a-Seam directions.

The only thing left to do was to sew the sides of the case!

And store my iPad safely inside!

Then I did the same with the leftover felt for the kindle, except I didn’t use microfiber since the kindle doesn’t have a shiny surface.

And we’re ready to travel geek-style! Now we just need a destination…


Tagged ,

DIY Toddler Fish Halloween Costume

Last Halloween, Marin wanted to be a fish. This posed a bit of a problem since all the fish patterns I could find were ridiculous. The girl was not even two – how could she walk in this?

After consulting with Ali, I decided to go rogue when I found this picture online. There was no pattern to be found and no instructions on how to create a similar costume. Turns out that creating a cute little fish costume isn’t so hard! Here are my steps:

1. Get a base for the costume. Gap had a long sleeve shirt and leggings in aqua that would make a great base for the costume. I went with blue/green colors because I was afraid that going the goldfish route might look too much like a duck if you couldn’t see the fins. There are a lot of cute ducks out there at Halloween, but I didn’t want anyone thinking Marin was a duck if she wanted to be a fish!

2. Wait for a JoAnn sale and get some felt.  I also picked up some irridescent fabric for the fish belly, Peltex to make the fins sturdy, matching thread, velcro strips, a headband, and styrofoam balls (more on these later). I picked up about a yard of each fabric.

3. Get some measurements of the little one. Luckily I had just seen Marin a week or so earlier and was able to get some basic measurements to make sure nothing was too tight.

4. I started out by making a vest of felt. I could then sew the iridescent fabric to the front for the fish belly and the fins to the back for the scales. I used a pattern from her costume last year, which was a candy corn, for basic shape.

5. After cutting two pieces like this, I moved on to the fish belly, which needed to be a little bigger than the vest so I could wrap it around and sew a hem all the way around. I used the vest I had already cut as a pattern, then pinned the sides in.

6. Time to measure the fins. 4 inches seemed about right, but I used an index card for scale. Then I just cut the index card so it could be my pattern for the fins.

7. Now I used the fin pattern to cut all the fins. Note that its hard to see in the picture below, but I folded the felt and cut two layers. So the felt below is folded at the top to make two layers. This is so I can sew Peltex in between to make them sturdy. I cut a bunch of these and then laid them out to see when the back looked “full” of scales. Then I ironed the crease at the top of each scale.

8. Next I cut a layer of Peltex a little smaller than each scale (so it could slip inside without having white Peltex sticking out!) and sewed that into each scale. You could definitely get fusible Peltex and just iron it in.

9. Next I made a little tail fin. I needed The Huz’s help making the pattern. Again, I cut two layers of felt and a slightly smaller layer of Peltex for in between, and sewed the edges.

10. Now back to the vest. I uses iron-on Peltex for the inside of the vest to make sure it was sturdy and wouldn’t sag with the weight of the scales. I cut some Peltex a little smaller than the felt and ironed it right on to both the front and back of the vest.

11. Time to sew on the iridescent fish belly:

12. Now all the pieces are ready to be sewn together!

13. Line the scales up where you want them and sew a little seam at the top of each scale (the fold). Repeat until all the scales are on, then sew on the tail fin as well.

14. I wanted the costume to be easy on/off, so instead of sewing the shoulders and sides, I just sewed on velcro.

15. Now for her fishy eyes! As I said at the beginning, I picked up some styrofoam balls at JoAnn and cut them in half. These are super hard to cut. I had to enlist The Huz again.

16. Draw the eyes on with a sharpie, and hot glue them to your headband.

17. Then I had a last minute idea that Marin needed pectoral fins, so I cut some more felt and Peltex and sewed it right to her Gap long sleeve shirt.

18. Time to put all the pieces together – its done!

Here she is wearing it. Marin was just the cutest little fish I ever did see!