sit down and sew: simple sun dress

Today I'm going to show how to make a simple sundress. These are AWESOME for little girls. They are super easy to slip on, are light and airy for hot days, and let's not forget that they are so cute.

Tie in front variation. I will be showing this one.

Tie on shoulder with button variety.

Today I'm going to show how to make a simple sundress. These are AWESOME for little girls. They are super easy to slip on, are light and airy for hot days, and let's not forget that they are so cute.

What you'll need:

Two different fabrics
3/4 inch no roll elastic *
ribbon (I prefer grosgrain)
buttons (optional)

First you want to measure how big the chest needs to be. For this one, it was 19 inches. You are then going to measure how long you want it. I wanted this one to be 20 inches long. Fabric 1 will take up 17 inches of that, and Fabric 2 will take up 3 inches. Fabric 1 also has the chest elastic, so I added another 2 inches to that for seam allowances. Then you've got to figure out the width. I went with the classic 1 1/2 times the chest as a starting point, which made it 30 inches. Finally, I figured out the ribbon for the sleeves. You can do the sleeves all kinds of ways on this. I've done it where it ties in the back, behind the neck, on top of the shoulders, and in the front (like this one). Good basic length for arm pieces is around eight inches, give or take depending on what you measure. But because this is adjustable, it's not as important to get it right on.

Note: You can cut this in two different ways. You can have two pieces, a front and back, that you sew together, or, if you have one long piece like I did, you can just sew up into a tube.

Here's what I cut (including seam allowance):

- Fabric one -

30.5 width
19.5 length

(Variation - Cut two 15.5 x 19.5 pieces)

- Fabric two -

30.5 width
3.5 length

(Variation - Cut two 15.5 x 3.5 pieces

- Ribbon -

33 inches (2 pieces)


Now that you have your pieces cut, you are going to make them into your tube. Take both Fabric 1 and 2 and place them right side together. Sew up the edge and you now either have your back seam or your side seams (depending on how you cut your fabric).

Take Fabric 2 and place it in Fabric 1, right sides together. It is VERY important to check that once they are sewn together that the finished edge will be on the inside. I ALWAYS double check. I've had to many times where I've had to rip out the seam and start all over.

Now that those pieces are together, your already almost done! I like to topstitch to hold the finished edge down and make it look more professional.

Sew your hem. You can do it by rolling up 1/4 inch twice and sewing, or if you have a serger you can just iron up once and sew.

Now for the ribbon sleeves. First, at the top of the dress, fold and iron it over 2 inches. Measuring from the middle in the back of your dress, place your ribbon as shown. I put about four inches in between the sleeves and about an inch at the bottom where the ribbon is folded over. I folded it over instead of cutting different pieces to give it more strength against my busy girl.

No, go to a seam and measure down 1/2 inch. Sew all the way around, making sure your ribbon sleeves stay put when you get there. You may even want to back stitch to secure it even more. Then you will go 1 inch down from that and sew all the way round, leaving about a 1 inch opening to thread through your elastic.

*I said to use no roll 3/4 elastic. I tried to use 1 inch soft elastic for this dress and it was a mistake. I ended up throwing it out and going to the sturdy no roll stuff. ALWAYS USE NO ROLL!

Place a safety pin in your elastic and thread it through your chest band.

Stitch your elastic ends together. Close up the opening by stitching it shut.

For the front and back tie variety on this dress, you have to have button holes. I have a button foot on my machine and it makes this a breeze. Otherwise, you'll have to read through your sewing machine manual to figure out how your machine does it.

I placed to small buttonholes about 5 inches apart.

Thread your ribbon sleeves through the button holes, tie it, clean up stray threads, and voila! A cute summer dress for a little girl.

As always, if you have any questions about this tutorial, including terms or measuring, let me know and I am happy to help!


sit down and eat: tinfoil chicken dinner

This is a recipe I make frequently because it is so darn fast and easy to prepare. And don't forget that it is a.) healthy and b.) delicious.

Tinfoil Chicken Dinners


chicken breasts
(any kind of veggies, really)
italian dressing
dried basil
parmesan cheese

*No real measurements on this. Just use what you want to use. That's the glory of the tinfoil dinner.*

Step one - Lay out some tinfoil. Make sure you do enough to fit over the food you'll be piling in the middle.

Step two - Lay down your chicken breasts. You better believe I almost always use frozen ones, because it's about a bazillion times easier that way. Sprinkle it with some seasonings like garlic salt or onion powder if you want.

Step Three - Throw on your veggies. I usually use cut up red potatoes with the skin still on and baby carrots. But you could use any kind of veggies and it'd still be scrumtious. Zucchini and broccoli I know are a win.

Step Four - Pour on the dressing. I use fat free dressing to keep it low fat, but you can use any italian dressing you want. I use about 1/2 cup for each dinner, but almost always add more to it since I like it juicy.

Step Five - Sprinkle the dried basil and your parmesan cheese. And again, you can add other seasonings if you want.

Step Six - Fold it up. Try to make a little pocket of air when you do so that it gets all steamy as it cooks.

Step Seven - Bake at 450 for about an hour. Sometimes it's more if you have loads of root veggies in there. Just go until your chicken juice is clear.

Step Eight - Pop em' open and eat em' up.


sit down and read: the help

I just finished reading this book for my book club, and thought that it would do nicely for my first book post.

I'd been meaning to read this book for a while, but I just knew it was never available at my library, and I figured I'd just get around to it someday. I was excited to read it, although I am always worried that what I hear from other people about a book will affect how I go into.

But this book really delivered. Based in the 1960's, it follows the lives of some of "the help" in Jackson Mississippi and what they had to deal with during that tumultuous time. As I read the book it made me look at all aspects of my life. How I am as a mother, as a friend, as a human being. Do I judge too much based on appearance or status? Am I teaching my children to love others regardless of how they may appear? Do I remember that we are all in this together and that kindness is the most important thing you can do on this earth? Am I brave enough to stand up and defend someone who might need defending?

I hope the answer to all of these would be positive, but just in case they aren't, I am making a conscious effort to be better. I try to listen to those little promptings for good and kindness and act on them right away. I try to tell my children not only do I love them, but they are good and kind and smart.

So I recommend you run out and read this book, because hopefully it can help you to want to be a better person too. A definite Read.

sit down and eat: roasted veggies

I'm not much of a vegetable fan. Give me a good juicy piece of fruit and I'm a happy woman. Give me a stick of celery and I'll just glare you down. But if it's prepared right? Well that's a different story.

My favorite way to eat vegetables is by roasting them. Such an easy and delicious way to eat your veggies.

1 bag of mixed veggies
1 TB extra virgin olive oil
garlic salt
onion powder

Toss your (thawed) veggies in the olive oil. Spread on a foil lined pan (for less cleanup). Sprinkle with seasonings to taste. Place in 450 oven. Bake for 15 minutes, stir them around, and bake another 15 minutes, or until the edges start to get golden. They get so yummy and flavorful, everyone will love them. Serve with a meal or just eat them up!

(If using frozen veggies, you will need to up your time. I always thaw mine.)


sit down and sew: patch twirl skirt

After a fun two week vacation to Utah for my mom's wedding and some fun with friends and families I need to catch up on my blogs. I did this before I left but had no time to post it. So today I wanted to post how to make a patch twirl skirt.


Sewing Machine
Coordinating Thread
3/4 inch elastic
Fabric (I used one of the bundles from JoAnn's Fabric which I believe is roughly 5 quarters of a yard. I was able to make this skirt, another skirt, and a dress using just the bundle.)

Measurements I used:

Squares - 3" x 3"
Bri's waist - 18" elastic
Waistband - 30" x 4"
First Tier - 15 squares (45")
Second Tier - 22 squares (66")
Third Tier - 33 squares (99")

NOTE: Each level is roughly 1.5 times the length of the previous tier. So if your waist measures at 25, times that by 1.5 and that's how wide your waistband should be.

Lay out your squares in the order that you want them. Make sure you like the layout. The general rule of them when making a twirl anything is for each layer to be 1.5 times longer than the previous layer.

Sew your square strips together. You can sew them right sides together for a cleaner look or wrong sides together for a scrappier look.

Hem your lowest strip layer. If you have a serger, you can do this by serging along the edge. (I also serged along all the bottom edges of the strips and both edges of the waistband to keep it from fraying like the front.) Iron it up and secure with a stitch. If no serger, iron up a quarter inch and then another quarter inch and secure with a straight stitch.

I serged mine and then secured them with a single stitch. You can just sew yours with a regular sewing machine if you don't have a serger.

Start with your lowest square strip layer. Sew a gathering stitch along the top. I do my gathering stitches by doing lowest tension and longest stitch lengths.

Gather by pulling the back string and bringing the fabric into a bunch.

Pin the bottom layer against the 2nd layer. I pinned the wrong side of my 3rd tier against the right side of the 2nd tier. You can do that, or you can pin the right sides together for a cleaner look.

Sew along the inside edge.

Sew along the inside so that when you are done it looks like this. Make sure you keep the gathers pulled so they don't bunch oddly.

Sew another gathering stitch across the top of the 2nd tier.


Pin the wrong side of 2nd tier to the right side of 1st tier.

Sew again so it looks like this:

Serge or sew either ends of the waistband.

Fold it over the top of the waistband one inch and iron.

Stitch 1/8" from the top of the fold.

Sew 3/4" down from the top stitch.

Leave a gap on that bottom stitch so that you can run the elastic through.

Gather stitch and gather the top of 1st tier.

Pin wrong side of 1st tier along right side of the bottom of the waistband.

And stitch it.

Put a safety pin through your elastic.

Feed the elastic through the band.

Put the two ends together and stitch the elastic ends together.

Close up the gap in the waistband.
Shake it out and voila! A nice scrappy twirl skirt.


sit down and eat: cottage cheese pancakes

Now I realize that my title, "sit down and..." doesn't really apply to cooking, but it applies to eating, right? So that's what this is. Sit down and eat!

I seem to be following a trend with breakfast foods. But that's what it seems like we all love the best around here. I have a skirt tutorial coming up but that takes longer than just snapping pictures of my hand making breakfast.

This is one of my kids (and mine too) breakfasts to eat. They are packed with nice protein, have a texture that I love, and are absolutely delicious.

Cottage Cheese Pancakes:

Blend up your cottage cheese in a blender or food processor. My dog ate my food processor, so I use my blender, which is on it's last leg.

Add your eggs. Blend it really well.

Add flour (you can even use wheat flour or I've used white and oat flour mixed together), then milk and vanilla.
Add in salt and baking powder. Then add your sugar to taste. I add about this much.

Spray your hot skillet with cooking spray or use butter, which makes it so much better but less healthy.

Pour your pancakes on the hot skillet immediately.

Cook until bubbles begin to form in the middle of the pancakes.

Flip them over.

Enjoy with good maple syrup, applesauce, fresh fruit, or, my favorite, homemade buttermilk syrup (which I will post in the future.)!


1/2 cup cottage cheese
1 egg
1/3 cup flour
just over 2 TB milk
dash of vanilla
dash of salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
sugar or sweetener to taste