Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Create Stickers without a Color Printer

This post contains affiliate links.

A few years ago I was in the market for a new printer. In other words, the faithful 4-in-1 I'd had since college finally gave up the ghost. Knowing that I primarily print PDF sewing patterns (so many pages), I decided to buy a black and white laser printer (this one, which I've been super happy with). Easy to use and cheaper ink.

Fast forward to last year. I got a Cricut and discovered I couldn't make Print then Cut stickers unless I had a color ink jet printer. Whomp whomp.

Create Stickers without a Color Printer
Pin for later!

Never fear, I discovered a workaround! Check out my YouTube video showing all the steps to create your own fun stickers, without a color printer. Make sure you visit my Etsy shop to get the monstera leaf cut file in the video, it's one of my most popular designs!

A few notes:

I created these stickers using Permanent Vinyl from Heat Transfer Warehouse. My cutting dial is set to Vinyl, with no extra pressure changes. My Cricut did not cut through the paper backing, which was fine since I peeled it off anyway.

Heat Transfer Warehouse recommends cleaning your application surface with alcohol before applying.

The monstera leaf works great on a curved surface (like a tumbler) due to the cut outs around the leaves.

If you are able to weed the background in one piece, you can reuse the leftover piece as a stencil for painting or screenprinting!

In Cricut Design Space, 0.25 offset is the default. I tried it that way, but I prefer 0.15. Remember that the Offset function is only available in the desktop version of Design Space, you cannot do this hack on the app.

Offset stickers with a Cricut
0.25 offset on the left, 0.15 on the notebook

Interested in stickers but don't have a Cricut? Find ready to order stickers in my print on demand Etsy shop!

If you use this tutorial, I'd love to hear about it, leave a comment below!

Heat Transfer Warehouse provided the vinyl for this review. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

5 out of 4 Kids' Classic Swimsuit Sewing Pattern

This post contains affiliate links.

I hope you're lucky enough to be reading this from a part of the world that is NOT going through the same heat wave as the Midwest. Temps have been hitting 100 this week without even factoring in our extra special humidity. Blech.

We recently purchased a membership to our county YMCA, which means we've been able to beat the heat by escaping to their indoor pool. Swimming multiple times a week is a new thing for us, and it meant my kids needed more swimsuits (oh darn...j/k! I love making swimsuits!)

5 out of 4 Kids' Classic Swimsuit

I have long been on the hunt for a TNT girls swimsuit pattern. Last year I had some epic failures with the Megan Nielsen Mini Cottesloe (weird, because the adult version was a big success). I've been sewing for 10 years but somehow haven't landed on a TNT...until now!

This is the 5 Out Of 4 Patterns Kids' Classic Swimsuit (sold alone or you can get it in a bundle with the women's suit as well). There are extra frills included (this IS a 5oo4 pattern after all!) but I wanted to try it out plain Jane and see how it went. 

I made two suits, one for my skinny 7 year old, and one for my chunkier almost 6 year old. Their measurements were sort of all over (the 7 year old's waist measurement put her at a size 3), but this particular pattern included a measurement I'd never seen before--girth. In this case, "girth" referred to the distance from the point of the shoulder, down the front of the body, between the legs, and up the back to the shoulder again. 

Length and girth for both girls corresponded to their straight sizes, so I ended up cutting a 6 for the 6 year old and a 7 for the 7 year old. I made no adjustments to the 6 year old's suit, but for the 7 year old's I did have to take in the side seams. That was a change consistent with her measurements, so I wasn't mad at it. After that change, the fit was perfect.

5 out of 4 Kids' Classic Swimsuit

The 6 year old's suit...well...notice she's not pictured here. *I* think her suit fit great, but she threw a total fit the second she put it on, saying it was too tight. When I compared it with her RTW suit that she likes, my suit wasn't smaller, but the elastic in the legs was definitely tighter. If you have a picky kiddo, you may need looser elastic than what the pattern recommends.

I used a variety of bright threads for the topstitching

Aside from the fit, the reason this jumped to the top of my faves list is the construction. It's drafted so that you do NOT have to use binding on the openings. There are directions for binding if you WANT to go that route, but I have NEVER been able to make swim binding look good. It always ends up wavy, or far too stretched out.

I loved being able to sew the elastic to the raw edges (outer+lining) and then simply turning it under and topstitching. I used my coverstitch for topstitching and my serger for construction. If you are going to make a swimsuit without a serger (totally possible!) this pattern would be a good candidate. The seam allowances are 3/8", so not too narrow to deal with on a regular sewing machine.

This amazing rainbow "zepard" print swim is from The Fabric Fairy (unfortunately it's sold out!). I also used this black swim for the lining, it's nice and thick and could easily do as an outer fabric too. Follow The Fabric Fairy on Facebook or Instagram to be notified first about new fabrics, sometimes great prints like this one sell out quickly!

I'm so happy I have a girls' swimsuit sewing pattern that I can turn to with confidence! I'm sure I'll be grabbing it again for my 10 year old, especially since it comes with a shelf bra option in the upper sizes.

Grab your Kids' Classic Swimsuit pattern and let me know how it works out for you!

I received this pattern for free as part of the 5 Out of 4 Patterns Promo Team. All views are my own, I truly do love this pattern! I received the fabric for free as part of The Fabric Fairy Promo Team, though I was purchasing fabric from them long before I joined the team!

Friday, June 17, 2022

My Secret to Organizing Sewing Patterns

I've just passed my 10 year anniversary of getting my first sewing machine (eep!) and you can bet that in that amount of time, I've accumulated a LOT of patterns. Unlike fabric, it seems that patterns never move out of the stash haha! I had a few people ask me about my organization system, so I thought a blog post would be in order.

Secret to Organizing Sewing Patterns

My secret: vertical storage!

The envelope system, rolling patterns, refolding tissue...none of that works for me 100% of the time. A few years ago, I went to a vertical hanging method and I haven't look back. As long as you have a wall, you can make this work in a small sewing space too! And don't limit your imagination to your sewing room walls. Most of my patterns are on the walls of an unfinished attic space.

Here is how I categorize my patterns and how each category is organized:

Organizing Sewing Patterns

Patterns I don't like that much

I should've come up with a more clever title here...non-TNTs? Infrequent patterns? Whatever, you get the idea. Maybe you made it once and knew immediately you'd never make it again. Maybe you've got the wrong sized traced and you're not motivated to do it over. The point is, it's a pattern that you're unlikely to use again soon. These patterns end up in what I lovingly call the corner of shame. 

I love my Brunswick but I love my Halifaxes more

Since I may never make them again, I go ahead and roll up these puppies. It saves space and it won't bother me if it's all rolled and floppy, because I may not use it anyway. I put the smallest pieces on the inside, roll them all up together and then tape a scrap piece of paper around the outside of the resulting tube. If I happen to have toilet paper tubes around, those are also amazing for holding rolled patterns. All the rolled patterns go into a collapsible laundry bin (from Amazon). Or if they're really, really old, they are hiding out in a giant bag shoved into a dark corner until they're forgotten.

Organizing Sewing Patterns

TNTs or patterns I'm definitely making again

I might have only made these patterns once, but they were winners and I don't want to roll them up for future use. I'd like them to stay nice and flat for whenever inspiration strikes. These patterns are the ones that are stored vertically.

First, I paper clip all the pieces together. Then I layer many different patterns and clip them all with a big alligator clip. I used to have these all mixed together, but with a lot of patterns it becomes difficult to find something. Now, they are clipped together in categories (outerwear, pants, tops, dresses, etc.). 

Organizing Sewing Patterns

The alligator clips can be hung on the wall in a variety of ways. Currently, they are hanging on genuine pattern hangers. When I first got these hangers, it became clear to me that hole punching and hanging my backlog of patterns was just not going to happen. If you had a few sturdy ones it might be worth it, but I prefer my method. These hooks on the walls were here when we moved in, but you could even use a nail.


Lingerie patterns are small and I can fit most of them in a binder. I have clear envelope pages and tuck in the pieces (folded if necessary) along with a cover sheet or something telling me the name of the pattern. This method also works if you tend to print patterns but not assemble them immediately.

Organizing Sewing Patterns

Big 4 and paper indie patterns

I can't even remember the last time I bought a Big 4, but when I was starting out I was all over those $1 pattern sales. These patterns are stored in two clear boxes, organized of course by brand and number. I want to say I got these pattern storage boxes at Jo-Ann's, but I can't remember. Here they are on Amazon. These are the perfect size for holding a standard paper patter.

I have also purchased a decent amount of indie patterns in paper form. These are stored in the same plastic boxes, often IN ADDITION TO being stored on the walls. I tend to keep the originals in the envelopes, and the traced off sizes either on the wall or in the bin of shame, depending on the experience!


I sew for myself a lot more than my kids, so I do tend to neglect this part of my storage system. All my kids patterns are stored flat in a giant pile in the attic storage space. I did have them in a plastic drawer set, but as they grew the patterns got too big! So now the drawer is no longer inside the bin, and the patterns are stacked to the moon. 

Surprisingly, this method hasn't been terrible. I just make sure to paperclip each pattern (all sizes) so I don't lose pieces. Clearly label the size, and if possible use different colors to trace those sizes.

Hopefully these tips for sewing pattern storage gave you some ideas! What's your best tip that I haven't shared?

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Rib Knit Waistband Vero Beach Shorts

It's Hey June June! Remember last year when I made Reels showing off every Hey June pattern I've sewn? Good times. This year, I'm keeping it much more simple. I've already posted one video tutorial of how to sew the tulip hem on the Vero Beach shorts, and today I'm sharing the waistband hack I did.

Rib Knit Waistband Sewing Hack

I have a pair of ready to wear shorts that are woven, but with a rib knit waistband. I've been wanting to recreate them forever. I also have a pair of me-made grey linen shorts that have somehow not expanded to encompass my covid weight gain. Stupid shorts. 

Wrinkly linen goodness

I've made the Vero Beach shorts two times before (here's the Reel showing them off). Both pairs are more loungey and part of a set with the hoodie. This pair is definitely a stand-alone, wear them with all the tank tops, type pair. The grey linen is from It's their best-selling IL019, the color is Frost Grey.

Pictured here with a Hey June Santa Fe

Adding the knit waistband was super easy. I used the regular waistband pattern pieces and cut rib knit instead of linen. I reinforced the buttonholes with a knit interfacing before sewing them. I basted the front and back waistband together at the side seams and then tried it on around my waist. From there, I simply cut the waistband smaller and smaller (at the side seams) until it felt comfortable. It does not need to be tight enough to stay up on its own as you will add elastic later.

The rib knit stretches, so it can be much smaller than the opening of the shorts to which you are sewing it. I'm not providing an exact amount that I cut off, since each knit is different, it was 1-2" at each side seam. If you're not sure whether or not your waistband will fit into the shorts, baste it on before sewing it permanently. 

Leave an opening for your elastic and continue to sew the shorts per the directions. I included flat drawstring (it's from The Fabric Fairy, they have lots of colors!). To keep the drawstring in place, run a line of slightly longer straight stitching near the top of your waistband.

You wouldn't think that a simple switch from a woven to knit would make a huge difference in comfort, but it really does! It doesn't take that much rib knit to make the change, so a couple small cuts on hand in some of your favorite bottom weight colors is a good idea. For the life of me, I can't remember where I got this one, but probably The Fabric Fairy. I love their rib knit!

Have you tried this change to your favorite shorts pattern? If you don't have one, pick up the Vero Beach Set here!

I am a Hey June affiliate but my love for their patterns is genuine. Cotton flat tape provided for free in exchange for being a Fabric Fairy affiliate. I bought the fabric and patterns featured in this post.

Friday, June 10, 2022

Tips for Tie Dyeing with a Large Group

This post contains affiliate links.

Hi friends! Summer is here and that means camps, outdoor activities, and trying to keep kids busy. I was recently asked to lead a tie dyeing activity at my church's camp for late elementary aged kiddos, and I'm here to share my tips for making this fun project work for a large group!

Tips for Tie Dyeing with a Large Group

The number one thing I learned through this experience is that tie dyeing is a quick project TO DO but a long project TO PREP. And I couldn't have managed without an amazing helper, who also happened to be a former preschool teacher. Preschool teachers are experts on patience and messy play! She and I split a lot of the prep and that made a huge difference. I'm not going to talk about prep or post-washing here, these tips focus on streamlining the project on the day.

We had somewhere close to 100 kids that tie dyed pillowcases. Pillowcases ended up being a great choice, better than t-shirts, because there was no sizing to worry about. We worked with rotations of 15-20 kids for about 45 minutes each, which was plenty of time. You should definitely allow 10-15 minutes in between groups to clean up and reset your stations. For that many kids at one time, we needed four large tables.

TIP 1: Buy a kit
Make life easier on yourself and get a large group kit from Dharma Trading Co. Just do it. This is not an affiliate link so I'm 100% objective here! We ordered two of the large kits and I dumped a significant amount of dye afterward...we probably could have done with one kit and extra squeeze bottles. The kits came with rubber bands, powdered dyes, gloves, an info booklet and soda ash. At the same time, you can grab whatever it is you want to dye (we got our pillowcases here too). I also had plenty of paper towels on hand and used dollar store foil trays with cookie sheets on top as our dye stations (keep reading for a photo of our dye setup). Lastly, buy a big box of gallon ziploc bags to hold each dyed item for the 24 hour curing time. 

TIP 2: Label all items with Sharpie ahead of time
There is nothing worse than someone doing all the work to dye and then you losing track of who had what. We took the time to label, in Sharpie, each and every pillowcase with the camper's name and cabin number. You want to do this when the pillowcases are dry, because the next step is soaking in water/soda ash and keeping them wet until it's time to dye. Throughout the prep and washing afterward, we kept each group together as well. You can get fine point Sharpies like we used, to minimize the size of the writing, here.

TIP 3: Bring samples and photos
I wasn't sure of the best way to teach or demonstrate to so many kids. Almost everyone had done some tie dye before, and had no trouble with the dye part. But the folding and tying were harder and everyone needed a refresh there. Dharma sent a great little booklet with their kit that had full color photos of different tying techniques and what sort of design it would create. I ripped out the pages, laminated them, and was able to use them as visual aids while explaining the techniques.

Bonus of making samples, you get to dye them!

I pre-tied a few samples to show how they were supposed to look. I also had one pillowcase that wasn't tied at all, so that I could demonstrate from start to finish how to tie for each design. I stuck with the simple ones, swirl, cirlces, and speckles. Just make sure to emphasize to the kids that they can tie them however they want, these are just ideas.

TIP 4: Label the dye bottles and keep colors simple
Before I took on the task of the large camp, I helped out at our church preschool when they tie dyed shirts. It was a great trial run of the process with a small group of younger kids. One thing I noticed was that the colors of dye were super hard to identify once they were bottled. Purple and blue looked the same, red and pink looked the same. For my large group, I put masking tape on the bottles and wrote the color in large letters.

Dharma offers a zillion colors with fun names like Fire Red and Cobalt Blue. But unless you want to spend half your time telling a 10 year old what "cobalt" means, do yourself a favor and just call it BLUE. I made Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple, and Pink and it was totally fine.

TIP 5: Encourage something other than rainbow
I get it. Everybody likes a rainbow. I have nothing against rainbows, but I do object to everyone being the same! When I worked with the preschool kids, 99% wanted to do a rainbow. Boring! Not to mention time-consuming, as each kid wants the same 7 colors at the same time. So when it came time to instruct the bigger kids on colors, I purposefully told them to think outside the box. I asked them to use their imaginations and do something other than rainbow colors. Obviously many still did a rainbow, but I like to think that we ended up with far more interesting color combinations with just a little encouragement.

TIP 6: Tie and dye at different stations
I feel sorry for our first group of kids, because they were the guinea pigs! We quickly realized that having everyone tie their pillowcases at the same table where they were supposed to dye, did not work, especially if you will have multiple groups in a row. Dye will be everywhere at the dye stations, and it's impossible to tie and keep the items clean under those circumstances. If you have the space, I highly recommend a large, clean table where kids are doing all the tying. Put the gloves, rubber bands, and sample pictures on that table. Have the dye stations set up separately.

A related tip is to keep the dye away from the kids until everyone has finished tying. Otherwise, the kids will run straight to the dye and basically pay no attention to the tying step. This method also gives you a chance to give them your speech on thinking outside the rainbow BEFORE you hand them the dye bottles.

Despite all the prep work, every single kid I saw was SUPER excited to tie dye! It's basically a guaranteed hit. I hope these tips help you out with your large group tie dye project!

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