Needles and a Pen » Knitting, Sewing, and Nursing School

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  • Welcome to my blog!

    Hi! I'm Traci. I'm a nursing student and CNA who loves quilting, knitting, cross stitch, Project Life scrapbooking, and the great outdoors. In my pre-scrubs life, I owned Real Photography, and you can still see my old wedding and portrait photography site here .

    I great big puffy heart *love* comments, so please let me know you visited! I try to always reply!

Easter bunny dress: Simplicity 1208 by Ruby Jeans Closet

We had a little Easter miracle occur around here: I finished Ellie’s Easter dress in time for Easter morning Mass!  It came down to the 11th hour (or more accurately, the third hour), and I ended up quickly sewed the hem between showering and breakfast, but it’s done and I was super happy with it.

I wanted to buy her a dress, but I just couldn’t find anything I liked this year.  So I resigned myself to making something in colors to coordinate with the shirt I got for Will for $6 on clearance at Gymboree several years ago (sadly I never did find a sweater vest to go with it).  When I went to buy the fabric for it Monday, though, the Joanns lady gave me all sorts of attitude about how I wouldn’t have enough time to make it before Easter.  Now, that was actually a little true given my test, assignment, and work schedule this week, but she didn’t know that!  All she knew was that I was at Joanns at 10:30am on a Monday!

In the end I started sewing this dress in earnest after the Easter Vigil Mass and AFTER doing all of our Easter bunny prep…which was 12:45am Easter morning.  I’d spent about an hour the day before cutting the pattern pieces and some of the fabric, and I spent about 30 minutes Easter morning finishing up details and the hem.  All told you could definitely finish the dress within 5 hours taking your time, or 4 hours if you were all business.  The embroidery is the real bottleneck in the process.

I love the buttons–little pink bunnies that perfectly match the pink accent fabric.  What’s funny is that Ellie picked them out.  We were in the button aisle and she kept showing me things that weren’t at all right so I wasn’t really paying attention to her when she held out these and said “Look!  These are good!” I told her “beautiful, but not right for this project” on autopilot before I really looked and saw that they were perfect!

simplicity 1208 pattern review dress easter

Project details:

Pattern: Simplicty 1208 (purchased used in new condition from Etsy for $5, the dress is also available from Ruby Jeans Closet as Bunny Hop Dress as a pdf)

Fabric: Kona cotton (grey and white), cheap Joanns pink polka dot print

Buttons: La Mode (Joanns)

Cost: under $25

Time (including tracing/cutting the pattern pieces onto swedish tracing paper first but not including prewashing fabric): 4-5 hours

Pattern alterations: I used a smaller insert of color for the bunny’s ears instead of having the pink be full sized as in the pattern.  I did not do the understitching recommended in the pattern both (a) for time reasons and (b) because I don’t really understand what that is.  😛  I’m a fan of top stitching, but for time reasons I did not do it on this dress.  Maybe later this week.  I also brought up the hem.  I think in a solid fabric this can look a little Mole Woman, so I brought up the hem to make it a little more retro and a little less I’m-one-of-five-wives.

Pattern recommendations:  The kona wrinkled terribly.  When you’re looking at a definite car ride in a 5 point harness to church, some crunching is inevitable and the kona did not handle that well.  The ease included is also massive.  The pattern says multiple times that 3″ of ease is included and puts the chest measurement more prominently than the ‘size,’ but as a novice pattern garment sewer I just couldn’t bring myself to trust her measurements more than her age, so I made the 5.  It’s giant in the chest–I would have loved to try the 4 or even 3.

simplicity 1208 bunny hop dress

simplicty 1208 pattern review

Flower girl wreaths

Ellie got to model my friend Erin’s awesome floral hair wreath today.  She is completely in love with it–I’m thinking this might be a perfect Easter outfit if it gets warm enough and it would be adorable at her cousins’ baptism this summer!  Check out Erin’s Etsy shop–she makes them for adults, too!


Cinderella Disneybounding at the Movies

The Cinderella movie came out this week and Ellie and I thought it was the perfect excuse for a little Disneybound outfit fun.  Ellie and I were in disagreement over who she should go as.  She wanted to go as an ugly stepsister (?!).  I felt strongly that at least one of us should go as Cinderella and if I went as Cinderella and my daughter as an ugly stepsister…well, serious eyebrows.

I was really hopeful that the Kohls Cinderella collection would make this a no-sew Disneybound, but I was really disappointed in the quality of the clothing and decided we’d just have to figure it out ourselves.  Ellie and I came to a compromise on the whole ugly stepsister thing, and she agreed to go as CinderEllie in Rags.  I went back and forth on Lady Tremaine or the Fairy Godmother and after looking at what I had onhand I went with the Fairy Godmother.  A simple pink bow and I was done.

I made Ellie’s outfit in a record 3 hours from the portabello pixie claire dress pattern–the only thing that was ready when we got home from church today was the prewashed fabric, but it hadn’t even been ironed and the pattern templates hadn’t been made!  For her kerchief I used the fabric I had left from her apron, cut it into a square, used the rolled hem on the serger, and then sewed ribbons onto two corners so we could tie it at the nape of her neck since it wasn’t enough fabric to tie itself.  As I was working on the dress I had the studio door open and a bird flew in.  I can’t believe I didn’t make the connection immediately, but I’m sorry to say it did take me a while to realize that of COURSE a bird flew in when I was working on a Cinderella dress!  It was there to help!


These dresses will hang around for a while, ready for our next Disney trip.  I will be on the look-out for a cute wand pin or necklace and probably a lighter blue or pink dress to really bring home my Fairy Godmother ensemble!


Disneyland Sewing: What we wore, an accidental Disneybouding story, and Modcloth coupon codes!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, but the opinions are 100% my own.  I love Modcloth so much I joined their affiliate network.  They couldn’t be a more perfect spot for Disneybounding wardrobe shopping! 

I have coupon links for both new and returning Modcloth shoppers

The last time we went to Disney (Disney World), I made Ellie a bunch of outfits.  One of them was a subtle nod to the style of Mickey and Minnie Mouse:

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The other, a very seriously awesome nod to the princess Snow White.  I had wanted Ellie to have a princess dress, but didn’t want it to be the cheap looking official kind.  I wanted it to be a Snow White dress, but also just a really nice dress.

disneybound homemade snow white dress sewn

See the sparkles?  Oh they have not yet invented a fabric that speaks to me more than the bolts of sparkly tulle.

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(And a backup casual place dress in case the Snow White ballgown didn’t work out.)

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I enjoyed the results of that so much that for our latest Disney trip, I wanted to do that again.  But I wanted to be involved, too.  If Ellie could be a Disney princess, so could I.  So I both bought and sewed pieces that ran from subtle to overt nods to Disney characters.  I was very excited.  I loved the outfits.  On our very last day an employee asked me “This is kind of a weird question, but I have to ask–are you Disneybounding?”  Having no idea what that meant I said “no.”  It was awkward and I felt badly.  So I left the store and googled it.  Turns out that Disneybounding is dressing in clothing to give a nod (either subtle or overt) to a Disney character or ride.  Ooops–my bad.  I was TOTALLY Disneybounding, Mr Photopass Guy.  Sorry.

Anyway, here is a peek at our very successful 2015 Disneybounding at Disneyland.

Day one, a travel and Downtown Disney day.  Sadly the only shot of me is this partial waist-up shot, but just imagine the awesomeness of a red dress, yellow belt with Mickey Mouse fabric bow, and black and white polka dot flats.  Ellie had black glittery jeans, a red and white top, and a hoodie that was black and white polka dots.  Perfect for general Mickey/Minnie awesomeness.



Day 2, and our first Disneyland day, we again rocked the general Mickey/Minnie theme.  For Ellie’s sewn-together-last-minute-with-supplies on-hand improvised circle skirt I didn’t have enough fabric to make it as long as I wanted, so I added a layer of tulle underneath…and then leggings under that.  My red tulle skirt I made from this tutorial (which I followed more or less with Ellie’s skirt too).   I made my belt using this tutorial (except that I was doing all of my sewing last minute and so I used safety pins instead of proper fastenings)  The tank I got on clearance at Old Navy for $2.  I still love this outfit, but I trashed the skirt that day.  It ended up raining and the velcro on Ellie’s coat cuffs snagged against it for hours.  If I want to wear this again, I’ll probably need to rip out and sew on a new layer or two.  If I had it to do over, I’d also use thinner elastic at the waist.  I used 1″ elastic and spent most of my time trying to hide that white elastic under my belt (in spite of many many safety pins).

disneybound minnie mouse tulle skirt

(I made an effort to have Will coordinate with us on a couple of our days–next time he gets to Disneybound too!)

disneybound tulle skirt minnie mouse mommy and daughter


These flats were adorable but dang they tore up my feet something awful.  They are the kind with an elastic heel and I knew from experience that I’d pay for it, but BLACK AND WHITE POLKA DOT FLATS, PEOPLE!

disneybound minnie mouse

You can appreciate the tulle layer to her skirt in this shot as well as her sparkle toms.  Shoes are a real problem for Disneybounding at the parks–comfortable AND theme-fitting is hard.  But these silver glitter toms definitely worked for every outfit she had (but I was weak and also got her pink ones for her Sleeping Beauty dress).  They get my thumbs up as a great Disneybounding shoe option for kids!

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Day 3 was Meet Elsa day.  Ellie’s top was from Etsy.  Her skirt was a tulle circle skirt with a top layer of glittery awesomeness.  (I couldn’t talk her out of the ears and plastic necklace.  Oh well.)   My own outfit was my most subtle nod to Minnie, an adorable top from ModCloth (a shop that makes Disneybounding ridiculously easy if you just give them all your money), black jeans, and the perfect red shoes.  As was the theme of the trip, there really isn’t a good photo of me showing off the outfit (next time I will be obnoxious and insist) but here’s a group photo where you get the idea:



elsa disneybound



It is the perfect skirt for twirling.


Day 4 was Ellie’s birthday and less of a Disneybound for her and more a straight up Disney princess costume that her mother slaved over for days and days.  Ellie adores Aurora, wanted an Aurora dress, and so of course we never met her on this trip (grrrrrrr).  Thank goodness the dress is a touch big and hopefully we can try for the Ellie Aurora + Aurora Aurora photo next time.  The top section is made from Simplicity 9384 that I paid a disgusting $20 for on ebay to get my hands on.  I adapted it so it doesn’t include the attached skirt.  For the skirt I used the same tutorial I used for my tulle skirts and used various shades of pink tulle topped with a layer of sparkling tulle (none of that shows up in photos but was gorgeous in real life).  The underlayer I made knee-length because I wanted to be able to quickly trim the tulle to knee-length if the full skirt proved to be a pain during our park tour.  (It was totally fine full length.) Her peplum was also made with a layer of regular kona quilting cotton topped with sparkling tulle (I simply held the layers together when sewing the peplum).


We were in a rush to get out the door that morning and I forgot her pink glitter headband that was such a perfect match.  I’m still mad about that.  Especially since the rubberband in her hair broke about 20 minutes into the day (her aunt came to the rescue with emergency bobby pins).

sleeping beauty aurora costume homemade sewing simplicity 9384

I was so excited about this Sleeping Beauty dress–definitely the hardest thing I’ve made.

sleeping beauty homemade costume simplicity

See?  It sparkles. :)

My own outfit was also my most obvious–a tribute to the first and my very most favorite Disney princess: Snow White.  I got oodles of compliments on this outfit and luckily the skirt survived the day beautifully, so it will be back next time!  (And I have absolutely no idea why Ellie chose to make THIS face in the only photo of me taken on our camera that day.)

disneybound snow white tulle skirt

Day 5 was just me and Will, since Nic stayed back in the hotel with sick Ellie, so here’s a peek at my outfit courtesy of a Disney Photopass employee that really needs to clean his camera’s sensor:

disneybound mr toad

The dress and amazing yellow cardigan are from Modcloth.

(This, incidentally, is the day I hadn’t really had a particular character in mind but just really liked the headband with the outfit…and yet it was this outfit that prompted the question as to whether I was Disneybounding.  He thought this was perfect for Mr Toad’s Wild Ride.  I’ll take it.)

We did a little bit of other Disney sewing before the trip–Will made some pajama pants and I made a Dumbo nightgown to match Ellie’s favorite stuffed animal:


I also made some special Mickey pajamas for our first time Disneyland visitor in the group!


To wrap this up I’ll leave you with this photo of the pile I noticed as I was packing.  I felt like it was proof that we were totally winning at this whole Disney trip.

disneybounding minnie mouse

Ann - wow! That is amazing! I love all of the outfits, old and new. I had no idea this was a thing, but since I have an almost 3 yr old little girl I’m going to have to look into it! What great memories you gave your kids!

Louisa - What great fun!

Lace headband

A crazy thing happened today called: I finished another project!  I worked on this one for a year and a half off and on (and started it about 8 times before I had the lace pattern right).  This was my piano lesson project mainly because (a) it took me so long to get the pattern memorized so it wasn’t very fun to work on and so forcing myself to work on it once a week was good and (b) when it was on the needles and unblocked it looked like I was knitting a very long lace condom and so I tried not to work on it in public because Catholics have enough PR problems–no one needs me out in public knitting two foot long lace condoms.



Next up on my crazy finishing-what-I-started campaign will hopefully be these Mind the Gap socks.  I need to rip out the toe because they are a smidgeon too short, and since frogging is always depressing it’s been something I’ve been avoiding.  But it’s time.  Time to FINISH ALL THE THINGS!


ashburn shawl

I started this last September intending to have it done for the rest of fall…but predictably finished it now, at the tail end of winter.  Oh well, it’s all ready for next fall now!

Details: Ashburn pattern, The Plucky Knitter primo fingering yarn in Rachel, Ross, and Aperitif (which is how it earned its nickname “Date night for Rachel and Ross”)  The pattern was a little unclear on the contrasting color sections, but I was able to get an answer from the pattern author that you were indeed slipping the same stitch on the wrong side that you did on the right side, and that cleared things up beautifully.  The picot cast off was also a pill–normally I would have cast this off in one quick burst, but it was annoying enough for me to break it into three separate days of knitting.  Worth the effort, but not necessarily fun to do!




And a couple of in progress peeks at it:



Louisa - I absolutely love the colors that you chose! What a fabulous scarf!