Blossoms on the sidewalk: a little reflection on creative messes

Blossoms on the sidewalk: a little reflection on creative messes

If you happen to be stopping by Sparkles and Sprinkles, it probably means that you are the parent of creative children, who might just make some creative messes sometimes, or perhaps you are the creative culprit making (and leaving) messes, as I am too.

So, though Sparkles and Sprinkles is not normally a place for reflective articles, we are posting one today… 

A few weeks ago, I happened to have the chance to take a walk by myself on a beautiful spring day. As I walked along the sidewalk, I found myself delighting in walking through an abundance of pink apple blossoms, which had fallen on the sidewalk from the beautiful tree above. I silently thanked God in my heart for this gift of fluffy pink blossoms I was walking through on the sidewalk.

A few days later, it was Saturday cleaning day in our house, and as I sat down drinking some tea, and having a little prayer time after breakfast (getting ready for the tasks of the day ahead), those blossoms on the sidewalk floated into my mind.

One of the ways we are made in the image and likeness of God is that we love to create, just like God does.

It occurred to me that one of the ways we are made in the image and likeness of God is that we love to create, just like God does. God is so abundant in his creation: not just one blossoming tree, but many; not just a few blossoms on each tree, but an overwhelming beautiful abundance of blossoms. With this abundance of creativity comes what one could call “a mess.” But in fact no one would think of an abundance of pink blossoms on the sidewalk as a mess, but rather, just a beautiful sign of spring.

Of course God does have a plan for picking up this “mess” – the wind eventually blows it away, or it’s washed by the rain, or perhaps even swept away by someone in a nearby house as the yardwork is done. However, it’s usually not cleaned up instantly, and as it lingers on the sidewalk, no one worries. And perhaps, others, like myself, even delight in the “mess” of blossoms.

So as I sat sipping tea and reading the Mass readings in my Magnificat, it occurred to me that I could think of the messes strewn around our home like blossoms on the sidewalk. Yes, they would have to get picked up eventually, but as they sit there, they don’t have to be considered as an eyesore, but rather a sign of the springtime of the creativity of our children.

Yes, the messes would have to get picked up eventually, but as they sit there, they don’t have to be considered as an eyesore, but rather a sign of the springtime of the creativity of our children

Since that morning, I have been trying to look at the messes, take a deep breath, say to myself, “Blossoms on the sidewalk,” and then more kindly and patiently figure out a pick up plan. So…

Paper scraps, glitter, and marker caps all over the floor… deep breath… blossoms on the sidewalk.

Legos all over the floor… deep breath… blossoms on the sidewalk (if only they felt like blossoms when stepped on, oh well!)

Hair binders and Barbie accessories strewn on the rug and down the hallway… deep breath… blossoms on the sidewalk.

Flour dust and batter drippings lingering on the counter… deep breath… blossoms on the sidewalk.

Admittedly, sometimes I’m the creative mess-maker… so, candle making supplies all over the counter, and the sewing machine still not put away, surrounded by scraps of fabric and pieces of thread… deep breath… blossoms on the sidewalk.

Praise God for the gift of being made in His image and likeness, and for the gift of creativity He planted in us. Creative work sometimes leaves trails of messes… no worries, just more beautiful blossoms on the sidewalk. Delightful. Beautiful. Creative.

– Written one morning on scraps of paper with a dull colored pencil, as a pen could not be found, and opening the computer sounded unappealing.

 

 

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Sewing Scripture – Cursive and Printing Practice Pages

Sewing Scripture – Cursive and Printing Practice Pages

Does your little girl love sewing and want to practice cursive or printing? In this post, we share with you 12 free printables with sewing-related scripture passages that can be used all throughout the liturgical year. Your child can reflect on scripture passages while practicing printing or cursive. There is space on some pages to also be creative and draw pictures that come to mind while reflecting on the scripture.

These writing practice pages were created for our homeschool sewing group this year, but I wanted to share them with you as well. As I searched for sewing-related scripture, I found that the Bible is filled with scripture about sewing, weaving, and cloth.

I also began to reflect upon the fact that some of the tangible reminders God gives us of his love come in the form of cloth… the Shroud of Turin, the Veil of Veronica, and Saint Juan Diego’s tilma with the beautiful image of Our Lady. Sometimes holy cards contain relics of the saints, which can be little pieces of the cloth of their clothing. The story of Saint Gerard’s handkerchief and miraculous help for safe childbirth also comes to mind.

What a gift it is to be able to weave, sew, and create! And how beautiful it is that we can give glory to God through the work of our hands.

proverbs sewing
sewing scripture
sewing scripture
sewing scripture
sewing scripture
Luke 2:12 sewing scripture

Simply click on any image below to access all writing practice pages. Each file contains both a cursive version and a printing version of the scripture, even though only one of the images is shown as a sample here.

 

sewing scripture
sewing scripture
sewing scripture
sewing scripture
sewing scripture
sewing scripture
sewing scripture
sewing scripture
sewing scripture
sewing scripture
sewing scripture
sewing scripture

You might also enjoy…

good measure writing practice

Looking for more writing practice pages? Try our “good measure” activities and writing practice.

Inspired to sew? Have fun making these adorable doll clothes.

Make your own Santons de Provence

Make your own Santons de Provence

Come learn about Santons de Provence, a beautiful French Christmas tradition. Then make your own French-inspired nativity scene with a little clay, paint, and creativity!

The idea of a nativity scene began with Saint Francis in Italy in the 1200s.  He brought together real people and animals to create a living nativity. Churches over the years have displayed large nativity scenes.

When there was a revolution in France in the 1700s, it was sometimes not possible for people to go to church. The French people started making small nativity scenes for their homes.

In the 1800s, Santons de Provence began to become famous in the south of France.  Santons (meaning “little saints”) are commonly made of clay and painted by hand.

Santons de provence villagers

Santons de Provence nativity scenes include not only the Holy Family, but also many other people (such as a baker, a teacher, a doctor, a mom and her child, and countless other people).

Santons de Provence remind us that we are all called to come adore the Christ Child in the manger.

Santons de Provence

Santons de Provence remind us that we are all called to come adore the Christ Child in the manger.

Our family’s Santons de Provence collection began with baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and a donkey, and over the years it has grown. Each year we add a new figure or two. Sometimes the added figure relates to our life that year, for example a mother and a child when a new baby was born in our family, and an apothecary during the COVID pandemic. Our scene also includes Saint Francis, as he is a dear saint to our family and to remember that he began the idea of nativity scenes.

Having a Santons de Provence collection is a beautiful Christmas tradition. Our family looks forward to setting out the scene each Advent, and the first thing we do on Christmas morning is to come to see that baby Jesus has been placed in the stable. 

If you are interested in starting your own collection, and planning a trip to France is not a possibility, there are a number of online stores that sell Santons de Provence. We have ordered Santons from Santons de France USA for many years.

If you would like to create your own Santons de Provence-inspired nativity scene, keep reading to learn about a few ways to create your own nativity scene.

Ready to create your own Santons?

Santons de Provence are typically made from clay, so for authentic but simple material for making your own santons, we recommend terra cotta color air dry clay. Once it dries, the clay can be painted with acrylic paint. You may want to use clay tools for more detailed work.

diy santons de provence

Despite air dry clay being a more authentic material, we have found that using Model Magic makes for a project that avoids mess and also creates sturdy figures (ready for little hands to play with!). Here is a link for a class pack of Model Magic (in our family, we love having this on hand for many fun projects), but small packages are also available.

Toothpicks may be helpful to support the clay as it dries and to add details or texture.

Model Magic can be painted after it dries with watercolor paint. Any watercolor paint will work, but higher quality water color may work best. If the figures are small, fine-tipped paint brushes will be helpful for details.

diy santons de provence

Part of the fun of making your own Santons de Provence inspired nativity is that figures can be created that are special to you and your life. For example, our 11-year old loves bunnies, baking, and playing the guitar, so she created some new santons to add to her collection this year inspired by these loves. Making a patron saint figure would also be lovely. Of course making your own santons does not mean they need to look exactly like Santons de Provence, you can create your own style, as our daughter did.

diy santons de provence
diy santons de provence
diy santons de provence

Before making your own Santons de Provence inspired nativity, you might enjoy watching some authentic Santons de Provence creators at work in France. We’ve gathered up a collection of videos below that show the creators at work. The videos are in French, so if you are new to French, just watch (and perhaps you’ll recognize a French words too!). You’ll be able to see the great variety of santons that are made. You’ll also see that santons are made using a molds in order to mass produce many of the same type of santon. However, the molds are produced from originally sculpting a santon out of clay, so for making your own santons, you will not need a mold… just create your own originals by sculpting your clay. 

We hope you enjoy making your own Santons de Provence-inspired nativity scenes, or perhaps start an authentic Santons de Provence nativity collection to add even more joy to the Christmas season! 

Joyeux Noël !

Que Dieu vous

bénisse!

santons de provence

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Make a city plan like L’Enfant

Make a city plan like L’Enfant

Have you ever thought about the fact that someone had to design and plan the cities where we live? In this post, we share with you a little history of the designer of our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. His name? Pierre Charles L’Enfant.

pierre l'enfant statue in u.s. capitol building

We wish we could have found a great picture book for children to learn about L’Enfant (like the one we found about Jean-Jacques Audubon), but as we could not find one, this post is full of pictures and little snippets that tell the story of the intriguing life of Pierre Charles L’Enfant, a Frenchman with a great love of America.

After learning a little about L’Enfant, we’ll show you a fun art project to plan your own imaginary city, using L’Enfant’s methods. You can even learn some French city words, with our free chart, as a nod to L’Enfant’s native language.

And, if you are up for an adventure, we suggest some places in the D.C. area you can visit which honor the designer of our nation’s capital – scroll to the bottom of this post to find these fun places.

scott berg grand avenues

A few little notes… This post was inspired by reading Grand Avenues by Scott W. Berg – it’s a history book, but it is written like an enthralling novel. I would recommend it to adults reading this post, especially those with a penchant for French and a love for Washington D.C. For children, or those wanting a quick snapshot, our post should be a nice place to start. Pictures in this post are mostly public domain images. In many cases, clicking on the images will lead to the source of the photos if you want to dive deeper. Okay, let’s learn about L’Enfant…

Who was Pierre Charles L’Enfant?

pierre charles l'enfant

Major Peter Charles L’Enfant, redrawn from woodcut (Library of Congress)

Pierre L’Enfant was born in France in 1754.  His father was employed by King Louis XV as a royal artist. Pierre L’Enfant studied at the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture.  One of his contemporaries was Jacques-Louis David, who became a famous artist.

academie royale de peinture et sculpture

Vue perspective du Sallon de l’Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture au Louvre (1778)

l'enfant painting

Painting by L’Enfant of West Point, 1782 (Museum of the American Revolution)

Pierre L’Enfant’s family was close with the famous playwright Beaumarchais (author of plays such as The Barber of Seville and The Marriage of Figaro). Beaumarchais encouraged a group of young men at the time to travel to America to help to fight against the English in the American Revolution. L’Enfant did not have military training, but he wanted to come to America to join in the fight for American independence.

Soon after his arrival in America, L’Enfant met George Washington. George Washington was impressed with L’Enfant, especially with his artistic abilities.  L’Enfant was asked to draw a military manual for General Baron von Steuben. L’Enfant was also asked to create the medallions for the Society of the Cincinnati. Later, L’Enfant took on a bigger project, redesigning Federal Hall in New York City.

stueben manual l'enfant

L’Enfant’s drawing for Steuben’s military manual (Muesuem of the American Revolution)

When the Revolutionary War had been won and it was decided that the new country should also have a new capital city, L’Enfant was determined to be the designer of this great city. George Washington thought that L’Enfant was the one who had the genius for this job.

“Since my first knowledge of [L’Enfant’s] abilities in the line of his profession, I have received him not only as a scientific man, but one who added considerable taste to his professional knowledge; and that, for such employment as he is now engaged in, for projecting public works, and carrying them into effect, he was better qualified than any one who had come within my knowledge in this country, or indeed in any other…”

(Letter from George Washington to David Stuart, as quoted in Grand Avenues, pages 136-137)

L’Enfant explored and surveyed the land that would become Washington, District of Columbia. Then L’Enfant meticulously designed a grand city to be built there. At the time, Georgetown was a little village and most of the area that would become Washington D.C. was farmland and forest.

washington d.c. farmland

Unknown author – Library of Congress Geography and Map Division

From his tireless study of the land, his vast imagination, and artistic talent, L’Enfant created a plan for the new capital city. He created his plan on 2 pieces of handmade paper (joined together to be 2 feet by 3 feet), using pencil and watercolor for the images, and many styles of calligraphy for the descriptions.

enfant plan for dc

L’Enfants hand drawn plan for Washington, D.C. (public domain image)

L’Enfant had a fiery personality, however, and sometimes offended the other people working in government at the time. Interestingly, the plan that became engraved and publicized had the name of one of L’Enfant’s helpers, Ellicott, who had copied and slightly modified L’Enfant’s plan. L’Enfant was enraged that after all of his hard work, his name was not the one on the published plan. Due to disagreements and financial difficulties, the plan for D.C. was slow to become a reality.

About 100 years went by without much progress on the grand plans for Washington, D.C., then L’Enfant’s original plans were unearthed by Frederick Olmsted, Jr., a highly acclaimed architect.  The McMillan Commission then attempted to more fully understand L’Enfant’s plans. The commissioners even traveled to Paris to see where L’Enfant grew up and what might have inspired his plans.

Finally, L’Enfant’s plans for a grand city for our nation’s capital began to be realized.

mcmillan plan

The McMillan Plan for the National Mall

Perhaps it is because of L’Enfant’s original plans and the McMillan Commission’s work in carrying out his plans that Paris and Washington D.C. have some similarities, among them, grand diagonal avenues, long grassy esplanades, French Second Empire and Beaux-Arts style buildings, and ornate bridges. Let’s take a look…

paris map

Map of Paris in 1774

enfant plan for dc

L'Enfant's plan for Washington, D.C.

Paris - Champ de Mars

D.C. - The National Mall

Paris - Opéra Garnier

D.C. - Eisenhower Executive Office Building

Paris - Pont Alexandre III

D.C. - Arlington Memorial Bridge

Photo by Tim Evanson from Washington, D.C., United States of America

Ready to plan your own city?

L’Enfant used large pieces of handmade paper for his plan. For your plan, you will need large pieces of watercolor paper, watercolors, paint brushes, and pencils and/or pens.

 

L’Enfant spent a great deal of time exploring the land on which he planned our nation’s capital, deciding, for example, what buildings would look best on hills and what areas should be near water. To add even more fun to your imaginary city plan, it could be fun to spend time wandering in a country or farm area, and imagine how that piece of land could be turned into a city or town.

Once you have some ideas, start to sketch them out on your paper with pencil. Label your map in pen or pencil and add some watercolor (perhaps blue for rivers, green for parks, etc.). You could also add explanations about your map, using pen or pencil, or even try calligraphy as L’Enfant did. Decide on a name for your city, and give your map a fancy title.

If you are interested in learning French while making the city, feel free to print a copy of our French City Word Chart. Though L’Enfant made his map with English labels, it could be fun to label your map in French, L’Enfant’s native language.

If you need help with pronunciation of these city words, you could try Narakeet. Simply select French as the language, type the French word, and listen to the pronunciation.

 

French city words

Ready for a L’Enfant in D.C. fieldtrip?

L’Enfant was at first not honored for his great work in designing our nations capital, but now we can find a number of places around Washington, D.C. that remind us of L’Enfant’s contribution to our country. Let’s explore…

L'Enfant Plaza

L'Enfant Plaza with metro and train stops

l'enfant statue u.s. capitol

Statue of L'Enfant in the United States Capitol Building

The statue of L’Enfant in the Capitol is quite new, installed in 2022. Watch a video of the instatlation. The statue is tucked in a quiet alcove… a big thank you to our wonderful tour guide who took the time to show us this statue, though it was not part of the standard Capitol tour.

L'Enfant's tomb in Arlington National Cemetery

L’Enfant’s remains were transferred to Arlington National Cemetery about a century after his death. His tomb overlooks the capital city he designed.

Freedom Plaza in D.C.

At Freedom plaza one can walk on a stone inlay that depicts a portion of L’Enfant’s plan for Washington, D.C. (photo from wikimedia)

Is it possible to see the original plan created by L’Enfant? Unfortunately not. We read in Grand Avenues that “The only known copy of a plan for the federal city in L’Enfant’s own hand to survive into the twenty-first century rests in a refrigerated chamber in the Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress, where it is off limits to the public because of its brittle condition and the extreme fading of its pencil lines” (Grand Avenues, pages 185-186).

In addition to the places which specifically honor L’Enfant, you could walk in L’Enfant’s footsteps by visiting Mount Vernon (where L’Enfant met with George Washington to talk about his city plans) and Georgetown (where L’Enfant stayed while exploring the land that would become Washington, D.C.).

If you are interested in seeing the artwork of L’Enfant’s contemporaries, who were also gifted artists, consider a visit to the National Gallery of Art, looking for the works of Jacques-Louis David and John Trumbull.

We hope you have enjoyed learning about Pierre Charles L’Enfant, and creating and exploring on your own!

If you love learning and creating, consider subscribing to our email updates. Simply click here to subscribe. At sparklesandsprinkles.blog, we post learning ideas and recipes, and have a penchant for all things French.

Bonne journée! Have a great day!

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Other links may or may not be affiliate links.  We provide links because we have found these products or services beneficial, and we think you might too.

Doll and Me flutter sleeve pillowcase dresses

Doll and Me flutter sleeve pillowcase dresses

Learn to make matching flutter sleeve dresses for a child and her doll!

Our free pattern and step by step tutorial can help even the beginner to make these dresses (this can also be a very quick project for those with sewing experience). These dresses can be sewn entirely by hand. Our tutorial gives directions for hand-sewing stitches (with video tutorials on each stitch!), but if you are using a machine, a straight stitch can be used. Pillowcase dresses can also be used as nightgowns.

doll and me dress
doll and me dress
doll and me dress

Why pillowcase dresses?

Starting with pillowcases allows some of the major seams to be completed without any work. This makes sewing a dress for a beginner a much easier and faster project.

Some tips for selecting the pillowcases:

1.  We recommend using standard size cotton pillowcases. Standard size tends to be 20″ by 30″ or 32″. If you would like a longer dress, you could consider adding some extra fabric or wide lace to the bottom when you finish the dress. If you would like to select a king size pillowcase (typically 36″ long), just check that it is 20″ wide. Sometimes king size pillowcases are narrower than standard size pillowcases. If the pillowcase is narrower than 20″, the dress may be too narrow to wear comfortably. 

2.  If picking a pillowcase with a  patterned fabric, be sure the pattern will be in the right direction for the dress. An overall pattern that does not have a clear horizontal or vertical direction might work best. The pillowcase as a dress will hang down vertically (rather than the horizontal direction as used on a bed).

3.  Make sure the pillowcase you select is a woven cotton (not a stretchy jersey knit). The pillowcases we used in the photos and videos for this tutorial were from Laura Ashley (200 thread count breathable percale cotton pillowcase set) and Threshold (400 thread count performance pillowcase set).

Our tutorial begins with instructions for making the doll dress. The dress is designed for an 18″ doll (such as an American Girl or Our Generation doll), but the pattern can work for other dolls as well.

Starting with the doll dress will allow the beginning seamstress to practice and perfect her stitches before attempting child-size clothing.

Stitches will need to be stronger and smaller for child-size clothing that will likely be washed and worn more often.

doll and me dresses

Ready to make some really sweet dresses?  Let’s get started…

We recommend reading through the entire tutorial before beginning the project.

Gather your supplies…

  • 2 standard size (20″x30″ or 20″x32″) woven cotton pillowcases (not stretchy knit)
  • A spool of thread to match the pillowcases
  • 1/8″ wide elastic
  • 1″ wide grosgrain ribbon (optional)
  • Sewing needles
  • Pins (in a pincushion)
  • Small safety pin
  • Craft scissors
  • Sewing scissors
  • Sewing tape measure
  • Sewing gauge (optional, but helpful)
  • Pinking shears (optional, but helpful)
  • Large cardboard cutting board (optional, but helpful)
  • Ironing board
  • Iron
  • Our free printable doll and me dress patterns

Let’s make a doll dress!

Step 1

Wash and dry your pillowcases. Iron the pillowcases well to remove wrinkles. Use only one pillowcase for all steps in this section. (Set one pillowcase aside to be used later for the child-size dress.)

doll and me dress pattern

Step 2

Print out the pattern pieces, then cut them using craft scissors. Do not use sewing scissors to cut printer paper, as doing this will dull your sewing scissors.

Step 3

Cut off the short side of one pillowcase opposite the opening. VERY IMPORTANT: Do not cut the side where the pillow would normally be inserted – this part will become the pre-finished hem of the dress.

doll dress pattern layout

Step 4

Fold the pillowcase so that the pattern pieces needing to be placed on a fold will be on a fold (not on the seams of the pillowcase). Place all pieces (doll dress, doll sleeve, and child sleeve) on the fold and make sure none overlap the seam (if so, refold fabric to have more room). Watch this video if you need help.

Step 5

Pin on the doll dress pattern pieces. If you are also planning to make a girl size dress, you should also pin on the child size dress sleeve pattern. New to pinning patterns? Watch this video. Carefully cut out the pieces. Remove the pins, and set the fabric aside.

Step 6

As each piece needs to be cut twice, flip the pillowcase over, fold the pillowcase again so that the pattern pieces can be placed on a fold (not on a seam). Pin on pattern pieces and carefully cut out the pieces. Remove the pins. Set aside both child size sleeves to be used later.

Step 7

Place the doll dress fabric right sides together and line up the edges. What does right sides together mean? Click here to watch our quick video.

Step 8

Pin the sides of the dress. How to place the pins? Check out this quick video.

Step 9

Draw a light pencil line 1/4″ from the edge of the left and right sides of the dress before you start stitching to keep your stitches straight.

Step 10

Using a backstitch sew a seam 1/4″ from the edge on the left and right sides of the dress. The back stitch allows the dress to hold together better than a simple running stitch would (however, a very young child or a beginner might want to just use a running stitch). Would you like to learn the back stitch? Watch this quick video.

Step 11

Find the doll sleeve pieces. With the help of an iron and a sewing gauge, iron the curved edge of each sleeve under 1/4″. Do not worry if it is not exactly 1/4″ inch, as the curve will make this challenging. (Children may want to ask an adult for help with the iron.) Watch this video for tips on ironing to a measurement.

Step 12

Using a running stitch, sew a seam about 1/8″ from the curved edge of the sleeve. What is a running stitch? Watch our video.

Step 13

Pin each sleeve to the dress as shown, right sides together. You may want to pin one part of the sleeve at a time, sew it, then pin another side. Watch this video to learn how to pin on sleeves.

Step 14

Using a backstitch, sew the sleeves onto the dress bodice, 1/4″ from the edge of the fabric.

Step 15

Press open the dress side seams and press the underside of the armhole opening down 1/4″.

Step 16

Using a running stitch, stitch the underside of the armhole opening about 1/8″ from the edge.

Step 17

Fold the seam allowances at the neckline/sleeve connections so that they all face the same direction (e.g. clockwise). Then use a basting stitch to keep them down (a basting stitch is like a running stitch, but you do not need to knot the thread, and you can pull out this stitch later). See this video for help. Baste the seam allowances from the neckline and down about 3/4″. Basting down the seam allowances in the same direction will make threading the elastic in step 20 easier.

Step 18

With the help of an iron and a sewing gauge, fold the neckline of the dress over 1/2″. Do not worry if it is not exactly 1/2″ inch, as the curve will make this challenging. However, a little more than a 1/2″ is better than a little less. (Children may want to ask an adult for help with the iron.) Pin down the fold to keep it in place.

 

Step 19

Using a running stitch, stich around the neckline, about 1/4″ from the edge. The fabric will wrinkle where it connects at the sleeves (this is okay). You can remove the pins as you sew. Leave a 1″ opening between where you start and stop your stitches. This creates a casing for the elastic. Leaving the 1″ opening is essential to be able to insert the elastic.

Step 20

Cut a 12″ piece of 1/8″ wide elastic. Attach a small safety pin to one end of the elastic. Thread the elastic through the casing, being sure to hold on to the other end of the elastic so that it does not get pulled all the way through. Once the safety pin makes its way all the way around the neckline, pull the elastic so that the end of the elastic comes out of the casing by a couple inches. Put the two ends of the elastic together and make a sewing knot. Watch our video for help with this step.

Step 21

Flip the dress right side out. Put the dress on your doll. Adjust the location of the knot on the elastic so that the neckline is right for your doll. Take the dress off of the doll, cut off any extra elastic from the neckline. Use a running stitch to stitch together the 1″ opening.

flutter sleeve doll dress

Step 22

Congratulations!  You just made a new dress for your doll!  If you would like, tie a piece of grosgrain ribbon around the waist line.

Have fun playing together!

Please note, as this is a hand-sewn project, it should be treated gently.

 

Let’s make a girl-size dress to match!

Step 1

If you have already made the doll dress, find the girl-size sleeve pieces that have been cut out of one of the pillowcases in steps 5-6.

If you did not make the doll dress first, follow the beginning steps for the doll dress (wash, dry, and iron pillowcases; print and cut out paper pattern pieces). Follow steps 3 to 6 of the doll dress instructions to cut out only the girl-size dress sleeves.

Step 2

Measure from the back of the neck down to the desired length of the dress (for example, to the knee or calf). Write down this measurement to save for another step.

Step 3

Lay the pillowcase on the cutting board. Place the opening (hemmed side – where the pillow would be inserted) of the pillowcase on the zero line of the cutting board.

Step 4

Cut off the top of the pillowcase (the part that is sewn shut on the opposite side from the pillow opening) so that your pillowcase becomes your desired length. Use your measurement from step 2 (in the example here, we wanted our dress to be 25 inches long from neck to knee). Or if you want to keep the full length of the pillowcase, simply cut off the smallest possible amount. To keep your cut straight, you may want to draw a line. Your pillowcase will now be open on two ends. The part you cut off will become the neckline. Very important: Do not cut the hemmed opening of the pillow case – the hemmed opening will become the bottom hem of the dress!

Step 5

Find the armhole template. (Choose size small/medium for sizes 4 to 9, and large/xl for sizes 10 to 14). Pin the template at the top left of the pillowcase as shown (with the curved side toward the center). Cut out the armhole. Discard the cutout fabric. 

Step 6

Repeat step 5 on the right side of the dress, but place the template face down (so that the curved side is again toward the center).

Step 7

Find the sleeve pieces.  If desired, use pinking shears to cut near the edge of the curved part of the sleeves (this may help to keep the fabric from unraveling when washed, but is optional). With the help of an iron and a sewing gauge, iron the curved edge of each sleeve under 1/4″. Do not worry if it is not exactly 1/4″ inch, as the curve will make this challenging. (Children may want to ask an adult for help with the iron.)

Step 8

Using a running stitch, sew a seam about 1/8″ from the curved edge of each sleeve. What is a running stitch? Watch our video.

Step 9

Flip the pillowcase inside out. Pin each sleeve to armholes of the dress as shown, right sides together. Sleeves need to be pinned on to each side of the dress, but only one side is shown here. Watch this video of pinning the doll dress sleeves for help.

Step 10

Using a backstitch, sew the sleeves onto the armholes of the dress bodice, 1/4″ from the edge of the fabric. Sleeves need to be sewn on to both sides of the dress, but only one side is shown here.

Step 11

Make a rolled-hem on the underside of each armhole by folding over the fabric twice by about 1/8″. Pin parallel to the edge of the fabric to keep in place. A rolled hem will keep the raw edge from showing under the arm.

Step 12

Make a running stitch very close to the edge of the underside of each armhole opening. 

Step 13

Fold the seam allowances at the neckline/sleeve connections so that they all face the same direction. Then use a basting stitch to keep them down (a basting stitch is like a running stitch, but you do not need to knot the thread, and you can pull out this stitch later). Baste from the neckline of the dress and down about 1 inch. This basting stitch will make threading the elastic in step 16 easier. Watch this quick video for help (it shows the doll dress, but has the same idea).

Step 14

With the help of an iron and a sewing gauge, fold the neckline of the dress over 1/8″ and press.  Then fold over another 1/2″. Do not worry if it is not exactly 1/2″ inch, as the curve will make this challenging. However, a little more than a 1/2″ is better than a little less. Note:  This step is slightly different than in the doll dress – folding over the fabric twice will make it so that the raw edge of the fabric will not been seen, and will be less likely to fray when washed. This double fold is more complicated than a single fold, but is important as the garment will be worn by a child, rather than a doll.

Step 15

Using a running stitch, stich around the neckline, as close to the lower folded edge as possible (to be sure that the 1/8″ fold gets stitched down). Leave a 1″ opening between the start of your stitching and your last stitch. This creates a casing for the elastic. Leaving the 1″ opening is essential to be able to insert the elastic.

Step 16

Cut a 30″ piece of 1/8″ wide elastic. Attach a safety pin to one end of the elastic. Thread the elastic through the casing, being sure to hold on to the other end of the elastic so that it does not get pulled all the way through. Once the safety pin makes its way all the way around the neckline, pull the elastic so that the end of the elastic comes out of the casing by a couple inches. Put the two ends of the elastic together and make a sewing knot. Watch our video for help with this step. This video shows the doll dress, but the same concept is used for the child size dress.

Step 17

Flip the dress right side out. Try on the dress. Adjust the location of the knot on the elastic so that the neckline is right for the child. Take the dress off, cut off any extra elastic from the neckline. Use a running stitch to stitch together the 1″ opening.

Congratulations! You just made a new dress!

 

Step 18 - optional

If you would like to define the waistline of the dress, grosgrain ribbon could be tied around the waist. Making a simple 1″ long stitch on each side of the dress at the waistline will help to keep the ribbon in place.

Another option to define the waist would be to create a casing with an extra piece of fabric, sew this at the waistline, and insert elastic.

 

Ready to get the pattern? Click here.

Looking for more fun doll ideas?

American Girl Doll Party Ideas

Host a doll party!

baby doll with knit hat

Crochet a hat for your doll!

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Audubon inspired French nature activities

Audubon inspired French nature activities

Audubon is a familiar name, especially for those who love birds.  But did you know that Jean-Jacques Audubon was sent to America as a young man to avoid having to fight in Napoleon’s war? Here in America he spent as much time as possible outside, observing and recording nature.

We love the book about the young Audubon, The Boy Who Drew Birds, by Jacqueline Davies, with illustrations by Melissa Sweet.  This book is in English, but provides a great jumping off point for a nature hunt in French.

In this post, we have a Free French/English nature scavenger hunt printable to get outside and learn French.  If the day is more of inside day for you, we also have some indoor ideas, like our nature matching game available on Etsy.

New to French?  No worries, we have clickable links to hear the nature hunt and matching game words!

 

Click on the image to hear the French word.

Ready to head outside? Print your FREE French scavenger hunt!

Click on the image to get your Free printable French scavenger hunt.  Children can check off the items they find and draw a small picture of each item.  Words are listed in French and English.

french scavenger hunt

Want to play?  Learn French with our Nature Matching Game!

Click here to get your own French – English Nature Matching game.  It’s an instant digital download, so you can play it today!  Just print, cut out, and play.  Have fun!

Get the French – English Matching Game on Etsy.

 

French English Nature Matching game

Love to draw? Create your own nature scene with French labels.

Children can draw a picture of a real nature scene or one that they imagine.  Then have older children use a dictionary to find the French vocabulary to label the scene in French. (An online dictionary could also be used.) Younger children can be told the words while an adult writes the words.

french nature sketch

We love learning French through picture books.  If you do too, check out our Paris Picture Book post.

Paris Picture Books

We also loving learning through singing!  If you do too, check out 123 Petits Pas… they have adorable songs in French… some about nature.

Bonne journée!

Have a beautiful day!

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