Candy Corn Sugar Cookies

Why do I love baking so much more in the fall? I’ve been making these Candy Corn Cookies every autumn for years and they are always such a hit with kids and grown-ups alike. What I love is that these cookies are adorable (and of course yummy) but don’t require any fancy decorating skills. But don’t worry, their simple design and chocolate-covered goodness are sure to impress your eyes and your taste buds.

Candy Corn Cookies

 

Start with your favorite cut-out sugar cookie recipe. Mine is from my Betty Crocker cookbook, but you can use any recipe you want, or even grab some pre-made refrigerated sugar cookie dough.

DSC_0893

Once you’ve mixed up your sugar cookie dough, grab some red and yellow food coloring, and add as much as you need to get a nice bright orange dough.

DSC_0901

One of these years, I’m going to think ahead and buy some orange food coloring gel that you get in the cake decorating aisle. It’s a much more intense food coloring, and since it’s a gel, it shouldn’t change the consistency of the cookie dough like the liquid food coloring does. If you’re dough is less stiff than you need it for rolling out, add a few extra handfuls of flour to the mix.

This is the part where I should be showing you how we neatly rolled out our cookie dough and cut it into pinteresty-looking candy corn shaped cookies using a candy corn shaped cookie cutter that I bought online (or you can just cut your cookie dough into triangles with a pizza wheel), but my not quite four-year-old fired me from my job and did this part almost entirely on her own. She actually told me to go take a nap on the couch! She did an awesome job, and I was all proud and somewhat sad to see what a big girl she is becoming. So I forgot to take pictures of the process itself, and just sat at the counter and admired what an amazing grown-up kid I have.

DSCN4434

Once your cookies are baked and have cooled, melt a bag of white chocolate chips and in another pot a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips. Dip the tip of each cookie in the white chocolate and the base of the triangle in the semi-sweet chocolate. Then set on parchment paper until the chocolate has hardened. We made five dozen cookies and I melted two bags each of the white chocolate and sem-sweet chocolate. But  how much you need will largely depend on how generous you are with the chocolate. :)

DSC_0921

Now all you have to enjoy is try and not eat them all at once!

DSC_0927

 

DSC_0945

 

Linking up to:

Moonlight and Mason Jars

Link Party Palooza

All Things Thursday

 

DIY Anna Costume Tutorial

If you have a child that wants to be Anna from Frozen for trick-or-treat this year, look no further! I’ve got a simple DIY costume idea for you, so that your little girl can look just like Princess Anna! My older daughter is going to be Elsa (tutorial for Elsa’s coronation dress here and here), but we can’t have Elsa without Anna, right?

This Anna costume is a great project for someone with beginner sewing skills. It’s really just a jumper with a separate (store bought) shirt underneath. I’m going to show you how to make your own jumper pattern, but if you have a store bought pattern you really like, you can use that instead. Just check out my suggestions for fabric choices and all the cute details to make an ordinary jumper pattern into an adorable Anna costume!

DIY Frozen Anna Dress

When my oldest daughter decided she wanted to be Elsa this year for trick or treat, I was totally on board! Every year, I have so much fun making my kids’ costumes. I’m not sure why costumes, of all the projects I could make, excite me so much. Maybe it’s because every child’s cute factor goes up about 85% once you put them in a costume. I’m pretty sure that’s a proven fact.

DIY Elsa and Anna Dresses

But another reason I was excited for my oldest to be Elsa, is because I love the idea of my girls having coordinating costumes, and Elsa just so happens to have a little sister, and we just so happen to have a little sister of our own running around in this house, so it seemed like the perfect idea!

Anna Dress DIY

While the Elsa dress was a lengthier project, this Anna dress came together so fast! And it’s adorable! The hand-embroidery I did on the bodice gives a simple jumper such a special feel. Can this be her Christmas dress too? It’s just so cute, I can’t get enough of it!

Embroidered Anna Dress

Ok, on to the tutorial!

To make the Anna dress, you’ll need to start by gathering your supplies. The amounts of fabric I used are based on making a dress that is a size 18 months, so if you are making a larger size dress, you’ll want more fabric than the amounts I recommend.

1.  1/3 yard of black fabric for the outside of the bodice (I used black stretch velvet, but I think almost any other fabric would work)

2. 1/3 yard lining fabric (I used some broadcloth I already had on hand)

3. 1/2 yard blue fabric for the skirt (I used a polyester satin)

4. Black thread

5. Blue thread (to match skirt)

6. Yellow thread

7. Embroidery floss in green, bright pink, yellow, and light purple

8. White turtleneck onesie (or blue if you can find one, but if not don’t worry, we’re going to take care of that!)

9. Bias Tape (optional- for finishing the hem)

10. White chalk

11. Package of pastel blue dye

Start by tracing around an existing jumper or sleeveless shirt that comfortable fits your child. Don’t go with anything that fits snugly. We want it just a little bit loose so it will go over a shirt easily. Trace about an inch (or a half inch if you perfer) away from the edge of your jumper to allow for a generous seam allowance. You don’t need to trace the entire jumper, just the front and back of the bodice.

DSC_0541

Once you’ve made your front and back bodice pattern pieces, take the front piece, and erase the center of the neckline. Draw a sweetheart neckline instead. Make sure the neckline you are going to create is low enough that the finished garment will be able to go over your child’s head without needing a zipper in the back.

DSC_0546

DSC_0548

A little tip: I like drawing half my pattern, then folding my paper in half and tracing the second half. That way both sides of my pattern are perfectly symmetrical.

Now you can cut out the fabric for your bodice. The stretch velvet I used was very slippery to work with, so I traced around the pattern piece with chalk and then cut on my chalk line. (I know it looks like I’m cutting through two layers here, and I was. At first, I planned to line the bodice with the same stretch velvet as the outside of the bodice, but realized it would be too bulky. That stretch velvet likes to slide hence all the pins I used trying to hold everything in place.)

DSC_0539

Our first step is to sew the front and back exterior (black) pieces of fabric together. Lay right sides together, line up the side seams and sew each side seam from the bottom of the armpit, to the bottom of the bodice on each side.

DSC_0948

Now, we’re going to begin sewing the lining to the bodice.

Turn the black part of the bodice right side out. Lay the right sides of the lining up to the front and back of the black bodice. Sew around the neckline, and arm holes.

DSC_0954

 

DSC_0955

Now you are going to want to sew the sides of the lining together. Tuck the exterior black fabric into the middle of your bodice, so that it is out of the way. Match the front and back sides of the lining together on each side. Sew from the bottom of the armhole to the bottom of the bodice on each side of the bodice.

DSC_0959

 

You may want to clip around the raw edge of your neckline and arm hole seams in a few places, to help them lay smooth when you turn them right side out.

DSC_0958

Now, turn your bodice right side out. It’s time to attach the straps of our jumper together!

Take the straps from the back of the bodice, and insert them into the straps of the front of the bodice. Turn the raw ends on the front strap pieces inside to hide the raw edges. Sew it all together with a straight or zigzag seam. I used white thread here so you can see how I did it a little better, but of course, you’ll want to use black thread.

DSC_0963

 

DSC_0961

 

Next, we’re going to add the embroidered embellishments to the front of the bodice!

I’m sure there are several ways you could do this, but here’s what worked for me.

I found a picture online of the Anna dress and then roughly sketched what I saw of the bodice design, onto the front of my dress’s bodice, using the chalk. Kind of looks like reindeer antlers, doesn’t it? :)

DSC_0967

My design was far from perfect, but once you have everything done, it always looks so much better. In fact, I actually made the bodice of this dress twice: once for my daughter’s actual dress and then, a second time, when I realized that I had been in such a sewing-zone while I made the dress, that I had not taken enough pictures to document all the steps! You can see a side-by-side comparison of how the embroidery ends up looking when it’s all done.

DSC_0968

For the embroidery, I started with the green embroidery floss, since that’s the most used color in the design. Reaching inside the bodice, between the exterior and lining pieces, that way the lining will hide all my messy stray threads when I’ve finished the embroidery.

DSC_0993

On this example piece that I made, I am over-exaggerating my stitches, just so it’s easier to see what I did. On the dress I actually made for my daughter, I used much smaller stitches, and only half the strand of embroidery floss.

DSC_0995

DSC_0999

Once you’ve finished the green part of the design, go back in with your pink, purple and yellow floss and add the little flowers and dots. Those tiny details really make the dress look so special!

DSC_0970

 

Next you can attach the gold braid. Anna’s dress in the movie has gold braid around the neckline, arm holes, and waistline, but I opted to just put it around the neckline. I switched the thread on my sewing machine to a yellowy-gold thread for this step, pinned the braid in place, and then sewed it in place using a wide zigzag stitch. You can’t even see the thread unless you get really close.

DSC_0991

Where the ends of the braid meet up, I just overlapped them a little and then sewed over them a back and forth a few times to keep the raw ends from fraying.

Now we’ll move on to the skirt of the dress.

For my size 18 month dress, I cut a piece of fabric about 16 inches by 40 inches, and used a french seam to sew the two 16 inch sides together. Now you should have a short and wide tube of fabric. The french seam will hide the fraying ends of the fabric, or you can use bias tape or a serger to prevent fraying.

Next, gather the top of the skirt. Then with right sides together, pin it to the top of the black part of the bodice. Just let the lining hang loose at this point, and don’t attach it to the skirt. We’ll do that later. Sew the skirt to the black part of the bodice.

DSC_0593

 

Now that you’ve attached the skirt, you can see how the lining can cover up the raw edges of the skirt, as well as our threads from gathering the skirt.

DSC_0600

 

Oh, and it will also cover up the back of our embroidery too!

DSC_0603

Fold under the raw edge of your lining, and pin it to the skirt, being sure to cover up your gathering stitches and the raw edge of the skirt and black bodice pieces. Then turn the dress right side out, and sew along the base of the black bodice (not on the outside of the skirt). This way your sewing will look nice and neat from the outside of the dress, and if you pinned everything correctly, it should catch the lining the whole way around as well, securing everything inside the bodice.

Here’s how it should look from the outside. (The black stretch velvet really hides the seam, but it’s there, right in the very bottom part of the black bodice.)

DSC_0988

And here’s what the inside should look like.

DSC_0974

Now all you need is to hem the dress! I used some bias tape I had on hand, and first sewed it to the raw edge of my hem. Then I folded it up, and hand-sewed the bias tape edge to the inside of the skirt. Here’s the finished inside of the dress!

DSC_0972

Now turn your dress right side out, press those seams with a warm iron, and you are all done!


DSC_0594

Except wait, you need a shirt too!

Maybe you got lucky and found a cute, plain pastel blue shirt that fits your child. Or maybe you just decided to use a white shirt. I think a white shirt would look fine, and I would have just gone that route, but I’ve been wanting to try dyeing something for a while now, and this project gave me the perfect opportunity.

Here’s the dye I purchased. I got mine at Joann’s, but I’ve sometime seen dye in the laundry detergent section of larger grocery stores.

DSC_0586

I won’t offer any instructions here, except to say, follow the diresctions on the back of the package. For my first experience dyeing fabric, I was quite pleased. The shirt dyed pretty evenly, and there were no hiccups in the process. I plan on washing it by itself for a few times before adding it to my regular wash load, but other than that, it was a pretty simple, no frills process.

Here’s how my finished shirt turned out, and an identical white shirt, so you can get an idea of the before and after.

DSC_0002

Congratulations! You’re all done! And isn’t it just the cutest thing!

DSC_0008

 

Of course, once you dress up your little Princess Anna in her new dress, the cuteness may just be too much to handle.

DIY Anna Dress Frozen

 

Embroidered Anna Dress

 

DIY Elsa and Anna Dresses

Linking up to:

The Party Bunch

Link Party Palooza

Motivational Monday

Moonlight and Mason Jars

Elsa Coronation Dress Tutorial, Part 2

Today, I’d like to continue my tutorial of the Elsa coronation dress I made for my daughter. If you missed the first post about making the Elsa’s coronation dress, click here.

Elsa coronation dress costume

Last time, I showed you how I made the bodice of the coronation dress using a black turtleneck shirt. This little short cut can save quite a bit of time, since you can skip making the stand-up collar and setting sleeves.

DSC_0368

Once you have the bodice made for your coronation dress, it’s time to start working on the skirt.

Try the bodice on your child, and using chalk, mark the waistline as you would like it to appear on the finished dress. If you’re going to do the little “V” in the front center of the waistline, make sure you include that as you draw. (FYI, if you’re more of a novice sewer, skipping the “V” part on the waistline and just making it straight across will make attaching the skirt a lot more simple.)

DSC_0397

Be sure to mark all the way around the back too. (Please ignore the ends of my gold braid sticking out on the back of the bodice. I corrected this problem later, but I shared the instructions for how you can fix it in my previous post.)

DSC_0399

DSC_0398

Also, measure the length you will want the skirt to be, by measuring from the chalk waistline you have just drawn, down to the floor. Add a few extra inches for the hem. My total measurement was 26 inches.

Once you’ve drawn your line for where to attach the skirt to the bodice, trim your bodice to the desired length, leaving a seam allowance. I trimmed mine about an inch below my chalk line, so I’d have extra wiggle room in case of a mistake. You can always trim those seams close later on! :)

Now it’s time to make a pattern piece for the front of the skirt!

Get yourself some old wrapping paper (it’s a great way to use up last year’s Christmas paper so you have a reason to buy more next year!), and tape it down on the floor or on a large table. Place the bodice in the top, left hand corner of your paper, with the “V” point about an inch from the edge of the paper. Trace around the bottom edge of the bodice, and from the point of the “V” to the edge of the paper, simply draw a straight line.

DSC_0487

Next, we want to continue the line we’ve just drawn, several inches out past the edge of the bodice, so that later we can add pleats to the skirt and give the skirt some extra fullness. I drew my line an extra six inches out past the edge of the bodice, like this.

DSC_0493

In the above picture, I had also drawn the rest of my skirt, and I’ll tell you how I did that now.

Measure from the top of your pattern piece (the line you just drew), down however many inches you want your skirt pattern piece to be (mine was 26 inches from the hip, and 25 inches from the “V”).

Now you are going to play a pattern-making version of Connect the Dots. ;)

Draw the bottom line of your skirt pattern, straight out to the side, so that it is a few inches longer than the line you drew at the top of the pattern. Mine was 3 inches wider than the top of my pattern. Now, draw a line from the bottom edge of the skirt pattern, up to the top edge of the skirt pattern, tapering it as you get closer to the top. You can see in my photo above, that at first I considered just making a giant rectangle for my pattern piece, and then realized this would not allow my fabric to lay as nicely, so I adjusted my pattern piece to taper towards the waistline, and it ended up working out very well as I sewed.

With right sides together, cut out two skirt pattern pieces. We’ll eventually sew those two skirt pieces together down the front, but first we’re going to attach one to each side of the front of the bodice.

Start with right sides of the skirt piece and the bodice together. Starting at the “V” point on the bodice, pin the curvy part of the top of the skirt to the bottom of the bodice. Remember that little straight line we drew on our skirt pattern from the tip of the “V” to the edge of the pattern piece? That’s for the seam allowance when we later sew the two skirt pieces together, so for now, just let that part of the skirt hang loose, and start where the curve of the skirt top begins, using lots of pins to attach it to the bottom of the bodice.

DSC_0500

Since the curves are kind of in opposite directions (so they’ll fit together when we turn everything right side out), it may require a lot of pins and even some small snips in the edge of your fabric to get everything to line up just right. So long as your snips are not as long as the seam allowance you plan to leave, they won’t show through on your finished dress.

DSC_0498

I added two pleats to each side of my skirt, so that the wider skirt piece would fit the smaller bodice piece.

DSC_0495

Once I had sewed both of my skirt pieces to the bottom of the bodice, my dress looked like this…. (And thank you to my helpful husband for holding it up while I snapped a picture for you!)

DSC_0502

Now you can sew the center seam down the front of your skirt. Right sides together, start at the tip of the “V” and sew downward towards the hem of the dress.

Next, we’re going to cut a piece of fabric for the back of the skirt! You may find it helpful to draw a pattern piece on paper for this step, but I traced my design for this piece on the fabric with chalk and cut it out.

Measure the width of the back of your bodice (you should already have this measurement from when you cut the fabric for the back of your bodice in my previous post about making this dress). For me, this was 20 inches across.

Just as we did for the front of the skirt, measure down from the waistline, to where you want the hem of the skirt (for me 26 inches), and draw another line. continue that line straight across and extend it several inches beyond the width of the line you drew for the waist portion of this piece. I decided to make the hem three inches wider on each side than the waist, just as I did for the front of the skirt.

Now, use the pattern piece you made for the skirt front to trace the tapered sides of the back skirt piece. This way both the front and back of the skirt will taper at the same angle/curve. Here’s what my finished piece of fabric looked like for the back of the skirt.

DSC_0505

Your next step, is to sew the back of the skirt to the back of the bodice. You know the drill: right sides together, lots of pins. Don’t put any pleats or gathers in. We’re going to gather that fabric in the next step. Here’s what you should be looking at with your dress at this point.

DSC_0513

And here’s what the front should look like.

DSC_0510

We still have to gather the back of the skirt/bodice, and sew the sides of the skirt.

First, we’ll gather the bodice!

Turn your dress inside out, and find the seam where you attached the back of the skirt to the back of the bodice. Open that seam up with your finger, and take a piece of your skinny elastic and insert it between the two pieces of fabric, up against the seam.

DSC_0520

Make sure the elastic is longer than the width of the bodice/top of skirt. Here you can see how I trapped the elastic up against the back waist seam, between the seam and the pins.

DSC_0521

Sew one end of the elastic securely in place, then sew along the line of pins, permanently trapping the elastic between the two seams. When you get to the end of the bodice, pull on the elastic until it the width of your child’s back (for me, 10 inches), then sew the end of the elastic in place, snip off the excess elastic, and you now have a gathered elastic waist, that should be easy for your child to take on and off!

The next (and almost last!) step is to sew the side seams of the skirt. Right sides together, start at the waist, and sew downward to the hem.

Now you can attach gold braid to the front of the waistline. To finish off the ends of the gold braid, either turn them under and sew them in place, or open up the side seams of your bodice a little, and tuck them inside. Then re-sew the side seam in that part. This is what I did, since my gold braid seemed very prone to fray.

At this point, you can try the dress on your child, measure a hem, and hem your skirt. You should probably do the hem by hand, as that will allow the skirt to hang better.

You will also want to give the dress a good pressing, particularly on those long skirt seams. If you used a silky fabric like I did, practice ironing on a piece of scrap fabric first, as some synthetic fabrics will scorch easily (I don’t want to talk about how I know this, but there was crying involved).

DSCN4380

Initially, I did now plan to do any of the embellishments on this dress. I was going for quick and easy, and I knew the embellishments would take some time. But then I saw how awesome this dress was looking and I had to do something. I opted to just embellish the bodice, but you could certainly use the same technique to embellish the skirt as well.

To do the embellishments, first you need a pattern for the design. I started off using this one from Andrea Schewe Design’s blog. (Her Coronation Dress is amazing, by the way.) I used Wonder Under (as I often do) to attach the designs to the bodice of the dress and then used thread in the corresponding colors to sew around the edge of each embellishment to secure them in place.

But then there was an unfortunate mishap with an iron, that I still maintain was freakishly hot (because I swear, I had it on a low setting), and I ended up with a catastrophic singe mark and hole, right in the front of my dress! Eeeeeekkkk!!!!!

DSC_0534

Since the embellishment I was trying to adhere had clearly been over-ironed, the adhesive did not fully attach and it was easy to peel off, but now I had a major problem!

I took major liberties with Andrea’s design, and made the pieces wider and less delicate, and by doing lots of tweaking and adjusting, I was able to fully cover my mistakes. Wheh! There may have been some therapeutic Let it go, let it go! being sung as I worked. ;)

Elsa Coronation Dress EmbellishmentSince I had made the design bolder, and less dainty, I decided to forgo all the little circles that were part of the original plan. Mine just has the green leafy pattern and the purple flowers. I’m actually really pleased with how it turned out, in spite of my mistakes! :)

Congratulations, you are done! My only remaining tips would be that you may find your satiny fabric is prone to fray, so if you have a serger, that is a great way to finish off the raw edges to prevent fraying, or you can do what I did, and encase all the raw edges in bias tape. It gave everything a nice finished look on the inside. Just make sure your stretch the elastic waist to it’s full width if you sew bias tape onto that part. That way it will still be able to stretch.

Now you can dress up your little ice princess and belt out some of those Frozen tunes! My daughter was in love with her dress. I love seeing her enjoy something I’ve made!

Elsa Coronation Dress Tutorial

 

 

Easy Elsa Dress Tutorial

 

Elsa Dress Tutorial

 

DIY Elsa and Anna Dresses

If you enjoyed my Elsa Coronation Dress tutorial, come back later this week to see how you can make a dress like Anna’s!

Anna Dress DIY