My sweet little baby sidetracked my Christmas sewing completely. I had forgotten how hard it is to accomplish one’s goals when there’s a baby in the house!

But this week, I’ve got a chance to get in several hours of sewing each morning while my husband watches the children for a few dedicated sewing hours. I’m working on completing as many Christmas presents as possible during this time. Here’s the first:

 Checked Blouse Detail The Prudent Homemaker


Earlier this year I came across this tutorial via Pinterest on how to use a tracing wheel to make a pattern from existing clothing. I’ve taken apart clothing before to make a pattern, and not having to do so to copy something I already like is so much nicer!

I copied an existing blouse that one of my girls has (minus the darts) and made it out of some fabric scraps I was given from a reader a few years ago. They were narrow pieces and I wasn’t sure how I would use them at first, but they are super soft, quality cotton scraps from a shirt company.  There was just enough width in part of it to cut a back, and the other pieces were just narrow enough to cut the front pieces, sleeves, and collars of a girl’s blouse. The fabric scraps were just wide enough.

Check Blouse The Prudent Homemaker


The original blouse seams were serged seams that were only 1/4″ wide. Since I was not planning on serging the seams (I made the blouse with French seams instead to prevent unraveling and make for a smooth finish), it was necessary to add additional seam allowances to the pattern before cutting it out. I drew them on the tissue paper around the traced lines and then cut out my new pattern.



Fabric (I used scraps; the total amount for a girl’s size 10 blouse was approximately half a yard/meter)


Tissue paper

Existing blouse to copy


Sewing Machine


Sewing pins

Tracing wheel



About 2 hours



The only thing I purchased for this gift were the buttons, and I had some in my supplies that I had purchased at Joann’s for 60% off.


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  1. Exceptionally beautiful!

    I just got done making my teen daughter a victorian style nightgown for Christmas. Fabric isn’t cheap whatsoever, so .40 is a complete steal. I wish I were gifted fabric, even scraps would be appreciated! My daughter’s gown cost me $20.50 for good, quality cotton fabric (4-1/8yd), $2 for a roll of 7/8″ grosgrain ribbon, and another $3 for 4 buttons. I believe more people would sew if fabric weren’t so costly. But, you can’t put a price on homemade gifts. Especially those made by Mom

  2. That is darling.

    Today I am baking more cookies. Yesterday I made two pans of kolache for my son’s school. I hope they liked them. In an hour, I’m making chocolate cherry biscotti ( and plain as well).

  3. What a beautiful blouse, Brandy! I just love the colour, fabric and style. Who’s the lucky little girl that will receive this special gift?

  4. Let people know that you sew.

    At this point, I have had to turn away/give away fabric. I just do not have the space for all of it! I gave a bunch to a woman who makes quilts for charity on several occasions, and she was able to use all of it (and quickly!)

    Your daughter’s nightgown, even at the prices you paid, is still a great deal. Vintage-style nightgowns tend to run from $60 to $120 each.

  5. It’s always a surprise to me how little I can accomplish with a baby in the house. Our 7th is 9 months old and I’ve struggled to get done all that I need to. Here we are 4 days from Christmas and I still have many gifts to get done. I keep telling my family that we should push our gift exchange back to New Years to give me another week to work, but I don’t think they’re going to go for it!

  6. Oh I thought I was the only one who turned away fabric LOL. My hubby put in wire shelving around the ceiling of my sewing room which holds copy paper boxes perfectly – they are all done by color or type of fabric + I have so many upholstery rolls and foam for redoing the vintage trailers that there is only a path to my machines and it overflows into the big family room as well! Hubby wanted to go pick up more rolls recently from an upholstery business – uh NO I can’t even move around now! Where in the world do I even have space to put any more!?
    I am very, very fortunate to have a room I can dedicate to just sewing/crafts so at least the majority is confined out of sight.

  7. This is so beautiful! I’m sure your kids will appreciate all of the time you devote to such wonderful homemade gifts. 🙂

    It’s so funny because I think I saw this tutorial on Pinterest as well! I was planning on using the next two “slow” weeks before the holidays to work on my sewing skills, but work has been so busy I’ve barely had time to breathe!

    We did a few DIY gifts this year. I’ve made bourbon-soaked cherries, caramel-filled rum chocolate truffles, pickles, pickled peppers, bacon salt, a book hidey-hole, and homemade sugar scrub. Hopefully everyone likes them!

  8. So gorgeous, Brandy! I love that you made it out of scraps!

    I was given a shopping bag of ‘scraps’ a few years ago, all Christmas-themed, and I was able to make a wall-hanging (front, back, and binding), lap quilt (most of the front, and all of the back and binding), a large child-sized bed quilt front, several wine bag holders, two adult Christmas stockings, plus a Christmas tree skirt (I did have to add in a little white fabric), and I still have enough to make a pillow casing (next project), and still have a bit of fabric left. No scrap left behind! Every year I complete one Christmas-themed project, so I suspect next year will be finishing up the child-sized quilt and making that pillow. I really love sewing!

  9. It pays to frequent your favorite fabric stores to shop just in the clearance aisles. Sometimes I’m buying fabric that I don’t know what I want to make with it, or off season fabric, or some that will work nice to save for Christmas gifts. When I’ve taken the time to be a diligent clearance shopper, sometimes I’ve found expensive fabrics for .10 to 1.00 a yard, saving me hundreds of dollars in the long run over the years. Weed out the cheap fabrics and just buy the good stuff, or stuff that you know you will use. Also keep checking on free sites like Craigslist free items and free groups on Facebook… I’m amazed at how much fabric is given away.

  10. That is a lovely blouse. I love that color blue. Even the hanger it is on is pretty. One year for Christmas I made covered hangers for my sisters. The both still have those hangers and want more.

    I love my sewing time. It lets me just not think about anything but the item I am working on at the moment.

    For Christmas this year I made sets pillow cases, sets of kitchen towels, and ‘mug rugs’ for family and friends. I used some of my hexagons to embellish the items and they came out very nice if I do say so myself. I will be proud to give them.

  11. Some of my friends gave me a fabric panel that I tacked to the door of my sewing room that says “Home for Wayward Fabrics”! All of my friends bring me their “leftover” fabrics after they finish a project as well as fabrics they bought but have decided they have no use for!!!
    What a glorious treasure and I always say thank you and accept it! When someone needs fabric, I am first to offer my stash!! So their gift to me will benefit many! I am so grateful to be the conduit and try my best to pay the gift forward!

  12. Jennifer, I up-cycle fabric to make buying fabric cheaper. I look for flat sheets or drapery panels of nice fabric and patterns at thrift stores to use for sewing. It’s much cheaper than buying new fabric! Some of the fabric would have been rather expensive to buy at the fabric store, but only cost a $2-4 for a large panel or sheet of thrifted material. You might even have some in you closets that can be used for sewing, making it even cheaper!

  13. The blouse is so beautifully simple, and I love blue. I instantly loved it. I’ll have to look at that tutorial now, because I’d like to see how that is done. My grandmother used to make patterns off of clothes, but my mother never would try it, even though she sewed quite well.
    Fabric is so expensive to buy, but I know absolutely no one else in my circle of friends or my family who sews, so I have no one to give me fabric. I’ve yet to see it on freecycle around here, either. I use coupons, buy the last of the bolt, whatever I can to cut the cost.
    My mother sewed most of our clothes when we were at home, especially as we had to wear skirts or dresses to school for all of my older sisters’ school days and most of mine, and my mother was most comfortable with making those as opposed to slacks. We always were happy to have her make them, because she tailored them to our sizes and tastes, and we were always complimented on how well we were dressed. Sometimes when an item got handed down, she got creative and altered it in some fashion so that it wasn’t exactly the same dress, making it “new” for the next wearer. Brandy’s children will have lots of fond memories of the things their mother made for them, I am sure.

  14. Jennifer, If you’ll let me know what you would like I will gift you some fabric. I have more than I can use and would love to share with someone who needs it and will use it.

  15. Beautiful! I always loved getting homemade gifts from my Mother.
    I taught myself to sew quilts but never mastered clothes. My Mother was a seamstress. She had me ‘sewing’ the lines on sheets of paper when i was about 10. (No thread in the machine.) The only blouse i made had one sleeve tighter than the other. It made quite the impression because i’ve never made another.

  16. A few failures are to be expected when learning to sew. You just never make the same mistake again! You go on to make new and different mistakes. I made a duster in 8th grade and cut one facing wrong side out. The teacher just made me use it anyhow. I really learned to read the pattern when it says “Cut 1” with that project.

    When I was still in the early years of high school, I picked a pattern with a scalloped neckline sewn to a scalloped, gathered skirt. Did not have a clue when I chose the pattern how difficult it would be. I learned how to rip and re-sew on that project, but I got it done and wore it often. My mother did not sew and did not like to sew–she could embroider and she quilted but more from necessity than any love of it. I learned most from reading patterns and later asking questions of one of my friends who taught home ec after she finished college.

  17. Dear Jennifer, well done that sounds beautiful! I buy pretty vintage sheets in pure cotton for around one to three dollars each. This gives you yards of fabric and a wide width. Its wonderful. Love Annabel.

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