Sweet Summer Nightgown for Girls – Super Easy, Lazy Pattern

Beautiful, easy nightgown!

I have a soap box I need to stand on for a minute. I hate, hate, hate the flame-retardant material used in nightgowns for kids. The fabric feels nasty to me, and (perhaps the bigger problem), having these nightgowns in my house is a constant reminder of the power the tobacco industry has wielded in the US. Seriously; by influencing national legislation to require flame-retardant materials in PJs that aren’t tight fitting (by definition, all nightgowns), the tobacco industry was able to save a ton of money on lawsuits. When parents smoked in bed and caught the house on fire, kids sleepwear was less likely to go up in flames. This legislation is so restrictive that cotton fabrics meant for children even have to carry a warning on the selvage:

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So, yeah. If you want a nice, breathable cotton nightgown for sweltering summer nights, you have to make it yourself. Or go to Europe, where you can actually buy such things. Making one seemed a little easier, so that’s what I did. More

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Child’s Workspace Transformation

Workspace

My daughter’s art space has been, well, a disaster. This is a problem for several reasons. First, it’s impossible for her to find anything, and there’s no actual work space. More

Girl’s No-Pattern Mermaid Costume – Easy and Beautiful!

Easy DIY Mermaid Costume by Beautiful Entropy

So, W announced the other day that she Desperately Needed A Mermaid Costume. We’ve been doing a lot of swimming this summer (and playing mermaids), so I suspect that was the genesis. I’m not a big fan of pre-fab costumes; they’re cheaply made for what they cost, and I figured that the odds of finding a non-Disney* mermaid costume (without doing an Etsy order) were pretty slim. Anyway, in her typical W way, since she didn’t want something Ariel-specific, I knew she would have lots of STRONG opinions about how the costume should look, so I turned to the Interwebs.

*We have nothing against Disney, but W isn’t a big fan of those cartoons; she finds them horrifyingly scary – which, if you think about it, they kinda are (I’m lookin’ at you, Lion King).

I found this excellent tutorial, which I used (with some modifications) for the tail portion of the costume. I just sort of winged it on the top. One thing I tried to keep in mind throughout was building in room for growth; specialty fabric isn’t cheap, and while the costume didn’t require advanced sewing skills, it took a while (about 4 hours, though I was slowed down by the constant running commentary, offers to “help,” and requests for status updates from the peanut gallery). Anyway, by building in some growing room, I figure I’ll be off the hook on another mermaid outfit for at least 2-3 years. I’ve provided my tips for building in room to grow in the instructions below, though bear in mind that my child appears to grow UP without adding any significant girth; she can add 4 inches in height without putting on a single pound. As such, I worried only about costume length. If your child also grows out (as normal kids do…) you might need to modify the “room to grow” instructions, or leave them out entirely. More

Modern-Look Quilted Placemats

Oriental-Inspired Quilted Placemats by Beautiful Entropy Wow, has it been seven months? Yikes. I’ve been busy in the meantime, and have several projects to photograph and post about. We’ll start with the placemats I just finished. The backstory is that about a year ago, I was in a quilting shop looking for thread, and I found a pack of Moda 5″ squares. The specific pack I got (Zen Chic Juggling Summer) is getting hard to find, though I think it’s still available here. Just look at those placemats: isn’t the fabric yummy? I couldn’t resist. I had NO idea what I was going to do with the squares (there are 42 in a pack, so not enough for a quilt or anything), but I knew I had to have it! I think I may have a new addiction: not only was the fabric lovely to work with, but the Moda packs come in so many awesome designs! More

Dress Restyle – Fall to Summer

Dress restyle by Beautiful Entropy

I restyled a dress of W’s a while ago, and am only now getting around to posting about it. The dress was a cute long-sleeved bubble style, great for fall but not so useful here in AZ, where it’s summer for about 10 months of the year. I decided to remove the sleeves and use the material to make cute flowers for the neckline, in addition to new flutter sleeves. It was an easy project, as restyles go.

I started by cutting off the sleeves with a pair of scissors. I left the serged seam where the sleeves had originally been attached to the dress intact; I planned to use it as a foundation for attaching the new sleeves. On the top 2/3 of the armhole, I cut the sleeve off as close as possible to that serged seam. On the lower 1/3, which would remain sleeveless, I left a small strip of sleeve fabric in place that I could eventually use to cover and finish the serged seam. More

Women’s Button-Down Shirt to Cute Tank Top Restyle

women's shirt to cute tank by Beautiful Entropy

I was browsing the racks at my local secondhand store recently, and I found this shirt:

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I had to stand on a chair to take a picture of it. See my toes?

It’s a super cute, lightweight cotton fabric and has neat little pockets. It’s not technically a “button-down” (it has snaps), but the idea is the same. Unfortunately, cute though it is, it has two problems:

  1. There isn’t much call for long sleeve shirts in Phoenix
  2. It has mega pit stains

Because of those totally unacceptable pit stains, I decided the best way to work with this shirt would be to find a way to cut out the offending fabric, which is why I restyled it into a tank top. More

Ultra-Simple Duvet Cover

Easy duvet cover from flat sheets by Beautiful Entropy

I’m a big fan of duvet covers for toddlers and little kids. Because duvet covers are easy to wash, W doesn’t use a top sheet (and really, top sheets just get tangled up in little kid feet or pushed aside anyway). In the winter, I put a down comforter inside the cover, and she’s super cozy. In the summer, she uses the duvet cover without an insert, and it acts like a very thick sheet/thin coverlet that provides just the right amount of warmth against cool summer breezes. The only — really, the ONLY — thing I don’t like about duvet covers is that they can be expensive to buy and are nearly impossible to make on the cheap, because it’s really hard to find fabric wide enough for even a twin-size cover (about 64″ wide, finished size), and extra-wide fabric is even more expensive than regular fabric. Anyway, W has been dying for a set of owl sheets, and I found this on Pottery Barn Kids and loved it. That is, loved it…except for the price ($69.00 + tax for a twin sheet set)…and the quality (for that price, I really expect more than 200-count sheets). We went to Target, and I found this set, which was $17.99 for a 225-count sheet set, and was just as cute. I bought an additional flat sheet for $10.99.

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This is the flat sheet from the owl set, plus an additional flat sheet in a coordinating coral color that will go nicely with her room.

The plan was to use the pillowcase and fitted sheet from the owl set as they were, and to make the two flat sheets (the one from the set plus the extra) into a duvet cover. Why would I cut up perfectly good flat sheets? Because they’re actually cheaper than buying extra-wide fabric in the same yardage.* Two flat sheets (in any size) make a perfect duvet cover for a bed of that same size. Cheap and easy! More

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