Wednesday, June 30, 2010


If this isn't under the wire, I don't know what is...nothing like a deadline to give you a good swift kick in the fanny:)

I hope you purchased, washed, and pressed your fabric so you can get started on your quilt over the holiday weekend.

Please remember these directions are written to allow a first-time quilter to have success. There are some built in mistake buffers and leniencies that aren't typically found in quilt patterns. The goal is to be as precise as possible, but in each step I will try to tell you how to fix any common problems that may occur.

This step took me just over an hour to complete. If you are new to a sewing machine and rotary cutter then you will need to allow more time.

1. Your fabric will need to be folded in half down the length, just as it was on the bolt. Stack one piece on top of the other with the folded edges at the top. Place your stack on a cutting mat if you are using a rotary cutter and square up the right-hand side of the fabric (left if you left-handed). The easiest way to do this is to use a long straight edge and slice it with your rotary cutter. If you are using scissors, then you will need to draw a pencil line with the straight edge and then cut on that line.

2. Cutting through all 4 layers of fabric, cut eleven strips that are each 2 inches wide. You are cutting from right to left so that each strip will be folded in half like a hamburger once it is cut (the fold will be at the top). Use the same process for cutting that you used in step 1 (rotary or scissors with straight edge).

3. You will now have 11 dark strips and 11 light strips.

4. Place one dark strip right sides together with one light strip. Pin down one of the long sides of the pair of strips. Sew down one of the long sides using a 3/8" seam allowance (this means the seam should be 3/8" from the edge of the fabric. Repeat with the remaining 10 pairs of strips. Try to keep your seam allowances equal on each strip...TRY!

5. Open each strip and press the seams to the dark fabric. This means that on the under side of the fabric, the excess should be lying flat on the dark fabric.

CONGRATULATIONS! You just finished Part 1 of your Mystery Quilt...any guesses yet???


For the last few months I have been saving every tiny scrap of fabric. I make a lot of applique tees and you just never know when that 2" scrap will be perfect for a leaf or a petal or even an alien arm. I have a little wooden box that I keep on my fabric shelf so I can toss in any leftovers that aren't large enough to use in a sewing project.

Did you notice that I said that box was LITTLE??? Well, let's just say that it was more than a LITTLE full! But, I hated to just throw the pieces away...I mean some of them are gorgeous fabrics.

So...I gave them to Belle - with a bottle of glue! YIKES! Are you as scared as I was???

We found an old cereal box in our scrap basket (yes, I keep paper and cardboard scraps too...and yes I AM related to my grandma!!!). I cut out a large square of cardboard and handed over a pile of scraps...and that glue. Belle set to work sticking scraps all over the cardboard and created a beautiful piece of art. But alas, there were still scraps in her pile. "Mommy, can I have more carkboard?" (nope - not a typo:) So I cut the smaller square, but there were still more scraps. You can see how this quickly got out of hand! Needless to say, the cereal box is no more, but the pile of scraps was finally gone and the results are pretty amazing for a 3 year old. And I got a dress for Bee cut out while she worked:):):)

If I had a sewing room, these would definitely be framed in shadow boxes and hanging on the wall. But sadly, I don't think they match the decor in the dining room that I have taken over with my crafting...oh well!

So in case you are so inclined, and haven't already figured it are the directions:

1. Cut up an old cardboard box (cereal, granola bars, etc.).
2. I cut the scraps into small pieces if they were larger than about 3 inches...this is optional, but allows for more color across the project. I cut them in ragged shapes, not squares, but you could cut them however you want.
3. Give your child a bottle of school glue...deep breath, it will be ok!
4. Have your child drop small drops of glue on the cardboard and attach fabric pieces to each drop. If you aren't lucky enough to have had preschool teachers teach your child how to dispense small ammounts of glue, then you will probably need to do that and supervise this project a little more closely.
5. Encourage your child to cover all the cardboard. It makes for a more impressive final product.

And if you are fabric scrapless - we'd be happy to share!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


First, let me apologize for the delay on this...I've had several orders come in over the last couple of weeks (a very good thing for business, but not such a good thing for this poor quilt project) and have gotten a bit backlogged.

But Step 1 is coming this week, and I want to make sure you are ready!

So...if you haven't already, buy the stinkin' fabric!!! Or dig it out of your stash if you prefer...just get some, ok???

Once you have your fabric, it will make your life easier if you go ahead and pre-wash and press it. When you press it, you can fold it back in half like it was on the bolt and that will simplify step 1 for you as well.

Here's a sneak peek at my fabric for the Breast Cancer quilt...and yes, I'm fully aware that I didn't press it, but that would have only delayed this thing even more!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Meet StudioMo

I just have to tell you all about my new crafter "friend," Melissa Sims of StudioMo!

A few weeks ago, I found Melissa's Etsy shop ( and fell in love with her hand-carved stamps. They are whimisical and sweet and adorable and just oh so lovely! I poured through the 100+ designs in her shop, all of which are about 1-2 inches in size and perfect for any paper craft you may wish to create.

After exchanging several messages, she created a set of custom stamps for me on a larger scale to be used in my children's clothes and gifts.

Here is just a sneak peek at one of the designs that features her artwork. There are lots more to come (especially after the massive stamp order I placed this week!!!), so be sure to check my Etsy shop or Facebook page often to see how her stamps are showing up in Belle + Bee creations!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Knit Applique

I don't think I can even count the number of applique tees I have made! It's a habit that I just can't seem to break. I love the way a basic white t-shirt can be turned into a roaring lion, a jiggly jellyfish, or even a wallaby:)

But with all the tees I've created, I have never worked with knits to create the design. That seems hard for me to believe...I mean what better fabric with which to work? It is super-soft, doesn't fray, and is as rugged as you can possibly ask for in a kids' tee. But you see, I have a felt stash and a stash of basic quilting cottons, but I just don't have a knit stash...until NOW!

I was asked to put together a tee for a little boy's birthday party. He was turning 2 and needed something to help him celebrate the occassion...not to mention a tee that would look fantastic in his party pics.

That's a pretty big responsibility if you ask me. Birthday party pictures last a lifetime. And when he is all grown up with children of his own, his mom will look back through her (probably digital) albums and reminisce about the sweet little boy he was, while marveling over the amazing man he has become. OK - I'm romanticizing this a bit too much, I know. But I get a little misty-eyed when I think about how fast Belle and Bee are growing up, so this is an emotional topic for me:)

Anyway...back to the point!

I knew that I wanted a tee that would really pop in pictures, but would be soft and comfy so this little guy could really enjoy his big day. So...I went on a search for KNITS!

I don't have easy access to a really good fabric shop and this was a rush order, so getting what I needed from Above All Fabric wasn't an option. So I did the next best thing...I went t-shirt shopping. I scoured the local stores for the softest knits, of the best quality, in the brightest colors I could find. I fell in love with the tees that eventually became this super-cute applique because they were so stinkin' soft! And I just love this color palette.

To create the applique I followed exactly the same steps I always follow with my cotton fabrics. I designed the tee and then created mirror images of all the pieces (obviously I didn't need a mirror image of the all of them...the circle, for example). I traced the mirror-imaged design pieces onto my fusible paper and cut them out. Then I ironed them to the reverse side of the knit fabric, peeled the paper backing and ironed them to the tee. After the pieces were all fused in place, I selected a color for the stitching and embroidered all the pieces by hand. A cute new tag on the back was the final step in this ADORABLE tee.

I can honestly say, this is my favorite tee I've ever made...even more than the jellyfish, I think! I will definitely be investing in more super soft tees so I can create new knit applique tees in the near future! Oh, and there are some other applique design options in this palette coming soon...

The Rest of the Week

No pics hasn't been pretty!

Just because we shared our one wonderful, utopian day, I thought I would let you in on what the rest of our week has been like:

1. New furniture - Belle promptly peed on it within 1 hour of its delivery. (that big cup of juice that kept her quiet while the delivery men were setting up the new furniture was probably a really bad idea!) She NEVER has accidents, but she couldn't get around the partially assembled book shelf in the middle of the floor to get to the bathroom in time...PERFECT!

2. A tooth - well, not yet. But our always smiling Bee has been a Grumpy Gus all week! YIKES!

3. A leaky dishwasher - I just love cooking in a puddle.

4. Take-out pizza, repeat, take-out barbecue, repeat...we have rooms to reorganize!

5.! And oh, this was NOT an accident!

6. A bloody nose...another bloody nose...and a really bloody nose! Kiss that tee bye-bye (at least the animal victims of the oil spill will get good use out of it).

7. One long grueling shopping trip with two cranky girls and a VERY indecisive husband. You know what...that huge empty wall in our family room looks just fine the way it is!

8. SPAGHETTI - a quick-fix meal is not such a time saver when you chop it up and put it on a 9 month-old's highchair tray!!!

9. And now, a lovely case of insomnia!

I guess there's always next Monday! I hope you all had a week full of Mondays...

Monday, June 21, 2010

Monday...String Beans

Always a favorite in our house!!! We love Eric Carle around here:)

My husband is out of town for work, so we had a girls' day and did it up right! The morning started with scrambled eggs fresh from the hen yesterday...thanks Lindsey!

Then we made our way over to our local farm stand and collected quite a bounty! String beans, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, corn, squash, zucchini, peaches, blueberries, and cantaloupe (still warm from the field).

Once we were home we immediately cut into that sweet, so delicious, so perfect! I always hate to put fresh melon in the fridge, but I figured it was probably a bad idea for Belle, Bee and myself to comsume an entire cantaloupe in one sitting, so in it went.

Once Bee was tucked snuggly in her bed, Belle and I got down to business. We made our favorite wheat bread dough and put it on the deck to rise. Then I sliced a pile of cucumbers to make pickles. Belle filled the jars while I boiled the brine (looking for info on pickling, check out the latest Eating Well mag).

With the pickles chilling, we made lunch. Homemade fish nuggets...I wish I could say we caught the fish, but we had a pretty busy day as it was...maybe next time:) Super simple recipe: Season your fish chunks (I used tilapia because it was in the freezer, but this recipe is perfect for fresh-caught catfish too) with S&P. Coat them in corn meal. Heat a frying pan, spray it with a mist of oil and cook those babies up. Belle loves them and she is some-kinda-picky! We also had market potato salad (a combo of all the fresh veggies from the market and steamed potato wedges...dressing was made from cider vinegar, olive oil, honey mustard, honey and S&P) and of course...cantaloupe!

In the afternoon we rocked to the Toddler Tunes station on our digital cable. Belle has some new rhythm ribbons and today seemed like the perfect day to try them out...they were a HUGE HIT! When our tummies started to grumble we had warm bread with homemade strawberry preserves (recipe posted in May).

Dinner - Charred Vegetable Salad...oh so good!
To make it, chop up a bunch of those veggies from the farm stand (I used corn, peppers, onions, squash and zucchini) and toss them in a HOT cast iron skillet. LET THEM SIT! You want them to char a bit before you stir. After stirring once, let them sit again. While those are cooking, steam any veggies that don't do well in a skillet (I steamed green beans and potatoes). I also hard-boiled two of those yummy eggs. Build your salad with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, the steamed veggies, charred veggies, egg and whatever else you want to throw in. Dress it and love it! I broiled some of our bread with just a mist of EVOO and rubbed it with a clove of garlic....perfect for scooping up the last little bits of veggies out of the bottom of your bowl.

Dinner was a little early since we didn't have to wait for Daddy, so guess what....bedtime was a little early too:) Both girls are out cold and I am enjoying a little quiet time!

Is every day this idyllic in our house??? HA! But it just isn't as much fun to tell about those other days!!!

Did I mention the freezer FULL of grass-fed, small farm beef we have now too??? Once again...thanks Lindsey! But we'll save that for a Daddy dinner:)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Literal Progress???

So, what do you think???

It's still REALLY matchy-matchy, because I used the exact same fabrics in the tee as I did in the shorts. I did add the salamander print in brown, but I still don't think it provides enough interest. Thoughts?

And for those mom's of boys out the combo "masculine" enough for little boys? Or is it too prissy? I really struggle with these sorts of decisions when it comes to boy clothes!

I would love to start offering some boy things in the shop, so any and all feedback would be much appreciated...thanks so much!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Beachy Crafts for Kids

Our family had a great long weekend at the beach and made sure we collected lots of treasures to use in our projects when we got home.

A small bag of sand and a large bag of seashells were all we needed for these fun and easy projects.

Seashore Photo Frame:
I purchased a wooden picture frame at our local craft store for $1. There is no glass in it, so it is perfect for kids to decorate and display. We mixed regular school glue with just a touch of water to thin it out, then brushed the frame with the glue using a foam brush. When the entire frame was wet with a good layer of glue, we dropped pinches of sand all over it. We patted the sand in place and allowed it to dry overnight. The next morning we shook and then brushed off the loose sand and picked shells from our collection to adorn the frame. Belle decided where she wanted each shell, then I used a hot glue gun to attach them. Some of them were a little tricky because they had very little surface area actually touching the frame, but we finally got them all to stick. We haven't gotten our photos back from the trip, so I had to put a piece of paper in to show you, but Belle is excited to add a pic from her trip.

Seashell Imprint Necklaces:
I apologize...these pics are not good, but the necklaces are adorable, I promise!
We used Crayola Model Magic, coated twine, and wooden beads for this project. We began by rolling the model magic into balls and then flattening them into either circles or ovals depending on the shape of the shell. We used a barbecue skewer to create a hole in the top. Belle pressed a shell into the compound and then I pulled it out...I recommend that an adult do the removal because it is easy to make the pendant misshapen when you remove the shell. We allowed the pendants to dry over night then strung them on the coated cord and added pretty wooden beads. If you haven't worked with Crayola Model Magic before, it is a really unique is so light-weight that it feels almost non-existent hanging around your neck. It is also made for use with Crayola markers, paints etc. so you could decorate the pendants once they are dry.
One more suggestion...try looking for twine and beads in the kids craft section of the craft store before heading to the jewelry/beading section. We had picked out a package of the exact same twine that was half the size and twice the price in the jewelry section before we checked the kids section. The same was true of the beads.

Sandy Hands:

I don't have a pic of these, but will try to add one tomorrow...SORRY!

This can actually be done at the beach or at home. Have your child spread their fingers wide and then press their hand into the sand (either the sand at the beach or a pan of sand at home). Be sure the resulting depression is about 1/2 an inch deep. Place tiny shells and sea glass pieces in the depression where your child's hand was. BE SURE THAT THESE ARE FACE DOWN!!! Mix up a small amount of plaster of paris and fill the hand print. Allow it to dry, then remove the cast of your child's hand. Write name, age, and date on the back side in permanent marker and you will have a precious treasure! We first did this last year and Belle's handprint permanently lives in our kitchen window. It's my goal to do this every year so that we will have a timeline of our girls' growth through the years.
A shoreside tip - We carried a tiny amount of dry plaster of paris to the beach in a ziplock bag. By adding just a touch of water from our water bottles we were able to mix the plaster right in the bag. After we had made the casts we threw away the bag.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


I'M STUCK! It seems that everytime I sit down to create a tee for an outfit, I end up with a very literal applique. I pull something straight out of the fabric, redesign it a bit, and stitch it on. LITERALLY! - See the Funky Chicken...she's pretty literal!

I'm in a creative rut! So I'm asking all of you in bloggerland to help me out. As of this moment, I'm challenging myself to push the creative limits. No more literal appliques (though I love the Funky Chicken so much, that even with this challenge I think she would have been stitched anyway:).

So how can you help??? Keep me honest. Call me out if you see literal appliques or super matchy-matchy outfits popping up in shop or my posts. Ask me about my new creations. And share links to outfits that step outside the realm of perfectly coordinated. Better yet, inspire me with your own non-literal creations!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Belle's Castle...Part 1

For those of you who heard we built a castle and immediately started picturing turets and drawbridges, I'm afraid that you are probably feeling a bit disappointed right now. But in Belle's eyes this is the most amazing castle ever!

Belle truly believes that she is a princess...and NO, I am not the one who gave her that impression. I don't have anything against princesses, I just don't like them. I hike, paint, run, sew, read, and garden. I like to get my hands dirty and even haul my own mulch. I'm happiest in jeans and live for paddling in our family canoe. And my daughter, of all children, thinks that a sparkly blue dress and glittery tiara are normal attire to wear for all occassions. Oh well, maybe Bee will see fashion a little more like her Mama...

So when Belle asked her Daddy to build her a castle, we put a lot of thought in to how to do so in such a way that the structure would grow with both Belle and Bee. We wanted to capture the tower aspect of a fairy tale castle, but also ensure that when Belle (hopefully) outgrows the princess obsession, the structure could serve other purposes as well. We setlled on a basic two-level tower design and then began to plan the embellishments that would make it unique to our girls.

So how did we do it and what are our future plans?

Construction Process: All lumber is pressure-treated. We used outdoor screws and bolts for all construction. All corners were mitred unless otherwise noted.

We framed the tower using 4"x4"x8' posts for each corner. The posts were set on top of concrete blocks and then tied together with 2x6 boards placed at the height of the first-level floor. Another set of 2x6 boards were attached at the second-level floor. We added a 2x6 cross beam across the middle of each level and then decked both levels with 1x6 decking boards.

We then decided on the placement of the slide, climbing wall, and ladder. We purchased the slide and rocks for the climbing wall at our local home improvement store.

We attached 2x4 boards for rails on both the top and bottom levels (leaving openings for the ladder, slide, and climbing wall), then used 1x4 boards as the slats for the rails. We made sure that our slats were close together so that little heads can't get stuck between them.

My husband built the ladder in a pretty complicated, but incredibly strong manner. He used 2x6 boards as the stringers. He notched the stringers at each rung and inserted 2x4 rungs into the stringers.

He replicated the stringers for the climbing wall, but attached 1x4 boards side by side all the way up the wall. Then he bolted the rocks to the wall at appropriate distances for Belle to be able to climb it easily. [The rock wall is on the back side so you can't see it in this post. I will be sure to add pictures of it in Part 2.]

We attached the slide, as well as a steering wheel and spy scope (both from the local home improvement store) following the package directions for each. We added a flag printed with Belle's artwork that we purchased from a preschool fundraiser. The colorful bunting was hung for Belle's birthday party, and is now stored with our other party supplies.

And at the last minute we decided to top each deck rail with a 1x6 board for Mommy's comfort when she is leaning on the rail:)

At this point the basic construction is finished and Belle can climb and play all day. But the castle is far from finished in our eyes. We still have lots of ideas to try!

Our next step will be to build and attach a bench to the outside on the right. This will serve as my seat when I'm playing with the girls, but it can also be the diner counter, seating for a puppet show audience, or the railroad ticket counter.

Other embellishments we plan to add include outdoor curtains (probably made from shower curtains), a homemade wind chime for one of the windows, flower boxes, a slate chalkboard, and a natural tic tac toe board. In addition to castle embellishments, we are also planning to devote more of our yard to gross motor development. We are considering a human game board made from stepping stones, a kid-friendly rope course, and possibly a rope bridge.

And how could I forget the castle garden??? While we were waiting for HOA approval for our castle construction, we built a super quick castle garden using landscaping timbers. We cut two 8 foot long timbers into 2 foot sections. These were stacked and screwed together in a tiny square and filled with soil. We took Belle to a local nursery and let her pick out a basket full of annuals to plant. The garden is a few feet to the right of the castle and we are hoping to put in a little path between the two eventually. I'll be sure to include pics of the garden in Part 2 also.

If you want more info or to see specific construction pics in Part 2, let me know...otherwise Part 2 will be all about the fun stuff (curtains, chimes, etc.):)

Sunday, June 6, 2010


I don't know how many of you have noticed the Craft Hope button displayed below, but it's time you checked it out!

Craft Hope organizes projects that allow crafters to reach out and do something good for people, or in this case, animals in need. Tonight, I am encouraging, urging, and even hounding you to click on the link and sign up for the most recent project.

In this project, crafters are being asked to make rags to help clean animals (particularly dolphins and sea turtles) affected by the oil spill. This project is so amazingly simple, but will make such a difference. If you have a few old t-shirts, then you can help...even if you don't own a sewing machine! Cut those tees into the suggested sizes and either hem or fringe and knot the edges. Put together a set of 10 or 20 and mail them before the July 3 deadline. THESE DON'T NEED TO BE PRETTY...they are just going to be ruined after a few uses. Get your kids to help, pass this link or the craft hope link along to anyone and everyone, but most importantly...sign up to help.

In the next few days, I will post tutorials on some rag projects that you can do in very little time, with very little effort, and with very little money.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Rain, rain, go away...or on second thought

It's raining...again! My grass is sighing in watery bliss. My three year old...not so much!

We're headed to the beach tomorrow, so we were out picking up a few last minute things before the storms rolled in this afternoon. More on fun "projects" to do at the beach when we get back... but I knew from the rumbles of thunder and dark clouds on the horizon that we were going to be in for a long afternoon. So, as we were scouring the aisles for beach craft necessities, I decided to grab a new art supply to help entertain Belle while I worked on my LONG to do list.

I've been visiting the oil pastels at our local "projects store," for several weeks now, but the prices seemed a little hefty for a 3 year old's art box. So, today when I saw that Crayola now has oil pastels (28 colors for less than $6), I tossed a pack in the cart. I wasn't certain that they were going to be the same quality as the more expensive ones, but she is three after all.

Once we were home, Bee was tucked cozily into her crib for a nap, and the thunder was rolling we opened up the new medium. I brought out some watercolor paper because I thought the texture would make a nice combo with the new pastels, and off we went. Belle is really into drawing things that she can make out of basic shapes, so to start off I showed her some different ways to make flowers. [She's turning into a bit of a perfectionist, so I have to be careful or she ends up just wanting me to do it for her.] Since watercolor paper comes with its own fairly hefty price tag, we switched to colored construction paper after the first drawing. We went on the draw ocean animals {jellyfish, octopi, fish, and even a dolphin all from circles and lines). We practiced blending...Belle loves to blend because it's a great excuse to get the colors all over her fingers. Then we made some more flowers and letters for Daddy.

Most art supplies occupy Belle for 2-3 pieces of paper before she is bored and wants to move on. These lasted for 10 drawings! She just didn't want to stop. The colors are brilliant and go on super smoothly. The traditional "crayon" shape was familiar, but the results they produced were pretty fantastic. The set even has gold and silver! I would highly recommend these for the preschool crowd! We didn't even mind a little rain!


I need to keep it short this evening...typing is a real challenge with bandaids on multiple fingers! I was more than a little clumsy at the machine tonight and stabbed several fingers with pins while I worked! But, I thought I would share a couple of quick tee refashions that I have done for Belle in the last couple of weeks. Both are reasonably simple if you are adept at working your sewing machine.

The first is this adorable bow tee. It was made to match the patchwork pants that I shared a while back. It doesn't take much explanation if you are familiar with ruffles. If you would like step-by-step directions, just let me know.

I created the bow by turning 2 long strips of fabric right sides together and stitching down the long sides. Next, I turned the tube right side out and top stitched both sides. Finally I cut the ends on the diagonal, turned the edges under and topstitched. Once the long strip was prepped, I tied the bow and hand-stitched it in place. I think next time I will attach the bow to a large pin so that it can be removed for washing. I was, of course, making this at the last minute the night before Belle's preschool program. And wouldn't you know that there were no appropriate pins in the house...oh well!

The ruffle was made by cutting a long strip of fabric approximately 4.5" wide by twice the length of the bottom edge of the tee. First, I sewed the short ends together to form a large circle. Then, I folded the circle in half the long way with wrong sides together and ran a gathering stitch (longest stitch length your machine will do) close to the edge. I pulled the top thread to gather the fabric, flipped it up over the tee right sides together and pinned it in place. I sewed the ruffle to the tee and finished the raw edge with a zigzag stitch. Finally, I flipped the ruffle down in place and topstitched along the edge of the tee approximately 1/8 of an inch above the seam. I really like the way this tee is long on Belle, but if you wanted the tee to hit right at the waist of your pants, then just cut a few inches off the bottom of the tee before you add the ruffle.

I don't have a pic of the second tee refashion, but it is really basic. I needed a tee to match a pair of capris that I made for Belle to wear to her birthday party (MY BABY IS 3...Where did the time go???). I couldn't find anything in her size that matched the pants, but I did find a tee one size too big. I figured I could make it work with some redesign.

My goal was to add ruching at the hip to shorten the tee and bring in the waist a bit. To achieve that I cut 4 pieces of ribbon (about 12 inches long) and 2 pieces of felt (about 6 inches long and wide enough to cover both ribbons plus seam allowances). On the inside of the tee at each hip, I placed 2 strips of ribbon side by side, one on each side of the side seam. I made sure that there was about 6 inches of ribbon hanging below the hemline of the tee. Then I placed a piece of felt over the ribbons (see diagram - it's rough, I know...but, I wanted to sketch something out so you could see the set-up). I started by sewing across the top of the felt and ribbons to hold everything in place. Then I sewed the felt to the tee on the outside edges and between the ribbons, making sure not to catch the ribbon in the seam. By scrunching the tee up and tieing the ribbons I ruched the side seams and shortened the tee by several inches...enough for it to fit Belle quite nicely. For a little added oomph, I used the same ribbon to hand-stitch a small bow on the top of each shoulder of the tee. I'm not entirely sure that I would use felt again because it added quite a bit of bulk (once again, it was a last minute improvisation). I think you could use extra wide bias tape or a piece of fabric (be sure you fold the edges under to prevent fraying). But, if felt is what you will work just fine.

Dark line - bottom edge and side seam of tee
Dashed line - stitch lines
Shaded Area - ribbons
Rectangle with thin outline - felt piece