How to make a dinosaur tail

Here’s a step by step guide on how to turn an old pair of jeans into a dinosaur tail for your little one.  I keep seeing these tails at UK festivals and I thought I would share how you can make one yourself.  Not just for kids, just increase the sizing for an adult version.  This guide shows how to upcycle your jeans and yellow spikes have been added, but you could use any fabric you like and decorate with spots and for extra glamour, add sequins to your tail.

You will need:

Dino step 1 (2).jpg

  • A pair of jeans or fabric of your choice
  • A contrasting fabric to make the spikes
  • Some stuffing – you could use an old pillow
  • Some ribbon – enough to tie around the waist in a bow
  • Tape measure, pins, needle and thread and a pair of scissors

Step 1 – Cutting out the main tail

Dino step 1 (3).jpg   Dino step 1 (1).jpg   Dino Step2 (1)

Take a trouser leg and cut the hem off.  From that raw edge, I measured 18 inches along and cut straight across the leg.  Then cut diagonally to make a triangular shape (keep the bottom right triangle shown in picture above)

Step 2 – Making the spikes

Dino Step 5 (2)    Dino Step4 (2)

Dino Step 5 (3)

Firstly, cut out the triangles for your spikes.  I used five in my version and the biggest one was 4 inches tall.  You’ll need two sides for each spike.  Pin wrong sides together, sew along two sides and turn right side out.

Step 3 – Add the spikes to the tail body

Dino Step 5 (1)

Turn the body of the tail right sides together.  Insert the spikes as shown.  Sew along the length of the tail to sew the spikes in place.  Leave the short edge of the tail open.

Next, turn the tail out and stuff the tail.

Dino Step 6 (1)

Step 4 – Sewing the ribbon fastenings

Pin the tail closing together and catch the ribbon into the closing. I used two lengths so it could be tied round the waist.  Hand sew along this last bit to close up the tail.

Dino Step 7 (1).jpg

You’re all done!  I hope you have lots of fun making these.  With special thanks to my nephew, Thomas, for modelling my tail!

Dino (2)

For more things to make from jeans and denim clothing, check out my Pinterest board on lots of ideas on how to upcycle them.








Pillowcase Dress

Here’s my guide to turn a pillowcase into a little girls summer dress or nightie.  You don’t need very much to make this and you could get your little one involved in choosing the colours and trim that you add.  If you don’t have a little one to make for, you could make for the charity “Little Dresses for Africa”  who take dress donations and send them to Africa for girls who need them.

You will need:

A pillowcase
3 metres of 1″ ribbon
1 metre of trim (optional)
Tape measure
Needle and thread (or sewing machine)

Step 1 – Cutting out

Lay the pillowcase out flat in front of you with the open end at the top, furthest away from you.

Next, trim the closed end at the bottom, so that you now have an open seam at the bottom end.

Blog Dress (3)

Now fold the pillowcase in half, lengthways, as shown, so the fold is on the left.


The measurements that come next have made a dress that has in fact come up a little big for my niece who is 4 years old.  To make the dress smaller, smaller armholes could be made and more gathering could be added to the front and back panels (see further instructions further on in this blog).  The following gives a sizing idea:


With the folded seam on the left, measure down 2 inches on the right and cut across to the top left point.  Then measure down 5 inches from the top and cut the arm holes.  You’ll end up with two pieces like below.


Open your pillowcase out and it should look like this.


Step 2 – Adding the ribbon

Next you’ll be gathering the front and back panels that will sit across your child’s chest and back.  I took in a gathered pinch every 1.5″, but you could put them closer together so that you end up with a narrower width.

Blog Dress (9)

Pin your gathers into place on the front and back.


Next, cut some ribbon the width of your newly gathered dress and fold over the top to cover the edge of the pillowcase and pin into place.


Now sew along the ribbon on the front and back piece of the dress.

Blog Dress (12)

Your top edges will now look like this.  I’ve used two rows of stitching, but you could do one or a zig-zag in a contrasting colour if you wanted to.

Blog Dress (13)

Step 3 – adding the ribbon ties

Next step is to pin lengths of ribbon over the armholes openings and leave enough length on the ends to tie a bow over the child’s shoulders.  You’ll find this then covers in the raw edges of the front and back panels previously sewn.

Blog Dress (14)

Blog Dress (15)

Step 4 – the hem and trim

All that’s left to do is hem the bottom of the dress.  I added in some pom pom trim too.  But you could leave it plain or add lace or more ribbon.

Blog Dress (16).jpg

Blog Dress (1).jpg

Sew up the hem and trim and Ta Da!,  your dress is finished.  Special thanks to my niece, Connie for modelling the finished dress for this blog.

Blog Dress - finished

For more ideas on upcycling and customising clothes, check out my Pinterest Board, ‘Customizing‘.

See also another blog post I wrote on how to upcycle a shirt into a children’s dress here.  (Connie was younger then!!!!)

Upcycle image








5 Upcycling ideas for Easter

Here’s my round up of five Easter projects to do with the kids – and of course, they all have an upcycling twist!  Projects to use up fabric scraps, toilet rolls, jam jars and tin cans are all here…

1. Fabric Easter Basket

Take some scraps of fabric and some piping and you’ve got yourself the only two things you’ll need to make these gorgeous baskets.  Full instructions are here.

Fabric basket

2. Upcycled Planters

These are baked bean tins, painted and then planted up.  The link is actually for a Christmas plant, but you could swap with daffodils for example for a more seasonal look.  Paint the cans with pastel colours, to keep it more Spring like.  These would make a lovely gift if you’re visiting someone for the Easter break – something a bit more personal and less fattening than chocolate!  Instructions for these here.

tin can planters

3. Gift Jars

Use the same paint to paint some jam jars.  A bunny silhouette has been used here, so the chocolate inside can be seen through the panel.  Chalk paint is best for this project.  Full instructions here.

gift jars.jpg

4. Toilet Roll Chicks

A great one to make with the kids.  The instructions on this link say to use yellow card, but I think this would work just as well with recycled toilet rolls.  Here’s the link for the step by step guide here.

Toilet roll chicks

5. Bunny Bunting

Got some spare wool lying about?  It could be used to make mini pom poms and this simple bunting.  Templates and instructions are all here.

Bunny bunting.jpg


For hundreds of Spring and Easter craft ideas, check out my Pinterest boards:

Handmade Easter

Easter Egg Decorating

Happy Easter to you and your families xxx

easter eggs


10 Upcycled Halloween Decor Ideas

Having a Halloween party?  Want to decorate your party space?  Here are some bargain bucket, but effective ideas to get you started.  All using and upcycling bits and bobs from around the house.

1. Ghost Wind Sock

Take a grocery tin, paint it.  Add strips of paper for the tail and let the wind do the rest!
Credit: Chicken Scratch NY

Halloween 1 ghost windsock

2. Mummy Jam Jars

Wrap some jam jars in bandages, add some googly eyes and a little night light and voila!
Credit: Veggie Mumma

Halloween 2 Mummy Jam Jars

3. Cardboard Tombstones

This one will take a bit more work, but full instructions are here to help.

Halloween 3 cardboard tombstones

4. Bin Bag Spiders Web

This step by step guide shows you how to cut black bin bags and turn them into a spiders web to adorn your party space!

Halloween 4 Bin bag spiders web

5. Flowerpot Spiders

A great way to make some spiders for the garden – thanks Creative Green Living!

Halloween 5 - Flowerpot Spiders

6. Tissue Box Monsters

White triangles of paper for the teeth and little cups or egg boxes for the eyes.  A great one to do with the kids.  You could use them as a treats pot.

Halloween 6 - Tissue Box Monsters

7. Paper plate eyeballs

Add the red ribbon/string for a blood shot look. Guidance here.

Halloween 7 - Paperplate eyeballs

8. Milk Jug Ghosts

Take your plastic milk jugs, draw some Halloween faces and add battery night lights or string of Christmas lights.  Very effective and no rotting pumpkins!

Halloween 8 Milk Jug Faces

9. Toilet Roll Bats

Great as little favour boxes or suspend with string to decorate the walls.
Credit: Practically Functional

Halloween 9 - Loo Roll Bats

10. Juice Carton Haunted House

Ingenious – take some juice cartons, cut out windows and paint.
Here’s the step by step guide care of ‘Choose Cartons’

Halloween 10 - Juice Carton Haunted House


More Ideas

Halloween - More Ideas

For more handmade halloween ideas, including pumpkin carving templates, party food inspiration and other crafts, check out my Pinterest page ‘Handmade Halloween’

Halloween - Fancy Dress

For DIY fancy dress ideas, check out this amazing collection, including loads made from a simple cardboard box!

Happy Halloween!



Upcycle a shirt to a dress


The joy of turning something unwanted into something new is so satisfying and I wanted to share with you a really easy sewing project with you.  Sewing!  Before you sigh and switch over, reminded of disastrous classes at school, I promise this is an easy project to start with – you don’t even need a sewing machine, you can do this by hand with a simple running stitch.

So here’s my step by step guide  to turn a shirt into a toddler dress.

You will need

  • x1 gentleman’s shirt – a thick cotton shirt will be robust for summer, or go for a corduroy one for an autumnal pinafore dress
  • A toddler dress, to use as a template
  • Needle and thread – if you have a sewing machine it will, of course, be quicker
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Optional – extra fabric to make embellishments and decorations for the dress

Step 1 – Preparation

toddler dress onto shirt.jpg

Lay your existing dress over the shirt, making sure you line up the buttons down the middle of the dress.  Allowing for a seam, check that the top button will then form the top of the new dress when it is sewn together.  Pin the dress to the shirt into position, so it stays in place for cutting out.

Step 2 – Cutting Out

Allowing a 2cm seam, cut out the shirt to the same shape as the dress.

cut out.jpg

cut out2.jpg

There was a pocket on the front of the shirt I used, which I removed and I ended up covering up later with a flower embellishment.  But if your shirt has a pocket, you can always keep it, to make your project simple.

Don’t worry about raggedy edges (like mine!) – you’ll be making hems that will mean the edges will become neat at the end.


Step 3 – Pinning and sewing together

Next, lay the two pieces of the cut out shirt, right sides together.

right sides together.jpg

Now pin the dress in the following places: up the two sides and across the top of the shoulder.  Sew a running stitch (by hand or with the sewing machine) along where  you have pinned.

pin together.jpg

Step 4 – Hems and ironing

Next job is to hem the remaining edges.

  1.  Along the bottom of the dress
  2.  Around the arm holes
  3.  Around the neck


I folded the fabric twice over itself to give a nice neat finish.  Pin into place and sew a running stitch to hold the hems into place.

Iron out the seams and press out the hems on your new dress.

iron out seams.jpg

Step 5 – Adding decoration (optional)

I got carried away and made a flower decoration for the front of the dress – to cover up the pocket I removed.  To make the flower:

  • Cut out three pieces of contrasting fabric as shown
  • Layer them up and make a running stitch around the edges
  • Add a button for the centre

flower cut out.jpg       flower stack.jpg

Experiment with other embellishments: buttons into shapes; applique pictures; sew on badges; add ribbon or lace trim etc.

finished dress.jpg

Step 6 – Wearing and enjoying your creation

Ta da!  Your dress is ready.  Great on it’s own as a cool summer dress.  Or team with a T-shirt and/or leggings/tights for cooler weather.

Connie model

(Special thanks to my model, my niece Connie!)


More ideas

For more ideas on upcycling and customising clothes, see my board called ‘Customise’ on my Pinterest page: