Accessories: February 2012 Archives
Braided Necklaces are something that is unavoidable on Pinterest. They are super popular right know because they strike the right blend of color, texture and comfort. They are light, easy to layer and are super easy to make. You can try one of the many tutorials out right now on Pinterest, most of which are crafted from beads or fabric strips. Or you can make my version: the Easy Peasy Braided Necklace which is hand braided from cotton yarns. Very soft and yummy and cotton comes in so many colors to match your wardrobe or the look you are envisioning. I used Lily Sugar N Cream Cotton Yarn which offers a great selection.
1 skein each of 4 colors of Lily Sugar N Cream (label them color A, B, & C)
Blocking board or some firm but soft surface to secure your braid
Pin to secure braid to board
Cut three 36 in. pieces in each color. Knot at end. Begin braiding holding each color as one strand (each strand will be made of 3 lengths of that color) until your piece measures 16 in. Secure 2 of the colors (B & C) so they don't unravel and tuck out of the way. Starting with Color A, braid the 3 lengths for 8 in. secure out of the way and repeat for B& C. Once you have completed the individual braids, join the three colors back to continue your main braid being careful not to incorporate the tiny braids into the main braid. The tiny braids should remain loose (as loose as you can get them. they might braid up a little). Continue with the main braid until you have run out of yarn to braid. You necklace should measure 24-28 in (depending on how tightly you braid). Knot the end and secure the 2 knotted ends together with one small length of yarn. Wrap your necklace around double or triple. This casual but trendy necklace will brighten up a plain white tee or add just the right accessory to your skinny jeans and blazer.
A simple hat like this is easy to incorporate into your accessory collection. If you make it in a warm fabric, it can take you through the winter months in style. A medium-weight fabric will give you a cool way to shade your face from the sun as the weather grows warmer.
This is a DIY pattern. I have a sample version to guide you, but you'll most likely need to make a muslin and adjust to customize the fit. The sample is on the biggish side -- the hat it makes has a band circumference of about 22 3/4"
You'll need to cut 8 of the body of the hat (if you wish to line your hat, you'll need to cut 8 in your lining fabric as well):
You'll need to cut 2 visor pieces, plus 1 out of a very stiff interfacing:
For the band, cut 2 pieces 24" long and 2" wide. I don't interface mine, but if you like a stiffer band, you may want to.
Assembly is quick! Everything has a 5/8" seam allowance.
- Stitch all 8 of your crown pieces together, as though you're reassembling a lumpy pie. (Yum!)
- Stitch one of your bands end to end to form a circle.
-Test the fit of the crown section to the circumference of the band. Adjust as needed. (If your have a smaller or larger head than the size provided, this is where you'll need to adjust.)
- Once your crown matches your band, stitch the crown to the band.
- Assemble your visor right sides together. Remember, your interfacing will be on the outside while you stitch so that it sandwiches between the two pieces of fashion fabric once you turn it. If you're using an iron-in interfacing, apply it to the wrong side of one of your visor pieces before assembly.
- Attach the visor to the edge of the band you did not stitch your crown assembly to.
This is a good time to test your fit!
- Once you're happy with fit, stitch the second band piece into a circle, and stitch it to side of the band with the visor attached, encasing the visor in between the bands so you have a finished seam edge at the bottom of your band when you turn it right side out.
- With your second band piece flipped to the inside of the hat, stitch the unattached edge to the side where you joined the crown.
Here's an inside-out look at the assembled hat.
- For a pretty, clean finish, assemble a second crown out of lining fabric, and then hand stitch it to the interior of your hat, enclosing the raw edges of your crown/band seam.
And there you go! Ready to hit the rooftops of London!
I made my two samples using corduroy and a microsuede. I want to make one using a cotton velvet, and maybe even a minky! A medium-weight linen version would be great for spring and summer.
Following hard on the heels of my Dritz Doll Needle post earlier this week is this review and modification of Hilary Lang's Mermaiden Pattern from her Wee Wonderful's book. This is an excellent book and the patterns are so much fun. This is my first doll from this book but I have thoroughly read most of the patterns and find them to be well written and with very few errors. I had a lot of fun planning and making my mermaiden. The whole book is a huge source of interest and delight for my 3 yr. old daughter who doesn't acknowledge it to be a mommy book but a toddler book with fairies, trains and dinosaurs.
First off, I enlarged my pattern using my copy machine and increased the pattern pieces by 150% making this finished doll 10 in. instead of the 7 in. featured in the book. I wanted the mermaiden to be more squeezable and vie for a coveted spot in my daughter's bed and felt the larger size would give me that edge. I also used felt for the hair instead of corduroy because I find felt much easier and corduroy sheds a good bit and can fray easily. I only cut out one piece for each hair piece as well since it was felt and didn't need to be seamed together. A cotton flannel was used for the body and a very mermaid-y cotton print served as the tail. Luckily for all your readers I have also found a free version of the mermaiden pattern on Martha Stewart's website but I urge you to check out the book for more cute doll and toy patterns.
I really enjoyed exploring Hilary's different doll making techniques and want to stress that you should read this pattern before you even cut anything out. This doll will not go together exactly as you expect. Even cutting the patterns pieces out without reading will not be the short cut you expect. It may take longer than expected to sew up your first mermaiden but once you get one under your belt, you can fire them off for birthday parties in no time! Next time I am going to increase the enlargement to 250% in an attempt for a 14 in. sized doll. Wish me luck!
While you are waiting for your Mermaiden fabric order to arrive check out this great Wee Wonderful's Book Project page. It is full of project pictures made from the book!
One often over-looked but very useful tool every seamstress (or seamster-for the gentlemen) is a set of Dritz Doll Needles. These are extra long but not overly thick needles that can be used outside the realm of doll making. I have had the occasion to use mine often as: a turning tool for very small projects to get those pesky corners just right, jeans repair and decorative stitching on very thick items (like my Bike Bucket). Several of Heather Bailey's pincushions from her Fresh Picked Pattern call for a doll needle to thread embroidery floss for shaping the tomato or making the right tucks for the apple. While I did not use a doll needle in the same way in my enlarged Apple Pillow based on the Fresh Picked Pattern, I did use it to attach my stem. And we can't forget Shannon's amazing Organza Ornament showcased last October. She used her doll needles to attach the flowers to a foam ball. Lastly, I used doll needles to create my wonderful Molly Monkey Doll (shown above).
Dritz Doll Needles are perfectly designed for their name sake, allowing the user to attach or repair various parts of dolls. The extra length allows you to get through all the stuffing so you can perfectly place stuffed items, like arms and legs. It is easier to place doll parts after stuffing because placement is difficult to determine without plumping up the doll's body. You can attain a more perfect symmetry after stuffing. Dolls need to be as close to symmetric and perfectly aligned so any clothes or costumes will fit. The large eyes make it easy to thread anything from all-purpose thread to embroidery floss or even ribbon and yarn. Doll needles are not just used for body parts placement but also for faces and the all important hair. This is a valuable tool that should not be overestimated and will earn its place in your sewing box.
To help ward off the cold that's accosting us, it's time for a cozy memory blanket!
I've talked about my love of tee shirts before and my firm belief that you can't have too many, and I stand by that. I won't disclose the number of shirts in my collection, but I can tell you, the total is in the triple digits. Just by virtue of running local 5ks fairly frequently, I've amassed a huge stack, but I also love to buy souvenir shirts when I travel, and friends often give me silly shirts as gifts.
This project puts those shirts to work! My husband and I each sacrificed a handful of shirts from our collections. This blanket is faster than a quilt, and it's a great project for beginners. All you need is a dozen shirts that are out of wearing rotation, and two yards of fleece.
First, I traced a rounded square shape onto each of the shirts, framing the area of the design I wanted to use. I used a square-ish plate as my template, but you could also cut one out of spare cardboard. (I would love to try this project using circles to create a bubble effect.)
Once all my tracing and cutting of designs was done, it was time to pin the pieces in place. I just used safety pins to secure each piece at the corners. You may or may not want more. I used a basic straight stitch about 1/4" inside the edge of each square to stitch everything in place.
To space my appliques, I used rulers as guides -- a narrow one for between the squares, and a wider one for all edges.
I used a 3 x 4 layout for my blanket, but you could easily make a bigger or smaller blanket to your tastes.
A few tips and thoughts:
- When stitching down shirt designs that have a heavy or shiny transfer, you may find that the pressure of the presser foot causes drag. This is easily alleviated by placing a piece of tissue paper over the problem area. When you're done stitching, the tissue pulls away easily.
- Your squares are unlikely to sit perfectly square when you're stitching. That's one of the reasons I used a template with rounded edges. Further, a little imperfection gives a project like this character. It's not a tailoring situation, so don't sweat it!
- If you have a huge collection of shirts related to a specific theme, think about using them in a project like this. I see a Star Wars blanket in my future ...
- I used basic black fleece for the background on the sample project, but think about how cute a pastel backing would look on a blanket that combines your child's baby and toddler shirts that you can't bear to send to hand-me-down land.
- I finished my edges by folding them over and straight stitching them, but it might be fun to use your tee shirt scraps to create a multicolored binding.
- Be ready for memories to come flooding at you when you're stitching. Even though I didn't select particularly sentimental shirts for this blanket, I found that while working with certain squares, my mind was instantly transported to the moment when I acquired the shirts they came from, or to a memory associated with wearing it. It made for a really fun afternoon.