Apparel: May 2012 Archives
I love a tie top pocket! They are the perfect detail to add to a cotton dress, a sassy pair of shorts or to finish off the front of your tote bag. These pockets feature a cute knot at the top that really takes any project to the next level. Tie top pockets are really easy to make as well. By downloading my pattern piece you can make your own to any size you need by increasing the size on your copy maker until you get it bigger enough or small enough to meet your needs. Or you can draft your own using a circular object: plate, lid or bowl.
To start print and size you pattern. You can download mine by clicking on the pattern above and printing or downloading. To create your own, trace a round object that is about ½ in. bigger than you envision your pocket to be (this takes seam allowance into consideration). Trace it and then add elongated bunny ear to the top of your circle. Line up your ears with the outer most part of the circle and the ears should be as long as the circle is tall and as wide as 1/3 the width of the circle (i.e. if the circle is 5 in. diameter than the ear should be 5 in. tall and 1 ¾ in. wide). These ears are your ties. Cut out your pieces from fabric and pin RS together. Stitch your pieces together leaving a gap at the bottom big enough for turning. Trim seam allowances, the tops of your ears and sharp curves. Turn your pocket right side out and press. Press the turning gap closed and topstitch your pocket into place onto the finished project. Tie your ties and you are good to go.
I know a lot of people dread zippers, but there's really nothing to fear. Once you figure out a method that works for you, zippers become just another seam, and you'll soon find your wardrobe growing lickety-split.
My method takes some of the usual dress assembly steps out of order. (Note: This approach assumes you're putting the zipper into the back of your dress.)
First, I prepare the two back sections of dress. Often, dress pattern instructions will have you assemble the bodice first, then the skirt, then attach the two, and THEN insert the zipper. By assembling the back sections first, I set myself up to set the zipper into a flat piece, rather than trying to fiddle with a garment that's more fully formed. It just makes it a bit easier. If you use the approach, you'll then need to assemble the front of the dress before you join everything together at the shoulder and sides.
Then, I stitch the back pieces together along the center back. I use the longest stitch possible for the section where the zipper will go, and then I switch to a shorter, normal assembly stitch for the rest of the seam. The photo below shows the change in stitch length at the blue mark I made earlier.
Next, I press the seam open. I like to give it a good hard press to ensure my creases will be sharp once my zipper is set in.
OK, we're getting close to show time! Once my fabric has cooled from the iron's heat, I use my seam ripper to gently open up the top of the seam -- about 1.5" to 2" works just fine. You want to make sure that if the top edge of the zipper is lined up with the top edge of your fabric, you'll have about an inch of tooth area open. I align my slightly-opened zipper with the edge of my opened seam so the teeth match up with the creased edge.
I set the zipper and dress back under the foot just as I was holding it in the photo above. You may have noticed there haven't been any pins in these photos -- I don't use them, even for zippers! I find I can work much more quickly and smoothly without them.
I carefully start stitching the zipper in place, sewing far enough down the zipper that I'll have room to pull the zipper tab up without getting in the way of my stitching.
Once I've cleared enough length, I lift my presser foot and pull the tab up, and continue to sew the zipper into place down along the center back seam.
To keep the zipper centered, I usually keep the dress piece rolled (sometimes wadded) in my left hand, and I periodically lift things up to make sure the teeth are still lines up with the center of the seam. This is one of those things you get better and better at the more you do it.
Once I've cleared the metal zipper stop, I turn the fabric to stitch across the zipper -- I usually backstitch to make sure this cross piece is strong -- and then I turn the corner again to make the return trip up the opposite side of the seam. Because the zipper is already in place and I don't need to check its alignment, the second side is much faster than the first.
Once I near the top of the zipper on this side, I often open the seam up a little more to pull the zipper pull back out of the way.
With the zipper opened so the pull is no longer creating an obstacle, I finish up the second side of the zipper, taking care to keep the fabric aligned with the zipper teeth so the creased edges will abut when the zipper's closed.
After the stitching's done, I quickly open up the rest of the stitching that covers the zipper.
And that's that! Zipper is in and I'm free to finish my dress. Whether your pattern calls for a facing or a bound edge at the neck opening, you'll likely need a hook and eye at the top of the zipper to keep things neat and square.
Is your zipper method similar to mine? Do you have another trick? Let us know!
Terre Downum from Facebook asks: I'm planning to make a tablecloth with oilcloth, what size needle do I need to use
Tara Says: Well, Terra I would recommend your heavy duty needles, a size 16 sharp paired with some poly wrapped cotton thread so it will be durable but won't break when sewing. Be sure to stick a piece of tape to the underside of your sewing foot to help guide the fabric through and prevent hang-ups.
Oilcloth is a great fabric for all kinds of summertime projects like tablecloths. You can also make picnic mats, tote bags, beach bags and aprons.
Hannah Wright Robinson from Facebook asks: how often do I need to oil my machine and do I need any oil in the bobbin area?
Tara says: it really depends on your machine. If you still have your instruction manual, check out the maintenance section for exact instructions on caring and maintaining your sewing machine. If you don't have one, take it to your local sewing machine shop for a tune up and ask them for all the details. However, works on your machine should be able to tell you what at-home car you can give and how often.
My sewing machine is due a yearly check up so I will be taking it in to the shop this week. I have a Brother and my manual state that I do not need to add oil (it comes with enough) and if I think it needs oil to take it in for a tune up. Brother also recommends that I get my machine serviced once a year to get hard to reach lint and debris out as well as check the tension and lube it up. You should never used compressed air to wash out dust from your machine; it can often make a problem worse by sweeping it into hard to clean areas. I use a soft craft paint brush to clean my bobbing case after every project and when my threads get tangled (dust in the bobbin case is the number one cause).
Paula J. Hatmaker from Facebook wants some tips on adding an underwire shelf bra into a swimsuit or where she can find size F foam bra cups?
Tara says: well, after some deep searching I found a link to a link to a link to a store in Germany that sells size F foam cups. There is another in Canada that sells swimwear foam cups in size F as well. You can price shop for the best deal. I also found another link to Dixie DIY's big list of Bra suppliers that you may find very helpful should you need more for your shelf bra. She includes store with supplies as well as patterns. As for instructions on adding a underwire shelf bra to your swimsuit I would advise you to either study a well fitting suit you already have with a bra you like and use it as a pattern or check out the Pattern School for a guide on adding a underwire shelf bra to swimwear. Or you can take the easy way and use a store bought bra and add it in like instructed in this Thread's Magazine forum posting. Both are great options if your pattern instructions are not up to par.
**Disclaimer- These are my opinions and are by no means a judgment on Moms who choose disposable or any other diaper method. I have been known to employ disposables from time to time. **
I have LONG wanted in on this gig since I love cloth diapers so much. Not only do I love them for their Green value but also their comfort, style and convenience. The brand I choose for my first born were BumGenius One Size. I choose them because I need only buy one size which would grow with my baby. I could pack them up and go. When they were spoiled, I could fold them up and the mess would be contained inside. I could adjust their size as well as adjust their absorbency. The list goes on...
However, as colorful and super cute as they were, I still longed to make my own with prints that would match my daughter's personality, wardrobe or just something with a little funk. But I was intimidated. It just seemed so tricky. Plus I had no idea what materials were involved and where to purchase them all. Well, none of those reasons is much of an issue now. Fabric.com's Diaper Central is a one stop diaper fabric purchasing center and we offer several patterns to make your own diaper, I chose Favorite Things "The Nappies Pattern" and decided to modify them to be One Size just like my beloved BumGenius.
** Prewash your fabric as you would wash your cloth diapers**
First I choose my fabric: for the print outside, I used quilting cotton but you can also use minky, flannel or any decorative material (Note- It must be washable, these are going in the wash at least 1-2/week). Then I added in some PUL- which is the waterproof but breathable layer that gets sandwiched between the decorative outside and the super soft and comfy lining fabric. I went with plain white because I knew I would be using a decorative print on the outside but if you just want a solid color check out our wide PUL color selection. Then I chose my lining fabric which was a diaper flannel but you could also use cotton flannel, terry, cotton or hemp (Hemp is the most absorbent for heavy wetters). Do not use microfiber for the lining. It will irritate baby's skin. Then following the directions I cut out my pattern pieces.
Since I am making my diaper One Size, I choose a size large because it was the size closest to my BumGenius at its largest size. After finishing step 1 I added my rise adjustment snaps (these make the diaper One Size). I added one row of 3 male snaps 1 in. below where the Velcro would sit and 1 row of 3 female snaps 1.5 in. below the male row, and another row of female snaps 1 in. below the first female row. Each snap was spaced 2.25 in. in each row. With the middle snaps centered on the diaper, I used my Babyville Snap Pliers and Snaps in Playful Green/Orange. Then I continued following the directions to complete my diaper.
One important note is to be sure you use the 3/8'' swimwear elastic as instructed by the pattern. This will make your diaper function better but the size is just right to fit in the seam allowance. Also, when stitching on your elastic, I used some binder clips to keep my elastic in place about 2 in. above the pattern mark. I started sewing on the mark but clipping the elastic above the mark really helped me keep my hands free for guiding the fabric and stretching the elastic. Pull your elastic to about 90-95 of its capacity. This will make sure your get the stretch you need but won't make it super difficult to guide. After your elastic is sewn, clip off the excess elastic. A little waste makes for much ease. I also used these same clips to keep all my pieces together as I sewed them up instead of pin because I didn't want any holes in my waterproof PUL which might cause leaks later.
Finally you can see in my pictures the before elastic comparison to my BumGenius Diapers
And after. Pretty close huh?!
Finally, I would love to show your this cute little diaper on a equally cute little bottom but we will all have to wait for the fall before that happens. Also, I don't know the gender yet but just loved this cowboy print so much that even if I have a girl she will be rocking western style. Have fun with your print choices!
I was window shopping over at my favorite store, Anthropologie, a few weeks ago and found this top and knew it was destined to be mine- But not for $58! A quick look at the close-ups confirmed that is was a very stylized version of a pillowcase top with a banded hem. Done, case closed, let's get to work. I, being 5 mo. pregnant, decided to craft my version from knit to make it last the summer. I tell you I feel really pretty and myself in this top (which is hard to accomplish, considering I just popped).Here's how to make your own. You can easily make this top from a woven or a knit.
1 yd of Knit fabric (you can use interlock or jersey just make sure it has at least 20% stretch across the grain)
Walking foot on your standard machine.
Measure and cut your fabric pieces according to my handy cheat sheet that you can download below (click on the picture to save and print or click here to if it is not visible).
Here's an example of the main panel measurement: widest measurement is 38 in. / 2= 19 in. + 1 in. (seam allowance)= 20 in. cutting width
Length from shoulder to hip bone is 22 in. + 4 in. = 26 in. cutting length
From the remaining fabric cut a 2 in. wide strip by at least 60 in. in length for the drawstring tie at the top.
All stitches are assumed zig zag stitches unless otherwise noted
Mark your main panels 6-8 in. from the top on each side; above the mark is your arm hole and below is your side seam. Stitch your sides together (RS facing) starting at these marks. Fold down seam allowance in your arm hole and topstitch in place.
To make the front keyhole, cut an 8 in. by 2 in wide piece of knit for the facing and pin it the front main panel of your top as shown on the cheat sheet, matching centers (RS facing). Using a narrow stitch, stitch close to your center line on one side, stopping ½ from the bottom of the facing, stitch across your center and stitch back up the other side of your center using the same spacing (try to stitch between 1/8 and ¼ in. from the center). Clip down your center line and turn your facing to the inside of your front main panel. Turn under the raw edges of the facing, pin in place and topstitch around the edges of your facing to secure in place using a straight stitch.
Make top ruffle and casing: on the front and back, fold the top of your top down 1/2 in. and pin or baste, fold down another 1.5 in and pin in place, topstitch along fold using straight stitch. Stitch another line 3/4 in. above the topstitching using a straight stitch.
Stitch your hem bands together at the sides and fold in half, matching raw edges, WS facing, and pin to the bottom edge of your top, stretching the hem band as needed to fit. Stitch around hem band.
To make the draw string, fold draw string in half lengthwise, RS facing and stitch down the length. Turn draw string right side out and feed through casing using a safety pin or bodkin starting at one side of the keyhole on the front of your top and finishing on the other side. Knit your drawstring at both ends.
Congrats you are DONE! Enjoy your Keyhole Pillowcase top in wovens as well as knits, just cut your hem band on the bias for a little stretch around your hips. I love this top in solids as well as medium or small scale prints. Polka Dots are a must for this style!
P.S. because this is knit it makes a great maternity top!