Results tagged “Sewing” from Fabric.com Blog
For some reason I cannot fathom a useful tool has fallen by the wayside of late, the pencil case. I, myself, have stopped using them but no longer. I am tired of searching my purse, knitting bag and diaper bag for the elusive pen or pencil. I am sure that your school age children are no different. Who doesn't want a one stop shop for all their writing utensils, in an easy to tote package that can be identified by touch and grabbed with ease. I DO! So in honor of September and the Back to School Season, I have crafted an easy but super chic and fun lined pencil case. These pencils cases make great gifts for teachers, neighbors, September birthday party gifts and quick n' easy Christmas gifts. You can also whip one up to use as a clutch!
All you will need is:
¼ yd of lightweight cotton in 2 colors or prints
One ½ in. button
One spool of coordinating thread.
Download your pattern here and get cracking. In no time you will have pencil cases for your kids, your purse and maybe even just a few for fun (makeup brushes, dry erase markers, crayons to go).
If you read Friday's blog post you will know that today's project was inspired by a product spread in a popular magazine. The inspiration tunic costs $124 retail and is in the Ombre style. The shape of the shirt is nothing that sensational; it's a cool shirt and all but the Ombre is what makes it GOREGOUS! Ombre is a dye technique and comes from the French word meaning: Shaded. Ombre dye technique creates a graduated effect from light to dark or from one shade to another. The inspiration tunic shifts from dark blue to light. My tunic shifts from yellow to the natural linen of the original fabric. And it was so easy to do. I started with Hanky Weight Linen in Natural and Amy Butler's Anna Tunic (Tunic Length). Once the tunic was complete and before sewing on the buttons, I set up my Ombre dye. Working outside, I put down a clean drop cloth. Next, I took my jar of Jacquard Dye-na-flo fabric dye in Sun Yellow and poured it into a clean spray bottle. Having soaked my tunic in warm water until it was wet through, I then gentle squeezed out water until it was just damp (the dye is absorbed better by wet fabric). I laid my tunic down on the drop cloth and pulled all the wrinkles out and made sure it was nice and flat. Then I started spraying my tunic starting along the bottom and slowly working up, concentrating most of the dye at the bottom and less as I went up. The spray really helps you control the dye application and also creates an Ombre effect if you widen your spray area. Once I had the front covered nicely, I carefully flipped the tunic and repeated on the back. Be careful if you have dye on your fingers where you placed them when flipping your tunic. Repeat the same with the belt, just applying dye at the ends to match your tunic when tied.
DO NOT RINSE YOUR TUNIC. Allow your dye to dry completely. This is not like RIT where you let the dye sit for 30 min and then you rinse off. You must let your tunic dry completely. Then, turn your tunic inside out and with a hot iron (set to your fabric setting) press the inside of your tunic to set the paint on the other side. To set the belt, place a thin piece of cotton between the belt and your iron. Sew on your buttons and DONE! Doesn't it look Chic? I must say I feel great in my Tunic, edgy but classic at the same time. Try this dye technique with other natural fibers. You can even use it on cotton prints to give a neat peak-a-boo effect.
The Total Cost of my tunic was $ 43.93 not including tax (which varies) and includes 2 yds of Hanky weight Linen, one jar of Dye-na-Flo, and Amy Butler's Anna Tunic. You could make a similar Ombre tunic using your own pattern collection and your costs goes down to $27.95. Less than $30! That is a value of $100 from the cost of the inspiration top to your custom fit, custom colored to your exact liking, one of a kind Ombre Tunic. Guess which I would choose!
Following on the heels of my previous article on how to sew Pintucks with the Janome Pintuck Foot is how to then add this amazing detail to your store bought patterns. Say you have a dress or a shirt that you want to add pintucks too but you aren't sure how to add the details without altering the pattern. The solution is to sew the pintucks on before you cut your pattern piece. This can be tricky but if you plan ahead your finished piece will look amazing.
I start out by first deciding which pattern pieces will feature pintucks and mark them in some fashion. Then, I layout my fabric and pattern pieces as instructed in the pattern. The pieces that will have pintucks, I trace with tailors chalk around the outside giving a wide berth (sometimes about 1 in. around), be more generous on the width of the piece since that will be affected more by the pintucks than the length. This will give you a good idea of where to place your tucks and how long to sew them. Also be sure if you are working with pieces cut on a fold to mark the center line. You can cut out the unaffected pieces now or after you add the pintucks to the fabric. Do not cut out the pieces that will feature pintucks. Sew your pintucks before you cut out these pattern pieces using your traced outline as a guide. Sew your pintucks from the top of the traced outline to the bottom. Once you have added your pintucks, then cut out those pattern pieces. I like to go over the top and bottom of the pintucks with a basting stitch to keep them secure until the garment is all stitched up. I added 7 pintucks to the HotPatterns Cupid Cami in Sherbet Pips Squares Vanilla/Pink with matching bias tape. I modified the pattern to eliminate the ties and made 12in. long straps. The light pattern really helps the pintucks to stand out and compliment the camisole shape. Pintucks would also look great on the bodice of a shirt dress, widthwise on a fabric belt, or as a hem detail on some twill shorts.
I dislike pinning, sometimes. When it comes to stitching a long seam, I like the security of pinning (I don't yet have Holly's courage). But when it comes to laying out and cutting out my pattern pieces, I hate it! I always feel like pinning distorts my layout and skews my cutting line. Just that little bit of fabric puffed up by the pinning process and what fabric is used to hold the pin in place is just enough to throw off some of my seams, darts or hems. It may just be me, but ever since I tossed the pins (when cutting out pattern pieces, that is) and went with pattern weights, my sewing has reached a whole new level.
Being the industrious seamstress that I am, I began my adventure with pattern weights with whatever was to hand. But after a few weeks of serious devotion to PWs (my short term for Pattern Weights) I decided to make my own. I cut out several 5 in. squares of quilting cotton and interfacing of coordinating prints (the weight pictured is in a lovely Moda) and on one side I attached a piece of 5 in. ric rac. Wrong sides together, I stitched the 2 squares together leaving an opened to turn and fill. I clipped the corners and turned it right side out. Using a handmade funnel of printer paper, I filled my PW half way with dried beans and topped it off with poly fill so it can serve as a pin cushion as well. I hand stitched the opening closed.
Many years later, I have somewhat reverted back to my origins since my PWs are attractive to not only me but my wee child as well. Leaving me back to using whatever is to hand since she has not yet learned the value of returning object from whence they came. I follow rule after a few bad turns:
1) Don't use your coffee cup (especially when there is coffee in it)
2) Don't use anything bigger than your fist (if you start with small it you can use it for even the smallest bit of your pattern and won't have to keep searching your house for another PW)
3) Don't use toys. The owner will come looking and demanding the return of their property leaving your without a PW)
4) Don't use your cell phone. You will forget why it is holding your fabric in place when an important (or not so important) call comes in and either your fabric will fall off the table or your pattern piece will get caught in the breeze mid cut.
5) Don't use anything alive- they are just plain unreliable.
My favorites are an unused and tightly capped bottle of fabric dye, a previously used glass that held water and needs to make it down the kitchen but hasn't in some time, and my own hand made PW (when I can find it). There are plenty of other handy PWs hanging about your house but if your schedule allows make some of your own, they are ever so much fun!
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The Ruffler foot attachment is one of the most fun feet available for your sewing machine but it can be intimidating, frustrating and complicated. Rufflers attach in either screw-on (like changing out a shank) or snaps onto to your existing shank though some require the purchase of a low shank.
When I first received my ruffle I was pumped to get started but I was disappointed with the instructions and low quality pictures that came with it. "Surely I can figure this out myself", I thought, and "how hard can this be". Hard is the answer. This foot is an enigma wrapped in a puzzle embroidered with secrets. But hopefully my tips and pictures will make it easier for you to enjoy this essential attachment.
· I insert and line up my fabric before attaching my ruffle to the machine. This helps because I have more room to work my fabric in and not the tight area where the ruffle attaches.
· I DO NOT use the feeder prongs. All the videos I have watched advise you to use these 3 prongs to guide and feed your fabric. I find the prongs to only complicate things. 1) They don't allow me control over my seam allowance. 2) Getting your fabric lined up in the ruffle then under and around those prongs is too much work for no gain. 3) I just don't wanna
· Work the foot around the needle arm before attaching it to your shank.
· !!Line up your needle with the hole before you start sewing!!
· Use a basting stitch
· Make sure all adjustments for the machine and foot are tight and recheck often. My needle has fallen out and so has my foot because I didn't recheck half way through a really long ruffle.
· Use a medium speed.
· A problem with the ruffler is probably a problem with your machine. The only reason I discovered a crack in my bobbin case was because every time I used my ruffler my bobbin thread would knot up to the 100th degree. Everything else I sewed was fine.
· The star means no ruffle. It took me extensive internet searching to discover that. It was not noted in my included instructions.
It is hard to get started thinking on Christmas when it is still hot outside but if you want to really enjoy the Christmas season and resist the slow decline towards "Ba Humbug" that results in homemade gift procrastination, then you had better pay attention. Allowing yourself plenty of time also ensures that you will enjoy making every gift which will surely be evident and will also allow for fine finishing details that make your gifts so special. Of course you will want to make something extra special for everyone but allow for your schedule, the number of people you plan on exchanging gifts with and how fast you create. Estimate in your head (or on paper) how many hours you can dedicate to each gift and stick to it. You can always supplement with store bought gifts or, even better, baked goods.
It is important to plan and try not to deviate but leave some wiggle room (you might want to take the weekend off to take in the leaves changing color or visit your favorite festival). The wiggle room will keep you going and help you to feel refreshed.
Pick projects that the receiver will love but you will also love to make. It is infinitely more fun to give something that gave you as much pleasure to make as it will for your loved one to use or treasure. Our Creativity Headquarters is full of patterns and gift ideas as well as fabric. It is a great place to start your Christmas list. You can also check out other blogs for free pattern ideas, tutorials and pictures of finished projects. You will be surprised how another perspective can give you inspiration on new fabric choices and gift ideas that would not have occurred to you but that you must make.
Wee Wonderfuls has great free softie patterns for free as well as embroidery deigns
Angry Chicken has some awesome free video tutorials
Another reason not to wait is the sales. You don't want your perfect fabric to slip away ne'er to be seen again. We are always having great early sales so stock up now so you don't have to scramble later. Though most of our patterns are reorderable, sometimes the stock is depleted and can take a few days or a week to be refilled. That is time you can spare now but not as the clock ticks down. If you purchase all your supplies early, you can work on your schedule and not have to sweat bullets if the pattern you must have is still out of stock.
Christmas is a season of merriment and I hope that if you follow my advice it will be so for you. Gift giving is a delight for both parties so planning ahead, sticking to your plan and allowing wiggle room will guarantee that the smile on your face Christmas morning is the real deal and not hiding the fatigue, stress and frustration of last minute gift making. Plus you will need the time for cookie making (be sure to share you recipes!!)
P.s. More info on the advent calendar here
Keeping with yesterday's theme of handmade goods for soldiers, I wanted to write an article featuring sewing patterns but amidst my search I stumbled upon a small niche for soldiers' families. While our hearts and thoughts follow our troops into battle everyday and we watch the progress every night in this news, the soldier's families blend, often unnoticed into the crowd at home. Moms and Dads doing the work of 2, putting on a brave front while worry is a constant companion and the news a continuous reminder of the danger. Children carry on normally but knowing that half their heart is a world away and longing for the day when Mommy or Daddy will be home again. Supporting our military families rallies both at home and aboard. Seeing their child smile and know that a 'stranger' cares can ease the burden for both the soldier and their family. Below are a few projects perfect for spreading good spirits near and far. Operation Top Knot- Created by a college student who wanted to share her admiration for expectant and new mothers of military families. This operation sends care packages to new moms and soon-to-be mothers to help them care for their new family members as well as themselves. Items to sewn include but not limited to: Bibs, blankets, burp cloths, booties, hats, onesies, washcloths and diapers. Since many of these items are for new babies be sure when you prewash your fabric to do so with a gentle detergent. Choose soft fabrics that wear well. You can also nominate a family you know or donate fabrics suitable for their projects, clip coupons and contribute store bought goods.
Daddy Dolls- Giving a child a doll sewn up with Daddy or Mommy's image not only allows a kid to snug up with their loved one but also helps them remember and be proud of their soldier parent. All you need is some Muslin or Broadcloth, printable transfer paper and a sewing machine. This is probably best done for a friend of family member whom you know and have access to their pictures since I could not find any websites that organized making and sending Daddy Dolls to military families. Once you have a picture of a solider you can have it sized to whatever size you like at any photo center. Print your picture out on the photo transfer paper and follow the direction included with the package to affix it to your fabric. Cut 2 pieces approx. 2-3 in. around the picture and place right sides together sew around the edge with a ½ in. seam allowance leaving a small gap for turning. Stuff your doll and hand stitch closed. If you are not up to sewing one of these treasures or want one bigger than your transfer paper allows, you can order one from these fine folks.
Drawstring bags- Not technically for troop families, these drawstring bags can be whipped up from quilting cotton in no time and sent full of toiletries for a taste of home overseas for our troops. Hearing how good it is to have toothpaste, deodorant and gum, home front parents will love the feeling of knowing that it is not just family members who care about their spouse.
P.S. Changing pad tutorial here
My favorite room of the house is my sewing room. This is not just because it houses my sewing machine and other tools of my trade but because it is just my room. Painted the color I love, decorated with fabric and yarn as far as the eye can see (if you squint it looks like it goes on forever) and great big windows for light that makes me want to make. Establishing your own sewing room only takes a few key items, the rest is up to you.
1) Work stations: I have 3 works stations. A cutting table (I prefer counter height), a sewing table and an ironing board (or as I so nervously call it in my video "a knitting board"). You can combine your cutting table and sewing table into one to save space. Add a tabletop ironing board and you have got yourself a 3 in one station.
2) Wall space is a great tool for many purposes. You can hang inspiration on it- on the back of my closet doors I hang pretty pictures from many of my favorite craft blogs. It gets my creative juices flowing. I also use my wall space for a chalk board. I can jot down ideas, draw designs, make lists and record measurements. Plus the mini chalkboard I have for my daughter, Devon, is a great place for her to hang out while I get some 'me' time. (Great bonus: Chalk easily wipes off most surfaces, even dogs). Wall shelves are great for limited floor space or in my case to keep yummy yarn cakes out of little, destroying baby hands. Plus you can organize books, display projects and more inspiration.
3) Storage: No crafter can craft without storage. You find a great sale, you stock up on tools and notions. You see a limited amount of yardage in a to-die-for print. You just got paid and had too many glasses of wine at the SnB meeting and went overboard on yarn. But you must be organized. There is no point storing supplies and tools if you can't find them when you need them or forget about them. Storage can be so pretty, embrace it. I use red, transparent bins in my bookcase for fabric scraps, patterns, and yarn storage. In my closet, I keep fabric rolls, smaller yardages in a sweater holder, tools and hard cases on a shelving unit and unfinished projects hanging up. Interfacing, muslin and canvas yardages go up above because they are used the least. Pillow stuffing is banished to the attic because it takes up so much darn room.
4) Lighting. Please do yourself a favor and choose great lighting for your sewing room. I am lucky to have big western-facing windows but in the evening I use my track lighting system that I bought for less than $100 at a home improvement store. It is good looking and task oriented. I also have an Ott light on my sewing table for great task lighting. Great lighting will help you see what you are doing and love your finished projects even more.
These are the main areas to focus on when setting up or redecorating your sewing area. The rest, paint, wall art, decorations and knick-knacks, is up to you. Don't ask a lot of opinions because, I fear, you will end up with a sewing rooms that everyone else likes but you. This is your creative rooms, be bold, and go with your gut. How can you go wrong, just look at your awesome projects. Your sewing room will be a reflection of those projects times 100!
P.s. Just so you know I was so nervous filming this video. I want to reiterate that I smile a ridiculous amount more than as portrayed in this film. If you ain't buying it, I would love to have you over for sweet tea and witticism so I can at least impress you with my hosting abilities. I am not bad.
My wall color is from Valspar and is based on the color found at Mt Vernon in Mr. Washington's step-daughter's room.
Nancy dress found here
Yarn Swift found here
Chalkboard paint walkthrough here
Heather Bailey Pincushion Pattern here
Appliqués are not only popular in children's clothing but also adults. You can customize a store bought present, make something extra for a new baby or make that plain t- shirt trendy instead of blah. You can purchase readymade appliqués or you can make your own.
My favorite method of making appliqués is using printable coloring sheets. There are many pros to using this medium:
1) They are a great size. Always printed on 8/5 x 11 in paper, any character you decide on will fit on a baby tee up to an adult or anything in between.
2) Coloring sheets are outlined in a thick line making cutting a breeze.
3) The shapes are usually simple so piecing is easy and so will be the stitching
4) Most printable coloring sheets are free; just don't use them for commercial purposes. Personal use only
There are tons of great coloring sheets to be found online. A Google search for "Free Coloring pages" will yield a virtual unlimited supply. If you have an idea of the type of shape you are looking for, that helps, but if you need inspiration I don't recommend looking through them all. Try your favorite blogs for eye candy or Etsy. Some currently popular shapes are florals, owls and butterflies.
Let's get to the How To shall we? To begin, select your item to be appliquéd. You can use a wool blanket for your living room that needs a pop of color, a hand-me down jumper with an out-of-date appliqué that needs to be covered up (check out the pictures below) or library tote (Seriously anything). Plan where you want your appliqué; you can use a water-soluble marker to plot your spot.
Now, decide what shape you want to add to your item. Remember anything goes. You can change it anytime so go bold. Search for the shape and print out the coloring sheet that most fits your plan. It doesn't need to be perfect. Focus at the outline, even if there are many sections that make up the shape, you really only need the outline unless you want to step it up to piecing. But let's stick to the basics today. Print it and cut out your shape on the outline and place on your plotted area to make sure it will fit. If you are printing words, print them backwards.
Now pick out your appliqué material. Quilting cotton works best but you can also go with lighter weight upholstery. Knits are tricky since they stretch but if your heart is set on it: go for it.
Iron on Heat N Bond to the WRONGSIDE of your appliqué material. Let cool and then trace your shape onto the paper side of the Heat N Bond. Cut out your traced shape. This is now your appliqué! Iron it onto your piece and then stitch in place with either a topstitch or satin stitch. Sit back and admire your work. It's it pretty and you made it!
Post your Coloring Sheet Appliqué pictures on our Facebook page, I can't wait to see them and borrow your ideas.