Kristl Pelz: July 2011 Archives
Join me in a little mind over matter excerise I'm conducting today. You see, it's really hot just about everywhere these days, and I have been wishing for cooler temperatures for a few weeks now. Maybe if I start thinking about my fall wardrobe, I'll feel just a little cooler. Knowing me, if I make something new, I want to wear it immediately. This leads me to our title, Wear It Now, Wear It Later. I've created the Hot Patterns free download pattern Slinky/Slouchy Vest into something that I think will transcend three seasons.
First of all, let's talk about the free pattern download concept. It's a pattern and it doesn't cost any money to buy, but it will cost you some time. This is the first downloaded pattern that I have ever done despite all the cute free downloads I've been tempted with from Hot Patterns. I am pleased to say that not only would I make this vest again; I would do another downloaded pattern again. Here are a couple of tips to make pattern downloads a little less daunting.
- Work on the floor. You'll have all the room you need to spread out all the pieces of 8 1/2 x 11 pieces of paper that make up the free pattern and tape them togather.
- Read the fine print. Hot Patterns not only numbers the pattern pieces, but also tells you what row and column the page order is in at the bottom of each page.
- Have plenty of tape and plenty of time. Don't rush your piecing, and use as much tape as you need to keep all the pages together.
- Draw off your size on to interfacing. Don't cut your pieces out from the paper pattern you just pieced together. Draw off your size on to lightweight, inexpensive interfacing. You may need to draw off a different size after you make the first muslin.
- Read the directions before you start. This is usually my last resort. I like pictures better, but the pattern instructions have some great information that will help you sail through easily if you just read a little first. I was glad I did.
- Make a muslin. In other words, test the pattern out in a fabric similar to the one you want to make your final garment from. You may have to make fitting adjustments, or you may have to go up or down a size. Once it fits the way you want it to, make the real thing from the fabulous fabric you chose.
Let's talk about the Slinky, Slouchy Vest. I absolutely love the way Hot Patterns applied the casing for the waist. I won't try to describe it, but it's simple and clean. Download the pattern to see what I mean. I made mine from non-slinky gauze that has a little lurex thread running through it (black has sold out). So it slouches more than it slinks, which I prefer. I was afraid it would be puffy looking, but it behaved well when I tried it on. The tie closure is two pieces of knotted satin cord. I also took the raw edge finish route instead of hemming everything. There are directions in the download for raw edge finishes and French seams. Depending on what you make the vest out of, it can be a great layering piece, or the focal point of your outfit.
Take a look at our hot weather and cool weather options for the same gauze vest. If you've made this one yourself, post a picture on Facebook so we can see different versions of this great free pattern download. Happy sewing and stay cool!
I have created a simple duvet project as the first installment of our Make-over Your Dorm Room Series. I made it on a Sunday morning, and when I was finished, I wondered why I didn't have a wardrobe of duvets for my own bedroom. Simple sewing skills are necessary. You need to be able to sew a straight seam, and manipulate a lot of fabric while you are sewing. It helps to lay it all over a long table or even set up your ironing board next to your sewing table to handle the extra fabric lying around while you sew. You will also be ironing and matching patterns if you use a patterned fabric. Don't worry. I have some tips for that.
First of all we used the beautiful Wrenly Collection by Valori Wells for Free Spirit Fabrics for this group of projects. This is the Wrenly Home Decor Twill Gypsy Multi EK-823. You will need fabric for the front of the duvet and 108'' quilt backing fabric for the back, coordinating ribbon, thread, straight pins, scissors, a yard stick, a sewing machine and a serger (optional). Let's get started!
Here is how I figure the yardage for the duvet. Measure the comforter that you will fill the duvet with. Mine is 86'' long x 82'' wide. My fabric is 54'' wide, but I will cut off the selvedges and take a 5/8'' seam allowance, so I make the middle panel 52'' wide for measuring purposes. I will split another length of the fabric for the sides. I will also be matching a 12'' repeating pattern, so I need another 24'' added to my length. Lastly, I will fold back a 3'' hem around the opening of the duvet. Here's the calculation:
86'' + 86'' + 24'' + 3'' = 199 '' total
199'' divided by 36'' = 5 1/2 yards for the duvet
Whew! I swear the math is over. I use the floor to measure the fabric, cut it to length and split the remaining half for the sides. You see that the sides are longer than the middle. That's for lining up the repeats to match across the duvet.
This is showing you that I cut down the sides to the correct width. My duvet is 82'' across and my center piece is 52'' wide. I cut two 16.5'' wide pieces for a total of 33 inches to make the width of the duvet and accommodate for 5/8'' seam allowances.
Here is an example of the pattern matching. I found the first motif on the center piece and the first bird on the side piece and matched them together. Everything else fell into place and matched beautifully. Pin both sides every three or four inches just to keep it all together while you are moving the duvet top from the cutting area to the sewing machine.
Sew the sides to the center piece. There will be a lot of fabric to manipulate. Take your time and keep the fabric of the side you are sewing loosely piled in your lap so it is not straining through the machine. Keep one hand on the fabric at the back of the presser foot for guidance only. Do not pull from the back, just guide. Press the seams to the center of the duvet when you have finished stitching.
You need to finish the seams in some way on the inside. I love my serger! It is perfect for enclosing the seams and trimming off the excess fabric. No problem if you do not have a serger, just zigzag the seams on the edge to enclose the raw edges.
I used 108'' wide quilt backing for the back of the duvet. You will only need one length of the duvet for your yardage measurement since the quilt backing will be wider than the width of your duvet. Also, you will not have to piece it. That's 2 1/2 yards for my project. Cut the backing down to size and place it on the duvet top with right sides together. Pin every three or four inches on three sides leaving the bottom of the duvet open. Stitch around the three sides and then finish the seams with the serger or a zigzag stitch.
Press in a 1/2'' hem at the open end (bottom) of the duvet and then....
then fold and press in a 3'' hem. We'll go back to the floor for the next step.
Lay the duvet on the floor to place the ties on the open end. Cut six pairs of ties to keep the duvet closed (you could also make button holes and buttons). I used some polyester grosgrain ribbon that will be washable. Find the middle of the duvet and measure in even increments to place your ties. I actually fooled with mine a bit after the measuring to get them where my eye thought they should be. Pin them in place front and back.
I allowed about an inch above the fold of the hem for the ribbon to tuck into the hem as I stitched everything in place.
Remember, these will tie together,so line up the ribbons on the top of the duvet and then place the other ribbon directly beneath on the back of the duvet and pin that ribbon the the backing of the duvet. Take them to the sewing machine and stitch it all in place at once.
Congratulations! You have a brand new duvet for only the cost of the fabric and your time! And, more than likely, it's exactly what you wanted instead of settling for whatever the stores have to offer. I have a twin bed with a duvet made just like this one, but I used a pair of damask sheets I found on sale. If you use that trick, you can skip half of this tutorial and go right to sewing the back to the front, hemming and adding the ties. That's almost instant gratification!