Patterns: July 2010 Archives
I heart new pattern day. Today is the debut of my Yoga Mat Tote designed just for Fabric.com customers. This pattern is made to coordinate with the Yoga Water Bottle Cozy in the stitch pattern and in fiber. Now you can look pulled together for your yoga class from your head past your toes. The lace at the top off the bag allows for more elasticity where you need it to quickly get your mat in and out of the tote. It also increases breathability. The cotton/acrylic yarn ensures fast drying to decrease instances of mildew or unfriendly odors. The acrylic mixed with the yarn helps the yarn bounce back better than 100% cotton. Lion Brand Cotton Ease comes in a bunch of great colors, bright and neutral.
The Yoga Mat Tote is a quick knit with just enough to keep you interested to the end. There is minimal finishing and some seaming. The strap is made from quilting cotton and is sewn on. The tote is knit in the round from the top down. This project is great for TV knitting, Knitting on the go (it is not very large) and knitting in public. You will need 2 skeins of Lion Brand Cotton Ease and ¼ yd of quilting cotton, as well as size 8 circular needles in a length longer than 24 in (I used magic loop), a tapestry needle and coordinating thread. The finished bag measures 24 in. high by 4 in. diameter.
You can check out more info and pictures on my Ravelry project page.
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
I have been tempted to knits since I first received Wendy Mullins Sew U Knits. I created one very oversized t-shirt and stalled. When I decided to try my hand at Nancy's Dress, I was a little intimidated because many people say knits are tricky and my first attempt was not really what I would call a success. Some knits and some knit patterns are tricky. The Nancy Dress is not one of them. This pattern was quick and easy. It took me about 15-20 to assemble the pattern and then another 20-30 min to cut it out. But the sewing part was so easy. A little over an hour and I had a dress. A super cute, versatile dress. So I made another. It was addictive.
My first dress, I went by the pattern for every detail. My second dress I cut a size smaller on top for more insurance against the "creep down" notable in strapless dresses. I also cut the back piece of the top 2 in. shorter so it would sit below my shoulder blades and I could wear the front a little higher. This was not a problem with the first dress since the top was bigger. I cut the skirt the original size so there would be some gathering to make the skirt look a little fuller.
You can also wear this dress as a skirt by folding the top in half and wearing it on your hips. This versatility makes it perfect vacation wear. It is wrinkle free and can be worn in more than one way. I selected a small floral print jersey that could be worn with a variety of other pieces. The pattern was not too bright or bold to prevent coordination. So far I have paired it with a denim jacket, multiple colors of tank tops, a light sweater, a linen shawl with a chunky necklace and strappy sandals (It dresses up really well. It would make a great little black dress) and a ruffle t-shirt with the dress as a skirt. You can also pin a long length of ribbon to the center of the top and tie it behind your neck for straps. I wear one of my dresses once a week. It is so great as a mom to have a piece in my wardrobe that doesn't need to be ironed and I can slip on and feel great. The length is great to for modesty but short enough for a good summer breeze. I really love this dress: making it and wearing it. I would encourage everyone to make one.
Check out our recommendations for fabric here
With the first day of school fast approaching, holiday projects being planned, and warm weather ever so slowly fading into cool, it is time to start knitting for you. You have dedicated your time to summer projects, work deadlines and family fun but how much time have you set aside for some "me time". If you are like me, check the none-to-very little box please. It is understood that the time you can set aside for you may be very little but as long as you fill it with a relaxing activity (like knitting!) you can make the most of the tiniest of breaks.
Picking a project for you is very easy; simply pick something you love and can't wait to get started. Pick something small so it will be a fast knit and pick something that will enhance future "me times". For me, that was easy, Coco Knits Ballet Slipper. If fit all of the above. It was for me! I simply could not wait to cast on and it was fast (approx 4 hours of knitting time +/-). As I write I am wearing these slippers so I can honestly attest to them enhancing my future "me times". They are cute, sassy and comfy. I can also say with a smiling face that I enjoyed knitting these slippers. First of all, they were fast. #2, They were easy. #3, It was not a bunch of Stockinette stitch (which is very easy and equal to a dose of Sleepy Time tea) but small little challenges, like mini games. There were enough small challenges to keep me interested but not too much to bore me. It has been some time since I have used Short Rows so I needed a refresher and I have never knit pleats. There was a little taste of everything and not too much. It kept me interested enough to happily finish the second slipper. No second sock syndrome here. I loved learning something new, as well. The pleats were fantastic and really added to the sassiness of the slipper. I was so pleased to have finished this project but also to finish with the sensation that my feelings of excitement and anticipation leading up to the project were never depleted and I did not feel let down. I am looking forward to knitting more Coco Knits patterns. These ballet slippers have now heard top ranking on my Christmas list projects.
Knitting for you can benefit you in so many ways. For myself, I was able to find a project to look forward to. A project that I enjoyed knitting so much that very little wine was required. A project that left me feeling a little disappointed when completed, much like a really good book you don't want to end. After finishing my knitting for me project, I felt energized and rewarded. I am ready to get back to my daily grind and all I needed was 4 hours.
Check out my project notes on Ravelry
One of my favorite reasons to sew is for kids. Now that I have one our birthday party invitations have increased exponentially. We trek off to a kid party every month. I try to make something different for each kid so I don't get bored and each one has something special just for them. Sewing for kids is enjoyable because the restraints of matching are exchanged in favor of favorite colors; attention to detail is traded for creative stitches and sneaking in glitter where ever possible is always encouraged. I love sewing for kids and challenge myself to push the boundaries of picking prints, adding details (like secret pockets for treasures) and including something extra just for that child.
Some great kid patterns and tutorials are:
- My Puppet show pattern, birthday crown and super hero appliqué
- Twirly Skirt Pattern
- Birthday Bunting
- Dragon Tail
- Stuffed Dinosaur
- Kid Tent: I made this last week for a 3 yr old and last month for 2yr old twins and have had reports back from the parents that the tents were big hits. The 3 yr old spent all night in his tent and I even had requests for more tents from other party goers (Fabric.com keeps me way too busy to go into the tent making business, though). The pattern calls for making these out of twin sheet but you can sub in our solid color quilting fabrics or extra wide backing (a twin flat sheet is 66 in. by 75 in. or 4 yds of 45 in. wide fabric cut in half and sew together). You can pick out 1 yd or 2 of a coordinating print for the flap decoration and flags. I added an embroidered initial on one flag and another had the initial with Heat n Bond.
It's that time again! We have just posted our newest exclusive, free Hot Patterns pattern download, the much-anticipated Sunny Side Up Sunhat. Holly teased this one on Facebook a couple weeks back, and many people were super excited to get their hands on it.
If you haven't had the chance to work with downloaded patterns, this is the perfect one to start with (and if you have, this one will make you pleased as punch). The Sunny Side Up Sunhat is quite possibly the easiest of the downloads to assemble (although the Bossa Nova Skirt comes in a pretty close second). When it came to creating the pattern, I was actually a little hesitant for a couple reasons - here's where my confession starts:
- I've never made a hat. They kind of scare me.
- I don't really wear hats.
- I am really, really, REALLY horrible at sewing flat pieces around curves, especially when they keep going around in a circular pattern. I have several wonky looking purses that attest to this.
Since I was already taking this whole hat-making business as a challenge, I also thought I would channel my "inner Holly" and go with some fun, colorful fabric combinations. (Many of you don't know this, but Holly has absolutely zero fear of color. Well, except brown. Seriously, though, her office is bright pink and black. No kidding.)
For my first hat, I picked three prints from Heather Bailey's Nicey Jane collection.
A few notes on the actually sewing and whatnot:
- Don't let the fact that it's a hat give you a moment's pause - it's really an easy pattern to make.
- The brim is pretty wide. If it's too floppy for you, you can play with shortening it or using interfacing.
- The pattern is one-size-fits-all, but runs along the lines of an average sized head. If you need to it be a little more accommodating, you may need to play with sizing.
While I may not be a complete hat convert, I have to say I have grown fond of my new millinery masterpieces. I think I may keep them in my office to use as "thinking caps." You never know when you might need a little bit of help getting the creative juices flowing.
Whether Back to School means getting the kids stocked up and ready to go or preparing for a slower pace for yourself, Back to School sewing is an important event.
If you are on the 'Stock up the Kids' side of the fence, start with measuring your youngsters. They have grown since the end of the school year. The first day of school outfit is make-or-break, as everyone knows, so pick a pattern that will wow! For Girls, I love the Bananafana Gumdrop or Mod Girls Julia. Both call for several patterns that are bright and fun, try Arianna or Pretty Bird by Michael Miller. For Boys, Oliver + S Sandbox outfit is fun with lots of personality. The Kwik Sew Hoody pattern is a simple project perfect for the first day of school once you add a Sublime Stitches Pirate.
For kiddos heading off to their very first day of school, SewBaby's Backpack pattern is perfect for art projects, crayons and notes home. Pair this pattern with some of the bright, fun prints in the Retro & Mod section.
If you are gearing up to slow down once the school bell rings, you had better start your project list, because you are going to need a new bag, jacket, bed spread and more! Now you have the time to spare, why not spend it on yourself; you need a break! Check out this to die for purse pattern from Indygo Junction. The button placement and buckle are so different but also classic. You will be the envy of ladies everywhere. The Victory bag is begging for woolen fabric with complimentary retro buttons. I am going for a plaid version with buttons!
To go with your hot new bag, you need a hot new jacket. Perfect for early morning coffee runs, soccer games in the park and waiting for the bus, the Midtown Trench features bracelet length sleeves, a wide portrait collar, back pleating for swing and 2 lengths. I am dying to create one in Waverly Geometric or Amy Butler's Love.
Finish off your project list with some Gumdrop pillows to seat extra guesst for coffee, book club or kids afterschool on rainy days. These pillows are also great for piling on for family movie night or just diving into followed by plenty of kiddy giggles. Choose a fabric that is washable and blends in with your décor. Or make some for the kids play room and let each kid pick their favorite print.
Whether you are sewing for you or for others, Back to School is different for everyone. Pick and choose which projects work for you and you are sure to find plenty to fill your time and dress your family.
Recently featured in the new August/September issue of Sew News Magazine, Colette patterns are a breath of fresh air in patterns. Upon receiving them here at Fabric.com, I bought 4! They are exquisite. The designs, by Sarai Mitnick, are classic and modern all at the same time. The edgy styling and vintage inspired looks immediately caught my attention.
The Macaron Dress is the first Colette Pattern I have made so far (like I said, I got a few). The instructions are simple and easy to follow. Instead of having a giant sheet folded 8 times to fit in a small pattern package, these instructions are in the form of a book. How easy! You always know what order to put pieces together. There is even a blank section in the back so that you can make notes about your project. However, there is an assumption that a certain skill level is required. For example: the instructions do not explain or diagram how to put in an invisible zipper; it simply instructs you to put the zipper in.
Preferring sleeveless, I opted out of the short sleeves for this particular dress. When my bodice was half complete, I simply used tailor's chalk to draw the sleeve that I wanted, and then made bias strips to bind the sleeve openenings. For the skirt pleating, I left the pleats open instead of stitching them closed right below the waistline. Another option I considered is to gather the skirt, instead of pleating.
As far as measurements are concerned, the fit of this garment is great! As standard practice, I rounded up for my size because of in-between measurements. However during the construction of the dress I realized that I actually could have rounded-down for this pattern. I used 3 fabrics from Timeless Treasures "Botanica" quilting cotton collection. The pieces of this Macaron Dress Pattern allow for creativity of mixing and matching fabrics, and a quilting collection is great because you can find coordinating prints and colors. Here are some quilting cotton collections I suggest for this dress: Michael Miller's Emmaline and Benartex Brooklyn Heights.
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