Patterns: July 2012 Archives
Lately, I've had a hankering to make a few, so I thought I'd test out Kwik Sew 3246. It has two different sizes of bears, and I chose the smaller of the two, which still comes in at an impressive 20 inches, so it's not exactly tiny.
I chose to make one version in Doux Cotton Velvet, and one in an upholstery-grade Antique Cotton Velvet, which is meant to withstand a lot of rubbing -- perfect for a cuddly stuffed bear!
I have made plush toys before, with varied results. Assembling them always takes more time than I expect it to. These took about three hours each, give or take. That being said, I had greater success with this pattern than with other plush patterns I have tried, and some of that slowness is admittedly born of the fact that I usually stitch apparel, so craft sewing is not my most practiced arena.
I will tell you this, the inside of a teddy bear is not pretty. Behold:
Once you flip it, things get a little better, but it's still a little dicey in the cuteness category. Those threads you see dangling are are attached to the eyes on the inside, and they're used to mold the face a bit once the bear's stuffed.
Here's the closeup on the Doux Cotton Velvet bear. I didn't end up doing a whole lot of shaping on the face, because I preferred it a little more au naturel.
Here is the face of the Antique Cotton Velvet bear. You can tell from these close up shots that my chin piecing technique needs some work. These guys both look a little dejected.
Here are my two bears, all assembled and ready for huggin'!
Now that I have two under my belt, my mind is whirring with ideas. I want to make a feline version with pointy ears and a long tail. Maybe for Halloween. These would also be fantastic baby gifts, especially if you embroidered the baby's name and birth date on the feet.
Now my biggest question is: What should I name these guys?
It is hard not to be attracted to Valori Wells Jewels for the Home Pillows with such an eye catching photo on the pattern envelope. I had to make someof Valori's pillows for myself because I am a pillow fanatic. I need more for my bedroom, living room, nursery and my 3 yr old's room. Any of these pillows would be perfect because there are 11 to choose from and I love mixing prints. With so many pillows to start off with you might think it would be hard for me to decide which would be the inaugural pillow. However, the bird appliqué pillow drew my eye and I had a plan. I wanted to make this pillow to go with some others I had planned from the Sew4Home Nursery collection. I thought a selection of animal pillows would work great for my new nursery but this pillow could easily work in an office, older kid's room or guest room. Since I would be parking my bird appliqué pillow in the nursery I used the same print as the glider I recovered and chose a complimentary knit for the bird.
I chose a cotton knit for the appliqué for several reasons:
1) This cotton knit is really soft and the different texture of the knit on woven would be interesting for the baby
2) I loved the colors together
3) I don't see appliqués in knit very often and when I do they look amazing.
4) I have a TON of knit scraps that need to find a purpose
Using a knit for your appliqué is not that different from using a woven. Make sure you have the right side facing out and don't stretch. I used Heat n Bond Lite. Trace the appliqué design on the paper side of the fusible and then iron on the fusible to the WS of the knit fabric. Then cut out the bird and before removing the paper, decide the perfect placement. Make sure you place your bird at least the a seam allowance's distance away from each edge then iron in place. Use a satin or zig zag stitch around the edge of the bird to secure it in place and for added detail try a contrasting but complimentary thread color (I used chartreuse).
The next modification I made was to add a zipper closure instead of the envelope back. I did this simply because the pillow would be used in a kid's room and I didn't want to redress my pillows all the time. To simply add a zipper, lay your zipper along the bottom edge of your pillow fabric centered and mark the zipper stops on your fabric. Then pin your front and back pillow pieces together, RS facing, along this bottom edge. Stitch using a regular stitch until you reach the first mark then switch to a basting stitch until you reach the second mark then switch back to your regular stitch. Make sure you backstitch at the beginning and end and right before you switch to basting and again when you switch back to regular stitches.
Press your seam open and line up your zipper with your marks and pin in place. Using a zipper foot stitch your zipper in place. Flip your pillow to the RS and open the basting stitches using your seam ripper. Stitch up the remaining sides of your pillow (RS facing) making sure you leave your zipper open for turning. Clip your corners and turn your pillow RS out. Press if needed.
I encourage you to try all Valori's pillow from this pattern. They just look like fun. She gives instructions on how to customize each to different pillow sizes. I can't wait to try some on floor pillows as well as Euro pillows for my bed and the guest room!
Find Valori's printed fabrics here
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To put this dress pattern together, I turned to my stash of patterns and pulled out three, thinking I could combine various elements of them to get the look I was after. The sports bra in the Kwik Sew on the left is one I have made many, many times, and I know (and like) exactly how it fits through the bust. The Jalie pattern in the middle (now out of print, I believe) has a raglan cap sleeve and fitted bodice that I knew would be a great base for my dress pattern. And the elderly Butterick pattern on the right has a simple, basic skirt that I felt would easily lend itself to adaptation. If you have a good pattern library, you probably have patterns that have similar characteristics.
Time to start combining pattern elements, Dr. Frankenstein style! First, I traced out the sleeve and the upper bodice sections from my Jalie pattern. I knew I would be altering and shortening this section along the bottom edge, so I didn't bother to finish tracing that area. You can see how I initially traced the front neckline exactly, but then redrew it with a subtle V.
Once I had the bodice pieces traced, I pulled out my tried and true sports bra pattern to refine what I already had on paper. Knowing that this particular pattern perfectly hits right below my bustline, I set it on top of the other pattern to determine the bottom edge of my bodice. I also used it to create my dart, though I did not do a direct tracing of the dart here. I just used it as a guideline for placement and depth.
I did the same thing with the back of my Frankenpattern, using the sports bra to guide the length of my back bodice.
(Also, aren't you DEEPLY impressed by my fancy pattern paper? I realized recently that I have a lot of notebooks sitting around unused; reduce, reuse, recycle!)
Tracing the skirt was a fairly simple affair. I just had to match the width to the bodice where the two would join, and then taper that width (which was slightly narrower than my original skirt pattern) out to the width of the lower skirt. I also shortened the skirt a bit.
Once I had my skirt pieces traced, I drew in the seam line that would create the pieced effect I liked so much on the costumes that had inspired this project, marked them with a double dash (so I will know where to join the individual pieces) and cut the side skirt from the center piece.
Now, if you just cut those pieces out as-is and assemble your skirt, you're going to find that things have shrunk a bit! The also probably won't fit together quite right. Don't forget: You need some seam allowance! Since this is a very simple piece, I just cut a little extra at those lines when I cut my fabric -- 1/4 inch, since that's the seam allowance I was working with for other pieces as well.
Now, to create the trim at the raglan sleeve seams and the binding for the neck and sleeve edges, I used a scrap of black lycra to cut strips about 1 3/4 inches wide. For my raglan seams, I first stitched my strips along the edges of each piece in roughly the middle of the strip width.
Then, I folded the trim so that all raw edges met, and basted along the edge. You can see below that my initial run of stitching was not quite in the center of the trim. I just trimmed that extra fabric off after basting it into place, and made sure to use the same distance from the edge when sewing my subsequent pieces.
Here is what one of the sleeves looks like with both edges of trim in place, ready to join with the body of the garment.
Here is what the garment looks like with the sleeves sewn to the back of the bodice. Because I used a contrasting trim (the movie and booth attendant costumes had colors that closely matched the rest of their dresses), it creates a neat design line.
I sewed together the rest of the garment, which is all pretty basic so I won't bore you with each step. I bound the neck and sleeve openings with the same lycra I used for the raglan sleeve trim. Here's a closeup of one side of the completed bodice:
And here's the dress, all assembled. The shot on the dressform shows the color a little bit better, but the one on the mannequin is a better example of how the garment fits.
I love this dress -- even more than I expected to! I used a medium-weight rib knit for the body, which gives it a little shape that a drapier knit wouldn't have. I love that I can wear this in the warmer months as-is, but I can easily see it layered over a turtleneck and tights with a pair of chic boots for autumn and winter wear. And I really love that it looks ultra modern and even a little futuristic, but doesn't read as costumey at all. This would also be a great one to make running dresses out of, now that I have a pattern at the ready!
Do you ever combine multiple patterns for a custom design? It's something I love doing, though it does often involve some tweaking along the way. It's so rewarding, though, when the resulting look is truly one-of-a kind.
This was an interesting project for me. While I loved the design of the Medina Mini Kaftan the moment I saw it, I didn't feel like it would be great on me. I'm short and kinda busty, so often, garments that aren't fully cinched in at the waist can make me look a bit fluffy. But, I wanted to try it out just the same!
For my first version, I selected a cotton lawn from the new Liberty of London Tana Cotton Lawn Hello Kitty print. I looooove Hello Kitty, and these sophisticated prints are just subtle enough that I can wear them even in the most grown-up situations. And it's nothing short of dreamy to work with. Love it!
I opted to make the trim out of the same fabric as the rest of the tunic, simply because I couldn't decide on a contrast color.
The pattern itself is super simple to put together. The trim for the sleeves seems tricky initially because it's cut with an angle at the bottom, but once you're stitching it into the armsceye it makes total sense and fits perfectly. And the elastic that encases about 2/3 of your waist is perfect -- it adds shape and and creates a flattering silhouette, even for those of us with ample bustlines! Hooray!
I know this is pictured on the pattern art as a beachy cover up, but I am so delighted with this kaftan that I've been wearing it in heavy rotation with leggings as a dress. The lawn is perfection in the Atlanta heat, keeping me cool and comfortable even in high humidity.
But of course, I always have to make a second version of any pattern so I can really play!
For my second version, I used a stretch ruffle knit. I still used cotton lawn for the sleeve edging and the ties, and I used the same exact yoke piece from the pattern to cut a facing for the neckline, also out of lawn. I also stitched the V opening of the neck closed at the very top to create a keyhole effect.
The only tricky thing in working with the ruffled fabric choice was making sure I kept the ruffling free along the line where the elastic casing needed to sit. With a little planning and care, though, it was no huge challenge. And I didn't even bother to hem it -- I just let the ruffles do the work for me.
I LOOOOOOOOVE the way this version turned out. It's my new favorite dress! It's very flattering, hugging curves without being too tight. Again, LOVE.
I have decided to take the next step in sewing, a new challenge to push myself and a new set of skills as well as to see what all the buzz is about. Yes, that's right I am making my first quilt. Actually I am tackling 2 quilts at once but I am using the same pattern for both though one quilt is a twin size and the other is crib size (however, I will be using it as a floor/play quilt*) I am both super excited and scared. I think I have chosen a relatively simple quilt pattern for my first foray into a great art, Denyse Schmidt's Hills n' Hollers, but I am still shakin' in my boots a bit. If I mess up, that is a lot of fabric at stake or if it doesn't look good, it is on a big scale. But I am not going to think about all that because the pattern I choose is a Denyse Schmidt and I am also calling upon her book: Denyse Schmidt Quilts. The quilt is appliquéd which makes me feel much safer than making quilt blocks. And having read the pattern instructions I have a few tricks up my sleeve. Read on to check them out.
Ok so here is my game plan. I am not looking forward to hand appliquéing 25 and 60 hills for the baby and twin quilts respectively. So I googled a few other blogs to see what short cuts, if any, that they used and decided from there. Off the few blogs posts I read the only short cut I found was Blair Peter's on Wise Craft. Her quilt was GORGEOUS but she attached her hills with fusible web. She swears it turned out well and even looks great after washing. I believe her and want desperately to try it just to save time, but I have not have the best success with fusible web over the long turn without some sort of stitching to hold down the edges. So I have decided to choose her option #2 but modified. Side note: I giggled a bit at Denyse's description of the hills seams allowances as "generous 1/8''. Being new to quilting I don't really know if this is generous but coming from the land of 5/8- ½'' seam allowances this is hardly generous. End Side Note.
My modified option is to add 1/4 '' seam allowance to each hill pattern piece and then baste ¼'' away from the edge, press along the basting line and then topstitch each in place. I think it will look great; granted not as great as hand appliquéd but my goal is to finish this sometime this year and to keep myself focused. If I hand appliqué, neither goal will be met. To accomplish this, I first traced each pattern piece from the original (which Denyse instructs you to do so) then cut each out and then traced each piece again adding the ¼'' seam allowance and then cutting those pieces out. The larger pieces I then traced onto my fabric and cut those out according to the pattern instructions.
For my girls, I am FINALLY cutting into my favorite fabric collection (Erin Michael's Uptown by Moda). I am excited and scared about this as well but what better way to enjoy this collection than to see if everyday nestled around my little ones. Plus this is my only fat quarters collection which is perfect for making this quilt. This quilt is a great excuse to purchase a fat quarter bundle. The background of each quilt is muslin; I love the color and texture. For the backing I am using some fabric that I have already used for some window treatments in the girls' room and I want to tie it all in together. I cannot wait to see the finished projects!!
* See my post "What not to make for baby"
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I have been looking for a maternity swimsuit for a few months now without luck. Either the one I loved is out of stock or all available are all in black. So when I found this tutorial for a maternity tankini I was excited! I have been squeezing myself into my pre-pregnancy swimsuit since the weather turned warm and it is NOT working out. I needed something with room to grow and a sure fire way to make sure the swimsuit fits and that it will accommodate me as I grow is to make it myself. I have made 2 of these tankinis, one according to the tutorial as written and a second with modifications I thought would make it easier to make and to fit me better. You can choose which you prefer and make your own. It only takes a few hours and about 1/2 yd of swim knit and about ½ yd of lining (or you can self line like me and order 1 yd of swim knit). I only made the top from the tutorial opting to make my bottom from Kwik Sew Swimsuit I made last year only one size larger with the skirt. I liked the fit and the look plus I wasn't sure how well the bottom from the tutorial would work without elastic and since I needed one size bigger than my existing suit I didn't have one to trace as per the tutorial.
Back to the top: The first time I made it the measuring instructions were not clear but I waded through any way. I also could not tell where to start sew the tube to the skirt and where to stop for the peek-a-boo back so I just sewed the tube all the way around to the skirt without the peek-a-boo look. Also, I could not get the gathering to work when sewing through 2 layers of knit; my thread kept breaking. I also tried elastic thread and stretched elastic; neither gave me enough gathering to give me the look of the original. Plus once I tried on my top it was way too tight around the belly and a smidge too loose on the bandeau top. The instructions on gathering the sides were not clear enough for me and I could not get it to work out. I realized I needed to tweak the tutorial to get the fit and look I wanted and needed.
First, I put on a tank top that fit well. When I say well I mean it is form fitting and hugs my curves. I bought mine from Old Navy and they are not maternity just one size larger than my regular tank tops. The extra long length enables me to fit them over my belly while still leaving me covered if my pants slip down (which often happens with maternity pants). This tank allowed me to take accurate measurements because I had a seam that went up both sides so I used that to start and stop my measurements. First I measured from one seam to the other around my back at the smallest area (Measurement A). Next measure from one seam to the other around the front at the biggest part of your belly (B). Then, measure from your bra band down the middle of your belly to where you want your top to end (this is the length of your tankini skirt) (C). Next, measure around your bra band all the way around, not from seam to seam (D). Then measure from your bra band up over the biggest part of you breast to where you want the bandeau top to sit (mine was 7'') (E)
Now follow this formula to get your cut measurements:
A - 2'' + 1''= Cut width F
B - 2'' +1''= Cut Width G
C + 4'' = Cut length H (mine was 16'')
D - 5'' + 1'' = Cut width I (mine was 29''-I wanted this part tight since I have a bigger chest and want the support)
E + 3''= Cut length J (I cut mine at 10'' but in hindsight I should have cut it to 9'')
Cut one skirt front F by H, cut one skirt back G by H. Cut two bandeau tops (either one from knit and one from lining or both from knit) I by J.
With RS together, pin short sides of bandeau top together and stitch using zig zag to create circle. Repeat for lining. Fold bandeau in half and measure and mark opposite from seam. Sew basting stitch at this mark and also on the seam and pull thread to gather (gathers with be at center back and center front). Repeat for lining. With RS facing, pin lining and exterior together along top and stitch using zig zag. Turn RS out and pin bottom edge together, set aside.
Pin skirt front to skirt back along sides and sew using zig zag. With RS facing pin skirt to bandeau top with the bandeau seam at the back and stitch using zig zag. Stretch the bandeau to fit the skirt. Stitch in the ditch a basting stitch* on the RS from right below the bandeau top down the side seams of the skirt to the bottom edge and pull to gather as much as you need (it helps to try the top on to see how much gathering you want). Stitch over to secure. Hem bottom as needed.
*It helped me to stitch right next to the ditch on the opposite side of the seam allowance (i.e.: seam allowance was tucked to the right while stitching on the left, see above). The less fabric you have to baste through the easier it is to pull the thread to gather. You can stitch in the ditch to secure the gathers.
Check out our swimsuit knit fabrics here
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I had never known the tradition of wearing a Poppy Flower for Remembrance of War Veterans until I went to a Veterans' day memorial ceremony last year. It was very touching and so beautiful that I still have the simple crepe flower on my trench to this day. One a day where everyone is decked out in the Red, White and Blue, what better way to accessorize than with a crocheted remembrance poppy. Your poppy can symbolize anything that you love about the USA, a beloved soldier or veteran or as a thank you to our founding fathers (I count all those revolutionary soldiers among them) and mothers that worked tirelessly 236 years ago. I adapted a super sweet poppy earring pattern I found on Ravelry by Janet McMahon for my brooch. All you need is some worsted weight yarn in black and red and a size J/10 hook.
Follow the poppy pattern using 1 strand of black and 2 strands of red yarn and only make one poppy, unless you want to make another for a friend. Once finished find a small piece of felt approx. the same color as the red of your poppy and using a spool as your pattern trace a circle and cut it out (or grab these ready made felt circles). Next, take a pin back (you can recycle one from another broken pin or use a safety pin) line it up on your felt circle and mark cut lines for the pin and end to fit through.
Fold your circle in half and cut small slits at these marks. Fit your pin back into the slits and then line your felt circle on the back of your poppy and glue in place with fabric glue. Pin your felt circle down until the glue is dry. Wear your poppy with pride and as a great accent to your patriotic wardrobe. Rock it out at the bar-b-que or watching fireworks. You can also increase the yarn gauge and hook size to make coasters or as a hat pin.
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Summer is hitting full swing and you need a simple but chic book bag to keep up with you. My canvas embroidered book bag features a small gusset and one shoulder strap that makes it as easy to grab as it is to carry. The gussets allow for maximum carrying capacity while the clever one strap design means you can grab this bag with one hand and not have to worry about the one strap sliding off your shoulder while the other stays in place. The one strap also allows for you to easily reach in the bag while wearing for a quick snack attack, to return a book or snatch those car keys. The Simple Summer Book Bag can fit several books or you can use it for a trip to the pool, as a grocery tote or knitting bag (like we need another!). Here how to make your own:
1 yd of cotton canvas
Cut out two 18x18 in. squares and one 4x25 in. strap from canvas. Set strap and one square aside.
Apply embroidery pattern as instructed and embroider up your pattern in your favorite colors. I just adored my love birds. Press to regain shape of your square once embroidery is finished.
With RS facing, pin and stitch around 3 sides (bottom and 2 sides) using a ½ in. seam allowance. Pin corners so seams line up and draw a 2 in. line for stitching your gussets (see photo below).
Stitch over gusset line, back stitching at both ends. Double turn top of bag ½ in. and topstitch.
Fold strap in half lengthwise and press. Open and fold raw ends towards the center line and press. Fold in half again with raw ends inside and press a final time. Pin strap closed and topstitch open edge.
On the inside of the top hem, mark 2 &3 in. from the side seam on right front side. Flip bag over and repeat on the back. Line up strap between these 2 marks and pin in place. Stitch strap in place using 2 lines of stitching, 1/8 in. from top edge and ½ in. from top edge. Done!
Fill you book bag with your favorite books for a day at the park, bookstore or indulgent goodies at the farmer's market. Try to remember to bring a notebook so you can write down names and numbers of all your friends who will ask you to make a Simple Summer Book bag for them as well.
This week, I was feeling gung-ho for a jacket project. I decided to go with the jacket that comes with Vintage Vogue 8767. I chose this one because it's similar to a jacket owned by a friend that I have been coveting for quite a while. (Hers is a true vintage piece, given to her by an old friend of the family.)
Since we are in the midst of a ridiculously hot summer, I opted to make a short-sleeved striped stretch linen blend version first. My thinking is that even though we're in the steamy season, it will be fine for early morning on the way to work, and a welcome layer in office air conditioning. This fabric was ultra dreamy to work with. Crisp enough to make handling easy, with enough give to make working around curves a snap.
One of the things I love about vintage patterns is that they don't rely on interfacing much. This one is completely free of it, and it's unlined. That means all you have to cut is your fashion fabric, so it's a simple project to get underway.
There's a bit of handwork that goes into this one -- the buttonholes and the facing both require a needle and thread, but it's all pretty straightforward. There are actually two phases of hand stitching on the buttonhole -- you apply the facing for it to your outer shell and hand tack the facing to close it, then you slit the facing and hand stitch it to the back of the buttonhole you've already created. This makes for a nice, clean finish with all raw edges encased, so it's worth the extra effort.
The other technique that this pattern features, and which I have seen on other vintage patterns, is layering the pressed edge of one fabric on top of another and stitching it in place from the outside, rather than the usual "right sides together" approach. It takes some getting used to, but when joining curved edges like the front pieces of this jacket, it really does help to ensure a clean, perfect join.
I almost always work on (at least) two projects concurrently, and I really love cutting out two projects from one pattern at a time. Keeps things interesting, and saves time in the long run.
My second version of this jacket is for autumn and winter. It's a long-sleeved version cut out of plum stretch velvet. I am SO pleased at the richness of this fabric -- I remember a time when all stretch velvet looked a little cheesy, but this stuff is divine.
Here's a little tip I use when marking dark fabrics, especially knits: metallic Sharpies. It won't work on all fabrics (bleeding through can happen), so be sure to test with your fabric!
Of the two versions I made, the stretch velvet is by far my favorite. The drape of it is very flattering, and I can't wait until the weather cools down so I can wear it! (Though at the moment, it seems like the weather will never be cool again.)
Instead of blind-hemming the sleeves for this version, I made a quick cuff finish. I always find it cumbersome blind hemming on stretch velvet, so it seemed like a natural change to make.
Here's to time traveling in style!