Sewing: September 2010 Archives
Football season is here and the Sandra Lee in us wants to decorate to bring the fanatical spirit alive. We have all done the fleece throws and quilt blocks. But there are more ways to show your fervor in your living room or to spice up that (shudder) man cave.
Now at face value (and, ok, the name doesn't help our case any either) Amy Butler Gum Drop Pillows do not instill a whole lot of team spirit. They look luscious, beautiful and dreamy. In short the total opposite of Football. But should we couple our favorite team fabric with a great home dec pattern, we have instant fan power, a great place for extra fans to sit to watch the game or put up their feet. The Gum Drop pillows pack a serious punch. The pattern is so smartly simple that there are nofeminine details, no soft touches or pattern pieces to be tweaked to give it a masculine edge perfect for pigskin enthusiasts. Just a change of fabric can take this pattern to a different level. The medallion at the top seems to the best part for the fans at my house. Depending on your fabric choice, you can center your mascot at the very center of the medallion. My mom suggested that a team fabric can be stretched to accommodate 2 or more pillows by alternating team fabric with a team color fabric on each section of the pillow (4 sections of team fabric and 4 sections of a solid fabric). This pattern doesn't take much time or fabric. An 18 in. pillow (plenty big enough for feet or tushes) needs 2 yds and the 24 in. pillow 2 ¼ yds. You will need an insane amount of stuffing but if you are a recycler like me, old pillows and fabric scraps help a lot. I made the 18 in. in NFL Titans for my mom and have some Falcons set aside for my dad. They have a rivalry and I try to stay impartial but mom comes first. I found the pattern really easy and once the cutting was done, quick to put together. I took the pillow to the living room to stuff and hand sew so I could join in the action and put the pillow to good use once done. You can also check out our huge college selection here; don't over look the fleece!
I was so impressed with the finished product that I envision it in my own home though I never fancied myself a floor pillow gal. It will be great for kids to sit on for movie night, to put my feet on when I am working late on my laptop or just to curl around when reading. I hope to make 2 for the living room, as many as my little one wants in her room (once she is old enough to ask, that is) and maybe a few for my room and some for the guest room. You never know where you will need a good pillow (even dogs love it).
P.s. Just because it is a football post and it needs to be said: GO KU JAYHAWKS! And k-state- you know what I think of you.
Sweater Surgery by Stefanie Girard is one of the most fun books I have had the pleasure of reading in a long time. My library is full of resource books, books with great patterns, foundation books and go-to books but not many FUN books. It is kind of scary at first shrinking and cutting a sweater but there is a freedom that regular fabric cannot give. Mistakes turn into great details, seams are lovely and size is irrelevant.
Stefanie takes you through everything you need to know to turn your old sweaters into something new and special: toys, purses, different sweaters or any accessory your wardrobe is lacking. She talks you through picking a sweater for your project or vice versa, felting (washing machine and needle), tools and notions, deconstruction, reclaiming yarn, you name it. Stefanie shows the reader how to look at the details of a sweater and use them to their best advantage: the bottom ribbing of a sweater becomes the cuff of a mitten, the buttons of a cardigan are the central design on a bag, and the reverse of a fair isle becomes an endearing softie. The projects are a little bit crazy and a little bit bold but only because of Stefanie's sweater choices. The bones of each project are on trend and adaptable to many styles. There is something for everyone because you can make it your own with sweater choices. The fabric necklaces in the book may be too bold for you but if you choose neutral colors and amber colored beads, the whole look of the necklace changes. It becomes a remarkable accessory, a conversation starter upon close inspection but not a neon sign.
Stefanie also includes home accessories in Sweater Surgery that are amazing. Just imagine soft, luxurious sweater pillows to snuggle with on your couch. Such pillows are costly and popular at all the high end boutiques but with careful selection at a local thrift store you can have the same look for under $10 instead of hundreds. There are also some great holiday decorating ideas and projects in this book.
Each project is well explained and some include patterns. In the back, there is inspiration with summaries of how to achieve the look yourself or to use as a starting point for your own creation. I chose to use a mistakenly felted cable sweater and turned it into a sweater dress for my little lady come winter. I cut up the center of the sweater and cut off the arms. I left the seams on the right side because I really dug the look in some of Stefanie's inspiration photos. I stitched with a 2 in seam allowance on the sides and then cut the seam down to ¼ in. I then stitched up the center with a ½ in. seam, leaving 2 in. open at the top (to make it easier to get it over her head). I cut 8 in off the arms and sewed the arms back on with a ½ in. seam stretching to make the arms fit. I trimmed all the seams to ¼ in. The dress fits perfectly and looks even better (it will be great paired with some polka dot or striped leggings). I may use the left over arm for a softie or arm warmers for me when knitting in the cold. This book has got my blood pumping for more sweater projects and I am excited to reuse some of my old sweater instead of tossing them.
I call this blog entry "The Witching Hour" because that's about as long as it takes to put one of the new free Hot Patterns Good Witch/Bad Witch hats together. Any good costume trunk needs a witch hat. My trunk has... a number I'm not entirely comfortable disclosing. (Truth be told, I have no idea how many witch hats I have.)
This pattern gets an A+ in the fun department. I love, love, LOVE it! I couldn't stop myself from making hats! It's a fantastic project to burn through scraps of fancy fabrics that you couldn't bear to toss, and it's also a great way to experiment with new fabrics.
I won't re-write the instructions for making the hats - the free pattern has got you covered there. I will give you my tips and insights, and a photo series of the making of one of the smaller hats.
Here are my tips/thoughts:
- -For the large hat, which I made using a home dec velvet from my stash, I found that to make the crumples sit the way I liked them, it took a little bit of hand stitching to tack things into position.
- -The smaller hats do require a bit of patience when affixing the body of the hat to the brim. This is especially true when working with vinyl. (The trim on the pink sparkle vinyl hat is there to hide some atrocious stitching crimes.) It just comes with the territory when you're working with small items.
- -After making several of the smaller hats true to pattern, I found myself wanting some variation, so I cut the next several with straight bodies instead of crumple bodies. To do this, I just traced the outline of the lower edge of the original pattern and used that as the base of my triangular straight pieces.
- -I didn't want to purchase a bazillion headbands for all my hats, so instead, I stitched elastic onto circles of fabric to create a channel, and then glued the circles to the bases of the hats (in the photos below, you can see the underside of one of the smaller hats to clarify what I'm talking about). This way, the small hats are interchangeable on one headband.
- -The smaller hats would make darling table centerpieces for a Halloween party. They're also so quick to whip up that if you're having a smallish party, you could make them as party favors. You'd surely be known in your social circle for having the best party takeaway EVER.
Here's how my jacquard fascinator came to life:
Cutting the interfacing:
Ironing the cut interfacing to the back of the uncut fabric (This way, the interfacing becomes the pattern cutting line):
The brim pieces stitched together:
The point of the body, stitched and clipped (I like to leave that little tail to give the point a teeny bit of support - your mileage may vary):
Clipping the interior edge of the brim once it's turned (you'll find this makes stitching a good bit easier):
Stitching the body and brim together:
Stitching from another angle:
Hat with stitching completed, awaiting crumple:
Three of my hats, crumpled and awaiting instructions:
The finished batch of minis! There's seriously no telling how many more of these will come to life between now and Halloween. I'm a hat junkie!
There was not much engineering to be done - it was just a simple ribbon with a velvet back and 1/4" elastic sewn to it. And it was $15. Ok, here's where I admit I'm a little bit of a cheapskate. If I think I can make a thing (sometimes even if it will take me a long time and a great deal of thought) I will never pay for it, aside from supplies. I don't know why. I just can't help it. There was simply no way on earth I was going to pay $15 for something that required - at most - $4 of raw materials. Especially because it was an insanely easy thing to make. Plus, I didn't even know if they really were non-slip or not. (It turns out they really, really are.)
So, here's how to make my version:
1. Cut 2 lengths of ribbon 14" long.
2. Cut 2 lengths of Velvet Ric Rac Ribbon 14" long
3. Cut 1 piece of 1/4" elastic 7" long
(These measurements are for an adult noggin - you may want to adjust for kids or bigger/smaller heads.)
4. Stitch the 2 pieces of Velvet Ric Rac Ribbon side-by-side on one of the pieces of regular ribbon. This will be the interior of your headband. If you wish, you can use a basic ribbon like a grosgrain for your backing and save that extra fashion ribbon for another yummy project (or a second headband for a friend).
5. Place your 2 pieces of fashion ribbon right sides together with your elastic sandwiched in the middle. Stitch each end.
6. Flip your ribbon right side out and edge stitch the two pieces of fashion ribbon together along each long side.
No joke, it took me longer to type this than it does to make one. I have field tested these numerous times, and the one shown here (which I made last night) was immediately used for an hour long run, and never moved! Hooray!
This is a great project for kids or new stitchers - because it's so easy, quick and useful, it's a great way to build sewing confidence.
While the impetus for this project came from a runner's need to tame a flyaway mane, these headbands can be made with adorable flowers and butterflies for the perfect fairy hair accessory, or you can add a bit of glitz to glam it up for a special event or night on the town. I suspect many of my friends will be receiving these for holiday gifts this year!
When I was pregnant and registering, I listed MANY books but the one I wanted the very most was Kwik Sew's Sewing for Baby. Yes, the cover looks antiquated, the overall style screams earlier decades and the book looks like it was put together, illustrated and planned for the 1970/80's but you must look past that to find the best sewing book for babies. I mean no disrespect to all the other baby books out there. They are great and I love sewing from them but this is the Bible/ Farmer's Almanac of sewing for baby books out there. Let's face it baby fashion hasn't really changed that much from when this book was conceived. Onesies, jumpers, dresses, & footed PJs are still the staples of baby closets from coast to coast. The only difference is from year to year the details change. What this book is prepared to offer you are the patterns and simple directions to create your baby wardrobe with customizations that are popular now. Each section shows you some customizations and points out where in the instructions and on the pattern you can make your own. Couple these customizations with choosing your own fabric and you can couture your little bundle to the sky and it will cost you a fraction and because our Wee Ones are so wee, it will take a fraction of your day.
I was lucky enough to be gifted this book at one of my showers by a very lovely neighbor. I spent many happy nap times drawing pattern changes, rummaging through my notions and trim drawers, cutting several patterns at a time and sewing up a new outfit by the time my little bit woke up. I was so excited because my babe was gifted long legs and (because I use cloth diapers) an ample booty, so thanks to this book I was able to make most of her pants to fit her exactly. Pjs were another problem for the same reasons. Dresses were just plain fun simply because they are so lovely and much easier than I imagined. If you are expecting a child, grandchild or know someone who is, Kwik Sew's Sewing for baby is a wonderful gift. It is like teaching a man to fish.Made from quilting cotton from our Retro Mod sectionKnot dress made from modified pattern pieces from Kwik Sew's Sewing for Baby and quilting cotton, cotton sateen, & linen. Bodice is lined. Made from pants pattern and cotton jersey.
Of all the knitting bags I have made (it might be JUST short of 100), Amy Butler's Stash N Dash is one of the top 3. It is perfect for knitting on the go (which I do a lot), small projects (my current obsession), socks and gifts. I made the biggest, Toiletry Bag, and it is perfect. I have decided I can use it as a project bag- in which I only have to pull out my needle, zip it and knit. It holds my yarn, tangle free and keeps it from rolling all over. This is also perfect when just knitting on the couch (keeps my yarn from little fingers) or at the Doctor's office. The strap hangs from your wrist so you can wear your yarn and quickly stash it away. The toiletry bag is also great for notions, wristlet for quick shopping trips, or a treasure bag for a little lady or man to tote their polished rocks, shiny coins or red marbles around. Oh and the bag is more spacious inside than it looks on the outside.
The Stash N Dash is quick to cut and sew up. I used a combo of quilting cotton (strap and top of bag) and home dec (lining and bottom of the bag) so I just interfaced the quilting cotton. Some more bags are definitely coming up and I am thinking of adding the straps or a little loop to hook a strap onto the smaller bags. These bags are a great option for Christmas presents because you can create a set in any fabric to match the recipient: dupioni silk for my sister in law, funky cotton for my mom and solids for my mother-in-law. These are also great teacher gifts, neighbors and the friend who has everything.
One of my cardinal rules when it comes to costumes: never forget the importance of headgear. A perfectly lovely ensemble sometimes gets lost in the crowd if it doesn't have the right touch of zazz to top it off.
The top hat is a costume classic - but no one wants to wear the same old chapeau from the party store that everyone else has! So, here's a not-so-quick little tutorial on how to cover your standard felt top hat and make it something special. All you need is:
- a hat
- a yard of fabric (you'll have tons left over to make a handbag or pocket square)
- a needle (curved is best)
- about a yard of 1" grosgrain ribbon (again, leftovers)
- tacky glue.
And of course, whatever bits and bobs you want to embellish your finery and really make it extraordinary. One word of note up front: this project is heavy on the hand sewing!
BEFORE YOU START: Remove any trim, edging, etc. from your hat. You want just the hat, nothing else!
1. Trace the crown and brim of your hat onto paper. Since most brims have been steamed to curl up slightly on the edges, make sure you get as flat a tracing as possible so your pattern won't run small. Inside the oval you traced for the brim, center the crown and trace it again. Add about 1/2" seam allowance to the edges of your tracing to create your pattern.
2. Measure the height and circumference of the sides of your hat. On the bias, cut a piece of fabric just a little larger than these measurements (1/2" extra on all sides is a safe plan). This is the first element we'll fit to the hat, and it will probably require a few passes to get it just right.
3. Sew the side piece closed and wiggle it down onto your hat so the seam sits at the back of the hat. Adjust as needed. You want it to be fairly taut. If your hat tapers towards its top, you will need to angle your seam slightly.
4. Cut 2 brim pieces from your fabric. I generally try to cut on the bias, but you have some leeway if you need to rotate things a little.
5. Snip around the interior circle of your brim pieces. I normally snip a little more conservatively on the piece that will go on the underside of the hat.
6. Place your top brim piece onto the hat, and fold under the bottom edges of your side piece so they cover the raw edges of the brim fabric.
7. Hand stitch the side fabric to the brim. This is where a curved needle will really save your sanity.
8. Stitch the edge of the brim fabric down to the edge of the hat. if you can manage doing so with a sewing machine, it will go faster. If your hat is uncooperative, you may have to do it by hand. This is a basting stitch, so no need to worry about perfection!
9. Cut 1 crown piece from your fabric.
10. Lay the crown piece onto the crown of the hat. Tuck the raw edges into the fabric on the side of the hat, folding the side fabric under as neatly as you can. Hand sew the crown in place. I find this is one of those times that pinning is my friend. It allows me to get a nice tight fit arranged before I start stitching.
11. Stitch the lower brim fabric onto your hat at the outer edge the same way you did the upper brim.
12. Trim the brim fabric so it matches up to the edge of the hat's brim. This is normally the time I start thinking, "Hey! This actually looks like a hat!"
13. Cut a piece of bias approximately 2.5" wide, and long enough to go around the outer edge of your brim (plus 5-7 extra inches, for safety). This can be pieced if you don't have one strip long enough to do the whole job.
14. Sew the bias to the top of your brim, lining up one long raw edge with the brim's edge. You'll want to fold your bias at the beginning. This is another time the sewing machine will make your life easier. (Thanks Elias Howe!) This seam should be as neat as possible, so if you go the hand-sewing route, be sure to take your time and make your stitches as even as you can.
15. Fold the unstitched edge of the bias over the brim edge to the underside of the hat. Play with where you wish to place the fold until you like the look of things. This becomes more important if you are using a contrasting fabric for your binding. Hand stitch the bias binding to the underside of the brim as carefully as you can.
16. Flip the hat so the interior is exposed to you. Check to see how well the snipped edges of the brim's interior edge fold into the hat. Adjust clipping as needed.
17. Run a bead of glue (any tacky glue works fine) all along the interior of the hat, then push your raw edges down into it. Be careful not to get glue on the exposed parts of your chapeau! I like to wrap another hat with plastic wrap and snug it inside the hat I'm working on to ensure that the fabric adheres smoothly into place. Any object you can find that will apply light pressure to the inside of the hat will also work.
18. Time for a break! You've gotta give the glue some time to dry, so make a snack, watch television, go to the movies, or doze off. Drying times vary depending on glue and fabric, so give it a while. If you're feeling crazy industrious, you can always start another project.
19. Once the glue has dried, hand sew your grosgrain ribbon to the interior of the hat, overlapping the ends by an inch or so. You're so close!
20. EMBELLISH TIME! This is always the fun part. Add a pretty hat band. Feathers are always fab. Silk or fabric flowers, crazy birds, that weird bauble you bought with no plan -- now is the the time to let your inner milliner run free!
Voila! You are now a hatter, and not a hint of mercury poisoning. ;)
For this project, I used dupioni silk. My other example hat features black velvet and tulle with various trims I had in my stash.
Tune in next week for another project for your costume trunk! It's themed in honor of Talk Like a Pirate Day, so if you've ever dreamed of life as a seafaring scallywag (and really, who hasn't?), it'll be right up your alley!
Everyone needs a sewing machine cover for, umm, business purposes. You know, for, umm, covering your business. Bah- who cares? If you really need to make an excuse for making a sewing machine cover than perhaps you have too much business. They are super fast to make (most of the time) and super cute. Just another way to drape fabric around your sewing room, nook, or desk. A sewing machine cover helps keep the dust at bay (dust can gather in your machine, messing up your tension), can keep little hands away, block spills, etc. but really the reason I made one- not that all those above reasons aren't correct and, of course, great, but that is not why I made one. I wanted to make my machine pretty. When non-sewers com over, as impressive as my machine is (and let me tell you, this baby is loaded) they won't notice or care. It will just be a sewing machine to them. Like a banana or a pot hole. Not "Wow what a great machine", just "Hey, you've got a sewing machine! So do you sew"? But now, it will be "Wow, that is cute, I love it". Plus it makes me smile every time I walk in the room. And isn't that why we all sew, to make ourselves happy! So if you want to carve up a little more happiness for your machine there are tons of tutorials out there: Patchwork, selvedge, ribbon. But I used a simple tutorial that I think all will love by Sparkle Power. Candace used 3 vintage prints plus the lining, which looks amazing. I just had about 1 yd of this retro, bird print that I have been itching to put in my room somewhere. So you can use this tutorial for as many prints as you want to use. Just follow the basics. Mine took about 30 min from cutting to topstitching. I was able to use some fabric I had bought from the Retro & Mod Section and I had some awesome grosgrain ¾ in ribbon. Unfortunately for me, I thought I was being clever when I measured my existing cover (that came with the machine) instead of the machine. I failed to take into account that the first cover was more/less free standing where as my new one would be more drappy so it is too long. I am going to say that I love the look regardless because I have no time to fix it. Don't try my clever route, measure your machine. Be sure and post your cover pictures on our Facebook page so all can admire and compliment.