Sewing: December 2010 Archives
Tea is the new coffee, at least according to my Christmas presents and most of my neighbors. Everyone is getting into tea. My mom has a drawer with practically every flavor made. When my neighbor comes over for "Mornings with our Machines" (AKA sewing time) she brings tea. It seems to me that if Tea is going to insist on being so popular, I will do my best to make sure it looks as good as it tastes. Everyone knows about the tea cozy and it is very effective, super cute and perhaps one day I will create a knitting pattern for one. There are tons of fun sewing patterns out for Tea Cozies as well. But it occurred to me that what was really needed to decorate your tea table were Tea Time Napkins. These specially sized napkins are just right for dabbing at the corners of your mouth and prettying up your cup and saucer. Embroidered with jazzy tea cups and edged with velvet ric rac, these napkins are gorgeous enough to adorn a tea table whether it is just a quiet cup for yourself or a get together with a close friend.
Here's what you need:
1 yd of quilting cotton (makes 6 Tea Time Napkins)
6.5 yds of velvet ric rac
Sublime Stitching (great tea and cake embroidery patterns)
Cut Twelve 10 in. by 10 in. squares. Embroider 6 of the squares (these will be the fronts of your napkins) with your favorite Sublime Stitches Tea patterns. I love the tea cups (obviously), cake and pie but you can get crazy with some Mexican dancing girls or some sweet birds. Once the fronts have been embroidered, apply the ric rac to the backs of the napkins (the blank squares) with the velvet facing up. Line up the ric rac with the edges of the fabric and stitch down the middle to secure in place (this should be a ¼ to 3/8 in. seam. With right sides facing pin the fronts to the back napkins and stitch around the edges, going over the ric rac seams to prevent them from showing and leaving a 2-3 in. turning gap. Clip your corners and turn your napkins right sides out and press. Top stitch around the edges to close the gap and finish the napkins. Press again and set your tea table. Make a set for your favorite Tea Time partner to prevent jealousy and so you can enjoy these delicious napkins where ever you drop in for a 'cuppa'. Pinkies Out!
If you are in a pinch for a fabulous New Years Dress or just looking for a simple classic but easy dress to wear on the big night. Or you are a budget minded, but not less glamorous Diva looking to out-do all the 'Over-doers' then look no further. I have come up with a great modification of a simply beautiful knit dress, the Nancy Dress found in our Free Pattern Download section. You may previous have tagged this dress as a must-have for spring and summer but you are going to have to add it to your 'little black dress for all occasions' wardrobe category. Not only does this mod make the Nancy dress even better for Spring and Summer but also kicks up the wear ability for dates, dancing and enjoying the night into the wee hours. Because the Nancy dress is a knit dress you know it will be Uber comfy, will not wrinkle, super washable, packable and will swing and clingy like nobody's business while you shake your groove thing on the dance floor. But now you can add some extra style and security that strapless dress cannot offer. My modification is a simple an extra wide, one shoulder, gathered strap that really matches what is hot on the runways this fall. The best part is you don't need to purchase extra fabric to add this detail. You can find it in your scrapes from making the original Nancy dress. Here's the low down
Make your Nancy Dress according to the instructions. Once complete, cut a 6 in. by 19 in. strap from your remaining fabric. With right sides facing pin one end of the strap rectangle to the front of your dress on the side that you would like to have your strap, 1 in. in from the side seam. I put mine on the same side as fullest side of my hair (you ladies know what I mean) that way I could wear a chic barrette to keep that side of my hair back and show off my strap detail. With a ¼ in. seam allowance, stitch your strap on the front, back stitching at both ends. Now, on the back of your dress pin your strap (right sides facing) to the opposite side of the dress and stitch in place. Now mark the center of the strap and using a basting stitch, sew across that line. Gather your strap and secure with a regular stitch. This will add gathers on your strap which you can leave as is or highlight with a ribbon or pin. Your new fabulous Nancy Dress is done and ready for New Year's Eve Parties. You can be sexy and confident that your dress will stay put and you will look amazing all night long.
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I-cord is one of the most versatile of knitting stitches; even non-knitters can make i-cord. It makes great straps, handles and edges but knitted in long lengths, i-cord can be used for awesome textural embroidery. Since i-cord takes no time to knit in length and little concentration, you can easily knit enough for this project or a similar while watching your favorite shows, a movie or even at a kids holiday play. I decided on a pillow cover so I could just remove it and tuck it away each year. I can reuse the pillow with another cover and not worry about storing pillows. To recreate my Holly Pillow Cover you will need
1 skein of Acrylic Yarn
1 spool of thread to match the yarn
1 yd of Velvet
1 pillow to recover
Scrape of coordinating fabric (big enough for a 4 in. diameter circle)
The pillow I chose to recover was 20 in. square so I cut one 21 in. square for the front and one 8 by 21 in. piece and one 17 by 21 in. piece to make the back envelope. I laid my front piece right side up and with chalk; I wrote "Holly" rubbing it out till it looked right. Next, I cast on 3 sts and knit roughly 24 in. of i-cord in a green acrylic yarn (you might remember me starting this back in November). I dry fit it to the pillow to make sure it was long enough before I bound off and wove in the ends.
Using the chalk lines and pinning as you go, secure the i-cord onto the pillow front. Starting from the back of the pillow piece, use a running stitch to secure the i-cord in place. Finally, I used a glass to trace a 4 in. circle on a spare piece of red Sateen and made a yo-yo to highlight the 'O' in Holly, and adding some more holiday color. I used a running stitch around the edges to secure the yo-yo.
Next, with right sides facing pin the front pillow piece to the back pieces, overlapping the back pieces to form an envelope and using a 1/2 in. seam, stitched all the way around the pillow case. Carefully clip the corners and turn right side out. Slip your pillow inside and admire your work.
This project is fun and easy way to add Christmas cheer to your home. You can change up the words, of course, for any holiday but I like to stray from the traditional slightly with words like "Holly, Stockings, Eggnog, or Caroling" These words are obvious enough that determining the holiday message will be easy but a little bit different.
I love making wreaths but hate that they don't make it from year to year. Having seen all the great felt delights and crafty wreaths in blogland, I decided that a gorgeous wreath that lasts from year to year is in the cards after all. Deciding on Poinsettias was not hard as they are one of my favorite symbols of the season. Plus, I could easily incorporate buttons as flower centers and holly berries. The pattern is easy and the large flowers mean you only need to make 3-4 of them to cover your wreath. I covered an empty wreath with fleece to give the wreath a cozier look. You can also use sweater knits or minky. Measure around your wreath's circumference and girth and cut a rectangle using those measurements plus 10 in. to the length (this accommodates any tucks needed to make the fabric lay flat around the circle) out of sweatshirt knit. Secure with pins and mattress stitch the knit in place.
I cut out my patterns pieces (4 petals per flowers and 2-3 holly leaves per berry bunch) out of felt and selected my buttons. I used interesting ¾ to 1 in. buttons for the flower centers and 1/8 to 5/8 in. red buttons for the Holly Berries. Layout your completed poinsettias and holly leaves on your wreath and arrange as you see fit. Once you like the layout stitch each flower and leaf in place and then stitch on your holly berry buttons. If needed tack down the tips of your poinsettia leaves to keep them from flopping forward. Add a ribbon loop to the back and hang from your door. You can call it complete and set up shop by your front door to eavesdrop on all the compliments your neighbors will surely pay on your wreath. When the season is over, tuck it away to be trotted out again year after year!
The Felt Poinsettias and Holly leaves can easily be used to decorate other Christmas projects such as table runners, gift tags, Felt Advent calendar, garland, bunting, pins or headbands.
Wee Christmas Dress
One of the joys of sewing and children is making festive holiday clothing. However, Being the son of a teacher who loved a good (and I mean GOOD) holiday sweater, my husband looked at me with a very wary eye when I told him that I was making my little girl a Christmas dress. No bells, reindeer or dancing cookies, he told me with a look that brooked no argument. "Why" I cooed innocently, "I had no intention of doing anything of the sort." And that was mostly true. So given my new rules, I sorted through my mountain of children's dress patterns and selected my favorite Oliver + S pattern: Birthday Party Dress. I had some very Christmasy but not overly Christmasy fabric that I thought would meet the rules that I had in my stash from years past (plus the rest of the pillow case used in my Sewing Green by Betz White post). It is Chateau Roccoco by Free Spirit, but here are some similar fabrics available that are not obviously Christmasy but will deliver all the cheer needed
Sancutary (Prints featured below)
This dress was cut in 2T and fit very well is all the right places. While she is not yet 2 it looks as though it will fit to at least her birthday in 2 months and even to the spring. The pattern goes from 6 M to 3 T so I can get another years size out of this pattern.
I really enjoyed making Oliver + S patterns. They are surprisingly simple which is very good considering you are making kids clothing. All the details that will make the clothes durable and lasting all included and there are no difficulties getting the clothing on and off. This is too often the case with kids clothing, especially the outfits that are too cute to pass up until you try to get them on a wiggling child or off in hast. The buttons down the back make this an easy on and off. Plus there was no silliness to make the dress look wonderful but uncomfortable for the child to wear. The Birthday dress was all adorableness without hindering my little one's movement in anyway. I loved it, loved it, loved it. I enjoyed making it so much I am making the Tea Party dress for a birthday party we are invited to this month. I know it will be a hit!
1/2 yd quilting cotton (makes 2 hangers)
1/8 yd of muslin
2 small buttons
8 in. of 1/8- 1/4 in. ribbon
These fabric covered hangers with herb filled scented
satchels make great Christmas presents for your whole list. Mine are child
sized to make sure my little one's closet always smells sweet and her best
dresses are lightly scented with lavender. These are great in aboys' closets or
teens that often let unpleasant scents grow from lack of attention. You can
also fill the satchels with rice scented with essentials oils in a favorite
scent for special friends. These delicious delights take no time but are a
dreamy luxury to bring to any closet.
Click on the image to download.
Today's adorable holiday shirt makeover comes to us from Victoria, and what a darling idea it is! She chose to wrap herself up (like the gift she is) in ribbons and bows. I love that she showed us a new way to have fun with Yo Yos!
This is a great example of how to turn a plain sweatshirt into a festive party cardi with just a snip of the shears and a handful of easy embellishments. Thanks for showing us how to wrap up a shirt makeover with a super cute kick, Victoria!
Many patterns call for interfacing but most also don't expand on which interfacing to use for that pattern. There are many different interfacings to choose from. I'm going to break it down for you to make it easier to pick the right interfacing for your finished project. Interfacings can be divided into weights and fusible/sew-in. Which one to choose depends on your fabric and your project. Some patterns will tell you whether or not to use fusible or sew-in but generally not which weight to use. Interfacing is a fabric that is applied to the wrongside of fabric to add stability, stiffen, strengthen, add body, or to help a fabric keep shape. When making pillows out of quilting cotton, I always add an interfacing to the back to help the fabric hold up and to keep a better shape. I also add interfacing when using Home Décor fabric to make a bag. It helps the fabric keep a structured shape and to also help it hold up to daily wear.
Weight: This is where there is the greatest choice among interfacings. There are 101 different weights (or so it seems). My rule of thumb is choose an interfacing that is directly proportional to your fabric. If you are using a lightweight fabric like quilting cotton, linen, or shirting, choose a light weight interfacing. Home décor projects are a heavier weight fabric and need a heavier weight interfacing. Interfacing Home Décor fabric ensures that window seat cushions last longer and look pretty and pillows keep their shape not matter how many times fluffed. The ultimate heavy weight interfacing is called Peltex. It is used in some of Amy Butler's luggage patterns and can also be used to make fabric storage. Peltex is really stiff and can stand on its own. It is great for adding a lot of body and structure.
Sew-in vs. fusible: Whether you use sew-in or fusible depends on the project and what you want to finished product to look like. Fusible will affect the drape and flow of the fabric. If you are adding pleats, tucks and folds, fusible is appealing since it will add structure to these details. If you are adding gathers or draping, sew-in adds the body and durability but does not affect the drape of the fabric as much as fusible. You can still play with the fabric and add less structured details.
Knits: Knits are such a wild creature that they have their own interfacing category. Knit interfacings are NON-WOVEN and somewhat elastic to mimic knits stretch. This allows the interfacing to add body and strength without distorting knits natural stretch and drape. Knit interfacing are typically around the neckline facings and other places that need some support like buttons holes and zippers.
Psst: The top picture if of Amy Butler's Modern Diaper Bag which used lightweight interfacing and Peltex for the bottom. The bottom picture is Peltex fused on to the back of quilting cotton and made into fabric magnets. Project found here!
1/2 yd 72 in. wide Craft Felt for background
6 sheets of 9 x 12 in. Rainbow felt cuts in several colors
16 in. wooden dowel
2 yds of Ribbon
Everyone loves a good (I mean GOOD) Advent Calendar and especially when you have kids. There is the token chocolate filled one I receive every year but that is just one chocolate. I wanted something big and full of pockets for my daughter. I dreamed of treat and candy filled pockets ready for sticky fingers every morning, excited to see what each pocket held. The Felt Pocket Advent Calendar was created to be fast and easy, with no hemming, little seaming and plenty of color. The pockets are a big 2.5 in. and all are hand embroidered with a different stitch, color and number for each of the #1-25 that is needed in an Advent Calendar. I made #25 extra special by cutting one square into a frame and stacking it on top of another. You could easily frame it in Rick-rack, ribbon, or felt flowers. Without hemming, this Advent Calendar is hassle free and a great nap time project but a little bit of a blank slate. You and your kids can pick some trimmings to make it yours and add some Christmas spirit. Felt Roses, Poinsettias, or Holly leaves come to mind. Don't forget you can print free coloring pages to use as Christmas stencils for your felt trimmings. If you opt to snazz up your Advent Calendar with embroidery, Sublime Stitching has some awesome pie, cake, and other food patterns that are perfect for bringing the joy of Christmas goodies to your Calendar! I am bringing out my copy to add on to my Felt Pocket Advent Calendar this year.
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