Sewing: August 2011 Archives
Going off to college is not just books and comforter sets, it is also doing a lot of grown up stuff that you previously shared responsibility with your whole family, but now doing it all on your own. This involves grocery shopping and general errands that can't be passed off to other family member that are in that neck of the woods. It is on you now. So you need a good bag that can keep up and be used for all your new trials and the Betty Shopper by Amy Butler is that bag. Available in 2 sizes with the smallest being pretty dang sizable, you can get all your groceries in one while saving plastic bags, or tote all your vintage scores from the local thrift stores or pack snacks for all your pals for the game or spirit rally. This bag can hold it all or can be modified for more specific needs. You can insulate it for cold foods or tailgating. You can make the handles longer or short to suit your size. Pockets can easily be added and it can be made from just about any material to fit your style. Try corduroy with bright piping for fall or a wool tweed with bold pattern handles. From quilting cotton to home dec to medium weight woven apparel, this bag is a must have for all semesters.
I made mine from 2 different prints, one a Free Spirit Print and the lining is Amy Butler. The Betty Shopper went together very easily and quickly for its size. My Betty is jazzed up a bit with some embroidery which you can customize for you or if giving a gift for your loved one. Try a monogram, favorite mascot or nickname. I am working on a second to give as a Christmas gift made from Dwell Studio and I will embroider it with a row of pies and cake along the top and fill it with a picnic blanket and linen napkins. This bag is great for any gift giver since it can be used for anything from yard sale booty to bake sale supplies.
So I was cruising the Martha Stewart Craft site a few weeks ago and stumbled upon this Lunch Bag Tutorial featuring oil cloth. I knew it would be perfect for our Dorm Days series and coupled with Anna Maria Horner's Laminated Cotton it could easily be adapted for a college student, middle or high school student. It is also a fun way to get motivated to start bringing your own lunch to the work place if you are rebudgeting or pack snacks for a mom on the go or for road trip snacks to reduced fighting. These bags are super easy and the impact is high. You could make a dozen in one day to give to friends and family for fast Christmas gifts or fill them with candles, lotions and homemade goods as teacher and caregiver presents.
My lunch bag was so fast and fun. I used Anna Maria Horner's laminated cotton for all exterior panels and followed the instructions here. If you are thinking to save time by skipping the topstitching, DON'T. It gives structure along with a finishing detail. You can finger press the seams before you topstitch to help keep the fold since you don't want to use pins. I also used a basting stitch as my topstitching because the longer stitch helped my machine run over the laminate easier. I also recommend making a cotton lining using the same directions as the exterior only with wrong sides together. By not attaching the lining to the top of the bag, it can be removed for washing. OR you could use Insul-Bright batting between the exterior and lining to turn your lunch bag into an insulated lunch bag, perfect for yogurts, meats and cheeses.
Don't forget to add a closure at the top. You can go with a clip like Martha or some Velcro like me. Grommets and a ribbon are also a pretty option along with buttons. Go crazy and have fun since these are so quick and simple and infinity useful!
The weather is really starting to heat up and now that you have probably recovered all your outdoor furniture it is time to give some thought as to how you can sit on it in that scorching sun. Outdoor curtains are the perfect solution to shading your outdoor areas during the day and pulling back in the evening and night to allow the cool breeze through.
My parents have a great outdoor space and we all love to hang out there but certain times of the day it became unbearable until my mom and I made some grommeted outdoor curtains to block the sun as it moves during the day and pull back to allow for the view. These curtains when in use reduce the temperature by 10 degrees. Plus they can be used in the winter to hold in the heat of an outdoor fireplace or fire pit. These curtains are easy to make and easy to install with the handy plumbing pipes my dad purchased from the hardware store which can be cut to fit your needs.
Mom and I made simple panels to fit the openings of her porch from outdoor fabric but made 2 panels for each opening for maximum shade customization. She had the brilliant idea to install ties where the panels meet so when the breeze kicks up the panels don't whip around and let the sun in. She was also the brains behind the tie backs that feature buttons holes so they can easily be released with carabineers and secure the curtains from breezes on that end. The curtains are hung with shower curtain rings and grommets /button holes for ease of movement. We also treated each curtain with tent waterproofing (also purchased from hardware store)to prevent mildew and discoloration along with weatherproofing. All the brilliant ideas were mom's, I just lent a hand when I could but the results are enjoyed by the whole family. When the sun is out and the fans are on, the whole porch is cool and relaxing!
Everyone has one these days but if you are anything like me more often than not you don't have a pocket to spare for your MP3 player. Some of my lady clothes just don't offer the pocket space I need to take my tunes with me and some don't offer pockets at all. I tried keeping mine in my bra for a while but then the hot weather hit and that just didn't work out any more. So I vowed for Back to School I would design a great arm band for my MP3 player that I could wear with any outfit to anywhere. I use it walking with my stroller, going to the grocery store, gardening, cleaning, etc. The great thing about my MP3 Go Band is that many activities that previously were 'no-no's for my MP3 player in the pocket (it would fall out) are now back on!
To create your own takes a little bit of time, a little bit of fabric and Velcro but leads to much freedom. These are great for college kids who need an MP3 player to catch up on lectures, language lessons or just music to listen to while they trek from one end of campus to the other. As a mom, I love it as a companion for long walks, household chores and a break while running errands. But really these are great gifts for anyone in the family. You can download your own MP3 Go Band pattern below by clicking on the picture.
You can find your materials here:
I am always on the quest for versatile patterns that I can use over and over. A good tee shirt pattern is like gold. It's shockingly difficult to find one with just the right shape and drape that also goes together quickly. Good news: The Hot Patterns Fringe Festival Knit Top is one of those!
First, I wanted to make the pattern as-is without tweaking any of the details. I used this Lightweight Starlet Jersey Knit because it has a nice fluid drape and is perfect for a late summer transitional garment. It'll carry me right into fall because it will make a great base layer that has virtually no bulk.
Cutting this pattern is a breeze. It's just three pieces, none on the fold -- easy peasy. Seven seams and you're done (plus hemming/finishing). My kind of pattern! The scarf piece is left unfinished on the edges, which is great for keeping bulk to a minimum and maintaining drape. I opted not to cut the fringe on the edges of the scarf.
The contouring through the body of this shirt is very figure-flattering and feminine, not the least bit boxy. Exactly what you want in a tee!
With the first shirt under my belt, I was ready to experiment with the pattern. It's no secret that pink is my favorite color, so selecting a pink knit was a no brainer. Since fabric flowers continue to be popular, I decided to try turning the scarf into a floral trim. I assembled the shirt just like normal, but then I cut the scarf pieces lengthwise, and played with twisting them into loose rosette shapes. As I worked, I pinned the flowers into place with safety pins. Once I settled on placement, I hand stitched the flowers down, and voila! All done.
Now that I have made this shirt twice, I can't stop thinking of other possibilities for this pattern. I want to elongate it into a tunic and make it out of a performance knit so I will have a new running dress to wear over leggings. I want to make it without the scarf in a rainbow of colors so I have a well-fitted tee for any outfit. I want to play with color blocking by making it with two colors (or maybe four). The pattern is so quick, even if I make a woeful design blunder, I won't have lost days and days of time stitching it.
The other great thing about this pattern is that you only need about a yard of fabric for it. I am seriously considering splurging on one of the yummy and butter-soft Liberty of London knits for my next version.
It's like a blank canvas to play with -- and I do love to play! Is your creativity flowing? What will you make with this versatile little number?
The classic story begins: So I was surfing the 'net' a few weeks ago when I found this tutorial...
I would say that 50% of my blog projects start with the above sentence, but not all end with this sentence: As soon as I saw this project I had to make it IMMEDIATELY!
Most projects I look forward to, most I love to shop for and some I stay up late to work on. A select few get my heart pumping and my brain spinning. This is one of those projects. I love rugs. I love softness under my toes. I love a block of color, texture or design to make a room. I love how rugs can 'make' a room. Now I can make them too! I knew this would be a great project for our Dorm Days series because it is such an easy project, dorm rugs are often cheap in construction and in design and since you make it, you can make it to size, color and design that fits you.
To make my rug, I followed High-Heeled Foot in Door's awesome DIY Chevron Rug tutorial which calls for:
2 yds of home decor fabric
One 6x9 ft canvas drop cloth
One 5x8 ft rug gripper
Tacky Glue Spray
Size 14 needle
This tutorial was really well done and assembly was easy. You do need a significant area of clean floor space to lay everything out and a heck of a lot of spray starch to get all the wrinkles out of the drop cloth. I would recommend using the more expensive rug gripper that has more gripper surface and less holes and applying the same tacky glue spray trick to attach the gripper to the drop cloth as for attaching the fabric to the drop cloth. Don't flip over or sew until the tacky spray glue has dried. I suggest this because the gripper slips around and bunches a lot when sewing.
I used Valori Wells Wrenly Twill Home Décor weight fabric (2 yds) and this busy pattern lends itself well to piecing should you want as bigger rug. It will also hide spills or dirt which I am counting on since it is beneath my eat-in kitchen table. I like the print so much I am going to make a big rug by ordering 6 yds of fabric, cutting it in half and stitching them side by side to make more of a 9 x 9 rug for my dining room. Also, the amount of rug gripper I cut off would make the perfect size for a runner. This fabric rug is really customizable for any and all sizes. The rug feels nice underfoot with just a little plushness and stays in place very well. I am impressed with how well it turned out and how well it seems to be functioning as a rug.
Check out all of our Free Spirit fabrics to create your own Design Fabric Rug!
P.s. Of course my kitchen always looks like this and I didn't set the table just for you ;)
Here is a great, quick Halloween mask pattern for our readers to get in the spirit of All Hallow's Eve before the rush really hits. Your kids are probably already planning their costumes and perhaps can't even decide what they will be. With the ease of this pattern, you can create several masks for them to 'try on' an idea to help the decision making go faster so you can order your patterns and fabric to get started!
Materials for 1 black cat mask:
1 piece of black eco-felt
Eye Mask pattern from Prudent Baby (reduced to fit your child's face. I reduced mine 20% to 6 in. wide)
1 spool of coordinating thread
Ear Pattern (See PDF download below)
After you have cut out your pattern piece, lay your quilting cotton face down and place your felt on top. Cut out 1 of the mask pattern piece and two ear pieces. Cut out two 4 in. by 12 in. from quilting cotton for mask ties.
Pin your mask pieces together and using a medium zig zag stitch, sew around the bottom of the mask, leaving the sides and top open. Set mask aside.
Assemble your ear by pinning them together and zig zagging around the ears. Place your ear between your mask layers (on above each eye) and pin in place. Repeat for 2nd ear. Zig zag across the top of your mask, set aside.
With right sides together, fold your ties in half lengthwise and sew a ½ in. seam across one short side and down the long side. Repeat for other tie. Trim your corners, turn and press. Insert your ties on either side of the mask in the side openings, pin in place. Zig zag your mask sides.
Trace a spool of thread onto your mask for eye holes. You can gently hold your mask on your child's face to mark the eye hole placement. Choose a spool big enough to accommodate your eyes and you know it will be big enough for your child. Cut out each eye hole, pin around the hole and zig zag around each eye hole. Trim any loose threads as needed.
You can add embroidery details or contrasting thread to highlight your ears. With the quilting cotton lining, you know these masks will be comfy enough for hours of play, giving you much needed quality sewing machine time.
Maxi Dresses are still on trend this year! And it has finally made its way into my heart. I resisted and resisted, but they just seem to effortlessly elegant! So I tried it. I couldn't really find one I liked in stores. So naturally, I decided to make one myself. And now I know why this style is so popular amongst women. It is so comfortable, chic and breezy. PERFECT for summer, and I intend to wear into fall time with a jacket or drape-y pullover.
Finding a pattern for a modern floor length casual dress,
AKA- Maxi Dress, was a bit difficult. But no biggie, I just altered a dress/skirt
pattern I already had! I make my patterns out of craft paper- you can find
large rolls at Home Depot for under $10. I traced a knee-length gathered skirt
pattern I liked. Starting from the hips, I extended the lines down and out so
that the hem would be about 1'' above ground.
In case you are not into altering patterns, here are some great maxi dress patterns I could find:
This style of dress is as easy to make as it is to wear! It has definitely become my go-to garment when I don't know what else to wear. I feel fashionable, comfortable and feminine all at the same time. And so versatile- dress it up or down.
For this printed black one, I used a stretch jersey ITY knit with a large vertically repeating print. Styled for all seasons!