Staff Tips & Tricks: July 2012 Archives
I still consider myself new to the embroidery game even though I have had my machine for a few years. I own a sewing machine/embroidery machine which may explain why I don't log in much time on the embroidery side. But when I do remember this great feature, I use it hard. I love how fast and easy it is to add that little something special to gifts or projects. I have often used this side of my machine to whip up last minute gifts for parties, showers or thank you tokens. However, using your embroidery machine, if you are new to it or even if you have a few years under your belt (like me) can be tricky if you don't have some helpful tips to get you through the frustrating learning period. These tips really helped me when I got started.
1) You are going to break some needles, so just know that ahead of time. My first breakage freaked me out because I had rarely broken a needle and never in that fashion. The machine goes so fast and then all of a sudden, crack, broken needle. You can break your needle for several reasons. My most common was wrong stabilizer for the fabric or wrong needle for the fabric or tension.
2) Test your embroidery pattern first on scrap fabric. You can find the right combo of stabilizer, needle, tension and fabric without ruining your project.
3) Once you have the right combo of fabric/stabilizer/needle/tension, write it down in case you have to embroider that fabric again you can save some testing.
4) Buy embroidery bobbin thread. You don't use the same thread in the bobbin as you do on the upper. Embroidery machines use a certain kind of thread just for the bobbin. Purchase it and wind several bobbins for reserve. It will help prevent needle breakage and other issues that pop up in machine embroidery.
5) Don't expect to get it right away. This is not a TV infomercial; you can't set it and forget it. There are techniques to machine embroidery that you will need to learn, just like with sewing. It is not a load-machine-push-button-you're-done process. Give yourself some time to learn and don't worry if it is not perfect at first.
6) If the machine sounds like a hammer, turn it off. Mine would always sound like a hammer banging when I was thisclose to breaking a needle or the thread. I knew I had missed a step, loaded something incorrectly or had the wrong stabilizer and could prevent a big blow-up by listening for this sound.
7) Purchase Machine Embroidery Essentials by Jeanine Twigg. It is a lifesaver and I would have given up on machine embroidery forever if not for this book. She will walk you through needles, tension, stabilizer and fabric. You can get a head start on some of the common combos. If you are going to try machine embroidery at all, this book is a must for your shelves!
8) Stock up on stabilizer. You will use a lot of it and you don't want to be out when the mood strikes. Also, you can patch sticky stabilizer by cutting out a piece bigger than your hole and placing the patch on top. Don't patch it from the backside. It works better from the top. Don't patch too often. Once your sticky stabilizer is no longer taut, chuck it and hoop a new piece.
Check out our Machine Embroidery section here
Visit my blog at www.gruenetree.com
Summer knitting is not just about hiding away in the air
conditioning it is a great time to start your fall and holiday knitting projects
and gifts. You will never have that sweater ready for fall if you don't start
it now. I know, I know, you are looking at the temp and scoffing at sitting
with wool yarn in your lap. What better excuse to hide inside during the
hottest part of the day than because you are preparing for the holidays. I find
my fall sweaters are always brighter and more cheerful when I start them in
summer. Add to the above the fact that school is starting soon which means you
will have the time to start some summer knitting projects. All good news! Plus
I can throw another one at you: try working up all your knitting projects (or a
majority as a compromise) in chunky weight yarn. Your projects will fly off
your needles, leaving your with more time for you or to complete more
projects: including sweater, mittens,
scarves and (my favorite) shawls.
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
Visit my blog at www.gruenetree.com
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.
Being that it is summer and judging from the morning news shows it seems to be HOT everywhere so what more appropriate fabric could there be to demonstrate than Voile. This very light weight fabric is made of 100% cotton and is semi transparent (though with a print it is less so). Voile actually comes from the French for veil because of its drape and transparency. When used in apparel it is typically layered or worn as a layer. I have decided to use our Designer Essentials Cotton Voile Fabric in Cilantro (though I call it Key Lime) in this gorgeous Cynthia Rowley layered skirt dress pattern. The lightweight drape of the voile works very well with the generous ruffling of the skirt and the layers means I don't need to line the skirt. The bodice, however, I am planning on wearing a chic lace slip underneath. This is my first post pregnancy project (though I have 3 months to go, you can tell I am ready!) and my criteria were simple: beautiful, ready for spring, and nursing-friendly. The wrap style of the bodice means it will work for nursing; I have added a hook & eye to prevent any baby grabbing wardrobe malfunctions. The color and light weight fabric means the pattern meets criteria #2 and it is of course lovely. If you plan on making this pattern I have a few suggestions. #1 Make a muslin but if not measure the pattern pieces at least twice. This is designed to go over your head and gathered at the waist but mine is at least 2 sizes bigger than I was looking for and I cut it one size bigger than I wore before pregnancy so I could wear it sooner. The dress is way large; it is so large I could fit it on now at 7 mos pregnant. #2 Add the hook and eye even if you don't have a baby. You don't want your décolletage to pop out at inopportune times. #3 Consider adding elastic at the waist as recommended by MyBeauBaby. I have NOT added my elastic yet (but will) because I don't yet know how much elastic to use for the size I will be. Plus I want to take in the dress a bit (to do this I will detach the bodice and take it in. I will also detach each skirt layer, take each in and then reattach. It sounds like a lot but it really won't be because there aren't any gathers to get in the way.
Now for the good stuff: tips for sewing voile! Voile is similar to light weight cotton (AKA quilting cotton) except that it is not. You will see in a min what I mean. If you sew with quilting cotton you already know how finicky it can be. It can fray easy, rip easy and can get pulled down into your machine. All this applies to voile (FYI to prevent having your light weight fabrics, including knits, being eaten by your machine, start sewing your seams about 1/2'' away from the edge, sew backwards to the end and then sew forward. If you start at the end, your fabric will get pulled down into your bobbin case) but it is even more delicate. Start with a test piece and get your tension right before you start otherwise you have to fight thread nest, pulling and uneven stitches. Also, go for the smallest needles (I used a size 10). I started with a size 12 needle and you can see the visible needle holes from the larger needle (you can see the holes below). Once I switched to the size 10 my seams were much improved. Decrease the temp on your iron a bit. The highest cotton setting is just too much for this lightweight fabric and overkill. You don't want to scorch your voile, just press it. Also, use pins that are a similar size to your needle. The thinner the better so you don't leave visible marks. Lastly, don't mark the fabric; it is so light anything will show. I use tape to label each pattern piece. The tape stays put to identify the pieces but also removes the label once you are done.
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.
Well, right this second, you are exactly two seams away from a shrug that won't drag you down, will ward off the chill of over air-conditioned buildings, and is small enough to fit in most handbags. Two seams.
You'll need about 3/4 of a yard of a lightweight knit, with a 60" (or close) width. I used an avocado rayon knit that is ultra soft.
Here's how to whip this thing up:
First, fold your fabric so your selvage edges meet, right sides together. Then, stitch all the way down the selvage edges, joining them.
You'll have a tube when you're done with that first seam. Refold your fabric so that the seam you just made sits at the center of one side of your tube.
Using a ruler, mark about 8.5 inches from each folded edge. I used a Sharpie for these photos so the dot is a little easier to see.
For your second seam, stitch along the edge from marking to marking, leaving your seam open between the markings and the folds. Those openings are your arm holes. When you pull it off the machine, it will just look like a squared off box, but turn it right side out, put your arms through those holes, and voila! A drapey, casual shrug.
For my quickie version, I just left the raw edges, but you could easily hem them if you prefer a more structured look. You can also add a closure at the front, or just use a brooch with a pin back to close it.
Take THAT, grocery store air conditioning!
This is a fun project to share with young sewing enthusiasts, as it gives them a finished project in a jiffy and builds confidence. But I love that it's also a way to fill a gap in my wardrobe without spending a lot of time or cash. These are so quick, I often make two or three to take on vacation with me. Since I sometimes get vacation brain and lose jackets, these are a perfect solution -- if I lose one, I know I can crank out another when I get home.
How will you customize your shrug?
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"
Visit my Blog at www.gruenetree.com
A baby comes standard with a pack (or 3 dozen) Onesies. If you are lucky some of those rompers will be decorated in a style that you like, with a cute appliqué or design. However, most will not be lucky because the thing about baby presents is that not everyone has the same style. Luckily, revamping your onesie collection is pretty easy and fun. You can use these techniques and tips for your little one's wardrobe or as a great gift for another special babe in your life; you can even use them on older children's clothing as well.
Here's what your might need:
First up are the plain white Onesies. These are great because you can purchase them in packs of 5-8 and really go to town which is what I did on a pack I was recently gifted. I was jonesing for some embroidery so I had an idea for a reverse appliqué with "Love" embroidered in the center. To make this reverse appliqué I used my Circle cutter to cut a 5'' circle from my heat transfer paper and then cut another 4'' hole from the center of the first to make a ring of heat transfer paper. Then I placed the ring on the RS of my quilting cotton (I made sure to get some dogs inside the ring to show up) and ironed it in place. Next cut out your circle and place it on the WS of the front of your onesie and iron in place. Stitch the ring in place with coordinating thread and turn your onesie RS out. Cut out the center of your circle from just the onesie, using your stitch line as a guide. Finally, hoop your onesie and embroider your special saying. I wrote "Love" with a water soluble marker.
Next, I found a great apple that I wanted to turn into an appliqué so I used the same technique as for my deer head appliqué and stitched around the apple with a straight stitch. For the letters, I didn't want to machine stitch for fear of sloppiness so I choose to just use a running stitch and go over the letters with embroidery floss to hold them in place and give some definition.
My third onesie I wanted to add some more texture so I decided on a gentle ruffle that was more texture than ruffle so it wouldn't bug the baby. To do this I cut a 4'' strip twice as long as the front of the onesie and with RS together I folded the strip in half lengthwise and stitched ½'' from the edge. I pressed the seam open and turned the tube RS out and pressed again with the seam down the center (this becomes the WS of the ruffle). Next I ran a gathering stitch down each side of the strip ¼'' from the edge. Pull the threads to gather the strip as much as you like and knot the thread when finished. Pin strip in place and stitch to your onesie over the gather stitches, folding under the short raw edges to prevent fraying. Done!
My last romper was a bit of a departure because this one is a hand-me down from my first little girl. It was packed away but when I pulled it out I discovered some staining that nothing could defeat. So again, I leaned on my trusty circle cutter and cut out several circles from some red micro dot, linen and a little heart from a Heather Bailey Nicey Jane Print. I ironed on freezer paper to cut the circles and then used heat transfer paper to adhere them to the romper. Then I stitched in zig zag around all with a contrasting thread. You can't even tell there was ever a stain and the giant polka dots make the romper look better than ever.
You can use all these tips and techniques to add some wow to your rompers or your own wardrobe. Pairing short cuts, like heat transfer paper, with embroidery can make your projects not only time savers but also unbelievably cute. These ideas can be used on any age to brighten up any top or to cover just about any Oops that comes your way.
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
Visit my Blog at www.gruenetree.com
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!