Tara Miller: March 2012 Archives
Here are the details on some of the products I have in my room. Let me know if you have questions on anything else you see in the room.
Hanging lamp (My husband added the switch, it's from the hardware store)
Scrap Drawers under cutting table
Favorite Fabric Collection: Erin Michael Uptown by Moda
Hanging clips (on thumbtacks on wall)
You can see my Lorax (Free Pattern here) in the sewing table scene
Sewing Machine Cover (This is SUPER during pollen season which coincidences with open window season)
Ask the Expert- Knitting
Q: What is a good way to knit in the round if I don't have a cable needle the correct length?
A: As long as you have a cable needle the correct gauge you can knit in the round. If your cable needle is longer than the recommended length you can try using the Magic Loop method. Or if you have 2 cable needles the correct gauge you can knit in the round using the 2 needle method. If you need to make something small in diameter I would recommend DPN (Double Pointed Needles).
Q: I don't do a lot of knitting in the spring and summer. What is the best way to store my yarn for the fall?
A: It depends on what kind of storage you have. If you have a cool dark area to tuck away your yarn than you can get away with a clear plastic bit with a bit of paper or fabric at the bottom. The clear plastic will allow you to see your yarn and the paper or fabric can absorb any moisture in the box. It you don't have a cool dark place, at least find a cool place and then store your yarn in a dark colored plastic bin. The dark color will obscure your view but will also block any light that can fade your colors. The cool area will keep the moisture and mold level under control.
Q: I am halfway (or more) from finishing a project but don't have enough yarn. I don't want to buy more. How do I finish my project?
A: You have 3 options:
1) Frog your project (This means rip is back and start over with another yarn or use the yarn for another project)
2) Find shortcuts you can live with to finish your project in that yarn. If it is a sweater than you can shorten the sleeves or omit a tricky cable at the bottom or use a looser stitch pattern. If it is a blanket or scarf, you can make it smaller or omit a fancy border or fringe
3) Finish it in another color. Should your project be a scarf or blanket that does call for a fancy border work it up in a complimentary color. The same with a sweater, you can add the complimentary color at the neckline, cuffs or button bands. Add the right color will look like a pattern detail not a work around.
Q: I sometimes put my knitting down for months at a time. It really helps me stay relaxed but sometimes I have trouble staying interested. What do you do to stay into knitting year round/
A: I have magazine subscriptions which deliver knitting
goodies to my door every month that make me want to pick up my needles. I have
this blog which means I have to prowl for great knitting ideas several times a
month. And when I have free time, I check out some of my favorite site which includes
Ravelry and Pinterest. Even if I don't feel like knitting I still love to look
at knitting. Checking out these sites not only feeds that desire but it also
shows me inspiration that is often undeniable. It is not long after I stop at
one of these sites, read a new magazine or find something for this blog that I
have 3-4 new projects on my needles.
Side note: I love knitting in the summer because it is easy to do in the heat. Yes, the fibers aren't compatible with the weather but the project are small, it doesn't require a lot of movement and it is a craft I can do while lounging in the chair and sipping on lemonade. You can't say that about sewing!
Spring is here and that means garden season. I love to garden and hardly need a reason to poke around my seeds, flowers or tools. Finding a great place to keep all my paraphernalia close at hand is a tricky one. However, with any small (or large depending on your tools, I guess) shelving unit you can make all that dirt, seed packets and pots disappear behind a magic curtain. Here's how to make your own custom Laminated Fabric Garden Cabinet.
First, measure your cabinet for height and width of the front. Add 4 in. to the width for 1 in. double turn side hems and 5 in. for two-2.5 in. box pleat on the front (this will give you extra room at the bottom so you can swing that curtain out of the way). Here's an example:
Measured width of cabinet: 30 in.
+4 in. for side seams
+5 in. for box pleat
=39 in. cutting width
You will want to do something similar for the length adding 2 in. for a double turned top hem and 5 in. for a double turned bottom hem. Example:
Measured length of cabinet: 42 in.
+2 in. for top hem
+ 5 in. for bottom hem
= 49 in. cutting length
Order the amount of Laminated Cotton or Oil Cloth fabric needed to cut out your size curtain. Measure, pin and stitch your side seams and bottom hem. Mark the center top of your curtain and mark 2.5 in. on either side of the center and 5 in. out from the center. You will now have 5 marks. Meet one your 5 in. marks at the center mark with a fold in the back at the 2.5 in. mark. Repeat for the other pleat and pin both in place. Baste pleats in place. Double turn a 1 in. hem across the top securing your pleats in place. Sew a piece of ¾ in. Velcro across the top hem and two 1 in. pieces at each bottom corner to secure your curtain when windy. Staple the opposite side of the Velcro across the top of your shelving unit. Attach your curtain along the top and then mark the placement for your bottom Velcro pieces and staple in place. You are DONE!
You can use this idea indoors as well for toys, media and sewing gear. Also try some of our Outdoor Fabric!
Back before I had my little one, I snagged a sweet deal on a glider on craigslist. I had big plans to recover it into the ultimate nursery chair. Well, my baby is 3 now and no longer uses the chair for anything other than pretending to surf. Thus it has been removed from her room and found new residence in my studio. While it was being spit up on I was able to justify putting off recovering but now that it sits in the corner of my room all day I can no longer bear the sight of it's early 90's baby blue velour (that has seen better days, mind you). So I set about recovering. No problem, I thought I can just trace some new covers, add a zipper and done! Ahh, not so much. This was possible for the back cushion since it had a weird tufted shell pattern on it that meant I had to trace and sew (the glider is similar but not exact to the one below- be glad I did not take a before picture, it would have burned your eyes). But the bottom and arm cushions involved some tricky pleating and gussets that meant I had to rip off the old cover and use them as templates. Here's how it went down.
This picture is the back cushion. You can see how the tufting makes it impossible to remove the cover for tracing. I traced the cushion and added an inch all around. I left the bottom open for a zipper so I can remove it for washing.
I was able to remove and bottom cushion and after some heavy ironing, I traced it without adding a seam allowance (just using the ½ in. seam allowance already on the cover piece). You can see the weird T shape at the top. This is pleating and a gusset that fits around the arms of the frame. When you remove the cover, leave one side (top or bottom cover) pleated and with the gusset in place and use the other side for ironing and tracing. Then when it comes time to recreate this intricate pleating you have a model to go by. I didn't do this and it took a good 30 min. with the seam ripper to finally figure it out. Also, you can see where all the pleating clips are, transfer these marks onto your new fabric. This cushion would also look great with some piping added. I inserted a zipper in the back for washing as well.
Here is the arm rest cover completely dismantles and ironed. I learned my lesson from the bottom cushion and left the other arm rest cover intact to use as a model for assembly. This one was almost as tricky as the bottom cushion but took me 1/3 the time to assemble.
Overall, I didn't like this glider to begin with but it was comfy and useful. I really wish I had updated it soon! We spray painted the frame and with the new cover (which covers the 90's styling) it is a whole new and great looking chair. It is now worthy of my studio!
All the ladies should be jumping for joy this season because the trend is structured shapes and details, slimming silhouettes and feminine accents that are placed to hide or enhance the figure. I was very excited to see a heavy emphasize on 50's era style hitting the catwalk Spring 2012. The shapes are fitted but not clingy so opt for a heavier fabric or add some interfacing so your pattern will just drape your frame and not hug. I am also a huge fan of the wide, deep V-neck that was especially prevalent at Elie Saab. This shape can work on a number of figures- deemphasizing full chests when paired with a simple fabric and amping up a smaller chest when accented with added details: sequins, ruffles, or embroidery. This shape also narrows and drops the visual line of the waist and when paired with a full skirt can create hips or when worn with an A-line skirt can minimize hips. Try creating your own top using Kwik Sew's Kimono Tunic Pattern. Adjust the sleeve length to create a cocktail top like Ms. Saab's.
Structured jackets were huge Armani Prive but the structure was not limited to the drape of the fabric but also the sleeves and the cropped silhouette. These jackets were not boxy in the least but very feminine in shape despite the rigid form. Try this on a blazer style but shortened to your natural waist. Reduce the scale of all the details (like sleeve length and collar). Keep the accents and embellishment simple or minimal and choose a classic, or even a very pale color. Try making your own using Kwik Sew's jacket pattern. It is basic structured jacket ready to be modified.
Another big craze at Armani Prive was pencil skirts with movement. I know this sounds like an oxymoron but the shape of the skirt paired with a light, delicate fabric such as gossamer or silk can create if not movement then the illusion of movement. I loved the well placed pleats and the effect they gave while walking. This detail was not overpowering and was definitely had a "gotta-have-it" effect on me. Start with Collette's beignet skirt, or HotPatterns pencil skirt pattern to create your own.
Try these patterns out to expand your Spring Couture wardrobe. I selected them based on their feminine, structured 50's inspired shapes. You will love them.
In my research for the Sophia Carry-all (I like to find tips, mistakes and recommendations from other bloggers before I start a project) I of course had to check out some weekender projects. Since I tried to make my Sophia more like the Weekender I did some checking to see which features people really liked about the weekender and incorporate them into my Sophia. It was on this foray into the Weekender that I found Made on Main Street's blog. Her weekender is gorgeous and I had to see more of her good works.
Jill (The blog mistress) is a mom of 2 kids who works in the design/architecture industry. It is this eye for detail that really stands out when you check out her quilts. They are stunning and really quite different. I admire her use of space and that each quilt is not overwhelmed by details. Her use of fabric is equally as fun. Jill has an Etsy shop where she sells her wonderful quilt top templates.
Reading her blog, you can travel with Jill and sneak a peek at the exploits of her silly kiddos as well as behold all her wonderful quilting projects. You can glean some great inspiration for projects such as the Weekender (she added some hidden pockets, awesome bag feet and an adjustable shoulder strap). As much as I love her blog and the projects it holds, I would really love to get a look at her schedule. How does she fit all those amazing quilting projects in while working with 2 kids? Maybe a future post on that, Jill?
You can read more about Jill and her amazing quilting skills as her blog: Made on Main Street
You can purchase your own Amy Butler Weekender Pattern here
I fell in love with this pattern at first sight but felt overwhelmed by the amount of cutting and interfacing called for so I put it off- for a good long while. But when Spring Break came around I knew it was time to stop procrastinating and get to sewing up what is the perfect bag for a week-long break of school, work or life in general. I'm glad I did. The Sophia Carry-All is not small but not quite medium; it falls into the happy Goldilocks category of "Just Right". I am not a big lining pocket person because the pockets are typically not integrated well but in this bag they are simple and again just right. I can see what is in there but they are just stiff enough to keep it all in. The inside is ROOMY. Much more than the outside lets on. It is the perfect size for toiletries plus hair care tools plus jewelry or knitting or it makes a great Grandma's weekend bag for the kids.
Here are my modifications since I just can't help it.
1) I did not add the fleece but upgraded the stiffness of the interfacing. It is not all full-on Peltex but I used the heavy weight sew in just like the Sophia's sister bag, The Weekender. I wanted the bag to really look like the weekender and didn't care for the puffy, pillow-like look on the pattern front.
2) I eliminated the piping. The main reason I did this is because I thought the piping used in the pattern pictures looks too big for the bag and I didn't have any smaller piping. I really like the clean look that came out. Does this pattern really need the competition?!
3) I constructed the lining, especially the top panels, just like I did the exterior. This means that when I sewed the top panels together, I sewed to the marks and then lengthened my stitch, basted to the next mark, shortened my stitch and then stitched to the end (I backed stitch at the beginning, end and at the marks). This really helped shave some time and make for a clean look. It was easier to sew in the lining and I knew my seam was straight all the way.
4) I used a regular one tab zipper instead of the 2 tab called for. I did this because I don't think I will be using this bag much for travel. I don't travel as much as I used to (My toddler is not a fan) and I have really been eyeing this as my diaper bag to real purse transition bag. It can fit all my essentials (phone, keys, headphones, wallet) plus any just potty trained paraphernalia (i.e. panties, pants, socks) plus snack and sippy with room left over for my brochure collecting habit.
5) I used the recommended interfacing on the lining pieces to make it easier to sew in later. Granted the main panels are not interfaced in the lining but the others were and sewing so many thick layers was a beast with the exterior.
Overall I am as pleased as I expected with an Amy Butler Pattern. They are superbly written and well illustrated. The Sophia bag actually went together in less time than I had budgeted and the outcome is beautiful.
In the ongoing effort to decorate our new house, I have moved up to our playroom. This room is currently invaded by our 3 yr old daughter, we plan on adding to her invading force in the future so I am leaning towards a gender neutral theme. She is just as happy with cars and trucks as she is with butterflies and unicorns so I went with the all pleasing Mickey Mouse when creating window treatments for her playroom. I love the idea of café curtains in this room to let in light while adding to the décor. These simple flat café curtains are perfect for appliqué work such as Mickey's Buttons so feel free to be inspired and go in whatever direction makes you happy. Mickey's Buttons are made of fleece for added texture. I love adding texture wherever possible so my little one can touch and explore her whole surroundings (because she will touch whether or not I want her to). Making your own is simple.
Measure the inside of your window to the width and length to find your finished curtain size. Add 6.5 in. to the length (2.5 in. for the rod pocket and 4 in. for a double turned bottom hem.) and 4 in. to the width (1 in. double turn hem on both sides). Once your curtain is all stitched up and ready, draw an oval that is 6 in. long by 3.5 in. wide. Use this as your pattern piece and cut 2 from the white fleece (you can double it if your fleece is too thin). Line the buttons up by folding the curtain in half width wise pressing and then folding again. This creates 3 creases, a center and 2 side creases. Line up each button centered on a side crease, 2 in. down from the rod pocket. Pin in the place and Zig Zag around each button. You're done; now enjoy a nice break while your little one is distracted by this new addition!
Whether you prefer to trek to the zoo/aquarium/museum with a tiny digital camera or have your smart phone handy, a cute way to tote your precious pictures is a must. I hate to be burdened with a huge purse (a slave to style has its drawbacks) while enjoying a day of culture so if this camera tote can carry my entrance ticket, some cash and a few cards all the better. I created this easy wristlet style bag to serve all of the above. The diminutive gussets allow you to easily access your camera and other goodies inside without creating a bulky heavy weight on your wrist. Let's get started!
1 fat quarter of quilting cotton for exterior
1 fat quarter of quilting cotton for lining
1 spool of
Measure the length and width of your camera or smart phone and add 1 in to both measurements (i.e. smart phone measures 5'' by ½'' than your cutting measurements are 6'' by 1.5'')
Using these measurements cut 2 from your exterior and 2 from your lining. Use Holly's Instructions here to insert your zipper centering it on the fabric if your fabric is smaller than 7 in.
Cut out a 10in. by 4 in. piece for the wristlet strap.
Prepare the strap but folding it in half lengthwise and pressing a crease. Fold raw edges toward the center crease and press. Fold in half again, leaving the raw edges tucked inside and press a final time. Pin and edge stitch down the strap lengthwise along each edge. Set aside.
After topstitching, fold the exterior pieces together, RS facing and pin together. Do the same with the lining. Pin the strap to the exterior on one short side edge, matching raw edges, ½ in. down from the zipper. I prefer to have my strap on the same side as the zipper when it is closed. Stitch around the exterior pieces using a ¼ in. seam allowance. On the lining, start stitching down one side, pivoting at the corner and stitching the long side for 1- 2, Leave a gap of 2-3 in. for turning and take up 1-2 in. from the second corner and continue back to the zipper. Add a 1 in. gusset at each corner using Holly's instructions here. Turn the wristlet right side out and press lightly. Slip stitch the turning gap closed. Enjoy your Go Camera Wristlet. It will free up your hands for hand holding, child catching or just to rest at your sides as your enjoy you day!
This house is pumped about the Lorax movie opening this month. I love Danny Devito's voice for this character and my little one loves his goofy mustache. In honor of this great book by Dr. Seuss I have created my own Lorax pattern crafted after the original storybook Lorax. I really liked the details of this Lorax as opposed to the movie's CGI version. The book Lorax also looked easier to recreate with handmade details, especially his crafty eyes. I hope you enjoy this homemade Lorax pattern crafted from felt.
Two 9x12 pieces of Rainbow Felt in yellow for Lorax Body
One 9x12 piece of Rainbow Felt in gold for arms, legs nose and eye lids
1 spool coordinating thread
Dark blue or black embroidery floss
3-5 yds of bright yellow yarn (any fiber)
Download your Lorax Pattern Here
Trace and cut out 2 body pieces from the yellow felt
Fold gold felt in half and trace 2 arms and 2 legs but do not cut out. Sew along trace line leaving the ends open. Cut out leaving 1/8 in. seams allowance. Set arms and legs aside
Embroider eyes with small "U" in floss. Cut a small sliver from gold for eye lids and using the fabric glue, glue the eyelids and then eyes and nose on to the Lorax face using the approx placement from the Lorax Pattern. Place book on face and leave until glue dries.
To create the mustache, wind the yarn around four fingers until your mustache is pretty thick (3-5 yds depending how thick you like it). Cut yarn and wind a 12 in. piece around the yarn and knot to secure it in place. You will now have a small thick loop of yarn tied in one spot. Cut your loop opposite from where it was tied. The tie is now the center of your mustache and you can use the ends from knotting to sew onto your Lorax's face, right below the nose after sewing and turning (below).
Pin your arms and legs onto the right side of the body using the placement marks on the pattern, matching edges. The arms and legs should go towards the center of the body. With right sides together and using a ¼ seam, stitch the body front to the back, leaving an opening at the top of the head for turning. Turn and finger press. Stitch on your moustache and stuff your Lorax. Whip stitch the head closed and your Lorax is ready for fun, story time and movie watching Galore!