Tara Miller: March 2013 Archives
I am in love with the new peplum style this year and with spring rapidly approaching (and receding here in the South) I am on it in my sewing room. I was a bit anxious to get started so I decided to upcycle one of my tank tops with a nice lacy peplum skirt. This top work with chino shorts, colored skinny jeans, a pencil skirt or a cigarette pant.
1) Wearing your tank top, decide where you want your peplum skirt to sit on you. Place a pin to mark the spot and take off your tank top. Lay it down on your cutting table nice and smooth. Using a yard stick and a water soluble marker draw a line across the tank at the pin mark. Make another line 1/2 '' down. This will be your cutting line with a ½'' seam allowance.
2) Measure around your waist where your skirt will sit. Using this site, inserting your waist measurement for the circumference. Using this tutorial by DanaMadeIt draw a skirt that is 8-10'' long (you choose the length/coverage that you prefer) on pattern paper. Mine is 8'' long. Cut 1 skirt from lace and underskirt fabric.
a. Serger instructions: Lay your lace over your underskirt and pin together. Serger the bottom trimming about ½'' and using a thread that matches your lace. Pin the top of your skirt and turn your skirt inside-out and slide your tank top inside the skirt, matching up the cut edge of the tank with the top of the skirt. Pin together. Serge the tank and skirt together, stretching the tank slightly to fit the skirt as needed. Done!
b. Sewing machine instructions: With right sides facing place lace skirt on top of underskirt and pin together around the bottom. Stitch with a 1/2'' seam allowance and press the seam open. Turn right sides out and press again. Topstitch around the bottom of the skirt. Pin the lace and underskirt together around the top of the skirt and turn inside-out. Slide your tank inside the skirt, matching up the cut edge of the tank with the top of the skirt. Pin together. Stitch the tank and skirt together using a ½'' seam stretching the tank slightly to fit the skirt as needed. Then zig zag over the edge to finish and prevent fraying. Done!
Enjoy your new tank peplum; you are ready for spring. You can modify this look by using a t-shirt or adding a second smaller peplum skirt layer in a contrasting lace or print for a tiered look. This top looks amazing with a waist cinching belt or sash.
Our Blog of the Month for March is Aesthetic Nest, whose blog mistress is Anneliese. A self described "finisher", Anneliese is the first crafter I've come across who prefers the finished project to the process of making. Her blog is a basically a list of all her finished goods and oh, what beauties they are. Anneliese's 3 stated goals for her blog are: Creative, Authentic and Inspiring. As cheesy as it sounds, I think she can mark each of those off with a check mark. Her blog meets all of her goals and more. I am truly inspired by her projects though they may not begat authenticity in me because I want mine to look just like Anneliese's! She writes in her about page that "I have more lists of things to make than hours" but after visiting her page I have more projects to covet than hours in which to make them. Sigh, I wish she was my next-door neighbor.
Aesthetic Nest is my new favorite blog and it is not just because she is the mom of all girls (like me) or because she loves to sew all the time (like me) or because she also dabbles in yarn (umm, like me) but it is because her blog is full-to the brim- with tutorials. I love tutorials! The pictures are amazing and so are the projects. Anneliese has a How to Crochet series for you to follow. As well as many, many sewing and knitting projects that you can recreate. There are many things to learn over at Aesthetic Nest, here is where I mention the Heirloom Chenille Baby Blankets again! Some of the projects are delightfully simple, when you need just a pick-me-up and a day when something needs to go your way. Some are more intensive when you have time to dedicate and really want to be present in the project. I love them all. You must check out the Dinosaur Party for Boys and Girls, Child's Reversible Apron, Crochet Snow Flake Appliqué, and Lacy Sweater (A Lion Brand Pattern but gorgeous knit up by Anneliese).
I selected three layers of flannel, though you can use up to five for some extra fluffy chenille, in gray and white. I cut them as wide as the towel by 5'' high. I cut 2 gray and one white and layered them: gray, white, gray. This way when the stripes curled up you would see a hint of the white but mostly gray. Next, I traced out my chevron pattern onto a piece of paper from some Premier Print fabric. I tried to trace it from the fabric to the white flannel but it didn't work very well. Once traced onto my paper I then traced it onto the top piece of flannel (gray). You only need to trace one line since you will use your presser foot as a spacer (see picture below). You should use disappearing ink but since you really won't see it once the flannel is curled I used a regular pen.
Then, I pinned my layers to the towel and started stitching along my marker line. Once my first line was complete I used my presser foot to space the distance for my next line (approx ½'') and kept stitching until my flannel was covered.
Half done cutting
Next, you will need your scissors to start cutting down the middle of your stitching. Try to get it in the middle as much as possible. It doesn't need to be perfect since it will curl up but you want it pretty close. Clip all your lines and then admire your work. The hard part is done. Now you need to wash it. Mine needed two runs through the washer and dryer. I did washer, dryer, washer, dryer to get the most agitation. It will get even more frayed and curled as you use it and will look better and better as time goes by- that's the beauty of chenille.
Creating your own knitting chart is a great way to create a visual representation of your pattern, an easy way to make changes and quickly and easily communicate your design to other knitters. Creating your own knitting chart requires some knitter's graph paper plus a key of symbols that you will use to represent different stitches and designs. You can reference other popular symbols from magazine or online knitting icons, such as Knitty, or you can create your own. If you choose commonly used symbols it will make it much easier for other knitters to quickly work your pattern. Should you choose your own (either because it fits your pattern better or because the symbols are easier for you) just know that you should provide a clear and well marked legend for others who will be knitting from your pattern.
Knitter's graphed paper is similar to regular graph paper but it is wider than it is tall which mimics the shape of a knitted stitch. Each square of the graph paper corresponds to one stitch in your pattern. The graph paper represents the size of stitches to make the visual depiction of the pattern easy to read and follow along. A Chart can map out right side and wrong side rows or just right sides rows (if all wrong side rows are explained, i.e. purl all wrong side rows). If your chart features right side and wrong side than it should be read from bottom to top starting on the right side for row 1 and left side to right side for Row 2, repeat. If your chart is only right side rows then it is read from bottom to top with each row being read from right to left.
Fill each square with the symbol that represents that stitch. If your pattern increases or decreases use blank space accordingly to signify no stitches as the pattern takes shape.
A sewist's best friend is Freezer Paper. Found in your grocery store or local big box store over by the plastic wrap and aluminum foil, freezer paper is just that-paper that has a wax-like plastic coating on one side. This plastic coating is the goodness of freezer paper because when ironed onto fabric it sticks temporarily, can be easily removed and leaves no residue. This means you can use it for templates, stencils or to avoid pinning (though I only recommend this for small applications and not when cutting on the fold as the underside can shift without your knowledge). Needless to say I love freezer paper.
There are tons of projects out there that use freezer paper and all you need do is Google "Freezer Paper tutorial" or check it out on Craftster. My favorite tutorials are the stencils. You can print your picture on to the freezer paper and then cut it out. Then press your freezer paper stencil onto your fabric then paint the exposed areas. Peel up your stencil and done. You can also easily layer your stencils to make a more detailed or complex design since the freezer paper is gentle and won't pull up paint as long as it is dry and prepped according to directions.
Freezer paper can also help you to print onto your fabric (inkjet not laser, please). Cut your fabric to fit your printer (you can use standard printer paper sizes as a guide) then press your freezer paper onto the fabric and trim if needed. Insert into your printer with fabric side oriented to the print side (see your printer for the orientation) and print your design onto your fabric. The freezer paper temporarily stiffens your fabric so it slides through the printer easily. This is a great project for silhouettes, inspirational or witty quotations or intricate designs.
I also recommend using freezer paper for tracing your patterns. Freezer paper is a great width to accommodate most sizes of patterns. The paper is stiffer than tissue so it will last longer but is lighter than poster board so you can manipulate it more (fold darts or pin it on a dress form). It is semi-transparent making it easy to trace. I love to trace mine with a sharpie marker because it is easier to handle and cut out over a pen and it doesn't bleed through. I don't have to cut my original patterns when I trace them and I can store the tracings rolled up and don't have to treat them with delicacy.
Check out our many other uses of freezer paper here on the blog
This is the ultimate beach bag (McCall's 6130) for your upcoming spring break vacation or stay-cation (more on this below). I can call it the ultimate because it can haul a lot of your important beach paraphernalia and can also fold down into a cute little tote that you can use to hold down one corner of your beach blanket when you are all set up. Made from cotton prints this bag can be bound in a coordinating binding or with a self binding. My mom had the super idea of adding a small loop under the front envelope so it can be hooked to your pocket, a chair or on another bag when unused. This bag opens up to hold a ton of stuff and with one shoulder strap you don't have to worry about that one strap that continuously falls off. You can toss a handful of these bags into your luggage if you are travelling via air or store them in your glove box for a road trip. The small size is great for kids while the bigger sizes are perfect for over-packing moms and tweens/teens that need to bring a bunch of stuff.
These bags are a snap to make and only need a nominal amount of fabric: 5/8 for a small bag up to 1 5/8 for a large bag. Easily whipped up in 2-3 hours, the lesser if you cut multiples at once. This bag makes a great teacher gift or grandparent gift if you have managed to convince them to take your children to the beach while you lounge at home- you don't want them taxed from a lack of quality baggage.
If you are opting for a stay-cation these bags can manage the huge load of library books you are planning to check out. They are great for that flea market trip you have been planning and also for leisurely visit to the farmer's market to pick up treats. You can pack them with a picnic lunch or towels for the water park. Either way you are going to need bags but you are also going to want them small and tidy when not in use.
I recommend using Amy Butler's quilting cotton; its bright and colorful patterns ooze spring time fun!
I have a new baby so I am in need of storage, a lot of storage. However, I am also on a budget because having not one but two kids can eat by a good bit of cash. Pair that with my intense distaste for plastic bins which appear to be multiplying in my house due to the aforementioned budget and you have a recipe for something handmade. Enter canvas hamper, AKA toy bin, AKA living room blanket storage, AKA guest laundry. This is a soft fabric bin that lends itself to many uses and its creation can be blamed on the clones I see in my favorite Target and Home Goods commercials. To create your own you will need 1 1/2 yard of Home Dec fabric for the exterior, I used Magnolia Home Fashions, 1 1/2 yd of light to medium weight fabric for the lining, I used red quilting cotton, 1 1/2 yd of fusible fleece and 45'' of ¼'' flexible plastic tubing (this can be found in any hardware store in the plumbing section and its cheap.)
All seams are ½'' unless otherwise noted.
Draw and cut a 21.5'' (width) by 23'' (length) rectangle from paper; this is your body pattern piece. Cut 1 on the fold from your exterior, lining and fleece, set aside. Draw and cut out a 21'' diameter circle (Follow these directions here) and cut one circle from the exterior, lining and fleece, set aside. Cut one piece of binding from exterior for the top of your hamper 3'' by 43'' (this will finish the top of your hamper and will also hold your tubing). Cut 2 straps 4'' by 22'' from exterior fabric.
Fuse the fleece to the exterior body piece and circle. With right sides together, sew the body piece together along the width. Press the seam open and topstitch on either side of this seam to reinforce it. This also makes it look pretty snazzy and professional. Repeat this for the lining.
Fold your circles in half and add pins at either end to mark the half way points. Turn your body pieces inside out and fold your body piece in half with the seam at one end and mark directly across from the seam. With right sides together, pin your circle to your body piece matching up the pins previously placed. Sew circle to the body piece. Repeat for the lining. Turn your pieces right side out and place the lining inside the exterior matching the top edge and baste together.
To prepare your handles, fold each in half along the length and press. Open up each handle and fold each long side towards the center and press. Fold again along the length, completely covering the raw edges and press again. Pin and stitch along the length of your handle 2 lines of decorative stitching. Place handles opposite each other approx 9'' from the seam, matching the raw edges of the handle with the top of the hamper and stitch in place.
Next, with right sides together pin the two short ends of your binding and stitch. Press seam open. Fold your binding in half along the length and press, open it up and fold each edge towards the center and press again. Open it up. Pin the binding to the top edge of the hamper with right sides together and stitch in place. Fold your binding over the top edge of the hamper and tucking the raw edge under at the fold your pressed earlier pin in place and then topstitch it to the hamper leaving a 3 in gap to insert your tubing. Trim your tubing to 42'' and thread it into your gap until it is all in. Carefully topstitch your gap closed. Your hamper is ready for business!