Tutorials: October 2011 Archives
I have a stash that's quickly verging on a hoarding situation. The big culprit is all my scraps. I feel wasteful tossing away anything that's bigger than a piece of paper. But I am fighting the pile by coming up with projects that make use of those pieces.
These little "shaving kit" style cosmetic bags are so simple and speedy to assemble that you can churn out two or three in an evening. These make great gifts, and gift containers. I often use them in lieu of gift bags. All it takes to put one together is a little bit of fabric, and a 12" zipper.
For your pattern, all you need is a piece of paper. Seriously. A packing invoice from your last fabric.com order will do just fine.
Using the paper as your guide, cut two pieces from your chosen fabric (I LOVE using quilting prints for these), and two pieces from a coordinating fabric for lining. I like to use a medium-weight twill. Whatever's handy!
A word on interfacing: Feel free to use it. I generally don't for these bags because I like a softer finish -- I find I can cram more things into a less rigid bag.
In addition to your four rectangles, you'll need to cut fabric for a hand strap and pull tab. Cut one piece of your exterior fabric 3" x 20" and a piece of your twill 1" x 20". You can also use a piece of grosgrain ribbon instead of a cut of your secondary fabric. It won't show, so use whatever you've got handy that you want to get rid of.
Fold your exterior strap fabric in half lengthwise, right sides together, and lay your reinforcement fabric on top. Make sure the folded edge of your strap fabric extends a little past the edge of the reinforcement piece. This will ensure a smooth, unlumpy fold when you turn the strap.
Stitch down the length of your strap, catching in all three layers of fabric.
Turn your strap and press.
Topstitch down either side of your strap, 1/4" in from the edge.
Set your strap aside for later.
Time to set in the zipper!
Layer one side of your zipper tape between a piece of your exterior fabric and a piece of your lining fabric, right sides together. Make sure that the right side of your zipper is facing the right side of your exterior fabric. Stitch all three layers together.
I don't even bother with a zipper foot here. I just move my needle to its furthest left position, and align the regular foot as tight against the zipper teeth as I can.
Turn the fabric right side out, press, and top stitch.
Repeat all the zipper steps for the other side of the zipper.
You will end up with something that looks like this:
Fold your little concoction in half using the zipper as the fold line. Stitch all four layers together using a 1/4" seam allowance. To finish, you can zig-zag or serge the raw edges.
Next, align your center back seam with your zipper, creating two folds on the sides of the bag.
Remember that strap piece you made? Now is the time for it! Cut it so you have a 14" long piece and a 5" long piece. Remember how I told you to cut it 20" long to begin with? An inch of that is just safety length.
Fold your longer piece in half, and set it into your bag, in between the zipper and the center back seam. I don't use pins, so I like to stitch the strap to the center back seam, and then stitch down the zipper over it.
If you fold your bag right side out at this point, it looks like this:
Set in the shorter pull tab at the other end of the bag. Be sure to leave the zipper open a bit so you can turn it right side out!
Here's the outside view at this point:
To take your bag to a more three-dimensional shape, you need to add some stitching at the corners. Fold the corners so you create a box shape with your back, and stitch perpendicular to the side end seams. (This is definitely one of those things that makes more sense when you're holding it in your hand.)
I don't even bother to mark my stitch line. I just align the point of my triangle with the edge of my stitching plate.
Repeat the previous step with the remaining three corners. Your bag will look like this:
At this point, you can clip your corners and finish the raw edges, or you can leave the corners as is.
Flip it right side out and you are all finished! Load it up and take it on your travels. The handle strap works great for hanging the bag on doorknobs -- a handy thing if you're sharing space with someone else and bathroom counter space is limited.
For my bag, I used this adorable Tinkerbell print. I love to use machine washables, because it's great to be able to toss a bag in the wash if a lotion or mouthwash leaks while I'm on the road. Just the same, using a home dec fabric can make this project elegant instead of cute, if that's your preference. So whether you've got the perfect thing in your stash or you feel like browsing for a new fabric, you know you'll be ready to hit the road for the holidays, or just organize your home bathroom.
I often try to see new ideas when I am knitting up a project. My mind churns through, almost like a program running in the background. I am focused on the project but sometimes a stitch or a new technique will trigger an idea. Just such a thing happened a few weeks ago when I was scanning a knitting magazine, reading an article on lace. I must have had Halloween in the front of my mind because after I had read 2 sentances the light bulb went off: Knitted Spider Web. Of course, it goes hand in hand with halloween and can easily be pulled off. Making one is simple and can be made to any size. Here's how to make your own knitted spider web.
1 skein of worsted weight cotton, cotton blend or acrylic yarn in any Halloween color (Shown in Lion Brand Cotton Ease)
US size 15, 24 in. cable needle (or longer if you are making a bigger web)
Cast on 8 sts
Row 1: *k1, yo; repeat to last end
Row 2: *k2tog, yo; repeat to end
Row 3: *yo (twice), k2tog; repeat to end
Row 4: *k1 into first yo, drop second yo, yo; repeat to end
Repeat Row 3 & 4 until your web is big enough for your spooky plans. Bind off very loosely. If you used a cotton or cotton blend yarn, you can block your web bigger. However, acylic yarn will hold up outside much better than cotton and hold it's color- the choice is yours.
Add this crocheted spider by Sandsteel Designs
Or this knitted spider by Dawn Riden
Either one dangling from this knitted spider web is sure to creep out your dearest friends and help your kids really scare the neighborhood!
I just moved to the eastside of Atlanta and am in desperate need of decorating, most importantly curtains, shades and window treatments. We live in a traditional style neighborhood which includes houses with zero property lines. This means that a few of our windows look out onto our neighbors' backyard and vice versa. While on the whole we love the house, we have decided that good curtains make better neighbors. So I am on a curtain making frenzy with the first up being café curtains in our mudroom/blog.fabric.com central (you can see where I think my thoughts concerning blog fodder). I wanted to let the light in but not feel so creepy when I accidentally looked out my windows into my neighbors' yard (which is really nice so I will miss it a bit). The walls are yellow so I wanted to tone down the traditional style some and bring in a more modern print. I paired some Waverly Sun n Shade fabric with some medium weight muslin to break up the busy print and (if I am going to be honest) stretch my fabric. To make this style of café curtain I needed at least 1 ½ times the width of the window which came out to be 5 yds. I had 2 yds of the Waverly and I REALLY wanted to use this print but didn't want to wait for more to arrive. The muslin perfectly matched the accent color in the print, so I felt I could pull it off. I used gorgeous French Seams (look for a post on French Seams early Nov.) to join the 3 panels because I didn't want to line the curtains- which would reduce the light- and I didn't want the neighbors whispering about my seam skills behind my back. I added a 3 in. hem on the bottom, because I really love the look of deep hems on curtains and a 1 in. rod pocket at the top. A quick tip on using Outdoor Fabric, keep the temp down on your iron because the treatment used to keep the fabric moisture resistant can become distorted at higher temperatures. To measure and make your own café curtains, measure the window(s) exactly how you want the curtains to hang (inside the trim, outside, etc). Multiple the width by 1 ½ times if you want some gathers and body, 2 times if you can lots of gathering and body. Add your rod pocket size plus a ½ in. for a double fold hem (ex: 1 in. rod pocket plus 1/2 in. = 2 ½ in.) Then add your bottom hem plus another ½ in. for double fold hem (ex: 3 in. hem plus ½ in. = 3 ½ in. to the length of your window (café curtains typically hang from the middle of the window but ¾ length also looks amazing). You can also hang your curtains with clips, ties or rings.
I also made the curtain rod. I was concerned about the lack of selection for basic curtain rods out there and the fancier rods that fit my style were pricey. To solve my problem, I ran to my local hardware store, purchased some ½ in. metal conduit and some conduit mounting brackets. You can trim the conduit with a hack saw or the hardware store can cut it for you (I opted for the husband cutting method and discovered that 10 ft of metal conduit JUST fits in a Scion Xb). You can also add some drawer pulls as finials using this tutorial.
In my research for some pretty cool hostess gifts (we already know that chocolates, wine, and potholders are good standard gifts) I scoured the internet for ideas. Low and behold, apparently mustache appliqué and embossed gifts are very popular. On that note, I wanted to create a hostess gift that was tongue in cheek like the mustache but not beat a dead (or almost) horse. Behold the Necktie Napkins: now you can be fancy for dinner while showing up in t-shirt and jeans. You can wear that tacky Christmas tie that your dear great auntie Muriel gave you without going out of the house. Make your mother happy by both tucking in your napkin and wearing a nice tie to dinner. It is fun and easy to make a set of Necktie Napkins for your favorite hostess. You can choose between the Applique or Embroidery version. I prefer the Applique on our printed O'Tinsel Tree Cotton fabric but love the embroidery on a solid fabric like linen.
To get started you need a picture of a cool-looking tie, I used this one but tweaked it a bit. For the embroidery I traced the tie onto my napkin with a water soluble marker and then embroidered the outline with a back stitch and then added some stripes with a stem stitch in green to create the iconic tacky Christmas tie. For the appliqué, I cut out and traced the tie pieces onto a transfer agent like Heat n Bond. I then cut out the pieces from the Heat n Bond and applied them according to the instructions to the back of some natural colored linen and then affixed those pieces to another napkin. Using a zig zag stitch around the edges of the appliqué to secure it, I added a decorative stitch to some stripes on the tie. It is important that you place the tie about 3-4 in down from one corner of your napkin so when tucked into a shirt, it looks as though the napkin user is wearing the tie. Placement will vary according to the size of your tie and napkin.
To make your napkin you will need 1 yd for 2 napkins. I used O'Tinsel Tree Cotton and cut an 18 in. square for a 16 in. finished napkin. Use a double folded hem one all sides and topstitch in place.
We still have plenty of time to finish our Holiday gift list but most of us will procrastinate or worse overestimate our free time and fill the list with complicated, involved masterpieces worthy of induction in MOMA. Not everything needs to be 100% knitted or works of art incorporating 14 different stitch designs. Most, if not all, of your gifts just need to be from the heart and well thought out. You can achieve both of these goals by knitting parts of your project and adding them to completed items. Since I love ruffles (along with the rest of the fashion world) and know from my window shopping that they can make anything look better, I decided to add ruffled project to my Christmas list. All I need do is knit the ruffle and add it to my gift. Since I am knitting such a small part of my gift and will be saving so much time, this leaves me with the freedom to spice up the ruffles and try something new. It is ok to complicate it up if you are going for something small because mistakes will not put you back very far.
I am gifting a friend a set of vintage dish towels I found at a local antique store but since her taste is a little funky I knew a knitted ruffle would be right up her alley. The towels are in a gingham style so I decided not to make my ruffle too fancy since the towel was so busy but I did knit it in a contrasting color cotton yarn, like Lily Sugar n' Cream Yarn. To make my ruffle, I worked up a swatch to find my gauge and then multiplying by the width of the towel calculated how many stitches to cast on. I worked my first 4 rows in garter stitch to give me a solid flange to attach to the towel.
Row 5: *knit 1, yo; repeat to last stitch, knit 1
Row 6: purl across all stitches
Row 7: knit across all stitches
Repeat Row 6 & 7 for 1 in.
Work 4 more rows in garter stitch
You can make your ruffle as long or as wide as you like by adjusting the number of rows worked or stitches cast on, respectively. You can layer your ruffles for a bolder effect or knit them with a fine gauge yarn for more flutter. You can add ruffles to shirt necks, capes, placemats and pashminas. You can spice up new store bought items or scored vintage treasures. Adding ruffles can not only save time but also increase your stitch library since they are a great way to experiment.
To attach my ruffle, I pinned the flange to the wrong side of the dish towel, letting the purl bumps peak out just a little. Then with a size 12 needle and a straight, medium length stitch, I sewed 2 lined of stitching, one at the top edge of the flange and the second at the bottom edge of the flange. These two stitches secure the ruffle in place and keep it from flipping over to the back side. A stretch stitch is not needed since we are attaching to a woven but if you are attaching your ruffle to a knit, a zig zag stitch is needed in a size appropriate to the density of your knit and knitted ruffle.
It is important to note that you should match your yarn to your gift by taking the washing instructions into consideration. Since a dish towel will be washed a lot, choose a washable yarn like cotton or acrylic. If your gift is delicate like pashmina it is appropriate to choose an equally delicate yarn like silk or cashmere. For a knitted ruffle added onto a top, choose a non-irritating fiber like superwash merino which can still be blocked to the right shape.
When I decorate for holidays, I enjoy bringing the festivities into every room. This can be a little tricky in my kitchen since I prefer to keep the counter tops clear (a need to bake cookies could come at any time). So one day I looked around and noticed how I decorated my kitchen on a regular day and decided to take my cues from that. One of my main splashes of color in the kitchen are dish towels. I love them and use them constantly which means at any given time I have about 4 floating around the kitchen. What a perfect way to spice up my cuisine then with Halloween Dish Towels.
Making a pair was easy since I could use my regular towels as templates. Based those measurements my Halloween Dish Towels are 18 in. W by 24 in. L finished. Here is what you need to make your own Festive Halloween Dish Towels
Materials (makes 2 dish towels):
1 yd of Orange Print Cotton (Check our Halloween Section)
1 yd of Green Print Cotton
1 spool of coordinating thread
*option notions can include rick rack, chenille tape or bias tape for embellishing the stripe or finishing the edges
Fold your fabric with the selvedges together and on the fold measure and cut one rectangle from each print 18 ½ in. by 25 in. (with the long edge along the fold) also measure and cut on the fold one stripe 18 ½ in. by 4 in. (with the short edge on the fold) from each print.
With the green stripe, fold and press ½ in. toward the wrong side along both long edges of the stripe. Measure and pin the strip 5 in. up from one bottom (short) edge of the orange dish towel. Topstitch stripe in place along the long edges. Repeat for orange stripe and green dish towel.
With right sides together, fold the orange towel along the fold the towel was cut, matching up the corners and the stripe edges. Pin and stitcha ½ in. around 3 edges leaving a 4-5 in. gap along the top for turning. Clip corners, press seams open and turn. Press again and topstitch along all edges. Repeat for green towel.
Voila you have 2 matching, cute Halloween festive towels. You can complete your kitchen decorations with oven mitts in matching prints using a free tutorial from Craft Gossip and Kwik Sew's Ruffled Apron. You can also pair the stripe in a cotton print with neutral linen for extra absorbency.
One important thing you should know about me is that I am a Harry Potter Fan. One reason for my JK Rowling fanaticism is that she is a fan of knitting and so are the costumers for the movies. I love curling up on the couch with my sketch book waiting for inspiration to come on the screen. The subject for today's posting is courtesy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows movies. The lead female character wears a cardigan with a cabled button band that I fell head over heels for. It is such a fun and unique idea that I decided to experiment with my own.
You can really see the bar tacks on this picture
For my cabled button band swatch I knit only the button holes. Knitting a button band for the buttons is the easier of the two and I want to figure out the right cable and button hole combo for me. I started with a 9 st cable with a 3 st purl center (see Twist Cable instructions below). I added a horizontal one row button hole but found that it left a bar tack on the right side of my cable that I didn't like. Next, I tried the same cable with a vertical button hole. This button hole/cable combo seemed to work well together but I prefer horizontal button holes on my cardigan to reduce button slippage.
Third, I tried a simpler cable that didn't cable across the whole of the sts like the Twist Cable above. The Honey Comb Cable just twists over half the sts on each side. This greatly reduces the tension and allows the button band to lay flat and means you can cable between fewer rows so you can have more button holes. I coupled this cable with a double yarn over button hole. The combo of the Honey Comb Cable with the simple button resulted in a very polished button band. The light cable will not pull on the sweater when the button band is attached (making blocking easier) and the simple button hole was easy without distorting the cable.
The yarn used for this sample is Lion Brand Cotton Ease
Button Hole Instructions can be found here
9st Right Twist Cable: Cast on 9 sts
Row 1 (RS): knit 3, purl 3, knit 3
Row 2 (WS): Purl 3, knit 3, purl 3
Row 3: Slip first 3 sts onto cable needle and hold to back, slip second 3 sts onto cable needle and hold to back, knit third 3sts then purl second 3 sts from cable needle then knit the first set of 3 sts from cable needle
Repeat Row 1 & 2 twice (or more depending on the size of your button hole) then repeat Row 3
Honey Comb Cable: Cast on 12 sts
Row 1 (RS): knit 3, purl 6, knit 3
Row 2 (WS): purl 3, knit 6, purl 3
Row 3: Slip 3 sts onto cable needle and hold in front, purl next 3 sts then knit 3 sts from cable needle, slip 3 sts onto cable needle and hold to back, purl next 3 sts, knit 3 sts from cable needle
Repeat Row 1 & 2 once
Row 6: Slip 3 sts onto cable needle and hold in back, knit 3 sts then purl 3 sts from cable needle, slip 3sts onto cable needle and hold in front, purl next 3 sts and then knit 3 sts from cable needle