Tutorials: July 2012 Archives
I have had the idea for a pintuck pillow in my mind for some time and seeing it come to fruition is very exciting. It is even lovelier than I had pictured in my mind and I want to share the How-to with you. You can customize this style to fit any pillow size and any shape. My pillow is a 20'' square, knife edge pillow. Here's what you will need to get started:
1 zipper to fit pillow cover
Cut front pillow piece to 1'' longer than your finished pillow, i.e. if your finished pillow is 20'' cut the length at 21''. Cut the width to 4'' wider than your finished pillow (1'' for the seam allowance and 3'' for the 6 pintucks). Cut the back pillow piece to 1'' longer and wider than your finished pillow. Set back piece aside.
To mark pintucks, place a pin at the center of your front pillow piece and then mark at ½'' intervals 1'' apart according to the illustrations above. Pinch your ½'' marks together and stitch on the RS to create pintucks using 1/4'' seam allowance. You will make 6 pintucks in all. Press right hand 3 pintucks to right and 3 left hand pintucks to the left. Insert your zipper along the bottom of the pillow using Holly's instructions making sure the pintucks face the correct direction as pressed above when sewing in the zipper. Once your zipper is inserted, open it a little and then sew up the remaining 3 sides of the pillow using ½'' seam allowance. Trim corners and turn pillow cover right side out and insert pillow.
While I made my pintuck pillow out of home décor twill fabric but you can make yours out of lightweight quilting cotton as well. Just be sure to lightly interface to make your cover more durable. You can also opt to make your pintucks smaller using my twin needle instructions here. I don't recommend this method of adding pintucks for any fabric thicker than quilting cotton; the results will be bland and not as noticeable as the fabric gets thicker. You can try adding a contrast band for your pintucks.
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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?
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
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I had never known the tradition of wearing a Poppy Flower for Remembrance of War Veterans until I went to a Veterans' day memorial ceremony last year. It was very touching and so beautiful that I still have the simple crepe flower on my trench to this day. One a day where everyone is decked out in the Red, White and Blue, what better way to accessorize than with a crocheted remembrance poppy. Your poppy can symbolize anything that you love about the USA, a beloved soldier or veteran or as a thank you to our founding fathers (I count all those revolutionary soldiers among them) and mothers that worked tirelessly 236 years ago. I adapted a super sweet poppy earring pattern I found on Ravelry by Janet McMahon for my brooch. All you need is some worsted weight yarn in black and red and a size J/10 hook.
Follow the poppy pattern using 1 strand of black and 2 strands of red yarn and only make one poppy, unless you want to make another for a friend. Once finished find a small piece of felt approx. the same color as the red of your poppy and using a spool as your pattern trace a circle and cut it out (or grab these ready made felt circles). Next, take a pin back (you can recycle one from another broken pin or use a safety pin) line it up on your felt circle and mark cut lines for the pin and end to fit through.
Fold your circle in half and cut small slits at these marks. Fit your pin back into the slits and then line your felt circle on the back of your poppy and glue in place with fabric glue. Pin your felt circle down until the glue is dry. Wear your poppy with pride and as a great accent to your patriotic wardrobe. Rock it out at the bar-b-que or watching fireworks. You can also increase the yarn gauge and hook size to make coasters or as a hat pin.
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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.