September 2010 Archives
September 30, 2010
Fall has arrived and with it brisk air, longer sleeves and an urge for apple cider and all things comfy. The days have not quite decided to be cool but in the early morning and evening there is a chill. A light shawl is needed to add the right amount of coziness and warmth for that stroll around the block, concert in the park or watching the leaves change color. I designed the September Shawl with fall in mind. I knew that some days I would need something to nestle around my shoulders (if I wore a shirt too light) or to wrap around my neck to just ease the nippiness. The September Shawl is also well sized for small children to wear if they forgot their coat, can't be wiggled into one or won't stand still long enough for you to wrestle them into it. With eyelet rows begging for light ribbons or icord to be woven through, you can coordinate the September Shawl with your outfit or change it up with some sparkle for date night. This is a perfect fast knit for Christmas presents too.
The September Shawl is knit with Filatura Di Crosa Zara, a DK weight super wash merino wool. It is soft and cozy with great stitch definition. Some techniques you need to be familiar with for this project are: increases and decreases, and reading charts. The September Shawl will also look great in a silk, cashmere or cotton. This shawl needs about 250-275 yds of DK yarn. The eyelet pattern coupled with the ruffle make for a feminine shawl that is both simple and elegant. Made in a glittery yarn or with some sheen the September Shawl is perfect for holiday parties.
Hello, readers! Who doesn't love to win prizes? We sure hope you do, because every weekday from now through October 15, 2010, we'll be giving away great books to build up your sewing library!
Congrats to the following commenters!
Leave a comment on this post and share your sewing insights! Talk about this book, tell one of your favorite stitching tales, or answer this question: What's your favorite small notion and why?
The deadline for entries is today, September 30, 2010 at midnight ET.
Winner will be picked at random and announced sometime tomorrow, October 1, 2010.
PLEASE NOTE: To be qualified, you must create a user name if you haven't already. Anonymous posts cannot be considered for entry.
*If you experience technical difficulties posting your comment, you may email your comment to blog(at)fabric.com to be included in the random selection process.
September 28, 2010
Football season is here and the Sandra Lee in us wants to decorate to bring the fanatical spirit alive. We have all done the fleece throws and quilt blocks. But there are more ways to show your fervor in your living room or to spice up that (shudder) man cave.
Now at face value (and, ok, the name doesn't help our case any either) Amy Butler Gum Drop Pillows do not instill a whole lot of team spirit. They look luscious, beautiful and dreamy. In short the total opposite of Football. But should we couple our favorite team fabric with a great home dec pattern, we have instant fan power, a great place for extra fans to sit to watch the game or put up their feet. The Gum Drop pillows pack a serious punch. The pattern is so smartly simple that there are nofeminine details, no soft touches or pattern pieces to be tweaked to give it a masculine edge perfect for pigskin enthusiasts. Just a change of fabric can take this pattern to a different level. The medallion at the top seems to the best part for the fans at my house. Depending on your fabric choice, you can center your mascot at the very center of the medallion. My mom suggested that a team fabric can be stretched to accommodate 2 or more pillows by alternating team fabric with a team color fabric on each section of the pillow (4 sections of team fabric and 4 sections of a solid fabric). This pattern doesn't take much time or fabric. An 18 in. pillow (plenty big enough for feet or tushes) needs 2 yds and the 24 in. pillow 2 ¼ yds. You will need an insane amount of stuffing but if you are a recycler like me, old pillows and fabric scraps help a lot. I made the 18 in. in NFL Titans for my mom and have some Falcons set aside for my dad. They have a rivalry and I try to stay impartial but mom comes first. I found the pattern really easy and once the cutting was done, quick to put together. I took the pillow to the living room to stuff and hand sew so I could join in the action and put the pillow to good use once done. You can also check out our huge college selection here; don't over look the fleece!
I was so impressed with the finished product that I envision it in my own home though I never fancied myself a floor pillow gal. It will be great for kids to sit on for movie night, to put my feet on when I am working late on my laptop or just to curl around when reading. I hope to make 2 for the living room, as many as my little one wants in her room (once she is old enough to ask, that is) and maybe a few for my room and some for the guest room. You never know where you will need a good pillow (even dogs love it).
P.s. Just because it is a football post and it needs to be said: GO KU JAYHAWKS! And k-state- you know what I think of you.
September 27, 2010
Sweater Surgery by Stefanie Girard is one of the most fun books I have had the pleasure of reading in a long time. My library is full of resource books, books with great patterns, foundation books and go-to books but not many FUN books. It is kind of scary at first shrinking and cutting a sweater but there is a freedom that regular fabric cannot give. Mistakes turn into great details, seams are lovely and size is irrelevant.
Stefanie takes you through everything you need to know to turn your old sweaters into something new and special: toys, purses, different sweaters or any accessory your wardrobe is lacking. She talks you through picking a sweater for your project or vice versa, felting (washing machine and needle), tools and notions, deconstruction, reclaiming yarn, you name it. Stefanie shows the reader how to look at the details of a sweater and use them to their best advantage: the bottom ribbing of a sweater becomes the cuff of a mitten, the buttons of a cardigan are the central design on a bag, and the reverse of a fair isle becomes an endearing softie. The projects are a little bit crazy and a little bit bold but only because of Stefanie's sweater choices. The bones of each project are on trend and adaptable to many styles. There is something for everyone because you can make it your own with sweater choices. The fabric necklaces in the book may be too bold for you but if you choose neutral colors and amber colored beads, the whole look of the necklace changes. It becomes a remarkable accessory, a conversation starter upon close inspection but not a neon sign.
Stefanie also includes home accessories in Sweater Surgery that are amazing. Just imagine soft, luxurious sweater pillows to snuggle with on your couch. Such pillows are costly and popular at all the high end boutiques but with careful selection at a local thrift store you can have the same look for under $10 instead of hundreds. There are also some great holiday decorating ideas and projects in this book.
Each project is well explained and some include patterns. In the back, there is inspiration with summaries of how to achieve the look yourself or to use as a starting point for your own creation. I chose to use a mistakenly felted cable sweater and turned it into a sweater dress for my little lady come winter. I cut up the center of the sweater and cut off the arms. I left the seams on the right side because I really dug the look in some of Stefanie's inspiration photos. I stitched with a 2 in seam allowance on the sides and then cut the seam down to ¼ in. I then stitched up the center with a ½ in. seam, leaving 2 in. open at the top (to make it easier to get it over her head). I cut 8 in off the arms and sewed the arms back on with a ½ in. seam stretching to make the arms fit. I trimmed all the seams to ¼ in. The dress fits perfectly and looks even better (it will be great paired with some polka dot or striped leggings). I may use the left over arm for a softie or arm warmers for me when knitting in the cold. This book has got my blood pumping for more sweater projects and I am excited to reuse some of my old sweater instead of tossing them.
September 24, 2010
I call this blog entry "The Witching Hour" because that's about as long as it takes to put one of the new free Hot Patterns Good Witch/Bad Witch hats together. Any good costume trunk needs a witch hat. My trunk has... a number I'm not entirely comfortable disclosing. (Truth be told, I have no idea how many witch hats I have.)
This pattern gets an A+ in the fun department. I love, love, LOVE it! I couldn't stop myself from making hats! It's a fantastic project to burn through scraps of fancy fabrics that you couldn't bear to toss, and it's also a great way to experiment with new fabrics.
I won't re-write the instructions for making the hats - the free pattern has got you covered there. I will give you my tips and insights, and a photo series of the making of one of the smaller hats.
Here are my tips/thoughts:
- -For the large hat, which I made using a home dec velvet from my stash, I found that to make the crumples sit the way I liked them, it took a little bit of hand stitching to tack things into position.
- -The smaller hats do require a bit of patience when affixing the body of the hat to the brim. This is especially true when working with vinyl. (The trim on the pink sparkle vinyl hat is there to hide some atrocious stitching crimes.) It just comes with the territory when you're working with small items.
- -After making several of the smaller hats true to pattern, I found myself wanting some variation, so I cut the next several with straight bodies instead of crumple bodies. To do this, I just traced the outline of the lower edge of the original pattern and used that as the base of my triangular straight pieces.
- -I didn't want to purchase a bazillion headbands for all my hats, so instead, I stitched elastic onto circles of fabric to create a channel, and then glued the circles to the bases of the hats (in the photos below, you can see the underside of one of the smaller hats to clarify what I'm talking about). This way, the small hats are interchangeable on one headband.
- -The smaller hats would make darling table centerpieces for a Halloween party. They're also so quick to whip up that if you're having a smallish party, you could make them as party favors. You'd surely be known in your social circle for having the best party takeaway EVER.
Here's how my jacquard fascinator came to life:
Cutting the interfacing:
Ironing the cut interfacing to the back of the uncut fabric (This way, the interfacing becomes the pattern cutting line):
The brim pieces stitched together:
The point of the body, stitched and clipped (I like to leave that little tail to give the point a teeny bit of support - your mileage may vary):
Clipping the interior edge of the brim once it's turned (you'll find this makes stitching a good bit easier):
Stitching the body and brim together:
Stitching from another angle:
Hat with stitching completed, awaiting crumple:
Three of my hats, crumpled and awaiting instructions:
The finished batch of minis! There's seriously no telling how many more of these will come to life between now and Halloween. I'm a hat junkie!
This is a story about Kidsilk Haze.
I have worked with a fair share of mohair in my day. (To me) it is the bad boy of yarn, I love it, oh I really do, but once you have it you start to question yourself. However, like a true bad boy you never regret your time and look back fondly. It is the fight you love, the challenge that keeps you coming back for more.
What I truly, madly, deeply love about mohair is the delicacy. It floats on air. It seems to be there yet not. It is fluffy and simple. The colors are so bright and vibrant yet because of the slightness of the yarn, the color can be just a hint or in your face; your choice. It is ridiculously soft. The softness blows me away each time I touch, yet I reach out again thinking that I was mistaken previously. Kidsilk Haze lends itself to lace in a way no other yarn can. It adds another layer to the lace, a layer of subtlety. The mohair diffuses the structure of the lace, giving it a softer appearance. Lace with its hair down, if you will. Kidsilk haze is an untamed beauty that you must muster your courage to ride. It is not wool, that you can knit with your eyes half on the TV. Mohair is like that famous Roman joke:
An American couple sits down to their first Roman meal in the heart of the city itself. Their waiter comes and greets them. The couple excited tells him it is their first day and they want the real Roman experience. Their waiter smiles. The couple then proceeds to tell the waiter that they hope to catch a show after and ask him his favorite. The waiter smiles again and states "This is Rome, tonight you eat. Tomorrow you will see your show".
Now praise for Kidsilk Haze aside (and I could go all day), you must be prepared. Like the wild house alluded to above, you can't show up to ride without preparations. Tools are needed. 1) Stitch markers: not everyone will work. I used a size 11 needle with the LaLa scarf so my locking markers didn't fit my needles and I used small black rubber bands. The rubber kept them from sliding. The black stood out. Do not use jump rings or anything with a gap. The Kidsilk Haze will wiggle itself through and mess up your count. 2) Needles: mohair is no time for your fastest needles. You do not want to go fast, trust me. This baby is slick enough without those needles. Pair the Kidsilk Haze with your slowest, most trusty needles. 3) Keep calm and carry on. Not only a good rule to live by in WWII but also with this yarn. Mistakes will happen; you will get frustrated. But your project will turn out lovely. Mohair is tricky for everyone. But it will work out. Be patient and keep at it. You cannot sail big ships unless you go in deep waters.
My colloquial sayings article is at an end (man, I love those metaphors!)
September 22, 2010
There was not much engineering to be done - it was just a simple ribbon with a velvet back and 1/4" elastic sewn to it. And it was $15. Ok, here's where I admit I'm a little bit of a cheapskate. If I think I can make a thing (sometimes even if it will take me a long time and a great deal of thought) I will never pay for it, aside from supplies. I don't know why. I just can't help it. There was simply no way on earth I was going to pay $15 for something that required - at most - $4 of raw materials. Especially because it was an insanely easy thing to make. Plus, I didn't even know if they really were non-slip or not. (It turns out they really, really are.)
So, here's how to make my version:
1. Cut 2 lengths of ribbon 14" long.
2. Cut 2 lengths of Velvet Ric Rac Ribbon 14" long
3. Cut 1 piece of 1/4" elastic 7" long
(These measurements are for an adult noggin - you may want to adjust for kids or bigger/smaller heads.)
4. Stitch the 2 pieces of Velvet Ric Rac Ribbon side-by-side on one of the pieces of regular ribbon. This will be the interior of your headband. If you wish, you can use a basic ribbon like a grosgrain for your backing and save that extra fashion ribbon for another yummy project (or a second headband for a friend).
5. Place your 2 pieces of fashion ribbon right sides together with your elastic sandwiched in the middle. Stitch each end.
6. Flip your ribbon right side out and edge stitch the two pieces of fashion ribbon together along each long side.
No joke, it took me longer to type this than it does to make one. I have field tested these numerous times, and the one shown here (which I made last night) was immediately used for an hour long run, and never moved! Hooray!
This is a great project for kids or new stitchers - because it's so easy, quick and useful, it's a great way to build sewing confidence.
While the impetus for this project came from a runner's need to tame a flyaway mane, these headbands can be made with adorable flowers and butterflies for the perfect fairy hair accessory, or you can add a bit of glitz to glam it up for a special event or night on the town. I suspect many of my friends will be receiving these for holiday gifts this year!
September 21, 2010
LaLa Scarf: pattern found in Greetings from Knit cafe
I truly hate to write reviews of this nature: the love/hate variety. If I love something, words flow from my fingers with a vengeance and the same can be said for hate. It is when I both love and dislike something that my mind gets muddled and I can't decide which way to go and which characteristics to give precedence to. Arranging your compliments and complaints in a certain order can sway a reader as much as your words. Let's go with stream of consciousness with this and see how we do.
First, I want to clear and air. Love/hate is a saying that easily comes to mind but I feel that my relationship with the LaLa Scarf is LOVE (note the capitals)/ Grrr. I love the finished product. I love the color combinations and possibilities. I love the delicate and small nature of the scarf and I love the look of mohair and the ruffle specifically in mohair. The Grrr comes in because I found this pattern frustrating and not all was due to the pattern but also to my own hang-ups. First, I was confused by the pattern in places. The eyelet row instructs you to do a double YO first and then each eyelet following you should wrap the yarn 3 times. I found this ambiguous. I did as instructed but the eyelets were too big, looked sloppy and floppy and not quite right. The following eyelet rows I just did the double YO all the way across and it looks MUCH better and appropriate. If this is correct, what does the wrap 3 times allude to? I also had a really tough time on the picot loops. I followed the instructions for about 4-5 picot loops but found that my loops looked like rats nests and proceeded to carefully and awkwardly frog back and try again. I went slower this time but with the same result. I decided to leave off the loops and bind-off with the light green yarn to add a whisper of color at the bottom of the ruffle. I used Rowan Kid Silk Haze in Garden and Jelly.
The finished scarf is deliciously soft, flowy and delicate. I can imagine wearing this with a light t-shirt, jeans and tall boots to add color to an outfit and to take it from casual to luxurious. LaLa would also brighten a holiday dress or keep your neck warm on a stroll to take in the holiday lights. This pattern could accommodate other lightweight yarns for a sleeker look should you have a friend who is less mohair and more cashmere. Or a combination there of. Due to my hang-ups with mohair (it is so thin that it floats on air and glides so quickly across your needle that control is difficult) I would knit the bulk of the scarf in cashmere or alpaca and the ruffle in mohair (the ruffle looks amazing in mohair).
September 20, 2010
When I was pregnant and registering, I listed MANY books but the one I wanted the very most was Kwik Sew's Sewing for Baby. Yes, the cover looks antiquated, the overall style screams earlier decades and the book looks like it was put together, illustrated and planned for the 1970/80's but you must look past that to find the best sewing book for babies. I mean no disrespect to all the other baby books out there. They are great and I love sewing from them but this is the Bible/ Farmer's Almanac of sewing for baby books out there. Let's face it baby fashion hasn't really changed that much from when this book was conceived. Onesies, jumpers, dresses, & footed PJs are still the staples of baby closets from coast to coast. The only difference is from year to year the details change. What this book is prepared to offer you are the patterns and simple directions to create your baby wardrobe with customizations that are popular now. Each section shows you some customizations and points out where in the instructions and on the pattern you can make your own. Couple these customizations with choosing your own fabric and you can couture your little bundle to the sky and it will cost you a fraction and because our Wee Ones are so wee, it will take a fraction of your day.
I was lucky enough to be gifted this book at one of my showers by a very lovely neighbor. I spent many happy nap times drawing pattern changes, rummaging through my notions and trim drawers, cutting several patterns at a time and sewing up a new outfit by the time my little bit woke up. I was so excited because my babe was gifted long legs and (because I use cloth diapers) an ample booty, so thanks to this book I was able to make most of her pants to fit her exactly. Pjs were another problem for the same reasons. Dresses were just plain fun simply because they are so lovely and much easier than I imagined. If you are expecting a child, grandchild or know someone who is, Kwik Sew's Sewing for baby is a wonderful gift. It is like teaching a man to fish.Made from quilting cotton from our Retro Mod sectionKnot dress made from modified pattern pieces from Kwik Sew's Sewing for Baby and quilting cotton, cotton sateen, & linen. Bodice is lined. Made from pants pattern and cotton jersey.
September 18, 2010
This week the Merchants and myself are looking wistfully toward Fall despite the 90 degree days forcasted next week here in the Beautiful South. Here are a few things we wanted to point out this week that may put you in the mood for Fall as well.
When I asked Vickie what she loved this week, she mentioned the new Martha Stewart Halloween Craft products. Martha Stewart is especially inspired by Halloween. Her detailed punches, stickers and glitter collections reflect her love of all things fun and spooky. We are planning a Halloween party here at fabric.com again this year with costume and decorating contests. I cannot wait to see what Vickie is thinking up for the Merchandising area!
Shannon has fashion on her mind this week with the Hitachi Rayon Blend Jersey Knit. She says it's super soft and has awesome drape. She plans to create a few lightweight, slouchy sweater-type tops for Fall.
Lauren, our resident interior decorator, has just added some new Waverly coordinating collections of home decorating fabrics. Her favorie is the Waverly Loops and Swirls collection. She says they are very clean and modern without being stern. She especially likes the Leaf Garland pattern in all the color combinations.
I am excited about Fall fashion as well. I am trying to make 50% of my Fall wardrobe this year. I am still in the pattern testing and dreaming stages, so I am looking at all my options for fabric in my stash. I am also looking at all the new fabrics I could use that arrive here every week. My latest inspiration is the Wool Gauze. I am thining and Eileen Fisher type vest. I have been stalking that brand these days. I love the simple lines combined with luxurious fabrics.
Hope you have a little time to Oooh and Aahh over the things we loved this week. Have a great weekend!
September 17, 2010
Avast ye lubbers and bilge rats, ye dandies and beauties! This weekend be the time of International Talk Like a Pirate Day (Sept. 19th)!
Who among ye hasn't longed for a life of livin' free on the winds, away from the burdens of modern life, perhaps in a time when things were simpler?
Embrace that voice that whispers the promise of gold and adventure. Let your inner pirate loose for a while and feel unfettered freedom. Taste the salt of the ocean on your lips and a breeze on your face.
Even if ye be landlocked, there's no reason to let it limit yer spirit! Get yer mates together and sing a few shanties. Watch all yer favorite piratical movies all weekend long. Celebrate fun for fun's sake. And for the love of all that's holy, dress the part!
Seriously, I'm sitting in my office dressed as a pirate while I type this. It's silly, but it makes me happy. When people see me out and about today (oh, yes, I have to run errands at lunch), I'm sure many of them will think I look like a fool. But a handful will smile and remember that we need to make fun for ourselves (and sometimes of ourselves), every day. And those people are my people. Happy TLAPD, mates! May the wind always be at yer back!
Now, on to the project!
A Semi-Demi-Historically-Correct Pirate Shirt - No Pattern Required!
If you look
around online, you can find numerous fabulous tutorials on making an 18th
century style shirt for a gentleman (this is the correct style for most
pirates), often drawn from a wealth of historical sources. I have road tested
many such tutorials and found every one to be worthwhile, though some are
trickier than others. This version is made for me, so the measurements listed
below are for a medium-sized woman. The shirt is loose, but not so engulfing as
the ones I have made for my delightful spouse. Sometimes, ladies want pirate
I will also confess - I have to qualify this as "semi-demi" correct to time period because while the layout and assembly of this shirt is more or less the same as it would have been back in the 18th century, I'm going with modern construction methods and changing up some of the measurements. Whereas a true 18th century man's shirt would be much longer, this one is shortened for modern convenience's sake. I even skip the traditional heart reinforcement at the bottom of the neck opening. Feel free to add it!
Here's what you need:
-2-3 yards of 58-60" wide fabric. Linen is lovely and will make for a fancy shirt. Muslin or broadcloth works fine for rough-and-tumble pirates. I like gauze because the shirts I make are often going to be worn in very warm climates.
-Your sewing machine
- Optional interfacing: a small scrap of a woven fabric like muslin or broadcloth, about 18"x10" is plenty.
1. 1. 1.Measure across the shoulders, and add 12" to that measurement. This will be the width of your shirt. The length is twice the length you wish the finished garment to be, plus a few inches for hem and adjustment. I'm short, so mine is 60" long. (Alter to suit your taste, of course!)
2. 2. Cut 2 22"x22" squares. These will be the sleeves. (Again, these can be lengthened or widened to suit.)
3. 3. Cut 2 3.5" squares for neck line gussets. (If you're not sure what a gusset is, hang in there! You'll see!)
4. 4. Cut 2 6" squares for underarm gussets.
5. 5. Cut the collar 2-2.5" longer than the circumference of your neck, and 5" high.
6. 6. Cut two cuffs 2.5" wide and 10-11" long.
7. 7. Cut one piece 2.5" wide and 11" long for your neck opening facing.
8. 8. Cut 2 2" squares for hem gussets.
9. 9. Cut 2 7" x 3" pieces for shoulder reinforcements.
Lay out these
measurements in whatever way makes the best use of your fabric. It will probably
be useful to sketch things out on paper first. This is how mine ended up:
On to the stitching, mateys!
Create the neck opening:
the body in half or so it is slightly longer at the back. The fold will be your
or measure to find the center of your garment at the shoulder fold.
- Cut along your first fold 9" from center to either side.
8-10" down the center front to form front neck opening. If you're a more modest
pirate, you can shorten this cut.
Set in Front Neck Facing:
slash in the center of your front facing to match your front neck opening.
sides together, sew facing to front neck slash, forming a V at the lowest point
of the neck opening.
facing to inside of garment and stitch down, turning under raw edges if
Inset shoulder reinforcers and neck gussets (this bit's tricky!):
both neck gussets diagonally.
a 3.5" slit in the center of one end of each shoulder reinforcer.
I highly recommend basting this next bit. Once you see how it goes together, it is much easier to understand what's happening here.
wrong side of body up, lay triangle into place on one edge of neck opening, and
lay shoulder reinforce over it, also wrong side up.
one side, pivot at triangle, and baste along other side. Once it's basted, turn
and check. Shoulder reinforce should sit on outside of shirt.
- Machine stitch over basting.
facing to outside and top stitch facing into place along shoulder line, folding
under raw edges.
have a funky little fold/lip of fabric at the neck. Trim out these pieces to smooth neck
Apply the Collar:
collar in half along its length. If you are using a gauzy fabric, cut a piece
of interfacing the size of the folded piece out of any non-stretch scrap you
have handy. Broadcloth or muslin is excellent.
each end with a ¼" seam allowance, catching in interfacing if you're using it.
Turn and baste interfacing to one side of collar.
the center and quarters of the collar.
- - Mark center back of shirt neck. The centers of the neck gussets are your quarter marks.
neckline of shirt to match the collar and baste into place along interfaced edge of collar. (If you're not interfacing, just pick one side of the collar or the other.) Leave the gusset
sections flat - do not gather. I usually use a needle and thread and a quick
running stitch for this, gathering and basting all in one go.
- - Once you've checked the basting seam and adjusted gathers as you like them, machine stitch with a ½" seam allowance.
stitch interior edge of collar into place, catching in raw edges of seam
Hem and Hem Gussets:
- - Turn shirt wrong side out, folding at shoulder.
down 11" from fold and stitch the side seam, leaving a 4-6" opening at the
- - Fold hem gussets into triangles.
- - Set the gussets into the tail/hem slit by sewing up one side of the triangle, pivoting at the apex of the triangle (which should align with side seam), and sewing down the other. Here's a terribly fuzzy picture of the affair:
- - Fold in raw edges of tail slit. Press and stitch into place.
- - Turn up hem front and back and stitch, enclosing raw edges.
Assemble the Sleeves:
one edge of sleeve gusset to edge of sleeve piece (join at the part of the
sleeve that will be the underarm area).
gusset out and stitch to other side of sleeve, continuing seam down the length
of the sleeve, leaving 4-5" open at the bottom.
assembled, your sleeve should look like this:
- - Hem the cuff opening by turning in raw edges and stitching in place.
cuffs to sleeve using the same method you used to attach the collar to the
neck. As before, interfacing with a lightweight fabric is optional.
Attach the Sleeves (it's almost done, I promise!):
- - Mark top of sleeve (the fold opposite the point of the gusset), and quarter sleeves. Mark the correlated points in the sleeve opening.
sleeve to fit sleeve opening and baste in place.
the fit and your gathers, and machine stitch into place.
Buttonholes (Sort of optional):
- Since most pirate dress-up involves keeping things loose and rakish, you're probably not going to be buttoning your collar and cuffs anyway. If you're pressed for time or just don't feel like it, skip it! (You can always add them later.)
- If you do wish to complete your look with buttonholes and buttons, stitch a buttonhole large enough to accommodate your choice of buttons on each back cuff edge, and two buttonholes on the left side of the collar (as you're facing it), one close to the base of the collar and one approx 1.5" down from the top edge. As always, play with these measurements to suit your fancy.
There! You've done it!
Remember, being piratey means making your own way in the world. If you want to change up your shirt to suit your own style, by all means do so! Skip the hem gussets if you like. Make the sleeves shorter or longer. Add lace at the neck and sleeves. (Nerd note: historically, the delicate lace would be set into a fabric casing which was basted onto the garment openings. The lace could then be removed for washing to prevent damage.)
Chart your own course -- there's nothing truer to your inner pirate!
September 16, 2010
It is no secret that Halloween is my favorite holiday. I have always loved planning, designing and creating Halloween throughout the house, whether that be costumes or (my favorite) decorations. Costumes are one day of fun but decorations are a whole month long! It is this time of year that I am especially glad to be crafty. While I love shopping for Halloween goodies, I know my neighbors do too and at all the same places. It is no fun for every house to be the same so making my decorations if doubly fun. Here are some of my favorite patterns around Ravelry that I am planning on making this year to spook up my house and give that extra ghoulish factor!
Felted Pumpkin: I have made several of these over the years because they are so fun. They are also (say it with me) a quick knit, so when I get in the Halloween spirit I also run to my wool and make another. It is a yearly tradition. You can change the size to be as BIG as you want or as teeny as you want. It is knit in pieces so it is another great project to knit in the car on your way to the Apple Pickin' Jubilee. You might want to add some opposing increase/decrease to help your stem bendy and not look so excited, as mine does. Yarn Recommended: Berocco Ultra Alpaca light (plently of pumpkin colors to choose from)
Spider- Hey- let it not be said that I do not love our Crochet friends, I am just not a crocheter (YET). I love, love, love this spider. He is creepy and cute at the same time- very difficult to pull off. I suspect he is also quick to whip up and also the legs are flexible so the kids will love playing with him and bending him to their will. Yarn Recommended: Gedifra Angora Merino (this will give a good fuzzy spidery feel)
Scream felt Wreath- I almost died of Halloween excitement when I beheld this wreath. I am already a big proponent of wreaths and wreath-like crafts so this was right up my alley. It screams perfect for Halloween in every way. It is felted so it will last and mistakes are allowed. It is creepy. You can choose your own colors! What fun. Yarn Recommended: Rowan Cocoon (lots of Halloween colors)
Halloween Softies- Just plain cute and perfect for the kids. They can decorate their room with Halloween goodness that won't leave them with nightmares or wondering if that knitted/crocheted ghost comes alive at night and waits in their closets. They softies will bring some whimsy to those who prefer a cuter Halloween sans gore, demons and blood oozing down walls. Yarn Recommended: Lion Brand Wool Ease
Corn Hat- This is perfect for adults
forced lovingly walking their
children from house to house All Hallow's Eve. No need to dress up, one hat is
your costume. Plus you won't disappoint the kids with the lack of enthusiasm.
You can deliver the message of "don't worry; I won't be feeding all the candy to
my kids. At least half goes to me". Additionally, should it be cold where you
and your family will be haunting the streets, your ears will thank you for your
sweet, Halloween Spirit. Yarn
September 14, 2010
Of all the knitting bags I have made (it might be JUST short of 100), Amy Butler's Stash N Dash is one of the top 3. It is perfect for knitting on the go (which I do a lot), small projects (my current obsession), socks and gifts. I made the biggest, Toiletry Bag, and it is perfect. I have decided I can use it as a project bag- in which I only have to pull out my needle, zip it and knit. It holds my yarn, tangle free and keeps it from rolling all over. This is also perfect when just knitting on the couch (keeps my yarn from little fingers) or at the Doctor's office. The strap hangs from your wrist so you can wear your yarn and quickly stash it away. The toiletry bag is also great for notions, wristlet for quick shopping trips, or a treasure bag for a little lady or man to tote their polished rocks, shiny coins or red marbles around. Oh and the bag is more spacious inside than it looks on the outside.
The Stash N Dash is quick to cut and sew up. I used a combo of quilting cotton (strap and top of bag) and home dec (lining and bottom of the bag) so I just interfaced the quilting cotton. Some more bags are definitely coming up and I am thinking of adding the straps or a little loop to hook a strap onto the smaller bags. These bags are a great option for Christmas presents because you can create a set in any fabric to match the recipient: dupioni silk for my sister in law, funky cotton for my mom and solids for my mother-in-law. These are also great teacher gifts, neighbors and the friend who has everything.
September 13, 2010
You are finally done knitting that project (sweater,
blanket, shawl, etc) and you can't wait to wear it or use it in some fashion
but you still need to weave in all your ends. "I can just tuck them in here or
just take the needle and real fast slide them here", you say as you try to
justify cutting corners. Trust me; this is another place where you want to run
the straight and narrow. Just like Swatching is so very important, so too is weaving in your
ends. Think of it this way: You see a super awesome dress. It is in a cut you
know will make you look HOT, the color is just right to set off your ________,
and it will go perfect with your favorite shoes. You, of course purchase it and head home but traffic is tough all the way. It is bumper to bumper and it takes you
hours to get home. But you have your HOT new dress, so you are still feeling
great once you get home. The only thing you want to do when you walk in the
door is put on your new dress so you can see how HOT it is. But once you try it
on you can see there are threads hanging out everywhere; they tickle you as you
wear your dress, they hang out past the hem, out the sleeves and neckline. You
take off your dress and turn it inside out to get a good look and your HOT
dress is a hot mess of threads, seams and doesn't look finished at all.
Disappointed you throw your
HOT dress in the closet; you know you can't
take it back (traffic was terrible) and even though it did make you look
amazing, you can't get past the tickling ends and sloppy inside. You never wear
your dress again.
Now, the same can be said of knitting. You don't want to put all those hours in only to be left with a piece that looks unfinished, especially if it is a gift. Weaving in is easy and fast compared to knitting a whole project and can leave a sense of satisfaction that only a well made project can leave. Doing it well is the culmination of saving up for the yarn, making time to knit, ripping back on a tricky part and finally, finally casting off. You can't go through all that only to skimp on the finishing.
Weaving in is just imitating stitches with your tail ends. If you take a close look at your project you can follow the yarn and mimic your stitch for any pattern and make your ends disappear. This is easily demonstrated with Stockinette. On the knit side you want to follow your knit Vs and on the purl side you want to blend in with the purl bumps. Since all stitches are combo of knitting and purling, for any other stitch it is just as easy as imitating that combo of knit Vs and purl bumps. Take your time on the trickier stitches. If it helps, take a piece of contrasting yarn and follow your Vs and bumps and once you are sure you have got it, go over the contrasting yarn with your tail ends and then remove the contrast. Think of it as your trail of bread crumbs.
September 10, 2010
Shannon - I have yet to use it, but I have some stored waiting for the perfect project. I love the fashion forward prints and super soft voile fabric from Westminster. The combination of the designs and the quality of the fabric are exquisite.
Lauren - Was crowing about this print as soon as the sales rep showed it to her! This stylized Rooster is a fantastic motif to brighten up a retro kitchen or create re-usable (and washable) grocery bags.
Andrea - Military inspired fashions are a big trend this fall season. This military inspired jacket would look great paired with jeans and boots!
Kristl - Cute and Luxurious, not two words you usually see together. This velvet ricrac combines both beautifully. Stitch it on pillows or clothing, or lightly glue it on crafts and paper crafting.
One of my cardinal rules when it comes to costumes: never forget the importance of headgear. A perfectly lovely ensemble sometimes gets lost in the crowd if it doesn't have the right touch of zazz to top it off.
The top hat is a costume classic - but no one wants to wear the same old chapeau from the party store that everyone else has! So, here's a not-so-quick little tutorial on how to cover your standard felt top hat and make it something special. All you need is:
- a hat
- a yard of fabric (you'll have tons left over to make a handbag or pocket square)
- a needle (curved is best)
- about a yard of 1" grosgrain ribbon (again, leftovers)
- tacky glue.
And of course, whatever bits and bobs you want to embellish your finery and really make it extraordinary. One word of note up front: this project is heavy on the hand sewing!
BEFORE YOU START: Remove any trim, edging, etc. from your hat. You want just the hat, nothing else!
1. Trace the crown and brim of your hat onto paper. Since most brims have been steamed to curl up slightly on the edges, make sure you get as flat a tracing as possible so your pattern won't run small. Inside the oval you traced for the brim, center the crown and trace it again. Add about 1/2" seam allowance to the edges of your tracing to create your pattern.
2. Measure the height and circumference of the sides of your hat. On the bias, cut a piece of fabric just a little larger than these measurements (1/2" extra on all sides is a safe plan). This is the first element we'll fit to the hat, and it will probably require a few passes to get it just right.
3. Sew the side piece closed and wiggle it down onto your hat so the seam sits at the back of the hat. Adjust as needed. You want it to be fairly taut. If your hat tapers towards its top, you will need to angle your seam slightly.
4. Cut 2 brim pieces from your fabric. I generally try to cut on the bias, but you have some leeway if you need to rotate things a little.
5. Snip around the interior circle of your brim pieces. I normally snip a little more conservatively on the piece that will go on the underside of the hat.
6. Place your top brim piece onto the hat, and fold under the bottom edges of your side piece so they cover the raw edges of the brim fabric.
7. Hand stitch the side fabric to the brim. This is where a curved needle will really save your sanity.
8. Stitch the edge of the brim fabric down to the edge of the hat. if you can manage doing so with a sewing machine, it will go faster. If your hat is uncooperative, you may have to do it by hand. This is a basting stitch, so no need to worry about perfection!
9. Cut 1 crown piece from your fabric.
10. Lay the crown piece onto the crown of the hat. Tuck the raw edges into the fabric on the side of the hat, folding the side fabric under as neatly as you can. Hand sew the crown in place. I find this is one of those times that pinning is my friend. It allows me to get a nice tight fit arranged before I start stitching.
11. Stitch the lower brim fabric onto your hat at the outer edge the same way you did the upper brim.
12. Trim the brim fabric so it matches up to the edge of the hat's brim. This is normally the time I start thinking, "Hey! This actually looks like a hat!"
13. Cut a piece of bias approximately 2.5" wide, and long enough to go around the outer edge of your brim (plus 5-7 extra inches, for safety). This can be pieced if you don't have one strip long enough to do the whole job.
14. Sew the bias to the top of your brim, lining up one long raw edge with the brim's edge. You'll want to fold your bias at the beginning. This is another time the sewing machine will make your life easier. (Thanks Elias Howe!) This seam should be as neat as possible, so if you go the hand-sewing route, be sure to take your time and make your stitches as even as you can.
15. Fold the unstitched edge of the bias over the brim edge to the underside of the hat. Play with where you wish to place the fold until you like the look of things. This becomes more important if you are using a contrasting fabric for your binding. Hand stitch the bias binding to the underside of the brim as carefully as you can.
16. Flip the hat so the interior is exposed to you. Check to see how well the snipped edges of the brim's interior edge fold into the hat. Adjust clipping as needed.
17. Run a bead of glue (any tacky glue works fine) all along the interior of the hat, then push your raw edges down into it. Be careful not to get glue on the exposed parts of your chapeau! I like to wrap another hat with plastic wrap and snug it inside the hat I'm working on to ensure that the fabric adheres smoothly into place. Any object you can find that will apply light pressure to the inside of the hat will also work.
18. Time for a break! You've gotta give the glue some time to dry, so make a snack, watch television, go to the movies, or doze off. Drying times vary depending on glue and fabric, so give it a while. If you're feeling crazy industrious, you can always start another project.
19. Once the glue has dried, hand sew your grosgrain ribbon to the interior of the hat, overlapping the ends by an inch or so. You're so close!
20. EMBELLISH TIME! This is always the fun part. Add a pretty hat band. Feathers are always fab. Silk or fabric flowers, crazy birds, that weird bauble you bought with no plan -- now is the the time to let your inner milliner run free!
Voila! You are now a hatter, and not a hint of mercury poisoning. ;)
For this project, I used dupioni silk. My other example hat features black velvet and tulle with various trims I had in my stash.
Tune in next week for another project for your costume trunk! It's themed in honor of Talk Like a Pirate Day, so if you've ever dreamed of life as a seafaring scallywag (and really, who hasn't?), it'll be right up your alley!
September 9, 2010
Everyone needs a sewing machine cover for, umm, business purposes. You know, for, umm, covering your business. Bah- who cares? If you really need to make an excuse for making a sewing machine cover than perhaps you have too much business. They are super fast to make (most of the time) and super cute. Just another way to drape fabric around your sewing room, nook, or desk. A sewing machine cover helps keep the dust at bay (dust can gather in your machine, messing up your tension), can keep little hands away, block spills, etc. but really the reason I made one- not that all those above reasons aren't correct and, of course, great, but that is not why I made one. I wanted to make my machine pretty. When non-sewers com over, as impressive as my machine is (and let me tell you, this baby is loaded) they won't notice or care. It will just be a sewing machine to them. Like a banana or a pot hole. Not "Wow what a great machine", just "Hey, you've got a sewing machine! So do you sew"? But now, it will be "Wow, that is cute, I love it". Plus it makes me smile every time I walk in the room. And isn't that why we all sew, to make ourselves happy! So if you want to carve up a little more happiness for your machine there are tons of tutorials out there: Patchwork, selvedge, ribbon. But I used a simple tutorial that I think all will love by Sparkle Power. Candace used 3 vintage prints plus the lining, which looks amazing. I just had about 1 yd of this retro, bird print that I have been itching to put in my room somewhere. So you can use this tutorial for as many prints as you want to use. Just follow the basics. Mine took about 30 min from cutting to topstitching. I was able to use some fabric I had bought from the Retro & Mod Section and I had some awesome grosgrain ¾ in ribbon. Unfortunately for me, I thought I was being clever when I measured my existing cover (that came with the machine) instead of the machine. I failed to take into account that the first cover was more/less free standing where as my new one would be more drappy so it is too long. I am going to say that I love the look regardless because I have no time to fix it. Don't try my clever route, measure your machine. Be sure and post your cover pictures on our Facebook page so all can admire and compliment.
September 8, 2010
I have my own theories on why socks are so mesmerizing. Let me regal you.
1) Socks are quick
2) There are a gazillion patterns so there is something for everyone
3) Everyone wears/loves socks so you have a go-to knitted present
4) You can be secretly wild with socks and no one will know but you.
There as many ways to knit socks as there are sock patterns. You can be traditional and use DPNs (Double Pointed Needles), Magic Loop (that's me), 2 circulars, 2 socks at a time, Toe Up (Also my preferred) and Cuff Down, etc. The easiest way to figure out your prefect combo of techniques it to try them all. I only recently (this year) knit my first, second and third pair of socks. This is because I was trying out all the different methods. I found what works for me and now I enjoy socks and have found the addiction. Also once you figure out which sock knitter you are you can purchase your needles. Since I am a magic looper, I bought all my sock needle sizes (00, 0, 1, 2, & 3, and every size in between) in 40-60 in. length cables.
There are some key techniques that every sock knitters needs in his or her bag. The first is a good cast-on (even if you prefer toe-up you might find a pattern you MUST make that is cuff down) that is stretchy and easy. The second if a good stretchy bind-off (Super stretchy bind-off). Three is practice with short rows (toe box and heel). Another good piece of info to know: needle size 00 through 4 have sizes in between in millimeters. Get familiar with them; they can help you obtain the correct gauge. Lastly, I know that store bought socks are cheap and easy but a handmade sock is a luxury few but knitters know. You can give that luxury to those you love and customize it to them. A hand knit sock fits perfectly and feels so lovely (better than a really great cup of coffee or big glass of wine).
P.s: The red sock is knit in Regia Kaffe Fassett in Mirage Fire,a toe-up pattern is coming up in October! The other sock is knit in a sock yarn purchased years ago with a lost ball band (Don't ya hate that), the pattern is cuff-down, Jaywalker.
Check out our great selection of Sock Yarn- Super Yummy!
September 6, 2010
The Ruffler foot attachment is one of the most fun feet available for your sewing machine but it can be intimidating, frustrating and complicated. Rufflers attach in either screw-on (like changing out a shank) or snaps onto to your existing shank though some require the purchase of a low shank.
When I first received my ruffle I was pumped to get started but I was disappointed with the instructions and low quality pictures that came with it. "Surely I can figure this out myself", I thought, and "how hard can this be". Hard is the answer. This foot is an enigma wrapped in a puzzle embroidered with secrets. But hopefully my tips and pictures will make it easier for you to enjoy this essential attachment.
· I insert and line up my fabric before attaching my ruffle to the machine. This helps because I have more room to work my fabric in and not the tight area where the ruffle attaches.
· I DO NOT use the feeder prongs. All the videos I have watched advise you to use these 3 prongs to guide and feed your fabric. I find the prongs to only complicate things. 1) They don't allow me control over my seam allowance. 2) Getting your fabric lined up in the ruffle then under and around those prongs is too much work for no gain. 3) I just don't wanna
· Work the foot around the needle arm before attaching it to your shank.
· !!Line up your needle with the hole before you start sewing!!
· Use a basting stitch
· Make sure all adjustments for the machine and foot are tight and recheck often. My needle has fallen out and so has my foot because I didn't recheck half way through a really long ruffle.
· Use a medium speed.
· A problem with the ruffler is probably a problem with your machine. The only reason I discovered a crack in my bobbin case was because every time I used my ruffler my bobbin thread would knot up to the 100th degree. Everything else I sewed was fine.
· The star means no ruffle. It took me extensive internet searching to discover that. It was not noted in my included instructions.
September 3, 2010
For this red flower, I used scraps of moleskin fabric. Duchess Satin works really great as well. I cut the graduated petal shapes, along with a small and large circle for the top and the bottom. Burn the edges first, and then stack from largest to smallest, sewing through the center with needle and thread. I like to baste stitch the larger circle on the bottom for added stability. You can then attach a pin or hair clip to the back. You can also use decorative buttons for the top center. These flowers make great accessories and decorations!For this yellow flower, I used this Swish Nylon Fabric. Claudine Hellmuth's Multi-Medium Gloss is great for fabric flowers- it can add a glossy finish, or in this case, allowed me to glue two petals together with a floral wire in the center (floral wire and floral tape available at your local craft store). Depending on how large you wish your flower to be, the weight of the fabric petals might cause your flower to lack the desired structure, so adding wire is a great option! For the center of this flower, I felted some olive and chocolate wool roving. Using floral tape, attach your center to a floral stem and add each petal till you have a beautiful, blooming flower!
These fabric flowers are quick and fun to make and the possibilities are endless! I enjoy finding fun ways to use scraps, and this is definitely my favorite. Just in case you don't have any fabric scraps (gasp!) check out the Florentina Flower Brooches; fabric flowers for everyone!
September 1, 2010
The perfect beginning to the fall fashion season is a good jacket and in my eyes there is no better jacket than the Midtown Trench by Indygo Junction. This was a surprisingly quick project. With all the details and beautiful flares in this pattern (large cuff, box pleats, and portrait collar) I would have thought that this was a time investment but the opposite was the case. The pattern was very well written and it seemed everything lined up and was excellently illustrated. The only trouble I had was with the hem. I ended up doing a 2.5 in. double turn hem as opposed to what was written. Also my auto buttonhole foot did not accommodate 1.25 in. buttons so I had to free hand it. I have learned that button holes are not my forte. Now buttons, I rocked those. No one sews on a button like Tara Miller. I kept the hand sewing to a minimum by doing the double turn hem and I stitched in the ditch to tack down the facings at the shoulders. That worked well. I would recommend any of our designer prints for this or smooth sateen or twill fabric. I used a size 14 needle and all purpose thread. You will need a large space to layout and cut your fabric; some of the pattern pieces are large. The fabric is Love by Amy Butler and it was great fun to work with as well. Not a big hit with the husband but all my girlfriends and mom loved it.
The top stitching incorporated in the pattern adds a lovely and professional finished. The back box pleats really add some extra swing to this jacket. The ¾ length sleeves, large cuffs and wide portrait collar are really 'on trend' but are still classics to last years. The fact that this jacket is so quick makes it easy to make several in different patterns and colors. There are 2 different versions included in the pattern. I made the shorter version without patch pockets. You can make the short for a fall jacket in some of our designer prints and the longer in laminated cotton as a great rain coat. The jacket called for 3 3/8 yd of 60 in. fabric and 3 7/8 yd of 45 in. fabric, 1/8 yd of interfacing and five 1 to 1 1/4 in. buttons. I used 5 of our ceramic buttons in a herringbone pattern. They look incredible with this print; the buttons match perfectly.