October 2010 Archives

Autumn Stars Sock: A free knitting pattern download

October 29, 2010

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My Autumn Stars Sock pattern for Fabric.com was firstly inspired by the yarn. I often find myself cruising the Fabric.com website looking for project ideas and when I saw this Kaffe Fassett Designer line I was curious. I loved the super wash but I fell head-over-heels (pun apurpose) for this colorway. It embodied all fall to me in its jewel tones variegated throughout with a heavy emphasis on red. As I knit the Regia into my sock pattern it only served to prove me right in my choice. The feel is amazing; my foot thanked me every time I tried on the sock to adjust the fit and gauge the pattern.

This pattern is secondly inspired by my first date with my husband. It was a fall evening much like we are experiencing now in Georgia and we were in college. Earlier in the day my Astronomy professor encouraged us to watch that evening's meteor shower. My husband and I later spent our first hours getting to know each other, not in a nosy restaurant or a dark theater, but under the autumn stars. The cascading eyelet lace pattern that I chose reminds me of that night.

This is a surprisingly simple pattern that can be memorized for enjoyable movie watching or conversations by the fire. A short row toe and heel make for a comfy fit and no seaming. I have also incorporated Jen's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-off to ensure a comfy, easy fit throughout the whole sock. The only notions you will need are a tapestry needle, stitch markers and a measuring tape. This toe up sock pattern is quick and great for last minute gifts or holiday stocking stuffers (I am done with the puns, I think...)

For more project info check out my Autumn Stars Sock Project page on Ravelry

 

Costume Trunk: the Last-Minute Cape That Doesn't Look Last-Minute

October 28, 2010

Here we are at the end of this year's Costume Trunk series. I hope you've had fun and that all your costuming projects have been great successes.

Since we're so close to Halloween weekend, I wanted to close out with an all-too-familiar last-minute scenario:

We've all been there. You find out hours before a party that it's a costume affair. Your child or spouse promised someone that you could absolutely make them a cape for that play... and forgot to tell you until the dress rehearsal. Or, life got busy and robbed you of costume prep time before Halloween.

Fear not! Even when you're in a crunch, you can churn out a quick costume piece that will earn you awed gazes from your fans and admirers. I can usually bang one of these out in about 90 minutes, which includes interruptions from my pets and my beloved. Once you have the construction down, you can really churn them out at a rapid pace.

What you need for this is a sizable piece of fabric -- I grabbed a piece of flocked taffeta I had left over from a costume several years ago that added up to about three yards. You want enough that you can cut 2 decent-sized squares out of it.

Ready, set, go!

1. Cut your fabric into 2 squares, one larger than the other.  You will likely want to cut them as large as you possibly can. Mine are 40"x40" and 60"x60"

Note: for my larger square I had to piece it from 2 pieces which were 60"x30" so if you don't have a full square, you might be able to creatively build one.

2. Fold your squares in half, then in half again along the first fold to make smaller squares.

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3. Locate the corner of the first square where both folds pivot. This would be the center of the original piece of fabric if you were to unfold it.

4. Use a yardstick to measure the side of your square, then pivot the yardstick at the fold point described above and mark that same distance from one corner of your folded square to the other side, so you create an arc of marks.

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5. Repeat the process above using a radius of 3" -- this will create the neck circle.

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6. Cut both of the arcs your created with your marks. You should have a circle with a hole in the center of it.

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7. Repeat steps above for your second square of fabric, marking the radii of the full length and neck circle and cutting along both lines.

8. You will need to cut along one fold of your fabric to create an opening in the circle.

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9. If desired, finish straight edges and large lower arc of your circle. I used a quick and dirty rolled hem. For non-fraying fabrics or for costumes where a rough edge is acceptable, you could even skip this step.

10. Lay smaller circle on top of larger circle, right sides down and matching up neck edge.

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11. Stitch circles together along neck edge.

12. Flip smaller circle out to the right side.

13. Set a piece of ribbon between the two cape layers and machine at front edge of both sides of cape. This both attaches the ribbon and hides the neck seam.

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14. Press if you wish. Your 2-layer cape is done! Go trick-or-Treating! If you want to go fancy schmancy, you can always add a bit of trim for extra sparkle!

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Have a safe and happy Halloween!






Kwik Sew Decorative V Neck

October 27, 2010

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The Kwik Sew Decorative V neck Top is a great pattern. Not only does it live up to its name, Kwik Sew, but it was easy. This pattern came together in about 3-4 hours including resting the fabric, measuring, cutting and sewing. I was most pleased at how quick it really was. On my initial read through of the instructions I was pretty confident it would be a fast project but you never know once you get into a pattern and this was my first Kwik Sew Pattern experience. I think the real time save was the seam down the middle of the front of the shirt. This short cut doesn't detract from the style or hang of the shirt but it does make it super easy to attach the ruffle. The ruffle pattern piece also helped to quicken the pattern. It is in a spiral shape so the ruffle is created in the cutting not in gathers. I was so excited when I saw this. I also appreciated the construction method of this top, similar to that laid out in Sew U: the Home Stretch.

The Mods: I used a very light weight rayon jersey. It is not quite a tissue tee material but it is slippery with a lot of drape (very like slinky) and SOFT. The drape posed some problems with construction and especially with pictures. I suspect the knit used in the envelope pictures had more weight and less drape. I like the look of both. I have to say that the shirt feels like a dream, looks amazing and fits better than I had imagined. I didn't modify the pattern too much but I didn't want to make what was already displayed on the envelope. I added bracelet length sleeves. I wanted the ruffle shirt but with cold weather incoming the need for a sleeveless shirt is a long way off. It was really easy and I was please that the sleeves from View A fit View B's pattern pieces. The only change I made was to take 6 in. off the bottom of the sleeve. This does make me wonder why there are 2 different pattern pieces for view A and B.  The neckline is low but not self-consciously low. It is flattering and comfortable. It will also look great with a lace edge camisole underneath. This ruffle shirt also looks great under an open jacket. The ruffle can soften a military style jacket.

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Amy Butler's Midwest Mod Zinnia Pillow

October 25, 2010

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Amy Butler's Midwest Mod Zinnia Pillow was a challenge but I love it. Let me jump right into it. I wanted to do something different with this pattern. It looks amazing in quilting cotton but I wanted to try to make this pillow more traditional to give it a different audience and show its versatility. I picked a cotton velvet that is delicious. My hope was that this more traditional fabric coupled with a more modern pattern would be a middle ground between modern and traditional, be appealing to both parties and maybe gather in some transitional, vintage and eclectic fans as well. That being said this pattern was a dozy but perhaps you can learn from my mistakes and take away the same or better finished pillow and avoid the pitfalls.

Pitfalls:

The velvet, while dreamy, is difficult and thick. I recommend cutting the back of each petal from coordinating broadcloth to reduce some bulk. I could not add the pleat on each petal due to thickness and also could not add the 3rd round of small petals due to bulk (it simply would not fit under my foot).  I also wish that Amy had included the circle patterns and not just instructions to draw them. I am clumsy when it comes to drawing circles so I found an embroidery hoop that was about 15 in. but it was a little small and so was my pattern piece. It didn't mess up anything; it just would have been nice. Also, I pinned all the petals in the center to sew the 2 circle together which helped keep them out of my way. The velvet shifts a bunch so having the broadcloth on the back will help with that. The shifting really got in my way when I was tacking down the petals. I used my walking foot a lot to help with the shifting of the velvet. Most of my issues were due to bulk but just the sheer number of petals was a little disheartening. They were all small so it didn't take as long as I thought to sew them up. The finished product is definitely worth it.  Some trouble also occurred with making the fabric buttons, but I used needle nose pliers to straighten the prongs a bit and was able to get the fabric to hold. But our glass buttons would also look incredible.

I must admit I am even more impressed with this pillow in person than on the pattern picture. It is gorgeous. Even my husband has admitted that it is a beautiful pillow. Though I would not talk anyone out of using velvet just not exclusively; I would recommend a linen or silk instead if going for a less funky- more subtle look. This pattern, once freed from its retro inspired roots is a perfect addition to an elegant, traditional living room, French colonial family room or even a Tuscan retreat! 

The Costume Trunk: A Poufy, Puffy Petti-Skirt

October 22, 2010

Oh, the envy I have felt in my heart while watching little girls twirl in their glorious petti-skirts! It always seems so unfair that whimsical designs are made only in little sizes. The ones you can find in adult sizes are usually a little anemic when it comes to ruffle-osity, which is totally unacceptable.

One of the great benefits of having sewing skills is the fact that I can take matters into my own hands and make up for the short-sightedness of apparel manufacturers who think only little girls under the age of seven might want to spin and giggle in fluffy finery.

So, into the fray I decided to go, to make myself a petti-skirt. If I had known what awaited me, I might have turned back.

Be warned, brave costumers! Should you decide to churn out one of these babies for yourself, a life of cutting long strips of fabric, seemingly without end, awaits you!

Seriously, it just takes some patience. I am a fairly patient seamstress, but I found mine running a little dry at several points on this project. But never fear - costumes, like fairy tales, usually have a happy ending.

I primarily used the awesome Seraphina Chiffon we got in stock recently for this project. It's a poly chiffon with a weave almost like a knit, but there's little to no stretch to it. And the important part: it doesn't fray! Sometimes it will run if stretched vigorously across the grain, so I opted to cut my ruffling strips in the other direction - problem solved!

Here are the cutting details for my adult petti-skirt:

Top tier/yoke (I used Nu-Suede):

Cut 2 pieces 8" x 45"

First tier of ruffles (Seraphina Chiffon):

Cut 7" wide strips of fabric with the grain to get 360" worth of length. Piece if you need - I just cut the full length of a 10 yard piece for my first layer.

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Second tier of ruffles (Seraphina Chiffon):

Cut 7" wide strips with the grain to get 1440" worth of length. With my 10 yard piece, this was 4 strips.

Yoke Lining (China Silk):

                Cut 2 pieces 11" x 45"

Lining ruffle (Organza):

                Cut 9" wide strips with the grain to get 360" worth of length.

Elastic:

Cut a piece of 1" wide elastic the length of your waist plus 1".

So, with all that cutting, I hope you had some good music or a movie to watch! I have read pettiskirt tutorials which suggest cutting multiple layers of the sheer ruffle fabric at one time. My luck in this endeavor was hit-or-miss, so I ended up going the careful but pokey route and only cutting one layer at a time.

On to the stitching, which is a simple though time-consuming affair:

-          Join all your bottom tier ruffles together end-to-end to make one long strip of ruffle material. Do not close the circle - all gathering will be done with the skirt open on one side so you can handle it as a flat piece. Much easier that sewing in the round!

-          Gather bottom tier ruffles to middle tier using the gathering method of your choice. I had a bad argument with my ruffle foot and it hasn't agreed to take me back yet, so I did the gathering by hand. If your relationship with your ruffler is better, have at it! It will go much more quickly!

-          Join the two top tier/yoke pieces on one side. Again, do not stitch together on the second side yet!

-          Gather middle tier to top yoke in the same manner you used to attach the bottom tier.

-          Once all ruffling on the outer layer is done, close up the side of the skirt.

-          Join the two yoke lining pieces on either side so you make a closed circle.

-          Stitch the yoke lining to the top edge of the yoke, right sides together. At this point, you should have a skirt that looks like this:


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-          Fold the lining inside the yoke, and stitch a 1" wide casing into the waist.


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-          Stitch your lining ruffle pieces together end-to-end, leaving open on one end.

-          Gather lining ruffle to yoke lining. I cheated here and just hand gathered as I stitched, which saved my sanity. When I finished the circle, I overlapped the ruffle fabric about 2-3". I didn't even bother to close the lining ruffle seam.

Ok, at this point, I was feeling quite hateful to this monstrosity. It was getting to be a heavy, unwieldy behemoth of ruffles.

 

And then I put it on.

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It gave me that magical fairy-princess feeling! I twirled and swirled and scared the cats. It was worth all the anguish of cutting and ruffling and arguing with cranky fabric. Because now I have my own fluffy petti-skirt! And the feeling is so intoxicating, I am shopping for the next color I will make one in!

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Knitting with Cables

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Few things evoke the feeling of fall and colder weather to come, cozying up with a good book and the suppressed joy (or stress) of the coming holidays like cables. I rarely knit them in warmer weather but the first morning I wake to crisp weather, my hands itch for my needles, some wool (of course) and an interesting cable pattern. Cables can be integrated into any pattern to give it instant warmth and texture. The hat is an old standard but the classic appeal can warm up any outfit or knit in an excepted color can turn a simple pattern on its ear. Hand warmers/mittens are a great gift for the office go-er forced to work in 50 deg, INSIDE! The small cable tucks double the layer and add extra warmth to your hands. Knitted sleeves are very on trend this season, like leg warmers for your arms; these fast knits can also extend your summer wardrobe by making it possible to continue wearing short sleeves well after everyone else has tucked them away. Cabled socks are a coveted gem as are cabled sweaters. Legend has it that around the British Isle fisherman's wives would knit specific cable patterns for their husbands and sons. Not only would the cables help to keep them warm in the cold sea spray but also serve to identify any souls lost overboard.  

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Cables are not really tricky; they just need some patience to learn the technique. Cables are typically worked in a rib pattern. On the right side the knit stitches are crossed to make the cable and the purl stitch form a contrast to ensure the cables stand out. The ribbing also helps add back stretch that the crossing of cables removes. Cables are not worked every row but crossed and then worked in the rib pattern for a certain number of rows before crossed again (as determined by the pattern). It is very helpful to use cable needles for cable work but in a pinch I have resorted to DPN (they can be long and unwieldy) and crochet hooks (awkward but doable). There are several kinds of cable needles, just a few inches long some have a curve or bend at the center of the needle to secure your stitches till you need them. Some have notches carved in for the same purpose. Practice and preference will determine which is best for you. To cable you will slip a set number of stitches from your left needle onto your cable needle and hold it either in front of back (this determine whether your cable will twist left- front or right- back. Sometimes the loops on my cable needle will be loose and my needle will try to slip out while I am working other stitches. I will tuck my cable needle into my knitting to secure it from dangling and slipping. It is also helpful to mark either side of your cable with stitch markers so you don't need to count stitches every row.

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Cables vary some simple to intricate, so if you are learning cables I recommend finding a simple pattern, just one twist, to gauge how the game is played before you move on to the big leagues. The good news with cables is that they are all amazing and impressive so one simple twist can make any project look incredible just as much as an amount of pretzel fanciness. 

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Pictures as shown: Cable needle held in front for left twist, Cable needle held in back for right twist, Tucking the cable needle into knitting to secure and prevent slipping, Pretzel cable

Upholstery

October 20, 2010

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No project has seemed as intimidating nor as daunting as upholstery. I was determined to learn and with the support of my husband (who gave me the tools as a birthday present) and local thrift stores, I started my first project. I choose a simple chair (click to see the uglyiest of ugly yellow chair) from the Goodwill for $25, picked a delicious Joel Dewberry from our Upholstery section and stopped. Where to begin? How to begin? I took a moment to panic and then visited my library and choose a few books to help me get started and more importantly, finished.

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The best book that I have found is the Complete Step by Step Upholstery by David Sowle. It is filled with tools, notions, tips, detailed pictures and various projects. I could not have done my chair without this book. Every question I had, every stage I needed courage to complete was in this book. There are some tips and lessons I would like to pass on outside of books.

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1)      Take pictures, before and during your upholstery. As much as you hate the old fabric on your thrift store chair, take detailed pictures of how it is pieced and where tuck and seams are placed. Continue taking pictures as you rip off the old fabric. You never know where some secret to securing the fabric or a special way of adding a nice detail will be hidden.

2)      Carefully remove the old pieces of fabric and keep them as patterns

3)      Do not skip the muslin and fleece step. It will really smooth out your piece and make it look amazing.

4)      Get the right tools but they don't need to be new. Check out eBay or thrift stores

5)      Don't ask your husband for his opinion on fabric. I did and he didn't like the thumbnail picture I showed him but he totally loves it in context on the chair.

6)      Don't be afraid to splurge on a print you will LOVE. You saved on the chair (only $25!) and you are saving on labor. Check out the prices of new furniture pieces online and set your fabric budget by that.  A comparable chair for $700, that $22/yd fabric is not looking so expensive after, especially if you know in your heart you will love it for years. A $5/yd fabric that you will change every year turns out to be not so cheap after a few years.

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I learned very quickly that upholstery is very little sewing and more hammering and folding. It is a great stress reliever. It does take planning and some creative manipulation. I recommend lightly tacking in your fabric as you go and then going back and really nailing them in once you are sure the fabric is where you want it. Also, once I figured out placement for fabric, I would take my scissors and snip into the fabric and rip it the rest of the way. This makes a nice straight line, no jagged cuts.

It took me about a month to reupholster this chair but with practice I can get the time down for next time. I also had to work in my living room, which meant cleaning up every time I had to stop. I ended up keeping my tools and notions in a large rubber bin with a lid for easy transport and to keep little hands away from needles, tacks and tools. Also, Prudent Baby's tutorial on double welt is awesome! I watched it while I sewed. Making my own welt really finished the project. I applied it with a glue gun and was really impressed with how well it adhered and finished the look.  I am so happy with my chair and am actively searching craigslist for my next project! I am thinking a wingback in a cool linen or houndstooth- Yummy.

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The Costume Trunk: Tutu-riffic -- a totally adjustable tutu!

October 19, 2010

Who doesn't adore the fluff and whimsy of a tutu? For kids, for adults... even for pets! Tutus are easy to make and are a fab addition to your costume collection. Tutus also allow you to play with color, layering in different tones or keeping things monochromatic, and they are simply fun to wear for children of all ages.

As you may have heard around the school yard, tulle can be a little persnickety to work with. Think of it like approaching a feral animal -- you want to be confident and in charge, but keenly aware that of its unpredictable nature.

Here's how I make a quick, adjustable tutu:

- Cut a length of scrap ribbon 5-7" larger than the intended wearer's waist. (This will not show on the finished product.)
- Cut a piece of tulle 4-5x longer than the your ribbon, and twice the length you want the tutu to be. 5x will give you more volume, of course, but if you need to economize, 4x works, too! My pieces are 5 yards long and 54" wide.
- Cut as many pieces of tulle as you want layers in your tutu. 2 works but can be a little anemic. 3 is better, and 4 gives you pretty good opacity, depending on the color you use.
- Fold your tulle in half lengthwise so each piece is 4-5x the waist ribbon length and the desired length of the tutu, double layered.
(I like to use our 54" tulle because I can leave the fold in it just as it comes, there's a good color range, and the length is good for an adult tutu. If you want to take a shortcut and don't mind wasting a little bit, you can do the same for a child, maintaining the center fold and just trimming the length.)

Once all your layers are cut...

-Mark the center and quarter points on your ribbon.
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-Mark the same points on each of your tulle pieces. I use a Sharpie at the fold line, as it will be hidden by the waist band in the finished garment.
-Gather your first layer of tulle to match the marks on the waist ribbon, using your gathering method of choice. I like to use a plain old needle and thread, gathering with a running stitch and machine stitching down one quarter of the waist band as I go. I have incredibly bad luck with ruffler feet and tulle (I always end up shredding the tulle to pieces), but your mileage may vary.

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-Once your first layer of tulle is stitched, repeat the gathering process with the second layer, and the third and fourth of you have them!
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-Try on your tutu and check the fluffiness levels. Adjust as needed. I like getting a feline opinion. (Ozzel approves.)

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-Once your tutu skirt meets your requirements for voluminous glee, cut a piece of grosgrain ribbon that is 2x the length of your waist ribbon, plus 2-3"
-Stitch the grosgrain down the inside of your previous ribbon. I make 3 rows of stitching to compress all that gathered tulle as much as possible.

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-Trim any pieces of gathered tulle that are sticking up past the top edge of your grosgrain waistband.

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-Take the long remaining portion of the grosgrain ribbon and fold it to the front side of the waistband to encase the original ribbon entirely. Stitch it at the top and bottom edge, folding in and extra so no raw edges show.
-Sew a series of snaps or pieces of velcro  to the waistband to close your tutu. I used a scrap of snap tape I had lying in a drawer. (You should have some overlap, so you can adjust the waist slightly if needed on future wearings.)

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That's it! Your tutu is fluffy and dreamy and ready for twirling - plus, it can expand if you eat too much candy corn!

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Knitting Bobbles

October 18, 2010

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When I was a beginning knitter (not quite green but not sure enough to be confident) I attempted Bobbles but quickly put them off. I could not wrap my head around the knit, turn, knit turn. It took many patterns and much experience before I was ready again to try a, what appears to be so simple, bobble.

The trick is to trust the instructions and know that while they seem weird, you will get to where you want to be by following them exactly. You are basically knitting a bump in your fabric and you must build it up to make your bump. The building up comes from: first knitting into the same stitch. You will YO then K1. Do not take the stitch off your left needle, instead wrap the yarn around your right needle again (for the 2nd YO) and stick it back into the stitch on the left needle for the 2nd K1, repeat this a third time then slip the stitch off your left needle. You will now have 6 sts on your right where once you had 1, turn your work and slip the first st on the left needle purl wise and purl the remaining 5 created sts. Turn your work again and slip the first st on your left needle knit wise and knit the remaining 5 created sts. Turn again and purl 2 tog 3 times (the first purl 2 tog is tricky but keep working at till you get it right). Turn your work once more and slip the first st knit wise and knit 2 tog then pass the slipped st over the k2tog and you will have 1 st where once there were 6, knit the rest of the row, adding bobble where appropriate.

It really is easy but it is very different to turn your work in the middle of a row if you have never tried it before. Try making your first bobble with wool, if you are unsure. It is the easiest, most forgiving of fibers, with easy to see stitches. It is also not a slick yarn so you will not have to battle slippery sts while turning your work this way and that.

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Bobbles are a fun texture to add to any knitted piece. They felt well and can be incorporated into any design. Bobbles can add drama to a simple cable, add distinction to a flora lace pattern or an interesting texture to a baby blanket for stimulation. Bobbles serve as berries, eyes, pebbles, or flower center in an encompassing theme. Bobbles also make great polka dots. If you feel, as I once did, that bobbles aren't 'your thing', I encourage you to try them if only to gain experience and see if your mind doesn't drift away and explore the possibilities. 


This bobble pattern can be found in Barbara Walker's Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns, p 145. 

 Pictures: (top) Right side of Bobbles, (bottom) Wrong side of Bobbles. Both are attractive in my opinion

What we Love - October 16, 2010

October 16, 2010

We are loving some cotton prints this week. You may know that I am on a campaign to educate the world that cotton prints (quilting cotton) are a high quality broadcloth fabrication that can be used for apparel as well as quilting. The colors stay true wash after wash, and are easy fabrics to sew with. If you really can't stand ironing, I would steer clear. They are going to need a bit of a press to look their best!

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Vickie has a couple of collections this week that she'd like to point out. The Irving Street Flannel collection by Erin McMorris has its vibrant colors, and is great for both girls and boys. She also loves Aurelia's Journey.  2011 marks the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War. Aurelia Bevins witnessed the events leading up to the war and over a period of years and created a sampler quilt of 44 blocks reflecting the history of the time. Aurelia's Journey includes fabrics from several Civil War collection including Twelve Oaks and Civil War Classics.

Andrea is in a retro chic mood this week. She is loving the collection All My Heart this week by
Amy Schimler for Robert Kaufman Fabrics. It's a cute collection of hearts that do not like your typical valentine. Andrea says, ''This retro chic collection has an overload of brightly color hearts!  I think it would be perfect for making cool tote bags!''
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Lauren is feeling pretty colorful this week as well. She has chosen a couple of floral prints from the Richloom collection in our Home Decor Category. Lauren says, ''This

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week I am loving Lucy in Licorice and Wizard in Garffiti from Richloom. I think they are sassy yet sophisticated!'' They are both home decor prints that are suitable for everything from draperies to slipcovers and pillows. Check out everything Richloom has to offer.

Have a wonderful fall weekend! Kristl


Knitting in the Round

October 15, 2010

I heart knitting in the round for one reason- No Purling (depending on the pattern). Knitting in the round is easy but it takes some getting used to and there are some tricks to help you knit in the round better and easier.

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1) Consider your cast-on when knitting in the round. Backward loop is SOOOO easy to cast on but so difficult to knit that first row, especially when trying to keep your stitches from twisting (more on that later). Long tail cast on is my number 1 choice but I also like cable cast on as well. Both give a smooth edge.

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2) Twisted stitches: When first learning to knit in the round you will read everywhere about the pitfalls of twisted stitches but it is hard to avoid a danger that has no face. Basically untwisted stitches are all lined up with the cast on bumps at the bottom. It might be beneficial to check each stitch to make sure. EVEN if you have 300 stitches!  That is all the more reason to check since you do not want to cast 300 stitches on over and over to fix a twisted stitch. When you have knit and your stitches are twisted you will know it within a few rows. Your knitting will not be a knitted tube but the whole tube will be twisted. You will be forced to rip back to the beginning. The real danger is at the beginning when you join to knit in the round but the whole first row you must be aware to keep those stitches straight.

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3) Ladders: This generally happens at the beginning of the round or when knitting on several needle (magic loop, 2 needles, DPN) at the join between each needle. Prevention is easy for each cause. Before joining to knit in the round, cast on an extra stitch then slip it from the right needle to the left. Knit the first 2 stitches together (the extra stitch from the right needle and the first stitch from the left) to begin knitting in the round. Knitting these 2 together will make the join tight and prevent a ladder. When moving from needle to needle I like to knit the first stitch on a new needle, then when I knit the second and I pull it tight. Snugging the 2nd stitch will snug any looseness from the first stitch and secures the snug. Determining how tight to snug your stitches will take practice. Not tight enough will not help and too tight will make it difficult to knit the stitch the next time around. (the below picture is a ladder at the beginning of the round)

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4) Gauge: your gauge with straight knitting and knitting in the round is different. How different varies from knitter to knitter. But know that it is not a good idea to knit a gauge swatch straight for a round project. Knit your swatch to match your project. If you are making a hat, swatch in the round. If you project is flat, swatch flat. You may knit tighter in the round, getting 28 stitches per 4 in. in the round versus 30 sts per 4 in. straight. You may think that is any big thing but over the course of a sweater, you might find that while you made gauge you sweater is finished and too tight. 2 sts over 4 in. in the context of a sweater is a big deal. If swatching correctly seems like a waste of an hour, consider the 30 hours of a sweater that doesn't fit. 

Book Blog Bonanza 10/15/10 -- the big BIG finish!


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!

Today, FIVE lucky winners will receive a seven-book prize pack consisting of:


-1 signed copy of Anna Maria Horner's Seams to Me
-1 signed copy of Anna Maria Horner's Handmade Beginnings
-1 signed copy of Pat Sloan's Fast Forward Quilts
-1 signed copy  of Joel Dewberry's Sewn Spaces
-1 signed copy of Kay Whitt's Sew Serendipity
-1 signed copy of Amy Butler's Style Stitches

-1 signed copy of Amy Butler's Little Stitches for Little Ones.




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THE WINNERS FOR THIS ROUND ARE:

COMMENTER: Bermbroro

It blows my mind to watch someone turn 2 dimensional fabric into a shapped garment perfecly shaped to the human body. I love it!

COMMENTER: Holly D

My favorite part of the creative process is choosing the fabric, trying to coordinate texture and colors. I also love looking at patterns too and all the craft/sewing blogs with tutorials and projects.

COMMENTER: Susan

Has to be the end result! Nothing is more satisfying than a completed & wonderful item that can be used, worn or displayed.

COMMENTER: 3dogs1cat

I learned to sew as child from my mother. Made a lot of Barbie clothes back then! Started sewing clothes for myself, then learned to quilt from mom too. I love every step of creating an item. Picking out fabric and notions. Cutting it out. Sewing it together. It feels great to give someone something you created. Also love the compliments when wearing a garment I created! Theses books would be wonderful!!! :)

COMMENTER: Grace

I love fabric. For me, my favorite part of the creative process is to hunt for the right fabric for whatever I am making. I like to combine unusual patterns and colors together to get that special, unique look. I love taking seemingly different things and creating something that is beautiful.


TO ENTER:

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 is your absolute favorite thing about the creative process?


The deadline for entries is today, October 15, 2010 at MIDNIGHT ET.

Winner will be picked at random and announced sometime Monday, October 18, 2010.

PLEASE NOTE: To be qualified, you must create a user name if you haven't already. Anonymous posts cannot be considered for entry.  One entry per person, please.  Duplicate entries or multiple entries from the same user may be deleted.  Thanks! 

*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.

Book Blog Bonanza 10/14/10

October 14, 2010


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!

Today, FIVE lucky winners will receive a two-book prize pack consisting of Amy Butler's Style Stitches AND Amy Butler's Little Stitches for Little Ones.




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THE WINNERS FOR THIS ROUND ARE:

Commenter: Firefilly

Creating is in my soul and if I didn't share it I think I'd burst! I have to admit I'm a bit obsessed; whether it be sewing, kitting, crocheting...I love them all! And spreading that love is a very good thing; it makes the world a better and more beautiful place :)


Commenter: lizzie o

I love teaching ppl how to do crafty things!  i've taught a few ppl to crochet!!  i'm still new to sewing... but i like to share little tips I figure out along the way if i see someone else struggling!

Commenter: nerdia

Sewing Insight - Have more than one stitch remover, because they mysteriously disappear on you when you need them the most! Love Amy Butler!

Commenter: camellie

I'm making the blossom purse from Amy Butler's book now. It's been the most tedious purse pattern to get together. But with it half way done, I think it will be the purse that I'm most proud of! It is absolutely beautiful. I really want to buy this book! But hopefully I will win it!

Commenter: Victoria

My favorite tip is to use the elastic from old pantyhose for the casing in children's clothes. I've been doing this for years. I work at an assisted living facility and mend my residents' clothes. I work third shift and am allowed to take my sewing machine and I get to be VERY creative in figuring out how to mend their clothes with what I have in my sewing bag. I don't charge them anything... it is an easy way to stay awake from 11PM to 7AM. They don't know who provides this service and I'm not sure they need to know. I enjoy it thoroughly!!


TO ENTER:

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:

Blog topic: Do you share your creative knowledge with others? Have you ever taught someone how to sew, knit, etc?


The deadline for entries is today, October 14, 2010 at MIDNIGHT ET.

Winner will be picked at random and announced sometime Friday, October 15, 2010.

PLEASE NOTE: To be qualified, you must create a user name if you haven't already. Anonymous posts cannot be considered for entry.  One entry per person, please.  Duplicate entries or multiple entries from the same user may be deleted.  Thanks! 

*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.

Amy Butler's Belle Yarn for Rowan

October 13, 2010

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I have always been blown away by Amy Butler color choices; it is characteristic that really set her above the crowd. The color palette was the aspect I was most excited about when I first heard about her Belle for Rowan yarn line. I was not disappointed. I am also pleased with its organic quality. I knew her line would be amazing simply because it is produced by Rowan and...it...is! The blend of cotton and wool is quite deceiving and intriguing. At first you can just feel the cotton, but then you notice the plush quality of the wool. It is easy to work with and stays together like cotton. It knits slower like cotton but it doesn't have the dry feeling of cotton but the soft trait of wool. It is stretchy like wool but it is not as fuzzy. It has all the best features of both fibers.

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The stitch definition is above par lending it well to cables, color work, and tricky textures. Given the softness of wool and the smoothness of cotton, this yarn works well for wearing close to the skin: hats, sweaters, leg warmers, and hand warmers. There is no irritation so you know it will also be a great gift for babies and small, sensitive children. I am planning on using Amy Butler's Belle in my November Free Pattern Download but with some many possibilities I am having trouble narrowing it down. The swatch shown is actually one of my attempts to narrow down a design for November (you are looking at swatch number 4).  Usually, I pick the yarn first and the project just follows but there are simply so many directions to go with Belle that I am happily frustrated.

Color shown are Cilantro, Peacock, Aubergine

Book Blog Bonanza 10/13/10


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!

Today, FIVE lucky winners will receive a two-book prize pack consisting of Joel Dewberry's Sewn Spaces AND Pat Sloan's Fast Forward Quilts.


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THE WINNERS FOR THIS ROUND ARE:

Commenter: SewLindaAnn

Seeing finished projects that others have done inspires me to keep going or start a new project. I'm good with sewing "things" like purses, wallets, etc. But putting together blocks with nice seams is a struggle I'm still learning so when I see beautiful quilts it gives me the incentive to keep going. Right now the Spider Web quilts in Halloween fabric are getting to me. I don't even love Halloween, but I love those quilts!

Commenter: AnnieCarie

Georgious fabric always tends to spark my imagination for a project. However quilt patterns and craft ideas gleaned from other sources like magazines and blogs will ultimatly turn into project that I actually finish. It's better if I know what I'm making when I look for the perfect fabric.

Commenter: Chia

I usually find the fabric first before the project. I buy the fabric with a specific project in mind, then it goes into the stash. After some time, I forget what I bought it for. :D

Commenter: Martha Johnson

I am often inspired by fabric that draws my attention and then I look for a book, pattern or inspiration from the internet for how to use the fabric.

Commenter: Renae

I saw a table runner a friend made so today I got some Halloween fabric and made one. I guess others spur me on!



TO ENTER:

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 is it that usually sparks a new project for you? Is it a fabric or yarn that starts the wheels in motion, or do you dream up an idea and then go looking for materials?

The deadline for entries is today, October 13, 2010 at MIDNIGHT ET.

Winner will be picked at random and announced sometime Thursday, October 14, 2010.

PLEASE NOTE: To be qualified, you must create a user name if you haven't already. Anonymous posts cannot be considered for entry.  One entry per person, please.  Duplicate entries or multiple entries from the same user may be deleted.  Thanks! 

*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.

Book Blog Bonanza 10/12/10

October 12, 2010

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!

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Today, FIVE lucky winners will receive a two-book prize pack consisting of both Anna Maria Horner's Handmade Beginnings AND Anna Maria Horner's Seams to Me.

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THE WINNERS FOR THIS ROUND ARE:

Commenter: Lisa

My sewing has inspired my friends to start sewing, which is so fun!! They are now taking classes!!! It is fun to see what everyone else comes up with all by using the same set of skills. I love being able to bounce ideas off of my friends and knowing that you can always go to them for ideas on how to make things better. Anna Maria has the cutest baby ideas, I love her books!!


Commenter: becky

I don't sew socially, but it sounds like fun. Mostly, I sew when my kids are sleeping!


Commenter: Meliah Ross

I love sewing and have a few friends who do also we post on FB our acccomplishments and call each other regularly about what we are making. I think the best thing I have learned about sewing is always remember that if you mess us there is a seam ripper within reach.No one is perfect it just takes tons and tons of practice.:)


Commenter: Tonya

I wish I had friends that sew! I have to do all my crafty chatting online. Would be nice to find a group of sewers to hang out with. I'm still a beginning sewer so can use all the help I can get.

Commenter: lisab123

Sewing sometimes seems to be a thing of the past. most of my friends say things like, "YOU Sew??". I love sewing though and will continue to do it for as long as I can. I actually made my first sewing machine when I was around 8 years old by putting together a few old ones that were left at a house we moved into. It was ugly to say the least but it sewed for about ten years so I cant complain. My grandmother was a sewer and she showed me many things. No I don't have any friends that sew and my grandmother has long past. but my children are trying to learn so that excites me.

TO ENTER:

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: Do you have friends who sew? Do you get together to sew socially?

The deadline for entries is today, October 12, 2010 at MIDNIGHT ET.

Winner will be picked at random and announced sometime Tuesday, October 13, 2010.

PLEASE NOTE: To be qualified, you must create a user name if you haven't already. Anonymous posts cannot be considered for entry.  One entry per person, please.  Duplicate entries or multiple entries from the same user may be deleted.  Thanks! 

*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.

What we Love - October 12, 2010

October 11, 2010

Fall is officially here, and I for one am ready for a change. Despite the fact that it will be 85 degrees in the Beautiful South today, I am wearing my new grey boots. The salesman helping me in the shoe store asked me if I was sure I didn't want the brown ones. I told him confidently that I definitely wanted the grey boots even though I was questioning my decision as well. As it turns out, grey is very neutral in my wardrobe, and I will wear them often. Take a little fashion risk this season. I'll bet you find you made a sound decision despite the initial pang of throwing  practicality to the wind.

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So, in the spirit of my new-found fashion bravery, and the fact that I want you to be a little brave as well, let's take a look at what I love this week - Soft Skin Faux Leather. It is a lightweight vinyl with a white flannel back. You will line a garment made from Soft Skin Faux Leather. It meets a few of this seasons trends: metallic and leather. Vests are still a fashion staple held over from last year, and I think this fabrication would make a cute vest. It would also make great trim on a jacket, or a cute handbag or clutch.

Vickie loves the Storybook VII collection from Windham fabrics. Vickie has been working on our Reproduction Quilting fabrics, and this collection fills the bill. She likes the fact that the collection ''tells the story of young Tim and Sue. How Sue rescues her brother Tim from the apple tree.'' The retro colors are appropriate for children's clothing as well as serious quilts in a reproduction style.
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Shannon has been perusing our Home Decor books lately. Shannon is about to be a newlywed, and is joining two households. The book she loves is Material World: Home Decor Projects for the Fabric Obsessed. ''This book has lots of unique ideas for home décor! With a new husband and a new home, this little book is perfect for satisfying my need for crafting and decorating!'' Shannon is an accomplished apparel sewer and also loves to crochet. I look forward to see what inspiration she uses from
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this fantastic home decor book.

I hope you find some inspiration in what we love this week!


Book Blog Bonanza 10/11/10

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!

Today, we're giving away signed copies of Anna Maria Horner's Handmade Beginnings to FIVE lucky winners.

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THE WINNERS FOR THIS ROUND ARE:


Commenter: taralyn1104

This looks like a great book. I'm usually a knitter, but have recently dug out my sewing machine and am looking to sew some things for my kids.

Commenter: Sourkraut

Lately I've gotten into giving handmade gifts. I'm afraid that some of my friends have gotten experimental projects before I'd honed my skills so their bags and aprons aren't as nice as the ones I eventually made for myself but I don't hear them complaining.

Commenter: Abby K

I have a two year old and a new baby niece that I can't wait to use this book and sew goodies for! Thank you!

Commenter: ANDREA B.

I love to give handmade gifts and they usually always include personalization of some sort. Even the young ones seem to enjoy them. It is always from the heart :)

Commenter: rilojane

I make handmade gifts for people I know well. I try to suit their needs and not just satisfy my craving to do a specific project. I like things to be used- so I tend to avoid heirloomy stuff, unless it's family. Otherwise, I'm giving a diaper cake! (I guess that counts as handmade, too, though eh?)




TO ENTER:

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: Do you usually give handmade gifts? If so, what kind?

The deadline for entries is today, October 11, 2010 at MIDNIGHT ET.

Winner will be picked at random and announced sometime Tuesday, October 12, 2010.

PLEASE NOTE: To be qualified, you must create a user name if you haven't already. Anonymous posts cannot be considered for entry.  One entry per person, please.  Duplicate entries or multiple entries from the same user may be deleted.  Thanks! 

*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.


Amy Butler's Little Stitches for Little Ones

Amy Butler's Little Stitches for Little Ones

I bought Amy Butler's Little Stitches for Little Ones as soon as it hit the stands, long before I was expecting my own little one, because I loved InStitches so much. The projects are ADORABLE and rated for difficulty (which is a blessing when pregnant with limited energy). Amy puts her signature style on baby items to help modern moms feel stylish, cool and totally unmom-like. I have completed a few projects from this book and so has my mom. The patterns are typical AB patterns, easy to follow, clearly written and sometimes a few surprise finishes that are fantastic. My two favorite projects have to be the Cute Baby Booties and the Modern Diaper bag.

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I made the Modern Diaper bag when I was about 8 mos pregnant and was nearing the end and was nesting. I knew what I wanted in a bag and what I didn't. I supposed it would have to be big. I did not want black plastic that screamed diaper bag. I wanted a modern shape, lots of pockets (I have an affinity for pockets and drawers). After the cursory Google search for patterns, I went through my book stash. It had been a while since I purchased the book and had forgotten about it. As soon as I be held this bag, I KNEW it was the one. Maybe a half a day of cutting and sewing later and it was complete. I was even more in love it with than the pictures led me to believe. I immediately began packing it with wee baby clothes and sundries. (I ended up over packing as I later discovered) This bag made the trip with me to the hospital and has faithfully followed me ever since. We have successfully transitioned from tiny baby, to crawling and now walking/running toddler. This bag has carried everything and then some.

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My second and perhaps most favorite are the Cute Booties. These were made around 7 mo of age, just as she started crawling. My little one didn't care to get past the army crawl for sometime because once you can go why learn a new way. This mode of propulsion was the demise of many a good pair of socks. She wore the toes out in less than a week. That coupled with the fact that she often crawled right out of her socks, I knew I needed something more. Once again I turned to my library and found the perfect solution in Amy's book. I cut 2 pair right away. The fluffy cushioning is just right to keep tiny feet padded and warm. The shoes are easy on and easy off and virtually unshakeable. The compliments these shoes garnered were also amazing. I had request from many non-parents for these booties in their size and many parents offered me great sums to make some for their kids. I have since retired the first pair but I have made several in graduated sizes since. The girl is too big for the given pattern sizes but thanks to my copier, I have managed to enlarge my pattern pieces and create more. They are really great for shoe-less homes, cold mornings and chilly nights when the footed Pjs are in the wash.

This book is a must for parents and non-parents alike. The patterns are easily adapted to adults, childless homes and when you are in need of a great shower, niece/nephew, or godchild gift.  

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Boundless Burlap

October 8, 2010

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This inspiration for this article came from a neighbor who asked me to repair a cushion made of chartreuse burlap. They were gorgeous and unexpected. It made me look at burlap in a different way. I sat down that night and googled some burlap projects, home dec and anything I could think of. The internet is full of unbelievable and awesome burlap projects and I could not wait to try my hand with it.

One of my favorite items I found out in the blog world were burlap pillows. You would think they would be scratchy but once washed burlap is comfortable and durable (really good for us moms). Many of the cutest pillows out there that I covet were made to resemble vintage posters or famous quotations and then printed on to t-shirt transfer and ironed on. I made mine from one of my favorite quotations by the famous Pompey Magnus who served with and fought against Julius Caesar. I worked it up with Photoshop in a deep purple, but you can use Window Word as well. It was a fast and immensely satisfying project. Even my husband likes the pillow.

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My second project I wanted to be a little more original. I love burlap for Fall, Halloween or Thanksgiving decorating. The woven texture, frayed edges and natural colors are perfect for tablescapes, chairs, and wall décor. My banner is cut with pinking shears to prevent too much fraying but I didn't hem so that I could have some fraying, just enough. I used my Cricut to cut the letters, the crow and haunted branch from some quilting cotton. It is important when you use the Cricut to cut a piece of fabric to fit your mat and then apply Heat n Bond to the back of the fabric. Make sure you have applied it well to the whole of your fabric- especially the edges. Then peel off the paper backing and apply your fabric to the cutting mat. Press it evenly to make sure there is contact all over. Your cuts will be as smooth as paper. Then you can just peel and iron onto your banner. I free handed the bat, evil eyes and ghost. Next, sew some bands to the ends of the banner to hang around your house. I have another "Happy Halloween" planned to hang from the porch columns and a "Turn back NOW" for the other window. You can experiment with other Cricut cartridges, but I used the Plantin SchoolBook font cartridge and Serene graphic cartridge. If your banner will hang in bright sunlight I recommend using outdoor fabric instead of quilting cotton. You can also use your Cricut to decorate table runners, table cloths, pillows, placemats, curtains, lamp shades, wall decors, etc. Just check out this Google search for more ideas! I am so in love!

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P.s. For even more burlap ideas check out Tatertots and Jello's blog

Book Blog Bonanza 10/08/10

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!

Today, we're giving away signed copies of Joel Dewberry's Sewn Spaces to FIVE lucky winners.

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THE WINNERS FOR THIS ROUND ARE:

Commenter name: Angie

One home decor tip I have has to do with holidays.  I have seasonal
quilts that I switch out with each holiday so it gives a festive look
to our room but also keeps the style of the room the same.

 

Commenter name: Danielle

One word. Piping. Once I learned how to make bias-strip piping I added
it to everything I make for the house. It gives a finished look to
every edge.

 

Commenter name: Mountainquilter


I change my pictures, quilts, wallhangings, pillows with the seasons.
Makes the whole house look different!

 


Commenter name: Elaine


I'm not sure it's a best home sewing tip, but it was cheap!  When we
rented our first home with no draperies, our landlady loaned me a bunch
of wooden rings.  I bought yards of burlap (and it was pretty raw and
horrible.....but about $.50 a yard), and I made curtains.  Think we
used dowel rods to hang the curtains.  They actually looked pretty
sharp, but I had to give the rings back when we moved.

 

Commenter name: Beth R

I took a look thru the table of contents for this book - it looks like
some great info in there, would be lots of fun.

TO ENTER:

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 best home dec sewing tip?

The deadline for entries is today, October 8, 2010 at MIDNIGHT ET.

Winner will be picked at random and announced sometime Monday, October 11, 2010.

PLEASE NOTE: To be qualified, you must create a user name if you haven't already. Anonymous posts cannot be considered for entry.  One entry per person, please.  Duplicate entries or multiple entries from the same user may be deleted.  Thanks! 

*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.

The Costume Trunk: The Incredibly Easy Bustle Skirt

October 7, 2010

It's a staple of a Victorian wardrobe, but it can also be used for all kinds of dress up fun: the bustle skirt! Fairies, princesses and even fancy female pirates can all use a good skirt with some pouf to it. And the best part? This is a shockingly easy project!

 This is a great project for all kinds of fabrics. I used a striped home dec fabric, but silks and taffetas are also fantastic. Whatever you love that has a bit of body to it. I would not recommend this projects for lightweight or sheer fabrics.

The cutting:

You will need to cut three identical pieces for the skirt front and skirt sides, similar to the diagram below.

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Line 1 = ¼ your waist measurement

Line 2 = the distance from your waist to the floor, plus 5"

Line 3 = 3x the length of line 1.

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The 4th piece you need to cut (which will form the bustle) is a simple rectangle. I used the full 60' width of my fabric, 2 yds long. If you would like a less ample bustle, you may reduce the measurements to suit your taste.

 

The stitching:

-          Sew your three front and side pieces together. Since they are all identical, order is of no concern.

-          To attach bustle, stitch it flat to the side pieces 5" down from the waist, and 12" up from the bottom, leaving the rest of the seam open for now. You should have a longer amount of the bustle piece left loose than you do the side piece. (I had a remaining side length of 24" on my skirt side, and 56" of bustle left.)

-          Pleat or gather the remaining bustle fabric into the seam. I like to use binder clips to hold the pleats while I test for placement. Once you have things the way you like, stitch 'em down!

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-          Repeat pleating on opposite side of bustle, matching pleats/gathers to the first side.

Turn your skirt right side out. You're probably thinking "I made a big wadded up tube!" and to some degree you're right. But now we will sculpt said tube into skirty awesomeness!

-          Leaving your three skirt front and side sections flat, pleat the bustle in at the waist to reduce it to the size of your waist, leaving approximately 9" unpleated and loose at center back. This is a time when a dress form or similarly-sized friend is indispensable. Again, my love of binder clips shows.

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-          Baste waist pleats into place.

-          Cut a waistband out of any scrap of fabric long enough to encircle the entire waist of your skirt. I used a scrap of satin cut about 3.5" wide.

-          Use this waistband scrap to encase the waistband. Stitch the waistband to the the skirt, right sides together, all the way around the circle of the waist opening. (For a nice, clean finish, fold in the raw edge of the waistband where you start stitching. )

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-          Flip the remaining waistband fabric to the inside of the skirt and hand or machine stitch it in place.

 

-          At the center back of the waist, sew in a heavy-duty hook and eye. Yes, you'll still have 9" of waist fabric flapping around with no tether.

 

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-          Fold remaining waistband fabric to form two even pleats across center back. Sew skirt hooks onto waistband to secure pleats. Now you can put on your skirt and it won't fall off!

 

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To form the bustle - (here's where patience and play meet):

 

-          Sew 3 30" pieces of grosgrain ribbon at the waistband of the skirt so they dangle free inside the skirt. Attach one at each skirt hook, and one on either side of the center back closure.

-          Using safety pins, tack your skirt fabric to the grosgrain ribbon to create the bustle shape. Fold and billow your fabric however you like - there are no hard and fast rules for this!

-          Once you have your fabric bustled to your ribbon, be sure to put it on a dress form or friend to check the shape and placement. What looks good flat on a table doesn't always translate on a body. If you're like me, it will take several passes to get things where you want them.

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-         

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       If you like the ways things are looking, lock it down! Stitch the fabric to the grosgrain and remove all safety pins. Cut any excess ribbon that dangles past your last bustle point.

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Try on your skirt to check the length, then hem either by machine or by hand.

Voila! A Bustle Skirt!

 

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There are many places you can go from here. Add trim if you like. I cut about 300" of 7" wide bias and pleated it to make the two rows of ruffles pictured on the sample garment. Trim is always a fun way to really customize a piece like this one. You should also feel free to change the method of bustling if another makes more sense to you. Make a shorter version for a less formal feel. Remember, this is your creation - have a ball!

 

 

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Book Blog Bonanza 10/07/10

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!

Did you miss our first give away of signed copies of Kay Whitt's Sew Serendipity?  Well, good news! Today we're giving away more to FIVE lucky winners.

 

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DRUMROLL PLEASE:

Commenter name: fergliz

I learned to sew with my mom.  In the summers when I was about 10 we
would make drawstring or elastic shorts out of all sorts of crazy
fabrics.  I don't think I was very patient back then, but I love to sew
now.  And I know that it was because my mom had the patients when I was
younger to teach me an invaluable skill.  Thanks mom!!

 

Commenter name: torilynn

Sew Serendipity is "sew" up my alley!  When I was in my first year of
sewing in High School, I decided not to use a pattern to make a skirt.
(My first ever sewing project to boot.)  The teacher didn't chide me or
anything, she asked me how I was going to make my hips fit into that.
And I've been thinking how to make things work ever since, without a
pattern.  Though I definately use patterns equally as often as I
'freestyle' it, I joy in the creativity of Just Doing It!  

 

Commenter name: Becky S

The first project I remember making was a pillow I sewed while I was
visiting my Grandmother one summer. I think I was six or seven.
Thanks for the chance to win--I would love to make that adorable skirt
on the cover!

 

Commenter name: Northanne

One of my first sewing memories is of sewing an apron by hand in
Brownies ... and sewing it to my skirt! My mother and grandmother both
sewed, and I loved rummaging through the scraps of fabric and trim and
assembling them into bags or little animals.

 

Commenter name: ella

I was around 8 when i got my first sewing machine. It was a little
brother you hand cranked...wished I still had it now. I made doll
clothes for my barbie doll.

 

TO ENTER:

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 first sewing or crafting memory?

The deadline for entries is today, October 7, 2010 at MIDNIGHT ET.

Winner will be picked at random and announced sometime Thursday, October 8, 2010.

PLEASE NOTE: To be qualified, you must create a user name if you haven't already. Anonymous posts cannot be considered for entry.  One entry per person, please.  Duplicate entries or multiple entries from the same user may be deleted.  Thanks! 

*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.

 

The making of a kid's costume

October 6, 2010

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This is my first year making my daughter's Halloween costume. Last year, she was so small that I just took a store bought costume and embellished it. You can see it here. This year she is walking and active and I knew it was time to start making her costumes. I should explain that as much as I love dressing up for Halloween and as much as I have been looking forward to helping my kids go over the top with their costume choices, I don't want it to be a huge hassle, work or lead to crying/tantrums of any kind. That is my ground rule. Knowing that I picked a Pj like costume last year so she would not be uncomfortable, I would not have to wrestle her into something weird and she could go about her life as usual which for a 9 mo old was sleeping and eating. Now almost 2, her life consists of RUNNING, pulling dangerous items off counters, pull puppy tails and RUNNING. Knowing that I took the inspiration for her costume from her nightly routine. After bath each night, we have enough time to throw a hooded towel on her head before she runs off. Of course, Little Red Riding Hood came to me and it was perfect. It's a super cute costume, obvious (No explaining to every neighbor who little red is) and as unencumbering as I can get while still dressing up. The cape is short and in an organic cotton jersey, so it is soft and won't get in her way. The hood and cape will also keep her warm should Halloween prove cool this year. Little Red is also really easy for parents to pair their costumes with.

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I went on a deep search looking for the perfect pattern. After weeks of failure, I decided to combine patterns. All the big name patterns had capes that were too long, too big, not in the right size or the wrong hood. I ended up using a poncho pattern from Making Children's Clothes by Emma Hardy (pg 100) which gave the short, swingy cape I wanted with the side seams I was looking for. I used the hood from my own Baby Carrier Pattern because it was the size I wanted and was made for knits fabric. I decided to add some ruffles to really send this costume into cute overload. I added a 2.5 in ruffle around the edge of the hood and down the front of the cape. I also added a woven ribbon along the bottom edge of the cape. The poncho pattern called for lining but after I added mine it really changed the drape and swing of the cape so I think I will remove it.   

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I started by tracing my pattern onto freezer paper. This was because I thought I might have to modify the pattern but I ended up tossing my mods (the pattern cape was perfect!). I used all my collective knowledge of knits (Thanks to Sew U, Home Stretch by Wendy Mullins) and let my knit rest after washing and pressing. I added the ruffle to the hood before completing the hood and sewing it to the cape. I stitched on the lining just along the bottom then added the ribbon before sewing the remainder of the lining on so I could have the ribbon just along the edge without having to measure it. I plan on using a brooch to keep the cape on but I may add a ribbon tie when I remove the lining. The initial fitting of the cape proved that the arm holes I had envisioned (that is why I wanted side seams) were not needed and ruined the fit of the cape. I measured down from the shoulder 4 in. and made the holes 4 in. long. When pinning the side seams I used different pins to mark where the holes were places.  The arm hole pulled the cape in at the side and reduced the swing. The cape is short enough that the holes are not needed and the jersey prevents the cape from being a barrier to any toddler play. I also used my walking foot and it has turned my knit-sewing world upside-down, in a good way! I enjoy sewing jersey now and the hassle and frustration is gone! I recommend it for sewing all costumes. 

Stay tuned to our facebook page for pictures of the finished costume! I am so excited for Halloween!

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Book Blog Bonanza 10/06/10

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!

Today, we're giving away copies of signed copies of Fast Forward Quilts by Pat Sloan to FIVE lucky winners.

 

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TODAY'S WINNERS!

Commenter name: cc

My first completed quilt was made just before my wedding. The "Quilt
Police" would have been appalled by it: 5/8" seams, a sheet for backing
and no binding! ;-)
27 years later it's still my favorite project. :-)

 

Commenter name: jul

Wow $500 - since I'm fairly new to sewing $500 would sure jump start my
stash!        When I see these amazing pictures of peoples sewing rooms I'm
blown away by the amount of fabric so many have!

 

Commenter name: Melinda

If I had $500 I would buy enough fabric for a whole bedding set for my
bed AND pay someone else to quilt it on a long arm machine! I love
making quilt tops, the actual quilting of them? Not so much.

 

Commenter name: denise

I would buy my fabric and make a quilt for my kids and their families

 

 

Commenter name: pauliegirl

If I were to win $500 for my Project...I would make tie quilts for my
grandson's soccer team in Germany. I just returned and he is 6 years
old, playing soccer like a champ. I am making him  a beautiful tie
quilt with red, white & black soccer balls(team name is Red & White) on
one side & black on back. In Germany they do not have the fleece fabric
and my son was ectatic when he saw the fabric I ordered and will be
making the blanket with.I would love to surprise the team with blankets
for all....with the quilt book I would use all my scraps and make lap
quilts for wheel chair students I worked with for 23 years...just
retired in June.

 

TO ENTER:

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: If you could spend $500 on a dream project, what fabric or other supplies would you buy?

The deadline for entries is today, October 6, 2010 at MIDNIGHT ET.

Winner will be picked at random and announced sometime Thursday, October 7, 2010.

PLEASE NOTE: To be qualified, you must create a user name if you haven't already. Anonymous posts cannot be considered for entry.  One entry per person, please.  Duplicate entries or multiple entries from the same user may be deleted.  Thanks! 

*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.

Book Blog Bonanza 10/05/10

October 5, 2010

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!

Today, we're giving away copies of Amy Butler's Style Stitches with autographed bookplates to FIVE lucky winners.

 

 

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THE WINNERS ARE:

Commenter name: Sarah

What a beautiful book. Amy's projects are so fun and creative. My
sewing insight is to always enjoy your sewing :-) Really, every time
I'm in a bad mood and I start sewing, bad things start happening -
broken needle, crooked hem, the list goes on. So I've learned to make
sure I'm in a good mood if I plan on sitting down to work on a project.

Commenter name: Meg M

i used to sew a lot more than i do now (made my prom dress my junior
year of high school). i don't typically make a ton of sewing projects
in a month or year, but lately i've been knitting and felting purses
and sewing linings and zippers into them. i really think the zippers
and linings give the purses a professional, finished look. i've been
considering making a Halloween costume this year...i would LOVE to sew
some purses using this book! thanks for the chance to win!

 
Commenter name: Pam

What great projects to use specialty fabrics!

 

Commenter name: karen

I sew when I have time.... so sometimes there are a couple of projects
a month, and sometimes tons.  Of course, it depends on the SIZE of the
projects too!  I'm mostly a quilter, so they take quite a bit of time!

 

Commenter name: tuhraycee

I'm a newbie so I'm proud if I finish one or two small projects a
month. I read dozens of tutorials a day though to build up my
motivation!

THANKS EVERYONE!

 

TO ENTER:

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: How many sewing projects do you typically complete in a year? A Month? A Week?

The deadline for entries is today, October 5, 2010 at MIDNIGHT ET.

Winner will be picked at random and announced sometime Wednesday, October 6, 2010.

PLEASE NOTE: To be qualified, you must create a user name if you haven't already. Anonymous posts cannot be considered for entry.  One entry per person, please.  Duplicate entries or multiple entries from the same user may be deleted.  Thanks! 

*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.

 

Fresh Picked with a twist

October 4, 2010

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I have been a long time fan of Heather Bailey's pear pincushion (who hasn't) and the rest of the fresh picked gang but this is my first time trying my hand at her pattern. I wanted to make myself some more pincushions (like shoes, a girl can never have enough) but everyone has made the pincushions; I wanted to change it up a bit. The resulting deliciously oversized apple pillow (11 in. high, 11 in. wide) is soft in all the right places and surprisingly perfect for knitting. I prop my arm on it when my shoulder starts to get fatigued and it is just the right height. To make your own is just as simple as creating the bitty version in Heather's pattern.

Materials:

About ½ yd of (quilting cotton + interfacing) or home dec weight fabric

9 x 12 in piece of felt for leaf

9 x 12 in piece of felt for stem

Embroidery floss for whip stitching parts together and decorating the leaf

A piece of wooden dowel, skewer, bodkin or weaver's needle

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Once you choose which piece of fruit you want to make big and juicy, enlarge each pattern piece by 300%. Cut out your pattern pieces and follow the original pattern, using ½ in. seam allowance. When sewing the last 2 pieces of the apple together start ½ in. away from the top and leave the same gap at the bottom. This gap will help when you get to the tufting instructions. I used a long piece of embroidery thread and after knotting it, secured it with a stitch or two to the top of the apple where the stem would hide it, then either tape your needle and thread to a skewer or dowel or using your bodkin or weaver's needle run your thread to the bottom of the apple through the center using the gaps we made earlier. Pull the thread tight and secure with another stitch at the bottom. Repeat until your apple looks good to you and secure your thread a final time with a good knot. Continue to follow the pattern directions to finish your fine piece of fruit.

I made one leaf out of felt and using the couching method I learned in Sublime Stitching I added some veins to my leaf with wool yarn. To make my large stem, I rolled an entire sheet of 9 x 12 in craft felt starting with the short end and rolling it up tight. I pinned it together and cut it to the length I liked (about 3 in.) and then whipped stitched it together. I did a running stitch across the top to secure the roll and to make it look more like a fresh picked apple.

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The result is a big hit in my family. The baby loves to roll on it, the dogs like to snuggle against it, my husband props his feet on it and I use it for knitting. Deliciously oversized, these fresh picked fruit will make great holiday decorations, gifts and everyday additions to freshen up your house for fall!

Book Blog Bonanza 10/04/10

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!

Today, we're giving away signed copies of Anna Maria Horner's Little Stitches for Little Ones to FIVE lucky winners.

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Thanks for all the comments!

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE WINNERS!

Commenter name: tracie brown

My grandma taught me to sew many years ago and i love it since she has
passed away and i recieved all of machines and fabric and thread i love
to use them it make me feel closer to her i would love this book maybe
i can learn more and have more fun sewing

 
Commenter name: April

I haven't gotten into sewing clothing yet, but I will with two
daughters that fit in nothing correctly when purchased from the store.
But I do like to modify existing garments and make them more fun...
just be creative and harness your inner child!


Commenter name: Busydaycake

Ahh... I have finally solidified the lesson to NOT rush sewing clothes.
When I do, I end up frustrated, having to un-sew, and sometimes have
even had to simply toss the whole thing.  Now I take my time and enjoy
completing small steps.

 

Commenter name: Gem

This is so much fun! All these books are wonderfull! I am so lucky to
have been able (with a little help)to have a new sewing machine! It
would be awesome to have this book for more ideas . Not to mention I
don't have any more money to spend on books now, gotta pay off the
machine! LOL .. thank you again for the chance to win!


Commenter name: AmySews

I have gotten back into sewing after 25 years. I am taking lessons with
a fantastic teacher at a really hip local studio & she absolutely
recommended this book & has it on her shelf  I hope I win!

 

Thanks for commenting! 

TO ENTER:

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 best apparel sewing tip? Share it with us!

The deadline for entries is today, October 4, 2010 at midnight ET.

Winner will be picked at random and announced sometime Tuesday, October 5, 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.

 

Top Fashion Trends For Fall 2010

October 1, 2010

Fall is officially here, but I have to admit I am always a little disappointed to see the warm, carefree days of summer go, but when I think about all options for Fall fashion, I get excited!   So let's do a quick rundown of some of the must have fashion items that should be incorporated into your cool weather wardrobe.  Be sure to check out the Shop The Trends: Fall 2010 Fall Essentials on the Fabric.com website for a complete selection of this seasons hottest must have items.

  • Leggings have become a fashion staple for many. They come in many variations, instead of wearing them in the usual black try them in lace, different denim washes, patterned, leather and metallic fabric.  They are ultra comfortable and are perfect paired with cozy knits, tunics and military inspired fashion.
  • Military inspired fashions are a hot trend for Fall 2010.  This includes cargo pants, military inspired coats, jackets and shirts. Since this trend can sometimes come off as masculine be sure to pair military inspired pieces with more feminine pieces like leggings, skinny jeans, dresses or a skirt.
  • Once again animal prints have made the Fall fashion cut!   They are perfect for spicing up any outfit. Try a faux fur animal print coat, a leopard print skirt or an animal print blouse, scarf or handbag.  Don't be afraid to experiment with different fabric textures and colors!
  • A popular embellishments for Fall 2010 is faux fur, which was seen every where during the Fall designer runways shows.  Who doesn't love faux fur? It is luxurious, plush and guilt free! So make a fashion statement and look like a million bucks with faux fur!   Try a fur jacket, cape, vest or add a touch of fur trim to items you already have in your wardrobe, like the collar of a jacket, purses or boots.
  • Pretty, feminine and sexy, lace is perfect for tops, skirts and dresses.  Lace is no longer just for special occasions, it can be incorporated into everyday wardrobe for a soft and pretty look.  Try pairing a pretty lace blouse with a skirt or putting a lace camisole under a suit for a touch of femininity.
  • You will be a fashion goddess in the hottest shade of the season, which is red!  From rich deep wine shades to traffic stopping bright and bold reds,  it is the perfect accent color for the season.  Try a bright red blazer, dresses, skirts, tops, blouses and accessories.
  • Try a cape or poncho to add a touch of fashion drama to your Fall wardrobe.   Both capes and ponchos were seen all over the Fall designer runway shows.  Something as simple as adding a cape or poncho can change the look of an entire outfit.  Pair capes and ponchos with skinny jeans,  pencil skirts or a fitted dress for a chic and sophisticated look.
  • Camel is the new neutral for Fall 2010. Incorporate shades of camel, taupe and khaki into your cool weather wardrobe. These colors are great because you can mix them with just about any color and still look amazing. So if you don't have this color in your wardrobe, this is the perfect time to stock up!  The must have camel colored pieces to consider are coats, sweaters, handbags or pants.

The Costume Trunk: Corsets Demystified

Ahhhhh... the corset. So many people have so many opinions about corsets. Just in the time it took for our photographer to snap shots of today's sample pieces, numerous staffers walked by and shared their thoughts, everything from "Hmmmmm.... I don't know," to "I love this!"

I could wax rhapsodic about corsets for days. I love reading books on the history of corsetry. I love seeing antique corsets. I love the way the proper foundation corset makes the difference between a good historical costume and a great one. The back support is pretty fab, too. I would like to dispel the notion that corsets are uncomfortable garments made to coerce one's form into distorted shape. True, there are certainly corsets out there of that nature and they have their enthusiasts, but for the average person, a well-fitted corset should support the body and clothing worn over it, rather than distort it.

I delight in making corsets - everything from steel-boned Victorian affairs to modern poly-boned bodices that are more fashion than foundation. And I firmly believe that every costume collection should have at least 1 (or 10). Wear one over a tee for a funky party look any time of year, wear one under a blazer for a more dressed-up look, or top off a skirt and add accessories for an insta-costume. Versatile and fun, corsets are here to stay, and I couldn't be more delighted.

Most people will probably not want to jump right into making a steel-boned corset, and since Halloween is sooner rather than later, I wanted to offer a few tips on a relatively fast and easy way to get some of the support and all of the style of a boned corset. Vinyl, here we come! Vinyl is usually stable enough that it will give you support and structure without having to mess with boning.

-          When selecting a bodice pattern (this Kwik Sew is a gem), choose one with simple lines. Vinyl is tricky to sew fussy seams on, and you really don't have many chances to pick and re-stitch a seam with most vinyl fabrics.

-          Choose your vinyl wisely. The stiffer it is, the more structure it will offer, but the more difficult it will be to work with. Just know what you're getting into.

-          I highly recommend tracing your pattern pieces to the back side of the vinyl and then cutting along your tracing lines (remember to reverse when you need to cut two of something!). This is about 1000 times easier than trying to keep the vinyl and the pattern paper aligned properly during cutting.

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-          In lieu of boning, you can stitch grosgrain ribbon to the lining fabric at seams or in any position you wish to fortify.

-          Some vinyls will happily accept grommets without tearing. If you choose to set grommets into your corset, I highly recommend using an awl instead of a punch to create the holes.  It makes wiggling the grommet into place more difficult, but the fabric retains more strength.

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-          If you choose to use vinyl to bind the edges of your corset, I highly recommend gluing the back edge in place rather than stitching it. It will add another dimension of strength and will prevent the frustration of trying to hand stitch or stitch-in-the-ditch, which can be tricky.

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-          If every you find yourself at a point where you have to stitch something with the shiny fashions side of the vinyl against either your presser foot or the throat plate, know how to combat the grip effect! Cover the shiny vinyl with a piece of tissue paper. It will prevent drag while you're stitching, and can be easily torn away without damaging the seam.

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If you've got a costume in mind this year that will involve a fitted garment like this, especially out of a fabric that can have some tricky elements as vinyl can, I encourage you to go for it, take your time, and remember - this is supposed to be fun! In your most frustrated moments, take a break and relax - you're making art. Sometimes it's a struggle, but in the end, it's worth it!


Here are two samples of corsets I made, using Sparkle Vinyl and Faux Leather. Enjoy!

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Book Blog Bonanza 10/01/10

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!

Today, we're giving away signed copies of Kay Whitt's Sew Serendipity to FIVE lucky winners.

 

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Thanks for all the comments and the great tips!

THE WINNERS ARE:

Commenter name: naomig

"Oh, I LOVE books about sewing. One thing I try to do is intersperse my
huge projects with quick easy ones... that way I always have a sense of
satisfaction that comes from producing something fabulous in an hour or
two, as well as the glory of huge projects and the awesomeness of
getting them done. It just keeps me going. Also, I ALWAYS cut out my
next project as part of my cleanup from my last project. That way when
I start in on it I'm starting at the fun sew together part instead of
the annoying cut out part. I hope so very much that I win this book! It
looks amazing!"

Commenter name: berendslisa

"I love sewing books, they are probably almost as addicting as fabric!
My best sewing tips is to store fabric in clear bins by type and those
plastic school pencil boxes make great storage containers for needles,
sewing tools, threads, etc. "

 

Commenter name: marshakaye

This looks like a fantastic book to add to my sewing library! Would
love to do some "grown up" projects! Lots of ziploc bags helps to keep
patterns, ribbon scraps, button, etc sorted and together.


Commenter name: thyme2sage

I have a very small house with limited storage. I have shelving in my
family room for my fabric with bamboo shades hung from the ceiling to
hide the fabric and also to keep it clean and protect it from the
sunlight coming through my windows.   It's stacked according to color
and season.  I bought a box of 9x12 clasp envelopes at Costco for my
patterns.   I glue the front of the pattern on the front of the
envelope and the back is glued on the back...it's so much easier to put
the pattern pieces into a big envelope than trying to stuff back into
the original one.   They're stored in a four drawer filing cabinet.  

Commenter name: gfawga

I saw this book at JoAnn's last week and ALMOST bought it. But i'm
still learning so until i get a pattern down for clothing i decided to
pass. I'd love to see what it can teach me though so keep in today's
drawing! Thanks!

 

TO ENTER:

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: Have you come up with an ingenious storage solution for your sewing or craft area? Share it with us!

The deadline for entries is today, October 1, 2010 at midnight ET.

Winner will be picked at random and announced sometime Monday, October 4, 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.

 

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from October 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

September 2010 is the previous archive.

November 2010 is the next archive.

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