June 2011 Archives

Hot Patterns All Wrapped Up Tank

June 29, 2011


I cannot seem to say enough good things about Hot Patterns so I won't disappoint with the All Wrapped Up Tank and will keep to my ways. First, I was very surprised with how fast this tank went together. I was expecting something this interested to take much longer than the 4ish hours it took me to assemble the pattern, layout and cut the pattern pieces and stitch it up. It was pretty easy considering it looks so edgy in the picture and other twisty, tied projects I have researched have complicated reviews and challenging patterns. The All Wrapped Up Tank is a nice tank pattern that comes with ties that you wrap around your waist to give it a cinched look (even though the tank is fitted). The ties and wrap give texture and add detail. You can wear this tank many ways, with jeans and sandals for a Fourth of July Picnic, under a fitted, cropped jacket for work wear or after hours, or with my linen version of the equally fun Bossa Nova Skirt for a girls lunch/shopping trip (though why you would be shopping when you can make such cute clothes, I don't know). The only suggestion I would make is that there should be a mark on the front wrap pattern piece to indicate where to pin it to the tank around the neckline so it will be secured under the neck binding. I had to guess and rip back a few times to get it right. I will also make the wrap pieces extend down 2-3 in. further next time to accommodate a larger bust but that is not a pattern suggestion, just a fitting detail.


I made my All Wrapped Up Tank in ITY (Interlock Twist Yarn) Stretch Jersey Knit and it is soft, kinda slinky with great drape. It is hard to distinguish wrong side from right side so you really can't go wrong- this is especially helpful with wrapping since you don't have to worry about the wrong side showing). There is also a slight sheen and did I mention the awesome drape (I think I may have). I used a self binding for the armholes and neckline to give it a monochrome look that really helped the wrap detail to stand out. I really like that the ties are not bulky which makes it possible to wear this tank under a cardi, jacket or shawl. The ties can also be placed to help cinch in your tummy so you can wear this when you want to look good but also do some serious eating. Lastly the basic tank pattern without the wrap is also a great wardrobe staple that I would recommend for your printed knits. 


You can follow my projects on Twitter (@tdangermiller)

A Christmas stocking for France

June 28, 2011

When we were discussing ideas for celebrating Christmas in July, someone thought it would be fun to create stockings that represent a country. I immediately volunteered for France. I really thought this was going to be a cinch. I began to research. I discovered that the French celebrate Christmas totally different than the United States. Very little decorating is done in the home. City squares and boulevards are beautifully decorated with lights and religious symbols. Then I made the discovery that the French do not use Christmas stockings. The children of France put out their shoes known as Christmas sabats for Pere Noel to fill with candy and small treasures. Where does this leave me now? I must design a stocking which is inspired by my reflections of France.

Many years ago I was lucky enough to visit Paris. I was charmed by the orderliness of the architecture intermingled with the green spaces filled with flowers. In the midst of the hustle and bustle of everyday Paris, you can step into a lovely pocket garden and sit on a garden bench to enjoy the flowers and a moment of quiet.  My evenings were spent in sidewalk bistros sipping wine and people watching. This inspired me to select Michael Miller's French Holiday-French Holiday Patchwork. For the lining, I used Moda Fa La La La La French Words Rouge  I left my stocking open in the front and added eyelets to simulate a sabat. As a finishing touch, I laced it up with a red ribbon. My Christmas sabat is now ready to be placed at the foot of my bed for Pere Noel to fill.

Joyeux Noel!


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Substitution-Doubling your yarn

June 27, 2011

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Doubled Fingering Below, Sport Above

Rare is the knitter who chooses the exact yarn as recommend by a pattern. Substituting a yarn can happen for many reasons: 1) you have a different yarn in your stash 2) you don't like the colors in the recommended yarn 3) you are allergic to the recommended yarn 4) you have another yarn in your cart needing an excuse to purchase, etc. The reasons for substitution are as varied as the day is long. And substitution is generally a pretty easy business, unless the yarn you want to use is a different gauge, and then it gets tricky. Sure subbing Aran or Worsted is no cause for puzzlement but say you want to trade Fingering for Sport or DK for Worsted or, even crazier, fingering for DK. Don't get your underwear in a twist-it's easy if you know how.

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Doubled Sport below, DK Above

Subbing yarn is all in the rule of doubling and as long as you know the hierarchy of yarn gauges-Lace, Fingering, Sport, DK, Worsted, Bulky & Chunky- you'll be fine. Each hierarchy level can be reached by doubling the size below. For example, to trade a Fingering weight yarn for a Sport weight yarn you will need to double the fingering yarn, so you will generally need double the yardage. To trade Sport for DK, double the Sport weight. For DK to Worsted, double the DK, and so on up the hierarchy. This also makes it easier to make great leaps in the hierarchy: to sub Fingering for DK, you will need 4 strands of fingering. This is because you need Sport weight doubled for DK and Fingering doubled for Sport so that makes 4 strands of Fingering weight. It can get to be a handful if you trade Fingering for Chunky so I would not recommend jumping up the hierarchy more than 2 steps.

To knit with more than one strand is just as easy as one strand; just hold all your strands as you would one (just check to make sure you loop them all in each stitch until you gain confidence. Doubling is also a great way to create your own variegated colors (by holding different colors) or add tone-on-tone variations or add a punch of color or texture (by holding 2 strands of the same size by different types of yarn. i.e. 2 sport yarns, 1 wool and 1 silk) to a simple pattern. Using this technique can also flesh out your stash, give you new ideas and encourage you to purchase that special yarn that you would otherwise have no idea how to knit up. I love using this with Mohair, since I am not a big fan of mohair given its lightness and fuzziness that loves to disobey my every wish; I combine it with wool to add softness and ease of knitting. This it does something special to both the mohair and the wool. This is one of my favorite tricks for feisty yarns!

Decorating for the 4th!

I have a couple of really quick projects for you that can be adapted to almost any celebration. I created these projects from my stash, and you can make all kinds of substitutions from your stash to create something equally cute but not exactly the same as my examples. These projects were created to celebrate Independence Day!


This tribute to the stars and stripes is created out of ribbon, glue, paint, glitter and a wooden star wand I purchased a couple of years ago from my local craft store. I painted the star red and let it dry before applying a white glue and Martha Stewart Glitter. With my glue gun I attached the white and blue ribbons at the top of the wand and carefully turned the wand to create the candy cane effect. I put a little more hot glue at the bottom to secure the ribbons at the bottom. I cut six pieces of ribbon longer than the wand and tied them to the base of the star which also covered the glued ribbon part of the shaft. It's ready to wave at the fireworks on July 4th!




The second project is even easier if you know how to sew, or even staple! I love the look of pennant bunting hanging around a doorway or from the edge of a porch. It is so easy to make with cotton print fabric and ribbon. Here are some very simple instructions, but you can modify them to suit the look of the finished project.

Let's make a pattern for the pennant. Take a piece of 8.5'' x 11'' paper. The 8.5'' side of the paper will be the widest part of the pennant, or the top of the pennant. Measure down 9'' from the 8.5'' edge and draw a line. Find the middle of the line 4.25'' from the edge of the paper and make a mark. Create the triangle pattern by lining up the ruler with the edge of the paper at the top and the center mark 9'' down. Draw your lines on both sides and cut out your 8.5'' x 9'' triangle.

Cut a piece of 1/2'' ribbon (it can be a little wider or thinner and still drape nicely) 3 1/2 yards long.

Fold your cotton print fabric with wrong sides together so that you have at least 9'' of depth. Place the 8.5'' side of the pattern piece on the fold and pin. Cut out a total of 12 pennants, and iron down the folded side to make a crisp crease. Now you are ready to sew, or staple, it together.

Measure 4'' from the end of the ribbon and place your first pennant over the ribbon so that the ribbon is inside the fabric triangle and the fold is against the top edge to the ribbon. I zigzagged about 1/2'' from the top of the pennant to catch the ribbon and the fabric. You could also staple in the same manner. Space the rest of the pennants about an 1'' apart as you sew until you are at the end of your ribbon. Tie a loop at each end of the ribbon and find a great place to swag your new decoration!

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International Stocking Challenge!

June 24, 2011


As part of our international stocking challenge- I chose Nepal!  I know, right? I know what you're thinking... Odd choice...Nepal? Does Nepal even CELEBRATE Christmas??? No, nationally they do not. The reason I chose Nepal is because this 2 years ago I received a gift from a relative doing some world traveling, and she brought me some traditional broadcloth from Nepal- which happens to be printed with our celebrated Christmas colors of red, green and white!

Since this was very special fabric and realized I should use it wisely, I incorporated this Nepali fabric into the heels of our first Christmas stockings as newlyweds!  I wanted them to match, but still be unique to our own personal tastes; and the Nepali broadcloth added that perfect special touch to help our stockings match, but still be different. I, of course, chose owls and I chose this birch tree stripe broadcloth for my husband. He's not a woodsman, but his beard might indicate otherwise! J I interlined each stocking with batting, chose a glitzy Michael Miller green damask print to line each one, and attached deep red velvet cuffs. I roughly stitched our initials in DMC Floss on each stocking and used whatever ribbon I had laying around as the hang tab. 

The Christmas colors of the Nepali broadcloth make it perfect for holiday décor to treasure for years to come. Now I just have to figure out what to make with the remainder! Maybe save it for future children's stockings so they all coordinate together??? This has definitely put me in the Christmas spirit and I cannot wait! I've logged away many craft ideas for ornaments and gifts for this year and I should probably get started on them soon! It's only 6 months away! Of course I will blog about whatever things I'm making so stay tuned!

Knitting How to: Cable Cast On

Last month I showed you how to add some snazzy detail to your bind offs with the Picot Bind Off but I received some questions on the cast on technique used in the Picot Bind off: the Cable Cast On. This video will demonstrate for you how to cast on with the Cable Cast On and will help you to complete your Picot Bind Off with ease.  The Cable Cast On is a great knitting technique to have in reserve as it is a flexible cast one well named for use with cable designs and when a flexible cast on edge is needed (think tops of socks, leg warmers, cowls, etc). The Cable Cast On is also great because you do not need to estimate your yarn as with the Long Tail Cast On and is well suited for tight knitters. 

Crochet Critters

June 22, 2011

Man, was this little guy fun. I am really getting the hang of crochet and I am really enjoying it as well. I originally fell in love with the Lion on the Cover of 'Leisure Arts Easy Crochet Critters', until the book arrived. Then I took one look at the Hippo and was hooked (oh geez, please excuse my puns). Though something went wonky along the way- I think I left out an increase on the nose. I am still not very good at row counting in crochet so I can't really look back and see where the mistake might be, so my Hippo resembles more of a pig than a hippo but he is cute nonetheless. I am already shifting through my stash to make all the other animals, lion first, and redo the hippo to make sure I get it right this time. I am head over heels for that cute little tail. I made sure to use the right size hook this time, which was tricky but given the practice I was able to adjust in just a few minutes. My confidence is growing. I used the delightful Berroco Weekend in Orchid, which is just a very light purple, perfect for a hippo or the seal. The yarn crocheted up beautifully, with no splitting or snags.


The bonus, that I didn't see coming, is that my little 2 yr old loves the booklet as much as I do. She thinks it is another of her animal books. I get a few minutes of wiggle free lap time where she points to all the animals, we name them and then make the noise. It is bliss. The projects are small and quick so they make great car companions and fit inside a diaper bag or into the back of the stroller. I have also been able to fine tune my Magic Circle technique and use it instead of chaining and then crocheting into the chain. I just magic circle the same number as I would crochet into the chain and pull it up tight. It gives a flawless look. I cannot wait to get started on the other 9 animals and I hope Leisure Arts comes out with even more Amigurumi books like this one!


The Stocking Challenge begins

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We created a Christmas stocking challenge for ourselves to celebrate our early Christmas Fabric Sale. We asked participants to create a stocking inspired by a foreign country. Only the brave among us took up the challenge. Some were braver than others as you will see in the coming days. Since I came up with the initial challenge, I created mine first.


I chose to be inspired by Germany, and specifically Bavaria. Germany is the birthplace of so many wonderful Christmas traditions, not the least of which is a decorated Christmas tree. Many traditional Christmas cookies have their origins in Germany as well. The Advent calendar also began as a German Christmas tradition. I found my inspiration for the stocking in the traditional costume of Bavaria and Germany, the dirndl and lederhosen.


The stocking is made from loden green colored cotton velveteen. It looked similar to the leather that lederhosen are made from. The flower is faux suede that I cut using the Sizzix die cutter. Bavaria has a tradition of floral motifs in their decorative arts and crafts. I embroidered the accents on the body, toe and heel of the stocking with DMC floss and accented the embroidery with glass beads from my stash. It is lined with a striped cotton print from my stash.


Stay tuned for more holiday inspiration and Fröhliche Weihnachten! (Merry Christmas)


VIDEO - Christmas Cotton Prints

June 21, 2011

Loralie Very Fairy Christmas.jpgOh, the weather outside is frightful...frightfully hot for most of the country. Believe it or not, it's the perfect time to start thinking about Christmas projects. Who knows? The very thought of chestnuts roasting on an open fire could make you feel like Jack Frost is nipping at your nose. Just put your sewing machine closer to the AC vent and believe! It's also a great time of year to think about the holiday projects you want to do because you've got six months to actually accomplish something. That's my take on it, anyway.

The video is about taking Christmas Quilting prints (cotton prints) and thinking about projects other than quilting. Smaller projects that don't involve large wads of fabric in your lap making you hotter than you already feel. I feature two Christmas fabric collections, Holiday Flourish 4 from Kaufman and Loralie Very Fairy Christmas from Loralie Designs just to illustrate that there are many styles of holiday fabrics to choose from. Here is the supply list in case you get inspired!




Keep cool out there!

Embellishing with Doilies

June 20, 2011


Doilies-My initial mental picture is a plastic covered living room bedecked with coarse cotton doilies on every available flat surface, Oh and shag carpet. But that is just a stereotype perpetuated by Hollywood and is no longer the true reputation associated with Doilies. Doilies are cool now- no seriously, cool!


Just check out what Jared Flood has done to help the Doily on its way up the social ladder with his Hemlock Ring Blanket. Doilies do not have to be just doilies either. You can knit or crochet them up to be just about anything these days, blankets (as above), shawls, bowls (with some setting spray) or adornments. You can control the size of your doilies by using different size yarn, needles and altering the patterns. I choose to make some different doilies to embellish a plain tank top. I choose several doily patterns and some worsted weight yarn. However, no matter how small I tried to make the doilies, they still came out too big to embellish my tank. So I just knit the centers of the doilies and cast off once I had the size I liked. Some of the edges curled and some didn't and I like that. I used a 100% cotton yarn to make it washable and durable as I am a big tank top wearer in summer and these will get lots of wash time since Potty training is set to start soon in my house. I originally tried to glue each flower on with fabric glue but that didn't work for several reasons:

1) the fabric glue ruined the stretch of the rib knit under each flower

2) The fabric glue darkened the tank top under each flower so the glue had to be applied perfectly

3) My little girl could easily pull off the flowers

So I hand sewed each flower which was better in the long run than the glue because I could keep the shape better by hand tacking each doily in place and in the shape I liked.

What I really like about most doilies is the openness of the design which really makes it perfect for summer time projects. You could work up a bunch together for a hem detail or even some to adorn a matching headband. The options are endless and they only take a few minutes for each.



Free Knitting Pattern Download- River Street Shrug

June 17, 2011


I used to make a yearly trek to Savannah, Ga every year and stroll along River Street with a drink in my hand and the breeze in my hair. Watching the Sunset down there is my favorite activity; still wearing my sundress from the hot summer day, as the sun crept down toward the horizon I would begin to shiver. No one to take my husband's oversized jacket, lest it cover my pretty dress, I set out to make a "little something" to cover my shoulders and add some detail in the back. My River Street Shrug fits the bill with a lovely Star motif radiating out from the center of the back to mesh lace that sweeps around your shoulders in caps sleeves. The River Street Shrug is the perfect complement to any sundress, summer top or bathing suit. Knit in Amy Butler Belle Organic Cotton it is as good for the earth as it is to your wardrobe. The River Street Shrug can easily be converted into a long sleeve cardi by continuing the oval for several more inches and extending the sleeves to your elbow or wrist. The pattern is easy to extend.


A small and medium only need 2 skeins of yarn as pictured and a large only a smidge more with 3 skeins. Grab your US 7 cable needles and this makes an excellent KIP project (Knit in Public). The techniques are easy and the River Street Shrug is a great beginner's lace piece. You will need to know how to knit in the round, decrease, and pick up stitches for the sleeves. This is best wet blocked with lace wires.

You can follow my knitting projects on Twitter for sneak peek at what's ahead. 
P.s. If you like my dress you can find it here (It's the Nancy Dress another Free Pattern Download)


June Weddings: Part 1

June 16, 2011



Subtitle: Where I recreate my wedding dress.

I love a June wedding and I am not the only one. June is a lovely time to marry; flowers in bloom, cloudless skies and warm summer breezes. A good wedding dress is just what you need to make the perfect wedding. But what makes the perfect wedding dress? Something beautiful to make the bride look even more beautiful, ethereal, with silk and that moves with grace. This was just what I was looking for in a dress and luckily I found it. Years later I am still in love with my dress and wish that there was some occasion to wear it again. Happily, I am not getting married again soon so I really have no need for a wedding dress, but if it were in a different color or length then...yes, perhaps... I could wear it to many occasions. This is a wonderful dress that can be worked up in many different fabrics to give a different look. You can recreate the wedding dress for your own wedding or in a different color for a bridesmaid dress or to wear to a summer wedding or any special occasion. The green dress has a hem at knee length or 30 in from underarm; the white dress is floor length. Here's how to make your own:

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2 yds of lightweight jersey in solid color (I used Rayon Jersey in Ecru)

Coordinating thread

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2 yds of Cotton Bubble Gauze in Grass (or any semi sheer/sheer fabric like chiffon, organza or georgette)

9 in. invisible zipper

Coordinating thread

Download the HotPatterns Cupid Cami and Nancy Dress to make the slip, Download the Hot Patterns Peachy Beachy cover-up for the dress pattern (You will be modifying both)

To make the slip you will be combining the Cupid top with the lower skirt potion of the Nancy dress. Cut out your size in the cupid top and the same in the Nancy dress lower skirt then tap the cupid top to the Nancy dress lower skirt lining them up where they meet.

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Measure down from the underarm to your desired length (mine is 30 in.)

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Place a piece of paper under the neckline of your cupid top and draw a new, V-neck line. Tape this new neck line to the Cupid top and cut the new neck line.

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Follow the instructions for the Cupid top to cut, sew and complete your slip (I used a 1 in. wide edging tape and cut the length of the tape across the direction of stretch because you want the edging tape to stretch across the width). I also made my straps 14 in. long and eliminated the tie.

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To make the dress you will be modifying the Cover-up pattern. I used the front pattern pieces for both the front and back, to make a v neck on front and back. You will be left with no skirt and just the top pieces. Next you want to draw a new arm hole. I started right at the under arm and drew a diagonal line to the shoulder. You want to be left with about 4-6 in across the shoulder to gather up later. You have just drawn up your bodice pieces; you will cut 4 bodice pieces from the gauze. Your waist band is 4 in. wide by your waist measurement plus 1 in. Cut 2 of the waist bands (one is the facing). The skirt piece will be approx 20 in wider of your waist band (my waist band was 30in. so the skirt was 50in. wide or the width of your fabric) by your desired length plus 1 in. for a double turned hem (I cut my skirt to 25 in.).


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(All seams are ½ in. unless otherwise noted) First with right sides together sew your band pieces along the length leaving the short ends open for turning. Press seams open, turn right sides out and press again. Put aside. Press ¼ in. hems along the arm holes and neck edges (you can topstitch in place if desired). With right sides together, sew front and back bodices piece together at underarms. Press seams open. With right sides together sew front bodice pieces together from raw edges up 1 in. (this will create a deep V in the front). Do Not sew back bodices pieces together. Baste along the bottom edge of the bodice and pull bobbin thread to gather to length of waist band. With wrong side of bodice facing right side of the waist band, pin bodice to waist band, overlapping by ½ in. Stitch in place (bodice raw edges will show). Baste and gather shoulders of each bodice piece, pulling bobbin thread to gather up as much as possible. With right sides together, baste front bodice to back bodice pieces at shoulder, stitch in place.

Baste along top of skirt and pull bobbin thread to gather skirt to match the length of your waist band. With wrong side of the skirt facing the right side of the waist band, pin together, over lapping by ½ in. Stitch in place (raw edges will show). Insert invisible zipper lining up the top of the zipper with the bottom of the V of the back bodice pieces. Finish sewing skirt seam with ½ in. seam. Hem with a ½ in. double turned hem.

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P.S It should be noted that I did not make the long white dress. I purchased it at a shop much loved my our First Lady. I only recreated the look using the modified patterns above. 

Home Decor with Knitted Accents

June 15, 2011

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Summer is iconic for sprinklers, running outside until dark and playing in the grass but it gets so stinking hot outside some days that I just can't bring myself to bear it after 11 am. So since a good part of these days are set inside, I get to looking around and redecorating in my mind. I love to bring my 2 loves of sewing and knitting together whenever possible but it can be tricky when dealing in Home Décor. Knitting is most often shawls, sweaters and mittens. Clearly it is apparel heavy but just a little bit here and there and knitting lends itself very well to Home décor.

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Yes, I am familiar with knitted afghans and pillows but those are so definitely winter items and not a good fit for summer decorations. Flowers, however, are just what we need to bring knitting into our living rooms, dining rooms, and bedrooms. Knitted and crocheted flowers are quick, fun and challenging (if you want them to be) and with a few swipes of the hand needle can be applied to pillows, duvets, table cloths, and chair covers to bring the outside in. Should you like wildflower bouquets, you can choose several flower patterns and mix them up together either in one color or complimentary colors. For those who prefer a huge monospecific bouquet might, instead, choose a favorite flower pattern and knit up as many as you need in either one or multi colors. Some patterns are meant to be felted, others are not and I would suggest an acrylic blend yarn to make them washable.

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Since my Burlap Transfer Pillow was such a success, I decided to make a complimentary pillow out of the rest of my burlap with one huge, magnificent flower in the center. I used Berroco Weekend in Orchid and #154 from Vogue Lace Stitchionary but I recommend any of these great free flower patterns on Ravelry. You can adjust the size of your flower by your yarn gauge, needle size, doubling your strands and continuing a pattern. Be sure you take into consideration where this knitted piece will be used. Mine is strictly decoration (not too many want to lay their heads on burlap) but given that I have a toddler, it is all washable. I followed the same instructions as for my previous burlap pillow but I left the edges raw to contrast with the neat, precise lace flower in the center. I do not suggest fabric glue for joining knits to Home Décor pieces, hand sew when possible. The amount of use these items are likely to see coupled with the weight of the home décor fabric is not a good combo for glue.

Check back tomorrow for an exciting blog post. Here's a hint: June Weddings!

New Class Available - Adorable headpiece!

June 14, 2011

headpiece birdcage.jpgFabric.com is pleased to let you know about a new class available for creative DIY headpieces from bridal designer Princess Lasertron. See all the details below!




Rick Rack: Thread Therapy for Sewers presents the Princess Laserton Felt Flower Fascinator Headband

Online Sewing Class Featuring Popular Bridal Designer, Megan Hunt


Redondo Beach, CA/May 24, 2011 -- Rick Rack: Thread Therapy for Sewers taps into the DIY wedding trend with its first online bridal-themed sewing class featuring Megan Hunt aka Princess Lasertron, one of the most sought after designers for the modern bride. 

"More and more brides are choosing to DIY and bring handmade elements into their weddings because they want to take an active, creative role in planning one of the most personal milestones in their lives," said Megan Hunt.  "Putting time into creating something original for your wedding rather than outsourcing all of the work to hired vendors brings weddings back to what they are about--relationships, familial unity and support, and the building of a new life together.  When brides include their own handiwork and DIY elements in their celebrations, they feel proud of themselves and more personally connected to the work that went into it."

Ms. Hunt's online sewing class for Rick Rack is called the Felt Flower Fascinator Headband.  The project is inspired by classic French and Russian birdcage veils worn during the 1930's and 40's.  These veils are making a comeback on the bridal scene.  Ms. Hunt's version features her signature felt flowers, which she embellishes with free motion machine sewing, hand embroidery, buttons and other treasures.

"I love a birdcage veil because it is more like a bridal hat than a veil, and the height and dramatic effect can be easily manipulated with a comb or headband," said Megan Hunt.  "Because they are a classic accessory, birdcage veils can create an elegant look, or they can be styled for a more offbeat, contemporary aesthetic. They can complement a traditional look as well as add some boldness to a modern gown. The birdcage veil headband project I am teaching in Rick Rack's latest online class is more of a fun and sassy accessory that you can make your own by integrating your favorite colors and ephemera."

Students who register for Rick Rack's Princess Lasertron's Felt Flower Fascinator Headband online sewing class will learn, through a video demonstration and project instruction sheet: (a) how to make felt flowers and leaves; (b) how to free motion machine sew; (c) hand embroidery techniques; (d) how to fringe; (e) how to create a birdcage veil; (f) how to embellish with buttons; and (g) general sewing tips.  A 1-hour live chat with Megan Hunt is also included.  The class registration fee is U.S. $35.  International students are welcome.  Registration is open now through June 20, 2011 at www.virtueradionetwork.com/rickrack.htm.  Students gain access to the class on June 22, 2011.

Rick Rack: Thread Therapy for Sewers offers simple sewing tips and projects for busy women who love to sew.  Their monthly affordable online sewing video tutorials are available exclusively on VirtueRadioNetwork.com.

Megan Hunt, also known as Princess Lasertron, is a bridal designer, blogger, and best friend. Her trademark combination of handcrafted design and business prowess with a dash of magic has earned her cult celebrity status in the wedding industry.  Since 2005, Princess Lasertron has grown to a three-person company that serves over 250 brides each year.  Their line has expanded from simple hairpieces and brooches to gowns, bouquets, DIY craft kits and the Princess Lasertron brand has reached hundreds of thousands of brides through magazines, television, and online media.

For more information about Rick Rack's Princess Lasertron Felt Flower Fascinator Headband online sewing class and/or to interview Megan Hunt, please contact Judith Norman at jnorman@virtueradionetwork.com.

Lazy Sunday- Headbands!

June 12, 2011

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Hair accessories and DIY are on trend right now, and what a better way to 'up'cycle old items and use those fabric scraps than pretty headbands! Recently added to our inventory, Fabric.com has a variety of craft accessories to make this happen, such as hair accessory notions, glue gun and a variety of appliqués.

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For this headband, you will need the foam headband and a scrap piece of very lightweight bunched fabric about 8'' wide and about a yard long (for ease, you can trim excess). Luckily, I had some Little Folks Voile scraps I simply can't part with. Secure one end with a glue gun and baste stitch, and just wrap the fabric around, hot gluing dots intermittently throughout the underside of the band to secure your fabric wrapping. At the end, cut off any excess fabric, fold the rough edge under, and hand stitch. You can use any old pins or brooches lying around to stick through the foamy headband!


Sleek and elegant, this is sure to make heads turns! Using this skinny ¼'' headband, take 1 ½' yard of 3/8'' double sided ribbon, secure the end with hot glue, and wrap around the headband tightly. Fold your rough edge and hot hot glue the other end. I chose this glitzy appliqué, cut come craft felt and hot glued the appliqué to my satin wrapped headband.

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I've got about 10 vintage scarves lying around that I rarely wear. I love the way they look, but they don't ever stay in place on my head because they are so silky and lightweight! Using a 2'' wide headband as a base, you can recreate this effortless look and not have to readjust your headscarf. Find the center (or you can make it off-center) of a scarf and hot glue a strip of craft felt. Then hot glue the scarf to the headband by gluing the felt to the underside of the headband. Wrap the scarf around the headband till a little fabric is left draping over the edge. Knot the ends securing the scarf fabric in place and voila! Easy-peasy.

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Got to get out the sewing machine for this one! For a 1/2'' wide flat headband- With right sides under, sew on the bias about a ¾'' - 1'' strip leaving one end open, and flip it right-side out. Turn under the excess fabric and hot glue it closed. I used coordinating fabric to make five 2 ½'' circles, folded them twice, and hot glued the corners to my fabric covered headband. In the center of my fabric embellishing, I simply wrapped small strip around to finish off my "frayed" look. Again, these fabrics are from the Little Folks Voile collection-scraps I just can't throw out in case of moments like these!

headband flat.jpg

These are so easy, inexpensive, and so fun to do! The possibilities are endless!

Knit- Custom Fit Knitwear: Part 2 (altering)

June 10, 2011


Now, should you ever come across a "must knit" sweater, t-shirt or vest but you know that your proportions are not going to be standard, have no fear, customizing knitting patterns is no sweat (just numbers). Customizing an existing knitting pattern is similar to creating your own but it is sort of like taking the interstate as opposed to back roads. You will get to the same place, but it will be easier and the signs better.

We start the same: with a good sized knitted swatch in your intended yarn using the dominate stitch of the knitting pattern. Most often knitting pattern will give you the gauge which includes the stitch pattern and the size swatch to obtain the gauge. Start there but knit bigger if you think you should (tight knitters should go for an extra 2-3 in. each way). If the stitch pattern is unfamiliar, this is a good way to practice before the big show. Check your gauge against the pattern and change needles to meet gauge.

Next, take the measurement of the pattern at the neck, bust, arm and waist (most patterns include them but if not you can contact the designer) and do the same for yourself. You can find where you need to alter the pattern where there are differences. If you are smaller in the bust than the pattern but don't want to make a smaller size than reduce your increases around the bust area (vice versa if you are bigger). If you need more room in the hips, than increase more around this area (vice versa if you need a slimmer fit). To determine where to make these changes, carefully read and mark your pattern. Some patterns will tell you how they are knit and assembled (top down, bottom up, in pieces and seamed together). You can mark each area of increase and decrease and determine if changes need to be made and how much. You will use your gauge to determine how much. Example: If you see that the bust of the pattern in the size you like is 34 in. but you want 36 in and the gauge is 4 Sts per in. then you will want to increase 8 more Sts. Pay careful attention to the pattern to determine the method of increase or decrease. Most patterns increase or decrease evenly on both sides and front and back. You want your changes to blend in flawlessly.

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Other modifications like length of arm or body are easy since you can add rows until you are satisfied. Just be sure you add a few extra balls of yarn to make sure you don't run out. You can determine how much yarn you will need by estimating that a stitch takes anywhere from 1- 1.5 in. of yarn and multiply that times your gauge and the additional length you want to add and compare it to the yardage on the ball band. This should tell you how many additional skeins of yarn you will need.

Don't forget to follow us on twitter for project sneak peeks (@tdangermiller) and blogs post, deals, and coupons (@fabricdotcom)

Christmas Appliqué

June 8, 2011

Snowflake applique.jpg

While Christmas is not around the corner for most of the Christmas shoppers, for those of us who love to give the gift of handmade, we need to get started soon. But it doesn't just stop with giving gifts; we also love to make everything Christmas-y, from tree skirts to garland. Sometimes I just get it into my head to make something for Christmas and while I may not complete the thought enough to see the end product, I know that I can get it out of my system by making appliqués. I make appliqués because they are small and fun plus I can add them wherever I want to sprinkle the Christmas spirit. Christmas Appliqués can be sewn onto long sleeved t-shirts, skirt hems, and jacket pockets. But appliqués can be more: by adding some Peltex to the back of an appliqué or sandwiching it between 2 appliqués, you can create ornament, garland and advent tokens. A simple Christmas appliqué doesn't have to be one thing. You only need to steal time here and there to create this fun, universal Christmas decoration.



To recreate my Christmas Appliqué, download the Linen Snowflake Christmas Applique pattern and cut it out. You can lay your fabric over the snowflake pattern to trace the embroidery design. You will need approx ¼ yd of hanky weight linen for 5 appliqués and ½ yd for 12. Trace your circles onto your linen and then embroider them before you cut them out. You can embroider the circle too and then trimming around it with pinking shears. Try off-traditional colors to give a vintage look. I used Copper for my snowflake which really blends well with the natural linen color. I recommend trying turquoise, navy, coral or silver. You can make a dozen and string them on a bias tape length for some garland or stitching some embroidery thread through the top for an ornament. You can also sew several onto your tree skirt or holiday banner.

Mine will be finding its final destination at the end of this month in a Special Holiday Poject. Stay tuned and follow me on Twitter (@tdangermiller) for sneak peeks!

Knit- Custom Fit Knitwear: Part 1

June 6, 2011

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Everyone is different; I know I am preaching to the converted but this can become very evident when it comes to knitted sweaters. It is such a bummer to put all your time and yarn into a sweater that is just a bit off, or worse, a lot off. Every knitter wants a perfect fit and why not! After so much effort and evenings spent half-watching movies, you should have a perfect fit. With a little math you can and every time. You can use my Custom Fit Knitwear Worksheet to create custom fit sweaters just for you and your family or use it to alter awesome knitting patterns. We'll start out with a custom fit pattern and then discuss alterations.

To start pick a shirt that you love. It fits just right and makes you feel good. It should be something simple, like a t-shirt or sweater. A basic shape will make it easier to measure. If it is too complicated (like a twisty top or billowy tunic, you won't be able to pin down the measurements as well. Make sure your shirt (we'll call it a muslin) is washed, ironed and rested. Ironing can stretch your fabric, so lay it out on a flat surface for about 30 min for it to recover. Now we measure. You will want to note all the areas on the illustration below and write down all the measurements that correspond. The neckline will be your cast on edge, the shoulder length and armhole length will determine where and how many increases, the bust measurement will tell you when to stop increasing and the waist length will determine how long your sweater will be. We will cover this more in depth as we go along; for now just measure and note. You will also want to note which shirt you are measuring in case you want to come back later and measure for a different neckline or arm.


Next, you will want to choose your yarn and knit a good sized swatch in the stitch you will use for your sweater. Knit a 4 x 4 in. or even bigger if your stitch requires many stitches. Measure your gauge. You will need to know how many sts per in. (we'll call this X) and how many rows per in. (we'll call this Y). Download your Custom Fit Knitwear Worksheet to record your measurements and to help with the math. Below are the instructions:

Step 1: This step determines how many stitches to cast on to match the fit of your muslin. You can adjust this by adding or subtracting sts to match your stitch pattern (if it is a cable pattern add sts, if it is lace subtract).

Step 2: Knit for this many rows to achieve the shoulder length you need.

Step 3: This will tell you where to place you markers for the arm; place 2 for each arm. You will increase inside these markers for the arm and outside these markers for the chest.

Step 4: (X * C) you will need to add this many sts for your arm. (Y * C) This is the number of rows you will need to knit to achieve the arm hole length you need. Evenly distribute your increases over the number of rows you need.

Step 5 (AT THE SAME TIME as Step 4): You can increase on both sides of the arm markers. Inside the markers, you will increase for the arm (see step 4 above) and outside the markers for the chest. You will use Step 5 on the worksheet to determine how much to increase and you will distribute these increases over the same number of rows as in Step 4.

Step 6: This will tell you how many rows you will knit to create your desired length.

We will continue later this week in Part 2. Stay Tuned!!!

Felt Wand with Magic Streamers

June 5, 2011

felt wand 2.jpg

Another chapter in our Felt Play Dress Up series: Magic Wand Edition. Nothing is more fun than imagining magic and casting spells. Every wizard needs a wand of their own in their favorite color or designed to order. But you also need proof of magic: to see it streaming out of your wand and cascading down upon the intended recipient of charm. My Felt Wand with Magic Streamers is soft to the touch for rambunctious playtime and has visible, wispy streamers that give the appearance of magic shooting from your wand. Customize your wand to match your room, favorite blanket or to match your best friend's wand. I created mine in purple with pink and blue polka dots. For Boys, I recommend stars, stripes or mini-fire trucks and dinosaurs!

felt wand 1.jpg

Here's what you need to make your own Felt Wand with Magic Streamers:

1 sheet of felt for wand (I used Purple)

Several sheets of felt in various colors for decorations (baby pink & baby blue)

¼  yd of sheer fabric (Crepe, Chiffon, Organza, etc)

Coordinating thread

Small amount of stuffing

Downloadable Felt Wand and Magic Streamers Pattern

Cut out Felt Wand with Magic Streamers Pattern pieces. Cut 1 wand and wand bottom from wand colored felt. Cut out several polka dots from various colors of felt. Stitch your polka dots (or other embellishments) onto the right side of felt wand. Set felt wand aside.
Cut Sheer fabric into small strips the length of the fabric (about ½ to 1 in. wide each). Stack sheer strips on top of one another and stitch together at the top with an X. Stitch this stack onto the top, wrong side of the felt wand piece. Roll up wand along the length and overlap by 1/8 in. and whipstitch closed. Firmly stuff your wand (I made mine a bit lumpy to give it the old, wonky wizard look). Whipstitch your wand bottom onto the felt wand to close. Swish your wand around and watch the magic fly around the room!

Knit & Crochet: Start your winter sweater projects now!

June 3, 2011

In 3 months a better part of the country will see temperatures drop and a fall chill creep into the air. It seems 100 years away since it just got hot but before you know it you will be reaching for your wooly sweaters, silk shawls and alpaca scarves. If you don't get busy now you will be left out in the cold. And why not start now. The kids are home from school and in need to activities to keep them entertained. Teach them to knit or crochet and they can create their own scarves. Once they learn to knit or crochet, they will love the activity and creativity. You can take your yarny projects to the park, soccer practice or sit at a local coffee shop while the kids play at camp. It is a great excuse to hide away in the air conditioning for a while.

I have scoured the internet for some great knitting and crochet patterns that you will want to get started on right away. You have 3 short months to put a dent in your knitting & crochet projects before the cold weather creeps in.  

Owl Sweater: http://knitting.craftgossip.com/free-owls-sweater-pattern/2009/03/06/

I am a big fan of this Owl Sweater and recommend it with a wool or wool blend yarn in a solid color so the owls are most visible. Don't forget to get plenty of buttons!

Katje Sweater: http://www.fabric.com/knitting-crochet-knitting-books-patterns-knit-cardigan-vest-patterns-coco-knits-katje-pattern.aspx

This is an amazingly constructed sweater- Seamless from the top down, making it easy to try on while knitting. This would look great in tweed!

Child hooded Scarf: http://www.fabric.com/knitting-crochet-knitting-books-patterns-knit-scarf-patterns-marie-grace-designs-child-s-hooded-scarf-pattern.aspx

Such a great idea to make a 2-in-1. I recommend a bright Alpaca

Molly: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/molly-13

This sassy number needs a tonal stripe to make is just right for fall. I can see it in Teal and Lite Green Superwash Merino (pic © Mia Edvardson)

Legwarmies: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/legwarmies

Great for everyone- it can be a stash buster or to bump your cart up to $35/free shipping

Baby Poncho: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/baby-poncho-l0078ad

Crocheted delight for kids. My little one loves her poncho and so do I. It makes buckling into her car seat much easier than a coat.

Honey Cowl: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/honey-cowl

I MUST make this in a trendy, spicy color. I am thinking Candied Yarn Mix! (Pic © madelinetosh)

Elise Shawl: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/elise-shawl

This is simply amazing and I love it in a tightly wound red as featured.


Felt Play Dress Up Part 1:

June 1, 2011


Summer Vacation is on us and many of you parents may be looking for play ideas for your kids to stay busy. Dress up is a favorite of many kids and is a great play date or sibling activity to keep your kids entertained while you catch up on the gossip rags, make dinner or take min for yourself. Unfortunately, most store bought dress up is quickly and cheaply produced and won't last the summer. Why not make it yourself and turn one activity into 2. By creating your own Dress Up items you and your kids can work together, picking out the supplies, deciding on the design and creating the final project. You may even find that homemade items are more gently handled than those purchased in a big box store...Naw, I didn't really believe that last one either.


A popular dress up theme, especially in June, is weddings. You can either whip up a super lovely felt bouquet or spend every day with one eye on the back door keeping your kids out of your Hydrangeas. You only need a few supplies to create this darling pint sized bouquet.

Felt Bouquet Holder Pattern.jpg


2 sheets of flower colored felt (I used dark and light pink)

1 sheet of gray colored felt (When my sister married, she gave her bridesmaids Victorian-styled pewter bouquet holders. I wanted to recreate that look)

1 sheet of green felt (for the top)

Small amount of stuffing

Coordinating thread and hand needle

Cut out your pattern pieces and felt pieces. Roll your main piece so the 2 straight side edges meet and overlap by ¼ in. Whip stitch in place. Hands sew your bottom piece onto the main piece (it may help to turn your main piece inside out). Hand sew your top piece ¾ of the way onto the main piece (you will have to make this piece fit. It should look like an ice cream cone when finished. The top needs to be rounded and puffy). Firmly stuff then finish sewing on the top.

Bouquet illustration.jpg

Using your flower colored felt create 10-15 flowers using Creative Jewish Mom's tutorial (number of flowers will depend on their size). My circles were 3 ¾ in. (Psst: you can use the top pattern piece for your flowers). Hand sew or glue in place. You are done! Enjoy your felt bouquet with a felt crown or a dino tail for the ultimate wedding!

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from June 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

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