September 2011 Archives

New Pattern Downloads- Knitting and Crochet!

September 30, 2011



I love new pattern downloads. Love making them and love launching them. I love today's especially because we have heeded your call and Fabric.com and I are proud to present our first Crochet Free Pattern Download: Ellis Square Cowl and Hat. This is a chunky but open cowl and hat project that is just right for fall. Made with Lion Brand's Wool Ease Thick n Quick; it is warm and cozy without added bulk. Plus when you thread a beautiful ribbon through the top and tie it in a chic bow you have a great hat too. You can work up two to give as the perfect gift. One to wear as a cowl and one as a hat or they can wear both as cowls should it get cooler.



My second Free Pattern Launch is the Tybee Island cover-up. This is the perfect cover-up over swimsuits or shoulders, depending on the season and the fiber used to work it up. This knitted pattern features a leaf pattern worked on each side. You can work it in a chunky wooly yarn for winter or a worsted cotton ( try it in Lion Brand Recycled Cotton ) for spring and summer. The ties at the top keep it secured around your hips or shoulders. This also makes a great gift coupled with a gift card for dinner out and a movie (restaurants and theatres are always chilly).   


Tybee Island Cover-up
 

Ellis Square Cowl & Hat

From Fringe Festival to Running Tunic

September 29, 2011


 

Back when I originally test drove the Hot Patterns Fringe Festival free download, I mentioned that one of the many visions I had for the pattern included elongating it and turning it into a running dress. Come along for the ride as I work on my custom tunic!

Before I did anything with the pattern, I wanted to transfer an image to my fabric. I am making this dress for a 1/2 marathon in Walt Disney World, and I love a little custom flair. Since the Haunted Mansion is my favorite, favorite, favorite ride, I decided to try adding an image from the ride's iconic wallpaper pattern to my lycra. If you've ever made the mistake of ironing lycra, you know it's a no-go (hello, melted mess!), so an iron-on transfer wouldn't work. I decided to try a different approach -- a Sharpie marker.

I used my opaque projector to project the image onto my fabric, and traced it out with a series of sloppy dashes. Since this maneuver takes place in the dark (with the exception of the light from the projector), what you end up with is not going to win any art awards.

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After I filled in my design, it was much better. Hooray! Haunted Mansion! If you try this method at home, don't get discouraged if your fabric gets a little distorted or puckers during the process -- a little shot from the steamer smooths everything right out.

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Perfect? No. Indentifiably dicey while I'm running in it? Absolutely not. Onward!

Now, on to the pattern ...

I pulled a pattern from my library that I have had for -- no joke -- 20 years. I like it because it's made for knits and has a nice swing to the skirt.


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I set the Fringe Festival top pattern on my fabric, and then set the longer dress pattern on top of it. That's it! No magic tricks required. I just cut out the resulting shape, smoothing the transition lines.

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I wanted to add a black stripe down each side of my running dress to add a little bit of sport detailing, and also to contrast with the periwinkle fabric I used. (Without the black, it was looking like stretchy scrubs -- NOT the look I wanted!) Once I had the four primary pieces cut, I eyeballed my additional side pieces, cutting them out of a black lycra.

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I assembled my six pieces and checked for fit. I made a few minor contouring adjustments at this stage, because while the pattern fits fantastically as day wear, it fit a little differently over the shape created with a sports bra.

To finish the tunic, I cut a 2" piece of black lycra just a little shorter than the circumference of the neck opening. I stitched this piece into a closed loop, folded it in half lengthwise, and stitched it to the neck, applying gentle, consistent tension throughout. Once the neck binding was applied, I stitched a triangle shape at the front of the v-neck to keep that same v-shape for the facing.

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Then sleeve binding was attached the same way I did the neck binding, but completely straight, since I didn't have to accommodate the v-shape.

I opted to serge the hem, and call this project done. Ready to race!

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Are you thinking of a way to customize one of our free pattern downloads and transforming it with a totally fresh take? Do it! Be bold! For all you know, you may start a new trend.

 

 

 

 

 

Knitting- Three Needle Bind Off

September 28, 2011

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Having a slew of bind offs under your wing is very handy as you branch out and become a more advanced knitter. Some bind offs can be tricky while worth the extra effort and some only look tricky and are even more worth the effort. This bind off is the later not the former. The Three Needle Bind Off binds off two edges while stitching them together. So not only does it save time but it also abolishes the needle to sew up your seams later (a time honored hated task by knitters the world over). Here's how you do it.

1)      Turn your work to the wrong side. Three Needle Bind Off (TNB) creates a visible seam on one side, so turn your work to the side where you want to place the seam.

2)      With your 2 working needles holding all your stitches in your left hand, use a third, binding needle in your right.

3)      With the binding needle, knit the first stitch from each working needle together and slip to the right binding needle.

4)      Repeat so you will have 2 stitches on your right binding needle

5)      Slip the first stitch on your right binding needle over the second and off the needle (just like regular binding off).

6)      Repeat Steps 3 & 5 until all stitches save one are bound off. Cut your yarn leaving a 6-8 in. tail and pull it through your last stitch and pull tight. Weave it in and turn your work. You know have a perfect seam to finish off pillows, socks, toys and this bind off works great for joining 2 pieces such as a scarf or sweaters. 

National Sewing Month - Sew For Your Pets and Sew For a Cure

September 27, 2011

National Sewing Month ends this week and we have two charities to feature. We have videos of our Sewcial Circle in action making the projects we feature in the blog today.

People around the world were touched by the loyalty and resolve of the Search and Rescue Dogs who worked tirelessly to recover victims of the tragic events of September 11, 2001. In the aftermath of the attacks, the American Kennel Club coordinated efforts to assist the Search and Rescue handlers and dogs at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and Shanksville, Pennsylvania. In a continuing commemoration of the heroism of those Search and Rescue teams, the AKC established The American Kennel Club Companion Animal Recovery Corporation Canine Support and Relief Fund, a charitable fund to support professional and volunteer canine search and rescue organizations throughout the United States. The fund was launched with DOGNY, America's Tribute to Search and Rescue Dogs, a hugely successful public art initiative. We encourage you to explore these pages to learn more about DOGNY and the dogs and handlers it honors.

The Sewcial Circle here at fabric.com created dog beds to donate to our local shelter. The small pet pillows can be made from fleece, cotton, or corduroy which is what we used. We stuffed them with shredded foam to be soft and durable.

pillowcases.pngOur final charity shout-out for National Sewing Month is ConnKerr Cancer.

A Case for Smiles, was created after Cindy Kerr's son was diagnosed with cancer in 2002. She made colorful pillowcases to brighten his hospital room and make him smile. Then she made cases for all the children in the Oncology Unit at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia where her son was being treated. Since then, ConnKerr Cancer has provided over 400,000 cases throughout North America and South Africa through thousands of volunteer sewers.

Our Sewcial Circle created adorable pillowcases from colorful cotton prints using the sausage method. It is quite simple to create a beautifully finished pillowcase with French seams and a knife edge detail once you understand the pinning method. You can get all the instructions for making these pillowcases and how to donate and volunteer your time at connkerr.com/help.

 

Fabulous Fabric Book Cover

September 26, 2011

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Back to school time for me has always been synonymous with book covers. My brother and I would raid mom's paper bag stash and cut and color to our hearts content. Today, paper bags are a fond memory paired with remembering when we could eat Little Debbie's not gaining an ounce and run around outside for hours without even thinking of napping (not like to today when I yearn for naps). The reduced availability of paper bags means that we must turn to other mediums for our book cover materials and what else, but fabric, would be my first choice. It is also a better choice. It will last longer than paper, can be easily patched should it rip and can be easily coordinated to any book bag or jacket for the ULTIMATE back to school outfit.

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My Fabulous Fabric Book cover is easy to make and here is what you will need to make one.

Materials:

½ yd of fabric (quilting cotton, linen, twill, etc) for exterior

¼ yd of fabric for lining

½ yd of fabric for bias tape binding or one package of prepared bias binding

Download your instruction sheet here

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Who says fancy dress balls are just for princesses?

September 25, 2011

When I was around 7 years old, my mom made me a really simple witch costume. I loved that thing. I mean LOVED. I wore it three years straight -- even though by the time I was 10, it was woefully short on me and the hat was tight. But I just adored my witchy raiment in a way I could never fully articulate to anyone. I just knew that when it came to Halloween, I wanted to be a witch.

You'd think that urge would pass as the years wore on, but it never did. Now that I'm an adult, I usually end up booked for several costumed events around Halloween, and I still make sure I dress as a witch for at least one of them every year. And every year, there has to be a new witch costume.

I really love princess ball gowns, and have amassed quite a collection of patterns for ballgowns and wedding gowns throughout the years. This year, I really yearned to make a froufy, poufy ballgown style witch to waltz through All Hallows Eve, so I selected a super girlie pattern, and set to work on my ballgown witch. For fabrics, I used a taffeta and overlaid it with an embellished tulle. Those rhinestones -- sigh! I adore them.

Here is the dress once it was assembled, but not embellished:

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Now, I will share with you one of my absolute favorite (and easy) ways to make custom trim.

-          First, cut strips on the bias. For this project, I used the same taffeta that I used for the dress, and cut them about 1.5" wide. I didn't worry about carefully marking out cut lines or anything -- I just eyeballed it.

-          Next, use a simple running stitch to make a zig-zag pattern along the strips.

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-          Gather the strips along the running stitch, and you have a lovely scallop-edged trim! Didn't I promise you it was easy?

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I applied the trim along the waistline, cuffs and skirt of my dress, incorporating beading into my stitching to add a little extra sparkle.

 

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To add another element to my dress, I purchased a garland chain of black, glittery foliage at my local craft store, and clipped the leaves off. I used the same seed beads that I incorporated into my scalloped trim to tack my leaves into place, creating a sweep of trim across the bodice of the gown. I also tacked several leaves to one shoulder of my dress just above the puff sleeve.

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I like to always have a little extra surprise here and there on a costume when I can manage it. For this gown, I attached a ruffle of glitter tulle to the lining, so that when I step into vehicles or up stairs, a little extra shimmer will show at my feet.

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The finished dress, plus some detail shots of the sweep of black leaves:

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If you, like me, still have a 7-year-old in your heart who loves to dress up, don't forget to look outside the costume pattern catalogue. Often, evening wear and bridal patterns can take a simple costume to a level of glamor and style that any witch would be proud of.

 

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Now, I just need to make a matching hat with that divine Hot Patterns Good Witch/Bad Witch pattern from last year ... More sparkles, please!

 

 

 

Double Knit Blazer

September 24, 2011

 

Blazers are back big time this fall and I am on the band wagon. I love a good blazer but find that they can be a little confining after a few hours. Don't get me wrong, I love the trim fit and smooth lines they provide to a regular jeans and blouse outfit but the trimness can be wearing at the end of the day. But if you make your blazer out of double knit fabric (like our great selection) you can get the trim, clean lines look of a blazer but the feel of a cozy sweater (like pajama jeans for the top half). Knit blazers are hitting the shelves hard this season but they also carry a hefty price tag. Most of the stores featuring knit blazers don't offer them in the colors or details I want. So I made my own, to fit me and my wardrobe.


I used the Kwik Sew Knit blazer pattern (available at Kwik Sew in Misses and at Fabric.com in Plus size). I cut view B but did a pin fitting to make the jacket less boxy and more fitted. The pin fitting took a while, I had to keep going back and adjusting each piece to get the fit right and recut a few pieces (like the back neck) to keep the drape and shape true. It was fun because I have not had the opportunity to fit front panel seams before or to adjust the fit of a project so much. I ended up taking in the jacket a significant amount because the original is so boxy but the stretch of the fabric and the soft hand still make this a comfy (almost loungy) jacket to wear.


I added an additional button (the original features one) and added a bold cream knit trim to just the pockets. I considered trimming the lapel but when I put on the jacket for a final fitting with just the pockets, I fell in love as is. Just the hint of trim, coupled with the cream buttons, was perfect so I decided to stay my trimming urges. Lastly I hemmed the sleeves a little bit longer than suggested because either I have long arms or I like my sleeves a little longer.

Overall I am very surprised by how structured and not knit-like this blazer looks. I am also surprised by how comfy it truly is. My wardrobe has really taken a step up since I introduced this. Now I can continue with my t-shirt and jeans but look like a million bucks and not feel any different.

Check out these other great fabrics perfect for knit blazers:

Interlock knit

Sweatshirt Fleece

French Terry

 

Child's Halloween Costume Part 4: The Pumpkin Bucket

September 23, 2011

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You all know the iconic Pumpkin Bucket that serves as a rite of passage for halloweeners everywhere. In my many years of trick or treating, I have abused several of these buckets (aside from the standard pillowcases and shopping bags that also dot my Halloween timeline). As much as I love the Pumpkin Bucket as is, it just "won't do" or go with my daughter's fleece lion costume. You had better believe that if I am going to cover her shoes then I am going to cover her bucket to match. Though I didn't want to go over board (What!? Did that just come from my keyboard? Over board me? Ha) with the lion motif so I paid homage to one of her other faves, a butterfly. Though I did stay in the same color family and use the remaining fleece from her Lion Costume from Part 2: The Costume. The bucket cover was the most fun of her whole costume because it was unstructured. I constructed the bucket cover much like a lampshade slip cover but with elastic gathers at bottom and top. I measured around the widest part of the pumpkin for the width of my fleece rectangle (Cut this from the darker fleece color) and added 1 in. for the seam allowance. Then I measure the height and added 2 in. for a 1 in. hem at top and bottom. With these 2 measurements you can cut out your fleece cover.

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Next, I drew a butterfly (if you don't feel comfortable drawing you can download a free coloring page and use it as a stencil) and cut it out of my light colored fleece. I added some details cut from a quilting cotton and zigzag stitched them onto the wings for detail and color. Then I pinned my butterfly onto the fleece cover and zig zagged around the edges. I also added some decorative stitching to outline the body of the butterfly. Next, with right sides together, pin and stitch the short ends of your cover. Then, fold over and pin your top and bottom hems and stitch in place leaving a 2-3 gap for the ½ in. elastic. Use a safety pin or bodkin to run your elastic (which should match the circumference of the top opening of your bucket) through the top and bottom hem casings. Stitch the 2 ends of your elastic together and stitch your hem casing closed. Slip your cover on and enjoy your matching treat bucket! You can embroider your child's name on the side opposing the appliqué or add another appliqué. Go crazy with your bucket and having fun decorating to match your costume!

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P.S. Make sure your butterfly applique fit before cutting it out of your fleece. Don't get carried away with excitement like me and realize later that it is just a smidge too big. I am hand sewing those bits down as I write this. 

Child's Halloween Costume Part 4: The Pumpkin Bucket

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You all know the iconic Pumpkin Bucket that serves as a rite of passage for halloweeners everywhere. In my many years of trick or treating, I have abused several of these buckets (aside from the standard pillowcases and shopping bags that also dot my Halloween timeline). As much as I love the Pumpkin Bucket as is, it just "won't do" or go with my daughter's fleece lion costume. You had better believe that if I am going to cover her shoes then I am going to cover her bucket to match. Though I didn't want to go over board (What!? Did that just come from my keyboard? Over board me? Ha) with the lion motif so I paid homage to one of her other faves, a butterfly. Though I did stay in the same color family and use the remaining fleece from her Lion Costume from Part 2: The Costume. The bucket cover was the most fun of her whole costume because it was unstructured. I constructed the bucket cover much like a lampshade slip cover but with elastic gathers at bottom and top. I measured around the widest part of the pumpkin for the width of my fleece rectangle (Cut this from the darker fleece color) and added 1 in. for the seam allowance. Then I measure the height and added 2 in. for a 1 in. hem at top and bottom. With these 2 measurements you can cut out your fleece cover.

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Next, I drew a butterfly (if you don't feel comfortable drawing you can download a free coloring page and use it as a stencil) and cut it out of my light colored fleece. I added some details cut from a quilting cotton and zigzag stitched them onto the wings for detail and color. Then I pinned my butterfly onto the fleece cover and zig zagged around the edges. I also added some decorative stitching to outline the body of the butterfly. Next, with right sides together, pin and stitch the short ends of your cover. Then, fold over and pin your top and bottom hems and stitch in place leaving a 2-3 gap for the ½ in. elastic. Use a safety pin or bodkin to run your elastic (which should match the circumference of the top opening of your bucket) through the top and bottom hem casings. Stitch the 2 ends of your elastic together and stitch your hem casing closed. Slip your cover on and enjoy your matching treat bucket! You can embroider your child's name on the side opposing the appliqué or add another appliqué. Go crazy with your bucket and having fun decorating to match your costume!


P.S. Make sure your butterfly applique fit before cutting it out of your fleece. Don't get carried away with excitement like me and realize later that it is just a smidge too big. I am hand sewing those bits down as I write this. 

It's a Twitter Party!

Fabric.com is partnering with Crafty Charlestonian to host a Twitter party on October 4th from 7-8 pm EST for our fans. We are giving our fans the chance to win FIVE $25 gift cards. We'll be talking about the hottest new fabrics for Fall, great sewing patterns, easy sewing crafts, no-sew projects, and more!

How does a Twitter party work you may ask? Well, I'm here to explain the details.

Fabric.com and The Crafty Charlestonian Twitter Party

When: Tuesday, October 4th from 7pm-8pm EST

Where: #Fabric on Twitter

How: Participate by using the hashtag during the party hour and following host @TCCElizabeth and sponsor @Fabricdotcom

Prizes: What's a party without prizes, right?! We'll be giving away FIVE Fabric.com gift cards throughout the party!


Want to attend? Here's how to RSVP:

(Completing the above tasks are mandatory for prize eligibility)

Want to earn extra entries?

  • Follow this blog publicly using Google Friend Connect.
  • Tweet this exact message: "Join me, @TCCElizabeth, and @Fabricdotcom for a #fabric Twitter #party on 10/4 @ 7pm. RSVP here: http://tinyurl.com/fabricparty" (Leave a comment with a LINK to your tweet)
  • Re-Tweet Daily (leave a comment with a LINK to your tweet)

Fall Yarn Wreath

September 22, 2011

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Martha Stewart really knows her stuff. Her new line of yarn from Lion Brand is wonderful! The weights, textures and colors are absolutely Martha- and by that, you know I'm indicating that they are awesome. One yarn that caught my eye is this Lofty Wool Yarn. The super bulky weight and essentially single texture with a small fiber ply makes this yarn versatile enough for knitting and crochet projects, as well as crafts.

A great orange color is featured in the collection, "Autumn Leaf".  Immediately I was inspired by a yarn wreath. I have seen these yarn wreaths before but I have never done one myself. They are so easy! I bought a Styrofoam rounded wreath base from the floral craft section at my local craft store. Tightly wrap the yarn all the way around, knot it off to secure and boom, done! I was astounded to find that one ball of Lofty Wool Yarn was EXACTLY enough to wrap a 12'' wreath. I had 4'' of yarn left over...that exact.

For the embellishments, I used a variety of Riley Blake ribbon and trims to make rugged little flowers. No sewing involved! Take a sewing pin and gather the ribbon (click here for video demonstration) and stick it to the wreath. You can use this technique with all kinds of ribbon for all different flower effects- I used pom pom ribbon, lace ribbon, grosgrain and ric rac. Since its Styrofoam, the pins are great because you can rearrange and replace! 

Double, Double, (very little) Toil and (absolutely no) Trouble

September 21, 2011

The new Hot Patterns Witch's Capelet free download is the easiest pattern you may ever encounter. It goes together in a snap and uses so little fabric, the biggest issue you're likely to face is deciding how many you want to make. (I went with three.) With just a little fabric, a bit of ribbon, and half an hour, you have the perfect accompaniment to any witch's wardrobe.

First, I made one out of black embellished tulle, which I am IN LOVE WITH. The rhinestones scattered on this fabric make it look so lovely and elegant. I love me some sparkles. This one is so cute I may just wear it over a tee shirt for fun -- long after Halloween is over!

 

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Fore capelet number two, I went with multicolor spiderweb net. I had no idea that there is a bonus element to this fabric: It's reversible! The backside is all silver webs. So, in the 30 minutes it took me to lay out and cut my fabric, and then assemble the capelet, I really ended up with two of them! So, whether I want to go as a disco witch or throw an icy, classic vibe, I'm covered.

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For the third iteration of this pattern, I decided to go ghostly instead of witchy, and I love the result.  I used white chiffon, which I steamed while it was twisted to add a wrinkled texture. After I cut the pieces, I made a series of shallow snips along the edges and then frayed them gently to add a little texture. With my ribbon tie in place, I'm ready for haunting.


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So, what kind of witch will you be this year? Remember, witches don't have to wear all black -- you can layer a sheer black over another color for depth, or go completely original as a pink or red witch. If you combine your capelet with a matching hat (we've got you covered with a free pattern download there, too!), you can be any kind of witch you like!

 

Get the free pattern here -- and get creative!

 

HotPatterns Bijoux Baby Jewelry Roll

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Wow! HotPatterns Bijoux Baby Jewelry Roll is just plain cool. I have long wanted a jewelry roll but have never found one worth the money at any of the big box stores. The fabric was never bold enough and the insides just didn't fit my needs. Boutique stores had a great selection but the prices were budget busting. I was floored when this pattern hit my inbox. I could not wait to get started and the hardest part was picking the fabric. I ended up going with a medium weight patterned linen (like the Timeless Treasures collection) and a textured medium weight home dec solid all pulled together with a light weight cotton in a tonal pattern. I was very pleased with the color play but more pleased with the finish project overall.

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#1) The ring holder is just NEAT-O! I love it and don't think I have seen anything like it. I also love the button closure because I am a big fan of buttons. I don't have many rings (Only the cocktail rings displayed here) but maybe I will get some more just to keep on my ring holder.

#2) I am also a big fan of colored zippers so I loved adding even more color by using different colored 7 in. zippers here. The pockets are very roomy and perfect for some of my bigger pieces (large hoop earring are no problem)

#3) Since I prefer 1/2 in. seams, that is what I used and when it came time to fit the lining to the exterior, I added opposing pleats to the center section of the lining. I use these pleats to keep my earring backings from disappearing. They are also good for general keeping stuff in place should you find the need to dress on the go (in the car, bus, subway or a quick change after class).

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The HotPatterns Bijoux Baby Jewelry Roll is a fast project and a GREAT gift idea for any of the ladies in your life. You could even swap the ribbon tie for a snap and expand the ring holder to fit watches and give it to the guys in your life as well. 

Butterfly Crochet Hat

September 19, 2011

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I am really picking up crochet and with it my appetite increases for projects. I can't remember how I stumbled upon Olivia's Butterfly crochet hat pattern by Valerie Whitten but am I glad I did. I thought I loved knitting hats but crocheting them is right up there. I am still fascinated by the difference in construction between knitting and crochet that each project is even more fun than the previous. This hat was simple but with a detail that really sets it apart. The effortless butterfly detail placed as it is right above the final row takes this hat from basic to amazing. I love how the chains coupled with a single SC add a visual and textural facet that makes this hat just the thing for a precious little girl. It was quick to make as well as fun.

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I used a smaller yarn and hook than recommended in the pattern. I have been jonesing to work with our Lion Brand Superwash Merino Cashmere (72% Superwash Merino Wool, 15% Nylon, 13% Cashmere). This yarn was a dream. It was just as soft worked up as it was in the skein (this is not always the case with soft yarns). It did not irritate my fingers while working it up either (something else I have noticed with some blends, they are not so soft when rubbing your skin). The texture and stitch definition were excellent with just a bit of fuzz so you can see how soft it is. The color, Green Tea, is just right for my little one. It was light enough to allow the hat design to be the main focus, not the color, and will compliment many of her jackets since it is not loud. She has been wearing it all weekend and I haven't noticed any itching or irritation from the wool. She really loves it. With the pattern written as it, the hat can fit an adult just by adding more rows. But to fit a child smaller then 2-3, you will want to reduce the increases and rows and reduce the chains in the butterfly too if the child is very small. Since the hat is worked from the top down it is easy to see how big it is and adjust as you go instead of ripping back. This hat will make great gifts for your own children, friends and friends' children. It is a great pattern that can be worked up with ease and speed.

Raveled here

Come on in ... and pull yourself up a chair!

September 18, 2011

 

So, I've been (foolishly) making large-scale costumes for a number of years, and people always want to know how these wild concoctions come together, what's inside them and how I wear or puppeteer them. For my next trick, I will walk you through one of these projects from soup to nuts: Chairry from "Pee Wee's Playhouse."

Before I kick off the proceedings, I feel compelled to confess that I procrastinated on this one. Well, that's not entirely accurate; it was more a matter of not finding time to really dig in to this project until two weeks before I was scheduled to have it done for Dragon*Con. So the pictures in this blog were all taken over a 10-day period of crammy, slammy building and sewing. When I first started building large-scale, mascot style costumes, I never could have pulled off such a short build, but thankfully, I've learned a few tricks through the years so there's not too much guesswork.

Ok, so I wanted to build a chair that people would be able to sit on. So, I started by screwing together a base. It's a sloppy affair, but as I have learned from previous endeavors, each step tends to reinforce the step that came before it, so, I wasn't too fretful about the funky angles.

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The second step was adding a flat seating base to the base.

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Once the base was reinforced and load tested to make sure a decent-size adult could sit on it, I traced out the backing shape onto pegboard, and cut it out using a jigsaw.

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I wanted to make sure the back could: a) fold down, and b) stand stably. To make sure it would have a stable base, I made legs that attached to the back of the peg board.

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I tested the placement of the backing, and once I was good with things, I cut eye holes and then attached the backing to the seat with hinges. You might notice that the hinges don't match. My policy is generally to use whatever I have on hand if it will work instead of spending money. In this case, the hinges will never be seen, so mismatched is just fine! You'll also notice a very classy cardboard wrap around the base. Yep! It's not weight bearing, and it's just there to help the shape. Recycling, always!

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To create Chairry's depth, and the area where I would I would stand to puppeteer her, I used pool noodles and built backwards from the backing board. I used zip ties to hold everything in place, and reinforced with low-temp hot glue. (Note on hot glue: it can melt materials like pool noodles, so always test on an inconspicuous area.)

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In this shot, you can see Chairry folded down with her pool noodles attached. The zip tie ends eventually got trimmed down, but not before I triple checked that everything was holding where I wanted it to.

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Once the basic shape was in place, it was foam time! I literally use bed foam that I buy in sheets from my local discount department store. The foam was wrapped around Chairry, and in areas with curves, I simply cut darts and hot glued things as best I could to the appropriate shape. There have been times on previous projects when I mapped everything out and drafted patterns, but often, things work out just as well if I fly by the seat of my pants with no plan. Your mileage may vary.

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Once the foam layer was in place, I covered the seat of the chair. If you ever watched "Trading Spaces" or any of the other speedy home décor makeover shows, you've probably seen the quick-and-dirty method of making a slipcover where you pin everything onto the piece of furniture inside out, and then just stitch as pinned, turn right side out, and voila! A cover is made. I use the exact same method. If you don't know much about Chairry, you'll eventually see why I used that pink knit on the base.

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This shot shows a preliminary draping of the backing fabric. Sometimes, it's good to do a quick mock up of the next step, just to give yourself a little hope and momentum. Have I mentioned that the fabric I used is a lush, plush minky that is crazy insane delicious to sit on? It makes the whole thing feel so luxurious. I heart it.

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To make the seat cushion, I used a combo of bed foam and an elderly futon mattress that was due for recycling. I kind of just dove in and hacked away at it layer by layer with a pair of heavy-duty scissors.

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The same inside-out pinning method was use to make the cover for the seat cushion. It's finally looking like a real chair!

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Chairry next needed waveable arms. Pool noodles to the rescue again! I slotted noodle segments over dowels and wrapped them with more bedfoam.

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To slot the arms into place, I had to cut small holes into the backing board from inside, and then make a tiny snip in the fabric in each insertion spot. The arms were not permanently affixed -- that way, they can slide right out and the chair folds down for transport.

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Cutting eye holes in a project like this is always daunting. It usually happens so late in the build that I'm always afraid I will ruin everything by cutting something incorrectly. For this project, I cut the eye holes open as though I was slicing an oblong pie, and then carefully wrapped the cut pieces back around the foam layer. Here's poor Chairry looking like something out of a horror movie.

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A quick view of Chairry from the side.

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This is the very fancy and technical drawing I made to use as a pattern for cutting Chairry's eye details. As you can see, I'm quite the fine artist.

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Once the eyes go in on any project, it's usually the first time I really feel like it's working -- unless it doesn't. Fortunately, Chairry's oculars slipped right into place without much issue. The black sections are actually a lightweight Allure knit stretched taut to provide a spot where I could peek out.

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I wanted to show a view of me actually in Chairry. I'm sticking my rear out to illustrate where I am (all too well). I enter and exit this costume/puppet via a long zipper in the back.

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And here she is, ready to roll. As is now evident, that pink fabric that might have looked a little odd earlier is what forms the interior of Chairry's mouth. The teeth are cut from craft foam.

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The next two pictures feature Chairry at the con -- both alone, and with the rest of the Playhouse gang. I am pleased to report that our crew was very popular -- I think all of Dragon*Con sat on Chairry for a hug!

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I hope you have enjoyed this walk down crazy lane -- it's a peek into the sometimes ridiculous things that get built at my house. If you're thinking of making a giant beast for Halloween this year, remember that safety and health are always first and foremost. Originally, Chairry was going to be built on casters so I could roll her around, but once I realized the dangers involved in trying to wheel around a 70-pound costume with reduced vision and hearing, that detail got scrapped. Chairry is parked in place when she goes out to see her public, and I always have plenty of water and ice packs to keep cool and hydrated inside my creation. Stay safe, and have fun in all your creations!

 

J. Stern Design Class - How to Make a Wearable Skirt

September 16, 2011

Fabric.com is sponsoring Rick Rack: Thread Therapy For Sewers. Sign-up to learn how to make a wearable skirt with 3 ways to embellish. The Wearable Skirt is cut on the bias to create a flattering silhouette that looks great on everybody.  You'll make this skirt over and over because the possibilities are endless.  To get you through the project, we will have 3 live chats with Jennifer where you can ask for help. When you register, you will receive 15% off, no minimum on Fabric.com. Class starts on 9/22/11. http://bit.ly/okSIGs





wearable skirt by jennifer stern
The Wearable Skirt by Jennifer Stern

 


Child's Halloween Costume Part3: Shoe Covers

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I remember when I was a wee thing planning my Halloween costume down to the last detail every year, except the shoes. I always forgot about my shoes till it was time for the big show. A little bit of disappointment was always there because those white sneakers just didn't work with my Punk Rocker outfit, or I just couldn't talk my mom into buying Pirate boots because my Mary Janes just didn't instill fear in the hearts of "land lubbers" everywhere. So this year I decided I could not have my little one ruining her Lion Costume with her Dora sneakers or Crocs. So I constructed a cute little tutorial to make matching shoes covers that can be easily embellished to match any costume with any fabric (just be sure to make a muslin of the cover if you are using a non-stretch fabric).

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For each size covers you are making, I recommend using the biggest shoes in that size as your guide. Remember you can make the covers smaller if they are too big but not bigger if they are too small. You can add appliqués, bedazzle or paint these covers to blend in with any costume. Any fabric can be used but I recommend a fleece because it doesn't fray should you bypass hemming, it is warm and soft, it is easy to work with and stretches to fit different shoes. You can add other materials on top of the fleece if needed but fleece is a good base.

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My little one loves her covers but we had some model/photographer difficulties during this photo shoot. Let's call it creative difficulties for the non-parents out there and for those with little ones of your own, I will say she is 2 and you will know what I mean.  For the fastest way to get the covers on, slip them onto your child's foot, slide them up the leg with elastic in back, put on the shoe and then slide the cover into place tucking the elastic under the shoe. Please share your shoe cover photos on our facebook page!

Download your tutorial here

You can find Parts 1 and 2 of our Child's Halloween Costume Series below:

Part 1: Sizing

Part 2: THE Costume

National Sewing Month - Sewing for a Cause - Our Troops

September 15, 2011

This week we are spotlighting sewing for our armed forces and verterans charities. The one we are spotlighting this week is Soldier's Angels .

Founded in 2003 by the mother of two American soldiers, Soldiers' Angels is a nonprofit organization with hundreds of thousands of volunteers providing aid and comfort to the men and women of the United States Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, veterans and their families. Their motto is ''May No Soldier Go Unloved," and this statement encapsulates the motivation behind Soldiers' Angels. They have provided the wounded with over 25,000 of our First Response Backpacks directly at the Combat Support Hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan and the major military hospital in Germany; emergency aid to military families in need; and flights to soldiers on leave or in emergency situations, and to their families wanting to be with them upon return from overseas.

Our sewing sewcitiety here at fabric.com put together some ''cool wrap'' neck scarves based on the instructions at soldiersangels.org. They are quite simple to make. We used broadcloth and filled them with a teaspoon of water absorbing crystals used to hold moisture in soil. You just soak them in cool water for 30 minutes before using. Tie the scarf around your neck, and the water evaporating keeps you cooler. We create a video to show you how we made them and a little more about the organization. To find out more about Soldiers' Angels and the projects they do go to soldiersangels.org.

 

Back of the Envelope Pattens - Square Poncho

September 14, 2011

pink poncho.jpgAs I have mentioned before, I am addicted to magazines. This time of year, I buy anything that says ''New Fall Fashion.'' The Vogue magazine is as big as a telephone book, and I devour every page including the ads. I was thrilled when I saw the poncho trend re-emerging. They are the perfect accessory and practical, too. What could be better? As it turns out, we also have a terrific collection of sweater knits thanks to our Apparel Buyer, Elizabeth. That's what this poncho is made from. You could also used solid knits, lace or any fabric that has a little stretch and looks the same on both sides. I've created simple Back of the Envelope instructions to create a Square Poncho likedy-split!

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Continue reading Back of the Envelope Pattens - Square Poncho.

Back to School Pencil Case

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For some reason I cannot fathom a useful tool has fallen by the wayside of late, the pencil case. I, myself, have stopped using them but no longer. I am tired of searching my purse, knitting bag and diaper bag for the elusive pen or pencil. I am sure that your school age children are no different. Who doesn't want a one stop shop for all their writing utensils, in an easy to tote package that can be identified by touch and grabbed with ease. I DO! So in honor of September and the Back to School Season, I have crafted an easy but super chic and fun lined pencil case. These pencils cases make great gifts for teachers, neighbors, September birthday party gifts and quick n' easy Christmas gifts. You can also whip one up to use as a clutch!

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All you will need is:

¼ yd of lightweight cotton in 2 colors or prints

One ½ in. button

One spool of coordinating thread.

Download your pattern here and get cracking. In no time you will have pencil cases for your kids, your purse and maybe even just a few for fun (makeup brushes, dry erase markers, crayons to go). 

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Laptop Modification:
Should you want to enlarge your pattern to fit your laptop, it is as easy as changing your measurements. The assembly remains the same. First find the length of your pattern piece by measuring around your laptop (wrap your measuring tape 1 & 1/2 times around your laptop); this is your length measurement. Next find the width by measure the width of your laptop plus the height of both sides. These measurements together equal the width of your pattern pieces. Cut 2 rectangles using the above length plus width (1 rectangle from your exterior fabric and one from your lining). Try sandwiching batting, felt or wool between the layers for extra protection. A matching pencil case and laptop case make great gifts for any student or new graduate. 

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Knitting Button Holes

September 12, 2011

For a long time, I avoided any project with buttons holes for one reason: I could not make them neat. As hard as I tried buttonholes always threw off my projects. I could spend hours knitting something perfectly but when it came down to the buttonholes, it ruined the whole piece. Happily, I was not alone in my dislike for buttonholes and they have come a long way since I began knitting. Let me share with you some of my favorite methods to create great looking and hard working button holes.


Above I used Vertical Buttonhole for my French Press Pattern

 When I pick up a button band or I need to knit horizontal buttonholes into a project, I go with this method. It is fast, easy and secure. The finished look is very clean and symmetrical. I love that it is all done in one row since I have a past of forgetting to cast back on for 2 row button holes and so I spend lots of time unknitting.  One Row button hole:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EY4vBzLo-Xs.
Amy, from Knittinghelp.com has helped me through many issues with her helpful videos and no less so with this one. She recommends you write down the instructions but I have found a printable version here http://www.knittingdaily.com/glossary/one-row-buttonhole.aspx

one row buttonhole

Above is a 4 st One Row Buttonhole that is sturdy 
enough for my homemade toggle buttons.
 

Eunny Lang, editor at Interweave Knits, demonstrates a more precise and slightly complicated (involving more tools than the above method) One Row Buttonhole here. I would recommend this buttonhole method when working with fine yarn, lace or when you need an absolute perfect buttonhole. This is the Rolls Royce of buttonholes, only to be trotted out when you need to show some pomp and splendor. For every day, the previous One Row Buttonhole version is your best bet.  http://www.knittingdaily.com/blogs/daily/archive/2010/05/31/a-better-buttonhole.aspx

Now, sometimes a knitter needs a vertical buttonhole and horizontal will not do. In that case try JeshKnits pictorial tutorial. Her pictures are crisp and clear and show you from just the right angle how to go about achieving a great vertical buttonhole. I love these for sleeve bands and cowls. Vertical Buttonholes: http://jeshknits.wordpress.com/2010/01/06/vertical-buttonholes-a-tutorial/

Check out our great knitting and crochet section here for awesome deals for all your buttonhole needs

 


It's All in the Details

September 11, 2011

I'm a firm believer that the difference between a good project and a great one is usually just a matter of detailing. To illustrate this point, I offer up one of my costume projects from this year: an 18th century lady's riding habit.

When I first envisioned this project, I knew I wanted it to stay feminine. Women's riding habits in the 1700s were made exactly the same as men's garments, so choosing a girly color like pink was an easy way to keep the look soft. (I know, I know, I make everything in pink. That's not likely to stop anytime soon.) I went with a cotton velvet for the jacket, because who doesn't love velvet? It's yummy and has a rich, buttery look. For the vest, I selected a flocked home dec fabric in a large floral print. I love how the bold black and white contrasts with the pink velvet. To complete the look, I used a striped taffeta I had in my stash. It was one of those great deals I got from the $1.95 section a while back, knowing I'd eventually find the perfect use for it. Hooray for stashing!

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Now, as you can see from this in-progress shot, even once the costume was mostly assembled, it looked sort of anemic. Enter the magic of trim. Metal buttons dressed up the vest and jacket, but braided trim was really needed to bring it all together. I decided to have a little fun customizing mine. I started with a taupe colored Expo braided trim, and then dyed it. What makes this trim fun to dye is the fact that it has a cotton background base with a rayon overlay. Because rayon and cotton take dye very differently -- rayon tends to grab pigment aggressively, whereas cotton does not -- I knew I'd end up with a unique two-toned effect.

 

To do the actual dyeing, I used a large GladWare container. I filled it about 1/4 of the way with hot, hot water, and then dissolved the dye into it.

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Once the dye had completely dissolved, I added more hot water until the container was about 2/3 of the way full. Then, I pre-moistened my trim, and dropped it in, making sure all of it was submerged in the dye mixture.

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I popped the lid on and very carefully and gently shook the container to disperse the color across the trim. I HIGHLY recommend doing this in a sink, as I did have some sloshy escaping of the dye mixture. I let the whole shebang soak for about four hours, occasionally giving it a gentle rocking shake. I rinsed the trim about four times, making sure I eventually got it to a point where the water ran completely clear. Since I was planning to apply my dyed trim to a light-colored fabric, I wanted to ensure that no color rubbing or bleeding would occur.


Once the trim had dried thoroughly, I applied it to the coat and the hat for the costume, and instantly, the whole outfit felt much more "real." The hat also got a dose of ribbon and a cameo pendant I'd been hoarding for a while.

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As you can see, trim -- basic things like braiding and buttons -- can completely transform a costume, and the same is true for day wear. So, when you're planning your next project, be sure to pick out some good trims and hardware to make it something special.

 

 

 

 


Continue reading It's All in the Details.

Child Costume Part 2: The Costume

September 9, 2011

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So our costume is complete and a huge hit but it was a tricky week of sewing, readjusting and hiding from curious eyes that once they have spotted a Lion Costume can't wait to wear said lion costume. I made my little girls Kwik Sew Lion Costume from dark and light purple fleece and it is so soft and delicious. The fleece was a pleasure to sew with my walking foot. Of course, I did have to stop every half hour of sewing and de-lint my machine but it was sooo worth it. Now for the breakdown:

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The pattern went together very easily for the most part but I did have trouble with the paws. My work around was to trace the paw pattern piece onto another piece of paper and then cut out the paw pieces from the fleece, not using the sew-on method recommended in the pattern. Then cut out the paw pieces from the traced paper and use it as a stencil/placement guide and with fabric glue (or you can use a glue stick), tack down the pattern pieces. Then zig zag around the edges of paw pieces. This eliminated the paper mess with little bits of tear-able paper under every stitch and made it much easier to cut out the paw pieces since you are doing it before hand instead of afterward. I also hemmed the bottom of each leg so I could let them down further down the road instead of the elastic. This also makes it easier for my little one to get into the costume herself. I added a zipper in a contrasting color to make it easier for her to find and zip up. Lastly, I assembled the fringe on the tail and sewed it on after I sewed and turned the tail. The fringe was too bulky using the pattern assembly. I hand sewed it in place which made it much easier, no broken needles and the finish was just as neat as the original. I am going to go back and lightly stuff the tail and add some pipe cleaners so I can shape the tail for Trick or Treating so keep it off the ground and give it some life.

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Some other modifications I considered were adding the bow from the bunny variation and some flat piping around the chest piece. The reason I decided against them was that the costume was so stinking cute that I didn't think it needed them and would have been lost on the costume.

Stay tuned for Parts 3 & 4 which will feature easy shoe covers to make your costume flawless and a great Pumpkin Pail Cover to match your costume and complete your Halloween Look. Find Part 1 of our Child Costume series here and check out our great Fleece section for your kid's color combination dreams-come-true!

National Sewing Month - Sew for a cause

September 7, 2011

September is National Sewing Month, and this year we are featuring four kinds of causes or charities you can donate your sewing skills and time to. This week we are spotlighting sewing for children's charities. There are many worthy ones around the country including Project Linus and Little Dresses for Africa. The one we are spotlighting this week is Newborns in Need. This charitable organization distributes knitted crocheted and sewn items of clothing and blankets to premature and full-term babies. Some of the staff here at fabric.com got together to create some blankets from the instructions at http://www.newbornsinneed.org. Here's a video clip that gives you a little more information about Newborns in Need and a look at our sewing bee Baby Blanket .m4v.

Color Changing in Crochet

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Of the MANY, MANY techniques we are sure to cover here on the blog, none may be more important than changing colors (or joining in a new ball). Color work, simple or complicated is a key part of truly having fun with crochet. Stripes, chevrons or swirls, changing colors can take your work to the next level in style without changing your stitch. Adding colors can give an ordinary project just the right 'something' to make it shine. Or it can make a boring project interesting. Changing color (or adding a new ball) is simple but knowing the techniques can ease the learning.

I prefer to control my color changes, at the beginning of a row or round, or at the beginning of a repeat in your stitch count. This makes the join less obvious and more professional. Once you are at a good color change spot, drop your working yarn (A) and make a large loop with your new yarn (B), leaving a tail of 6-8 inches (enough to weave in later). Slip this loop onto your crochet hook (before if you are starting a DC, HDC or TC or after inserting your hook into a stitch for a SC). Continue holding the tail with B for 2-3 stitches (until you feel comfortable that the tail is snug) then drop the tail and continuing on with your pattern. When you come around to the color change again (either in the next row or round) be careful with the last stitch of A, it is loose and might pull. Snug it up as needed and continue on or you can weave in the tail of A right now so as not to worry about it.

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You can change colors again as often as need be being sure to weave in the tails to the stitches of the same color. This technique also works for adding new balls of yarn of the same color except you do not need to be as careful where you start the yarn. Do take the stitch into consideration since the first and last stitches can be loose until you weave them in. You don't want the middle of a lace pattern to be loose so unless you are crocheting in SC, start a new ball at the beginning or end of a row or round to be safe. 

Check out my Rosewood Crochet Hook Review here

Rosewood Crochet Hook Review

September 6, 2011

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Last week, I set aside some time to sit down with one of our Rosewood Crochet Hooks so I could review it. But then I forgot and sat daydreaming for a few hours. It was only later when I looked down and saw that instead of relaxing and day dreaming (which I quite contentedly thought I was doing) I had actually been crocheting. My Rosewood Hook was that soft and warm in my hand that I was able to forget it for a little while, and at the same time, forget about everything else for a time as well. Since then I have consciously used the Rosewood Crochet Hook and it is just as fun, soft, smooth and warm as my previous Zen experience.

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I would start off, first, by recommended it to advanced beginners for several reasons. 1) The wood is soft so the hard tension that beginners can adopt may snap the beautiful hook. 2) It is more slick and faster than the Aluminum and Soft Touch hooks which might be frustrating for a beginner. 3) The price while not a show stopper is something to consider if you are not sure crochet is for you. However, if Crochet is for you than so are the Rosewood Hooks. They are gorgeous to the point that I spent as much time looking at my hands as I did my work (I even gave myself a manicure because my hands were shaming the hook). A few hooks or even a full set would make a dream gift for the crocheter on your list. Even just one tucked in with a few balls of alpaca or cashmere would be a thoughtful and endearing gift. I love my one Rosewood hook but you can rest assured it will not be lonely for long. 

Child's Costume Part 1:

September 3, 2011


I remember when I first discovered I was pregnant with my now 2 yr old daughter and bragging to my husband that I would always make my daughter's Halloween Costume. 2 years in and I have stuck to my guns (though that is only 2 costumes so far- year 1 & year 2). This year, I am taking it to the next step and making a full costume using Kwik Sew's Babies and Toddler's Costume that features a Bunny, Bear, Dinosaur and Lion. My little one is crazy about all of these creatures but has a special fondness for lions so I am working on that one. As simple as it may look, making a costume for a toddler is not a 'jump-in' project. This needs some planning and consideration. First you need to know that this is not just a costume to your baby or toddler. Whether or not they understand the concept of Halloween and costumes, reason stands that all that will go out the window once they try it on for the first time. No, this is no costume to your kid, but an everyday outfit (fit even for the fanciest of places...the grocery store). FACT: this costume needs to last. Given that last bit, that means you need to bank on your baby or toddler growing so proper measuring is key.

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You can clearly see my marks here with a bit of extra art thrown in for marketing. 

You will need to start by measure your kid now and then adding a year's growth to that (this takes into consideration that this costume will not fall out of favor until next year's new costume is unveiled). You don't want to just estimate here either because patterns take growth as a factor too. You need to make sure you start with the right measurements to end with the right size. To measure a wiggly kid is tough but with a door and a piece of chalk it can be easier (chalk can be cleaned right off). Stand your kid against the door and mark above their head for height and stretch out their arms and mark for arm length. These 2 indications are prime growth areas. You can measure the door while your kid is playing somewhere else with less wiggling. Measure from the ground to the height mark and from the end of the mark to just under the height mark (if you drew in the measurement lines it would make a cross). If you can, quickly measure the tummy, chest and head). I like to do this while she is drinking because her speed is greatly reduced at this time. These are not as critical but are helpful since the tummy is usually the widest area, you don't want the costume to be tight on the chest and this is a big growth area, and the head is a key complaint area for kids.

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Better with the arms down but you work with what you've got!

Compare these key measurements to the back of the pattern envelope as your starting point and go with the next size up. If you are spot on with the size recommended for your size, great but not every kid grows at the same rate. You don't want a too small costume before it is time to make another and you don't want your child tripping to every house in the neighborhood. Start right to save yourself some trouble and make for one happy kid this October through October.

You can find more costume patterns here on Fabric.com

Glitter Pumpkins

September 2, 2011

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When a new holiday rolls around I don't really get in the mood until I have decorated my house. While I do love to decorate my home, making the decorations is even more fun. This year I decided my Funkins just were not FUN enough so I spiced them up a bit with Glitter after I saw this idea on Martha Stewart's Craft site.

While I love Martha's glitter color choice in the video, I felt it was too tonal for me so I spiced it up a bit with green, red and orange (yes, despite what I just said about tonal, but it is a bright orange). And I set to work. I had a blast, a glitter obsessed, pumpkin decorating, Halloween loving, blast. All you need to make your own are a few pumpkins, real or fake, some white glue, glitter in several colors (Martha makes the best- really branches out of the primary colors), a medium sized art brush (doesn't need to be fancy), some newspaper/craft paper, a cookie sheet and a place to work. You want to lay out the newspaper/ craft paper on the cookie sheet. This will be your main work area to catch all the extra glitter. Paint your pumpkin's skin with the glue and then cover it in glitter. You can do it a number of ways, roll it in the glitter, sprinkle it with glitter, brush it on, etc. Whichever works best for you. Once covered, set your Glitter Pumpkin aside to dry and get to work on the next with another color. This project is good for kids over the age of 6 because of potential for huge messes.

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Since they were big pumpkins, it did take a while to get each covered but because I went with the fake pumpkins, I can use them each year. I am also branching out into other glitter covered objects for Christmas (apples), Chanukah (also apples but in blue or silver), Thanksgiving (Gourds), New Years (Pomegranate), or Easter (Eggs). I already have many of these items laying around just looking for a second life. My only real decision and purchase is lovely glitter. I think I need a stash of glitter as well as yarn and fabric!

 

Superdon's Super-hot-glue Picture Frames

September 1, 2011

Picture it. Kristl from the merchandising department handed me a stack of frames and let me "go wild" with my craft imagination. I went home and starting searching through my craft boxes to see what I could use to jazz up the photo frames.

I located some completed yo-yos, fabric, stickers, ribbons, costume jewelry, and buttons. Once I found my trusty glue-gun and season one of the Good Wife, I was ready to start crafting.

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Yo-yo frames:

I opened my tote of completed yo-yos from last year and pulled out some blue and brown yo-yos to adhere to the photo frames. All it took for this size frame was 10 yo-yos that I strategically placed on the frame. I put a couple dabs of hot glue on the fabric and then pressed the hot glue to the frame. This was extremely simple and helped create a fun fabric photo. 

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Fabric frames:

After my success with the fabric yo-yos, I thought that I would adhere fabric directly to the frames. That way, I could have an entire frames covered in fabric. This turned out to be a disaster! The frames had a polished finish. I could not paint them - the paint would not adhere to the slippery frame. Then, I used decoupage to get the fabric to stick. This did not turn out well - the fabric was wider than the insert to put the glass back in, I couldn't get it to line up correctly and it bunched up when it dried. I think someone with more patience and a finer cutting tool could make this work.

 

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Ribbon/Sticker frames:

This was my least favorite of the finished frames, but I think it is because I started this out incorrectly. I learned from the fabric that I would need to be careful with the ledge so I could stick the glass back into the frame. I started winding the ribbon around, but could get it to look nice on the corners. So, I cut strips of ribbon and used hot glue in order to keep the ribbon flat on the frame. I added owl stickers as embellishments. Of all the frames, I think this looks the "cheapest" but all I needed was a frame, ribbon, hot glue gun and stickers to make this.  

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Button frames:

This was the easiest of all the frames. I pulled out my button jar, which was organized quite well by my nephews and nieces a few weeks ago by color. I used pink and brown buttons, putting hot glue on the back and pressing down against the frame. I made a second row of buttons on top of the first, adhering them with hot glue.

 

Jewelry frames:

This one turned out to be the favorite at the office. I took old costume jewelry that I picked up at a flea market for this type of project. I tore it apart and then added it to a picture frame, hot gluing it all down. This frame is by far the heaviest, but looks the most unique (in my humble opinion). If I had more beads or chains, I think I could have made a consistent design. 

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Craft safety first! I spent a bunch of time with my glue gun and actually burned myself this time... those glue guns are unforgiving. Look forward to hearing how things went for you! 

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About this Archive

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

August 2011 is the previous archive.

October 2011 is the next archive.

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