November 2012 Archives
November 29, 2012
I 'm so glad to be back from maternity leave after having my second child, a girl named Emily. I was going stir-crazy and longed to get my hands on some craft supplies again. Many hours were spent holding a sleeping baby, who would awake as soon as she suspected I would place her in a crib, so those hours were spent on Pinterest pinning ideas to make later. In those hours I rediscovered the Pom-Pom. Their fluffy, round goodness made my heart jump every time I saw them in another project. With Christmas rapidly approaching, I really wanted to incorporate pom poms into my holiday decorations. I decided on a pom pom garland because in my excitement I had already create a handful of pom poms in several colors and I had run out of wreath forms.
I got to work shifting through my studio looking for half finished skeins in colors to complete the rainbow garland I envisioned. In the end I had my color scheme but it was created with both wool and cotton. After I had made all the pom poms I would need I fell in love with the blending of the 2 fibers (wool and cotton) and loved the different texture it gave my garland. I used only worsted weight yarns and my medium Clover Pom pom maker. This made pom poms approximately 2 ½ inches wide. I wound them with extra yarn until I almost could not close my maker to create extra fluffy pom poms. I also trimmed some pom pom more than others because I loved the haphazard and impish look of a freshly made pom pom but I wanted a clean look to my garland so I did not leave all my pom poms with the "Beatles' haircut".
In the end I made 16 pom poms to make a 6 ft garland. DO NOT CLIP the tie used to secure your pop pom; you will use it later. Using a bulky weight yarn (this will prevent the pom poms from sliding up and down and unifies the garland. Knot on end about 4 inches from the cut end (you can opt for a loop instead) measure 72 inches and mark to make another big knot later then clip the yarn 4 inches after. Thread the unknotted end onto a tapestry needle and begin threading your pom poms. Insert the needle perpendicular to the pom pom tie (the one we discussed earlier- see picture below). Slide your pom pom on and repeat for all remaining pom poms. It is easier to line up your pom poms before threading to determine the order. Once you are done, slide all your pom poms down to give yourself room to tie the end knot. And you are done! For an extra fluffy garland you can double the pom poms or use our extra large pom pom maker. You can opt for nontraditional colors like turquoise, coral, orange and bright green. If you prefer a color themed tree, try making an extra long garland to create an ombre effect on your tree. Start with the darkest shade of pom pom for your color scheme on the bottom and work your way up to the lightest shade pom pom at the top.
A quick tip: Wind the Pom pom maker with both ends of the skein. You will make your pom pom twice as quick!
November 25, 2012
For each cuff, I started with a 1-inch wide scrap of elastic, just 2.5 inches long. I'm using regular waistband elastic for these, but you could use a colored elastic or a fold over elastic, too. Really, the key is working through those scraps!
For the rest of the cuff, I used either a piece of ribbon 5.5 inches long, or a scrap of fabric 5.5 by 2.5 inches. My wrist is 7 inches around, so adjust as needed for your wrist size and desired tightness.
For a fabric cuff, I sewed my 5.5 by 2.5 inch piece into a tube along the long edge of the fabric, and then turned it right side out and pressed it lightly.
If you're using quilting prints or other lightweight fabrics, I suggest running a piece of grosgrain ribbon through the body of your tube to give it a little extra stability.
Then, it's just a matter of stitching the ends of the elastic scrap to the ends of your tube, wrong sides together. Flip it right side out and ta-daaaa! Instant cuff!
But wait! There's more! These little cuffs are so quick and simple that I've come to think of them as tiny canvases for creativity. (If I don't like how one turns out, no big deal -- it's just scraps!)
I made a ruffled cuff by simply pleating some leftover ribbon to a grosgrain base, and then stitching some elastic lace trim on top of that.
Really, the sky's the limit here. You can just use fabric if you have a print or design that you really love. (What a wonderful way to keep your fabric favorites with you all day long!) You can add beads, buttons or fabric flowers. You can just use a small cut of beautiful ribbon. This is the time to make use of all those teensy pieces you've never been able to toss!
Here are a handful of cuffs that I made this morning:
The ruffled cuff mentioned above, a Star Wars cuff made from a scrap of quilting fabric, and a cuff made from velvet ribbon layered over corduroy and accented with hot fix rhinestones.
My I.D. cuff and a pretty damask print.
This project can also be useful! A 1-inch wide cuff makes a perfect spot to clip a small MP3 player like an iPod shuffle. And all of the ones I made here are machine washable, so I can take this on a run and then just throw the sweaty cuff in the wash with the rest of my running gear.
My scrap stash has never been so inspiring! I'm super excited to keep going with these!
November 24, 2012
Winter is here! OK, I know it's technically not winter yet, but the low in Atlanta today was 27 F, which is abysmally cold as far as I'm concerned.
As each winter approaches, I think to myself that THIS will be the year I make a super yummy coat. But then, I get busy with other commitments and before I know it, I've shuffled through the cold season layering hoodies and less-than ideal jackets, and my coat never materialized. But this year, I'm getting out in front of it, largely because I fell in love with a faux fur we got in stock not long ago.
I'm an animal lover and could never be comfortable wearing real fur, but I am always on the lookout for a faux fur that will delight me. And when I first saw this fancy feather faux fur, I gasped at its loveliness. I knew I had to make something with it, but what? And then the solution came skipping across my neurons: Make that coat!
The pattern I chose is Simplicity 1732. I love the shape of it, and that it's got a little of an other-era feel to it.
For the main body of the coat, I chose an Antique Cotton Velvet. I am deeply enamored of this fabric, and because it's designed for home dec use, it's got a luxurious feel, but it's also rugged. (Seriously, this stuff has such a soft texture -- I can stop running my hand across it.) Perfect for a coat!
I made the knee-length version of the coat, and used my exotic faux fur for the collar and cuffs. This is definitely a statement piece!
Working with the antique cotton velvet was heaven. It simply doesn't have the same slippage issues that other velvets often do. Working with the fur was a little bit of a challenge, but nothing more than one would expect -- and because of the simple shapes of the fur pieces on this jacket, there wasn't a lot of tricky manipulation needed, just a bit of handling care.
Now I can safely say that I will be warm as toast this winter -- I just need to find some fun places to wear my new zazzy coat!
If you like the idea of using faux fur on a coat, but you want something a little more subdued for day-to-day wear, you can always alter your pattern so the fur pieces button on over a lower-profile collar and cuffs. But if you feel the call of the fashion wild, go for it!
November 18, 2012
The first time I saw the Tula Pink Birds and the Bees collection, I KNEW I needed a dress out of one of the fabrics. I love the play of hue and shapes dancing across the fabric. And I adore the colorful take on the nature theme -- it's a perfect fit for my mission to make a joyful dress. So, I selected a print and went in hunt of the perfect pattern. I settled on Simplicity 2444 for my project, and I was off to the races.
Because the design of the repeating pattern on this fabric is so bold, it's fairly easy to line up the pattern to make sure there's symmetry.
The pattern calls for a seam down the center front of the skirt, but I opted to alter it so I wouldn't have to risk not having a perfect match right at the front of my dress.
I am so excited to wear my new squirrel dress! Wearing it and looking down at its beautiful, bright colors, it's easy to remember how lucky I am. I have a wonderful family (both human and four-legged), smart and witty friends to share adventures with, and I get to express myself creatively with an entire rainbow of colors. It's a rich life.
If you're with us here in the U.S., I hope you and yours have a beautiful Thanksgiving. If you're reading from another country, I hope you have as many things to be thankful for as I do. And I hope we all celebrate our good fortune by expressing our creativity!
November 14, 2012
For quickie pyramid pincushions, you just need a teeny bit of fabric, a short length of ribbon or braid, and a bit of batting or fiberfill. For my samples, I used a cotton print, a home dec print and a bit of cotton velvet.
For each pincushion, I cut:
4 equilateral triangles, 5 inches on each side
1 4.75-inch square
After joining two sides of the pyramid, I fold a loop out of a scrap of trim and baste it to the apex. I join another pair of triangles, and then stitch that to the pair with the loop basted on, right sides together.
Once all the triangles are stitched together to form the pyramid shape, I stitch it to the square base, leaving a small opening for turning. I also do a little reinforcement stitching along the loop.
Then, it's just a matter of turning, stuffing and slip stitching the opening closed. Easy peasy!
These pyramids can also be made as pattern weights by simply adding beans or pellets to the base.
I bet you've got a scrap in your stash that would be perfect for a pincushion -- and in less than an hour, you can whip up several. These are also easy to embellish and personalize! You can also change the shape by only cutting the four triangles and assembling them so one is the base and you have 3 sides to your pyramid. (I love geometry!)
November 12, 2012
One of the joys of working at Fabric.com is seeing all the new products that come along. A lot of these I have never seen or heard anything about. Texture Magic falls into that category. I thought it was pretty pricey for basically a 1/2 yard of fabric that shrinks. I was asked to do some reviews on products. Since I was curious about this product , I picked Texture Magic. You can see I was someone biased against it in the first place.
After I watched the great videos at Superior Threads.com, I was intrigued. There are 22 bite sized videos for you to view. Each video leads to the next subject. I bought some and set aside my Sunday to play with this product.
What is Texture Magic?- This is a steam activated fabric which must be sewn to your project fabric. It does feel like a cheap polyester lining fabric. Your iron should never touch the texture magic or fabric. The steam activates the shrinking process.
What kinds of fabric can you use? For some reason I assumed that this was only used with cotton, Wrong- it can be used with minky, satin, velvets, silk and pretty much anything you want to try. In the videos, you will see it used to make a christening gown. If you have ever smocked or done heirloom sewing, you know how long that woould take under normal circumstances. This gown was faburlous.
Tips for working with Texture Magic:
1. Never touch the fabric or Texture Magic with an iron. Only use steam. Iron should be positioned above fabric and not on fabric. There is no right or wrong side to this fabric. Texture Magic is sewn to the wrong side of the fabric.
2. This product shrinks the fabric by approximately 30% so make sure you size your fabric appropriately. There is a chart provided so you know how large to cut your fabric.
3. Light colored fabric with little design will show the texturizing much better than dark fabrics. You can still use dark fabrics but understand that the design will not be as prominent as a light colored fabric.
4. Thread- If you want to see the thread, you must use a heavier thread- a 30 weight or less. Do not use a nylon thread that will melt.
5. You can apply a layer of fabric, batting and Texture Magic together and shrink. You have actually created a quilted block.
6. To create an applique with fabric that has been shrunk, you can draw your applique on the texture magic side. In a regular applique, you just cut the fabric in the desired shape. With Texture Magic, you need to sew around the lines of the applique. If you do not, the applique will be puckered when you sew it to your foundation.
7. Markers- You can draw a grid line on the Texture Magic to create a sewing line. You can use pencil, fabric markers, even a black sharpie pen. Normally I would never use a sharpie for fear the marks would show through the fabric. I did try it on one of the fabrics I used for my project and it did not show through to the fabric side.
8. After you have steamed the fabric, the effect is permament. You can wash this and the fabric remains crinkled.
I made a small baby's block from Minky using Texture Magic. I found a free pattern on line- Make-your-own-baby-stuff.com. I search my stash and found some Minky samples that I was getting ready to throw out because I could not figure out how to use them. Never throw it out- you will find a way to use them
Here are pictures of before and after I used the Texture Magic.
Even thougn I used the same grid design on 2 of the minky squares, they shrank slightly differently. As you can see from the pictures, I free formed the lines so they are not necessarily evenly spaced. On the yellow block, I used a black magic marker. When I steamed it, the marks did not show through.
Here is my finished baby block. I did 3 sides using plain minky and 3 sides using the Texture Magic.
This was a lot of fun. I have already thought of several ways to use Texture Magic. According to Superior Threads, one package is enough to do one crib size baby quilt. I am sure that someone would be delighted to receive a baby quilt done using Texture Magic.
November 8, 2012
Because many craft glues are quite thick, they don't flow easily. Storing them upright allows all of the adhesive to settle in the bottom of the bottle, and it takes forever for the glue to move back to the tip once the bottle's inverted.
The solution is as close as your kitchen cabinet (or your grocery store). This plastic containers that pitcher-sized drink mixes come in are perfect for holding glue bottles! They're wide enough to fit a standard-size bottle, but narrow enough to keep it upright.
The container in these pictures is a Crystal Light product, but there are many other brands that offer similar packaging.
I just peel the label off, and store my glue bottle in the empty container upside down. You can decorate your container with fabric or craft paper if you wish, but I like to keep mine clear so I can see which glue is which easily. When it comes time to craft, I don't have to wait on my glue!
November 7, 2012
I loved Amy Butler's Honey Bun Poufs pattern at first site! I've had them on my "To Do List" with visions of how they would look in my bedroom made out of Amy's colorful prints. But, with the holidays approaching the idea came to me that they would look great made up in Christmas prints. There are 2 options for making the poufs. The first option uses six coordinating prints, the second uses just one print. I quickly scanned the pattern back and decided on the six prints version, so I grabbed up some half yard cuts from one of our larger Christmas collections to make a medium size pillow.
in a hurry, it wasn't until I actually sat down to take a look at the pattern back
that I realized how large the pillows would be when made up. The Medium Pouf is 24" diameter and the Large Pouf is 30". Taking a closer look at the pattern back, I
saw that it called for cotton canvas, quilt batting, Polystyrene beads and a
zipper. I couldn't imagine why I would need all of these items until I took a
closer look at the directions.
was when I realized the Poufs are made with three layers when using quilting
weight fabric. For each slice of the circle, you will layer your print
fabric, the batting and the "liner" of canvas. Not only that, it also calls for
a zipper in the side (don't go there). This was a little more involved than I
thought it was going to be, not to mention a challenge to my sewing skills and
my patience. I guess I couldn't get past having to cut out 90 pieces - 30 each from
fabric, quilt batting and canvas to complete a pillow. The canvas liner is
really to keep the Polystyrene beads contained.
When choosing your fabric:
Keep in mind how the prints used for each slice will look when put together. I laid out my uncut fabric when it was folded and arranged it so that the tones of the prints alternated well. I kept the same order for the prints and just repeated them around the circle. You can see from the examples below how a single print will look and how a large distinct print works when you match up the fabric's pattern when cutting out your slices.
Since I had set out to make them in a Holiday theme and they would only be used for a short period of time, I decided to just simplify the pattern a bit. Dropping the batting, canvas liner and zipper, I only needed the top and bottom pieced circles. This was still 30 different pieces, but by layering the fabric and using a rotary cutter it went fairly quickly. The pieces aren't a straight cut so it took a little practice since this is only the second time I've used a rotary cutter.
The directions call for sewing the 15 pieces together in groups of five first. This didn't go as fast as it sounds, since I needed to iron the seam over each time I added another slice so everything would lay flat when I top stitched it. The first two groups of five went together just fine, but after I added in the final group and turned the finished side over the points didn't quite line up in the center. I ended up taking my seam ripper and picking out some of the stitches to make it lay flatter. You top stitch over the final seam anyway so I just continued sewing across a little bit further onto the opposite seam to make sure the center was secure.
turn out perfect, but I figure that's why you put a button in the center. Another
way to cover this is to applique on a flat circle of fabric in place of the
button if the mismatch bothers you. Amy designed the Gum Drop Pillow pattern this
way and it gives it a more finished look. One more thing, make sure you have
the heavy weight sewing machine needles as recommended. I didn't think I would
need one since I was only sewing through
one layer of cotton prints without the batting and canvas pieces. I was wrong
and ended up breaking a needle when top stitching the groups together.
halves complete, I sewed them together leaving about a 5 inch opening to turn
the pillow inside out. I did follow the directions for attaching loops of
ribbon to the top and bottom halves to form the tuft. I also opted to use poly
fiber for filling instead of the Polystyrene
I've used Polystyrene beads once before when I made my "Kitty" Gum Drop Pillow pattern. It calls for fiber filling, but I wanted to make a soft and squishy version so my cat could lay on it. Now let me tell you that was a daunting task. These beads are small, full of static, and they stick to everything. You'll have them stuck to your fingers, your arms, on your clothes, in your hair, they'll even jump on anyone or anything that happens to walk by while you're doing this. They're very fond of cat whiskers too. For cleanup, I suggest using a vacuum to pick up any strays because they won't just brush off your fingers into the trash. And trust me, you'll be finding them in all kinds of places for many weeks to come.
When the pillow was finally stuffed and sewn shut, I loved the final result. I hadn't purchased the 2 ½ inch covered buttons since this larger size wasn't carried in my local fabric/craft stores and I didn't have time to search them out. Standing back and taking a look at the finished "Pouf", I decided to add a fabric bow/flower to the top instead. Cluck Cluck Sew has a great tutorial and I've been waiting to make one of these flowers for a while now.
I am really trying very hard to get ahead of the season this year. I am usually the person at the mall on the 24th trying to find that perfect gift for someone. Well I have already bought several presents for my family, I haven't wrapped them but you can't have everything. I decided this year that I will make knitted scarves for my immediate family. This will not take as long as a quilt thank goodness!
Now I come to my friends and co-workers. These, of course, should be ready by the 15th of December because people take time off for Christmas. My friends tend to fall into 2 categories- the frilly people who love perfume, bath oil, gift cards, candles, etc. or the organizers. For a long time, I have wanted to make the car organizer I saw on Sew4Home web page- Cool Car Organizer. Click on cool car organizer for complete supplies and instructions. I can tell you that the instructions are very clear and I believe that a motivated beginner or intermediate sewer would have no problem completing this project. It took me about 2 weekends but I usually only sew a couple of hours at a time.
1. Sewing Machine
2. 3/4 yd. fabric for front and back of organizer- I used twill from my stash
3. 1 yard of fabric for caddy and pockets- I used twill from my stash
4. 3/4 yard of lightweight fusible interfacing
5. 3 1/2 yards of bias binding 1/2'' to 1''. double fold, ( 2 pkgs) I used 7/8''.
6, Dritz quick release parachute buckle.
7. 1 yard 1'' wide nylon webbing or strapping.
8. All purpose thread to match
9. See through ruler
10. Marking pen or chalk for marking fabric
11. Iron and ironing board
12. Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
13. Lighter to seal ends of strapping.
I did not use the grommets or the nylon cording in my project. Feel free to create the pockets the way you want them to be. I sectioned off the first pocket for a pen holder. I can never find a pen when I need it.
The project went together like a dream. In fact, I am keeping the one I made for myself, I guess that I will have to make another for my friend. I have a Honda Accord and it fits very well. I think that twill, canvas or duck are the perfect fabrics for this project.
On the left is the version from Sew4Home and the one on the right is my version. This will truly get me organized in the car at least. I can never find a pen, paper, coupons, my grocery list or tissue when I need it!
November 4, 2012
To make my mini-purse, I first sketched out a pattern.The height and width listed below include a quarter-inch seam allowance.
I cut two pieces of the full acorn pattern from antique cotton velvet. Because I'm using fabrics with a lot of body to them, I'm not cutting a lining, but if you were to make this project with lighter fabrics, you would definitely want to use interfacing or a flat lining to add some stability.
After I had my body pieces cut, I trimmed the pattern down to just the cap section.
I cut two cap pieces from brown upholstery velvet.
I stitched the caps to the body pieces, wrong sides together, lining the pieces up by using the points on the sides where the cap angles out in a curve from the body and stitching a straight line from point to point.
Then, I flipped the caps right side up and basted the edges to the base fabric.
To create the basketweave texture on the acorn cap, I started stitching a series of lines diagonally, starting in the middle area and working my way outward.
I just used the edge of my presser foot as my spacing guide, and ended up with my stitching lines just a little less than a half-inch apart. I stitched the basketweave on both the front and the back pieces.
Next, I cut a piece of my upholstery fabric about 8 by 3 inches. I wasn't particularly exacting with my measurements here, as this piece gets trimmed down later. I drew a long rectangular box 4.5 inches long and about a quarter of an inch wide. I set my scrap on top of the less perfect of my stitched cap sections, centering the box drawing, and stitched along the lines. This is the zipper facing.
After my stitching was complete, I cut open the stitching, clipping into the corners for turning.
I turned the facing to the inside, basted it into place, and pressed. Always be sure to test your iron setting on a small scrap, and press gently from the back to avoid flattening the pile of your velvet on the right side of the piece.
I set my zipper into the opening created by the facing and machine-stitched it into place. My zipper was a little long, so I just trimmed it down, making sure to reinforce the end with an extra stop and a bit of Fray Check.
Once my zipper was set, I removed the basting from the facing and then clipped it close to the zipper edges. Because I used upholstery velvet, there's no fraying, but if you use a fabric that frays, you can use a piece cut on the bias here, or finish the edges with an overlock stitch, a zig-zag, or a narrow hem.
To make the hand strap, I cut a length of my upholstery velvet 12.5 inches long by 1.75 inches wide. I folded in the edges and pressed them into place.
To sew the strap, I folded it closed, matching the ironed folded edges, and ran two rows of stitching down the length of it.
Lastly, I unzipped the zipper, put my front and back pieces right sides together (keeping the strap inside, out of the way of stitching), and sewed all the way around the acorn shape.
And this is the front of the mini-bag, ready for autumn adventures!
I love making accessories that mimic and borrow shapes from nature. Apples, pumpkins, turning leaves -- autumn is full of inspiring natural designs! I'm seeing a pumpkin wristlet in my near future ... and maybe a velvet cornucopia for Thanksgiving ...