February 2013 Archives

Create Kids Couture Taylor's Pj Pants- Free Pattern Download

February 27, 2013

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We are lucky enough to have another great free kids' pattern in our Free Pattern Download section: Create Kids Couture Taylor's Pj Pants. It is a great pattern and fun to make. This is an excellent beginner's pants pattern too. Everything from the cutting to the assembly is a great introduction for a first pants project. I decided to add a ruffle detail to the bottom of my pants to feminize it a little bit more for my little girls (more on the ruffle below). The pattern is very comfy, according to my 4 yr old, and quite roomy too. I made the size 4 and size 6-12 mo for my 5 mo old. Both fit well with room to grow. I do recommend if you cloth diaper, like me, to make a size bigger to fit the diaper. Both pants run long, as evidenced by the picture, so make sure your intended child tries them on before you hem the bottom. I measured mine against a pair of pants from my daughter's wardrobe.  I love that the pattern is the same front or back; this makes it super easy when dressing either of my children who are only still when sleeping. The Riley Blake Flannel that I used is really soft and washes very well with little shrinkage. The elastic measurements for each size were spot on which makes it easy for moms who will make this during nap time or school time when children are unavailable for measuring. The designer's cutting suggestion was a great little time saving tip and helps line up those stripes, chevrons or patterns just right. I suggest cutting several pants at one time because these will be a big hit. They also make wonderful shower presents for new moms. I like to gift larger baby sizes (6 mo and up) that are often overlooked when gifting a new baby and PJ pants are perfect for that age range. 

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To add a ruffle to your completed Pj pants you need approx 1 ½ to 2 yds of 3'' wide flannel per pant. Take your strip and fold them in along the length and press. Run a basting stitch down the open end of the strip ¼'' away from the edge with your bobbin tension very loose. You will see the fabric start to gather as you sew. Repeat ½'' away from the edge. Pull your bobbin thread to gather your fabric to your desired fullness. Press your gathers to help keep them in place. Line up the raw edge of your ruffle with your hem stitchline with your ruffle upside down (see picture below) and stitch in place with a ¼'' seam.

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Press you ruffle towards the bottom of your pants and topstitch ¼'' away from the top. Depending on how deep your hem is your ruffle may cover your cuff or it may sit above it like a little skirt. You can stack ruffles for a very feminine look or add bigger ruffles to suit your style. Either way this is a simple ruffle to spice up a simply great PJ pant pattern. The addition of the ruffle will not significantly increase your time making this a great one day project!

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A great tip: I recommend stitching your seams then serging them (or zig zag if no serger) this will reinforce the seams (because you know kids don't just wear PJ pants to bed) and will keep away any stray threads that might irritate during sleep. 

 

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The Riley Blake Flannel Chevron is going fast but check out our Riley Blake Flannel Dots and Riley Blake Super Star Flannel is great for boys!

Blog of the Month: RedSilvia

February 25, 2013


This month's blog, Sil's Fab Knit Blog, is another of my faves that I have been following since my early knitting days. I discovered Silvia back in 2007, maybe earlier and it is simply because she is amazing. I can't remember if I ran across one of her amazing knitting projects or if it was sewing (yes, she does both!) I was dabbling in both back then though heavily on the knitting side since it was shiny and new. Silvia is a very prolific knitter and her projects seem to always be flawless, lovely and perfectly fitted. Silvia's is not afraid of bold print or bright colors. She experiments with many new yarns and color combos. Her sewing projects are a great balance of classic and trendy.


Silvia's upcycling projects are a hoot to read about and also bring hope to every girl's lone drawer of t-shirts that are too big, too obscure or too ugly to be worn but for whatever reason are also not to be thrown out. She turns them into underwear. How fun is that? Her underwear has introduced me to the world of elastic lace for panties instead of fold over.


Silvia has a plethora of projects in both yarn and fabric that I so want to recreate from my own stash. And she can knit anyone I know under the table. I could not even turn out projects like than back when I was a swinging single with not children or dogs to tie up all my time. I don't know how she does it but I suspect she has 4 arms. Her writing, style and sense of humor are also my cup of tea. I find myself giggling when catching up on her blog. She is a little dry and a little silly, just what I look for in a good knitting/sewing/crafty blog. I encourage you to check out Silvia's blog; I am sure you will be as inspirited as I am. 

Rolled Edge Napkins (AKA Super Easy Napkins)

February 22, 2013

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So because I was already set to blog on my serger (See previous post- Product of the Month: Sergers) I decided that you readers should have a project too. This is especially true for the newbies who are considering a serger but think they will only use it to seam up some t-shirts. These super easy napkins are a great stash buster (if you like to mix n' match) or the perfect way to add a splash of color to your table. If you have a dinner party coming up or are hosting your first family meal at your house and you need some gorgeous napkins fast then this project is for you. Bonus: You can learn yet another feature on your serger.

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Most sergers are equipped to create a rolled edge so check your manual to determine how your machine needs to be configured. My Brother 1034D needs to have the stitch finger removed. Once you have your machine set up it is time to test the tensions on your 3 threads: Needle, Upper Looper and Lower Looper. Take a piece of waste fabric that is approximately the same as your project fabric to test your tensions. Turn your knife on and then trim away any messy edges as you stitch until you get your tension correct. I had to make my upper looper tension heavier than the recommended range so experiment inside the range first and then outside the range if the tension is still not right. Change each dial one at a time, stitch a few inches, check it and then make another change. If you make several changes at once and something is not right you won't easily be able to determine the problem.

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My tension settings

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Making a clean corner

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The red is the messy tension and the green is the corrected

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Stitch Finger release button

To make clean corners, don't pivot at the corner like with a traditional sewing machine. Stitch to the end of the fabric plus some extra to make a thread chain and then lift the foot and turn the fabric. Begin each corner beyond the edge of the fabric. Finish each corner with a small drop of Fray Check then clip off the thread chain. This will keep the corner threads from coming undone and will give it a nice finished end.

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To make 8 napkins you will need 2 yds of cotton print fabric (44'' wide). Make an 18'' square template from poster board or freezer paper. Take your pre-washed fabric and fold it in half 4 times (you will have 8 layers) and then lay your template on top and cut out all 8 napkins at once. With your knife on run each napkin through your serger cutting off ¼'' to eliminate any frayed or wonky edges.

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You can recreate any of folding designs by following my Kitchen board on Pinterest. The bow is my personal favorite but I also have a soft spot for the rose for having girlfriends over for tea. My napkins were created from Riley Blake Flutter in Doily Blue and Dream Blue (Due to be back in stock mid April)

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Product of the Month: Serger

February 20, 2013

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I am new to sergers (I've had mine less than 1 year) but I can't believe I have lived without it so long. I admit that my serger sat in its box for a solid week before I could muster the guts to open it and learn its secrets. It was intimidating. But since then I have realized it was intimidated because I was so ignorant. I really had no idea what it really did and how it worked. One day I took a deep breath and decided that I was making a mountain out of a mole hill and I just needed to start already. I am so glad I did. Yes, it is a whole new machine. Yes, it is different than my sewing machine. Yes, it does move fast; much, much faster. So what. Learning my serger is still an ongoing process but I knew it had to be our product of the month because even though I may only know a smaller percentage of what my Brother 1034D can do, it is an amazing product.

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For those of you who are like me pre-serger, a serger is another name for an overlock machine. An overlock machine is a machine whose main purpose is to perform than overlock stitch which is a stitch that sews over the edge of one or two layers of fabric securing the edge and stitching or locking the layers in place while encasing the edges. Sergers run at high speeds and also feature a knife which trims the edge and makes for a smooth finished edge. Trimming your fabric while finishing the edges helps hid any chopping cut edges and frayed edges.

You can use your serger for just finishing loose fabric edges or for garment construction, hemming and for decorative stitching. I am most familiar with finishing edges and construction. I am slowing dabbling in hemming and decorative stitching. I am having much too much fun right now whipping up t-shirts in no time and saving time serging edges instead of double hemming with all the ironing that comes with it. I love the professional finish I can give to the inside of my garments now. It is very fulfilling to gift a give that looks as nice on the inside as it does on the outside.

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Here are some of my tips for beginners looking to get into the serger game:

1.       Consider the Brother 1034D at $235 it is equivalent to a midlevel sewing machine while offering features found on more expensive models. I choose this machine for several reasons. First it uses regular sewing machine needles so less equipment to buy starting out. It offers both 3 threads (good for knits and rolled edge) and 4 threads (good for finishing woven edges and high stress areas (under arm and crotch) while also offering a blind hem foot. And it is easy to thread.

2.       There are many videos online that show you how to use your serger. Seriously there is a video out there for so many machines that yours is certainly included.

3.       Learn to maintain your machine. When the needle moves fast enough to pump out over 100 stitches a minute than you are going to want to keep it that way. Purchase machine oil and learn where to put it and how often. If the area is tricky to get to than add oil to a paintbrush and brush it on.

4.       Change your needle often. I didn't and soon found the most annoying screeching sound coming out of my machine at odd times. It made me jump out of my skin every time. I started to believe I was haunted by a banshee. I changed my needle and it stopped. Change your needle weekly or with every other project, whichever comes first.

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Clean your machine after every project. My serger is full of lint even after one 16'' square and lint can gunk-up your machine, absorb oil and block the smooth motion of your high speed machine.

6.       Learn which basic stitches to use on which fabric from the beginning. It will save you a lot of hassle and thread.

7.       Learn your tools. Your serger comes with many tools: needle changing tools, tweezers, thread cone holders. Learn them because you never know when you will need one. The Brother 1034D uses an Allen wrench to change needles and tweezers for threading. 

Lace Finery Fit for a Queen (or Princess)!

February 17, 2013

Lace crowns are experiencing a serious uptick in popularity right now -- and why not? They're darling! They also combine the best elements of princess style, DIY and shabby chic. Bonus appeal: you can probably find some bits of lace trim long enough to start this project already lurking in your stash.

This project is pretty easy, though there is some mess involved. First off, you have to soak your lace trim in fabric stiffener for a little while. This photo shows me dragging my lace through the stiffener to make sure it got fully coated before I mushed the whole piece into the liquid.

1-lace-crowns.jpgOnce your lace is well-coated with fabric stiffener, you just need to squeezed out any excess and lay it flat. Remember to protect your work area with a non-porous covering -- I just used a trash bag.

2-lace-crowns.jpgHere is a piece of dry lace next to the wet, stiffener soaked piece, just so you get a sense of what to expect:

3-lace-crowns.jpgUnlike the photo above, you'll probably want to have multiple pieces drying at once so you can optimize your time.

Once your lace is fully dry, you can start playing! (Note: If your lace is dry but not as stiff as you'd like, you can apply another coat of fabric stiffener, I just brush it on in this case, being careful not to let the liquid collect in the gaps of the lace.)

If you're making full-circle crowns, you'll need to close them up. Some people use glue here, but I like to stitch mine. Either way works just fine. You want to overlap your ends a little, and if possible, line up the repeat design of your lace to hide the join.

4-lace-srowns.jpgOnce your crown is sewn or glued into its circle shape, you can paint it any color you like! You can use spray paint or craft paint with a brush (again, be careful to keep the paint from filling in the holes in your lace and obscuring the design). Here's a mini-crown, painted purple:

5-lace-crowns.jpgThe best thing about this project, to me, is how creative you can be with embellishments. For this full-size crown, I kept it simple, and just painted it silver and added a sparkly pin from my jewelry drawer:

6-lace-crowns.jpgYou can also coat your crown with a thin layer of Mod Podge and apply glitter:

7-lace-crowns.jpgOnly have a small amount of a lace trim, but you love it and want to make something out of it? No problem! Just make a tiara instead of a crown:

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For the tiara, I tacked each end of my lace to a headband with a series of small stitches, and then put a daub of glue over the stitching for extra security. This can be worn tiara-style as shown above, or as a fancy headband by situating it so the lace sits flat against your head. I embellished this one with a few hot fix crystals.


9-lace-crowns.jpgAnd then, my favorite variation on the lace crown project -- tiny crown fascinators:


10-lace-crowns.jpgLike the tiara, these are just attached to a headband with small stitches and glue. These two are painted with pink and purple paint with a bit of glitter mixed in, and then embellished with rhinestones. (I am clearly madly in love with my hot fix applicator.)

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There are so many more ways to play with this project! You could add buttons, ribbon, fabric flowers -- anything that will glue or sew on is fair game! You could make these up as amazing favors for a princess party -- or just make the basic crowns and let the princesses decorate them. It's a really inexpensive project, so you can experiment and play with a bunch of designs without worrying to much about cost or waste. That's a good thing, because I already have a bunch of ideas for my next batch ...



Cleaning your machine

February 15, 2013

If you sew then eventually you will need to clean your machine. A dirty machine can lead to broken needles, annoying noises, snagged fabric and skipped stitches. Your machine should be cleaned out often but the frequency depends on how much you sew and what fabrics you sew with. If you sew often then you should clean your machine more often, about once a week if sewing with none fuzzy fabrics like cotton. If you are using felt, fur, fleece or any other fuzzy fabric, clean your machine once you finish that project.

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Cleaning your machine is simple but I recommend dedicating some time to make sure you get all the dirt and lint out. To get started you will need your machine's manual to see if there are any special instructions or no-nos. If you can't find it most manufacturers have them available online for download. If your machine is older, call the manufacturer and ask them for any tips or FYIs on cleaning your machine. Next, grab a basic craft paint brush (No need to bust out your fine tipped natural bristle brushes, nylon is fine). The brush grabs the lint and dirt stuck deep inside. Take the cover off the bobbin case and the needle plate cover and brush it down. Then, take out your bobbin and your bobbin case and brush both of them down well. Remove your bobbin case (or shuttle) and brush it all over. Then take your brush and go to town on the inside of your machine, in and around where the shuttle sits and any area that you can fit your brush. If the brush can fit there then I will bet there is lint in there. Gently twist and swish your brush around and clean off the lint each time. Look for unexpected places for lint to hide: I have an auto thread cutter and the lint just builds up on it(last picture above with red circle) but you wouldn't know it because fabric is always covering the knife when I use it. So I lower my presser foot and push the button for the knife to slide out and brush it quick and continue to do so until no more lint appears on my brush. Be careful with oil, some machines need it and some don't; your manual will instruct you on this. My machine came pre-oiled and doesn't recommend that I add any. Carefully reassemble your bobbin area. If the body of your machine is dirty you can gently wash it with a natural spray cleaner like vinegar and water.

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To clean your serger you will also need your manual and a small paint brush but also some machine oil. Most sergers need to be oiled on a regular basis because they move so fast and with such precision. If your machine doesn't need to be oiled you can find that info in your manual. Before you oil anything in your serger it is important to clean all the lint out otherwise lint can get stuck in the oil and gunk it up. Starting on the outside, I love to use a scrap of knit fabric and rub down the outside to clean off all the lint. The knit really attracts the dust and dirt without harming your machine. It would take forever with a brush. Next open your machine and, again, go to town with your paint brush and clean out all the lint from every nook and cranny you can find. Then, carefully add just little oil to any parts outlined in your manual. If it is hard to get the bottle to the parts, I recommend using another cheap paint brush and using it to dab on the oil.

 

How to Read Knitting Charts

February 13, 2013

The above chart is from the pattern: Gams. You can find the complete pattern in Knitty for free download. 


After you have been knitting for a while you might consider branching out from written patterns to charted patterns. At first it might seem like a new language that was deciphered using the Rosetta Stone but it is not that difficult and a real time saver in the end. Charts can be easier to read than written directions because they don't have language to get in the way. Plus they save paper which is a great thing when travelling with your knitting or if you are printing out a pattern. A smaller pattern means you can also use a magnetic chart keeper to help you out.

Before you begin reading your pattern look for a legend to help you learn common symbols for the techniques used in your pattern. A cable or lace pattern legend will feature many symbols while a color chart legend will include all of the colors needed for that pattern (you can opt for your own color choices) and a textural chart legend will outline where to change from knit stitch to purl stitch.  

Charts are read from bottom to top and from right to left when working on the right side and from left to right when working on the wrong side. This holds true unless it is otherwise noted that all wrong side rows are worked a certain way everytime (i.e all wrong side rows are purled) or all wrong side rows are worked as the right side rows or you are kntting in the round.  Remember to read it in the same direction that you are working your stitches. Each space on your chart represents a stitch.  If you are knitting in the round or your pattern stipulates how to handle wrong side rows so they are not included in the chart then every row on the chart will be read right to left and represents a rightside row.

There are many tools you can use to help you read your chart one line at a time. You can use a highlighter to color completed lines. A magnetic chart keeper helps to keep your chart in place as well as having moveable magnetic bars that can allow you to only see the line you are working. When working from a chart in a book I recommend making a copy of the chart which you can mark up. This is also a smart tip for any beginners to chart reading; make a few copies so you can mark them up if it helps you learn. 


Textual Pattern

Featured on Knitting on the Net


Color Chart

Featured on Dropped a Stitch

Lace Chart with Legend

Featured on Knitting and Crocheting Smart

Jalie 2806 Scoop Neck T-shirt

February 11, 2013

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This is my first time using a Jalie Pattern and since completing two tops I can say that the pattern is excellent. It is well written with pictures and instructions that were both helpful. The sizing is also top notch. I did not have any of the issues that I find with the major pattern companies (I usually have to size down 2 sizes with the big 4 companies). On first glace the Jalie 2806 Scoop Neck T-shirt pattern is very similar to a HotPatterns pattern in that there are many sizes, it is printed on paper (which I prefer) and the instructions are not separate. I really enjoyed the many modifications that came with this pattern: 3 different sleeves and 2 necklines. Jalie also provided instructions for using your sewing machine and serger. If you need some extra help in your construction be sure to check out Jalie's video here. It is excellent; very well produced and filmed.

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This pattern went together very well and I am pleased with the look. My only complaint is with the fabric of the blue shirt which is a Modal blend. This blend makes it very soft with a wonderful drape that just didn't work with this pattern (It also wrinkled as soon as I looked at it). The fushia shirt is 100% organic cotton and has much less drape but more stretch that the Modal Blend. It works and fits much better than the blue and was easier to sew up. I recommend a high cotton blend or 100% cotton if using a light weight knit or a medium weight knit. I tried both necklines and am a fan of both. The gathered neckline is very flattering and falls at just the right place on my chest. I opted for the ¾ length sleeve because it is still chilly out but I added a band to match the banded hem on the bottom of the blue shirt. Since I made the blue shirt first and I liked the sleeve band so much I added it to the fushia shirt as well but omitted the hem band. The length of the pattern is a generous length to hit at your hips with a ¾ '' hem without the hem band. The hem band adds a nice flounce at the hips not the belly where it would just look frumpy. I had some trouble once I added on the neckband with my stitches showing from when I serged the band before I attached it. I fixed this on the fushia shirt. On the blue shirt I attached the neck band with my knife disengaged. On the fushia shirt, I engaged it when attaching the neck band to the neckline but only cut about 1/8'' off. This is not enough to affect the appearance but enough to cover any stitches. 

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For my sleeve band, start at the elbow notch on the arm and draw a straight line down to the bottom of the sleeve adding width at the bottom (see picture below). Measure this and add 2-3'' for the length of your sleeve band. The width is the same as the hem band. Cut out 2 and assemble and add onto the sleeves just like with the hem band. This added enough length to make a ¾ sleeve a full sleeve so that it hits right at the wrist.

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As a wrap up the blue shirt features the gathered fold over neckline, hem band and modified ¾ sleeves with band. The fushia shirt features the ruched neckline with a ¾ hem and modified ¾ sleeves with band.  

Free Pattern: Cook up some fun with 'Sweet Nothings'!

As a lover of tea parties, I am always on the prowl for fun apron patterns. The Hot Patterns Sweet Nothings free download enchanted me from the start. It conjures instant images of baking lovely cupcakes with sugar sprinkles and casting chocolate candies ... all while wearing a tiara, of course.

For my first go at this one, I decided to use an old Disney print that I had squirreled away and a coordinating fabric from the same group. Since Princess Tiana is a chef, she seemed like the natural choice for an apron. The pattern is simple and takes very little fabric. I ended up piecing my ruffle and tie cuts (instead of cutting them in long, continuous pieces), because my fabric was a little spare. Worked out just fine!


1-sweet-nothings.jpgI love the adjustable neck tie on this pattern -- if I ever have small chefs visiting, I can easily tie it to work for them!

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For my second version, I decided to change the shape of the bib and pockets. Instead of using the heart motif, I decided to expand the bib to be more rectangular, and take the curves off the tops of the pockets. Here's how I cut the bib around the existing pattern piece:

3-sweet-nothings.jpgAnd here's how I cut the pockets:

4-sweet-nothings.jpgI pulled from the stash again on this one, choosing a damask cotton print for the main apron, a contrast stripe for the ties, and lace yardage for the ruffle details.


5-sweet-nothings.jpgYou can see in this shot that I'm a little askew in my pocket placement here. Whoops!

6-sweet-nothings.jpgI am ready for baking!


7-sweet-nothings.jpgIt's so easy to whip this apron up, and the retro feel of it is right on trend. Since you can easily make changes to the pattern, it can be customized to fit any style -- a perfect gift for a chef of almost any size. You could make several for a cooking party, or customize for any holiday. Get the free pattern download here, and get cookin'!


To Cut or Not to Cut: Knits on the Bias

February 10, 2013

Normally, cutting a fabric on the bias is something you do when you want a garment to drape beautifully and skim the body, but what about knits? They normally already have the properties that make bias cutting so appealing when working with wovens. Here's what made me want to cut knits on the bias: stripes. I've been wanting striped t-shirts, but I am not exactly enthused by horizontal stripes on my clothes. So, I decided to conduct a little stripe-speriment.

I opted to use a vintage pattern for my first shirt. A friend of mine gave this one to me as a gift, and I've been wanting to adapt the basic shirt into a modern garment. I selected a Ponte Roma stripe for my fabric.


1-knits-bias.jpgSince this pattern has seams at the center front and center back and I knew I wanted to create a chevron at those seams, I cut out the pattern in single layers instead doubling my fabric.


2-knits-bias.jpgThen I was able to use those pieces to align my stripes perfectly to cut the mirror pieces.

3-knits-bias.jpgI also cut a basic facing, using the neckline edges of my pattern pieces as a guide.

The assembled shirt will be a great transition piece from winter to spring, because the knit is a little heavier than a t-shirt. I like the combination of the chevron and the gathering at the sides.


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For my second bias-cut knit shirt, I used a more modern pattern and a lighter weight rayon blend yarn dyed striped jersey knit fabric.

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This one had seams only at the sides, so I just folded along the bias and cut  the front and back along the fold.


6-knits-bias.jpgThis one is of course a good bit simpler in terms of assembly, since there's no chevron to line up. Since it's also a lighter weight knit, It'll be great as the weather warms up.


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There are a couple of tips to keep in mind when working with bias-cut knits:

     - Be careful not to stretch your fabric as you stitch to prevent bubbling and distortion at the seams.
     - As a rule of thumb, the more seams your pattern has, the beefier you want your knit to be. Heavier knits will be less prone to the distortion mentioned above.
     - If your fabric is really prone to stretching awkwardly, even when you're being careful, you might want to baste your seam first, using a piece of narrow ribbon as a stabilizer for the seam.
    
If you choose your fabric carefully, there's nothing to fear when cutting knits on the bias. While my projects feature stripes, other prints can be cut on an angle to create kaleidoscopic designs and figure-flattering lines.
 Don't forget to share your creations with us on Facebook!




Mod Podge

February 6, 2013



This medium is one of my favorites due to its versatility. You can use it on anything for anything. You name it someone has probably made it with Mod Podge. I have used is on several projects such as my Fabric Art Plates for our 2011 Dorm Days Series. Some cheap plastic magazine racks were made fabulous with Moda Fabric and Mod Podge. Our own Super Don used it to make a fabric topped table. My latest Mod Podge adventure is a present my oldest daughter received from my dad. He made her a wooden doll house from scratch complete with 3 floors, a fire place, swinging doors and stained wood floors. It is incredible. But the best part (to me) was that he left it undecorated. I could select the paint colors and add little touches like curtains as I saw fit. I jumped at the chance and as I was pulling out my favorite magazines for paint inspiration I saw a book of scrap booking paper I had purchased for my daughter's baby album. The light bulb went off. I would wall paper the doll house using scrap book paper and Mod Podge.

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To start I knew I would not have enough of each print to fully wall paper each room. T compensate I decided to just do feature walls with the wall paper and paint the remainder. Please take the size of your rooms into account should you purchase a book of paper as opposed to single sheets or you can cover your walls in fabric (see special instructions below). Carefully measure your walls with a small ruler making sure to take width measurement at the top and the bottom of the wall in case the wall is not square. Or if you don't have a ruler that can fit, take a piece of paper and press it against the wall and add creases where ever you will need to cut, at corners, windows or doorways. Then transfer those marks to your wall paper. Once your paper is cut to size, add a generous amount of Mod Podge Matte to your walls and then careful line up and press on your paper. Add another coat of Mod Podge on top of your paper and allow to dry. I used my scraps from cutting out windows (for which I used a craft knife) as rugs on my floors. I have not yet decided which rugs will go where but once I do I will be using Mod Podge Gloss to glue them down and add a nice sheen to the wood floors. I am toying with the idea of layering rugs to create borders and weaving paper strips in the bathroom to mimic tile.

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To wall paper for fabric or to work with fabric without all the stretching or distorting that can happen with wet fabric, I recommend applying Mod Podge to the fabric first and allowing it to dry on our Pressing Sheet or parchment paper. Once dry it will peel right off. This will make it stiff and easier to apply to certain projects like my walls or the magazine racks.  

Check out our selection of Mod Podge in our Craft section and for more project ideas check out my Mod Podge Pinterest Board

Princess Hoodie: Rapunzel'sTower Couture (2 of 2)

February 4, 2013

Yesterday, I shared my how-to for creating a fleece jacket based on Rapunzel's costume.Today, I'll show you how I added a hood to my creation to mimic Rapunzel's famously long locks (and add some warmth).

First, I cut a piece of fleece 30 inches wide (half the width of the fabric) and 2 yards long.

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Along one of the 30-inch ends, I cut an off-center curved indent. This will become the part in Rapunzel's hair.

20-rapunzel.jpgFrom my remaining fleece, I cut a squared-off facing for the front of the hood, stitched it to the indented edge right sides together, turned it, and then free-stitched a few wavy lines through both thicknesses to create the suggestions of tresses.

21-rapunzel.jpgOn the underside, I trimmed away the facing close to the furthest-back wavy tress stitch line.

22-rapunzel.jpgTo test the look, I draped the hood over my handy glass head to see how it would sit. Things were going OK so far! (Since I had the long length, I knew if I needed to cut the first 10 inches off due to failure, I would still be just fine.) 

23-rapunzel.jpgNext, I cut the fabric into three sections lengthwise, each section being 10 inches wide. I cut this all the way up to about 14 inches from the front of the hood. Tip: If you cut too far in this step, don't worry! You can always stitch it back together, and the seam lines will add to illusion of hair.

24-rapunzel.jpgI marked the points on my jacket where I wanted the front edge of the hood to hit with two safety pins, and then measure from pin to pin around the back neckline to determine where I needed to stitch my hood closed for attachment.


25-rapunzel.jpgI folded the hood piece so the two front edges met, then measured 1/2 of the length I measured in the step above, and made a small straight stitch. My tiny stitch is circled below in red.

26-rapunzel.jpgOnce the stitching that completes the neck edge was done, I braided the three long lengths I cut together loosely. I kept it loose so it could stay wider -- if I had braided it tightly, the proportion wouldn't have looked right.

27-rapunzel.jpg
To finish off the braid, I just cut a narrow strip from my remaining fleece and tied it around the bottom tightly, wrapping twice. This will hold it securely, but also enables me to easily adjust or shorten the braid if I want to later.


28-rapunzel.jpgOn the inside edge of the hood where it will attach to the neckline, I stitched grosgrain ribbon. I sewed it in two sections because the small stitch that closes this edge made stitching in a continuous piece clunky.

29-rapunzel.jpgWith my grosgrain in place, I sewed in a series of small button holes. Mine are spaced about 2.5 inches apart.


30-rapunzel.jpgTo attach my hood, I sewed buttons to the inside of the jacket, spaced to match the buttonholes in the hood. As I stitched, I checked the outside of the hood to make sure it didn't mar the neckline. A little roughing up of the fleece's nap helped conceal the stitches.

31-rapunzel.jpgThen I buttoned all that hair in place.

32-rapunzel.jpg
Rapunzel's braid needs to be adorned with flowers. I wanted to have flowers that could clipped to the hood and braid, but could also be taken off and worn in the wearer's actual hair if the weather is too warm for the hood.

To start, I hot glued grosgrain ribbon to four plain hair clips, using the following steps:

33-rapunzel.jpgThe grosgrain makes it easy to glue the clip to the back of a flower. I purchased inexpensive flowers at a discount store and clipped the stems of the back to create a flat surface. If you do this, make sure to check that the layers of your flower will stay together without the step in place. You may need to touch up the layers with glue (I did).


34-rapunzel.jpgThen, the flowers were clipped in place, and Rapunzel was ready to let down her hair!


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If you make this project using two yards of hair length, as I did, be aware that it gets heavy. It can't simply fall to the back, as it will drag the hood down off the head. You can always shorten the braid, but if you hang it over the shoulder or drape it like a scarf, it's fine. If you make this project for a little princess, make sure you consider safety and what your Rapunzel is comfortable with. Happy princessing!



Princess Hoodie: Rapunzel'sTower Couture (1 of 2)

February 3, 2013

A little more than a year ago, I posted a hoodie project based on Snow White. Since then, I've had a number of requests for a breakdown on how I adapted the look of the costume into a jacket, so I thought I'd make another cozy princess hoodie -- this time Rapunzel -- and share the steps with you.

First, I made rough (and I do mean rough) sketches of my ideas. This just helps me plot a course for where I want to go -- I rarely get more detailed than this when sketching out a project like this one.


1-rapunzel.jpgFor patterns, I used on old McCall's activewear pattern for the front, back and long sleeves (it's my go-to zip-up jacket pattern), and the Simplicity Snow White/Cinderella offering for the puff sleeve, which I make as an overlay onto the longer sleeve. If you have a favorite hoodie pattern, I encourage you to stick with it and adapt as needed. A good pattern is like an old friend!

2-rapunzel.jpgOnce my jacket pattern was cut, but before I started any real assembly, I went ahead and applied the sun motif to the back of the jacket. Fleece-on-fleece applique can be a little tricky, and I didn't want to cut a bazillion small pieces out for this one, as it only increases the odds of distortion, so I opted to stitch the design on as one large piece, and then create the lines of separation with stitching.

First, I created a black-and-white version of the image, set a piece of yellow fleece on top of it, and gently traced the design with a pink highlighter. I like using highlighters for this purpose because the ink rinses off easily.

3-rapunzel.jpgOnce my outlines were in place on the yellow fleece, I centered the design on the back jacket section, and straight stitched it into place, being careful not to distort the fabric as I went. You'll notice that I haven't cut my design down to shape at this point -- I find it easier to leave extra fabric, then trim it away later.


4-rapunzel.jpgAfter my straight stitching was complete, I went over the entire design with a satin stitch.

5-rapunzel.jpgLast, I trimmed the excess fabric away from the design, leaving about a 1/16-inch edge outside the stitching.

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7-rapunzel.jpgNext up: prepping the sleeves. First, I marked a line along the long sleeve as a guide for stitching my shorter puff sleeve in place. This line has to be high enough that the shorter sleeve will have a little bit of pouf to it. It will be clearer when you see the next three photos.

8-rapunzel.jpgTo prep my shorter puff sleeve, I first stitched grosgrain ribbon onto it vertically in regular intervals, to mimic the striping on Rapunzel's outfit.

9-rapunzel.jpgThen, I gathered the puff sleeve to the width of the line I marked on the long sleeve, and stitch the bottom edge of the puff sleeve down, right sides together, along the line I marked in the longer sleeve.

10-rapunzel.jpgThe puff sleeve was then flipped up so the top edges of both sleeve sections matched (I had to gather my puff sleeve a little bit along the top), and basted together. From this point, you can treat it just like the regular sleeve of your pattern and inset as normal into the body of the jacket.

11-rapunzel.jpgAnd speaking of the body of the jacket, it was time to get it ready to receive those sleeves! My pattern has a two-piece front, so I cut it as normal and assembled the front pieces. BUT, before I went any further, I altered the shoulder and neckline. I cut the shoulder a little narrower and extended the opening of the neckline down just a bit. This ensures that the puff sleeve sits at a more flattering angle (I mentioned in the Snow White post that if you don't alter the armsceye this way, the puff sleeve does some very unflattering things to your silhouette), and also adds a more feminine line at the neck.


12-rapunzel.jpgAfter the front sections were trimmed to my satisfaction, I marked the positioning for the eyelets and ribbon that create the faux lacing along the front. I marked both where the eyelets needed to be set, and also where the ribbons needed to cross at the front edge where the zipper would insert to create proper X lacing.

13-rapunzel.jpgI set in the eyelets and then cut ribbon pieces for the decorative lacing, looping them through the eyelets.

14-rapunzel.jpgNext, I basted the criss-crosses in place along the front edge. Remember, the center of the X needs to be at the line where the fabric will be folded as the zipper is set in, not the edge of the fabric.

15-rapunzel.jpgAfter my basting was in place, I attached the separating zipper to each front, being careful to keep my ribbon in place.

16-rapunzel.jpgOnce the second side of my zipper was in place, I stitched the fronts to the back and set in the sleeves, just as you would for any jacket assembly. Almost there!


17-rapunzel.jpgAnd then, to finish things off, I added a bit of eyelet at the sleeve and neck openings.

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And she's ready to leave to leave the tower and explore the world.

BUT WAIT! This is a hoodie project! Tune in to the next installment, where I'll create a button-in hood that mimics Rapunzel's famous long hair. (It does double duty as a scarf!)


Quick Giant Knit Monster

February 1, 2013

Claude1

Claude2

If you are looking for a quick monster consider knitting one up from our "oh so cushy" Lion Brand Wool Ease Chunky. That's what I did and it was swift and lovely. I choose one of Dangercraft's many monsters, Claude the Closet Monster (from The Big Book of Knitted Monsters by Rebecca Danger), and paired him with Lion Brand Wool Ease Chunky in Orchid to make him super big. Claude was worked in size 15 US knitting needles and 2 strands held together. I ended up using 4 skeins with plenty left over for a smaller friend. The finished result is approx 24'' tall. It is a very good size for any kid to play with. Claude's eyes and one lone tooth are embroidered on with one strand of yarn and the same tapestry needle I used to close Claude up. I really got into the stuffing. I decided that I wanted my monster to look well fed with a nice tushy so I added extra padding in those areas and then pounded it into shape.

Claude3

Claude came together beautifully but I am really in love with the yarn. It is so soft and squishy and it was a dream to knit. The best part however is that is machine washable so should any incident befall Claude I can toss him in the washer and he is as good as new. I am quickly growing tired of these new fangled toys that can only be hand washed. Give me a good washable toy any day. Wool Ease is the perfect blend of wool and acrylic so you get the warmth and softness of wool but avoid the itchiness of wool. So Claude can be cuddled close and often without regrets.  

Claude4

Please be careful though I caught Claude climbing out of the crib early the other day with the help of one of his knitted buddies. I am sure he is behind all my missing socks. 

Claude5

Claude6

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