March 2013 Archives

Adding Visual Interest to Hems

March 31, 2013

Every year, I churn out a handful of skirts and dresses out of cotton prints for warm-weather dressing, just to keep some fresh pieces in my wardrobe rotation. But I always hate hemming those projects. Even a simple hem just irritates me. (Do you hear me, magic sewing elves?) To keep things interesting this year, I decided to work some faced hems into the process to add some new shapes to the bottom of my garments. 

For my first hem, I made a quick shape template card. To get started on it, I first marked out two 4-inch segments on the edge of a piece of heavy paper.

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Next, I used a saucer to fill in the spaces between my marks with a curve.

2-shaped-hems.jpgHere's the paper with the curves drawn in. Next, I cut out those curved segments.

3-shaped-hems.jpgI used the cut template to trace the curves onto my fabric with a fabric marking pen, working my way around the bottom edge of the garment.

4-shaped-hems.jpgThen, I just stitched along those drawn lines with a facing along the bottom edge, right sides together. Then I just clipped my curves, turned my facing, and gave the hem a good pressing. I used the selvedge edge of my facing fabric -- which is just a solid quilting cotton -- so I don't have to worry about a raw edge. Then I stitched along the edge of the facing to finish my shaped hem.

5-shaped-hems.jpgDepending on your fabric, you may not need to make a template for tracing. For my second go at shaped hems, I just followed the line of the fabric's design, which I could see from the wrong side of the fabric, to stitch the facing to the hem.

6-shaped-hems.jpgHere you can see the stitching along the curves of the Prince Charming Snail Scallop print. (I am crazy in love with Tula Pink prints.)

7-shaped-hems.jpgAgain, I just clipped my curves before flipping my facing.

8-shaped-hems.jpgHere's the facing pressed to the back of the hem:


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And this is the hem on the finished skirt. I used McCall's 6706 for both this skirt and the next one.

10-shaped-hems.jpgThis is a better view of the scallops. You might have noticed that my fabric is actually upside down. Since the snail detail is subtle, I decided it would be fine to flip it. Also, this way it's right-side up to me when I look down at my skirt. When stitching down the facing, I followed the fabric design again to minimize visibility of the stitching.

11-shaped-hems.jpgAnd here's the skirt I used my template on, out of After Dark from Alexander Henry. I know this might not be a spring print for everybody, but I celebrate Halloween year-round, so it's perfect for me!

12-shaped-hems.jpgHere's the curved-pointed hem. Unlike the snail print skirt, I just stitched the facing with a straight line around the hem so you can see the difference. Since this print has a lot of visually-heavy design elements, I don't think the black stitching stands out all that much.

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Shaped and geometric hems can be a fun way to shake up the finish on your garments. They're great for kids clothes, and you don't have to stick to skirts -- pants and shorts can get shaped hems, too. Any shape you like can be used, as long as you can repeat it. Triangular zig-zags, squares, asymmetric curves -- anything goes!



Striped Hat- Free Knitting Pattern Download

March 30, 2013

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Looking through a vintage magazine I came across a picture of a cute knitted hat using rows of purls and knit stitches to create a striped look. The hat was worked in all one color using the different textures to create the stripe. I wondered what it would look like worked in two colors and with-yes, you guessed it, a pom-pom on top. I rummaged through my stash until I lit upon red and white. I imagined the two worked up, "Nah, too Where's Waldo". Then I grabbed a dusty blue, "Perfect"! I set to work create just the right size for my 4yr old daughter, who loves hats. This can also be worked up for babies, bigger kids and adults. Just use different colors to make it age appropriate. The hat came together like a dream. I used a trick to get my stripes and colors to blend together just right. The over-sized pom-pom at the top is the icing on the cake. You can opt for a smaller one, but I say go big! It really makes the hat. Try a two tone or rainbow pom-pom if you work your hat in one color. Or you can try a neutral colored pom-pom and work the hat in multiple or rainbow colors. This is the perfect spring hat for kids to play in or for ladies to wear out for shopping or dads at soccer practice.

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Have fun and don't forget to share your hats on Instagram. Tag your pictures #FabricDotBlog.

 

A Fresh Take on Frockets

March 28, 2013

Thanks to the collegiate Greek world, there's a new trend in T-shirt makeovers. It's called a frocket (a contraction of "fraternity" and "pocket"), and it's the replacement (or addition) of a chest pocket on a shirt with one made of another fabric. Members of sororities or fraternities normally have Green letters on theirs, but you don't have to be in any club to make your own version. It's an easy way to add personal flair to a basic shirt, so have at it! It's also a great way to make use of the stash.

Here's how I made mine:

First, I sketched out the dimensions I wanted for the finished pocket. I also marked dots 1/4 inch out from the finished size to use as guides to create my cutting size that will include seam allowance.

1-frockets.jpgNext, using my dots as a guide for my ruler placement, I drew in the seam allowance lines to create the size I will actually cut.

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With the extra paper trimmed away, my simple little pattern is ready to go.

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For each pocket, I cut two pieces of my fashion fabric -- I stuck with cotton prints -- and stitched them right-sides together, leaving an opening on one side to turn it right side out.

4-frockets.jpgOnce I clipped the corners, I turned it and gave it a hard press with the iron. You could, of course, use a single layer of fabric, hem the top and fold in the raw edges. I like to use the two-layer method because I don't have to worry about keeping raw edges tucked under, and the extra body help the pocket keep its shape.

5-frockets.jpgHere's the pocket on my shirt. I place mine a little high when I'm adding them to fitted shirts, because I don't like the way lower placement looks on the bust line.

6-frockets.jpgHere's a closeup of a pocket so you can see the stitching pattern. I first run a line of stitching about 1/4 inch in from the edge, turning at the top corners and then moving to the outside edge, where I stay as close to the edge as possible. This also closes up the opening I left in the turned pocket earlier.

7-frockets.jpgHere's my Star Wars print on my shirt. Can't wait to wear it!

8-frockets.jpgDon't forget, these pockets can be your tiny canvases! You can add trim, hot fix crystals or appliques. Since they're small, even if you make an irretrievable mistake, it's not the end of the world. Just make another! For this next one, I combined a striped suiting fabric with an overlay of striped grosgrain ribbon.


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10-frockets.jpgOf course, I couldn't stay away from my licensed print stash. This project is a great way to dress up kids' shirts, or to make coordinated sleep sets -- just make the pajama pants from your print, and add a custom pocket to a matching shirt. You can make gifts completely tailored to the receiver's taste!

11-frockets.jpgFor one pajama top, I chose a ribbed tank top. If you do the same, you might want to stretch your top out under the pocket a little, since the knit on these types of shirts is often stretchier than a normal T-shirt.

12-frockets.jpgAnd last, one with a little skull action. This also makes me think about making holiday versions (it's NEVER too early to get started on Halloween).

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While I stuck with cotton prints, you can use almost any fabric you like -- just make sure it's machine washable, and prewash both the fabric and the shirt to avoid post-laundering puckers.

I bet you have a cherished little scrap of something just perfect for a project like this!




T-shirt Recycle: Peplum Tank

March 27, 2013

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I am in love with the new peplum style this year and with spring rapidly approaching (and receding here in the South) I am on it in my sewing room. I was a bit anxious to get  started so I decided to upcycle one of my tank tops with a nice lacy peplum skirt. This top work with chino shorts, colored skinny jeans, a pencil skirt or a cigarette pant.

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Making your own Lace Peplum Tank is simple. You will need a fitted tank top, 1 yd of lace and 1 yard of lightweight apparel fabric for your underskirt (I used a woven Rayon) like Linen or Silk.

1)      Wearing your tank top, decide where you want your peplum skirt to sit on you. Place a pin to mark the spot and take off your tank top. Lay it down on your cutting table nice and smooth. Using a yard stick and a water soluble marker draw a line across the tank at the pin mark. Make another line 1/2 '' down. This will be your cutting line with a ½'' seam allowance.

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2)      Measure around your waist where your skirt will sit. Using this site, inserting your waist measurement for the circumference. Using this tutorial by DanaMadeIt draw a skirt that is 8-10'' long (you choose the length/coverage that you prefer) on pattern paper. Mine is 8'' long. Cut 1 skirt from lace and underskirt fabric.

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a.       Serger instructions: Lay your lace over your underskirt and pin together. Serger the bottom trimming about ½'' and using a thread that matches your lace. Pin the top of your skirt and turn your skirt inside-out and slide your tank top inside the skirt, matching up the cut edge of the tank with the top of the skirt. Pin together. Serge the tank and skirt together, stretching the tank slightly to fit the skirt as needed. Done!

b.      Sewing machine instructions: With right sides facing place lace skirt on top of underskirt and pin together around the bottom. Stitch with a 1/2'' seam allowance and press the seam open. Turn right sides out and press again. Topstitch around the bottom of the skirt. Pin the lace and underskirt together around the top of the skirt and turn inside-out. Slide your tank inside the skirt, matching up the cut edge of the tank with the top of the skirt. Pin together. Stitch the tank and skirt together using a ½'' seam stretching the tank slightly to fit the skirt as needed. Then zig zag over the edge to finish and prevent fraying. Done!

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Enjoy your new tank peplum; you are ready for spring. You can modify this look by using a t-shirt or adding a second smaller peplum skirt layer in a contrasting lace or print for a tiered look. This top looks amazing with a waist cinching belt or sash. 

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Handbag in Bloom

March 24, 2013

It's no secret that I love to sew, but I also love gardening -- and roses are my absolute favorite things to grow. As I type this, Atlanta is in the midst of what seems like a never-ending winter. It's cold and wet out. We were teased with warmer temps for a bit, but then the cold came back to laugh at us. And my rose bushes might be a little confused. They have some new growth developing and they're quite hardy, but I feel like we'll NEVER get blossoms at this rate.

So I decided to make my own, and put them on a purse!

A while back, we had a blog post from Melanie on making roses with fabric or ribbon. I followed her directions exactly, omitting the floral wire and floral tape, and using a needle and thread to tack things together as I went. I used bias cuts of charmeuse satin. To add texture to about half of my flowers, I layered bias cuts of mirror organza on the dull side and then treated the two layers as one.

Once I had a handful of tiny blooms, I gathered together the supplies for the rest of my simple handbag.

I cut the following pieces:

- 2 pieces of my exterior fabric (a yummy dupioni remnant I've had in my stash for years) 12 by 10 inches
- 2 interfacing pieces in the same size (mine is a solid twill)
- 2 lining pieces in the same size (I used the same charmeuse I used for my roses)
- 2 handle pieces in my exterior fabric, 2.5 by 20 inches
- 2 interfacing pieces for handles in same size

I also used a 14-inch zipper (which was a little long, so I trimmed it after stitching).


1-rose-purse.jpgI set in my zipper by sandwiching it between my dupioni (with interfacing at the back) and my lining, and stitching the seam. Then I opened it up, pressed, and top-stitched along the zipper. For a more detailed description of this process, check out our blog on shaving kits from scraps.

Here's the bag with zipper set in, laid out flat:

2-rose-purse.jpgNext, I attached the handles. I just stitched the handles into a long tube (having basted the interfacing twill to the dupioni already), then turned and top-stitched them. I measured in 3 inches from each side and about 1.5 inches down from the zipper and stitched the handle ends in place securely.


3-rose-purse.jpgThen I folded the bag-in-progress right sides together (with the zipper open for turning), and stitched all around the outer edges. To give the bottom of the bag some shape, I folded the seam into a corner and stitched across it.


4-rose-purse.jpgHere's the bag turned right-side-out:

5-rose-purse.jpgBefore I started playing with the placement of my roses, I slipped a box into my bag to fill out the bottom space and give me a sturdy surface to work on.

6-rose-purse.jpgThen, I just set my flowers on the bag in different ways until I landed at a placement I liked. After trying out some symmetrical ideas, I settled on a much more organic and less structured approach.

7-rose-purse.jpgThen, I just stitched my roses into place, keeping them clustered tightly. (You could also use glue!)


8-rose-purse.jpgAnd now, I have a little something to tide me over until my real roses are ready to bloom! This could also be made in smaller sizes for kids playing dress up, or in ultra-elegant all black with additional embellishment. You could cover the entire bag with blooms, or just make one large blossom as an accent. A garden of multicolored flowers would also be ultra-fun. (And if you're like me, you'll end up making a few extra roses to use as hair accessories.)

Blog of the Month: Aesthetic Nest

March 22, 2013


Child's Apron

Our Blog of the Month for March is Aesthetic Nest, whose blog mistress is Anneliese. A self described "finisher", Anneliese is the first crafter I've come across who prefers the finished project to the process of making. Her blog is a basically a list of all her finished goods and oh, what beauties they are. Anneliese's 3 stated goals for her blog are: Creative, Authentic and Inspiring. As cheesy as it sounds, I think she can mark each of those off with a check mark. Her blog meets all of her goals and more. I am truly inspired by her projects though they may not begat authenticity in me because I want mine to look just like Anneliese's! She writes in her about page that "I have more lists of things to make than hours" but after visiting her page I have more projects to covet than hours in which to make them. Sigh, I wish she was my next-door neighbor. 


Snowflake Applique

Aesthetic Nest is my new favorite blog and it is not just because she is the mom of all girls (like me) or because she loves to sew all the time (like me) or because she also dabbles in yarn (umm, like me) but it is because her blog is full-to the brim- with tutorials. I love tutorials! The pictures are amazing and so are the projects. Anneliese has a How to Crochet series for you to follow. As well as many, many sewing and knitting projects that you can recreate. There are many things to learn over at Aesthetic Nest, here is where I mention the Heirloom Chenille Baby Blankets again! Some of the projects are delightfully simple, when you need just a pick-me-up and a day when something needs to go your way. Some are more intensive when you have time to dedicate and really want to be present in the project. I love them all. You must check out the Dinosaur Party for Boys and Girls, Child's Reversible Apron, Crochet Snow Flake Appliqué, and Lacy Sweater (A Lion Brand Pattern but gorgeous knit up by Anneliese).


Anneliese is full of good ideas and patterns. You can check out her Etsy store to purchase your favorite, check her out on Ravelry for all her crochet and knitting projects, as well as follow her on Pinterest

All Pictures are Copyright Aesthetic Nest

Chevron Chenille Guest Towel

March 20, 2013

Inspiration
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You know the moment when you hit gold, you are overjoyed and totally enthused but later when you try to relive that moment you can't visualize anything but your discovery. What you were doing before- gone, what lead to the discovery- gone, why you even bothered to work that day- gone. That is the exact dilemma when I try to remember how I discovered Aesthetic Nest's Chenille Baby Blankets. She has designed not one but two awesome (and this is not awesome in the college student meaning but literally inspires awe) chenille baby blankets. One is a traditional style with bias strips and the second is a chevron chenille that follows the pattern from some of our Premier Print Chevron Fabric. I was blown away and anxious to start my own for my 2 girls. The only thing stopping me is that each blanket takes about 4-5 hours to stitch up the chevron design plus cutting. Since my littlest is not quite 6 mo old I want to wait till she is a little older before I take on such a time intensive project (or wait for my mother-in-law to visit). But I really want to try the technique. There is something exciting about gambling a good bit of time and then watching your efforts bloom (literally in the washer). So I decided I would take Anneliese's technique and add it to a hand towel for my guest bathroom, currently being re-done.
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I used the top chevron pattern. The bottom one was too small

I selected three layers of flannel, though you can use up to five for some extra fluffy chenille, in gray and white. I cut them as wide as the towel by 5'' high. I cut 2 gray and one white and layered them: gray, white, gray. This way when the stripes curled up you would see a hint of the white but mostly gray. Next, I traced out my chevron pattern onto a piece of paper from some Premier Print fabric. I tried to trace it from the fabric to the white flannel but it didn't work very well. Once traced onto my paper I then traced it onto the top piece of flannel (gray). You only need to trace one line since you will use your presser foot as a spacer (see picture below). You should use disappearing ink but since you really won't see it once the flannel is curled I used a regular pen.

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Front all stitched up

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Back of the towel all stitched up. Looks neat!


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Then, I pinned my layers to the towel and started stitching along my marker line. Once my first line was complete I used my presser foot to space the distance for my next line (approx ½'') and kept stitching until my flannel was covered.

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Half done cutting

Next, you will need your scissors to start cutting down the middle of your stitching. Try to get it in the middle as much as possible. It doesn't need to be perfect since it will curl up but you want it pretty close. Clip all your lines and then admire your work. The hard part is done. Now you need to wash it. Mine needed two runs through the washer and dryer. I did washer, dryer, washer, dryer to get the most agitation. It will get even more frayed and curled as you use it and will look better and better as time goes by- that's the beauty of chenille. 

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Textured Spring Scarves

March 17, 2013

I'm on a crazy accessory kick lately. I want all kinds of options to dress up casual outfits. Recently, I happened to notice a remnant of ruffle knit dangling off the edge of my cutting table, and I was struck by the way it draped. I thought it would make a super fun scarf.

This project is two of my favorite things: ultra easy, and super quick!

To start, I simply cut a length across the width of the fabric, from selvedge edge to selvedge edge. You want to make sure you cut in between ruffles, along one line, and leave yourself as much flat fabric as you can for seam allowance.

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I cut my piece about 8 inches wide, but you can cut yours wider or narrower -- it just depends on what you like.


2-ruffle-knit-scarves.jpgI folded it in half to form a long tube and stitched along the length of it, keeping the ruffles free from my seam, and then turned it right side out. Since the open ends are the selvedge edge, I didn't bother to stitch them closed.

3-ruffle-knit-scarves.jpgI made a second one with a zebra print ruffle knit (how could I resist?) and cut it a little wider.


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I also wanted to try one with the ruffles running horizontally, instead of along the length of the scarf. For this one, I cut two pieces and joined them in the center so that the ruffles would be hanging in the same direction when I'm wearing the scarf.


5-ruffle-knit-scraves.jpgHere's a closeup of the scarf, so you can see the center seam where the ruffles mirror each other.

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This is another one of those projects that I plan to make in batches so I have them at the ready for giftmergencies. I may even give these out as party favors -- they're so fast and easy, I can easily churn out 10 in an afternoon. Instant style!







Create your own Knitting Chart

March 15, 2013


Creating your own knitting chart is a great way to create a visual representation of your pattern, an easy way to make changes and quickly and easily communicate your design to other knitters.  Creating your own knitting chart requires some knitter's graph paper plus a key of symbols that you will use to represent different stitches and designs. You can reference other popular symbols from magazine or online knitting icons, such as Knitty, or you can create your own. If you choose commonly used symbols it will make it much easier for other knitters to quickly work your pattern. Should you choose your own (either because it fits your pattern better or because the symbols are easier for you) just know that you should provide a clear and well marked legend for others who will be knitting from your pattern.

Knitter's graphed paper is similar to regular graph paper but it is wider than it is tall which mimics the shape of a knitted stitch. Each square of the graph paper corresponds to one stitch in your pattern. The graph paper represents the size of stitches to make the visual depiction of the pattern easy to read and follow along. A Chart can map out right side and wrong side rows or just right sides rows (if all wrong side rows are explained, i.e. purl all wrong side rows). If your chart features right side and wrong side than it should be read from bottom to top starting on the right side for row 1 and left side to right side for Row 2, repeat. If your chart is only right side rows then it is read from bottom to top with each row being read from right to left. 

Fill each square with the symbol that represents that stitch. If your pattern increases or decreases use blank space accordingly to signify no stitches as the pattern takes shape. 

Product of the Month: Freezer Paper

March 13, 2013

Product of the Month: Freezer paper


A sewist's best friend is Freezer Paper. Found in your grocery store or local big box store over by the plastic wrap and aluminum foil, freezer paper is just that-paper that has a wax-like plastic coating on one side. This plastic coating is the goodness of freezer paper because when ironed onto fabric it sticks temporarily, can be easily removed and leaves no residue. This means you can use it for templates, stencils or to avoid pinning (though I only recommend this for small applications and not when cutting on the fold as the underside can shift without your knowledge). Needless to say I love freezer paper.

There are tons of projects out there that use freezer paper and all you need do is Google "Freezer Paper tutorial" or check it out on Craftster. My favorite tutorials are the stencils. You can print your picture on to the freezer paper and then cut it out. Then press your freezer paper stencil onto your fabric then paint the exposed areas. Peel up your stencil and done. You can also easily layer your stencils to make a more detailed or complex design since the freezer paper is gentle and won't pull up paint as long as it is dry and prepped according to directions.


Used to stabilize fabric for circle cutting

Freezer paper can also help you to print onto your fabric (inkjet not laser, please). Cut your fabric to fit your printer (you can use standard printer paper sizes as a guide) then press your freezer paper onto the fabric and trim if needed. Insert into your printer with fabric side oriented to the print side (see your printer for the orientation) and print your design onto your fabric. The freezer paper temporarily stiffens your fabric so it slides through the printer easily. This is a great project for silhouettes, inspirational or witty quotations or intricate designs.

Traced pattern piece

I also recommend using freezer paper for tracing your patterns. Freezer paper is a great width to accommodate most sizes of patterns. The paper is stiffer than tissue so it will last longer but is lighter than poster board so you can manipulate it more (fold darts or pin it on a dress form). It is semi-transparent making it easy to trace. I love to trace mine with a sharpie marker because it is easier to handle and cut out over a pen and it doesn't bleed through. I don't have to cut my original patterns when I trace them and I can store the tracings rolled up and don't have to treat them with delicacy.

Check out our many other uses of freezer paper here on the blog

Springy Skirts!

March 10, 2013

I've been kind of lace-obsessed lately. After making lace crowns and lace T-shirt inserts, I wanted more! Since spring is almost here (I couldn't be more thankful) and we're heading into wedding season, I thought it would be fun to make some layered lace skirts. I love tone-on-tone use of lace, but I really wanted to play with color and contrast.

For my first skirt, I selected a Scalloped Lace in black, and layered it over lipstick pink Stretch Peau de Soie Satin. Black and pink is my usual go-to color combo, so those choices were no-brainers.




1-lace-skirts.jpgI didn't use a pattern for this; I just made a basic rectangle skirt and pleated it into the waist band. Since the lace's scalloped edge is cut as the hem, this one goes together quite quickly.


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I wanted to step away from black for my second skirt and test out a combination of girlie, springtime colors. I settled on a yellow Mi Amor Duchess Satin for the under layer, and Bella Sheer Lace Rosette in fuchsia, and opted for a simple circle skirt to take advantage of the lace's pretty, swirling design.

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I wanted to go ultra girly with this one, so I decided to try a detail I saw in a book several years ago. I cut bias strips about 1.75 inches wide, and then gathered them in one long continuous ruffle.


4-lace-skirts.jpgI stitched the ruffle onto the under layer so that one edge aligned with the hem.

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This helps to make the lace layer look super floaty. I might have to host a springtime party just to wear this one!


6-lace-skirts.jpgI keep thinking about how perfect it would be to use layered lace skirts as separates for a bridal party. You'd be able to really customize the color, stay on-trend, and make something that's got post-wedding wearability. You can use almost any pattern and just incorporate lace as an over layer. You can keep the hems separate to create a floaty feel, or treat the layers as one piece for a more structured look. Since it looks as though lace will continue its popularity streak through this year's warm months, you've got time to design your perfect look!




Beach Bag for Spring Break

March 8, 2013

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This is the ultimate beach bag (McCall's 6130) for your upcoming spring break vacation or stay-cation (more on this below). I can call it the ultimate because it can haul a lot of your important beach paraphernalia and can also fold down into a cute little tote that you can use to hold down one corner of your beach blanket when you are all set up. Made from cotton prints this bag can be bound in a coordinating binding or with a self binding. My mom had the super idea of adding a small loop under the front envelope so it can be hooked to your pocket, a chair or on another bag when unused. This bag opens up to hold a ton of stuff and with one shoulder strap you don't have to worry about that one strap that continuously falls off. You can toss a handful of these bags into your luggage if you are travelling via air or store them in your glove box for a road trip. The small size is great for kids while the bigger sizes are perfect for over-packing moms and tweens/teens that need to bring a bunch of stuff.

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These bags are a snap to make and only need a nominal amount of fabric: 5/8 for a small bag up to 1 5/8 for a large bag. Easily whipped up in 2-3 hours, the lesser if you cut multiples at once. This bag makes a great teacher gift or grandparent gift if you have managed to convince them to take your children to the beach while you lounge at home- you don't want them taxed from a lack of quality baggage.  

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If you are opting for a stay-cation these bags can manage the huge load of library books you are planning to check out. They are great for that flea market trip you have been planning and also for leisurely visit to the farmer's market to pick up treats. You can pack them with a picnic lunch or towels for the water park. Either way you are going to need bags but you are also going to want them small and tidy when not in use.

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I recommend using Amy Butler's quilting cotton; its bright and colorful patterns ooze spring time fun!

It's Wedding Season & We Have Pinterest Boards to Prove It!


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Wedding season seems to be a year 'round event now, but spring always brings out the bridal parties. Everything is in bloom and the photo ops are priceless in the spring. We agree here at fabric.com, and we have been putting together a great wedding package of eye candy, projects and recommendations for a beautiful wedding any time of the year.

Our great friends at Sew4Home have created a fantastic wedding series with us called A Rustic Wedding. They are featuring projects like chair covers, groomsmen's ties and bridesmaids clutches as well as tips on sewing with specialty fabrics. Check back with them every day for a new project. There is also a $200 gift certificate from fabric.com that Sew4Home will give away at the end of the wedding series.

We have created four Pinterest boards to feature ideas for four kinds of weddings - Traditional, Modern, DIY and Rustic.

A Traditional wedding features time honored rituals and practices like matching bridesmaids' dresses, long bridal veils and dresses with a train. We emphasized lace and satin and some terrific images of famous women on their wedding day or when they portrayed a bride on the silver screen.

The Modern wedding features clean lines and less traditional accessories. Veils are shortened or not worn at all, and boutonnieres can be anything from vegetables to flowers and feathers. Pops of color among the traditional white and ivory for the bride are also a hallmark.

The sky is the limit on a DIY wedding, or at least until the bride is exhausted and has run out of resources. Handmade and heartfelt are the hallmarks of this style of wedding which includes interesting interpretations of the traditional wedding cake and lots of styles of garlands to festoon the reception.

The Rustic wedding is usually an outdoor affair for both the ceremony and the reception.  There can be aspects of a DIY wedding with garlands in the trees and seemingly fresh picked flowers decorate the tables.

I hope you enjoy our wedding series as much as we enjoyed putting it together!

Ikat Canvas Hamper

March 6, 2013

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I have a new baby so I am in need of storage, a lot of storage. However, I am also on a budget because having not one but two kids can eat by a good bit of cash. Pair that with my intense distaste for plastic bins which appear to be multiplying in my house due to the aforementioned budget and you have a recipe for something handmade. Enter canvas hamper, AKA toy bin, AKA living room blanket storage, AKA guest laundry. This is a soft fabric bin that lends itself to many uses and its creation can be blamed on the clones I see in my favorite Target and Home Goods commercials. To create your own you will need 1 1/2 yard of Home Dec fabric for the exterior, I used Magnolia Home Fashions, 1 1/2 yd of light to medium weight fabric for the lining, I used red quilting cotton, 1 1/2 yd of fusible fleece and 45'' of ¼'' flexible plastic tubing (this can be found in any hardware store in the plumbing section and its cheap.)

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All seams are ½'' unless otherwise noted.

Draw and cut a 21.5'' (width) by 23'' (length) rectangle from paper; this is your body pattern piece. Cut 1 on the fold from your exterior, lining and fleece, set aside. Draw and cut out a 21'' diameter circle (Follow these directions here) and cut one circle from the exterior, lining and fleece, set aside. Cut one piece of binding from exterior for the top of your hamper 3'' by 43'' (this will finish the top of your hamper and will also hold your tubing). Cut 2 straps 4'' by 22'' from exterior fabric.

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Fuse the fleece to the exterior body piece and circle. With right sides together, sew the body piece together along the width. Press the seam open and topstitch on either side of this seam to reinforce it. This also makes it look pretty snazzy and professional. Repeat this for the lining.

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Fold your circles in half and add pins at either end to mark the half way points. Turn your body pieces inside out and fold your body piece in half with the seam at one end and mark directly across from the seam. With right sides together, pin your circle to your body piece matching up the pins previously placed. Sew circle to the body piece. Repeat for the lining. Turn your pieces right side out and place the lining inside the exterior matching the top edge and baste together.

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To prepare your handles, fold each in half along the length and press. Open up each handle and fold each long side towards the center and press. Fold again along the length, completely covering the raw edges and press again. Pin and stitch along the length of your handle 2 lines of decorative stitching. Place handles opposite each other approx 9'' from the seam, matching the raw edges of the handle with the top of the hamper and stitch in place.

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Next, with right sides together pin the two short ends of your binding and stitch. Press seam open. Fold your binding in half along the length and press, open it up and fold each edge towards the center and press again. Open it up. Pin the binding to the top edge of the hamper with right sides together and stitch in place. Fold your binding over the top edge of the hamper and tucking the raw edge under at the fold your pressed earlier pin in place and then topstitch it to the hamper leaving a 3 in gap to insert your tubing. Trim your tubing to 42'' and thread it into your gap until it is all in. Carefully topstitch your gap closed. Your hamper is ready for business!

Ladylike Lace for Spring!

March 4, 2013

I don't know about you, but I am SO READY for a spring wardrobe makeover. It's mostly wishful thinking, hoping that prepping for warmer temps will manifest that weather, but even if I have more winter to look forward to, changing up some of the closet is a nice escape.

I like to stay current with trends, but I don't like to spend a boatload of money to do it. As part of my spring prep, I decided to upgrade some existing pieces with that still-popular and ultra-feminine trend: lace!

I started this project with three basic T-shirts and an assortment of lace trim, and decided to add little inserts to each of the shirts.



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For my white shirt, I selected this sweet floral lace trim and decided to add it in at the shoulder seams and hem.

I first cut open my shoulder seam from the hem of the sleeve right up through the neck edge, using the existing shoulder seam as a line guide.



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I picked out the extra seam allowance fabric that was left at the shoulder seams to eliminate bulk.


3-lace-inserts.jpgNote: If you get a little overzealous in your seam ripping, you might open up the sleeve seam in the process! No worries -- it's nothing that a quick bit of machine stitching can't fix.

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Next, I just overlapped the edge of the lace onto the cut edge of the shirt, and straight-stitched it in place. Since the knit doesn't fray, there's no need to edge finish before this step.



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I joined my lace to the other cute edge the same way, and voila -- my shirt is more ladylike!



7-lace-inserts.jpgHere's the little inset along the hem of the shirt:


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For my black shirt, I wanted to add a little peek-a-boo length to the sleeves, so I first cut the sleeve hems off.

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Then, I used the same stitching technique to reattach the sleeve that I used to join the cut shoulder sections above.



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I opted to use this more open lace trim for this one, because it sits in a place where it doesn't have to obscure a bra or camisole strap.

10-lace-inserts.jpgFor my final shirt, I used a much narrower black lace for my trim. I cut out the armsceye seams on the shirt and then rejoined the sleeves to the body of the garment using the lace insert. Because the lace is fairly narrow, the fabric is almost abutted -- I could have just stitched the lace over the existing seam (this lace is also quite dense, so there's not much see-through factor), but I removed the factory stitching to reduce bulk.

I also added an asymmetrical bit of trim on one hip, and a circle of lace at the neckline.

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I can't wait to pair my newly made-over shirts with spring and summer skirts! In the meantime, I'll probably layer them with jackets and cords, trousers, or jeans. While I stuck with plain shirts, you can of course use the same approach to customize a beloved TARDIS or Hello Kitty shirt as well. Classy or cute, lace can add the perfect feminine touch to almost any shirt.



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