August 2013 Archives

Back to School: Dinosaur Backpack

August 31, 2013

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It was love at first sight with the Oliver + S Penguin Backpack and I was so close to making it for my daughter as she started preschool but she is a lover of dinosaurs and I was determined. So I set out to modifiy my own but along the way I found these other great modified versions: Fox, Elephant, and Frog

I followed the pattern except for the modifications I will detail now. I started by cutting out my horns (Dino Backpack.pdf) and interfacing all four pieces and the big horn (Dino Backpack2.pdf). Then I roll hemmed the small horns on my serger (you could use the satin stitch on your sewing machine) and then placed each one towards the top at an outward angle with the top hanging out over the top 1/2''. Sew across the bottom of each horn then fold the horn down and pin in place. This will prevent you from accidentally sewing it when completing the back pack. Fold your big horn in half and sew across open side with 1/4'' seam. Sew on the bottom circle leaving a 1'' turning gap. Turn, stuff firmly and close gap. Using a whip stitch, stitch the horn onto the pocket. 

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To complete your dino flange, pin the Jumbo Ric Rac to the outside edge of the flange and baste in place. With right sides together stitch with 1/2'' seam the same ouside edge. Turn and press. Topstitch. After adding hanging strap and straps, pin the flange to your back piece from side notch to side notch and baste in place. Complete back pack according to instructions. 

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I used Organic Cotton Twill in Avacado to give it that dinosaur hue and Jumbo Rick Rack in Apple Green for the giant dinosaur spikes.  Finally I added black, shank fashion buttons and a cream metal zipper. All together these items created one really great backpack that my daughter is head over heels for. If your little one is a dino-lover like mine, this is slam dunk modification. You can change up the colors combos to fit your child. I love the organic twill. It is so soft but strong and I love the peace of mind I get knowing it is good for her and for the environment.  

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What's that fabric: Mistress of the Art of Death

August 30, 2013

I stumbled across the Mistress of the Art of Death Series when I was visiting my in-laws who live by an overstock/library outlet bookstore. It was hardback books as far the eye can see. There are so many books that it is almost overwhelming. I created a system that involves 2 basic questions: Does it take place in modern day and is the cover pretty. If the answer to questions one is no, it goes in the basket. If the answer to number two is yes, it goes in the basket. The Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin passed my tests and it was love from the first read and I rushed back to collect all four books. 

 

I am capitivated by all the interesting fabric references in this book series namely what Adelia wears as well as a few of the other characters. 

Homespun: In Medieval England there was no off the rack clothing; it was all hand made from the lowest of peasants to the richest barons. As Adelia chose to live most of her time in the Moors serving as a village doctor she would not have spun and made her own clothing but it would have been done for her, either by her patients as payment or by her housekeeper/ companian, Gyltha. Homespun was both wool and linen as either were prevelant in England. Flax grew all over europe and England and was cut. The plant fibers must be loosened either by long soaking in pools or left out to decompose in the fields. Finally the fibers are sorted and processed before they can be spun into yarns and woven. Wool was sheared at most twice a year and spun into strands that were then knitted into fabric. That fabric could be made fine and smooth for the summer months or thick for winter.

Boiled Wool: For colder and wetter climates the wool fabric would then boiled with some lye soap. The suds and agiatation would create a type of felted wool which would be 20-50% smalled but more dense with some ability to resist water, snow and wind. 

While linen was more labor intensive than wool it was also more abundant. Both could be processed during the summer but then left to be spun and woven during the slower, winter months. 

Leave me a comment with your favorite books with mysteries fabric references that you would love to know more about. I am always looking for a new good book. 

A De La Renta Fairy Tale

August 25, 2013

lead-DeLaRentaSW.jpgLast year, Harrod's holiday window display featured Disney princesses wearing dresses created by famous designers. It was such a revelation to see how different fashion houses interpreted the classic tales into modern couture looks. Snow White fan that I am, I was completely enraptured when I saw the De La Renta version. (Side note: I never was really into De La Renta in years past. I always recognized the quality of the design -- it just wasn't my taste. But lately, there's something in each of his collections that I just fall in love with. I'm not sure if I'm evolving or Oscar is -- or a little bit of both -- but it's a new sensation for me to like the brand so much!)

After looking at the sketch and some photos of the window display, I set out a plot to make my own versions of the two pieces involved -- the gown and the duster -- and set to work. 

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For the gown, I started, as I often do, with a pattern from my collection. This one is near and dear to my heart -- it's the same one I used to create my wedding gown 17 years ago! (I had to cut it a little bigger this time around.)

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It's a basic princess-seam dress; there are plenty of similar patterns on the market all the time. I made a slight alteration to the neck line and made a plan to change up the sleeve, but otherwise cut the pattern as-is using a yellow Mi Amor Duchess Satin.

For the blue lace overlay, I started with an assortment of white Venise lace appliques. I pick these up anytime I find them in my travels, in bulk if I can. Specialty sewing shops sometimes carry them, and online suppliers often do as well. Sometimes you can even find bags of them at flea markets. Knowing since last Christmas that I wanted to make this one, I've had an eye out all year for suitable components.

I started with white appliques, and then dyed them blue using iDye

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I did my dye work on the stove and then ran the appliqués through the wash in a lingerie bag to remove remaining dye residue.

Once I had the front of my dress assembled, I started arranging the appliqués. I would place a few at a time and then stitch them down, and worked my way through the placement of the design that way until I was done. I machine stitched mine, though you can bet the couture gown was done by hand! Here's a shot of just the front of the dress clipped to my dress form (sloppily) as the applique layout is in process.

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After the appliqués were all in place, I finished the dress as normal, substituting a knit chiffon drape sleeve for the cuffed sleeve in the pattern.

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The pins at the top of the bodice are keeping things in place on the form -- on me, it stays up just fine. :)

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For the duster, I once again turned to the pattern stash. BUT, because this satin evening coat doesn't appear to fully wrap or close at the front, I knew I'd have to alter a pattern for the narrower fit. I went with a long, fitted coat pattern, and I only used the side front, back and side back pieces when cutting. I widened the side front piece a little bit to make sure the shoulder seam would match up with the back and allow a little more coverage than just the side front alone.

7-DeLaRentaSW.jpgI also drafted an alternate collar  -- it sort of mimics the shape of the iconic white collar that Snow White wears in the movie. The blue area in the image below is the center of the collar, which is cut on the fold. I'm not sure why I had that point in there at the center initially -- it got clipped off into a smooth line.

8-DeLaRentaSW.jpgHere is the collar assembled before it was attached to the duster. I used slipper satin for the duster, and a remnant of taffeta for an interfacing on the collar.

9-DeLaRenta-SW.jpgFor the voluminous sleeves, I cut simple rectangles about 22 x 30 inches, sewed them into tubes along the long edges, and then pleated them to the right size at the shoulder seam to fit. I gathered the bottom edge, then added small pleats to mirror the pleating at the shoulder. I added small bow details at the outside of the sleeve just to bring a little more Snow White flavor to the duster.

10-DeLaRenta.jpgI like that this feels Snow White but is different from a standard costume. It's got a grown-up vibe, but the colors and inspiration are still there.

11-DeLaRenta.jpgDo you get inspired to recreate pieces you see in magazines or online for your own use? I have a mile-long list of such projects. Of course, it's tempting to make more designer-style princess dresses, too!

 

Product of the Month: Jumbo Cable Stitch Holder

August 23, 2013

Large_CNC-011.jpgThe past year or so I have really embraced chunky yarns. The most endearing characteristic is that they knit up so quickly compared to worsted weight yarn. I also love how lofty and chunky all my finished objects are and I really love to give soft, luxurious items as gifts. Hats knit up in a chaunky yarn are a dream to wear and make you feel so good when the air is cold outside. Who wouldn't want a nice plush, wooly scarf for the holidays. And sweaters, oh, don't get me started on sweaters. I have never knit up a sweater so fast or been so anxious to pull it on, curl up with a book, needles and some hot chocolate. You certainly can't have a chunky knit without some cableing somewhere and for that you need Clover's Jumbo Cable Stitch Holders. 

These holders are so great. I used to use some DPN for cableing and figure-Meh, good enough. Hmm, so wrong. First DPNs get in the way, can be cumbersome and can lead to stitch slipping due to their shape. The cable stitch holders are shaped to just hang out of the way without taking up all the real estate. My favorite part though is the short side/long side. I use the short side to inititally slip the stitches off the needles and the long side to then knit the stitches off again. The two different colors allow me to grab the size I need at a glance. The bonus is you don't need to use the same size holder as needles. In my swatch I used size 17 needles but the holder was approx a size 13-15 and it turned out great. The jumbo stitch holders are nice and smooth to help most yarns just slide on and off then knit easily. I also really like that they can tuck away behind your ear, in a pony tail or a neckline when not in use with just a slip of the hand. I find anything left in my lap eventually gets forgotten and falls to the ground when I am distracted by my children or other responsibilities. 

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Overall, for such a small tool I am surprisingly excited over them. I expected just another review but walked away with renewed excitement over how much more fun and easy cabling is (I love the look but I usually hate them because they can be a hassle). I am now actively looking for cable patterns- who would have ever thought!

Ikea Hack- Poang (kid version)

August 21, 2013

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I jumped on the Ikea Hack train and, of course, went for a kid project, the child sized poang chair. You could do this same tutorial on an original poang to get a similar look but you will need to adjust your yardage. To recreate mine you will need 1 yd each two Premier Prints (I used JoJo Slub in navy and grey). 

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All seam allowances 1/2'' unless otherwise noted. 

First, remove your cushion and measure the chair. Mine measured at 34.5'' from tip top to bottom. I added an inch for seam allowance and then dissassembled. I removed the velcro from the bottom and the floppy head pillow. Then, I laid the cushion down on my fabric and traced the top and bottom, not the sides (see picture below). Then I marked where the back and bottom pockets hit, added 2'' for a double folded hem and cut one each from my fabric. You can use the pockets to create your main pieces by tracing the pockets and drawing two straight lines up the side connecting the 2 pieces, approx 35.5'' long. This will create the same rounded corners. Cut two main pieces. Sew velcro onto bottom pocket piece. Place the main pieces right sides together with the pockets sandwiched in between making sure that they both face the same way. sew around the main pieces, leaving a turning gap at the bottom. Turn rightside out and stuff with original cushion. Topstitch gap closed with a 1/4'' seam. Place new cushion on your chair. 

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To make pillow, cut two pieces 17'' by 9''. Cut two strap 9'' by 3''. Fold straps in half rightsides together and sew along one short end and one long side. Turn and repeat with second strap. Place straps approx 3-4'' from top center of one pillow piece and pin in place. Place the two pillow pieces rightsides together and stitch, leaving a turning gap on one side. Sew 1'' gussets on all corners and trim. Turn rightside out and fill with 1'' wide foam cut 15'' by 7''. Slip stitch closed. Place pillow on chair and use your snap awl to puncture a hole through each strap and the back pocket to place snap. I used Babyville snaps

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You are done. Enjoy your new sophisticated but fun new kid chair. It's perfect for movie nights, playrooms or reading nooks. No more Dora or character chairs that are hard to work into your decor but its still bright and charming enough to win the heart of your little one. 

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A New Twist on the Queen of Hearts

lead-queenofhearts.jpgIt's costume season! Between conventions like DragonCon and an assortment of Halloween events on the horizon, I am officially in full-on costume stitching mode for the year.

Last year, when Disney teased a new line of dolls based around the concept of villains transformed Into couture-style gowns, I swooned. The design sketches captured me instantly, and I fell head-over-heels in love with the re imagined version of the Queen of Hearts from "Alice in Wonderland." It had all the ingredients to bake me an obsession cake: ruffles! red! a crazy collar!

So, needless to say, it went on the project list. 

Here are the reference items I started with:

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Skirt: 
So, the skirt was straightforward, but time consuming. I used a combo of mirror organza cut into 6-inch strips and tulle spools in black (I used 4 spools for this project) to create the alternating ruffles. The base for the skirt was actually a skirt left over from another project that I no longer wear -- I just altered it to have a leaner line, going from a gathered waist to a flat one, and narrowing the skirt by taking in all seams. Then, I ruffled the organza (the edges are just serged) and the tulle, and applied the rows one by one, about 1.75 inches apart from one another.

2-queenofhearts.jpgThis is the phase of the skirt I liked to call "The Ruffle Monster." At this stage, it was like wrestling with an organza and tulle alligator.

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Bodice:

The bodice started out with a plain corset-style bodice top from an old McCall's Moulin Rouge pattern that I've used many times.

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I used red Toscana velveteen for the fabric, it's underlined with twill, lined with satin, and I used spring steel boning when constructing the bodice -- I love this stuff! I buy mine from Farthingales -- they specialize in corsetry supplies.

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To add the peplum on the bottom of the bodice, I cut two shallow half circles, lined them, then tested their placement on the completed bodice.

Here's a peplum piece, cut on the fold:

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I ended up altering the shape a bit so they ended up more cigar shaped before I gathered them into place. 

Collar:
The collar was a bit challenging. I wanted the heart backing to stand and not droop, so I used wire to give it a bit of lift -- I salvaged mine from two wire hangers. It's inserted to a channel in the seam allowance of the two heart shapes stitched right sides together.

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Turning it right side out with the wire involved was a little tricky. Once I had the heart shape squared away, I attached it to a simple strap that sits halter-style and snaps into the side fronts of the bodice.

Here's the quick test I did of the outfit at this stage:

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For the white tulle netting on the collar, I gathered 4 wide layers of tulle together (25-30 inches wide) along the center of the stacked layers, folded along the stitch line, hand stitched it to the collar and strap, and then gave it a haircut to create the tapered shape at the front and even out the edges of my layers.

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Bow:

For the big bow at the back of the dress, I just layered rectangles of fabric together (each layer is actually two pieces of fabric stitched right sides together and then turned out), with the shortest piece on top and angling the longest bottom piece for a bow effect. Then I hand stitched a scrap of the velveteen around the center of my layered pieces to create a faux knot. It attaches to the back of the dress with snaps after the bodice is laced up. 

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My favorite thing about the project is the surprisingly comfortable skirt. Because the fabrics are light, it's quite springy; I don't need to wear a petticoat with it if I don't want to (a blessing in the Atlanta heat).

11-queenofhearts.jpgNow I just need my crown and maybe a golden heart-shaped handbag (or a scepter that has storage!). Then I'll be ready for flamingo croquet.

Fall Fashion Trend Report 2013 - Luxe Sportswear

Trudy Hanson from Hot Patterns kindly gave us her top trend for Fall 2013 - Luxe Sportswear. Take it away, Trudy!

sportswear lux edited.jpgHere at HotPatterns we're always excited to see a new fashion season roll around; Fall 2013 is already shaping up to be totally fabulous!

When it comes to prints and colors, we've seen lots of different themes on the Fall runways-richly colored baroque prints, quirky-cool urban geometrics, deco-inspired color blocking, funky mixed floral pattern clashing and dark, gothic solids.

And lucky for us, all these moods work perfectly with this season's big story, Sportswear Luxe. This is really a modern take on classic sportwear pieces like trackpants, T-shirts and sporty satchels, this time rendered in elegant fabrics like crepe-de-chine, drapey velvet, boucle and cashmere...the key here is slouchy, drapey fabrics in sporty styles.

Choose your colors, pick your prints, then decide...a tailored trackpant in a heavy crepe, a relaxed windcheater in china silk, a slouchy woven T-shirt in silk chiffon or a duffle-bag in mock-croc faux leather. Think drawstring waist pants and skirts, classic T-shirt shapes and cool sporty details like visible metal zippers, two or three stripes of contrast satin ribbon down the sides of dresses, jackets, skirts & pants, and piped or embellished seamlines for an added gloss of sporty glamour.

And the great thing about this new direction is that most Sport-Luxe pieces will mix beautifully with your existing wardrobe...team with your favorite vintage distressed jeans, a boyfriend blazer, a classic pencil skirt or a trim turtleneck sweater for a modern and totally unique look.

Reusable Sandwich Sack

August 14, 2013

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(Updated with snack sizes) I try to be as eco-friendly as I can be and that means I really strive to use less plastic. I grew up with those tri-fold, very thin sandwich baggies for my daily peanut butter and jelly and they are very nostalgic for me. I found myself picking up a box a few weeks ago at my local grocery store just because: I was getting ready for school, that's what I grew up with and it's just a little bit of plastic right. Well, I'll save the lecture but the gist is I took a second look and realized that each box was alot of plastic and I doubted it would be recycled by my 4 yr old. I decided right there that I would find a more practical, washable, cute reusable bag that would last the year and would check that eco-friendly box. 

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The design is so simple that you will easily be able to whip up a dozen or more for your family from just 1 yd of PUL fabric. I designed this bag to fit the extra large, healthy loaves that I tend to gravitate towards (you know whole, 12 grain kinds) so the bag is a generous 7''x 6'' with a flip top. I embroidered a hand drawn slice of bread on my linen exterior but you could opt for prints. Try using a different print for each kid or choosing special colors. You can easily scale down the bags for snack sizes (7''x4'') or increase it for larger sub sandwiches or hoagies. 

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To make your own you will need (to make at least 6 or more):

1 yd PUL fabric

1 yd exterior fabric(cotton prints or linen)

Cut 1 each from exterior and PUL 7" wide by 16" long for snadwich size or 7'' by 12'' for snack size. 

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Embroider your exterior or add any decoration (the front is 2" down from the top and 7" long for sandwich or 2'' down and 4'' long for snack size). Next, with wrongsides together serge the 2 short ends of your bag (with regular machine use a straight stitch 1/4'' seam) then with the lining face up, fold down the top 2" and finger press the fold. Fold up the bottom to meet the fold at the top, finger press the fold (if you need to hold the folds in place use a document clip) and serge or stitch the sides. Flip right side out and you are done. SO easy!! Don't you just want to keep making more. I thought of making some about 20" square and filling them with homemade scones for stocking stuffers, hostess gifts or just because. You can also use them as gift wrap or as wet bags. I love PUL!

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Fluttery, Hand-painted Costumes

August 11, 2013

lead-fluttery-costumes.jpgI get so inspired by animals -- there are so many colorful creatures that I want to emulate! Especially butterflies and even some of the more flamboyant moths. They're the starting point for this week's costume projects.

I wanted to make something I could run in (I participate in several costumes running events each year) but that I could also wear to a party if I wanted. I also wanted completely unique garments. There is also a lovely Luly Yang couture monarch gown that's been swirling around in my head for years, but I definitely wanted to go more casual than that.

I started with an assemblage of reference materials. I sought out photos of Luna moths and Monarch butterflies to inform my designs. Using a photo editor, I made circular repeating collage designs of wings -- these would be used to create the skirting for each of my dresses.

1-fluttery-costumes.jpgI settled on McCall's 6754 for my pattern because it's a simple knit dress with a relatively full, nearly circular skirt. I went with solid activewear fabrics so they'd be comfortable for running.

After cutting my pattern pieces, I assembled my skirts, leaving one seam open so I could lay them flat. Then, I got out my opaque projector. (I really can't say enough about how much I love that thing. It was one of the best investments I've ever made in terms of creative tools.) I had to fold my printed-out circular skirt design to get it to fit into the projector, which gave me only a partial image of my circle, but since I was already going to have to work the design into less than a full circle, that was aok.

I used a very fancy setup for my design transfer. Meaning: I draped my fabric over a box, pointed the projector at it, and transferred a little of the design at a time using a permanent marker. This is not a precision affair. As part of the adjustment from full-circle to partial, I had to edit some elements of the design as I went, shortening a wing here, widening there, and free-handing a few details to fill gaps.

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Once I had the design more-or-less transferred, I set up a painting space on my sewing table by covering it with plastic -- I just used a garbage bag and spread it out flat. Then, section by section, I applied acrylic craft paint that I had mixed with textile medium. If you've never worked with textile medium before, it alters the viscosity of the paint so it doesn't dry so stuff and crunchy. I used a bunch of different brushes and foam sponges. That's definitely a thing you want to test for a project like this -- your design size, fabric texture, paint flow and personal preference are all factors, so it's great to test with a scrap first.

5-fluttery-costumes.jpgTip: frosting containers make great paint cans! Small enough to hold in your hand, and you can just pop the lid on if you need to step away.

As I finished each section, I would let it dry and then reposition for the next section. Since I was working on two at once, I could paint one, then let it dry while I painted the other. This method worked quite well in terms of timing.

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7-fluttery-costumes.jpgOnce all my painting was done, the rest was a breeze. The pattern goes together in a flash.


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11-fluttery-costumes.jpgI am ready to run ... err, flit ... along in my runnable costumes! While I'll probably leave them sleeveless for comfort while I run, I will likely use my upper-arm coverage method if I wear either of these for parties.


Of course, you can adapt this idea to any fabric. Wovens are easier than the activewear fabrics I used because you don't have the problem of the fabric stretching under your paint strokes. Regardless of your fabric choices, this sort of garment does require a little bit of extra laundering care. You can toss fabrics embellished with acrylic paints in the washer, but your design will usually fade a bit. I recommend hand washing with a gentle soap.

Knit Linen Stitch

August 9, 2013

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If you are in need of a more structured look for your knitted garments this coming season have I got the stitch for you. If you thought knitwear could not be structured or have the body needed for blazers, boxy jackets or chanel-esque coats than you have been knitting the wrong swatches. The linen stitch is a dense stitch that will bring lots of body and structure to your knit designs. It is not a difficult stitch to work but it is much more time intensive than a stockinette or a lace. The time it took me to knit my last swatch, swirl eyelet, was half the amount of time I used to work the linen swatch but I created a swatch half the size. 

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You can see by the above picture the difference in the drape of the 2 swatches (though for a better picture I am using the Summer Lace swatch instead of eyelet swirl). The lace drapes like you would expect from a knit but the linen stitch drapes similarly to a medium weight or bottom weight woven. It is still soft though even more so after I steam blocked it. You can really feel it relaxing when you steam block it with an iron. This stitch is just the ticket for the coming seasons boxy, structured jackets.IMG_4750.JPG

Here's the back. Reminds me of seed stitch

Worked over even stitches and all slipped stitches are slipped purlwise

R1: k1, *move yarn to front and sl1, move yarn to back and k1; repeat from * to end

R2: p1, * move yarn to back and sl1, move yarn to front and p1: repeat from * to end

If you are not willing to put in as much time as a whole garment of linen stitch would take then I recommend applying it to the plackets, collars or hems of a jacket or sweater. This will give weight and body to parts of the garment that often distort or hang poorly. 

Blog of the Month: Sew Sweetness

August 7, 2013

August's Blog of the Month is Sew Sweetness, a great blog for quilters and beginning sewists alike. This blog got my attention from the stunning clutch that graced the cover of Sew News. The blog mistress is Sara and she loves sewing and it loves her back. I adore her projects especially her quilting projects which seem to have leaked into every nook of her home (see Diamond Lattice Pillow). For the beginners there is Sara's 30 days of Helpful Guests Posts which includes everything a beginner could need to know or possibily ask about: fabric pairing, zippers, and grain, etc. Sara also packs her blog with plenty of tutorials that look like a lot of fun. Plus, all the patterns that she has whipped up by other designers you can find here with her notes and handy tidbits. 

I honestly can't tell if Sara shines more with apparel or quilts. I am usually drawn to blogs because of the clothing ideas, inspiration or tutorials but I acutally fell for Sew Sweetness for the quilting. I really love the Shape Workout quilt top she made for a book reivew. But then again,  I really love her version of the Collette Taffy Blouse. Decisions, decisions.

Sara also has a line of bag patterns that are beyond gorgous, cute and fun. I am a fan of her fabric choices and how bold and fun they are. I have found quite a few that definitely need to be on my "to do" list pronto. #1 will be the Petrillo bag (Gorgeous!!!). Thank you for blogging, Sara.

New Takes on Tutus

August 4, 2013

It's no secret that I love tutus. I adore them! And I don't mean to scare you, but Halloween is going to be here sooner than you may realize. While turning over those two things in my mind -- tutus and the approach of Halloween (squeeee!) -- I started thinking about ways I could fill my costume closet this year with new approaches to tutus. I wanted skirt pieces that would be fun and different, not just the standard tulle affair. And I wanted the kinds of pieces I could glam up with fancy tops, or even pair with T-shirts and leggings for a more-casual-but-still-costumey outfit.

For my first tutu experiment, I started by making a simple yoked skirt out of slipper satin. Nothing extraordinary here -- I mostly just wanted the seam where the yoke and skirt join together as a guide for ruffle placement.

1-new-tutus.jpgTo cover the skirt with ruffles, I gathered two spools of novelty tulle -- red with white polka dots -- by running the tulle through my machine and making pleats with my seam ripper as I went along. I don't like using a ruffler foot with tulle; in my experience, I end up with torn fabric and frustration rather than pretty gathers. But if you have good luck with pairing the two, by all means, stick with it! The novelty tulle spools are fab because the cutting's already done for you.

2-new-tutus.jpgOnce my two spools were all gathered, I stitched the ruffled tulle to the skirt in four rows at regular intervals. For me, two spools was exactly the amount I needed. I finished with a 2-inch wide piece of tulle left.

3-new-tutus.jpgAnd by adding a black shirt, I've got a quick-as-a-wink Minnie Mouse vibe going. A pair of mouse ears and some black leggings or tights would finish this off perfectly. The same style skirt made in one of the animal novelty prints would be great for creating a safari look, or you could use one of the glitter spools to kick off a glam witch ensemble.

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For my second tutu, I used Simplicity 2067, but I altered the look of it by adding a layer of lace over the two layers of gathered tulle called for in the pattern. I just love how that one extra layer turns the girlie factor up. For the waistband and yoke on this one, I layered my lace over the same satin I used for the lining layer.

5-new-tutus.jpgA tutu like this is the perfect jumping-off point for a princess costume.  You could embellish the lace with tiny flowers, beads or ribbon. Pair it with a fitted or corseted top and a tiara and you're off to the ball!

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What I love about projects like this is that they usually inspire a next step towards a costume or some other creative project. While I may never get through the whole list of things I'm inspired to do, that exciting moment of "What if I made _____ next?" is really one of the most magical things about sewing to me. I think that's part of why I love Halloween so much -- the rules are relaxed and it's just about letting your creativity take the wheel.

Are you ready to get the jump on Halloween stitching?

Mod Podge Project: Flooring

August 2, 2013

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We are back to the doll house my dad made for my girls, you've seen it here back when I wall papered the walls with scrap book paper (but you could totally use fabric). Well, if you remember I was still undecided on the floor coverings and can you blame me? According to the HGTV marathons that has been going on in my house since my second baby was born my previous rugs were way too small and limiting. We are all allowed to be fools sometimes so I vowed to clean up my act and recut my rugs to do my designer mentors proud and add a little sparkle while I'm at it. Let's face it since completing my Nursery Dresser with the Mod Podge Sparkle I have thought of little else. And, seriously, is there anything more perfect for a doll house floor than sparkle sealer, even if said doll house sees far more dinosaur inhabitants than humanoid. I have it on good authority that Dinos like sparkles too. Don't worry if you have boys, this project can easily be adapted for plastic castles, cardboard forts and  tree houses)

Continue reading Mod Podge Project: Flooring.

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