September 2013 Archives

Playing With Floaty Fabric Scarves

September 29, 2013

I can remember with startling clarity the moment in my life when I discovered chiffon. I was around 7 years old, and I happened across a mint green crepe chiffon scarf while rummaging through my mom's jewelry and other accessories that she never seemed to use. I was instantly enchanted with the floatiness, the translucency. I can't conjure a single memory of my mother ever wearing a chiffon scarf of any color, so I have no idea why she had it (though I certainly can identify with the concept of accessories that don't get much use -- I often seem to forget some of the fun pieces in my collection). But I fell in love with it. It became my favorite thing to play with when I was allowed forays into her wardrobe. I would run the narrow-hemmed edges between my fingers, ever wondering at this marvelous fabric and its properties, which to me seemed other-worldly.

So for today's entry in our scarf series, I'm making printed scarves out of Yoryu Chiffon. I really love mixing up prints, especially when I'm wearing them with solid black, so I'm working with four different prints. I am using the full width of the fabric, and I cut my scarves about 12 inches wide. 

When I talk to other sewing enthusiasts about working with chiffon, there's a certain amount of trepidation and dread in their voices. It's slippy, yes, and can be a challenge to wrangle, but as with anything other tricky fabric, patience usually trumps any obstacles. A simple project like this is a fantastic way to make friends with chiffon.

Here's how I handle corners with this fabric using a narrow hem: I first fold in one corner, then fold over the chiffon twice to form the hem fold. 

1-chiffon-scarves.jpgTo set it under the presser foot, I carefully situate the folded fabric under the foot in the raised position, then I position my needle downward so it's piercing the fabric before I lower the presser foot. I make sure the thread tails are to the back of the presser foot as I begin stitching, and use them to gently pull the fabric as I start to prevent anything getting wadded up in the feed dogs. 

After that, it's pretty simple to keep the double fold in place as it runs along the straight line of the scarf. After I finish all four sides (I fold the last corner in as I'm finishing up, using the same method), I give it a good press, which tends to care care of any dicey areas and smooth them right out. (I've mentioned how ironing can fix chiffon hems before on the blog, with before and after photos.)


My four scarves were a mix of star prints (like everyone else on the planet, I can't get enough star print right now) and animal prints (always).



4-chiffon-scarves.jpgBut the reason I wanted four different prints was so that I could play with combining them! Testing out different combinations and tying methods takes me back to being that 7-year-old playing with the scarf from my mom's accessory drawer. I just like to mess about when it comes to tying scarves, but if you need ideas, Pinterest has you covered.


6-chiffon-scarves.jpgIf you really like two fabrics together and you want to make a permanent combo with them, you can easily do so by placing two cuts of fabric right sides together, stitching three of the edges, then turning. Fold up the last open side and stitch it closed, easy as pie. I like to edge stitch about 1/16 of an inch away from the edge of the scarf to keep things nice and crisp. The fun thing about making a two-sided scarf with chiffon is seeing the two fabrics play off each other when they're layered. I used two prints here, but a print with a solid contrasting chiffon makes a great effect.

7-chiffon-scarves.jpgOne thing that's interesting about this particular fabric combo: That fuchsia pink chiffon really reads red when combined with the black, so this ended up looking way more patriotic than I intended. I guess I'm set for accessories next July!

8-chiffon-scarves.jpgRemember, a stash of pretty scarves is a great way to prevent last-minute gift need scenarios from catching you off guard. Since you can easily cut three scarves from a yard of fabric, make up a couple for the gift closet after you finish your own!


Burlap Halloween

September 27, 2013

A few years ago I decorated my porch in burlap for Halloween. I started with this burlap banner and went from there. This year I plan to do even more Halloween decorating with burlap. I'm thinking of a more historical, rustic inspired Halloween with less emphasis on scary and more on the seasonal aspect and that is where the burlap comes in. Burlap is so rustic and a great medium for fall/halloween decorating. Its natural, unkempt appearance makes is easy to work with.  I do love decorating for halloween but with so much going on I hate to put up decorations for only one month when I can get several months out of them by decorating for the seasons and not  so much the holidays. This way while others are storing Halloween decorations and breaking out the goods for thanksgiving, I can be kicking back with a glass of wine and reading a good book or knitting a new sweater. Here are some of my favorite ideas that can span the holidays:

Burlap Halloween Treat Bags from Craft Unleashed. You can use them as name cards at thanksgiving.

Handpainted Halloween Burlap Table Runner (complete with tutorial to paint your own) from Knockoff Decor. Paint it with a fall scene on the other side. 

Lil Luna has 50 Wreath Ideas. I really love the burlap spider wreath by Annalily Design. This is just too cute to pass up. Attach the spiders with pins for velcro and change it up for fall. 

This Ella Claire Burlap Buntingis so lovely and perfect for sofisticated spooky decor. 

U Create has the most adorable Ghost Halloween Lights I have ever seen. 

Finally, Fall/Halloween Decor would not be complete without a pumpkin. I love Adelyn Stone's version here. Perfect for hall tables, tablescapes and niches. 

View our selection of burlap here

Product of the Month: Glue Gun

September 25, 2013

Possibly the single greatest addition to the crafting world has to the the glue gun. It allows non-sewists and sewists alike to create wonderful projects. The glue gun helps finish details with ease. It is great for home decor projects, upholstery, crafting and accessories. I love every opportunity to use my glue and I try to use it as often as possible. Not only is it a quick way to finish certain projects but it also allows for a better finish to others and makes the impossible possible with still more projects. If not for my glue gun I would have had several hours worth of hand sewing to finish my Chalk Cloth Snack Box. For my Fall Wreath last year, attempting to sew all those cute rosettes and wool felt bid onto a straw wreath would have been a nightmare but it was wrapped up neatly with a few minutes of hot glue. 

Remember my Anthro Inspired Bib Statement Necklace, finding and sewing on gems would have been a lot of time and effort but gluing on easily accessible, beautiful glass beads allowed me to create the exact look I wanted.  Holly used the glue gun almost exclusively on her top hat fascinators.  

Finally, a glue gun is a must to finish off your upholstery projects. I use it to add my final detail of double welt to the back and bottom of my chairs. It cut the last few hours of what would be hand sewing the welt onto my chair. I feel that the glue holds it on more securely and it is invisible. 

Check out all of our blog projects featuring the glue gun and you can find of selection of glue guns and accessories here

Hot Patterns Halloween Free Pattern Download: Voodoo Chile Skirt

September 24, 2013

voodoo-chile-art-2.jpgI have been not-so-patiently waiting for this year's Halloween freebie pattern from Hot Patterns. When it landed in my inbox, I'm pretty sure I squealed aloud. What makes me love this one so very much? It can work its wiles long after the holiday has passed! You can make it up in sparkly, costumey fabrics, but it's also completely able to blend into your year-round wardrobe when you make it out of versatile wardrobe fabrics. And it's made for knits (loooove!). AND it involves no hemming (double looove!). 

The first thing you'll notice when you assemble your pattern is that there's a lot more curve to the skirt pieces than you're probably used to. This is where the magic is -- it sets this one apart from the pack. Even though it's a fairly simple pattern -- just these pieces and a rectangular waistband -- the curves and assymetry of it mean that cutting may take a little while. (Since construction goes quickly, it's a fair trade-off.)

1-voodoo-chile.jpgI made several versions of this skirt in different fabrics to give you an idea of what you might expect from different textile choices.

The first version I made was in a very inexpensive sparkly knit from my stash. (Seriously, I think I paid less than a dollar a yard for it -- it's a bargain bin find.) Because the fabric is so flimsy, it wouldn't be a great choice for repeated wearings in your wardrobe, but it's perfect for a modern take on a witch or fortune-teller costume. 


For my second version, I used a spandex knit that would normally be used for swim or activewear. This one has great body and drape, though you might be surprised at how quickly the weight adds up with this fabric. 

3-voodoo-chile.jpgWhen I first selected a plisse knit for version number three, part of me was trepidatious. I wasn't sure how it would come out, but I really, really love this version! The springiness of the fabric gives it a really nice body. I love the plum color so much that I didn't want to use a different knit for the waistband, so I cut a narrower version of the waistband piece out of the plisse and inserted elastic to make up for the lack of recovery in the knit. This one can easily do double duty as a costume element or a wardrobe piece.  

4-voodoo-chile.jpgNext I wanted to play with contrast a little bit, so I used a gray and black striped knit paired with a solid black for the draped pieces. The striped fabric is a polyester knit I had in my stash, but it's not very stretchy -- it stays crisp compared to the poly lycra jersey I used for the ruffles.  I wore this one while tootling around town yesterday and got a compliment on it from a stranger on the train, so I call that a win! (Has it become abundantly obvious that this is a year-round style in my book?)

5-voodoo-chile.jpgSpurred by the success of the first contrast experiment, I forged ahead with a higher-contrast chevron knit combined again with black. My chevron is an ITY, so it's very, very fluid. The black is the same poly lycra I used in the previous skirt. This has great swing and movement.

6-voodoo-chile.jpgMy last version is out of a simple poly/lycra blend knit with tiny stars printed on it. I love how the solid black of the non-printed side peeks out here and there in the cascading drape of the ruffle inserts. I have a feeling this one will be a repeat performer in my fall wardrobe, because it's beyond comfy and will pair perfectly with T-shirts and sneakers for weekend wear.

7-voodoo-chile.jpgSo, after six, I had to restrain myself. But there are so many other combinations I would love to try! Color mixes, different prints, using sheers for the ruffles, reversing the curve of the lower edge -- there are so many ways to make this skirt uniquely your own. That's some good voodoo.

Get your free pattern here, and have fun creating!

Layered Lace Scarves

September 22, 2013


Accessories are often the difference between a ho-hum ensemble and a memorable outfit, and scarves are a great way to add a little zip to your wardrobe and play with fabrics. We're kicking off a series of scarf projects today, beginning with some ultra-girlie layered pieces made with lace and nylon chiffon tricot

These scarves take a little less than a yard of each fabric, and there's no pattern needed -- but a dinner plate will serve as a cutting guide.

This scarf gets its drape from pieces cut on the curve. So to start, use your dinner plate to cut fabric circles. I used a rotary cutter, but you could also trace the plate with a water-soluble fabric pen and then cut with your normal shears. 


Fold your cut circle into quarters, and cut out the interior point. I didn't measure mine at all -- I just dropped down about 1.5 inches from the point and cut a curve.



Once the point is cut out, cut open your circle along one fold. For a scarf about 1 yard long, you'll need 12 circles like this in lace, and another 12 out of your nylon chiffon.


Next, you'll sew your pieces together along the interior curved edge. I started by layering a lace circle over a chiffon circle and joining them; as I reached the end of a piece, I just overlapped the next piece and kept stitching. 


I made four lengths of lace and chiffon pieces; each section is three pieces long. If you prefer to stitch more layers together at a time, you can, but I find the chiffon wants to sneak up under my presser foot and can get stitched into the seam when it shouldn't, so working with just two layers at a time worked best for me. If your fabrics don't match up at the end, don't sweat it -- they can just be trimmed to an even length when you're done.

Next join all four pieces together along one seam -- you'll have fewer pieces if you stitched more than two fabric layers together at a time. Then, run a zig-zag along the seam and clip any excess seam allowance, or serge the egde.


To hide the seam, fold open the layers so you have a layer of lace and chiffon on either side of the seam allowance. Press gently, then stitch so that your opened up layers cover your seam allowance. 


Once your stitching is done, give your scarf a fluff and it's all done!

You can wear it as-is or style it with a sparkly pin or other brooch. 



I also made a darker version using black nylon chiffon and gray lace, and played with it by styling it like a lace collar, tucked into a vest. 



Costume Corner: Kid's Costume

September 20, 2013

lion purple.jpgRemember my purple lion costume? Well, I made it with the intention it would be worn for at least a year and it is going on 2 and its still hanging in. I love it and so does my daughter. My only issue is that she insists on wearing it everyday, in Georiga, in summer. It gets hot. Very hot. She will sweat buckets and not admit its too hot. She's a lion and will not break character. So I knew we needed a summer time costume change. I decided a t-shirt rehab would do the trick. I used a combination of the original pattern and a little out-of-the box experimentation to get the job done. The finished product turned out to be a short sleeved jersey lion jacket, complete with tail. It is a success and my daughter enjoys it but she is still anxious for it to cool down so she can get back into her fleece original (insert eye roll here).


I started with 3 t-shirts, 2 body color (turquoise) and 1 coordinating (light blue). One of the turquoise shirts was a youth-small size and it would be the jacket and the other 2 tshirts were the largest I could find since they would be cut up for pieces. From the giant turquoise shirt I cut the hood, ears and tail and from the giant coordinating shirt I cut the mane, belly and tail fringe. I cut the youth small shirt right down the middle and added a separating plastic zipper. I choose plastic because the teeth and the pull were bigger and easier for her little fingers. When adding the belly piece the top of the belly and the neckline of the tshirt did not exactly meet up so I just recut the top of the belly piece to line up with the shirt neckline and when I sewed on the hood it covered any other discrepancies. This worked out well since altering the neckline of the belly piece shortened the belly piece a bit and it fit on the shirt better too. I just sewed the tail right to the hem stitching of the shirt in the back. I re-enforced it by first sewing the it on with the tail flipped up toward the neckline then I flipped it down and top stitched it. I stuffed it again just like I did with my fleece version.


What I would do different is I would make the mane, ears and tail from interlock instead of jersey knit. This would make it stand up more and curl less. I would also make matching pants and mittens from jersey or interlock. It sound like a lot of layers but my daughter's only complaint with this outfit is that she didn't feel complete. She continued to ask for her claws and pants. 


I am planning to make another version of the original Kwik Sew Pattern only the dinosaur from french terry as another warm weather alternative. For that version I am planning on interfacing the ears to make them stand up and using fleece for the mane and fringe as it adds just the right fluffy and cuteness. This is a great quick version or play version. If you remove the tail or make it shorter you can use this hoody everyday. You can easily layer under this if you aren't sure of the weather or if you live in a warmer climate like the South. If you live in a cooler climate substitute the t-shirt for a sweatshirt. 

Blog of the Month: Somewhat Simple

September 18, 2013

Every month I try to feature an up & coming individual blogger but this month I threw out all guidelines to find something different and to find new projects for the up-coming holiday season (we need all the help we can get when it comes to churning out those handmade gifts). I found Somewhat Simple: a collaborative blog written, photographed and produced by a team of talented ladies. This crafty blog is dedicated to projects of all kinds, especially food. Oh the Food! The food section is divided up by meals or purpose: appetizers, breakfast, cakes and drinks. I was drooling at the watermelon coolers and that is only the top post. There are also tips on spicing up instand hot cocoa, sangria and strawberry julius. Now I must tell you about the cupcakes. I love a good cupcake espcially with buttercream. You will find plenty here, like the neopolitan or the homemade hostess cupcakes

Now none-food related crafts. You will find projects from fabric, yarn, paper and more at Somewhat Simple. The collection of pillow tutorials is fun. The section on kids' crafts is awesome, chalk full of great rainy day, summer time and play date activities. This is my first time visiting a blog that featured wood as a medium and I must say I am all about the wooden bunting. What a great addition to a kids room. Finally if you have been looking for a good yarn wrapped letter tutorial, look no further. I am crazy for these fun letters and very much want to add them to one or both of my girls' rooms. I can also see them in my studio over my yarn shelves proclaiming "Yarn". I adore stating the obvious. 

Please check out Somewhat Simple. Come for the cupcakes, stay for the cupcakes and read up on many other great projects when you get tired of cupcake recipes. 

All pictures are from Somewhat Simple and are their property. 

Bobbin Storage and Recycling: Together at Last!

September 15, 2013

It's one of the dirty secrets of my sewing room ... that which can only be called "the bobbin situation." Because it's beyond a mess. It's way past disorganization. It's just a train wreck jumble of intertwined and tangled thread resulting from just tossing bobbins into a drawer when I make a color change. I'm not proud. I AM, however, on a little bit of an organizational kick, so it seemed that the time had finally come to tame the bobbin beast.

I started with an inexpensive blank box I had on hand from a craft store. I removed the clasp and hinges before starting. Then I spray painted the outside of the box. 

1-bobbin-box.jpgThe recycling part of this project comes next. If you, like me, have some soda bottle caps on hand, now is their time to shine! I lined them up sloppily in the bottom of my box to see how many I could fit into the project -- 16!

2-bobbin-box.jpgI was finding it hard to align the caps in the box, so I decided to cut a base to affix them to first. My base is just a piece of craft foam (again, recycled -- it was just stashed in a cabinet). I drew lines so I could mark the center, then I started gluing down the caps with E6000. Because foam can warp during drying, I recommend gluing down a few caps at a time and placing a book on top. Check after just a few minutes to make sure the caps haven't shifted around, then replace the book and leave it until the glue is dry. Then work your way through all the caps the same way.


Once all my caps were glued securely to the base, I glued the base into the box, once again using E6000. As before, I put some weight on top to prevent warping of the foam. 

4-bobbin-box.jpgAfter the cap assembly was all glued in, I painted the interior of the box. I used a spray paint designed to adhere to plastic so my paint won't flake off onto my thread. Then I reattached all my hardware. The caps do a great job of keeping the bobbins in place -- the threading in the caps helps keep the thread from flying away, but it's still easy to pop the bobbins out.

5-bobbin-box.jpgOf course, there's also the fun of decorating the outside of the box! I kept this one simple; I just spray painted a decorative wood piece silver and glued it into place. But you could also do a collage finish with Mod Podge or add buttons or other trim. You could make one as a gift for a stitching pal customized to match their sewing room or use a scrap of their favorite fabric to finish it. The important thing is: The bobbins situation is contained!


The importance of button placement

September 13, 2013

button down1.jpg

Button not on apex of breast

The need for this post occured to me a few weeks ago after I made a hasty purchase of a button down shirt from my favorite department store (its probably your favorite too with its red bulls eye logo). There I was running into the store for who-knows-what when I was drawn into the tractor beam pull of "Chambray Shirts $12.99". It wasn't until later that week when I wore my shirt that I realized: "Oh, I really need to post on button placement. This is not good". You see not only did my buttons pop regularly (half due, i'm sure, to too small buttons) but there was also serious gaping when I moved my arms. I had even bought the next size up shirt just to be sure because I didn't have time to try it on. It's the button placement that was the problem and that's what brings us here today. 

button down 2.jpg

Right on apexbutton down 5.jpg

Right on apex

I did some careful scrutiny of my shirt and realized that instead of a button being placed at the apex of the breast (the fullest part of the breast), roughly between your shoulder and your elbow, two buttons were placed above and below. Leaving the apex without a button allows for gapping and does not support the other buttons from the strain that regular movement provides. After a bit of research of higher pricepoint shirt makers I decided that this is a detail overlooked by inexpensive makers and I do not want you to make this same mistake. It is easy to follow a shirt pattern and never consider where on you the buttons will hit. While most women's apex hits in the same area, a more exact fit and more prefessional finish can be achieved if you measure yourself and adjust your placement as needed. To do this, when making your muslin, try it on and careful mark where your apex button should sit. Be sure to stretch your arms, swing them around and see how your marking works after this test. Adjust the pattern markings as needed by moving each button the same distance. 

button down 3.jpg

To fix store bought shirts with this problem I have thought of 2 solutions. The first is either sewing the band closed at the apex or adding in velcro to keep the button band closed. A few blogs suggest sewing it closed at the bust but I didnt want to loose the ability to unbutton my shirt since I am still breastfeeding. I opted for a small pieces of velcro on the button band right where the gapping is the worst. It works pretty well but again the buttons are too small. My second solution was to double the number of buttons. I would find enough matching buttons and then add a button and hole in between all existing buttons. I thought the new styling would look great but I never found the time to dedicate to sewing 6 more buttons and holes.

My ultimate solution is when making a button down shirt, carefully measure and adjust your buttons as you make it. When purchasing a button down in a store, try it on, move around and when in doubt spend a little extra. 

Costume Corner: Baby Shrek the Ogre

September 11, 2013


Well, I have a baby so you must have seen this one coming. For the most part I'm a pretty laid back mom but I always, always like for my girls to look good. This is especially true for halloween since I love Halloween. I really love it. In fact I was planning hallween costume a few minutes after I found out I was pregnant. When it comes to babies though I don't let anything irritate, distract or inhibit them- it just makes my job easier. So I set out to make a super cute costume for my youngest that would not distract her from her job-walking, crawling and getting into trouble- but would make for some memorable photos. It is amazing how well some key clothing items can be configured into great costumes for little ones. 


For my daughter, we decided it would be funny for her to be Shrek the Ogre for Halloween. You see, when we told my oldest daughter that we were having a baby she named her soon-to-be sister "Baby Shrek" until even after we found out "shrek" was a girl. To make this costume all that is needed is a tiny vest, leggings, a t-shirt or onesie and a knit hat. Since the weather in Georiga is tempermental and I never know if it will be warm or cold on the big day I like to keep my options open to make sure my kids are comfy. For this costume I can use a long sleeve shirt or short sleeve. I have also decided to use a pink shirt instead of Shrek's white just to show she's a girl (people like to know). To create your own baby Shrek costume try these tutorials to make your pieces. 


Vest: I modified this baby shirt pattern to be an open vest just sewn at the shoulders and sides. I cut the back piece on the fold but not the front to create the open vest. I left off the sleeves. I used some brown interlock knit fabric to prevent curling and because it is thicker and will hold up to the grommets better. I added 4 grommets just like Shrek. I didn't hem or bind arm holes to give it the haphazard, worn look Shrek rocks. 


Leggings: This is a a great pattern to use to make all kinds of leggings or knit pants for your kids. I used the same brown interlock just in case it is chilly that night. I know Shrek wears tartan leggings but I wanted to be able to use the leggings for everyday use and I'm not sure if I have too many outfits that will match Shrek's particular tartan. 


For the hat I knit this pattern using 2 strands held together, one of cotton (Lion Brand Cotton Ease Lime) and one of wool (Lion Brand Wool Ease Sage). 

This costume idea can be adapted for other characters as well. For animals you only need change the hat and keep the t-shirt and leggings the same color to coordinate with the animals. Try searching Ravelry for the hat pattern. Here's a great Despicable Me minion crochet hat pattern. For Princess Leia, try this pattern. If you want to sew an animal hat, check out this collection on Pinterest.  

This Year's Witch -- 1920s-inspired!

September 8, 2013

3-1920s-witch.jpgAs is my tradition, I make a new witch costume every year as Halloween approaches. You can see previous witchy projects here and here. But this year, with all the Gatbsy buzz, I wanted something that borrowed a little bit of 1920s style. I didn't want to go full-out hsitorical with it, because I don't have time in the schedule for that this year, so I settled on a Simplicity pattern by LeAnn Marshall that had the feel I was looking for. 

The dress itself is cut primarily on the bias, but even so, it's not a fabric hog. I used 3 yards of chiffon, 3 yards of stretch charmeuse, and 1.5 yards of Jacqueline lace so I could add a little texture to my draped overskirts. I ended up with a chunk of the charmeuse leftover. The trickiest bit about the dress is dealing with bias-cut chiffon. It can be a little finnicky. But with a little patience, it can totally be handled.

Here is the basic dress, sans embellishment.

1-1920s-witch.jpgTo add a little sparkle to my witch, I first used some leftover scraps of the rhinestone-dotted net from my ballgown witch two years ago; I cut them into roughly 6-inch wide strips and gathered them all in one continuous ruffle at the center. My second salvage operation involved overdying the blue appliques from my De La Renta Snow White to a black color, and layering those with the gathered net. 

While my dress was on my dressform, I did a little test draping of the trim along the neckline and down the side of the overskirt.

2-1920s-witch.jpgI liked the results, so I ploughed ahead. I ended up additing additional clear and black rhinestone crystals using my hotfix applicator, and added additional appliques along the waistband and at the pleating of the overskirts. 


I hand-stitched the ruffled trim along the neckline, but the waist appliques are machine-stitched into place.

4-1920s-witch.jpgNow I just need to find a handsome warlock to Charleston and shimmy with! (Oh, my ... now I want to make my husband a 1920s warlock ensemble ... )


Man Corner: Recovering vinyl bar stools (on a regular sewing machine)

September 4, 2013

stool before after.jpg

Before and After

**Edit: I sewed this completely on my regular home machine. It is a Brother HE-120 so pretty basic and any sewing machine can sew this project. I used a Schmetz size 16 needle, Coat Clark All Purpose Thread and a piece of matte scotch tape on the bottom of my regular machine foot. The tape reduces friction when top stitching. 

My husband owns a motorcycle shop and is always bringing home cool motorcycle stuff for me to fix up man-style for his shop. A few years ago he scored a pair of stools from another motorcyle shop. These stools were practically in the dumpster when my frugal-minded husband snatched them up knowing he had a crafty wife at home. The stools have seen better days back in the early 90's (umm, maybe) but even then it looks like they were all looks and not much comfort. I took one look at them and knew I could do better. 



Kid approved

We started with 2 yards of black vinyl since my husband has since found a third stool. Since each stool seat is approx. 14'' in diameter and 4'' high I calculated that 2 yds would cover it. Next, find and mark the center point. This makes it easy to measure the diameter. Now measure the diameter, at least twice moving the ruler as you go. This means measure it one way then pick up the ruler and measure it another way. Yes, it is a circle but not all stools are perfectly round and since this stool is old it might be out of round and warped. It was but my average was 13.75''. Your vinyl will stretch a bit so go with the average measurement not the smallest or the largest. add 1'' to your circle measurement for seam allowance. Now, measure how tall your seat is. To calculate how big to cut your band, use a circle calculator and find the circumference and add 1'' for seam allowance. This is your band length. The height of the seat plus 2-3'' (for pulling and tucking) is the width of the band.


Now on the reverse of your vinyl draw your circle. Draw and cut your band. Sew the short ends of the band right sides together. As you pin the band to the circle, clip into both about 1/4'' and keep the pins in the 1/2 seam allowance just to be sure not holes show when finished. Next, start sewing about 2'' past the band seam and sew around to about 2'' before the band seam. If you have any measurement discrepancies or stretching you can easily adjust the band size without ripping any seams. Finished stitching.



See my band was too big but easily fixed

Clip all the way around just shy of the seam. Finger press your seam towards the band and topstitch it in place. Now trim that seam to 1/4''. 


Take 1'' foam (this is double the thickness of the foam I removed) and trace your original circle measurement on to it and cut it out with scissors. I used standard chair pads. Remove any old fabric and using spray adhesive attach your new foam to the seat base. Wait 30 min (time for a glass of wine!) then slide your seat cover over the base. Flip over your stool onto a clean smooth surface since vinyl can scratch. Using a staple gun start on 4 "corners" of the compass of your base and attach your cover. Work around the entire circle until your cover is secure. Flip is over and sit yourself down. 


Our stools will be going behind his front desk for the employees to sit on and for me when I come to visit and take my turn behind the counter. My bum is really looking forward to the new seat covers and increased foam thickness and density. Now its your turn to fix up your bar stools whether it is for your husband or your kitchen. Trust me, you'll feel better and its so easy!

Costume-o-rama: DragonCon 2013

September 3, 2013

Now that it's September, we are officially into Halloween and costuming obsession time as far as I'm concerned. And part of that transition from summer into fall prep for me is DragonCon. If you don't know what DragonCon is, it's a massive (and always growing) pop culture convention that takes over downtown Atlanta each Labor Day weekend. There are SO MANY COSTUMES at DragonCon. And many of them are really lovely. I always leave the show with loads of inspiration, so I wanted to share a taste of some the finery I spotted on fans this year.

One thing you always see a LOT of: corsets! I really liked the way this costumer used trim and color blocking on her corset, and offset the brown with a brighter color. 


Fans of "Dune" will recognize this Bene Gesserit costume. The baldcap application was perfection.


I couldn't help but notice that royalty was super popular this year. This one is from the anime "Trinity Blood." 


I really, really love the film "Wreck-it Ralph," so I was super excited to see Turbo circulating in the crowd. Turbotastic!


Look! It's Winnie, Mary and Sarah from "Hocus Pocus"! These three were beyond adorable.


This guy made an amazing replica of astronaut Jim Lovell's NASA space suit. Absolutely beautiful, and clearly a labor of love. He won an award for Best Historical Recreation in the Masquerade Costume Contest.


I love the theming on this lovely trio. That parasol is darling. 


This costumer started with a white dress she found at a thrift shop and ran it through a dye bath to create a quick princess ensemble.


As I mentioned earlier, a LOT of fabulous royalty was roaming the hotels. 


Most creative Queen of Hearts design EVER! The entire outfit is made of playing cards.


These ladies were my favorite of the weekend -- lovely dandelions. I first saw them in the parade and was so charmed! Simply adorable, and really well executed.


This is just a tiny sampling, a mere smidgen of what one sees during a convention like DragonCon. While the show is huge and can be overwhelming at times (foot traffic on Saturday could make even the most zen con-goer exasperated), there is really something for everyone. I hope you find all this creativity as inspiring as I do. I know I came home on the last day exhausted, but eager to jump into a project!

Free Pattern Download- Create Kids Couture Barbara's Bloomers



We have a new free pattern download from Create Kids Couture who have brought us Aiden's Shorts, Millie's Schoolhouse Skirt, and Hannah's Pillowcase Romper. This month we have Barbara's Bloomers and Bonnets set. The bloomers come in a short and long version with added ruffles. This is a great addition to any little girls wardrobe especailly one that is growing fast. Slip on some bloomers under a favorite dress turns is from too short into a tunic. I love putting bloomers on my baby in the warmer weather. She is not quite a walker so crawls everywhere but I want to avoid the whole tshirt/diaper combo and opt for more of a complete outfit with pretty bloomers. I love the longer, capri version for both my girls. The added knee coverage is great for my 4 yr old who comes home with a new bruise or scrap each day and my 11 mo old who is on her knees and on the go all day. 

My modifications turned the bloomers into knickers for a paired down style that my 4 yr old prefers. While she is all for a good tutu, she is more likely to opt for knit pants over ruffle bloomers any day. I decided on the same style for my infant but added a small ruffle just to say "I'm a girl" while we are out and about. To create my modifications you will first need some jersey knit fabric in the same yardage as recommended in the pattern. I suggest cutting a size down because you want knit garments a bit fitted because it looks better and fits better. Since my oldest is in a size 5T, I went with a 4T for her. I took 2'' off the width of the pattern piece for both the 4T and 12-18 mo. size I cut out for my baby and took it off the fold side. I also added 2'' in length to the capri pattern because I found it didn't quite go over my 4 yr old's knees, I did the same with the 12-18 size just to be sure I could get more than a few weeks wear out of them. Then, I created a cuff that is 10'' wide by 4'' tall (this is roughly the width of my adjusted pattern piece width which means it is approx half the cut pattern). I cut the pants pattern pieces according to the instructions and cut 2 cuffs with the stretch across the width. For the small ruffle on my infant pants I cut some jersey 1'' by double the width of each pant leg (4 times the width of one pattern piece) and gathered it.


I gathered the bottom of each pant leg before folding the cuff in half and stitching it onto the bottom of each leg (for the ruffle stitch it in between the cuff and leg). Then complete the bloomer assembly instructions.



These bloomer/knickers fit perfectly and both girls loved them. My 4 yr old, who is not always a fan of most clothes I make for her, did not want to take them off and my infant went about her day as usual without any hinderance. They both looked cute as a button so I am just as pleased. I love the creativity Create Kids Couture brings to their patterns and what it inspires in me.  


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