October 2013 Archives

Gift Ideas: Anthro Inspired Corset Belt.

October 30, 2013

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Everyone is looking for great, fab but easy to make girlfriend gifts. I always have a long list of little reasons to send a friend a small something for a thank you, thinking of you or because I spotted some fabric that would be just perfect for "so & so". One such project is my Anthro Inspired Corset Belt that is influenced by the beautiful corset belts at Anthropologie (one of my favorite stores, especially for holiday shopping and hostess gifts). They are heavily beaded this season and I have neither the inclination nor the time to commit to serious bead work though I love the look. Instead I choose to recreate the style with with fabric that looks beaded (Michael Miller Beadwork). In the spirit of Anthropologie I added a contrasting fabric in a bold print as an accent band (La Plaza Beaded Stripe) . If you lay the two fabrics next to each other you would probably never think to use them but they really work once all sewn up. I also took inspired from the Gathered Clutch Tutorial I used eariler this year because I loved that look. 

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To make your own Anthro Inspired Corset Belt you will need:

1 yd Michael Miller Beadwork

1 Yd La Plaza Beaded Stripe

1 yd 3'' wide elastic

1 yd lightweight interfacing

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Start by measuring your waist where the belt will sit then dividing that number in half and adding 2'' (ex: waist is 30'', 30/2=15, 15+2=17), we'll call this number "A". This is the finished length of the fabric portion of the belt. Cut 1 piece from Michael Miller Beadwork that is the length of A by 4'' wide. Cut 1 piece from Michael Miller Beadwork that is twice A by 4'' wide. Baste 2 lines of stitches down the center of the longer piece and pull the bobbin thread to gather to the length of the shorted piece. Press gathers in place. 

Cut 1 piece of interfacing to A long by 4'' wide. Fuse it onto the wrong side of the gathered Beadwork fabric. Set aside. 

Cut 1 piece from La Plaza Beaded Stripe that is A long by 3" wide. Tri-fold and press this piece; it will be the center band. Pin band onto center of the gathered piece and top stitch in place down both long edges. 

With right sides facing, sew both beadwork pieces together using a 1/2'' seam down both long edges. Turn right sides out and press. Tuck in the shorted ends and press. 

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Cut 1 piece of elastic to A- 4'' long (ex. A=17, 17-4= 13). Stick one end of the elastic in one open end of the beadwork piece, about 1/2''. Pin in place. Repeat for the other end. Top stitch both ends. Congrats! You are done. Wear your belt with your favorite outfits; it looks best cinching billowy shirts and dresses or over fitted shift dresses. Since it is elastic you don't need exact waist measurements. If you know the approx. size of your friend then you can create a lovely Anthro Inspired Corset belt for her in one afternoon. Have fun! 

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Scrappy Boa

October 27, 2013

Today's entry in our scarf series has a flair for the dramatic -- so much so that you can use it to fill in any costume gaps in the last few days before Halloween. I'm making a boa out of scraps -- yep, it's another stash buster! This project is ultra simple, though it can be a bit time consuming because it involves lots of cutting. On the upside, the cutting is basic, so you can do it while watching TV.

To start with, you need to cut strips. Lots and lots of strips. Mine range from about 1-1.5 inches wide, and 8-12 inches long. For fabrics, I used chiffon, satin, lace, mesh, assorted knits and ribbon. Anything works; you just want a mix of textures and weights. I cut my wovens on the bias to minimize fray, but if you want a fuzzy, frayed effect, you can cut with the grain, too. And I wasn't especially careful with cutting straight lines. I used a rotary cutter at first, but found I was faster with my shears, so stuck with those after a while. In total, I cut right around 300 strips.

1-Boa-Scarf.jpgOnce I had a healthy pile of strips, I started feeding them into my sewing machine. I set two to four strips at a time across the machine, overlapping a little and trying to keep the center of the strips more or less in line with the needle.

2-Boa-Scarf.jpgThen I would stitch slowly as a pushed the strips up inder the presser foot, mashing them together as I went so they gather together. Every inch or so, I would backstitch and then keep moving forward. This just gives the whole thing a little extra stability.

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Working with 300 strips, I ended up with a boa about 2 yards long, all full of fluffy goodness. You can trim and shape it at this point if you like. Just clip any of the pieces that stick out more than you like.

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This technique can be used to create costumey boas, or eye-catching scarves. Remember to use as many soft fabrics as possible in your scraps to prevent itchy neck syndrome.

6-Boa-Scarf.jpgHere is the same shot with different light values so you can see all the texture that you get from using all those different scraps.

7-Boa-Scarf.jpgWith a little creativity, this project can serve for a variety of things -- golden tones for a lion's mane, rainbow colors for a unicorn or pony, all hot pink or animal prints for a diva accessory, or pastels to go with a royal gown. You can even make a smaller version to use as trim on sweatshirts and sweaters. Have fun and use those scraps!

Knitting Washable Wool

October 25, 2013

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Sometimes being a fiber snob has its drawbacks and I always feel the weight of my snobbery when its laundry day. I despise hand washing and flat out refuse to do it for my children (if you have seen them eat spaghetti you'll understand). Soooo, as much as I long to only clothe them in natural fibers I think I will leave that to the cotton knit fabrics and not the wool knitted sweaters. Give me machine washable, please. This is the foundation of my love for Lion Brand Wool Ease; it's machine washable with all the wooly goodness. The stitch definition is also amazing; making it perfect for the delicious lace sleeved kid sweater pattern I found on Ravelry, Bloomsbury Kids. It sounds crazy putting a lace sleeved sweater on a kid or baby but this is no ordinary lace sweater. The lace is very basic but the design is really eye-catching. There are not a lot of eyelets to snag fingers or to reduce warmth. The gauge really helps to keep this a very useable and warm sweater. The design of the lace panels is unique and also a fun knit. I had a great time working this up because the lace pattern is simple and easily memorized, the yarn was so soft and allowed the stitches to be seen well but with just a touch of fuzziness and it is small. The only modification I made to this pattern was to use Jeny's Suprisingly Stretchy Bind-off from Knitty.com for the cuffs and bottom. I recommend this for the kid's version just to make it easier to put on and take off. It looks great too. 

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I am also a fan of the colors available in Lion Brand Wool-Ease Worsted, each color has several shades to choose from. The yarn is flexible, slightly fuzzy but without the itchiness. The yarn was never irritating while working over several hours and my daughter has since worn the sweater twice without complaint all day. I have consequently washed it twice without incident. It comes out nice, not distorted at all and with no shinkage. I do block the sweater slightly just to shape the sleeves to better see the lace. Usually acylic-based yarn cannot be blocked but Wool-Ease does block some, just enough for a kids sweater. The baby sweater is worked in Natural Heather and I have just started a second for my almost 5 yr old in Seaspray which if you follow Fabric.com or me on instagram you can follow the progress. 

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A Kid Costume for Warmer Climates

October 23, 2013

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We live in Georgia, where for the past 2 years it has been warm on All Hallow's Eve so the thought of seeing my 4 yr old sweating through another trick or treat session was unbearable. She does it good naturedly since she loves her costume but I knew I could find a great alternative. For the past year she has become obsessed with dinosaurs, that combined with the fact that she still wears her purple lion costume around (in the summer, all day long) I turned to the same costume pattern to make this years costume: Kwik Sew 3099. My daughter requested that the costume look as much like the pattern picture as possible and I agreed. I decided on French Terry for my fleece alternative since it is a bit thicker than regular jersey but much lighter and more breathable than fleece. It has a similar stretch to fleece. I knew for some parts I would have to beef it up a bit but with the color choices offered in our Organic French Terry I was already decided. 

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The Dino version of this pattern went together much faster than anticipated since there was only one piece to the hood, no chest piece, no paws (Ugh, they were tricky) and no fringy tail. The only bits that gave me pause were the spikes. I dithered over interfacing them to see how well they stood up but in the end decided against it because I was convinced that with some washing the french terry would thicken and stand. I did stuff the tail and that was also a bit of work since the opening that is sewn to the body is so big that I ended up sewing it up, leaving a 4'' gap for stuffing and then sewing it to the body. I recommend you only lightly stuff, just enough to give the tail some body, shape and presence so it is not just a flag flapping. If you over stuff the tail then it is really hard to attach it to the body. 

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For the spike and claws I cut double the pieces and using a small zig zag stitch sewed them together wrong sides facing. Easy, easy, no turning and topstitching. To make the claws even easier I sewed them together, one after the other so they were almost chained together like a serger. This made laying them out to sew to the mittens really nice. 

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My daughter is over the moon with her costume and so am I. No more restricting her costume wearing to cooler night time hours. With this delicious cotton terry dino costume she can wear it all day with only minimal sweating. But I can add layers underneath should it be colder this year. The costume is designed big so there is plenty of room under for long sleeve, sweater or jacket and pants. No self-respecting dinosaur would wear her jacket on the outside. Dino5

Last Minute Halloween Bags -- For Kids and Grownups!

October 21, 2013

Time is running out -- we're down to single-digit countdown days for Halloween. Whether you need a fun trick-or-treat bag for the kids or a quickie clutch for a grown-up party, we've got you covered. 

Halloween style shouldn't be reserved just for trick-or-treaters, but candy bags can be stylish, too! To serve the spooky needs of kids and their adult escorts, and get things done in a hurry, I decided to play with appliqués.

I am sort of obsessed with sugar skulls at the moment. (The same way the sun is sort of a ball of fire.) So I knew I wanted a fun, slightly cartoony take on the look for a little bag for me. I also have a ceaseless adoration for bats. So I wanted to incorporate that shape into a couple of projects as well.


To start with, I sketched out designs for my motifs in the simplest outlines. I put a 1-inch grid on top so they can be scaled. 

1-halloween-bags.jpgI traced my basic pattern pieces onto Heat'n Bond, fused it to my applique fabric, and then used the traced image to cut my fabric before peeling away the paper.

2-halloween-bags.jpgThen, I fused my design -- the basic white skull out of Deer Suede velour -- onto black twill

I used a coaster to trace the circles for the outer eyes onto my Heat'n Bond, and then drew in the scalloped edges. I used a pink satin scrap fused to the Heat'n Bond to create my eye base appliques, then used a smaller circle to trace and create the interior black area out of velveteen. For the nose, I cut an elogated heart out of velveteen that already had fusible backing on it, then cut a divot out of the point of the heart. I fused all my facial pieces down, then I drew in additional details with a water-soluble marking pen. I stitched over my marker lines with a satin stitch on my machine, and added some hotfix crystals to sparkle things up. 

3-halloween-bags.jpgOnce my rhinestones were in place, I cut around the entire applique, leaving about 5/8 inch all around. I then used that as my pattern piece to cut a back piece for my bag and two lining pieces.

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To set in the zipper, I placed one of the lining pieces onto the back of the bag, right sides together, and stitched a small, narrow rectangle. I cilpped the rectangle along its length and then into each of the four corners, and turned it right side out. After a good pressing, I positioned the zipper under my opening and stitched it into place just inside the folded edge of the rectangular opening. I also basted two ribbon loops to the top edge of the bag. (I use those loops to clip an existing bag strap with swivel clips onto the bag.)

5-halloween-bags.jpgWith the zipper opened up, I stitched my appliqued bag front to my bag bag with lining in place, then stitched around the entire skull shape. I finished mine with an overlock stitch to prevent fraying.

5a-halloween-bags.jpgFor the trick-or-treat version of this bag, I put a smaller version of my skull onto a plain black bag (more details on how I make mine below), and kept it simpler. Instead of all the detailing, I fused the eye and nose pieces into place, drew in my mouth with a permanent marker, and hot glued a few faux flowers into place on top of the skull. Simple, but still an unmistakeable nod to the Day of the Dead. The handles for the bag are made from a double layer of grosgrain ribbon stitched together.

6-halloween-bags.jpgFor my bat bags, things are even simpler. For the trick or treat bag, I cut three colorful bats out of small scraps of satin and taffeta, and lined them up along the front of the bag piece. To make my bag, I start with a piece of twill 24x17 inches and fold it in half so it's 12 inches wide and 17 inches tall (unstitched). 

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Depending on how much time you have, you might want to stitch your appliques in place. I usually just use the standard zig-zag stitch on my machine, but I always test first and adjust to what looks best for the fabric I'm using at any given time.

8-halloween-bags.jpgAfter my bats were in place, I put the bag together by folding it in half so the apllique is on the inside, then stitching along the non-fold side and across the bottom. To make sure no precious candy cargo is lost, I run a line of reinforcement zig-zag stitching around the whole thing.

9-halloween-bags.jpgTo square off the bottom of the bag, I collapse the corners so that the bottom seam sits at the center of a triangle and run a quick stitch about an inch and a half from the tip of the triangle. After that, I just fold over the top and stitch, add some grosgrain handles, and we're ready to receive candy!

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To make a little bat clutch, I appliqued a black velveteen bat onto a square of some pink corduroy I had on hand. I cut a matching piece for the back and two lining pieces, then set in the zipper using the same method I detailed in my Scrap-o-Licious shaving kit projects. 

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After adding a small strap made from the same corduroy, I sewed my bag closed (leave the zipper open!) and was ready for a Halloween soiree.

12-halloween-bags.jpgHeat'n Bond appliques can help you ensure you have a unique custom Halloween accessory. While my projects feature skulls and bats, you can easily search online for other fun shapes -- spiders, witches, pumpkins, cats, the Grim Reaper, ghosts -- whatever your favorite thing is! So don't fret if you haven't put anything together yet. Just grab your scraps and something to draw with, and don't forget to have fun!

Elastic Waist Bands

October 18, 2013

Today I wanted to make a few pair of pants to show several great ways to add in your elastic waistbands until I googled it myself and saw how many well done, great tutorials were already out there. It occured to me to feature a collection of my favorite tutorials for different applications and share the sunshine with those of you who have created some outstanding tutorials. 

Leisel from Oliver + S (it's no secret that this is my favorite pattern maker) has a wonderful tutorial on how to prevent your elastic waistbands from twisting (to say I hate this is an understatement) and save you precious before school, work and relaxing minutes that would have been spent cursing and manipulating stubborn elastic. Liesl's finished product looks sharp and does its job well as would be expected. 

The Fehr Trader has a great serger tutorial that I almost flip head over heels for when I first saw it. It has really helped me create a fast and professional finish on most of my elastic waist garments. It is very durable for kids and frequent worn items. She includes some great tips for prevent gapsiois and for completeing this with a regular sewing machine as well. 

Fresh Picked has a tutorial for adding an elastic waist skirt without a casing using a wider elastic that is a bit different than the rest. She provides a nice even gather that means a nice finished skirt. There's no need to worry that you are stretching the elastic enough. You can make a skirt in about 30 min. 

Finally, the Mother Huddle shows us how to make a knit elastic waistband. She mentions that this method though similar to a gathered waist band is smoother and softer for little tummies. I say it is also great for maternity wear and for yoga/relaxing momma pants too. She uses a lot of repurposed knits to make this tutorial which is really great and you can practice on old tshirts instead of new fabric. 

Product of the Month: Elastic

October 16, 2013

There are very few projects to be sewn that don't involve elastic: Pants, costumes, dresses, shirts, accessories, even purse pockets. We just recieved a fresh new crop of elastic in our notions section and it is glorious. Virtually any size, type and color you may need for an upcoming project can be had. 

You can find all the standards like non-roll, fold-over and braided but also sports, extra wide 3'', draw cord and button hole elastic. Sports elastic is more heavy duty than standard so it will really hold up to all the extra movement and strain of an athletic body. Extra wide 3" is perfect for cute waist-cinching belts and button hole elastic is the same that you find in all those great asdjustable waistbands in kids clothes. 

Here are some of my favorite elastic-based tutorials from our blog and the web:

Allison Dress modification: I inserted elastic in the neckline to make this dress more pre-k friendly for those learning to dress themselves. 

Holly's Spa Head Wrap from t-shirt: I have a store bought poly, silly flowery version but much prefer my t-shirt version because most women's magazine tell you to dry with a tshirt not a towel, I have plenty of tshirts that need to be recycled and I much prefer the look of the tshirt to poly toweling. 

Maternity Tankini: I am planning a non-maternity version for this spring in kelly green with the key-hole back. 

DIY Elastic Hair ties: These this are all over and so easy to make with our fold-over elastic.

Easy-Peasy Layered skirt: take jersey, add elastic and go.  From Ruffles and Stuff

Learn to hand dye your own elastic for a perfect match over at Dana Made It

On Trend With Tassels

October 13, 2013

Open any fall clothing catalog, and you're likely to see scarves with tassels. Getting your own custom version of the look couldn't be easier -- with inexpensive embroidery floss, you can create your own tassels to match any project. 

Here's how I make tassels:

First, I cut about a yard of floss from the rest of the skein. Then I cut that yard into three equal pieces. I lay two of the pieces along the length of a pencil, and then wrap the remaining skein over the pencil as shown in the first picture below.

After I make sure the bottom loops of my skein are relatively even, I use the third small piece of floss to wrap my skein tightly to form the tassel shape. After wrapping several times, I tie off the wrapping floss using a a double knot.

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To secure the loose ends of my wrapping floss and secure the knot, I put a tiny dot of hot glue right on top of the knot, and then wind my two loose ends around the tassel one more time in opposite directions, catching them in the glue. After the glue has set completely, I trim off the loose ends very close to the glue dot.

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I slide the tassel off of the pencil while keeping the two loose segments of floss in place within the top loop, then I tie the ends tightly in a double knot.

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After the top of the tassel is complete, I cut open the loops along the bottom, and then give it a quick trim to even up the ends.

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To form a cord at the top of the tassel, I separate the floss I used to tie off the top into three sections. One section will have two strands. Then I braid the three sections to form a cord, and tie a knot as I near the end. 

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While my primary example uses an entire skein of floss, you can play with the size, of course. Here is a side-by-side comparison of a tassel made using half of a skein (black) and the full skein (red). I cut the black tassel a little shorter because I preferred the proportions.

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Now to put those tassels to use!

For my scarves, I use a yard of fabric for each. I cut the fabric in half across the grain so my pieces are all about 18 by 56-60 inches. 

To attach tassels at each corner, I first baste them into place at a 45-degree angle from the corners on the right side of the fabric using a long machine stitch. Then I simply layer my two fabric pieces right sides together and stitch around the rectangle, leaving a small opening for turning. I use the basting stitches for tassel placement as a guide so I know where to pivot my stitching and have the tassel perfectly placed on a corner.

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Prior to turning, I clip my corners to prevent bulk, but I cut around the tassel cord instead of clipping it off. This helps it retain its integrity and makes it much more secure against being accidentally tugged out. Then I turn the scarf right side out, press, and topstitch -- the topstitching closes up the opening I left in the seam.

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Here are a few samples of finished tasseled scarves:

The first is out of a printed cotton lawn This particular fabric stayed fairly crisp even after washing -- I will be curious to see if it softens more over time. 

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The second scarf uses a heavier linen blend. For this one, I used three of the smaller tassels at each corner, and staggered their length just a bit for a bit of visual texture. 

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The last scarf is another cotton lawn, though this one became VERY soft and drapey after a trip through the wash. I love this print.

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Of course, you can play with this project to your heart's content -- make more voluminous scarves, add entire lengths of tassel trim along the edges, use a rainbow of tassel colors. And of course, if you don't wish to make your own tassels, you can always purchase them

Blog of the Month: The Craft Mom

October 11, 2013

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I have stumbled upon a great site: the Craft Mom. It is a mix of Coupon Mom meets Martha Stewart. It has everything a crafty person could need: daily craft coupon, sale and discount alerts, product reviews and crafty project tutorials. It is awesome. The Craft Mom was created by two ladies Lorrie and Julia. It is great sewing and knitting resource. 

Everyday there are several posts on fresh craft/fabric/yarn store sales, discount codes and coupons. This is my favorite post because I love saving a buck and usually when I do score a coupon or a code I am able to convinve myself that it means I can put a little more in my cart because I'm saving. You can also find upcoming craft shows, events, charities and parties. 

On the projects and tutorial page you can find pictures and links to some great, fun projects from around the web. The Craft Mom doesn't have any in-house projects but provides an avenue to find good projects and introduce you to new blogs, crafters, and materials. 

The project reviews are in-house and usually result in a give-a-way (Hooray). Each items that is sent to the Craft Mom or used in a review is carefully considered and written about genuinely. I have already adding a few things to my wish list and my christmas gift list. 

Finally, you can find a page dedicated to Kids' crafts; it is called the Craft Mom after all. This is, again, a collection of various fun and colorful kids friendly projects from around the web. This is a great resource for the upcoming holidays to give your kids something to do, allow them to contribute to holiday decortations and to have fun activites for the days off of school. 

This should be your new first stop in the morning when checking on your facebook page and email. If you are going to craft then you need to read the Craft Mom. 

Elastic Tool/Sippy Keeper

October 9, 2013

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This idea first occured to me years ago before my children were a twinkle in my eye: a way to keep tools at hand and off the floor. I hated using up precious cutting table space to layout frequently used tools and I hated moving them 30 times while I was cutting something out. So I deviced this elastic tool keeper but never made it. Then I had children and the idea flooded back. You can get so tired just bending over all day picking up toys, sippys and bottles off the floor that some amused baby had tossed just for the pleasure of watching you retrieve it. So I put the plan in action and came up with a great solution to my problems: an elastic, velcro keeper that can easily be moved and adjusted. 

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To make your own you will need:

1/4 yd of quilting cotton

12'' of 1/2'' non-roll elastic (length depends on application). Elastic should fit snuggly around your sippy or bottle plus 1'' seam allowance. (mine was 6'')

One baby plastic link (you can buy them at big box stores in packs, very handy)

One 2'' piece of 3/4'' velcro

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From the cotton cut one piece of 2 1/2'' wide by 12'' long, 4'' wide by 16" long. Fold each piece in half along the length with right sides facing. Stitch a 1/2'' seam along the length. Turn right side out. Press with the seam in the center. Repeat for second piece. Set longer piece aside. Insert elastic and pin it 1'' below the raw edge. Stitch it in place close to the end of the elastic to hold it in place. Tuck in raw ends of fabric and top stitch in place. Repeat for second end, fabric will be gathered in the middle. Starting at one end sew velcro in place carefully. Take a few stitches to hold it in place then stretch the elastic as you sew so the fabric is not gathered under the velcro. Always sew starting at the end. Repeat for second piece of velcro. 

With your long piece of fabric, tuck in the raw edges and topstitch in place. Then fold each end in half across the width and pin it. On one end fold down the end 1'' and stitch it in place. This creates a loop for the plastic link. For the other end, pin it to the center of the fabric covered elastic and stitch in place twice for security (this will be a stress point). 

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You are done. This is a great gift to give to new moms, been-there-done-that moms and grands as well. It is awesome in the sewing room. I can hook my scissors to my pants or from a bar at the end of my cutting table. It saves precious space while still keep my tools within reach. I can't believe I went this long without it. 

Knit: Cable Stitch

October 4, 2013

cable2.jpgWith winter fast approaching it is time to think about the cable stitch, a winter knitting staple. But did you ever think about why the cable is synonymous with cold weather. Just like fall makes you think of apples because that is the harvest time; cold, windy days make you long for a cable sweater because cables help keep you warmer that plain knit. The twisting of the cables pulls in the fabric making it tighter and more dense plus the cables overlap creating a double layered fabric. This creates a warmer fabric that can stand up to wind and chill of winter days. Including cables into your designs will not create a stiffer, more uncomfortable fabric. That is dependant on the yarn, but it will create a stiffer drape. 

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Cables are best suited to wooly textured yarns because the wool provides great stitch definition while the soft loft of the yarn blurs the lines just a bit to create a inviting look. I prefer my cables worked in light color yarns so the cables are visible. The darker the yarn the less visible your cables will be. 

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Cables also are a great way to add texture and interest to a project. If you want to create a more dense fabric, adding cables will create the texture you want while adding interest. You can combine several types of cables together. I am always looking for new combinations to try out and love combining several different cables together. You can create a cable from any number of stitches but the higher your count the more difficult and complicated it can become. You can also vary the density of your finished fabric but adjusting the number of cables used. More cables in a design will create a thicker fabric, great for a lap blanket or fisherman's sweater, less will create texture with more drape which will work for fashion sweaters, hats and shawls. Cables can also be used strategically to create density where needed. I used them in my Noel Cable Cowl to create some body so it would stand up and add warmth even though it was knit from a lighter wight yarn. 

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Easy Travel Spa Slippers -- From Inexpensive Flip-flops!

October 3, 2013

So, I like to wear scuffs around the house. I also like to take them on trips. I also like to paint my toenails without exposing the soles of my feet, because I am a delicate tulip who never ever goes barefoot outside of the shower. And I like the soles of anything slipper-like to be a little more rigid and not floppy. And I always struggled with finding footwear that I liked that met all of these needs. Until I started making them myself, using dollar-store flip-flops and terry cloth scraps. 

This is a super easy project -- you can churn out a few pair in an afternoon, though there is some dry time to factor in. 

First, I gently remove the straps from the flip flops, trying not to tear any of the base. You may lose a little bit of the rubbery area around the very center of the holes, but it's not a big catastrophe if you do.

Then, I slather the top side of the flip-flop with Mod Podge, and apply a piece of terry cloth directly to it. I like to flip the Mod Podge side down onto the terry cloth so I can apply pressure with my hand to help the bond along. I start with a piece of terry that's bigger than the flip-flop, then I trim it to the edge once the adhesive is dry. The Mod Podge keeps the fabric from fraying, so the unfinished edge holds up quite well.

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To cover the straps, I cut lengths of terry cloth about 2.5 inches wide, and long enough to cover each section of the straps with a little extra length . I fold the raw edges in around the strap section and stitch them closed. You could make a casing and then pull it onto the strap sections, but I find that to be arduous in comparison. You'll have unfinished edges at the ends of the these coverings, but no worries -- they'll get handled in just a bit.

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To reassemble the flipflops, you'll have to open up the terry cloth you Mod Podged to them so the strap ends will fit through. I usually make a small cut, then use pointed pliers as I would an awl, widening the hole without cutting any more fibers than is absolutely necessary.

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Once I get the straps back in place (it can involve a bit of manhandling), I get out the hot glue gun and glue the ends of the strap casings onto the bed of the flip-flop. The hot glue really gets into the fibers of both layers and prevents fraying on the cut edges.

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To finish things off, I also glue a little something decorative at the V-point where the two straps come together.I favor pom-poms and small flowers, but anything's fair game! (I'm thinking about a Halloween pair with eyeballs as the trim.) Again, the glue keeps the terry from fraying, and it holds up surprising well through wear after wear. 

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Suitcase ready! I call these travel slippers, but I actually end up wearing them for months after I return home. They last a surprisingly long time, I find!

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Burlap Halloween Part 2: Ghost

October 2, 2013

Burlap Ghost1

This one is super easy and lots of fun for kids. When my oldest came home from preschool the other day and I told her there was a ghost in the yard her eyes grew large and filled with curiousity. She carefully crept up behind it and tenativiely touched it. As it swung around to face her in the breeze she held her breathe and gasped when the haunted face turned to her direction. It was perfect and she loves it. It is just the right blend of spooky and chic. This ghost is easily tailored to match your style or decor. I paired a silvery burlap with grey chevron twill trim because I prefer a classic/modern style to my decor. You can amp it up with fall themed fabric trim, halloween trim, purple burlap with orange trim or even the classic black burlap with silver or orange trim. 

Burlap Ghost2

To make each ghost you will need 1 yd of burlap and 1/2 yd of trim fabric. With a large zig zag stitch, stitch along each raw edge to prevent fraying. 

Cut 2 pieces 9'' by the width of the fabric (approx 56'', if you use quilting cotton you will need to piece the trim to match the width of the burlap). With wrong sides together press each piece in along the length, matching up the raw edges. Pin to the selvedges of burlap and sew with 1/2'' seam. Press seam towards burlap and topstitch in place. Repeat for second trim piece. 

To create the head, I used an old stuffed animal that would not be missed for a few weeks. So I would not damage it I used safety pins to attach it to the inside of my ghost. This created just the right shape underneath. If you don't want to use a plush animal you can use an old pillow, stuff a sack with newspaper, plastic bags or rags. Then hand stitch a long ribbon (3 ft or more depending on where you will hang your ghost) to the top.

Burlap Ghost3

Cut 2 eyes and a screaming, howling mouth from black felt and glue in place with a glue gun (I traced a spool for the eyes and just free handed the mouth). Adding the head first allows you to place the face in the right position. Finally hang your ghost in a tree outside, off the stairs inside, from the deck or a doorway. Anywhere you need to scare. 

Burlap Ghost4

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