Recently in Accessories Category
March 2, 2014
We're kicking off a new bag series today, because I can never, EVER get enough of bags. Handbags, cosmetic bags, duffles and beyond -- I just love the idea of making cute things to tote around all my stuff. So I am super excited to make a bunch of bags and share them.
For my first project in this series, I'm making an adorable suitcase from Sara Lawson's "Big City Bags." (I love this book, so odds are good you're going to see another project or two from it!) It's called a Honeymooner Suitcase, and it's petite (18 x 12.5 x 5 inches) -- perfect for a weekend getaway or for a kid's travel wardrobe.
I opted to use a sparkle vinyl for mine. This proved to be a little bit of a challenge because of the heavy, stiff nature of the fabric, so if you're going a similar route, be prepared to exercise your patience.
I've talked about using tissue paper on your vinyl to ease it through your machine before, but I don't know that I've ever shared the alternative that I prefer: party napkins. These are the printed ones made for kids' parties. They're usually a little stiffer than tissue paper, but they tear away really nicely, so whenever I see any on clearance, I snap them up.
Because the vinyl was so stiff, double folding it under as I was stitching the handle was fairly impossible. So I left the raw edges out, then made little loops out of my trim and linin fabric to cover everything up. The loops are kep in place with a dab of hot glue on the back side of the handle.
The rest of the bag went together according to the book's instructions, with a little extra wiggling and fussing to accomodate for my fabric choices. A bit of double fold bias tape encloses the interior seams and hids a bit of ugly stitching on my part.
And here's the finished bag, ready for an adventure.
I would love to make this one again using a cute home dec or cotton print. Because of multiple pieces with the piping trim and handle assembly, there are some options for playing with different fabric combinations that are exciting to think about!
January 16, 2014
I hate to be all predictable when it comes to gender generalizations, but I really can't get enough shoes. And boots ... oh, how I love them. I do run into a little bit of trouble with boots though -- I have thick calves. Sometimes I find wide-width boots that fit and look good, but the delight of being a stitcher is being able to solve problems like this myself. So I decided to make some boot shafts to top off regular shoes.
I started with McCall's 6615. As written, it calls for a two-part lining, one part intended to fold down and show at the top of the boot, and the other part intended as a lighter-weight lining for the lower area of the topper. The pattern instructions have you line the boot, then use elastic to gather both the exterior and the lining in one fell swoop. Instead of doing that, I did the gathering/shaping with elastic on the lining and the exterior fabric separately, and then joined them together.
As for that wide calf problem, I opted to extend the pattern by about half an inch past its original cut line along the calf, then eased back to the normal cut line as I approached the ankle.
I also opted to use elastic for the under strap instead of the two-part velcro strap called for in the pattern.
For the photos below, I wore each pair showing both options of the reversible boots so you can compare them.
One thing I really love about these reversible faux boots is that they are WARM. If you're hot-natured, though, it could be a bit much, so factor that in when you consider fabrics for a project like this.
And now I have to build some fun outfits around these ...
December 16, 2013
We're officially down to the wire. If you're still hoping to make gifts this year, you're going to have to hustle!
In case you're still pondering what to concoct for someone on your list, we have a few ideas if you've got someone who loves accessories. Leather and faux leather continue to trend, so why not whip up a few hair accoutrements for someone special? Here are four ideas:
1. Leather Hair Bow
Start with a piece of 4-by-4-inch leather. I used Perfection Fused Leather for mine, because the light weight and supple nature of it makes it easy to work with and turn. If you're using a heavier leather or vinyl, you might want to go a bit bigger to avoid major frustration. So long as you start with a square, this technique will work.
Fold your square in half, right sides together, and stitch along the raw edges opposite the fold, leaving about a 2-inch gap in the middle of your seam.
Then realign the tube you just stitched so the first seam sits about centered along one side. Stitch each end closed.
Turn your closed tube right side out. These things tend to keep air in, so it will likely be a bit pillowy. Set this piece aside.
Next, cut a piece of leather about 1.5 by 4 inches. This will get cut shorter, but I find it easier to work with a little extra length and then cut.
Fold in one side of your leather the long way and hot glue into place. Don't use too much glue -- you don't want to create bulk.
Then fold in the remaining side and glue it down, again being careful to add glue sparingly.
Once the glue of this folded piece has completely dried, cut it down to about 2.5 inches long.
Join the two ends together and stitch, creating a small loop. In the photo below, you can see the remnants of the tissue paper I used to cover the loop while I stitched -- this prevents the leather from sticking under your machine's presser foot.
Turn the loop right side out.
Pull your tube that you assembled earlier throught the loop. This takes a little cajoling. Because the leather tends to want to stay in place, you don't even need to glue it at this point. You can if you like, but leave the back of the bow free. Thread a narrow headband through your bow loop, and you're all done! Easy peasy!
2. Simple Gathered Flower
Cut a piece of leather about 1 inch wide and 20 or so inches long.
Hand sew a running stitch along one of the long edges, and then gather tightly to create a ruffly flower.
Stitch the gathered circle closed.
Glue a circle of felt to the back of the flower.
Glue on a button to cover the gathered center.
Now the flower's complete, and it's time to make a clip to attach it to!
Start with a simple clip.
Next, fold you ribbon to cover the upper side of the clip and glue in place.
Fold your ribbon under the picher part of the clip and trim it to fit. Daub a bit of glue on the underside of the top clip pincher and catch your ribbon into place.
Glue the grosgrain covered side of your clip to your accessory, and you're all set.
3. Leather Rose
This one works well if the back side of your leather is nice. The Perfection Fused Leather is perfect here.
I used daubs of hot glue to keep things in place as I went -- you can see on the back it's a bit of a mess. But a felt circle covers all sins in this instance, and a clip makes it hair-ready.
4. Glittery Vinyl Star Stack
Cut several starts out of leather or vinyl. I used Sparkle Vinyl.
Glue your stars together in a strip. You can go in a straight line or an arc, all aligned the same way or turned slightly askew -- it's up to you!
Glue a small strip of felt to the back of your star grouping.
Then glue on a clip, and you're all set!
Clip-backed accessories are great because they can be attached to all kinds of things. They can clip directly into a hairstyle or onto aheadband. They can spruce up a handbag strap or we worn on a shirt. They can even clip to a bracelet. The ultimate versatile gift!
Test out other shapes and ideas for your leather accessories -- flowers, concentric circles to create bullseyes, hearts -- whatever your mind can conjure. They key in any hand-made gift is that it's something made especially by you.
December 13, 2013
If you are like me I am still trying to get everyone on my list a little something homemade. Luckily, my family all knows how much I love them everyday so they are at the bottom of my list and my daughter's teachers are at the top. Even though I tell them all the time how much I adore them I also know how much they give and sacrifice to give my daughter a great education so I place them at the top of my "homemade list".Also at the top are all my hostess friends who work so hard to make my holiday season festive. Everyone's list is long so the only way to get it all done is to pick great gifts that pack a punch. I love tote bags, cowls and sweet little details for those really special givers in our lives.
For my teacher/hostess gifts I chose to make a chic but simple cowl, a quick but so cute tote bag and a super sweet little girl's dress. The cowl makes the perfect hostess gift because you can wrap it around a bottle of wine and its use goes beyond the party. I learned to make this cowl from Craftsy's Beginner Serging class but it is basically two 60'' wide fabric pieces serged together. It is so easy but so lux. There is knit on the inside and twill print on the outside.
For a teacher gift I made the Pleated Shoulder Bag from Amy Carol's Bend the Rules Sewing. This is a great book for quick, creative gifts. I had previous cased out my teacher's handbag to determine her style but I wasn't sure I had the time to take on a really great handbag project. I opted for a super great tote bag instead; something every teacher can use. This bag came together with 1/2 yd of each fabric: Organic Cotton in Gray and Denyse Schmidt Cotton Print. This tote carries a lot and looks great doing it. It goes together pretty fast and it is easy to customize. The large gussets help it to accomodate lots of books, games or tasty treats.
Finally for my daughter's head teacher I made something for her own daughter. She has a 2 yr old who is very dear to her and I wanted to make something special since she is always admiring my little one's dresses. I casually asked about her daughter's favorite colors and when I found this pink dog print I knew I had struck gold. I modified the back for a zipper for ease and added a tie to the back so there would be a big pink bow on the back for cutness. You can't go wrong with an Oliver + S pattern.
For those of you still scrambling or looking for more quick gifts check out our other great gifts blog posts here.
November 24, 2013
One of the trends that appeared on runways over and over this year is faux fur, in everything from capes and coats to handbags.
I wanted to get in the trend without going fur crazy. I love faux fur, but my aim was to create a project that I could mix and match with existing wardrobe pieces that would also be functional in terms of warding of the cold. And it had to avoid that problem of bulk -- one of my most problematic issues with dressing to stay warm. So I settled on the idea of simple fur collars.
November 7, 2013
As we head into bundle-up season, I have already noticed how much darker everyone's clothes are. Winter just automatically brings more somber tones to the wardrobe palette, and while I love my all-black most of the time, there are days when a little dash of springtime would go a long way to keeping my mood elevated while I shiver.
With that in mind, I set out to make a little scarf that would remind me that spring will come again and bring new flowers with it.
The construction on this one is a breeze. I started with antique velvet (you only need half a yard) and cut two strips the width of the fabric -- 58 inches -- by 9 inches.
The scarf pieces get stitched right sides together leaving an opening, turned, and sewn shut. Then I top stitched all around the long rectangle 1/4 inch from the edge. Basic and simple:
Next up: rosettes! I cut three strips of stretch velvet 3 inches by 20 inches. Then I stitched them into tubes and turned them. I used these long pieces and Melanie's fabric rose tutorial to create three textured flowers.
Once my flowers were complete, I made another small tube out of the same antique velvet I used for my scarf. This piece started out 3 inches wide and 9 inches long.
That tube gets turned right side out and will become a carrier loop to pass one end of the scarf through.
I hand stitched my three rosettes to my band once it was turned right-side-out. You may find you prefer more roses, or a cluster rather than a straight line, or to make a wider carrier strip and fill in with smaller blooms. It's your garden!
Once my strip of flowers was done, I pinned each end of it across one side of my scarf to test placement. You want to be able to wrap it around your neck and pass one end of the scarf through the carrier created by your strip of roses.
After testing the position of my carrier, I machine stitched the ends of the strip into place (I folded the open end of the carrier closed and used this placement stitching to close it up as well as secure its position), and voila! A bright, sunny scarf for cold, dark days.
Of course, you could make an elegant statement by choosing darker colors if you don't want to go for a pop of color, and you can change up the fabrics to whatever suits. The rosettes are a great project for using scraps from the stash!
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.
Once 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.
Then 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.
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.
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.
Here is the same shot with different light values so you can see all the texture that you get from using all those different scraps.
With 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!
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.
I 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.
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.
Once 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.
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.)
With 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.
For 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.
For 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).
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.
After 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.
To 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!
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.
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.
Heat'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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!