Showing posts with label tutorials. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tutorials. Show all posts

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Straight Skirt to Comfortable Skirt


from this:

I bought this straight skirt last year because straight skirts are cool.  Cool, yes, but not comfortable for me. So the side seams came out, and inserts went in.

The hardest part of this project was figuring out how to cut two pieces of stripped fabric so that I could line up the stripes to form inverted Vs!  If there is an easy way, please, please share it with me.  I had to call in my in-house engineer to help with this part.  I just could not understand how to make it happen.  Next time, one simple piece of fabric there.

I ended up making an oversized diamond-shaped piece for each side of the skirt. I chose not to cut the inserts down at this point so I wouldn't have to worry about getting the stripes even--lots of room to play around.  After the panels were sewn in place, I used my serger to cut the inserts close to the seam and finish the edges.

This is a lot larger than it needed to be.  I cut it down after sewing it in.

Here it is pinned in place

Inside after sewing in place and serging off the insert excess.
I used a ruler with a slight curve to make the hem line on the inset pieces before cutting them down for hemming. 

The back--still has the slit from being a straight skirt which is kinda cool.

The front.  Hemmed and done!
Now this is a skirt I can actually wear.  As you can see, I am not a too good at taking selfies.  This will have to do.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Not Quite What I Imagined, But....

While looking for scarf patterns a few days ago, I came across a bunch that I wanted to make.  Once again, like the scarf I did a few days ago, I've tried to turn a knitted pattern into a sewing pattern.

It's not bad, right?  Even though it doesn't look like the inspiration scarf below, I am pleased with the way it turned out. 

Love it--the fabric, the design, the versatility!  The biggest problem was trying to figure out what fabric I could use to achieve the look.  While I would love to buy some awesome wool fabric, I need to start using the stash.  Decision, decisions!  I didn't have anything light and drapey that I could use as a single layer.  I decided to go with the lightweight Shao mist pink interlock that had been sitting in the stash since, well let's see.

Wow, this one is practically new! Barely over a year of sitting on my shelf.  (Did I mention that this would be my first attempt at working with knit fabric, too?)  I was hoping the interlock would achieve those nice, deep folds, but that didn't work out.  In retrospect, I think a narrower top section might have come closer to achieving that look.  Here's a quick look at how I came up with the pattern and put it together.

First, the knitting pattern gives no finished size.  There are a couple of diagrams like this one from the pdf:

I chose to interpret each of the jagged lines as an inch.  Now, I think the top section might work better if it was narrower by a couple of inches.  I'd also probably drop a couple of those slits.

This one required the dining room table for cutting.

It may look like isosceles triangle here with the two long sides being even, but it really drops 5 inches from one side to the other on the small end,  making the other two sides uneven as well.  I'd like to try making a larger drop from side to side next time. 

I chose to make buttonholes for the slits in the top.

I basted some light-weight interfacing where the buttonholes would be, serged the edges leaving a few inches open for turning, turned it out, top-stitched the edges, and spaced out six buttonholes at the top. Took out the interface basting and it was done!

Once I got over my initial disappointment that it is quite different from the inspiration piece, I started having fun with it.  The more I played with it, the more options I found for wearing it.

Taking a short break from scarf making to put together something special from an unusual fabric source.  Hope it will be ready to show you in a couple of days.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Perfect Weather for Making A Scarf

I'm in a scarf-making mood today. That may be the result of our temperatures.  This is the information for our area from

Clifton Park, New York Weather
Observed at 3:45 pm EST
Wind Chill Warning Until 1:00 pm EST, Sunday February 14
Feels Like -20°F 

 On the bright side, I now have this:

The inspiration came from this knitted scarf on Pinterest.  I dearly hate it when the ends of my scarves are continually falling forward.  No matter what method of wrapping them around I use, the damned things don't stay in place.  I like the idea here in the knitted one, but I don't knit.

try to create a sewing pattern:

My few forays into knitting were neither fun nor pretty.  I chose to attempt a sewn version.  I was a bit obsessed with getting the ends to look something like the knitted version which proved to be the hardest part for me.  In retrospect, simple rounded or squared ends would have been fine.

The rest of the project was quick and easy.  It's two long strips of flannel sewn leaving a couples of inches open for turning right-side out. The width was chosen from a scarf I own that I like.  I chose the length by wrapping it around and deciding where I wanted it to end on each side.  I also used this same method for deciding where I wanted to put the band that would serve as a fastener.

The yo-yo is on top of the band of fabric you pull other side of the scarf through.

I free-handed a piece for the PITA end, folded in half
 And voila!

If you have any artistic talent, coming up with a fancy shape for the end will be a cinch.  This took  me forever and was not worth the simple shape I ended up doing.  Next time, I'll trace something round and be done with it.  

To keep the bottom piece from lying flat (which did not look good), I made a pleat that is held in place by the yo-yo band.

You can see that in the photo below.  Both edges of the band catch the pleat to hold it in place.

And it matches my headband from a week or two ago!

I do love it when a sewing experiment goes well. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Button Wall Plaque for Sewing Room with Tutorial

I'm loving this new wall hanging my husband and I put together for the sewing room!

  • Wood wall plaques - 2 five-inch and 3 seven-inch.  
  • Jute
  • Old paint brush handle about 12 inches
  • wood glue
  • drill for the holes
The plaques were $1.47 and 99 cents at Hobby Lobby.
Next, find the center and measure out evenly to mark the four places for holes in the buttons and drill. The holes need to be large enough to accommodate the jute you will be using and, well, to look like buttons.  

Paint the buttons absolutely any color you want!  I mixed some small bottles of craft store acrylics to get the hues I wanted.

In the center above, you can see the "needle" my husband made with an old paint brush.  He took the brush portion off, sanded the top to round it and the bottom to get more of a point.  After drilling an eye hole at the top, I painted it metallic silver.

I threaded the jute though each button to make an x and tied them off in back.  Put some tape on the end of the jute to make it easier to thread it through.

You could put these up individually or stack and glue them as I did.  Once I decided on the placement, I used some wood glue where the pieces meet and clamped them together. You could stack books on them if you don't have clamps.  Don't use too much glue!  It will just ooze out the side when you press the pieces together.  My wood glue (Titebond) dried clear, but wipe off any excess as you go along to be sure.
Last, I tied off the ends of the needle jute, looped it to the back, and tucked it into the jute of one of the buttons.  Best part is that you can hang this (or these if you are putting them up individually) by the jute--no need to buy hangers.  And, you are finished!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Another Sewing Room Project Completed: Hanging Space

I hate not being able to find or get at my sewing stuff.  This project turned out to be a great way to get more hanging space for over-sized and often-used things.  My ancient armoire has some nice overhangs at the top and mid section as you can see here.

I decided to cut pegboard to fit in that space.  My lovely husband cut the pegboard to fit  and put small slats of wood on each side to give space behind for the hooks to fit in.  There are four screws--one in each corner--holding the pegboard to the armoire.  You could still do this on the sides of a furniture piece without the overhangs, though. In fact, doing one the whole length of an armoire would be great!  This is the back of one prior to painting.

I painted them brown to sort of blend in.
Here they are all loaded with things that I can easily see.  First one side--
And the other!
You'll note that one lonely pair of scissors on this side.  That's  'cuz this side is closest to the door.  While my children SWEAR they never use my sewing room scissors for paper and other non-cloth things, I suddenly end up with dull scissors.  My hope is that they will grab these already ruined scissors instead of ruining another pair.  We shall see.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Baker's Apron Tutorial

I made this baker-style apron as a birthday gift  for my son's fiance.  She loves to cook and often uses my apron for her culinary ventures. It's made of white denim from Joann's.  Decorative cotton is pretty, but I wanted the denim which is more likely to keep the spills from going through the fabric.  My old natural bull denim apron is a workhorse that has lasted for years.

In addition to the small pocket in the top bib portion, there is a large pocket divided into two section just below the waist.

I found the embroidery design from  The hardest part about the apron was choosing the design for embroidery.  There are so many fun ones!  Some of the other designs I bought said, "Is Carrot Cake a Vegetable?", "I Have a Knive and I Know How to Use It", and, my favorite, "Spooning Leads to Forking."  All will be going on some Huck toweling fabric soon.

Now for the tutorial. The amount of fabric will depend on the width of the fabric you are buying and the amount of shrinkage that can be expected.   Prewash your fabric!  You will need:
  •  one piece of fabric 34.5x 31.5" for the main part of the apron
  • one strip of denim measuring 35x3" for the neck strap and D-rings strap (You will cut off  7" of this for the D-ring strap)
  • 2 strips 35x3.5" for the waist ties (long enough to wrap around to the front for tying)
  • 1 piece of denim 8.5x5.5" for the top pocket OR, if you don't have a serger,  one 8.5x10.5" for the fold-over method
  • one piece of fabric 8.5x15" for the bottom pocket OR, if you don't have a serger, make this piece 16.5x15" 
  • 2 one-inch D-rings
Directions for getting the curved sides on the main piece of fabric:  Fold the main piece of fabric in half across the 31.5" side.  You're going to mark the curved area from the top to the waist.  Starting at what is the neck area measure from the fold out and mark using a chalk marker or disappearing marker or whatever it is that you use:
  • at the top, mark 5.5" from the fold
  • 4" down from top, 6.5 inches out from the fold
  • 6.25" down, 8 inches out from the fold
  • 7.25" down, 9 inches from the fold
  • 9" down, 11 inches from the fold
  • 11" down,  should come to the edge of the fabric
I didn't take photos of this part of the process, but here is a  picture showing the marked curve on another piece of fabric.  I have a Wright's EZ Flex Design Ruler that bends to the curve for marking, but you could use any firm but flexible strip of plastic, a piece of string, or do this freehand.
See my little dots next to the ruler?  Once you've marked out your line, cut it!

When you have all the pieces cut, here are the seam and sewing measurements.  I don't serge the main piece of fabric because I prefer the hems to be really solid. All are folded under twice.  Aprons in this house get a lot of use and spend their fair share of time in the washer and dryer.

For the main piece of fabric:
  • Hem the curved side seams first.  Press under a scant 1/4" seam.  (I use a seam gauge while pressing for this. It's easy to set the exact measure to stay on target.)  Then turn it under another 1/4" and press.  Pin and sew these curved edges in place about 1/8" from the edge of the seam.
  • Hem the straight side seams by turning under and pressing 1/4" then turning and pressing 1/2".  Sew 1/8" from the edge of the seam.
  • Hem the top, neck end by pressing under 1/2", then 3/4".  Again sew about 1/8" from the edge of the seam.
  • Hem the bottom turning and pressing first 1/2", then 1" with the same 1/8" sewing line. 
For the 36x3" neck straps:
  • Press in 1/2" on each long side.  Then fold this in half and  press.  This will leave you with a 1" wide strip. (You might be wondering why not just do the" fold in half and press each side into the center" method which is easier.  That would make the straps bulkier and stiffer since this is denim. Hence, this method.  A little more work, but the straps are more flexible and comfortable.)
  •  Now, cut 7" off the end.  Fold and press the short ends of both strips under 1/4".  Sew the long ends of each piece closed 1/8" from the edge on both pieces.  Then sew the short ends closed.    
  • Slide the two D-rings on the 7" strip.  Fold it in half and place it on what will be the right-hand side of the apron when you are wearing it.   (Look at the photo if your confused.)  With the stitching line side on the outside edge,  place this folded piece one inch down on the inside corner and sew in place using the usual square with an x inside for strength. 
  •  Now sew a line just under the D-rings to hold them in place.  Directions will be on the D-ring package if you've not used them before. 
  • Sew the other neck strap on the other side in the same way.  Remember to have the stitching line on the outside edge.
For the waist ties:
  • With both 35x 3.5" strip, Press in 1/2" on each long end, then fold in half and press.  Fold under a quarter of an inch on the short ends, and sew the long ends and both short ends closed 1/8" from the edge.
Okay! The basic apron is complete!  Now for the top pocket which you've decorated-- or not.
  • First the directions for a serger because  I do use my serger for the pockets since these seams are inside and don't get as much abuse as the outside edges of the apron.
    •  Serge around the squares and press in a 1/4 seam around all four sides.  
    • Sew the upper edge seam of the pocket across, again using 1/8 sewing line.  
    • Now place the pocket 3" down from the top, center it, and pin in place.  Sew the sides and bottom to the apron using the 1/8 line. Remember to reinforce the top corners with a few extra stitches.  Pockets get a lot of tugging there.
  • If you are not using a serger
    • Fold the pocket in half inside out (if it matters with your fabric or if you have embroidered, painted, appliqued a design) to get an 8.5x5.25" square. 
    •  Sew the two sides shut using 1/4" seam allowance.
    • Turn right side out and press the open ends in 1//4" You can sew a  line across the folded edge now if you want to.  It will give you a crisp top pocket edge.  It's not necessary, though.  
    • Place the pocket with the folded edge at the top 3 inches down from the top and centered. Pin in place.   Sew the sides and bottom to the apron using the same 1/8 sewing line.
For the bottom pocket, you will do the same as the top pocket.  If not using a serger, fold the fabric into an 8.25x15" square and follow the same instructions as for the smaller pocket.  Place this pocket 14.5" down from the top and centered.  Pin and sew it in place and you are finished!

It's actually a quick and easy project.  Give it a try.  

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Fish Windsock with Tutorial

I am taken with things that blow around in the wind.   I saw some beautiful fish windsocks, but decided to try making them myself.  I'm happy with the result.
 And it flies in the wind, too!

 Sometimes it's upside down.

The only problem is that it sometimes turns this way.
That's just plain weird, but the ones you buy must have the same problem, right?  Actually this view is kind of fun, too.

This site,   has a great tutorial for making a fish windsock with paper. Since I wanted something that would last longer, I used their pattern with the following changes.  

I extended the mouth opening about a half an inch and cut the tail from the original wavy pattern which you can see in the photo to make it easier to sew.  If you have problems understanding the following how-to, let me know. 

  • two pieces of nylon for the fish body
  • two pieces of contrasting nylon at a 45 degree angle, that are 4 inches long at the base for the smaller fin on the bottom.  This size is arbitrary.  My ruler has this angle on it, and it happened to work out great.
  • two pieces of the contrasting nylon at a 45 degree angle that are 5 inches long at the base for the top fin.  
  • I serged the tail pieces to prevent fraying.  You can do a zigzag stitch or turn it under twice, or just use Fray Check instead.  
  • Sew the outside edges of the fins with a quarter inch seam, carefully cut a few of those nice little triangles out of the seam that that it will flatten nicely, turn right side out, and press. I use a cotton press cloth so that I can get a nice flat edge.
  • To trim the fins to match the curved edge of the fish body, place the raw edged of the fin under the yellow pieces as in the photo below. The center point of the top fin should be about  6 1/2 down from the mouth edge (measuring straight, not along the curve of the fish body edge.  (Remember the point is inside --all the raw edges are together as in the picture below.)  The  center point of the bottom fin should be about 5" from the mouth end--again measuring straight not along the curve of the fish body.  This center of the fin is the spot where where the raw edges of fish body and fish fins meet.  The corners of the fins will be sticking out.   Use your rotary cutter to trim of the pieces sticking out or mark with chalk and cut.  You could do this as part of the next step where the fins are inside for sewing and trim later, but this might be easier for some people, Maybe??
  • Place the fins  between the two yellow pieces (in my case, yellow)--sorry I didn't take a pic at the time, but this should give you an idea of what I mean. Pin the sides of the fish body with the fins in their proper place and sew the sides using a 1/4 inch seam.  

  • Turn right side out and sew a little over a quarter of an inch to enclose the seam you just made--a french seam.  This will prevent fraying and make the piece hold it's shape better.
  • Turn it inside out again and sew the tail end together leaving a two inch gap in the center open
  • Turn the mouth end in a 1/2" once and press (use a cotton press cloth so the heat is high enough for a crisp, flat fold) and then turn it another 1/2" and press again.  Pin and sew that around.  I was going to put some plastic strapping in the mouth to hold the circular shape, but I found that the material held the shape without it. If you use ripstop nylon which is lighter, you may want/need to use the plastic inside this hem area.  I save all the plastic packing straps from packages for these kinds of things.
  • I sewed buttons about two inches down from the hemmed mouth with the top of the eye about 1/2" down from the top fin edge.
Last, I used nylon mono-filament also known as fish line for hanging.  The craft store sells an 8 lb strength in the jewelry-making section or you can get the same thing in Walmart's fishing department.  The fishing department also sells the barrel swivels for the spinner which I could not find at the craft stores.  I used an Eagle Claw brand size 5 swivel that is working out great.

I cut 4 eleven-inch long pieces of monofilament and spaced them evenly around  the mouth sewing through the mouth seam and knotted the four pieces together in the circular base of the swivel hook  I cut another piece of mono-filament for the hook end of the barrel swivel because I wanted mine to hang more.  That part will depend on where you are putting the windsock.

Now hang that sucker up on a nice windy day.  The good news with a fish windsock is that it looks good just hanging there--like you just caught a fish. 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Fabric Box Prototype #2 With Tutorial

No, it is not like the last one!  I've made some significant changes in the way it is constructed.  This one is so NOT like the Joel Dewberry version that I am creating a tutorial.  This is my first fully fledged tutorial.  Let me know if it is not clear.  I'm putting in a number of pictures that will hopefully make things clearer.  I will apologize now if these are too simple for some people.  I so suck at following patterns that I want to be sure it is understandable.

Changes I've made from Dewberry's and my original box:
  • Joel's version has small triangles of fabrics in the corners that would keep things from falling out of the finished box.  This one has two-inch flaps from top to bottom at the corners.  This keeps things in AND  eliminates the side openings showing.
  • I used Velcro on this one rather than buttons and added ribbon with blue stripes because the room it will be in will have blue walls (and I have a tendency to put ribbon on anything that does not run away.)
  • The finished size is 10x10 inches all around.
  • This is made from one long rectangle of fabric and two smaller rectangles for the sides rather than 5 squares
Materials you will need:
  1. One 31x11" rectangle from both the main fabric and lining
  2. Two 15x11" rectangles from both the main fabric and lining
  3. Four 31"  long pieces of ribbon  and one 52" piece (or not if you don't want ribbon)
  4. Five 9 1/2x9 1/2" squares of Pellon Peltex70 Ultra Firm Stabilizer (or anything else you want to make it a bit rigid.)
  5. Four pieces of 7 1/2" Velcro (This length was purely because I bought a prepacked 30" strip of Velcro.  Six to eight inches would work.)  Other options for closing the sides:
    • Velcro circles
    • snaps
    • hooks and eyes
    • fabric ties
    • button with loops as I did with the first box.  Look here.
    • buttons sewn through so that the box cannot be collapsed.  I'm somehow taken by the fact that I can collapse the boxes if I want.  There's really no need not to put them together permanently.
    • button with button holes! 

You will be using a 1/2" seam allowance.

The 31" long fabric is the bottom of the box and two of the sides.  (Hence 10" for the bottom, 10" for each side, and 1" for the half inch seam allowance on each end equaling 31.  Eleven inches is to get a 10 square plus 1/2" seam allowances)

On the two other rectangles, the 11" side has 10" for the height plus 1" for the 1/2" seam allowance on each end.  The other side has 10" for the center width, 4" for the 2" inch flaps that will be on each side, and 1" for the 1/2 seam allowance on each end equaling 15.

First, place the rectangles of 31x11 fabric and lining with right sides together.  If you want ribbons, place the ribbons between the two pieces of fabric.  My ribbons are 3 1/2 inches apart from the inside edges of the ribbon.  (Find the center on the 11" side, go out 1 3/4" from the center on each side.)  Here they are sandwiched between my brown flannel lining and brown tweed wool fabric.

On each 31" side, mark 10 inches in the middle of the strip (see pic below).  For those of us who are spatially challenged:  fold to find the center and go out 5" on each side of that.   These two area are where you will attach each of the other two squares for your box.  

Sew around the 31" long piece leaving the center 10" sections OPEN on each side.
(If you can't read this, click on it to bring up a larger version.)

Too bad this picture has the long piece on the bottom,  Just image it is at the top, and the top pieces that I am going to talk about now are on the bottom. 

On the 15x11" pieces, use the 1/2 seam and sew around the edges leaving a 10" opening on one of the 15 inch sides.  That means that you will sew in 2" on each side of the 10" opening there as you can see above. Just be be clear here: when you get to the end, turn and sew in 2".  There is a half inch seam, 2" sewing, 10" opening, and the same on the other side.  Just where the sewing ends on the edge of the 10" opening, clip the 1/2" seam allowance.

Don't forget to clip your corners, too.

If you are using ribbon, they need to be sandwiched between these two side pieces as well and sewn on opposite ends of the ribbon pieces as the first tutorial picture shows.  I didn't write on both pieces in the photo.  They are both the same.  This can seem a bit tricky.  DON'T LET THE RIBBONS GET TWISTED.  Check and then check again to be sure they have not twisted before sewing them in.  I used ribbon that is the same on both sides.  If you are challenged in this area of critical thinking, I'd suggest you do the same.  If your ribbons have a front and back, you need to make sure that the good side will face OUTWARD on top of the outside fabric.  It's not that difficult, but you need to pay attention.

Now, turn it all right side out!

Go press them.  If you use wool fabric, use a pressing cloth.

Roll the Pellon and slide it in place as in the pic below.  Three pieces go in the long rectangle--right, middle, left--and one in  the center of each of the end pieces.  There will be 2 inch "flaps" on the sides of these two end piece that will make sense soon.  If the Pellon pieces are not laying flat, take them out and trim a little off the sides until they fit. 

Now you will insert the two end pieces into the larger piece.  If you have ribbons, lay the edge pieces right side down.  Then center the longer piece right side down across the middle.  The 10" openings in each piece will meet like this.

The 10" opening you clipped on the side pieces fits right into the 10" opening you left on each side of the longer piece.  If you pressed your pieces LIKE I TOLD YOU TO, you have a nice pressed-in 1/2 seam allowance to slide that into.  Now pin it in place without pinning the ribbons.  GET THE RIBBONS OUT OF THE WAY, and sew across the opening.  You will have the 2" flaps loose on each side. Once the other side is finished the outside will look like this.  Okay, I should have taken the pins out for the picture. 

You can see in this next picture how the flaps go inside the box.

 It's Velcro time! (or button, or snap, or hook and eye, etc.)  Pin the side so that they look even and boxy to get an idea of where you want to put the Velcro.  I put in light colored Velcro,  so it was particularly important that it not show--not that you want it to show at all.  I placed it a bit inside where the seam allowance ended.  (Lesson learned:  dark fabric, dark Velcro.)  When you are happy with the corner, slide the flat side of the Velcro inside and pin it in place.  The top of the Velcro is 1" down from the top.  It will be on the long rectangle as in the picture below.
(Click on it if you can't read the writing.)

The hooked Velcro pieces go on the outside edge of the flaps.  A good way to line them up is to hold the side pieces together  with the flat side pinned in place.  Place pins where the top of the flat Velcro hits on the flap and where the outside edge of the Velcro hits.
Top pin

Side pin

Now line the hooked side of the Velcro up inside that angle.

Pin in all the Velcro pieces and sew them in place.

If, after you put the box together, you find the the ribbon is a bit loose on the sides, take a tuck at the bottom edge and sew it in like this.
I tacked the ribbon in place 2" down and 7 1/2" down on each side.  Then the 52" ribbon is threaded behind the ribbon just above the 2" tacks.  And.....
That's it.