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

Monday, May 31, 2010

The New Triangle Scarf Prototype!!!

From the Blue Shed has a tutorial for the cutest triangle scarf for a little girl.  It has a visor on it!  It is not only cute but practical.  I wanted one, so here is my adult version.

I love that it is reversible! 

I need a new camera.  The colors of the fabrics are so much prettier than they look here.

I didn't do the fold and buttons the original has because I didn't make it long enough on the pointy end.  Prototype 2 will have that. Another change I made was to press Wonder Under to one of  the pieces of visor fabric.  I wanted to be sure it would have enough stiffness since it would be much larger than the child-sized version.

The ties are extra long (26" in this case) as I did on my plain old triangle scarf from a few posts ago.  I like the tie on top of my head instead of in the back.  This length allows me to cross the ties in the back and bring the bow to the top.   My hair is fine and thin.  Ties stick out through my hair.  (On the positive side, my hair dries super fast so let's hear it for fine, thin hair!) Next time, though,  I'll do 20" ties.  These 26" ones require a bow.  I'd rather just knot the top. 

I cut my triangles on the fold using 11 1/4" for a total of 22 1/2" to go around the head and 13" for the length (from center of the head to the tip of the triangle).  I hope that makes sense.  I measured down 13 inches on the fold and 11 1/4" from the fold down on other end.  Then I used the rotary cutter from one point to the other.  I'll probably go with 23 x 15" for the next one.  It is sewed with a 1/2" seam.

For the visor pattern, I used a small dinner plate.  I cut the piece with 4 3/4" center height  x 8 1/4" length.   The 8 1/4" worked great, but I ended up pushing the visor in about an inch and a half because it would have stuck out too much.  Still, don't think I will use less than the 4 3/4" the next time.  I think that extra fabric provides some stability for the visor. 

A huge thank you to The Blue Shed for the idea.  She has some great jewelry in her Etsy shop, too.  Such talent!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

OMG! A Seventies Triangle Head Scarf

I went looking for a triangle head scarf tutorial after spending the day trying to do yard work with my hair in my eyes.  My hair is long enough to be in my face and too short to tie back.  Most of the triangle scarf patterns out there are for kids, but I finally found one at All Crafts .

Of course, I had to make changes.  I just cannot NOT make changes.  By the time I was finished, the only thing mine and the original had in common was a triangle.  Changes:
  • My triangles are 22 x 14 inches which is larger than the pattern.

  • After sewing together the two triangles and turning them right sides out, I sewed the edge all the way around a quarter of an inch in.

  • The tutorial called for a straight strip of bias tape to bind the long end and serve as ties.  I wanted to just use scrap fabric from my stash.  I also wanted the ties to be long enough to bring them back to the top so that the tie is on top of the head.  Back when women wore these things, I always hated that knot on the back of my neck.  I had enough fabric to make long ties that would serve my purpose but not enough to cover the full length of the scarf.  I folded strips of fabric for two ties and sewed them to the corners.  
 The pattern also did not have sweet Melissa to wear the finished product for pictures.  I handed it to her and said, "Here, try this on so I can get pictures."  Melissa, having never experienced the seventies, had no idea what to do with it.  "What is it?  A top?"  

She got it on the right part of the body, but not quite straight.  When you are as pretty as this, though, everything  looks great anyway!


Friday, May 14, 2010

Home-made Produce Bags

Wisdom of the Moon had a tutorial for these bags on her site in January.  Since I had an overabundance of voile from making draperies, this project had to happen. 

I so wanted to do the cute little vegetable stamps Wisdom had on her produce bags!  Unfortunately, I could not find a single veggie stamp anywhere.  I finally gave in and got an alphabet stamp set instead.  I cannot--absolutely cannot--stop experimenting.  While I wish I had just gone with the nice simple, "fruits and veggies" lettering on all the bags like this center one,  I did not.

I had to keep adding more

and more, until I just got carried away.  This one ended up looking like something Jackson Pollack would have done if he had been on crack with nothing to express himself but a set of alphabet stamps and a rainbow ink stamp pad:

Cashiers (who usually seem just a bit annoyed to be dealing with my many different sized cloth bags anyway) are beyond speech when they get this bag.  They just sort of hold it up to me as though they don't know whether they should pay attention to what is in the bag or on the outside.  I don't use it unless I really have to. 

All in all, the bags are exceptionally easy to make and work well.  I used round elastic cord for most of them and textured ribbon for one.  Both of these work fine.  I think Wisdom of the Moon used string.  Give them a try, but go easy on the stamping.

Monday, May 3, 2010

I've been making Perfect Little Stitches' "towel wraps for your hair"

I've been  experimenting with making these hair towels from Perfect Little Stitches for a while trying to get the appropriate size for me.  Skip to My Lou  put up directions that I find little easier.   Adjustments to sizing were definitely necessary for a better personal fit.  I apparently have a pin head.  I've known it for a while. Baseball caps pulled down to fit the top of my head leave the tops of my ears stick straight out.  I wasn't surprised when my first few attempts quickly became gifts for women with normal sized heads.  I love these things, though.  They are so easy to use, stay on so much better than a regular towel, save on laundry--they're smaller, and they have that great little elastic loop to hang on the back of the bathroom door.

I used terry cloth fabric from Joann's instead of towels as the tutorials suggest.  Originally I did this because I wanted to experiment on inexpensive fabric.  As it turned out, the terry fabric is a great weight, washes well, and dries quickly.  I can make two hair towels out of a yard of fabric which is definitely less expensive than using towels especially if you get the fabric on sale.   

The patterns are 36 inches long which I found to be way more than necessary.  In fact, I found that length to be uncomfortable hanging down my back and harder to put through and take out of the elastic hoop.  I cut that down to 32 inches.  However, for someone with really long and/or thick hair, the 36 inches might be necessary.  I also cut the height from 12 inches to 10.

If you've made them yourself, let me know how the sizing worked for you.  If you haven't, give it a try.  It's a quick and easy project.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Home-made fire starters

As we move into campfire season, I am reminded of my home-made fire starter venture this winter.  Right after the winter holidays, blogger, Wisdom of the Moon, had a post about making fire starters from left over things at home.  I've made them before, and the post was a good push to do it again.

The blog advice at Wisdom was to put dried pine needles from holiday trees or the like into the individual pockets of paper egg cartons and pour melted wax from candle stubs into each.  I had always used dryer lint instead of pine needles and paper cupcake liners instead of egg cartons.  I liked the idea of the pine needles, but using up that useless dryer lint always made me feel good.  My eggs come in plastic containers since it's the only way I can get free-range eggs around here. In this case, I'd rather support more humane farming practices than be green.

On checking back to read comments at Wisdom, though, I found some disturbing information.  Someone else mentioned using dryer lint and the question arose, "Isn't there hair in dryer lint?"  I never thought of that.  In checking my finished fire starters, I was mortified to see that when held in the sunlight, there were definitely strands of hair standing up there.  I had planned on giving some of these away.  I don't know how to broach this subject delicately, but, there was also the question of just where the hair came from.  I'll leave it at that.  The normal display near the hearth pictured here:
won't be happening until I need a new supply of fire starters.  I did do some with the pine needles. They're easier to work with.  With lint, you have to keep topping off each one as the lint settles down.  The pine needles are just plain prettier and smell better, too.   I gave the pine ones away before getting pictures.  Trust me, though, they look much better even close up.

I do a few things differently that I think might work for others.  Rather than melting the candles on the double boiler as suggested at Wisdom, I use my large electric candle melter that you usually use to give off the candle scent without burning them.  I melt down the ones that have lost their scent for the fire starters first and then drop leftover stubs in the glass a few at a time.  Since there is always a lot of leftover wick material, I take it out of the melted wax (a wooden skewer works well), cut them up, and put pieces in the "cupcakes" as they begin to thicken.  It gives another place to light in addition to the paper when making a fire.  I put the cupcake tins in the sink to pour the wax.  There is little mess, but if something does spill, it can easily be cleaned up.

It may be a bit slower to use the melter, but it cuts down on the size of the equipment I need to keep for messing with wax.  I use the same disposable cupcake tins over and over.  They stack together and take up very little storage space.  

As for dryer lint, I am mixing it with potting soil for outside plantings.  If someone knows a good reason I should not be subjecting hostas and marigolds to dryer lint, please put it in the comment section.  I have a whole new respect for comment sections.  How humiliating it would have been to give away the hairy fire starters!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Quick semi-tutorial on reupholstering the "that's so nineties furniture"

I saw that commercial with the denim furniture designed by Cindy Crawford and loved it--the furniture.  Buying it was not going to happen, though.  So, having tackled reupholstering before, I decided to do it again.  This set used to be a well-worn gray and mauve, stripes and flowers set from around 1995.  The kind everyone is selling on Craigslist.

Reupholstering is time consuming, but not really difficult even if you've never done it before. The sewing required is almost exclusively of the straight line variety.  And, it can be relatively inexpensive.  The fabric for this whole set was around $175 using coupons and sales.  I still had enough to make pillows, the lap quilt on the back of the sofa, Elliot (star of my last post), and further crowd my sewing room stash. This is not an in-depth, step-by-step tutorial, but, rather, an overall guide including information I have gleaned from my many early mistakes.  I hope that this will make the process easier for others who will be taking on the challenge.  There are tons of videos on the web showing the specifics such as sewing on piping. Start with a small chair!

Among the mistakes I made with earlier pieces was avoiding things that I thought would make the job more difficult such as the piping and skirting.  Those things turn out to be far easier that I thought they would be and are the very things that make the furniture look like professionals did it.  Check out the front of the arms and cushions here!

and here:

I am NOT a great seamstress.  I sew very little clothing because it more often than not doesn't turn out so well.  Doing the piping actually makes my corners which are not always so great look much better. Skirting is little more than some folds of fabric, filled with stiff fabric, and stapled in place.

As for the how-to part, most of what you need to know you will learn in the process of deconstructing the original fabric.  I take apart the pieces and use that fabric as a pattern.   Use a seam ripper to take apart the cushions AND LABEL EACH PIECE.  You can write right on the old fabric.   Use a narrow screwdriver to dig out the fabric stapled to the wood frame AND LABEL IT.  Can you see what one of my early mistakes was from those caps? 

Take pictures of the construction prior to deconstruction.  Take pictures of seams on cushions near the zippers, any pleats in the fabric around the arms or cushions, the fabric UNDER the cushions, the back of the furniture pieces.  Note what pieces of wood the arm and base seat fabrics are stapled to and whether the base seat fabric goes on first or the arm fabric.

Careful deconstruction is as time consuming as construction, but it is well worth it. It's a great activity to do while watching television or listening to books on CD.   I listened to Christopher Moore's Fool on CD while deconstructing this set.  It is without a doubt one of the funniest (in a very bawdy and wild way) I've listened to and the reader is perfect for the book.

Iron your "pattern" pieces so they will lie flat.  In order to have a more symmetrical piece, fold the "pattern" pieces at the center--almost everything will be the same on both sides aside from, possibly the zipper sections-- and place the center on a fold of the new fabric.  Sometimes the original fabric has stretched through use or in deconstruction so that they are no longer symmetrical.

Label each newly cut pattern piece as well.  You might want to use small pieces of paper and pin them on for this.  Remember that the fabric needs to be taut in the cushions and to pull firmly when stapling pieces on.  Fabric has some stretch and will loosen with time.  If the cushions are loose, resew a seam or two. 

Supplies and materials:
  • First, if at all possible reuse the original piping material, zippers, stiff materials in the skirting, cardboard strips in the edges (you will find them in the process of deconstructing),  the fabric under the seat cushions, and, of course, the cushions.  It is likely that they are a better quality than what you will get at the store, they are free, and you're recycling! So, be careful with the deconstruction.  I haven't had luck reusing the nail strips (again, you will find them if you don't know what they are), but you can buy them at Joann-kinds of stores, online, or maybe use upholstery tacks from the same sources.  Tacks look great on some pieces.
  • Use a heavy fabric and plain old thread.  Joann's often has upholstery fabric on sale.  I've had good luck, though, with  the heavyweight denim from the regular fabric section for this set and for cushions on an old church pew.  In my first attempt at reupholstering, I used fabric on sale that was a style already on the way out.  My "new" furniture was out of style at birth.  I try to find fabrics with staying power in the style department--something that will not make you think of eras gone by as in, "that's so eighties."  You might also need some batting if your furniture is well worn to smooth out cushions, arms, etc. 
  • You will need a seam ripper, heavy-duty stapler, staples long enough to get well into the wood of your furniture, thin screwdriver to get out the old staples (and misplaced new ones), and a hammer for the staples that need a little extra help getting in tightly.  
  • You need a sewing machine that will handle fairly heavy fabric. I have found that most of them do just fine.  I have used an old Kenmore and some newer Brother machines that were all fine.  If you don't have one check with friends.  So many people have machines they are no longer using.  They might be willing to let you use it, sell it cheap, or even given it away. 
My final advice:  don't be a perfectionist.  No one is going to pull out cushions to see how well your zippers are sewn in.   If they do, they are either not friends or very insecure.  And if you are the insecure one, stifle the need to point out what you feel are flaws when people are complimenting you on a job well done.  I have found mistakes during deconstruction by the professionals that are comparable to mine such as pieces of fabric sewn together to compensate for fabric cut too short.  Do be willing to use the seam ripper (carefully), however, if you think it is worthwhile to resew something.  Take your time, don't rush it.

I'm new at this sharing by blogging.  If there is something that needs to be stated more clearly or corrected, please feel free to let me know.  I'd be glad to clarify anything, and someone else may benefit from the correction. 

I'd love to hear from others who do this.  Feel free to add advice in the comments. If you are encouraged to give it a try, I'd love to hear how it worked out, too.