Fixing Too-Loose Bobs

dgf

 

Flats never seem to fit me just right. I’m really between sizes, I think, because  8 1/2’s are too small and 9’s are too loose, so I either have to wear socks with the big ones, hope the small ones stretch, or (as usually happens) not buy them at all. I did fall for these crochet Bobs over the summer, and who wouldn’t? They go with everything! I bought them right before going to a music festival, and it wasn’t  until walking around that I realized they slipped off the back of my feet with each step. Bummer! I obviously couldn’t return them, because I was wearing them at a soggy outdoor festival. Double bummer! So I did what all good seamstresses do. I complained about them for a really long time. . .and then I finally got around to fixing them.

It’s super easy to fix the fit on these. I’m sure it would work with just about any canvas shoe.

Here’s how you do it:gdz

1. Grab that old frenemy of yours, the seam ripper and take out the seam on the side (or wherever the seam is located on your pair.)

mhf

2. Fit the shoe to your foot. Find out how much you need to take out- I had to take a scant 1/2″ off of both sides. Move the fabric over that much, pinning if needed.

 

photo 2

3. Sew the new seam. (I used a tight zig-zag stitch so it would be very secure and it doesn’t really show on this fabric.) Trim the excess.

photo 3

4. Style and Profile!

Simple, right? You don’t have to be intimidated by mending or altering shoes, especially the canvas and crochet kind that you probably have in your closet. It’s just fabric. If you have a pair that doesn’t fit perfectly, look at how they’re made and what type of material they are. You may be able to figure out how to customize them to fit you like gloves. . . for your feet! Now there’s an image. I’ll leave you guys with that. Have a great weekend!

Captain America T-Shirt Remake

IMG_2416-0

Ok, so I admit it. I’ve never actually read any Marvel comics (or any comics for that matter.) I’ve never even watched the Captain America Movie. I’m a nerd, but not in that way, how’s that. Like, if Chaucer, Hawthorne, or C.S. Lewis were super heros, then I’d read the comic books! (Chaucer would make a terrible super hero, wouldn’t he? It would be like a 1400 page graphic novel on someone who describes places and people’s physical characteristics for so long that all of his enemies fall asleep and die. His name would be Canterbury Fail. Hawthorne wouldn’t be much better. 40 pages to describe a tiny fishing village in The Scarlet Letter? Really?)

But let’s face it, superheros are fun! (I’m a batman girl myself…gotta love the dark side.) Between making this shirt and the Captain America trailer I’ve watched over and over on my copy of Guardians of the Galaxy, (I think that’s the movie I keep seeing it on.) I’ll probably break down and rent it soon. And yes, that is a copy of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the background. It’s just the best. Bam! I’m not sure if you guys care, but I’m still salty because in kindergarten, I was always the only girl who wanted to play Turtles instead of house, so they ALWAYS made me be April. I just wanted to be Mikey or Donnie. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

These are just pics of the process and tips on how to add fabric if your pattern is bigger than the fabric you have to work with.

For more posts on upcycling T-Shirts and hand stitching check out these posts:

Step-By-Step Picture Tutorial

Decorate a Top WIth an Easy Flower

Girls Tank Applique Tank Top

Make Your Own Yoga Gear (A step-by-step tutorial on how to make a sports bra)

IMG_2380

The Original T-Shirt

IMG_2381

How to cut up a t-shirt for upcycling the most efficient way.

IMG_2382

Oops! Not enough room. (I had to use the bottom for binding for the neck and arm holes.) Not to worry. Just make a separate piece for the missing part of the strap! Be sure to add enough for seam allowance. I love how this turned out, anyway. It’s a cool decorative seam now because I did the contrast top-stitch. Happy Accidents! I’m tellin ya.IMG_2383

IMG_2384

IMG_2385

For the pattern for the extra strap piece, I used tailor’s chalk to mark where the fabric stopped on my pattern. Then I measured down one inch (to allow for a 1/2″ seam allowance on both pieces.)IMG_2386

I didn’t get a picture of cutting out the strap piece, but here’s what they look like pinned on.IMG_2411

Here it is, Folks!IMG_2412

Have I ever told you I love hand-stitching and contrast top stitching? A million times? Ok, well consider this a million and one!IMG_2416-0

Dun du du daaahhh!!! Is that Super-Hero-y enough? I don’t know how well theme music comes off in print.IMG_2417

Contrast Topstitching!!!!IMG_2421-0

IMG_2417-0

IMG_2419-0

IMG_2420-0

IMG_2418-0

 

Leave it in the Comment Section:

Who’s your favorite Super Hero and has that ever influenced your style or designs? 

Hand Stitched Girls Cardigan

4-7-13 038One of the forms of sewing I’m most passionate about is hand stitching. I first did a project with jersey knit by hand 7 years ago, using a whip stitch around the side seams so I could assure it wouldn’t fall apart. I absolutely loved working with jersey by hand! But I remember thinking it just wasn’t feasible…too time consuming, too likely to fall apart. So I gave it up after that project…until I found the completely hand stitched clothing line Alabama Chanin. It’s amazing! Natalie Chanin uses astonishing hand embroidery and embellishment as a trademark. I don’t have the patience or the willingness to do that on my work. My passion is more pattern making. I’d prefer to make a more complicated design and sew it simply than a simple design that lends itself to embroidery. (Not that this blue cardigan is complicated or wouldn’t look great emboidered if I had the patience to sew more than just the one leaf you can see in the left side of the picture on this cardi.)

What I took away from Miss Chanin’s work is that a simple running stitch with the right thread is more than enough to sew a garment together that won’t fall apart. And believe me, this is a tried and true method. I made this cardigan about 2 years ago and it gets washed all the time.

For a tutorial on how to hand stitch a garment, see my article A Hand Stitched Baby T. Projects like this lend themselves to upcycling, and for this project, I used a super soft T-Shirt I found at Goodwill for the light blue and a maxi dress that got too small for me for the binding.  For my other project using the dark teal, check out the pics in my article on how to make an embroidered long sleeve t-shirt. When selecting a piece to upcycle for a project like this, try to look for: the biggest sizes possible, fabric that’s soft to the touch, items that don’t have many seams, and dresses are great because they have so much fabric. When in doubt, grab your old T-shirts and turn them into a new piece of clothing instead of a T-Shirt Quilt.

 

5-3-13 164

 

5-3-13 172

5-3-13 1775-3-13 180

 

5-3-13 179

Don't Use

Aw, Crap!


IMG_2323That moment in sewing when you’re almost at the end of your project only to realize you’ve done something wrong. . .sewn the wrong seams together, cut 2 rights instead of a right and a left, or if you’re a patternmaker like me, mislabeled the original pattern. Yay.
Remember the waistband I was so excited about and proud of in This Post? I sewed it just fine. I did everything right, according to the pattern. Problem is, I labeled the left waistband piece as Right and vice versa, so the whole thing is all wrong.  Stay Calm and Grab Your Seam Ripper and all that, right? I bet that’s a really good philosophy with patient people. For me, I’m satisfied to be able to calm back down after my initial freak out and use it for an inspirational post, hopefully. (Probably less inspiration than sharing a common rant, but I think that helps, too.)

The funny thing is I made a sample pair to test the fit of this new pattern I made. (You can see a pic of that pair at the bottom of This Post on My Easy Button Sewing Tip.) And when I encountered this problem with the waistband on that pair, I assumed I just screwed up during the cutting-I had kids running around and dogs barking while I cut out. I didn’t even think to check my pattern. At least I caught it the second time around! (This has been a real blow to the old perfectionist ego, folks!) Well, let’s all live and learn together, fellow seamstresses, designers, and DIYers!IMG_2336

The Inside of the Finished Pants.

Everything worked out all right, after all. I did not hyperventilate, I did not die of boredom seam ripping (although I thought I would do both when I first realized my mistake when pinning on the waistband.) IMG_2328 IMG_2329 IMG_2330 IMG_2323 IMG_2327 IMG_2326 IMG_2324 IMG_2325
IMG_2331IMG_2344 IMG_2346

Baby Bib and Burp Cloth

Bib 10Babies. Just as cute as they wanna be! In this post, I’m going to show you how to make an adorable bib and burp cloth to match. While they’re definitely not as cute as babies, (nothing is!) they are quick, relatively easy, and can be a good fabric scrapbuster. I had a little of this Riley Blake animal fabric and blue dimple dot minky left over from the crib set I made a couple years ago. Click Here to see that post, Crib Set Extravaganza.

Bib 5I had started on this bib back then, but didn’t get it finished. So the above picture shows what I had cut out and ready to sew. (Yes, the gray piece had been in the embroidery hoop for 2 years. That’s why all my posts about procrastination, if you’ve ever wondered.) The hippo was just cut out of the Riley Blake fabric. I tried to leave a tiny edge of gray background around him so I had a scosche more room to sew around him. (I had no idea that’s how scosche was spelled until I had to look it up just now. Ya learn something new every day!)

Bib 6

Just place your cut-out onto the bib fabric…Bib 7

And whip stitch around that little guy with embroidery thread.

Embroidery Needle Threader

Here’s a tip if using embroidery thread makes you want to jump out of a window. (Or is that just me?) Walmart and sewing/craft stores carry this gigantic needle threader, which is perfect for embroidery floss.  The thread comes as a 6 strand rope. I cut the length I needed and separated it into two 3 strand pieces. Using 6 strands would have been way too thick for this project.

Bib 1

After your design is sewn onto the bib front, put it right sides together with the minky (or fabric of your choice) back. Pin, Pin, Pin, Pin, Pin! You’re working with a quarter inch seam allowance here, and the minky is stretchy and slippery, so you definitely don’t want anything moving out of place.

Bib 2This tip may be for me more than anybody else, but I hate sewing really tight curves like this, so I took a clear ruler and traced the stitch line with a pen that’s made for sewing. (The ink disappears when ironed.)

Sew around the edge at 1/4″, leaving an opening for turning out. Turn the fabric to the right side and top stitch, making sure to catch that opening so it’s securely closed.

Bib 3

This is what you should have at this point.  Again, the neck back piece is a beast to sew. If it comes out horrible, take the topstitching out and try it again. Marking the stitch line with chalk or soluble ink may help you.

 

Bib 4

 

The last step is to attach the velcro. To do that, cut a rectangle of velcro the length you would like it according to how it will fit on the bib. Then round off the edges by cutting diagonally across the corners and then cutting tiny diagonals across the corners that last cut just made. You really can’t be too careful here…you want baby to be comfortable and safe, so just run your finger around the velcro to make sure there are no sharp points. When attaching, maake sure the hard part will be on the bottom, facing out so it never rubs baby’s skin. To sew on the velcro, I’ve found it’s easiest to just do straight stitches, forming a box.

 

Bib 8

Bib 11

 

This is the finished product. If any of you make one, I’d love to see it. Post pics in the comment section, please.

 

For tips on working with minky fabric and how to sew the burp cloth below, just follow my Taggie Blanket Tutorial and don’t use the ribbons.

Bib 9

Bib 10

 

 

How to Sew an Easy, Decorative Waistband



 

This tutorial is on how to make an interior waistband using decorative bias tape or fabric. I’ve seen this a lot lately in jeans and some trousers, but I didn’t realize how much easier it could make waistband sewing until I used it. I’m making a pair of green palazzo trousers and once I get them finished, I’ll post the whole process and let you see how this waistband looks once sewn in place. I may also do a post just about the pockets, which are out of the same brown striped fabric. (One day I’d like to do a sew-along with you guys. I have to perfect grading my patterns to fit different sizes and learn how to make them into PDFs for purchase. Let me know what you think.)

When asked what people dread most about sewing, the pretty universal response is “zippers,” but I’ll take a zipper any day over a waistband or a collar stand. Not that they are hard to sew by themselves…it’s just that I hate flipping them over once the first side is sewn and turning up just the right amount of fabric and hoping that I catch both sides and it doesn’t look too uneven. I’m definitely getting better at it, but it had been a long time since I sewed pants so when I made the test pair to make sure my pattern fit correctly before using my good fabric, the inside waistband was a little bunched up in places. Nothing horrible, but enough to make me think, “I have to find a better way!” I was just about to YouTube it when this method occurred to me. Easier and decorative? A two-fer, right up my alley! (To see my practice pair and and a tip for sewing on buttons easily, click Here.)

OK, So Here’s How to Do It:IMG_2203

1. Take bias tape or a strip of fabric 1″ wide by the length of your waistband (I had to join two pieces) and pin it to the part of the inside waistband that will be at the bottom. Make sure you’ve already attached your interfacing.

Note: The fabric doesn’t really have to be cut on the bias. Mine was really stretchy on the crosswise grain, but it doesn’t even need to be that stretchy for this project.

2. Sew or serge the contrast fabric onto the waistband at a scant quarter inch.

 

IMG_2205

3. Flip the fabric over, tuck it under on the back so the raw edge isn’t showing, and pin in place. (I wish I had gotten a pic of this from the back. Sorry, guys!)

 

IMG_2206

4. Stitch it into place.

 


 

That’s it! 4 simple steps  and you’re done!

The next part of the process will just involve sewing the top of the outer and inner waistband and attaching it to the pants. Once you attach the bottom of the outer waistband to the pants, flip this part inside and pin the waistband in place. Sew from the front, using the waistband seam as your guide. Here are two pictures of jeans I own that use this method. Isn’t it pretty? IMG_2236

IMG_2238

 

My Related Posts:

 My opinion on how spectacular pants are.

Taggie Blanket Tutorial

Girl’s Skirt From a Pillow Case

The Mythical Saturday

Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can finish today, right? And don’t mentally put off everything in your life until that Mythical Saturday-you know, the one you schedule house cleaning, family time, grocery shopping, date night, home repair, DIY, 8 loads of laundry, sewing, sketching, and ten or twelve other things that you swear you’ll get around to, because you have that day “free.” Procrastination can be a problem for creatives, and so can overbooking our time. We tend to overestimate what we can do in a certain amount of time. And when we come across a task that we really don’t have time for today, in our mind Saturday’s an inviting blank slate- distractionless, and filled with unoccupied time. Until Saturday comes, that is, and we remember just how little time we actually have to juggle.

I have found my Saturdays completely filled up on paper when I’m planning, but none of it ever gets done! I used to attribute it to having too much time, which makes me tend to think I’m ok as the time ticks away until suddenly it’s 8 in the evening and nothing on that long list is checked off. I know that’s some of it, but I’m starting to realize that just as my expectations for myself can be unrealistic, my expectations for how productive I’ll be on Saturdays often are, too.

If you, too, suffer from The Mythical Saturday Syndrome, there’s hope! I’m not sure exactly what it is yet, (I’m still trying to figure out just how to plan attainable goals for my Saturdays and as I come across tips that help me, I’ll share them with you guys) but I know it involves battling that old monster of perfectionism. And I know one day I’ll not only defeat that monster, I’ll harness it’s energy for success in life, art, and design. It’s my quest. (And just so you know, in this fantasy quest, I’m both the Princess and the Knight in shining armor. Oh, And Bruce Willis in Die Hard.)

Easy Button Sewing Tip


IMG_2185My tip for how to sew on a button easily stems from a vast pool of ingenuity I have, which in turn comes mostly from being part of a long line of, well, rednecks. Every male in my family is like a midwestern MacGyver. They can fix anything that breaks, usually using their huge stash of-sometimes superfluous- tools and supplies. (I have one brother who actually uses the term “My Good chainsaw”) But they’re also very good at making a way to solve the problem when they have next to nothing on hand to fix it with. Knowing that, my button sewing trick will probably make a little more sense. My secret? Scotch tape.

IMG_2180

 

 

I hate getting my buttons in just the right spot and at just the right angle, only to have them slip out of place while I’m sewing. So, out of frustration, I grabbed my tape and figured I’d give it a go. It worked like a charm, and here’s how you do it. Get the button into the correct position and apply a strip of tape over it so it stays in place as you sew. Once it’s on, you can rip the tape off with no ill effect. I hand stitched this button on, but you could use this for machine sewing, as well. I’d just make sure to clean the needle afterward to remove any stuck on adhesive.
IMG_2179
IMG_2181

I always begin and finish my buttons on the front of the fabric, underneath the button so the knot isn’t exposed on the inside of the garment. I wouldn’t want that against my skin.IMG_2184

IMG_2182

IMG_2183

IMG_2185

IMG_2186IMG_2199