Pattern storage tip

      Having trouble labeling and storing those homemade patterns? This was my “necessity is the mother of all invention” solution. I simply traced my original sketch of the garments I had made my pattern from onto a ziplock bag and stored the muslin draped or paper pattern pieces in the bag. No re-drawing a flat. No need to transfer patterns. No huge Manila envelopes for undersized patterns.  All delight!
    
    
   

Sewing Over Thick Seams Video

Hey Girl! (…Or Guy!) This is my first foray into video tutorials on sewing and design-My very first video blog! I’ve been putting off doing videos forever, but I took the plunge yesterday and made one because this little gem of a trick is too good not to share! It was very, very impromptu, but it occurred to me as I was using this sewing hack I picked up last year that it would make a great quick video. It’s a tip I learned on Craftsy, in Angela Wolf’s Jeans class for sewing over seams. It also works for sewing fabric with embellishments that make it thicker in some places than others. If you’ve ever wanted to throw your machine out of the window because your presser foot just wouldn’t go over that hump, this one’s for you!

Let me know if this was helpful to you in the comments section!

Whatcha Workin On Wednesday

IMG_2622Yoga Pants for Kids out of T-shirts! Yaya! 

IMG_2625My dad will officially kill me if he finds out I’m making clothing for kids with skulls on it, but this Tee was just too perfect for this project to pass up. I’ll just tell him it’s a pirate thing. (Guns and swords he’s totally ok with.)

IMG_2623I had to cut this a wee bit shorter than my pattern, so they’ll be long capris, but it’s getting warmer soon.

IMG_2624I had big plans for upcycling this tee, but again, it was too perfect not to use with the gray punk theme, so I went for it. Let’s all take a moment to mourn for all the glorious other projects this shirt will never be turned into now. . . A swing style tank top, a re-worked tee shirt for my daughters, a baby cardigan, and so many more that it had the potential to become. (Or am I the only one who’s hesitant to cut something up because I’m not absolutely sure I’m ready to rule out the other possible projects I could use that fabric for?) There’s still enough there for a tiny garment, anyway.

 

Leave it in the Comment Section:

What are you guys currently working on? (I know some of you have like 20 irons in the sewing fire right now! Share a few of them with us.)

 

A Label Garden

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I kind of need a drying rack, but hey, this is prettier.

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To see how to make these cheap and easy homemade labels for your designs and sewing projects, click HERE.

Bonus Easy Flower

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As a closer for my mini-series on quick, easy flowers, I’m showing you guys the quickest and easiest of them all. (It’s okay to talk about flowers that way-they have no feelings. Girls on the other hand, well. . .)

This gray flower is one I already had made up. It’s attached to a little alligator clip, which is really the best type for these kinds or flowers, I think. Since this is a bonus post and none of the previous posts in this series had step by step instructions, I went ahead and made another one up to show you just how easy they are.
IMG_2503-0How to Make It

Step One: Find fabric- select a jersey knit, which won’t unravel. This is a great way to upcycle old t-shirts! In fact, I used the sleeve of a shirt my daughters had outgrown that I’d already used for doll clothes. When I pulled it out, I was amused to see I had also used it as a test piece for some of the hand sewing techniques I learned from my Alabama Chanin book.
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OK, On to the Good Stuff!

Cut a strip that tapers off. This one was about 16″ long and goes from about a half inch on one side to a little over an inch on the other.

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Since this came from a sleeve, I had two layers, which I cut in half to make two separate pieces. Pay no attention to my ironing board. Or the man behind the curtain. (You have seen the Wizard of Oz, haven’t you?)

Grab some thread and a needle. Knot the end.IMG_2492-0

Begin to sew a running stitch through the skinny side. To do this really easily, keep your needle still and pile your fabric back and forth onto the needle. It goes so quickly that way!IMG_2493-0Keep sewing in that manner until you reach the end. Knot off your thread, or do like I did and use the same piece of thread to sew your piece into the flower shape.IMG_2494Spin the fabric around so you have a few layers, keeping the skinny end on top.IMG_2496-1

IMG_2495-1Once you have the desired shape, begin sewing through all the layers. Just sew from the back straight through to the front and vice versa, making sure to connect all the layers all around. Knot it in the back once you’re finished.IMG_2498

Here’s the front.IMG_2504-0And the back.IMG_2501-0

Couldn’t be simpler, right? This would be a great place to start for kids (and adults) who want to learn to sew. I think my kids are big enough to let them try to tackle this project now. If we do that, I’ll be sure to let you all know how it goes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

Flower Hair Clip Fiesta Tres

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“Oooh La La La! That’s the way that we rock when we’re doin our thing.” Remember that song? If so, you’re getting old, but that’s ok. I am too.  Need an explanation? Flowers make me think Oh la la, which made me sing the song in my head, and presto change-o, I’ve shared it with you for your enjoyment. That is, if you were a Fugees fan. If not, this is one paragraph you’ll never appreciate, but don’t worry…it gets better.

On to the Flower!

Supplies You’ll Need to Make It: 

This one is made using jersey knit (t-shirt) fabric, hand sewing, and a cute little silver bead left over from the time I made wrap bangle bracelets.
Remember that? If not, check out the post and tutorial Here.photo (4) ..

How You Make It:

Cut a rectangular piece of knit fabric. (I made these flowers months ago, so I don’t remember the exact dimensions I used. 3″ X 12″ should do it.

Cut that rectangle into two scalloped strips by cutting lengthwise nearer to one side in a wave motion, creating one thin strip and one thick strip. (I hope that makes sense. If not, hit me up in the comments section. If you want, I’d be glad to re-do some of these flowers and get step-by-step pictures for a bona fide tutorial! Just let me know-I love your feedback.)

Gather both pieces separately by sewing a hand running stitch down the straight edges and pulling until they are long enough to wind around 3 or 4 times.

Once they are both gathered, put the thin piece on top of the larger one and spin both pieces around until you’ve got a flower shape. (If you want, you can sew as you spin. Stitch each new round in place before making a new layer.) The two sizes layered together give the flower more dimension and texture, which you can see in this picture.f (3)

This fabric is super easy to sew and thin enough that I made the flower shape first and then sewed through all layers. If you didn’t sew along as you were forming the flower, do so now, holding the flower in one hand and you sewing from back to front, front to back through all layers, making sure that all areas of the flower are in place and attached. Knot off in the back of the flower.

Run a line of stitching in the back to attach the very end of the fabric strip to the rest of the flower. You can see that in the picture below. Kind of. The fabric curled around the stitch line so the thread itself isn’t visible, but you can see where I sewed it together. Point is, you don’t want that piece in the back to be flopsy.b

Add your little bead, a button or other embellishment using needle and thread. Make sure it’s really securely attached, especially if you’re making it for a small child!f (3)

Attach it to a clip using felt and hot glue like my previous two flowers, or sew it directly to a garment. This flower was sewn on to a children’s dress I made a while back in This Tutorial. Check it out if you have time and let me know if you like it.klnmiulmgdf

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The Moral of the Story:

If you can’t get a song out of your head, write it somewhere on the internet- that’s what everyone does on Facebook now, right?

And if you need a really quick flower for a last minute DIY emergency, (which may seem unlikely, but the more you craft, the more it can happen) always go with jersey knit! It’s quick to sew and it never frays. A WIN-WIN!fdsa

As always, thank you for reading and stay tuned for tomorrow’s bonus post on the simplest of all the fast fabric flowers! (Hint-they can also be seen on the gray dress above.) Happy Thursday!

Flower Hair Clip Fiesta Dos

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Here it is. . .part two in the series of easy-peasy flowers to make. Today’s flower is this little pink polka-dotted number in the picture above.

How to Make It:

For this flower, you can use just about any fabric. All you need is a rectangular length of whatever kind you choose. I used some “Quilter’s Candy” fabric from Connecting Threads, a website with tons of really economical quilting fabric and an amazing selection of thread. Catch them during sale time and you can really stock up!

You can experiment with the length and width, but I believe I used something like 2 1/2″ X 12″.

Fold it in half lengthwise, right sides together, and sew down the side.

Turn the tube right side out and stitch the ends closed so the raw edges aren’t visible.

Sew a machine gathering stitch or a running stitch by hand down the edge with the seam and gather the fabric by pulling one side of the thread.

Begin to roll up the flower, stitching the bottom together at each new round. I suppose you could use hot glue for this step instead of sewing. I’m not sure how well it would hold up. . . now I’m curious. If you try it, tell me how it goes in the comment section.f (4)

The last step is to attach the flower to the clip. For this step, I know hot glue works! Ask my children who wear these clips out, and my dog, whose mouth I have wrestled them from numerous times.vfvf

 

Flower Hair Clips

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There are about as many ways to make or sew fabric flowers as there are funny pictures of cats posted on Facebook. If you run a search for tutorials, you can quickly become overwhelmed with all the beautiful options you want to try. I prefer the faster kinds. (Some flower video tutorials are like 40 minutes long-what could they possibly be doing? I think after a few minutes the videos cut to scenes of them showing off their stamp collections, or something. I know I’m not gonna spend 40 minutes making a darn flower! If you have that kind of time and patience, more power to you! If you don’t, I have  3 quick and easy methods for constructing fabric flowers. I’ll post the directions for each one throughout this week. AND…if you guys are lucky, I’ll post a bonus easy flower not shown here on Friday. Try not to fall off the edge of your seats in anticipation, (and I’ll try not to choke on my sarcasm.)

 

TODAY’S FLOWER METHOD: Polyester Circles and a Lighter!

Just so you know, my eyes got all big and maniacal looking as I typed that title and pictured something akin to Bart Simpson with a lighter and an aerosol can.

What you do:

Find some synthetic fabric. (If you’re not sure if the fabric is synthetic, do the lighter test. You want edges that melt and crinkle up a bit, not fabric that actually catches on fire. Fire bad.)

Cut out 4 or more circles of your fabric. It’s easiest if you make a paper pattern so they all come out the same size. I used a compass to get just the right size. You could also draw around something round.f

Melt the edges using a lighter. Do not burn your house down.

Once the edges are melted and cooled off, fold each circle into fourths and sew or hot glue the corner to a small circle of felt and a hair clip. f (1)

That’s it. You’re done. You could also use a safety pin going through the circle (or oval, in this flower’s case) of felt for attaching to shirts or accessories. I like that better than sewing flowers on for certain garments if you don’t want the flowers to go through the wash.

Stay tuned this week for more flower making madness! It’s guaranteed to be a good time, and you can rest assured I will bring you the quickest, easiest methods of fabric flower production know to man, because nobody has time to make a 40 minute flower!

Fixing Too-Loose Bobs

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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.)

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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.

 

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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.

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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

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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)

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The Original T-Shirt

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

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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

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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

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Leave it in the Comment Section:

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