Category Archives: Sewing Projects

Mathilde Blouse #1

Mathilde blouse pattern hackMy first Mathilde blouse from Tilly and the Buttons!!! I’ve been seeing these all over the sewing blogosphere and while I loved the pattern, I just wasn’t sure it would work for me. After searching and searching for some cute blouse patterns I decided it really is one of the cutest ones out there and bought the pattern. I’m so glad I went for it because, as you can see, it turned out super adorable!!

My fabric choice was a nice lightweight quilting cotton by Monaluna for Birch Organics, Next Stop City Park, that I purchased online from Fabricworm (I can spend literally hours just drooling over their cute fabrics!!).

Next Stop, City Park

I’d be eyeballing this fabric for a while and when it went on sale for 10% off how could I not click ‘buy’??? Of course, now it’s on sale for 60% off so you can get it at a steal and the joke’s on me! Oh well, I still love it.

A lot of the comments I’ve seen online from people who have made the Mathilde blouse echo one of the concerns I had before making it, that the sleeves just have too much volume. Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of me wearing the shirt with the sleeves as patterned but I agreed. The sleeves just looked…..weird….on me.

Mathilde blouse pattern hack

This picture was taken before I decided to shorten the sleeves – not sure if it’s apparent just how much volume the sleeves have.

Tilly has really detailed photo instructions for each step of the blouse construction on her website and they definitely came in handy when it came time to construct the front tucks.

Mathilde blouse

I’m like, practically a tuck expert now. No big deal or anything…

The major change I made to the pattern was actually taking out one of the design features of the blouse – the back button placket. I’ve definitely seen versions of the blouse with the back buttons that look great, but I think that with patterned fabric the buttons end up making the blouse look a little too busy. So instead, I sewed a seam up the back leaving a bit of space at the top and adding a button and loop closure at the neckline.

Mathilde blouse no buttons

Mathilde blouseI was a little worried about the top being too sheer so I decided to line the body of the top. Although the I added about an inch and a half to the center of the pattern front, the blouse ended up just fitting. Of course it was only after I cut all the pattern pieces in the fabric and the lining that I realized, duh. I should have cut the lining first to use as a muslin, then cut the good fabric. Oh well, these are things that, being new to this whole sewing properly thing, I just don’t always think of. Meh.

Mathilde blouse pattern hackAs you can see above, I subtracted the tucks from the lining when cutting the pattern to simplify my life a little. I assembled the lining and the blouse bodice independently, then stitched them together at the neckline, and finally added the sleeves. I ironed up the seam joining the yoke to the front of the blouse, then top stitched over the seam to seal it up and keep the inside of the blouse purrrrty. I also did French seams for every seam that I could and did double-turned hems.

Mathilde blouse

Ooooooooh! Ahhhhhhhhhh! Nice and neat seams and hems are a thing of beauty!!

One thing I think I’ll change the next time I make this blouse is to lower the neckline a little. It feels a bit restrictive and looks like it’s choking me. I wasn’t sure the flat panel look to the front of the blouse would flatter my…er….ample bosom, but in the end I’m pleased with how it looks.

Mathilde blouse

Notice the cute short sleeves!!! I just cut a few inches off the length of each sleeve then reattached the cuff. If my arms were like, and eighth of an inch fatter, I would have had to widen the cuffs but luckily they’re just fat enough, LOL!Mathilde blouse no buttonsMaterials:

Mathilde blouse pattern size 6
– 2 yards of Monaluna for Birch Organics: Next Stop, City Park, 45″ width (barely enough! )
– 1 yard of unbleached cotton for lining, 60″ width

Alterations:

– added 1.5″ to center of the front (yoke and body)
– shortened sleeves by a few inches
– lined the body
– replaced the back button placket with a seam

All in all……success!!!!! I’m so proud of the extra attention I paid to some of the details like the French seaming, hems and lining. It may take a little longer during construction but in the end the extra bit of pride I have was worth it!

Mathilde blouse

 

 

 

Advertisement

T-Shirt Quilt, Finally Done!!!

Almost a year ago to the day, I published an On The Go post. I’ve finished a few of the projects from the list; Pete’s hoodie, my nephew’s sweater, and a solution for the garbage area in my old apartment. I finally just got around to finishing off another of those projects – my T-shirt quilt!!!

DIY T-Shirt Quilt

I know it doesn’t look like a T-shirt quilt in this picture, but I just loved the warm and fuzzy nautical flannel I chose for the backing!

I would love for this to be a “real” tutorial, and originally intended it to be that. But then I remembered I don’t know how to quilt. Sooooooo…… instead I’ve documented the steps that worked for me and what I would do differently next time! I’d love for people who know better to leave some comments with suggestions for my next attempt!!

I had a ton of old t-shirts that had a lot of sentimental value but were pretty grubby and were just taking up space in my closet. When it came time to move from the East Coast of Canada to San Francisco I figured it was also time to do something about my t-shirt hoarding.

I cut the fronts off all the t-shirts, paying no attention whatsoever to trying to keep them the same size, packed them away and forgot about them for another year or two. When I pulled them out and looked into making a t-shirt quilt, I realized the whole thing would go waaaaay easier if I had squares that were all the same size to work with. I was inspired by the way this one looked where less attention was paid to preserving the whole t-shirt pattern and decided to do mine that way.

I cut 7″ squares of all my t-shirts then laid them all out on the floor and moved the pieces around until I had an arrangement that I liked. The first tip I have that worked well for me is to first sew your panels together into long rows, then sew the rows together to create your quilt.

DIY T-Shirt Quilt

How To Make a T-Shirt Quilt

Sorry for the terrible photo, I took this over a year ago! It’s supposed to be showing that I’ve pinned the rows together to make the quilt 🙂

Aaaaannnnnnnd, this is where it sat. For a year. I found myself in need of a picnic blanket recently and, on a rare rainy afternoon, I decided to finish it off. This is where things got a little….er….less than pretty.

I knew my quilt was going to be a bit smaller than I’d wanted so I purchased some plain white fabric for a border to add size and some nautical striped flannel for the back. Of course, my white fabric was just to short to be able to make a border without cutting separate corner pieces. So, I cut 4 strips of white fabric (4.5″ wide) the length of the quilt, and 4 squares of the striped fabric (4.5″ x 4.5″).

DIY T-Shirt QuiltI sewed two of the white strips onto opposite sides of the blanket.

DIY T-Shirt QuiltThen I sewed the striped squares to either end of the remaining white strips (I made sure to keep the pattern in the same direction), and sewed the whole thing to the other two sides of the quilt.

How To Make A T-Shirt QuiltHere’s the thing about that. I sewed non-stretchy flannel strips to really stretchy jersey fabric. Which means I ended up with a super wonky/wavy border. Maybe I should have stay-stitched the t-shirts before attaching the border??? Maybe I should used jersey for the border and the backing??? I dunno.

I cut 4 large squares of the backing and sewed them together with the strips going in different directions since the fabric wasn’t wide enough to cover the whole quilt in one large piece. Here’s the calculation I used to figure out how big to make each square;

CalculationThe extra 2.5″ was for a border around the front of the quilt. I decided to just fold up the backing fabric over the quilt front, then fold it under and top-stitch it for a border. I have no idea if this was “proper” quilting and I’m sure there’s a ton of tutorials out there that will teach you the right way!

I assembled my quilting sandwich by first laying the backing on the floor, wrong-side-up, then the quilt filling on top of that, and finally the quilt front on the top of the pile, right-side-up. I pinned the three layers together right in the center then worked my way out to each edge, pinning as I went, then filled in the rest. This was to try to keep everything smooth and centered.

To do the actual quilting I figured the “stitch in the ditch” method would probably be best for a beginner like me on busy patterns, so I just top-stitched all the seams using navy thread to co-ordinate with the backing. I was surprised at how easy it is once you get the hang of it (and how hard it is once you get bored of it, lol!). As you can see from the picture of the back, below, though top-stitching the stretchy jersey to the non-stretch flannel backing made for some wonkiness. I think for my next quilting attempt, I’ll stick to quilting cottons to avoid this kind of issue, but I tell you what; I’m really not in any danger of becoming a regular quilter – way to much math and precision, LOL!

Upcycled T-Shirt

How To Make A T-Shirt Quilt

DIY T-Shirt Quilt

Anyway, it’s pretty rough but I’m proud of my little t-shirt quilt. It’s so puffy and comfy and cozy! Besides, how perfect does something that you’re going to sit on in the dirt have to be???

Scoop Top: Pattern From Skirt As Top

Skirt As Top Scoop Top Free PatternOh, hello there! Don’t mind me, I was just enjoying the start of summer in San Francisco (in September) on a lovely fog-free evening in my new me-made t-shirt!!

I used to think that sewing was just for special occasions, but I’ve seen so many inspiring sewists (like those that participated in Me Made May) on various blogs around the interwebs who make nearly all their clothes! I love the idea that one day I could have a wardrobe that was almost entirely made by me! And with that thought in mind I endeavored to do something I hadn’t tried before – make myself a basic t-shirt.

I found a free pattern for a Scoop Top online at Skirt As Top  and thought it looked like a super cute and easy little shirt. The extra nice thing about this pattern was that the sleeves and body were cut as one piece, completely enabling me with my sleeve attachment phobia. The pattern is only currently offered as size S/M so I had to make some alterations to increase it to an XL (stay tuned for a tutorial for how to re-size a simple pattern), but other than that I did something crazy for me……I actually followed the online instructions! Whaaaa?!?!!

I had a brown burnout lightweight jersey that I’d bought from the odds and ends bin at the fabric store for about $1.99/yard that I thought would be perfect for this project. Just for shits n’ giggles, when constructing this top I decided to try out French seaming on the side seams and it worked out pretty well.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI decided to do a double seam at the hem to make it look a little more finished and to also add a little extra durability. I also sewed the entire top using the stretch settings on my sewing machine which made things go more slowly but was definitely a good move with this stretch knit.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe only wee problem I had with this shirt was with the neckline. I found that even with ironing it kinda gapes open a bit. I even tacked it down a bit at the shoulders, which helped the funny sticky-uppy thing it was doing there, but didn’t help the gaping. I was wondering if maybe the fabric stretched too much when I was ironing it before sewing??? I dunno, but I made the best of it and added a top stitch to finish it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALook at me!!! In my first me-made t-shirt! Who knows, maybe next year I’ll have enough hand sewn items in my wardrobe to participate in Me Made May!!!! Dare I dream????

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA special thanks to my guest photographer, Alxious. She’s a funny kid who makes me laugh but doesn’t tell me when I have hair in my eyes!! Get me Hair and Makeup, heads are gonna roll for this one!!!….

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Wedding Dress DIY: Custom Touches to Ready-to-Wear

My husband and I left ourselves just five weeks to plan our beautiful San Juan Island family-only wedding this summer! Five weeks! It came together so perfectly though, that I now truly believe wedding planning takes as long as you have to plan the wedding, be it five weeks or five months.

The one thing I was really worried about was my wedding dress. Having recently done some support shopping with a friend who’s getting married at the end of this month, I knew that most stores need at least 3 or 4 months to order a dress as well as time for alterations. That left just off-the-rack options. Unfortunately, the vast majority of stores carry size 6-10 for their samples with very little selection in the plus sizes, so I didn’t even try wedding boutique sample sales. Instead, I opted for what seemed like the only option: online ready-to-wear.

I found a beautiful wedding dress that perfectly fit what I had imagined (for under $200!!) from the unfortunately named Trashy Diva (also occasionally available from ModCloth). The Honey Dress was the right length for me, a gorgeous peach-hued ivory color and was retro inspired without leaving me feeling like I was in a costume. There were just a couple details I wasn’t happy with. Fortunately, as you’ll see, it’s easy to add very small and easy DIY touches to really add some custom features and unique details to your ready-to-wear wedding dress!

Wedding Dress DIY Before 2The first issue was that this dress showed just a teensy bit more cleavage than I wanted to show on my wedding day! The second issue was that I thought this dress was just begging for some sort of belt to visually separate the bodice from the skirt. The cleavage issue was solved with a quick hand-sewing project and the belt issue had an easy no-sew solution!

To reduce the amount of cleavage I was showing but leave the open, sexy and classic feel of the neckline, I decided to edge the neckline with some beautiful lace that I found at Britex Fabrics in San Francisco. I made sure to bring the dress with me so I could perfectly match the lace to the dress in both color and style.

Wedding Dress DIY LaceThese beautiful laces can cost a pretty penny so the smart woman who helped me at Britex pointed out that since the lace I chose was double sided, I only needed to buy half the required length! I cut the lace in half to have enough to cover both sides of the bust.

I hand stitched the lace to the inside lining of my dress using whip stitch and being very careful to not put my stitches through the front side of my dress.

Wedding Dress DIY 2

Wedding Dress DIY 3I slowly worked my way along the lace making sure that I took a step back here and there to check that the lace was perfectly lined up (I didn’t pin it because I didn’t want to have any visible pinholes).

Wedding Dress DIY 4To be honest, I was a little nervous about sewing the lace to the dress. I just never pictured myself as a “lace” girl, and was afraid I’d wind up just wrecking the dress. But once I finished one side of the neckline and could see the side-by-side comparison, I loved the alteration!

Wedding Dress DIY 5I was really happy with the finished product with just a hint of the lace peaking over the edge of the dress. It didn’t add much fabric but that half inch or so of lace went a long way in covering up my cleavage and making me feel more comfortable and classy in my dress. It also gave my dress a custom detail and made me feel that much more special on my wedding day!

Wedding Dress DIY After

Wedding Dress DIY After DetailTo solve the second problem of a belt for the dress, I once again turned to the Britex notions section. I purchased a nice long length of a ribbon that matched the ivory of my dress but was just a few shades darker. I had originally wanted a thinner ribbon, but I’m so glad I listened to the Britex sales clerk. She was pretty adamant that I need a ribbon that was closer to 3″ wide and in the end I really think that she was right!

Wedding Dress DIY Bow

Photo adapted from one taken by our fanastic photographer, Matt Land – matthewland.com

On my wedding day I had my maid-of-honor tie a nice big bow in the back of my dress and we snipped the ends of the ribbon with an angled cut for a nice finished look.

All in all, I really think these two little DIY touches added so much to the look of my wedding dress! Not only did they make me feel special and unique, most importantly they helped solve some simple fixes to make me feel comfortable on my wedding day!

Wedding Dress DIY Wedding Day

Photo taken by our amazing Seattle area photographer Matt Land – matthewland.com

 

 

 

 

 

Tutorial: Mending A Torn Dress Shirt

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m not sure why exactly, but my husband has gone on an elbow-tearing bender with his work shirts. Right in front of my eyes he tore the elbows out of two shirts while putting them on yesterday morning! We’re trying to keep to a budget these days (and try to live frugally and consciously in general) so I decided to try to mend the shirts to avoid buying new ones (four in total!!!). I’ve written up a little tutorial here that I hope is easy to follow!

Materials:
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA scissors
– iron
– thread in the color of the shirt
– fusible interfacing

Step 1: Interfacing.
To add some stability to the torn area, I first started by fusing a small patch of interfacing to the shirt. Fusible interfacing is two-sided; fabric on one and little bumps of glue on the other. You can see in the picture below the smooth side of the interfacing is in the foreground and the fusible side in the back.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI cut a patch of interfacing about at least a half inch larger than the tear in each dimension. I’ve also found with past experience that round edges are less likely to peel up than sharp corners, so cut out a oval rather than a rectangle.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALay the shirt on the ironing board then lay the interfacing patch on top of the tear, glue bump-side down (contacting the shirt). Try to pull the tear together as much as possible so that the two torn sides of fabric are in contact. This will make your mending job easier and less noticeable. Set your iron to as high a heat as your fabric will allow and iron with even, firm pressure for about 15 seconds then allow to cool.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Step 2: Sewing the Tear
First neaten up the tear by trimming any loose threads that are hanging off the shirt.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANext, you need to sew the tear itself closed. You’ve got two options for this depending on how noticeable you want the final tear to be. Option 1 is waaaaaaaaaaaaaay faster, but definitely a more noticeable mend and may work better on non-patterned shirts.

Option 1: Set your sewing machine to a wide zigzag stitch and top stitch over the tear, making sure to backstitch at the beginning and end of the sew and to catch both sides of the tear while sewing. You’re left with a neat mend, but one that can definitely be noticed.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI tried Option 1 first, but since my husband was going to be wearing these shirts to work and potentially meeting clients, I decided to take the time to do Option 2, an (almost) invisible repair.

Option 2: This option is much more tedious than the first because it requires hand-stitching. Using the smallest stitches possible, I sewed over the tear making sure to catch both sides of it. Since this was a patterned shirt, as I sewed I tried to keep my stitches with the white thread to the white parts of the check pattern. I then sewed in a similar fashion about 2 mm around the tear for extra stability.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATear??? What tear?? Ok, it’s not quite invisible and you’ll never have a perfect mend but this is pretty darn close!!! Keep in mind this image is zoomed in on the tear and when he’s wearing it, you’re really hard pressed to find it!

Step 3: Secure the Interfacing
I find that over successive washes, fusible interfacing often starts to peel up off the fabric it was attached to. To try to keep this from happening, I also used tiny stitches around the perimeter of the patch, keeping to the white parts of the pattern to secure the edges of the interfacing and add extra stability (You can just make this out in the picture above).

Here’s how the wrong side of the repair looks:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m hoping these repairs, hold up in the wash and I don’t find myself repeating this process too often! Fingers crossed!

Tutorial: Knitting Needle Wrap


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
After wrestling with a messy bag of loose yarn, needles and other knitting bits, I finally decided that it was time to make a proper wrap to keep my knitting needles organized. It’s a simple project that takes just a couple hours from start to finish (or less with a few shortcuts!).

Materials:
– Three pieces of your main fabric** cut into the following sizes;
– 18″ x 5″
– 18″ x 8 ”
– 18″ x 16″
– Three 2″ wide strips of edging fabric (or bias tape) cut to 18″ lengths
– Two 2″ wide strips of edging fabric (or bias tape) cut to 17″ lengths
– 2″ x 25″ piece of tie fabric (or ribbon)
– 2″ x 13″ piece of tie fabric (or ribbon)
(Optional: 18″ x 6″ piece of decorative fabric)
– thread
– scissors

**To make your life easier and your project neater, try to choose a fabric without obvious right and wrong sides. A heavy cotton will hold up well. I used the leftover scraps from some curtain panels.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Step 1: Preparing your edging
This step is essentially creating your own bias tape, so it can be a real time saver to just use bias tape for this step instead of contrasting fabric as I have here. To create your edging you’re going to want to make sure your iron is heated  up!

First, press each strip of fabric in half length-wise, creating a center crease (wrong sides together). Open up the folded fabric, then bring each long edge to the center crease and press again. You should now have a long strip of fabric about 1″ wide with two long edges folded to meet in the middle. Finally, recreate that strong center crease by folding the fabric in half length-wise again, hiding the fabric edges on the inside.

Press the fabric for the ties (skip this if you’re using ribbon for the ties instead) in the same manner.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

While you’re at it, with wrong sides together, go ahead and iron a half inch seam allowance along the long edge of your contrasting fabric for the decorative strip around the outside of the wrap.

Step 2: Sew decorative strip
Take the 18″ x 6″ contrasting fabric you just pressed and top-stitch it to what will be the outside of your wrap on the largest piece of main fabric. Placement doesn’t need to be precise but the top of the strip should be around the middle of the main fabric.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Something to take into consideration if you’re using contrasting fabrics is that the stitching will be visible from the other side. So if you care about that (which I don’t on a project like this) you may want to match your needle thread to the decorative panel and your bobbin thread to your main fabric.

Step 3: Sew edging/bias tape to top edges
Using 3 of the 4 pieces of 18″ long edging, pin one piece of edging to each piece of main fabric along the 18″ side. You’ll want to insert the piece of main fabric into the edging fold so each side of the main fabric has decorative edging on it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow carefully sew along the edging as close to the open side as possible. Remember that these stitches are meant to catch both sides of the edging fabric, so check periodically to ensure you are doing so.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou should now have three pieces of your main fabric, each with a strip of edging sewn to one of the long edges.

Step 4: Sew the bottom edge
Line up your three pieces of main fabric along their bare bottom 18″ edge and baste all three together. This basting step makes it way easier to sew the edging on. Now sew your final piece of 18″ length edging around this bottom edge. This stack will be a little thicker than the first edges so make sure your catching both sides of the edging/bias tape when you sew.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

(Notice on this picture the stripe of green stitches – this is showing through from the decorative strip on the outside of the wrap and can be avoided as I described above).

Step 5: Sew the sides
Next, baste the overlapping sides of the fabric as you did along the bottom edge (this is visible in the picture above), then cover these with the 17″ long edging strips. The sides of the main panels are 16″ long so you should have about an inch of overhang with the edging. Center the edging so you’ve got a half inch of overhang on either end, then fold under and pin before sewing.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Step 6: Sewing the ties.
This is another easy shortcut for this pattern. Instead of making your own ties, you can simply buy lengths of coordinating ribbon. If you’re making your own ties you should have them pressed as you did for the edging. Top-stitch the ties as close as possible to the open edge.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOnce you’re ties are made you can sew them the right side of your wrap on the inside. Try to line them up with the center of the outside decorative strip.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Step 7: Pockets
The final step is just to sew some pockets to hold your needles and notions. Top-stitch straight lines from the bottom edge of the wrap to the top of the second pocket (8″ height). I sewed one of these lines every 2 inches because I rarely use really chunky needles. My size US19 needles barely fit in a 2″ pocket, so if you have a lot of chunky needles you may want to consider different spacing. I also left a larger pocket on one side to hold odd shaped bits and pieces.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd that’s it! You’re done! Go ahead and fill your new knitting needle wrap! As you can see in the pictures below, I also chose to label some of the pocket with needle sizes I commonly use, but keep in mind that this prevents reorganization of the roll in the future.

Stuff, fold, roll, and wrap! And away you go with your very own handmade knitting needle wrap!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Eva Dress: Pattern from Your Style Rocks

I made a new dress!!

One nice thing about being unemployed for a few months is that I’m finally working my way through my sewing basket and getting to things I’ve been meaning to for a while. Waaaaaaaaaaaay back in May I posted about a little fabric shopping spree I’d gone on, where I purchased a beautiful teal/emerald jersey for a dress with no pattern yet in mind. I settled on the Eva Dress from Your Style Rocks and I am so pleased with how it turned out!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis was my first time printing a pattern pdf myself (it’s FREE!!!!) and had underestimated how long it would take to cut out and tape together all the pattern pieces. I think it took me as long to do that as it did to put together the entire dress!

I had made the resolution this year that I was going to start trying to sew “properly”. That is, reading patterns fully, following directions properly, ironing seams and using suggested techniques. I was somewhat successful with that on this dress and am proud of how it came together.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABecause I used a fabric with stretch, I double-stitched then trimmed every seam in the dress as the pattern instructions suggested. I think it definitely helped to keep things looking neat. I could not, however, bring myself to iron the seams as the pattern instructed and I do think that decision subtly shows in the front waist detail. The ‘swoops’ are not quite as neat as I think they could be and I was left with a tiny bit too much fabric in the waist panel. I briefly contemplated trying to fix it but decided that picking apart the jersey then resewing it was likely to cause more damage than good.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe pattern was fairly easy to follow. The only place I got a little tripped up was when sewing the facing to the back neckline. I interpreted the instructions as telling me to fold the facing in half, then stitch it to the dress, which I did. Then, the pattern instructed me to understitch and trim to just 1/4″. Lacking any kind of technical training whatsoever with sewing, there are many techniques and terms that I don’t know and “understitching” was one of them. I looked it up on YouTube, did what I thought I should and found that I had this 1/4″ little ragged edged facing bit that stuck up around the whole back of the edge!!! In the end,  I just top-stitched over the whole thing. All that stitching made the back neckline a little heavy, but it turned out not too badly.

I also didn’t really know what the pattern was talking about with respect to the armholes. I opted to just leave them until the end at which point I did a double-turn edge on them and I thought it worked out great. No problem at all! I also opted to do the double-turn hem which, while making a nice neat edge, may have made the hem a little heavy for the dress.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI also didn’t read to the end of the pattern, which means I constructed the back pleat improperly 😦 Once I did read the end of the pattern, their way really seems like it would have been much easier.

All in all I’m really pleased with this dress and would definitely make another!!

 

 

 

 

Hand-Sewn Felt Embroidered Baby Onesies: Tutorial

Since all my friends simultaneously decided to hop on the baby train about a year ago, I’ve been making adorable (if I do say so myself!) hand-sewn onesies for the little booger machines. I’ve given a sneak peak before in my previous post showing what I made my nephew for Christmas and now it’s time for a tutorial!

This week I made a couple onesies for some cute little baby girls and took pictures along the way. Check out this cute skull with a bow onesie!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere’s what you’ll need for this project;

SAMSUNG

Materials List:
– onesie
– felt
– embroidery floss
– scissors
– fabric glue

Seems like for a new born baby you’d buy the newborn size (0-3 mos.) onesie, right? Not always. Some of my friends have birthed behemoths….er….I mean, healthy-weight…..babies that actually never fit the 0-3 mos. clothing size. You might want to consider purchasing a 3-6 mos. onesie, the baby can always grow into it!

When getting started I take the time to first sketch my pattern out on a piece of paper. This gives the nice advantage of reproducibility if I save the paper template for future projects.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAUse this template to trace out your pattern onto a square of felt and cut the pattern.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAlthough I reinforce the felt with embroidery, I always like to first adhere the felt to the onesie with fabric glue. This helps to hold the applique in place while I’m sewing and adds a little extra strength to the final product.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI use bottled glue instead of spray glue because I find that when working with small pieces of fabric like this, the spray glue can get a little messy. I try to keep the glue away from the edges where I’ll be sewing because putting the needle and thread through the glue repeatedly really gums it up and leads to tangling while trying to embroider.

Center your felt cutout on the onesie. I usually try to position it so that it will center on the child’s chest, but it can be pretty cute to sew something to the bum of the onesie.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor both a decorative detail and additional strength, I embroider around the edge of the felt with a complimentary color of embroidery floss.

Standard embroidery floss is actually composed of 6 thin threads. I find it is too difficult to work with the floss at full thickness so I separate out 3 strands to embroider with. Just hold on to the 3 you want to use, gently pull on the 3 you’re setting aside and it should separate pretty easily (the longer your thread, the more likely it is to tangle).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI used blanket stitch to embroider around the edges of the felt applique. Blanket stitch is a really easy way to add a cute embellishment that I’ve shown before in my double-sided napkin post.

To do blanket stitch, first come up through the fabric from the bottom, then put the needle back down through the fabric about 1 cm over and 1 cm down (or whatever spacing you’d like), and pull the floss through. Leave a little slack in the floss, don’t pull it all the way through.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen bringing the needle back up, bring it up on the edge of the felt across from where you brought the needle down. Make sure to bring the needle up inside the loop of floss left on the top. Pull taught.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere’s a nice YouTube video describing the process if you found that a bit confusing.

Embroider around all edges of the felt to give it a cute hand-made look.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI wanted to add just a touch more sweetness to this little skull so I also cut out a bow in pale pink felt. Just cut two pieces, one larger oval and one thin rectangle.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATo form the bow, pinch the oval in half along the long edge, then fold the edges back onto themselves.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI added a little stitch at this point to hold it together while I used the thin rectangle segment to wrap around the center of the bow and stitched it all together.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHand-stitch the bow to the skull and you’ve got one adorable onesie!!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ve probably made about 20 of these over the past year or so. Once you get the hang of it, it usually only takes about 1.5-2 hours to pull a onesie together!

Here are a few other ones that I’ve made over the past year…

SAMSUNG

SAMSUNG

SAMSUNG

SAMSUNG

SAMSUNG

SAMSUNGI’ve linked this onto parties over at Thirty Handmade Days, So You Think You’re Crafty and Nap Time Crafters. Head on over and see what other crafters have linked to the parties!

 

 

DIY: Plaid Elbow Patch Appliques

Pete has a sweater that goes everywhere with him. It’s been stuck overnight on the top of Mount Hood with him, it’s been to Yosemite, it’s been to the Alps, it’s been to sea, it’s been to Alaska. It’s been crammed into his backpack on virtually every trip he takes. It’s actually shocking that it’s taken this long to develop a hole!

On a trip to NYC Pete saw a dude wearing a sweater with plaid elbow patches and asked if I could do something similar for him. No problem!

The finished product!!

The finished product!!

With the knit sweater I was worried about two things if I simply sewed a patch on top; 1. that the hole would continue to grow under the patch, and 2. that the patch would be difficult to sew on stretchy knit fabric. So I decided to make my own iron-on applique elbow patches using an adhesive web called Pellon. Below are step-by-step directions to make your own applique patches.

Materials list;
– sturdy plaid fabric
– paperbacked adhesive web, such as Pellon
– scissors
– pins
– iron
– damp cloth
– sewing machine

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

1. Cut out a rough shape in fabric, and the same shape, slightly smaller, from the paperbacked adhesive web. 

2. Lay the paperbacked adhesive web on the ironing board, bumpy-side-up, and lay the fabric over top, wrong-side-down. Iron on high for about 8 seconds. Now your fabric should adhered to the adhesive web. Be careful to not touch the bumpy (glue) side of the adhesive web to the iron or it might muck up your iron.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

3. Trim the fabric fused with the web to the desired size. I made a patch that was about 6″ x 4″ with rounded edges.

4. Peel the paper backing from the adhesive web. It can help to grab the edge of the fabric and make a little tear to get the backing off. Now you left with an iron-on fabric patch!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

5. Make someone model the sweater so you can position the patches properly on the elbows and pin them in place, web-side-down. I did this on the side with the hole, then removed the sweater and positioned the other patch by measuring, to make sure they’d be positioned symmetrically.

6. Lay the sweater with pinned-on patch on the ironing board, patch-side-up. Overlay with a slightly damp towel (needed to keep the fabric from burning while adhering the patch). Carefully remove the pins without changing the position of the patch, then iron for ~15 seconds with firm pressure. The Pellon instructions say to do this on the wool setting, but I was repairing an acrylic sweater so used the synthetic setting and found it still adhered well.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

7. I worried the edges of the patch might peel up or fray over time so I finished them with some decorative stitching around the edge on my sewing machine. I set my sewing machine to a zigzag stitch with 4.5 width setting and 0 length setting and carefully sewed around the edge of each patch.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I gotta hand it to Pete, the plaid patches were a great idea and the sweater looks pretty cute now! We had also debated leather/suede or corduroy patches, but I’m glad we went with the plaid.

Baby Name Art: Felt Embroidery DIY

A friend of mine just had a gorgeous baby girl: Stella Joy! My go-to baby gift is normally a set of felt applique onesies (tutorial, one day!), but I really dropped the ball with baby Stella and before I knew it….she was here!

I decided to branch out a bit and, inspired by some things I found on Pinterest here, here and here, I made Stella some baby name art. I’m so happy with how it turned out and I hope her parents love it too!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis project wasn’t too difficult, but all the stitching around the name took a lot longer than I expected!

To make this, all you’ll need is;

– an embroidery hoop (mine was 16″)
– one sheet each of green, white, pink, and blue felt
– white and pink seed beads
– one skein each of white, black, blue and pink embroidery floss
– two skeins of green embroidery floss
– lightweight cotton/muslin (18-20″ square)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI first cut a large circle from the blue felt, about 1″ diameter smaller than the embroidery hoop and, with muslin secured in the hoop, sewed the blue felt to the white cotton backing using the blanket stitch with blue embroidery floss. I then sewed the green felt on just as I had the blue.

To make the name, I cut paper stencils and held them in place with straight pins while I gently traced around them with a felt pen. (I’m not sure why the color is off in these couple photos, the green is really more of a soft mint rather than the harsh lime it appears here).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOnce I had the name traced onto the fabric I sewed around it using a simple backstitch.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe grassy embroidery effect around the name was created by sewing small straight stitches in a random pattern about a centimeter around each letter. I diluted the stitches toward the edge of the letters to try to give the impression of grass.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAInspired by something I’d seen on Pinterest I used concentric circles cut out of felt to make some sheep and flowers, adding a seed bead to the center of each for a nice girly touch.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe little sheep legs were made using backstitch and the heads were a simple satin stitch. The expanse of blue sky seemed a little vacant when I was done and I was worried clouds would compete with the sheep, so I added a little heart embroidered on using blanket stitch.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith the front finished, I wanted to make sure the back looked just as polished, so I tried to finish it as nicely as I could (without wasting too much time on it). Unfortunately, I didn’t take pictures of the process because I was going to just link to another tutorial on a blog I frequent. When I went back to look at it though, I realized that I didn’t actually follow it at all and made up my own method instead after I’d already finished without taking any pictures….whoops!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I cut the excess backing fabric away leaving about a 2″ border. The I ran my needle through it very loosely gathering it toward the center of the backing. I cut a circle from felt about and inch smaller in diameter than the embroidery hoop and attached it to the gathered backing using blanket stitch.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd that’s about it! Hope Stella likes it! 🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA