Tag Archives: sewing

Sassy Scrappy Fabric Flower Tutorial

30 Jul

DSCF2492

If you are like me you have at least one magic color. I try to love all colors equally, but there is one shade that I look absolutely stunning in. (Incidentally, my roommate Rebecca looks equally fabulous in this color. We often match.)

DSCF1820

Awhile ago I found a dress in the magic color on clearance  at REI. Fortunately Rebecca wasn’t there.  If we had both spotted it at the same time the resulting race for the rack may have resulted in injuries, property damage, and possibly several days of us not speaking to each other.

DSCF1827

I loved the color of the dress but after awhile I realized that that I didn’t like the length.  I have great legs and I wanted a dress that shows them off.  Empowered by the fearlessness of the Refashionista, I measured it to a dress I liked the length of, added a little seam allowance, chopped the extra length off, and refinished the hem.

But this isn’t the end of the story.

The day after I performed this minor surgery I found a hat (at Whole Foods of all places) that matched my dress perfectly.  I loved the hat as it was, but I had all these extra fabric scraps and it seemed like a shame to waste them.  So I embarked on a mini millinery mission:

Sassy Scrappy Fabric Flower Tutorial

DSCF2456

1. Cut a rectangular strip of fabric about 13 inches long and 3 inches tall.  Cut a smaller scrap about 2 inches square. (Don’t sweat the dimensions too much, they don’t have to be perfect. Just know that the longer the rectangular strip is the fuller the resulting flower will be.)

Fold over and finish one long side and both short sides of the rectangle.  (I saved time by using the original dress hem for one of these sides.)

DSCF2458
DSCF2461

2. Sew a running stitch along the unfinished edge of the rectangle then pull the thread tight to create a gather. Tie the thread off.

DSCF2463
DSCF2464

3. Roll up the half circle of fabric, pinching at the gathered edge to create the flower.

DSCF2466

4. Sew the flower together by pushing the needle and thread through all the folds at the bottom of the flower. You will want to sew about ten stitches like this through the bottom of the flower to secure it. (Fortunately you don’t have to be super neat about sewing these stitches, they will be covered up at the end.)

DSCF2467

5. Fold over the edges of the little square of fabric and stitch. Sew the square over the end of the flower, hiding the raw edges and stitching.

DSCF2468

Voilà! Flower!

DSCF2482

I sewed three flowers to the hat band to create one sassy summer hat.

~Robin

P.S. This worked well with the heavy knit fabric the dress was made out of.  If you have thin fabrics or woven fabrics you might want to consider this tutorial.

P.P.S. Just in case you were wondering, I also look fabulous in purple.

Destash Bash

Materials Used

Thread (stash)
Dress (closet)
Hat? (I don’t know whether or not I should count this as a violation of the Destash Bash. I bought it without intending to craft with it, but it was in my house less than a week before it became a craft project. What do you think? Does it count as a “new” craft item?)

Swap Skort

11 Jun

Destash Bash

Picture 1

Summer has come to El Portal. On days like this most of us bust out the shorts and spend the entire day by the river, but not me. I need to spend my day packing and I dislike wearing shorts. Imagine an emu trying to wear a tankini at a cocktail party and you’ll have an idea of how awkward I feel when I put on shorts.

On really hot days I usually wear a skirt, but I still spend a considerable amount of time frolicking around the woods doing active things in the company of people who probably don’t want to see my underwear. This is why hiking skorts are my best friends in the summer. They’re practical, sassy, and they usually come equipped with handy things like pockets and belt loops.

IMG_8002

I recently discovered the Refashionista’s blog and wondered if I could make my own hiking skort. My opportunity came when my friend Katie organized a swap party. I found a great pair of columbia shorts and a dress that was really cute except for the botched screen print on the front of it.

IMG_8010

I sliced off the skirt of the dress with my rotary cutter, and used a seam ripper to open up the side seams about halfway down the skirt. I refinished those raw edges with a flat seam. This left a slit in the skirt that makes the side pockets on the shorts accessible. Then I carefully sewed first the back and then the front of the skirt to the shorts just below the waste line. I overlapped the front and back sides a little to hide the pocket slits.

IMG_8015

I trimmed off the excess seam allowance and folded the skirt over and sewed it down a second time to finish it.

DSCF1609

Here’s me wearing the finished skirt at Wapama Falls during our Hetch Hetchy backpacking trip. I may be totally disheveled after three days in the backcountry but dang…..look at that spiffy skirt!

DSCF1412

Materials Used

Dress (free box!)
Shorts (free box!)
Thread (stash)

Thanks to Jillian the Refashionista for the inspiration, and to Katie for organizing the swap party (and for making crepes!)

~Robin

Stash Busting Instrument Case

20 May

Destash Bash

For my first Destash Bash project I wanted to make a case for the guitalele I acquired as a backpacking guitar. Most of the materials, with the exception of the Ridge Rest that I used for padding, came from my stash and were bought when I got the instrument a few months ago.

IMG_8200

I started out with the intention of turning this blog post into a tutorial, but I gave up when I realized that my original scheme wasn’t all that well planned. Although it worked out in the end, I had to do a lot of hand sewing, and there is one part that came out a little bit wonky. You may have more luck getting sewing advice from a brain dead parakeet than trying to copy my method. You could try one of these tutorials instead: Instructables, Ehow.

Things I learned from this project:

1. Guitaleles > Backpacking Guitars. The used Guitalele I found was cheaper, lighter, and more compact than any of the backpacking guitars I looked at.

2. Social media can be a useful tool in helping you find reusable materials. Mara (yes, that Mara) came through for me by digging an old beat up foam sleeping mat out of the trunk of her Falcon after I put a request for one on facebook. She warned me that it might not be in great shape, and it did take a bit of scrubbing to get it clean but it was perfect for my project, and I didn’t have to buy a new one.

3. DO NOT attempt to make a case for an instrument because you think it will be more fun than just buying one online. Yes, the finished product will be a million times cooler than anything you can find on Ebay. But making a guitar case is surprisingly difficult.

4. Foam sleeping pads may be a great and versatile material for construction, (and my parents said I would never learn anything useful from playing Dagorhir in college.) However, trying to ease thick foam around a sewing machine foot is just about impossible. Hence all the hand sewing and cussing.

IMG_8228

5. I used clearance dress lining fabric for the inside of the case. I thought the light weight, slippery fabric would be the best choice for the lining. In retrospect I think any woven fabric would have been fine. The lining fabric was full of static, unravelled like crazy, and was an all around pain to work with. It also felt so unpleasant on my skin that I shudder just thinking about wearing it as an actual dress lining.

6. Remember to sew the straps on before you assemble the whole thing. This will make your life 800 times easier.

7. The case isn’t waterproof so I have to wrap the guitalele in a large trash bag to make sure that it stays dry in the rain.

8. I still hate zippers. I wound up sewing the whole thing in by hand, but the moment I finally zippped my guitalele into its own custom case was pretty satisfying.

Materials used:

Outdoor upholstery Fabric (stash)
Lining fabric (stash)
Robe Zipper (stash)
Webbing (stash)
Thread (stash)
Duct Tape (stash)
Ridge Rest (reused!)

Despite all the difficulty I had, I am pretty happy with how it turned out. I do have to be careful about how I set my backpack down when I have the Guitalele strapped onto it, but so far it’s worked really well.

DSCF1245

The completed case in action on the Panorama Trail.

~Robin

Crafters Anonymous

18 Jan

My name is Robin and I have an addiction….

While there were many things that contributed to the utter lack of blogging before the holidays, two of my craft projects were major time-sucks. I loved them and I wanted to write about them, but they were gifts for people who read the blog and had to be kept top-secret.

The clandestine projects were two Yosemite inspired wall hangings using the same fusible web applique technique that I used for the Witchy Wall Hanging.   I’m insanely proud of how they turned out.

IMG_0026_2
Photo by Jason Clancy

When I first came here I was completely overwhelmed by all the scenery. Much of it went by so quickly that I couldn’t really take it in. The first sight I really remember is this awe inspiring viewpoint of Yosemite Falls, and when I decided to make a wall hanging for my parents I knew right away that it had to be of this.

In addition to edging the fused pieces with a satin stitch, I machine embroidered extra detail to mimic the vertical cracks that Yosemite rock climbers know so well.  While it added some needed embellishment, it was tedious work, and the thought of messing up terrified me.   I learned the hard way that one disadvantage of using fusible web for applique is that if you have to rip out any stitches on the finished piece the webbing leaves big unsightly holes in the fabric. The quilting I kept to bare minimum, just around the edge of the falls, skyline, and border to add a little bit of contrast.

IMG_0015
Photo by Jason Clancy

I went crazy with hand painted fabrics on both of these projects. I found a few printed fabrics with convincing rock and forest textures, (like the brown border fabric that looks exactly like the bark of a Ponderosa Pine,) but the variegated look of the hand painted fabrics was stunning. I particularly like the way the dark brown fabric in the upper left hand corner looks like rockfall scars. (We call that the Forbidden Wall, because rockfall is so frequent that we aren’t supposed to stop there when we hike the trail beneath it.) The striped fabric also mimics very well the streaks of water and lichen that color  the cliff faces.

IMG_8528
Photo by Derek Ferguson

I was so happy with the first wall hanging that I decided to make a second one for my friend Meg, who’s exploits include climbing the Snake Dike route on Half Dome during a full moon. This was a going away present for her since she’s headed off to Colorado to “CLIMB ALL THE THINGS!!!

I tried to use the texture of the fabrics to their greatest advantage and only used a tiny bit of thread painting on the left half of the face of Half Dome. I quilted it with a silver lamé thread to give the impression of moonlight.  Apparently “stars” and “silver seed beads” are forever associated in my head because I made the stars with the same beads I used for the night sky pendants.  I am particularly proud of the bias tape border with mitered corners. I’ve been trying to perfect this technique for a long time and I think I finally nailed it.

So yes, I may have a bit of a wall hanging problem. I have plans for three more and I have no desire to quit. Brace yourself.

~Robin

Countdown to Halloween: Halloween Countdown Calendar

13 Oct

What day is it today?

Mr. Lupescu will tell us!

012
Good job Mr. Lupescu!

Last year I tackled a pretty monumental sewing project (for me), my Halloween countdown calendar.

Halloween Countdown
Notice the dead plants… I think it adds to the atmosphere.

I saw the hearse pattern forever ago and knew immediately I needed to make something with it (I was thinking a skirt), but when the idea to make a calendar reanimated itself in my brain I knew it was perfect.

I searched EVERYWHERE for a good countdown calendar tutorial. I figured I could even use Advent calendars – the fabric would just be a little different. I ended up basing mine off of this one over at The Art of Darkness.  I liked the idea of sewing all the pockets in a row.  It reduced the amount of error I could make in measuring and I need all the help in the world with that.  I knew I wanted a header and a snazzier day 31, though so I played around a LOT with graph paper.  I hate math and I found myself calculating and recalculating how much room I had to fiddle with.

Eventually, I ended up with this as the header:

Rich Man, Poor Man
“One and all will here and stay,
Come and dance the Macabray.”

No I’m not a terrible speller.  The quote is from “The Graveyard Book” by Neil Gaiman. At first I wanted a quote from the catacombs in Paris, but decided this was much more light-hearted and in tune with the fabric.

I chose a font I liked from dafont (Rock Show Whiplash) and printed it onto the fabric.  Some people have asked how I did that, so here’s a quick explanation.

*Cut your fabric to 8 1/2 x 11 (or the size of whatever printer paper you’re using).
*Cut a piece of freezer paper to the same size and iron it to your fabric.
*Use a glue stick to glue the freezer paper to a regular sheet of paper.
*Make sure all the little strings are clipped and neat – don’t want them snagging important printer bits!
*Print your image on it like it was a regular sheet of paper.

And that’s about it.  After it was done, I cut it into the shape of a gravestone, ironed some fusible web to the back and attached it to the main piece.  I went around the outside with an applique stitch, but I constantly changed the length of the stitches to give it a more unfinished look.

The wings on the bottom were made exactly the same way.

014
Man, the amount of  cat hair already collected on that thing is really scary.

The numbers were made with regular iron-on printer sheets and the same font.  They were actually the most painful part of the whole project!  I cut some of the hearses, coffins and spiderwebs from the excess fabric, attached fusible web and ironed them to the pockets.

All in all, I’m really pleased with the way it turned out.  I meant to make a cool little guy to go in the pockets (a ghost would be perfect for the theme), but for now it’s just Mr. Lupescu.

~ April

Countdown to Halloween: Witchy Wall Hanging

7 Oct

PA070002

I have always loved the look of applique quilts but I was intimidated by how hard applique was supposed to be.  Then, years ago, my aunt taught me a method for applique that uses fusible web.  Now with the help of a little Heat n’ Bond I feel like the queen of applique.

I designed this pattern for a Halloween wall hanging but the same shapes could easily be cut out of paper for scrapbooking or a kids craft.

PDF Applique Pattern

Materials

  • 1/4 yard 45 inch-wide fabric for the border  (I just barely had enough fabric with a quarter of a yard, if you are using a directional pattern, or you just don’t want to sweat too much while cutting out the border pieces I would recommend 1/3 of a yard.)
  • 1/3 yard 45 inch-wide fabric for the background squares.
  • 3/8 yard 45 inch-wide fabric for the backing
  • 3/8 yard batting
  • You will only need a tiny bit of the other fabrics so I recommend raiding your stash (or your friend’s stash) for scraps.  This is also a great project for charm packs or quilters candies.  If not, you can purchase 1/8 of a yard of whatever colors you choose.  Wash and press all  your fabrics before cutting.
  • 1/2 yard lightweight fusible web/ iron-on adhesive
  • Variety of threads, buttons, and accessories for embellishments
  • (optional) 80 inches of piping, or 1/8 yard 45 inch wide fabric and 80 inches of cotton cord to make your own piping.  There is a great piping tutorial here.
  • (optional) 100 inches bias tape for the binding

Cutting

I’ve included measurements for making both mitered and straight borders.

Mitered border.  There is a great tutorial for sewing a mitered border here.

2  35 inch x 3 inch pieces  (side borders)

2  16 inch x 3 inch pieces  (top borders)

2  9 inch x 2 inch pieces   (spacers)

Straight, aka, butted border.  There is a tutorial for sewing a straight border here.

2  34 inch x 3 inch pieces  (side border)

2  9 inch x 3 inch pieces (top borders)

2  9 inch x 2 inch pieces (spacers)

Also cut:

Background squares:
3  9 inch x 9 inch squares

Backing fabric
1   33 1/2 inch x 15 1/2 inch square

Batting:
1   33 1/2 inch x 15 1/2 inch square

Applique

1. Fuse the adhesive web onto  your fabric.  Cut out a piece of your adhesive web that is slightly larger than the pattern piece you are using.  Place it adhesive side down onto the wrong side of the fabric.  Put your iron on a low heat, no steam setting and press down on the paper side of the web for a few seconds.  Try not to get the adhesive onto the iron or it will make a sticky mess.  If this does happen you can wipe it off with a cotton rag, just be sure not to burn yourself.

PA020196

2. Trace and cut out the pattern onto the paper backing of the web.  Cut out the pattern pieces and place them face down onto the paper and trace.  Use a sharp pair of scissors to cut out the piece.  Once you’ve cut out the pattern pieces you can peel off the paper backing.

PA020199

3. Place your pattern pieces and fuse them onto the background fabric.  Fuse the pieces that are going to be underneath other elements first.  (The legs of the cauldron, the brim of the hat, the stem of the pumpkin.  The pattern pieces are numbered to help you with this.)  To fuse the pieces make sure the paper backing on the web has been peeled off, and place them adhesive side down onto the fabric.  Press with the iron, still on low heat.  Try to avoid dragging the iron across the fabric as this could cause the pieces to shift.

PA020206

4. Piece together your finished squares using a 3/8 inch seam allowance.

If you choose to add piping around the border there is a fabulous tutorial here.

Tutorial for mitered border

Tutorial for straight border

Tutorial for finishing with bias tape binding

If you would like further clarification on the applique technique there is a great tutorial here.

PA070010PA070012

5. Embellish away!  The details are the fun part of this quilt so go crazy.  I prefer to finish the applique by satin stitching around the raw edges, but you could also do the same thing with puffy paint.  Add flair with buttons, yo-yos, embroidery, quilting, rick-rack, beads, couching….the sky is the limit.

6. Ask your friends what they think of your creation, you know they’ll be impressed!

~Robin

PA070015

Greek Revival Shirt

4 Aug

IMG_3792

I designed this shirt a few years ago while trying to make a costume with some extra fabric I had laying around, but I really liked it and started wearing it everywhere. Personally, I think there is a Greek goddess-like flair to this shirt; the flash of skin between the sleeve slits looks sexy in an “Aphrodite couldn’t pull off this look” kind of way. It is loose fitting and the slits make it cool and breezy while still keeping your arms partially protected from the Mediterranean sun. The front and back of the shirt are identical, which means if you ever accidentally spill olive oil down the front of it at a party you can turn it around and no one will be the wiser. (Not that I’ve ever done that.)

Materials:
Tape measure
Masking tape or marking pen
Scissors
Pins
Thread
Sewing machine or some other means of stitching
Two yards of fabric (approximately, more on that in a moment)
Iron (optional)

This shirt has the easiest construction you can imagine. It’s just a big T shape and the top sleeve seam isn’t sewn completely to create the slit. I made this shirt using the width of my fabric to make both the sleeves and the body, which means the sleeves only come to three quarter length on me. With a little extra math and a few extra seams you could easily make it with full length sleeves.

Shirt

There are only three measurements in this shirt that matter, the length of the shirt from shoulder to hem (A), the distance around the chest, (B) and the length from the bottom of the armhole to the hem (C) To figure out these measurements you could use your measuring tape to measure your body, or you could find a shirt in your closet that has a good fit and get your measurements from there.

Before buying your fabric you need to know the length of your shirt from shoulder to hem. (A) To figure out exactly how much fabric you need, take this number and add an inch and a half for seam allowance, and then double that number. (I give myself fairly generous seam allowances.) You may want to purchase an extra eighth or even quarter of a yard of your fabric, this is a sewer’s version of an insurance policy. The fabric I used here was 54 inches wide, keep in mind that if you buy a fabric that is only 40 inches wide the sleeves are not going to be as long.

Wash and dry your fabric the same way you will wash the finished shirt. Most of the fabric we bring home from the craft store has never seen a washing machine. Pre-washing makes sure that any excess dye and starch is removed, and that any major shrinking the fabric may do is out of the way before we’ve put all this work into making a garment. Of course, if you aren’t planning to wash your shirt, ever, feel free to skip this step.

IMG_3587-edit-2

Cut your fabric into two square pieces that are the length of your shirt from shoulder to hem, plus an inch and a half (for seam allowance.) An easy way to do this is to fold your fabric in half with the selvage edges together on both sides and the raw edges together at the bottom. You may need to trim these raw edges to get them straight but don’t fret about it too much, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Cut along the fold to create two pieces. Lay your two pieces out on top of each other neatly. If you are using a fabric with a pattern that runs in one direction you will want to flip one piece of fabric so that the pattern will run in the same direction on the back and the front.

IMG_3591-edit2

Mark out the shape. Take the measurement around the chest (B) divide it in half and add three inches for seam allowance and extra ease. This will be the measurement across the chest. Take measurement C and add an extra inch and a half for seam allowance. Use your marking pen to mark out your T shape using these dimensions. I used masking tape for this because the sound of a pen scratching across fabric makes me shudder like nails on a chalkboard.

Cut both layers of fabric out along these lines and you are ready to start sewing!

The fabric that I used for this shirt is mostly linen, which means the raw edges unravel faster than a Hollywood marriage. One way I prevented this was by using pinking shears instead of regular scissors to cut out my fabric. Another way to combat unraveling is to sew a zigzag stitch along the raw edges. If you are lucky enough to have a serger or a machine with an overlock stitch those are also good options.

IMG_3599

This shirt is kind of odd in that the first seam you sew is a finishing seam. I’ve been using this type of seam for years and I don’t know what it’s proper name is. A google search told me it might be called a rolled hem or a double turnback seam. Either way it’s easy and makes a neat finish on raw edges.

This is where your iron comes into the picture. I was taught that you should always iron and pin folds flat before seaming if you want a nice neat hem. In reality, I seldom do this. (That shuffling sound you just heard was my grandmother rolling over in her grave.) I’ve included directions as if you are going to press your seams but you can take the liberty of skipping this step.

To finish the top of the sleeves fold over the top edge towards the wrong side (inside) of the fabric. You should only have to fold it over a tiny bit. (Less than 1/4 of an inch.) Iron and pin that fold flat all along the top. Then fold over that edge again by about a quarter of an inch to hide the raw edge inside the folds. Topstitch along the fold to create a hem. Do this all across the top of both the front and back pieces.

IMG_3603IMG_3605

Fold over once………………………………………………………..Fold over twice


IMG_3610
….And Topstitch.

Slap the right sides together and seam the sides and bottom part of the sleeves together on both the left and right side. You can use a regular topstitch here, but I was still worried about the edges fraying so I cheated and used a French seam. Just remember if you are going to use a French seam that you will start with the wrong sides of the fabric together.

Now you are going to seam the top of the sleeves first at the “cuff” end of each sleeves and then at the shoulder. Lay the right sides together and put a seam about two inches long at the top corner of each sleeve right below the finished edge.

IMG_3616
It’s almost starting to look like a real shirt but first you need to place the seams for the shoulders. The best way I could figure out to do this was to fold the shirt in half hold, it up to my body and place a pin on each shoulder. The shoulder seam should fall right over your bra strap area. Before you sew your seams, pin it securely and try it on to make any adjustments. (Being careful not to accidentally stab yourself, of course.) It may take a few tries to get it placed right and symmetrical.


IMG_3627
(It’s really hard to take a picture of this step.)

Keep your wrong sides together and sew a two inch seam at the shoulders. I recommend back stitching here a few times to make a good strong shoulder seam. If your sleeve gets caught in something this is the seam that is the most likely to rip. (Not that I’ve ever done that either.)

Finally you’re going to finish the raw edges at the “cuff” of the sleeves and the hem of the shirt using the same fold-over-twice-and-topstitch method. The only difference is that there will be a few seams incorporated into these finished edges. Simply press the seams open and fold over as before.

IMG_3617IMG_3620

Yay! You’re done! Put your completed shirt on and parade around like Athena springing from the head of Zeus!

IMG_3632

~Robin

It’s Fashion Week… Apparently

3 May

Maybe it’s the royal wedding that’s gotten us all in a tizzy (disclaimer: I slept through the royal wedding), but it seems that the fashion bug has been a-buzzin’.  Or maybe I was just so inspired by Robin’s impeccably put-together ensemble from earlier this week that I felt the need to do a fashion post of my own.

Last weekend, I went up to Yosemite to visit the fashion guru herself.  On Saturday, there was this big to-do in her little mountain community called Spring Fling.  It began with a craft / art fair.  Since you basically have to submit a stellar multimedia portfolio using only upcycled materials and acorns in order to live in El Portal, I was treated to more creativity than I thought possible in such a small concentration.

One very popular vendor sold thrifted clothing which she had screen printed.  Robin and I both scooped up some great finds (I love my flowy purple top with an owl on the back and my short-sleeved mustard yellow pullover).  One of Robin’s discoveries was a long breezy-looking dress with a raven on the skirt.  Unfortunately, when we took turns trying it on at home it made us both look like boxes.

Raven Dress
Pardon the funny look. I just bought a new camera that will take your picture if you wink at it. A good idea in theory.

Neither of us wanted the dress to go to waste, so I commandeered it back to the OC and did a little reconstructive surgery, as we do in SoCal.

Skirt
Ta-daa!

The transformation was pretty easy.  I just folded over about an inch at the top for a casing, made a hole and strung the drawstring that was originally used to tie back the waist through the casing.  I was going to make a nice buttonhole opening, but my sewing machine didn’t seem to like working with the fabric and gave up after the first side.  The fabric is pretty non-fray though so it wasn’t a problem.  I also sewed the slits on the sides down another 7 inches so I didn’t flash everyone and their grandmother pretty much whenever I moved.

I’m excited to have a doubly upcycled new skirt.  Yeah, I know Robin bought it and I should give it back to her if I want to be a good friend, but I kind of want the skirt more. :)

~april

Slightly Biased

4 Mar

This post was originally featured on Simply Sunshine in July of 2010, but is no longer available online.  It has been modified for its new home.

Once upon a time, I came across Prudent Baby’s bias tape tutorial.  At the time I thought, maybe I’d get around to it in the distant future and relegated it to my delicious account.  I’ve been pretty happy with just buying the premade stuff and not having to fuss with it.  So what changed my mind?

Noodlehead (again) has this tutorial for turning cargo pants into a messenger bag.  I just so happen to have a pair of cargo pants with an inconvenient rip that would look odd even if I mended them.  I absolutely love the look of the patterned bias tape she uses on the front flap.  The pattern adds a pop that the solid stuff just can’t do.  So last night I pulled out some fabric I’d bought in the remnant section of Jo-Ann’s and tried out the bias tape tutorial.

Now, this isn’t just a review of the tutorial, because that worked just wonderful.  I want to share a tip I discovered on my first try making bias tape ever.  It started with a little gadget envy.  In the tutorial Jaime, zips through drawing perfectly spaced 1 7/8 in. lines on her parallelogram with a bias tape rule.  I started spacing dots on my fabric with a regular old ruler and after the first few dots I realized:

a) This was really tedious.

and

b) I cannot consistently find 7/8 of an inch on a ruler.

The combination of these two dilemmas almost convinced me that I needed to wait until morning and buy a spiffy bias tape ruler.  Luckily, inspiration struck.  I’ve made a habit of keeping cardboard shapes in different sizes around so I don’t have to measure again if I make a project several times (because of problem b).   I figured I could just use this same technique to make my own bias tape ruler.  I measured a strip of cardboard 1 7/8 in wide and then cut on a diagonal 1 7/8 in from each end.

I even diagrammed it for you.

You can make different rulers for different bias tape widths.  That wonderful bias tape tutorial tells us the formula, so for single fold 1/2″  or double fold 1/4″ bias tape, you’d want your ruler to be 7/8″.  See…

Single fold bias tape (1/2″): 1/2″ x 2 – 1/8″ = 7/8″

Double fold bias tape (1/4″): 1/4″ x 4 – 1/8″ = 7/8″

I still haven’t ironed mine closed (cue longing for that beautiful bias tape folder), but if you’d like to keep that on the cheap as well, check out this tutorial.

~april

February Show and Tell

2 Mar

I got a lot more crafting done this month than I normally do, probably thanks to getting back into swapping.  So here’s the part of the month where I show you all the projects that I made (that I didn’t tear out or break in frustration of their being awful) and share the links for you to make your own.

1297841002723
Kitchen towels

These are just embellished Target towels made for a swap… nothing fancy. Just ribbon and bias tape. I might put up a tutorial later, but only if people are interested.

1297841242136
Leaf Cup Cuddler

Mine didn’t come out as even as it could have, but I always knit in a wonky gauge. This was also for a swap. I knit the whole thing during the Superbowl.

1297841384575
Dr. Seuss Pouch

Of course this is from Noodlehead… I love how her patterns turn out. For this one, I added a few bells to the keyring. I think it helps keep up the Dr. Seuss style.

1297841492519
Car Organizer

I made some adjustments from the original pattern. For one, I used webbing and a buckle for the attachment at the top. On the bottom, I sewed two loops and tied nylon cording to it. Since I couldn’t try the pattern out on my swap partner’s car before sending, I wanted it to be as adjustable as possible. I also sewed a backing onto the whole thing to make it a bit more sturdy.

1297842685611
Flannel Slippers

This pattern wins my personal gold star for the month. I’d tried making slippers before and let’s just say that it wasn’t a pretty picture. These were simple, fast, and turned out really nice. I was sad to send these out, but it helped that they were too small for my feet. I’ll definitely be using the pattern many more times.

Thanks to all those who put their patterns out there for us to use!

~april

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 130 other followers