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Spent

3 Feb

I wrote this post a almost a year ago, but never shared it.  Obvi not drinking now. Enjoy this new old content! 

One of the ways my husband and I like to spend our weekends is brewing beer.  It’s usually a pretty relaxed afternoon with a lot of waiting around (until there’s a boil over).  Brewing beer reminds me of making jam. It’s a curious intersection between chemistry and cooking that makes it interesting and prone to getting completely ruined if you miss a step.What fun!

One of the downsides to homebrewing is that there’s a lot of waste.  We recently switched from a water bath to an immersion wort chiller. The water bath took a lot of water and so much time.  The word chiller is way faster, but it uses more water.  For five gallons of beer, this is how much water we had leftover from the chilling process:

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We run a hose to a trash can that I use for watering my plants so all that water’s not just going to waste.  I can’t reuse the sanitizing water and I don’t have anything in place to save other wash water, so there’s still some leftover, but not quite so much.

Another byproduct of brewing is the spent grain. At the beginning of the process, you steep milled grain in boiling water.  It’s like a tea that tastes like stale beer! You take the grain out when you’re done.  Lots of people have come up with recipes to use for spent grain.  Every time we brew, I save the grain, and every time my husband asks me if it’s okay to throw it out a month later. Considering it’s usually sprouting a new cure for the common cold at this point, I acquiesce.  This week I decided that if I was going to use it, I would have to do it immediately or I’d lose interest.  Not only that, I was going to use the grain as many ways as I could so I would be familiar with easy ways to use it in the future.  Here’s my experiment with three different ways of using spent grain from easiest to hardest.

Dog Treats

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Luna licking her lips after devouring her treat.

 

Recipe
I don’t have a dog [note from current April: Now I do!], but my in-laws have two.  The dog treats use up the most grains of any recipe and they’re super easy.  I’ve taken to keeping a big jar of cheap peanut butter in my pantry for baking and this was a good use of it.  I only made a half recipe of this since I wanted to try the other recipes, too, and it made about two dozen treats.  I’ll definitely use this in the future when I just want to use up the grains quickly. I can’t comment on the taste, but the dogs seemed to like them.

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Recipe
Oh, how I love the idea of homemade bread. I love the way it makes my kitchen smell and I love how I can spend the following week telling people I made homemade bread. It makes me sound like I have my life together. Baking bread usually takes too much commitment for me though. I hate waiting around for it to rise. I do not have the world’s longest attention span and after all the waiting that comes with brewing, more waiting from bread does not appeal. This recipe, however, is fantastic. Maybe it’s just the ease of these instructions, but I found a recipe I can stick to. The bread itself turned out great. I brought it to work with some jam made by a family member and it was a hit in the office. I may have eaten most of it.

Pretzel Bites
Recipe
These are the first things I tried since I love pretzels.  The process for making them is really fun, too.  You get to play with yeast like you do with bread and you get to boil the dough.  The timing works out really well with this recipe since you can make the dough and let it rise while the beer is boiling. Then, you can finish up with the dough boiling and baking after you set up fermentation.  I let my dough rise for several hours since I got sidetracked and it still worked out.  We had a baseball game the next day so they were a great snack!

~April

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Sassy Scrappy Fabric Flower Tutorial

30 Jul

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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.)

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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.

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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

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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.)

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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.

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

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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.)

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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.

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Voilà! Flower!

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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!

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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

Easy Elegant Wine Glass Flair

19 Nov

The holidays are the only time of year I attempt to pull off fancy table settings. This is difficult if your dishes, like mine, are mismatched. (There are many dishes in our cabinet that don’t even match anything else in the entire house, let alone the other place settings.) I choose to compensate by thinking that it’s charming and bohemian, but you can also impress your holiday guests with these wine glasses. They are a quick and painless way to add some flair to your place settings.

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Supplies
Wire (somewhere between a 20 and 24 gauge)
Wire Clippers
Needle Nose Pliers
An assortment of glass or plastic beads ( Hard learned lesson; make sure the holes are big enough for the wire to fit through)
Wine Glasses

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Start by stringing your beads onto the wire. I usually make the beaded section shorter than the length of the wine glass stem, but feel free to experiment.

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With the needle nose pliers create a small hook in the end of the wire. Create a loop of wire around the base of the wine glass stem and secure it by sliding the length of wire through the hook, then close the hook into a loop with the pliers. If you want to add a charm to the bottom of the glass I found stringing the charm on this loop secures it the best.

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Arrange the beads where you want them and secure them by looping the wire around the stem. Experiment with using different wrapping patterns and different amounts of wire and beads.

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When you are done wrapping you need to bury the end of the wire somewhere in your creation. The easiest way to do is to clip the wire and leave a tail of about three inches. Thread the wire end through the wrapped wire close to the glass stem and trim. If you didn’t use a lot of wire on your glasses you can hide the wire by pushing it through a bead and trimming the end.

Wham-o. Impress away.

Full Disclosure: I once made (with the assistance of a few very gracious and patient friends) over a hundred of these suckers for a wedding. The finished product made for great wedding favors and got a lot of praise. However, such an undertaking is not for the faint of heart and will require many episodes of Doctor Who. You have been warned.

~Robin

The Case of the Missing Pinterest Link

26 Sep

The other day, I was complaining how whenever I see something cool on tumblr it almost never has a link to the original source.  It drives me absolutely nuts that there could be a great tutorial out there that I can’t access because someone else didn’t see fit to post their inspiration.

Today, I had an epiphany.

See, I’m also a librarian and I figured I should know better than most how to track down lost information.  I took a class on Google searching awhile back.  They shared all kinds of cool tricks that I knew I’d rarely use, but there was one that I thought was particularly spiffy and I realized I could use it in just this type of situation.

Say you’re on Pinterest and you see this:

Peek-A-Boo Pumpkins found via http://pinterest.com/susan766/boo/

Cute, right?  But when you click on the picture, you see something like this:

(You actually get directed to another website for this particular pin and that site doesn’t have a working link to the tutorial, but the gray screen is a common occurrence as well.)

Boo!  How are you ever going to find out how to do this project which you are so desperately obsessed with making tonight?

Google-fu, that’s how.

Google has a cool feature that allows you to search for images by dragging a picture into the Google Images search box.  Simply open the image in one window and Google Images in the other.  Drag the image into the search box.  Google comes up with images that match yours, making it simple to find the source of the image. You can read Google’s own instructions here.

Often, as is the case on Pinterest,  the picture you want to drag will actually be a link and the technique won’t work.  If that’s the case, you have to right-click the picture and choose “View Image” before dragging it to the Google Images search box.

Now, it’s easy to find the instructions for the Peek-A-Boo Pumpkins at HGTV’s website… Be sure to scroll down below the first set of results and image results.  The first set is best guesses on links with similar keywords.  The images are visually similar images (which is fun to play around with).  The third set is links to pages that include matching images and that’s what you want.

Easy enough, right?  If you have any questions, let me know.  Happy Googling!

~ April

Día de los Muertos (with a necklace tutorial)

3 Nov

Although Halloween is over, there’s still a little bit of the Halloween spirit held over into November for Día de los Muertos.  At work, we celebrate this day by bringing in pictures of our loved ones, writing their names on cards and having a small memorial service.  I never celebrated the day outside of Spanish class before moving to California and I’ve developed quite an appreciation for it.  It feels so nourishing to gather as a community to remember those we’ve lost.  So often, we go about our day-to-day lives, sometimes remembering and missing the dead, but it’s normally a very solitary experience.  When we get together and publicly remember them, it creates such a bond in that shared experience.  It takes the stigma away from having to be “strong.”  It allows us to comfort and be comforted.

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People bring in favorite foods and flowers to decorate the altar.
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Afterwards, some people will point out their loved ones and share stories over pan mexicano and chocolate.

Inspired by the holiday, I put together a really simple necklace last night.  I used a lotería card, but I’ve followed the same process before using maps.  You could use anything at all. The whole project takes about 5 minutes, not including drying time.

Supplies
Lotería card (or any other image)
Plastic microscope coverslips (or other semirigid plastic shape)
Mod Podge
A jewelry awl
Large jump ring
Necklace
Exacto knife

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Place your slide over the are you’re going to cut out. Trace around it and cut it out.

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Using your jewelry awl, poke a hole at one of the corners of the slide. I very gently rotate mine until it just goes through and makes a hole large enough for a jump ring. If you go through too far, you might crack the plastic. I have tested this theory.

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Mod Podge over your image and place the slide over it. If the paste is thick in parts, that’s okay. It ends up giving it a lightly textured look, which I think is slick.

Using an Exacto knife, cut around the perimeter of the slide, making sure the edges of the image are completely flush with the slide.

Turn the slide over and Mod Podge the back of the image and the sides of the pendant.

Let dry.

Once your pendant is dry, use the awl to put a hole in the cardboard as well. I go through both sides for an even circle.

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Put a jump ring through the hole and attach to a necklace. Voila! Almost instant DIY pendant necklace.  ¡Disfrútalo!

~ April

Countdown to Halloween: Witchy Wall Hanging

7 Oct

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Countdown to Halloween: Calaveras

3 Oct

Last year, one of my coworkers brought in a really cool decorated skull for Dia de los Muertos.  I took a picture of it so I could promptly go out and make one for myself.

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Unfortunately, she shared it so late in the season, I couldn’t find a single skull.  Yeah, I have gothy first world problems.

This year, I decided to start early and sure enough, Michaels carries the exact skull she used.  They don’t seem to sell them online, but check your local store or search “Styrofoam skulls” on Google Shopping for a decent collection.  They run about $6.

I searched online for sugar skull and calavera patterns for inspiration, then sketched the design in pencil.

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I used regular acrylic paints, along with some novelty paints.  I bought clear glitter and glow-in-the-dark because they can layer over any color.  It’s a better deal than buying a pre-colored glitter paint.

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I think outlining elements of the design in black helps a lot in making her fit the Dia de los Muertos style.  You could probably use a Sharpie, but the black paint worked fine for me.  Her teeth are glow-in-the-dark and the design on her forehead has a glow in the dark cross painted over it.  I’m going to run over those areas with another coat, since they’re pretty faint now.

For her head piece, I used E600 craft glue to attach the pieces to each other, but just used a part of the stem on the orange flower and stuck it directly into her head.  I glued the feather piece down so it didn’t stick up weird.  We’re going to put a few of these skulls on our altar for the Dia de los Muertos celebration at work.

You could try this in other styles.  A tattoo-inspired, Native American or Halstatt skull would be interesting.  I’m planning to make her a novio before the season’s out.

I’d love to see your creations!  Any other ideas for painted Halloween decor?

~ April

Greek Revival Shirt

4 Aug

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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


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….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.

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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.


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(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.

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

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~Robin

How to: Yo-Yo Headband

10 Jun

Remember that headband I gave away for the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway?  Well, here’s a story.  I was a little sad that I didn’t take process photos to share a how-to with you, but I rarely get motivated enough for a second version of the same project to write a real tutorial.  Someone must have been smiling on tutorial hounds though, because I packed up headband #1, got it ready to send and promptly misplaced it.  Knowing I needed to send ASAP to the winner, I quickly whipped up a duplicate and this time was able to take pictures to share the process with y’all.

You Will Need:
Scrap fabric in different patterns.
Needle and thread
1 piece of felt
1 plastic headband (you can get these at Target)
Hot glue gun and glue

Start by cutting out some circles from fabric.  A bunch of circles in all different sizes.  Use water bottles, candles, pots, yogurt cups, anything circular for your templates.  The yo-yos shrink down about 50% once you sew them so don’t be afraid to go bigger than you think.  For a headband you’ll need 7-12, but the more you make, the more choices you have with the design.

Make some yo-yos.  I was going to show you how to do that, too, but this tutorial is great and has much more awesome pictures than I could take. The yo-yo making is by far the most time-consuming step of the process and it doesn’t take very long, especially if you’re an experienced hand sewer.

I iron my yo-yos down before I start working with them.
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Arrange the yo-yos. This is the fun part. Just start placing them until they look pretty.  Generally they should be in a semi-oval cluster.  Glue them together with hot glue. Just a dab in the corner that will be attached is perfect. Any more and you’ll end up with a gooey mess.

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Place your glued-together cluster of yo-yos on a piece of felt. Outline the yo-yo cluster onto the felt and cut out the resulting shape. Cut a bit inside the outline so the felt doesn’t hang over the edge. Hot glue the bottom of the cluster of yo-yos to the felt.

Position the cluster onto your headband. I use a permanent marker to roughly mark the bottom and top of where the cluster will sit near the side of my head. Then, super glue between those two marks and carefully place your cluster onto the glue line.

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Finished headband.

You can add buttons, ribbons, or pins to the centers of the yo-yos for additional flair, but I like it just as it is.

If you decide to make any yo-yo headbands, send me a link!

~april