Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Christmas Ornament

 I saw this project in a magazine last Christmas and purchased the plastic ornament but it sat around collecting dust for a year. After making the Christmas stocking I remember the project and used the scraps to cover my dusty plastic ornament (after I wiped it clean). Super easy and quick to make.

clear plastic ornament

Monday, November 13, 2017

Christmas Stocking

Its beginning to look a lot like... well you know the rest.  The pattern for this patchwork stocking is in issue 35 of Simply Sewing. The fabric is a Winterfest Bundle from Joann.

Friday, November 3, 2017

The Library Book Bag

A lot of people would argue that no one visits libraries anymore, but its simply not true. I personally visit my local library weekly and on those visits I need a lightweight bag to carry home all the heavy books I borrow. The library book bag is perfect for that trip to the library. There is a front patch pocket with pintuck details for the library card. The bag base is reinforced with interfacing ( nothing worse than the bottom falling out of your bag) and  the bag is unlined making it very lightweight. Finally the side seams are neatly finished and the straps are secured with a box stitch.

 

Materials
24 inches (60cm) woven decorator fabric main fabric
12 inches (30cm) contrast fabric quilting cotton
Interfacing
thread
2 buttons

 
Instructions
Seam allowance 5/8 inch (1.5cm)

Cut
2  17 ¾ x 13 ½ in bag body from main fabric
2  31 x 4 straps from main fabric
1  10 x 13 ½ in bag base from contrast fabric
1  8 x 6 in pocket from contrast fabric
1  8 x 4 interfacing

 

Cut a 2in square from each the bag body base corners.

With bag body pieces right sides together stitch base . If using directional fabric make sure it’s running the right way.

Press seam open. Press  raw edge of seam allowance under towards  the wrong side by ¼ in. Stitch 1/8 inch from folded edge through seam allowance and bag.
 
Centre and fuse interfacing to bag base.

Fold under ¼ in  to the wrong side both 13 ½ in sides of the bag base.  Find the halfway point of the 10 in side and match this with the seam of the bag. Place it right side upon the right side of the bag

Pin in place. Edge stitch at the folded edge on both sides. Backstitch at the start and finish of each seam. (Optional you can use a twin needle to stitch two rows)

 



trim corners

two rows of stitching
Pocket
Fold under top  edge by ¼in.  Press and fold again ½ in. stitch to hold (optional twin needle)

Measure and mark down from the top 1in, 1 1/2in and 2in. fold on each mark and stitch ¼ in from the fold. (Alternatively you could use a pintuck foot)

Press under the sides and bottom by ½ in. Trim corners to reduce bulk.

Place pocket ½ in up from the bag base and 2 ½ in from the edge, right side up on the right side of the bag. Pin. Edge Stitch from the top right hand side down to the base and up the left hard at the top left hand side pivot and stitch a second row ¼ in  in from the first row.. At each corner with the needle down lift the presser foot and pivot the bag. Pass thread tails to inside of bag tie off and trim.

 
trim seam allowance

Place right sides of bag together and stitch bag sides. Trim seam allowance of the bag body between base seam and bag base. Do not trim bag base seam allowance. Press seam allowance towards the wrong side on each raw edge as before. Stitch 1/8 in from fold edge through seam allowance only.
 
Fold strap  in half lengthwise with  wrong side together. Press, open and fold raw edges towards  the crease. Press and fold again to conceal raw side. Edge stitch lengthwise on both sides.

Turn bag right side out.
 
Place strap 2 ½ in from sides. Pin to right side with raw edges aligned. Tack ¼ in from raw edge to hold in place. Ensure strap is not twisted. Trim ½ in of seam allowance at top to reduce bulk.

Press to wrong side ¼ in top of bag and again 1 inch. Tuck straps into bag. Topstitch lower  fold, start stitching at side seam. Pull straps out of bag and top stitch edge of bag stitching straps down.

 

 

mark and stitch triangle
 
 From right side flatten base corner to create a triangle. Make sure that side seam and base seam are open and lying flat on the inside.  Fold triangle back so point meets the top of the base. Press to crease. Unfold triangle mark crease and stitch across. Fold triangle back towards bag and stitch at top to hold triangle. Backstitch to secure. Sew a button  at each triangle point for decoration. Give the bag a final press with the iron.
decorative button

box stitch for straps

seams finished neatly
 
 

Sunday, October 29, 2017

A New Skirt


After the success of my Erin skirt I have made another skirt. This time however I had many false starts. Firstly I purchased the wrong size pattern. Then the fabric I wanted to use sold out and finally I had set my mind to using white bias tape only to discover that the white of the fabric is not the same white as the bias tape back to Joann for more bias tape. In the end I went bold with my favourite colour combination red, white and black.
Pattern- Simplicity 8420 or D0718. The skirt comes in two lengths and four patch pocket options. I made view D.
Fabric- from fabric.com, its a 100% cotton corduroy. The bias tape is by Wrights/Simplicity.
Techniques learnt and final thoughts- I learnt how to sew double fold bias on the pockets and hem. Also how to sew a waist facing.
I made a size 16 since I measure 30 at the waist and 40 at the hips but when I tried the skirt on it gaped at the back ( I often have this problem with RTW jeans). I took in the excess fabric at the back darts. This is the only adjustment I made to the skirt.
I like the pockets but I don't think them useful. I suspect anything I place in them will slide right out when I sit down. I plan to make this skirt again with different pockets.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

How to Tuck

A tuck is a fold in the fabric that is intentionally stitched in place. It sits on the fabric's surface and can be sewn vertically and horizontally. Each tuck reduces the fabric size by its width.  A tuck can be functional, removing excess fabric or purely decorative adding visual interest to plain fabric. They can be placed close together without any spacing, with spacing, in groups or randomly stitched.
When estimating how much fabric you need add the width of a tuck plus the space between each tuck this will tell you how much fabric each tuck needs. Hide any joins of fabric within a tuck.
 
Three Basic Tucks

Spaced Single Tucks

 
Single tuck- Sewn with a straight seam that runs parallel to the fold. It can sit flat or centred over the seam. From the wrong side the tuck looks like an ordinary seam.
Double Tuck

Double tuck- Has two seams that run parallel  to the fold. The second seam forms a narrower tick within the wider first tuck. The double tucks are centred with the second tuck sitting on top of the first tuck.

Grouped Pintucks
Pintucks- similar to a single tuck but very narrow. For quick  and easy pintucks a pintuck foot and twin needle are useful but not essential. A pintuck foot has narrow grooves on the underside. These grooves help sew rows of evenly spaced pintucks. A pintuck foot works best with light weight fabrics.

How to Tuck using an All Purpose Foot and Single Needle
1. Decide on the width of each tuck.
2. Mark a fold line on right side of fabric, on either side of the fold line mark the stitch line. The distance away from the fold line in which the  stitch lines are placed equal the width of the tuck.
3. Pinch the fabric at the fold line with wrong sides together. Follow the stitch line to sew the tuck.

Pintuck Foot and Twin Needle

How to Tuck using a Pintuck Foot and Twin Needle
1. Attach foot and switch to a twin needle. Increase tension to 7 and set stitch length to 2.
2. Thread the machine with two spools. One spool going clockwise the other counter clockwise. Use the same thread for the bobbin.
3. Mark the first tuck on the right side of the fabric.
4. Sew following the marked line to from the first pintuck.
5. Place the first pintuck so it nests in a groove to the left or right of the centre. The further way from the centre the first tuck is  the wider the space between tucks. Sew the second tuck. Repeat as desired.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Erin Skirt



Pattern- The Erin Skirt (short version) from Sew Over It. A button up high waisted skirt. I followed the sew along from issue 22 and 23 of Simply Sewing.
Fabric - Essex Yarn Dyed Linen in black. Its a 55% linen/ 45% cotton blend.

I made the skirt in a size 12 and it fits perfectly without any alterations. My favourite feature are the pockets. I can carry  my phone and keys without the need of  a bag. This skirt is a zero additional cost make, in that the fabric, interfacing and thread are all leftovers  from a previous make. The buttons recycled from an old jacket.

The instructions are easy to follow, my only hiccup in making the skirt is the waistband was  1cm short for my skirt. The instructions state that the waistband should extend by 1.5cm on each end for the seam allowance. On my skirt one end was only 1/2 cm. However this turned out to be no problem at all since the seam allowance needs to be trimmed down to 1/2 cm anyway.
I also spent some time fiddling with the buttons especially the waistband button. I have lost count how many times I stitched and unstitched that button, I think I have the placement right now.
The Erin is super easy to make and I love wearing it.

Monday, October 2, 2017

The Joni Dress

The Pattern- The Joni Dress from issue 22 of Simply Sewing is a long sleeve shift dress with front placket, contrast collar and cuffs, pleats and inseam pockets.

Fabric- Cotton twill in burgundy for the dress and a quilting cotton for the collar, cuffs and placket.

Struggles and Triumphs- I struggled to match the bodice and skirt side seams and bust darts. They are slightly off.
When sewing the sleeve seam at the cuff I used a zipper foot and the needle all the way to the left to get a perfect 1.5cm seam allowance.
I hand stitched the under collar in place using a ladder stitch for a neat finish.
I finished the hem using a blind hem stitch.

Final thoughts- I enjoyed making the dress. It gave me the opportunity to learn new skills like sewing cuffs but it also taught me the importance of choosing fabric. In future I will not be using cotton twill to make a dress. It creases. Also the solid colour is a mistake. Originally I was not going to include the placket but without it  the dress looks frumpy. One of the difficulties of making your own clothes is not knowing how the finished dress will look until after you have invested a lot of time sewing. This dress looked so much better in my mind.

Christmas Ornament

 I saw  this project in a magazine last Christmas and purchased the plastic ornament but it sat around collecting dust for a year. After...