Tag Archives: Sewing

a long overdue update…

Hello! I hope I still have a few reader out there.. I feel terrible for neglecting this blog for so long, but rest assured, while I haven’t been blogging as much, I have been as creative as ever! I’m still knitting, although not as much. The weather has been steadily getting warmer, and I don’t feel as much pull to pick up the needles. What I have been doing a lot more of, is sewing!

I’ve loved sewing all my life. With the help of my talent mum, I made each one of my formal gowns for special occasions. These days, I’m more interested in making things that I can wear every day, and I hope to show you a few items in up coming posts.

Today, I wanted to share something a little different. While shopping last week, Reagan and I stumbled on a cute little fabric shop. Inside we found some of the most gorgeous fabric I think I’ve ever seen. After browsing for a while, Reags came up to me with a beautifully patterned Italian silk, and asked me if I could make him a tie out of it. Although I’ve never made a tie before, I was sure I could nut it out. I pulled apart one of his old ties for a pattern, and got to it.

There was enough left over to make a matching pocket square. I love the colourful pattern, and I think it’s a perfect statement piece. Reags is very happy with it, and I’ve been assured he’ll get a lot of wear out of both items.

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stretchy sexy skirt sewing…

I love stretchy skirts, they are so comfy and they look great. I found this leopard print knit fabric at Lincraft on the weekend, and I just knew it would make an awesome skirt!

  • 75cm of knit/jersey fabric at least 150cm wide
  • an exsisting stretchy skirt that fits you well (to use as a pattern)
  • overlocker and/or sewing machine, scissors, pins, measuring tape

Firstly, take a look at your fabric. Mine has a distinct pattern, and I wanted the lighter part to be running down the middle of the skirt. If your fabric doesn’t have such an obvious print, you don’t have to be as pedantic with pattern placement as I was.

"Middle" of pattern shown by blue line

“Middle” of pattern shown by blue line

Lay your fabric on a flat surface, and place your exsisting skirt on top. I folded my skirt in half, so I could line the fold and my imaginary blue line (representing the middle of the pattern) up. Open up the skirt, and pin to the fabric. Carefully cut around your skirt, leaving at least a 1cm seam allowance. Let’s call this the Front.

The stripy skirt has it’s own waist band, so I folded it out of the way when cutting across the top of the skirt

Take the Front pannel, and place it on the fabric to cut out the second piece (you guessed it, the Back). Again, I made sure the lighter part of the print was running down the middle of the pannel, and cut out right along the edge of the Front, so you have two identical pieces.

With the right sides facing, pin the Front and Back together, and sew down the side seams. An overlocker is great for this project, as it sews a stretchy seam. If you only have a sewing machine, sew the sides together using a zigzag stitch. This works just as well, and seeing as we are using a knit fabric, the cut edges won’t fray! (Love knit fabric…)

Try your skirt on in front of the mirror, insideout. It should be snug, without being too tight, and not slipping off your hips. If you think it’s a little loose, take it in bit by bit until it fits perfectly. With the skirt still on, measure around your tummy where the waist band will sit (right at the top of the skirt). Take this measurement and minus 10%. This will give the band negative ease, meaning it will fit snug on your tum, and keep the skirt up at the same time. You also need to decide how wide you want the band. I made mine 8cm wide, when finished.

Lay your fabric out, and fold it so wrong sides are facing (see how I folded mine so the lighter part was in the middle… This means the pattern on the band will match up with the front of the skirt). With the folded edge towards you, measure half of your waist band measurement away from you, and make a line of pins. Double the width of your band, and measure along the fold, away from the first pin. From that point, start a second line of pins the same length as the first. You’re making a rectangle, folded in half on itself. I feel I’ve describled this rather poorly, so I drew a diagram…

Cut your band out along the outsides of the pins. Fold the band in half lengthways so the right sides are facing, and sew along the open edge (edge marked 16cm above), making a circle (see picture above diagram). Now fold the band in half widthways with wrong sides facing. Take the skirt and place it inside the waist band, right sides facing, with raw edged facing up. Line up the middle of the waist band and the skirt Front, pin together through all 3 layers. Line the back seam of the waist band and the skirt Back, and pin through all layers. Pin the whole way around the skirt, gently stretching the waist band to match the skirt, without any puckering. Sew the waist band to the skirt through all 3 layers.

Your skirt is almost done! Fold over 1cm of the bottom of the skirt, and run a zigzag stich around, making a hem. You can leave it un-hemmed if you want, it won’t fray, but it may roll up a little.

That’s it! You’re all done! It may sound a little tricky, but I promise you, it’s just the way I’m describing the process. Even if you have beginner level experience in sewing, this is easy to do! Plus, knit fabric is pretty cheap, so if you stuff up it doesn’t really matter!

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, I really hope I’ve described the steps well enough for you to understand! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask! Have fun making skirts!

 

vintage print cushions…

Our poor lounge has been in want of some cushions, and Reags has been bugging asking me to make some for ages now. We had a lazy-Sunday-at-home planned, so I thought I’d drag my sewing machine out and make them!

I started by making a simple 3 piece pattern in the measurements below . My cushion inserts are 46cm square, and I wanted them to fit snug inside the covers, so I made the finished size 45cm square (adding a 1cm seam allowance to each side).

a = front, b = back top, c = back bottom

I made the back in two pieces so I could add a zipper for easy insert-removal. With the zipper in, I stitched the front and back together, with right sides facing. Turn it right size out through the zipper hole, shove the insert in, and DONE!

The backs

The backs

These were so quick and so simple to make. They add a great burts of colour to our loungeroom, and I’ve actually had one behind my back while writing this post! I can report, super comfy!

travel backpack tutorial…

My mind is consumed with my overseas holiday, and I find myself thinking about all the little details.. One of which being that I don’t want to carry a hand bag around all the tourist destinations, and that I’d rather have a neat little backpack to keep both hands free. I searched for one that I simply loved, but I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted. Light-bulb moment.. make yourself one! Here is what I used…

  • 1 meter of 100% cotton, navy with polka-dots
  • 1 meter of 100% cotton drill, off white
  • 20cm of 100% cotton drill, brown
  • 10cm zipper, navy
  • 2 x 38mm metal wire slides
  • 2 x 38mm metal rectangle rings
  • 2 x 38mm base D-ring
  • 2 x 38mm alloy swivel snap hooks
  • eyelet
  • spring-clasp
  • 1.5m cord
  • thread

*** Before we start, there are a few things that I would do differently. (1) I would make the back straps at least 70cm long when using the adjustable strap technique. I made them 51cm long because I ran out of brown drill. I’ll have to extend the straps now, because they are too tight. (2) I’d put the bag loop on the other way, and possibly make it a little shorter. ***

I started by using this free pattern from allaboutyou, that I found on Pinterest. The pattern doesn’t have lining, but that is easy fixed. I used the measurements to make a paper pattern (I find them so much easier to use, rather than drawing on the fabric), and then cut a front & back panel, a base, and a flap, in both polka-dot fabric and the off white drill. I cut the straps from the brown drill, however I used these measurements:

  • 10cm x 24cm (bag loop) x 1
  • 10cm x 24cm (front strap) x 2
  • 10cm x 11cm (short strap) x 4
  • 10cm x 51cm (shoulder strap) x 2

I backed all of the weight-bearing straps with off white drill (so all except the 2 front straps, and 2 of the short straps), to make them extra strong. Fold the strap in half, right sides facing, and sew along the raw edge with a 1cm seam allowance, turn right side out. Wriggle the strap so that the seam runs straight down one side. This will become the underside. Press the strap. Run a line of top stitching down each edge of the strap, then use these stitched lines as a guide for the next two lines. Do this to all of the straps.

Now to add the hard-wear. Take one of the wire slides and a shoulder strap. With the  back seam facing up, thread the strap up between the top fixed bar and the sliding bar. Then fold the strap over the sliding bar, and down between the sliding bar and the bottom fixed bar. Sew the tail end of the strap down, using a box and X design for strength. Now take one of the rectangle rings and a short strap (backed with drill) and fold the strap in half, over the bottom bar with the seam facing. Sew along the raw edge of the strap, going through both sides. Take the raw end of the shoulder strap and feed it through the rectangle ring, over the top bar. Take the raw end and thread it between the bottom fixed bar and the slider bar. Fold it over, and thread it between the slider bar and the top fixed bar, and pull through. Congratulations, if you can understand my instructions, you have just completed one adjustable strap! Repeat with the other materials to make the second shoulder strap.

Only a few more to go! Take a short strap (shouldn’t be backed with drill) and fold it over the bottom bar of a D-ring, seam facing. Sew the tail end of the strap down, using a box and X design for strength. Take a front strap (shouldn’t be backed with drill) and fold it over the bottom bar of a swivel snap hook, seam facing. Sew the tail end of the strap down, using a box and X design for strength. Repeat with the other materials to make a second set. Please excuse my untrimmed threads!

Next, I worked on the lining. I used this amazing tutorial from coldhandswarmheart to insert a zipper, and a cute little pocket into the lining. With the pocket completed, put the back and front pieces of the lining right side together, and stitch down both sides. Take the bag base lining, find the middle by folding it in half and giving it a little pinch to make a crease. Do the same along the bottom of the bag lining. Match these little creases, right sides facing, and pin. Seeing as the base is rectangular, you will need to ease the fabric around the base, and trim the corners. 

Construct the outer layer of the bag in the same manner, (omitting the zipper and pocket) however, when pinning the base to the front and back, pin the adjustable back straps 11cm away from the side seams, with the back of the strap facing the right side of the back piece. Turn right sides out, and give the seams a press.

Pin the polka-dot flap and the flap lining together, right sides facing. Sew 3 sides together along the raw edges, leaving the top edges free (edge without the curved corners). Turn right sides out and press. Run a top stitch around the three edges you have just sewed. Take two front straps with the clips attached and pin them 4cms away from the edge of the flap on either side. Tuck the raw end of the strap underneath itself, and sew the straps to the flap, using the previous top stitching as a guide.

Now for the eyelet. Take the polka-dot front and measure down  2cm from the top raw edge, along the centre line. Follow the instructions on the packaging to insert the eyelet. I reinforced behind the eyelet with a scrap of off white drill. The eyelet I have used is big enough to fit two strands of the cord through.

Next you will want to pin all of the back-side outer components to the polka-dot fabric. Start by folding the bag loop in half, matching the raw ends side by side, and pinning them (wrong side facing the right side of the bag… see below picture for my mistake!) next to the middle line, along the top raw edge. Take the flap and pin this directly over the bag loop, matching the middles, with right sides facing. Pin the adjustable bag straps 2cm away from the side seams, making sure the strap isn’t twisted. Sew along the entire length of the back piece, going through all straps, the flap and the bag loop.

I did it the wrong way around!

I did it the wrong way around!

Flap directly over the bag loop

Flap directly over the bag loop

Bag inside lining, ready to be sewn along raw edge

Almost finished! Take the lining and turn it so that the wrong side is facing out. Place the bag with the right side facing out, inside the lining. Pin the raw edges together, and sew around the top of the bag, going through all straps and the flap, leaving an opening about 10cm long. Using this opening, turn the bag inside out. You should have a tube-looking-creation, with the right sides of both fabrics looking at you. Push the lining inside the bag. Run a top stitch around the top of the bag, securing the bag and the lining together (this may be a little tricky around the back straps and the flap, just work carefully). Now run another top stitch 2-2.5cms below the top one. This will make a casing to thread the cord through. Attach a safety pin to one end of the cord, insert it through the eyelet, and push it around the casing and back through the eyelet. Thread both ends of the cord through the spring-clasp and knot both ends individually.

Last step!! With the bag laying on a flat surface (making sure the lining on the inside is nice and flat too), fold the flap over to the front of the bag. Attach the clip to the D-ring and line the strap up with the strap attached to the flap. Pin in place to the front of the bag, going through one layer of lining. Sew the strap to the bag (yes, going through the lining as well), using the previous stitching as a guide. Trim all the thread ends that you may have sticking out… and you’re done!

WOW! Are you as excited as I am? Is your bag as amazing as you expected? I hope that this tutorial is of some help to you, and I really hope that you don’t find it too impossible to follow. My advise is to read as many tutorials as you can to really get an understanding of the steps and components of a backpack. As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!

sneaky peek…

In my regular fashion, I have several UFO’s (Un Finished Objects) laying around, crying for some love (for example: 1. granny square cushion 2. bf’s knitted tie 3. fluffy vest).. I really do try hard to finish what I start, but I just get so excited and distracted by my next project that I often leave the others behind..

Anyway, I may as well show you what I’m spending my time on at the moment (in-between reading A Storm of Swords 1: Steel and Snow that is..). It’s cross stitch! My mum did cross stitch when I was a kid, and I always wanted to join in, but it is rather time consuming and my childish enthusiasm used to dwindle rather quickly.

I’m doing a rather simple pattern, four characters from Alice In Wonderland. I’ve only completed the Mad Hatter at the moment, so you’ll have to wait and see which other characters I’ve chosen!

The June long weekend is upon us, so maybe, just maybe, I’ll have some time to work on my poor, neglected UFO’s…

diy… block colour tee

This is the simplest way to add a little something to your basic tee. If you can cut and sew in a straight line, you’re already half way there!

1. Grab two tee’s of the same make and size. It might help to pre-wash them too, just to get any shrinking issues out of the way.

2. Place one shirt on top of the other, and pin them together under both arms and at the top of the shoulders. 

3. With the shirts pinned together and laying flat, pin a straight line from one side of the shirts to the other. My line is about 4cm under the seam of each arm. Doing this means you can cut both shirts in the same place, at the same time. Cut along the pinned line, through both shirts.

4. Grab the top of one shirt and turn it inside out. Get the bottom of the other colour shirt and slip it inside the top, and pin it together. The right sides of both pieces should be facing each other, and don’t forget to pin the side seams together to get a really professional finish. Use as many pins as you feel necessary.

5. Run the raw edge through your sewing machine using a medium to long zigzag stitch. My machine is in dire need of a service, and we had a few disagreements along the way, but we got there in the end. 

6. Press the seam down and you’re all done! 

There you have it! Two colour-block tee’s that look great with jeans or a cute skirt. If you feel a little weird having two tee’s that are almost twins, why not gift one to a friend! This is seriously so simple, and took around half an hour. Why not give it a go, I’d love to know how yours turn out.

 

diy fabric doll…

When I was a kiddie, Grandma’s house was a magical place. Tucked away in the Australian bush, it was a place where you could go on a bear hunt, collect ‘pearls’ (shiny seeds), and finger paint on the windows.. Oh yeah, my Ma let me smoosh paint all over her floor to ceiling glass windows! One of my favourite toys at Ma’s, was a set of fabric dolls. They were made into little old people, with grey hair, glasses and aprons. I never had a fabric doll of my own, but I know how much I loved the ones at Ma’s, and I was always very careful with them.

Trip down memory lane over, I found this amazing post on Pinterest a few weeks ago, and knew I had to try it out. The author of Make It and Love It has written a great tutorial on making fabric dolls, with lots of instructions, and a FREE pattern to download! I thought about all the different ways this pattern could turn out, you could make dolls into Disney characters, or model them on family members, or make them completely in one colour.. Oh the possibilities!

Here is my finished doll, she only took me half a day to complete! There is simply nothing difficult about this at all, as long as you can sew a straight line and have some basic hand sewing skills, you could be making these for presents in no time!

I adore her! From her little felt ballet shoes, to her long and lanky arms. She is completely soft and squishy and made from 100% cotton.

I found the only tricky part was turning out the legs and arms, they are quite thin, but they will turn, you just need a bit of patience!