Thursday, September 10, 2009

I Heart Elastic Thread

I have never claimed originality, and I'm about as far from it as possible with this next project. But my wonderful new blog friends have exposed me to the wonderful world of ELASTIC THREAD!! I seriously can't believe I didn't know about this. But then I called my mom on the phone and she has NEVER used it - in 50+ years of sewing - so it's not so unlikely that I also wouldn't have used it, seeing as I learned everything I know from her.

I had a bit of left-over fabric from making a receiving blanket and decided to make a little smocked top and leggings.

And the best part - it was so fast and easy!! I'm not going to explain how I made the top because there are already great tutorials here or here that are far more detailed and better photographed than I could ever do. The leggings I made by takinga pair I already had a cutting a pattern off them. Too easy.
But a couple of things I did learn:
  • winding your elastic thread tighter means that the fabric will gather on it's own as you sew and you don't have to pull the thread to gather it, which = BIG PAIN.
  • Make sure you always have enough elastic thread in your bobbin to go all the way around, because unpicking it also = BIG PAIN.

So now go get some elastic thread and let the world of shirring open up!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

How To Make Paper Flowers

There is something I love about making paper flowers. Maybe it is the total mindless simplicity of it. Or maybe it's the flashback to highschool when every year at homecoming time the classes would have "flower parties" to make thousands of flowers to cover our class homecoming parade float. At any rate, I love making them and I need something to add some pizazz to the centerpieces for a church event I am planning for Friday night, and decided these would do the job just perfect. I started by taking a sheet of tissue paper and cutting it into four equal strips. The width of your strips will by the diameter of your flower. If you want bigger flowers, cut the paper into three instead of four strips, or whatever works for you. I then stacked four sheets on top of each other and accordian or fan folded them.

When finished, tie them in the middle with a piece of string and cut of the ends to form triangles.
Then carefully start seperating the layers, pulling towards the center. I was making one-sided flowers to set on a table, so I pulled each layer to the same center. If you want to hang them, I like to use a minimum of 6 sheets of paper and pull the first three to one side, then the next three to the other side so that they are rounded.

Here one-half of the flower is done. Now you need to pull up the layers on the opposite side, towards the same center.
And Voila! You have your flower. This one I made by mixing two colors of green. Others were all just one solid color. Personally, I've found I like them better if I don't mix overly contrasting colors, but play with them as you like! They are wonderful for decorating any kind of shower or party. A few months back I made big white ones and hung them from the trees with little glass jars with candles in them for my niece's birthday party and they looked magical.
(really, it looked much better I'm just a terrible photographer.)

I also found this adorable napkin ring project here that is the same idea, just modified slightly:
Oh the things you can do with a few sheets of tissue paper!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Easy Personalized Onesies

I've seen all these cute onesies on boutique websites with names/monograms on them, or even tutorials on crafty blogs about how to make monogrammed baby shirts. But the boutique shirts seemed more expensive than they were worth and the crafty blog shirts outlined a rather complicated process involving freezer paper and x-acto knives and fabric paint that I just hadn't found time to try yet. Then, the other day I came across some Avery Ink Jet T-Shirt Transfers in my stash of random office supplies and figured I could make them WAY easier.
I worked with Microsoft Office Publisher because I like the freedom it gives me to move images around, but you could probably do just as well with plain old Word and text boxes. For the first shirt, I drew a circle and the filled it in a fun color, then overlayed a letter in white.

For the second shirt I created one text box with a big inital, then I overlayed a smaller text box with the whole name, alternating the colors. I put these on the same page (with a variety of other images I found and may use later). Then you need to save the whole document (page) as an image file (.jpg) and flip it! This is very important or when you go to iron on your initials they will turn out backwards!

My printer isn't great in color so I took the file, along with my paper, to a kinko's and had them print it out. Then I just cut around the images and ironed them on! On the t-shirt I then cut a strip of coordinating fabric and made a little ruffle for the bottom. On the onesie I bought some little iron-on crystals and ironed those on as well. Voila!! So fast and easy!

There are a million possibilities for this. If you go to digital scrapbooking websites (here is one free one I've used) there are tons of great elements that can be downloaded. There is also this website with a large collection of really great fonts to play around with. And Avery makes transfers for darker colored fabrics as well.

A great project for those that like their computers more than a sewing machine!

Flower Bag Tutorial

The daughter of a friend of ours from our church was recently baptized and I needed a gift on the fly, so I quickly made up this little bag for her on Saturday morning to take her scriptures to church. It could easily be adapted for a market bag, book bag, any kind of bag!

Start by cutting a piece of denim (outside of bag) 13 1/2 x 17 inches, and then cut a piece of contrasting fabric (inside of bag) 13 1/2 x 21 inches.

NExt you need to cut two straps, 37 x 3 inches, a pocket 4 1/2 x 5 inches, and a piece of contrast fabric to tip the pocket that is 2 x 5 inches. I initially cut it pink, but then changed it to floral fabric, which you'll see later.
The kids at our church have the motto "choose the right" ("haz lo justo" in Spanish) so I wanted to put that on the pocket. I printed letters I liked off the computer, then turned them upside down and traced them on felt so that any pen marks I didn't cut off would be on the back of the letter, not the front.

Next, fold the fabric accent fabric in half and iron, then in half again. Fold this over the edge of the pocket and sew in place. Iron opposite side of pocket under 1/4 inch. Hand sew your felt letters (or anything else you want) on the pocket now. I used a backstitch to sew on my letters in thread that matched the felt. Then, line up pocket in the middle of one side, with decorative edge 2 inches down from one of the short sides of the outside fabric of the bag. Top stitch in place along folded edge. Side edges do not need to be sewn because they will catch in the straps.

Next, follow the flower tutorial here to make a fabric rununcula on the opposite side of the outside fabric from the pocket. I cut small circle out of felt and hand sewed it using a back stick to the center. I then cut a stem and leaf out of green felt and attached them also with a backstitch. When you finish these steps your fabric will look like this:

Now it's time to attach your lining fabric. Fold the lining fabric down 1 inch on each short side and iron. Fold it over again and iron again. It should now fit over your outside fabric with a 1 inch overlap on each side. Top stitch the two sides.

Next we have to do the straps. First, I got lazy and didn't do this but you need to take some heavy interfacing and cut two strips 3 x 20 inches. Iron this to the wrong side of each strap in the middle. You will need this to make the straps sturdy enough. Then, fold the straps in half length wise and iron, then fold in each raw edge (length wise) 1/8 inch and iron. Now mark the center (bottom) of your bag by folding the two short sides together and making a small mark.

With the folded edge to the outside, overlap one raw edge of the strap 1/4 inch from your center marking. Pin strap to edge, fold back and pin down other side, once again finishing 1/4 in overlap from center mark as seen here:

Starting on the inside edge, sew from center to edge of bag on the strap, continuing and sewing all the way around the inside (open) edge of bag strap. Then go back and sew the outside (folded) edge of strap, starting at the center and sewing to the edge (top) of bag. When you get to the top, sew a big "x" to make sure it is secure.

Pin the second side the same as the first, but instead of overlapping fold strap raw edges under 1/4 inch and the line the up with the center. Sew across folded end of straps. You should now have this:

You're almost done!! Fold the bag in half, outsides of bag together, and sew up each side, then zigzag. Or if you have a serger, serge up the sides.

Next, fold bag so that side seam goes along bottom center of bag, making a point. MArk 1" in from tip of point and sew across tip of bag. Repeat on opposite side.

Now turn the bag right side out and fill with goodies, it's all done!
Pocket side of bag. You could put initials or anything here, or just leave it blank. Have fun with your bag!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Fabric Dollhouse/Barn Tutorial

I realize that my intent was to have a blog of things I created, and I'm starting to lean towards just showing things created by others. But that is only because I've been swamped by that thing called work that actually pays the bills. However, I saw this Fabric Dollhouse or Fabric Barn Tutorial today and LOVED it, so I had to share. I think this will be my next quiet toy for car trips, plane rides or church.

Get out your fabric scraps!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Bows Bows Bows

I just found a fun giveaway I thought I'd share... Visit this blog:
and try not to get too distracted by the cuteness you will find there, and enter in this giveaway:
for these adorable bows:

Good Luck!

Monday, August 10, 2009

How to Sew Fabric Flowers

As I prepare for baby girl, I've become enthralled with how to recycle as many of little boy's things as possible. It's become like a game for me. One of the things I was given when G* was born was a little kimono-style set that was plain white and boring with a little not-so-cute rabbit decal on it. When I found this tutorial from House on Hill Road on sewing fabric flowers, I knew I had found just the thing to pretty-it-up. I used fabric left over from another project (that I didn't cut on the bias) and then finished it off with a little ric-rac around the edges.

I love how it turned out so much I just may make another one!