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!!