Friday, August 12, 2011

Continuous Binding

Here is the second part to the Continuous Binding. This is the one I had to watch while I was cutting it out, just to make sure I was cutting it right. What I really liked about this technique, it that all the sewing you have to do is 4 long straight lines. I hope you all like it!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Reversible Apron Tutorial

I hope this tutorial won't be too confusing, because this really is a very EASY apron to make. I think anyone can make one in a day. I made 2 today, and I'm sure I could have made a 3rd if I'd had the inclination....or if I didn't have 4 kids;) I'm going to add a LOT of pictures, and some of them are from different aprons I made, so don't let all the different materials confuse you. Here's the first apron I made.

As you can see, it is 2 different fabrics, exactly opposite patterns on each side. You will need 2 coordinating fabrics - I can get 1 adult size apron out of 1 yard of each material. Here are the pieces you will need to cut.

I actually make my waist straps 32" long instead of 22", because I like to wrap it around myself and tie it in the front.

For a child size apron - 4 1/2" along top (instead of 5), 11" along bottom (instead of 15), 23" full length (instead o f 26") and 15 1/2" length from waist down (instead of 16 1/2"), waist straps are 20" long and neck strap is 21" long, pocket is 12" by 7" (I think - see if it looks good;) ). This size fits my 10 year old very well, but would not fit a toddler or young child.

Now you can start cutting. If you make yourself a template of the main apron piece, out of newspaper or tissue paper or whatever, then it'll make it a lot easier if you want to make multiple aprons (like for Christmas presents or something). Make sure you're cutting your main apron piece on the fold of fabric! Cut one main apron piece out of each fabric. Also, at our sewing group we used Kimberly's cutting machine to make the 1 1/2" strips - that was nice:) Cut 2 waist straps from each fabric (4 total), and 1 neck strap from each fabric (2 total). Cut 1 pocket from each fabric, unless you're doing 2 small pockets - then you'll need 2 from each fabric (4 total). As you can see on my first apron, you can do applique on the chest of the apron, so if you want to do that, cut those out too. Now you have all your pieces.

First sew on the pocket. For the regular rectangle pocket, iron down all side 1/2", then sew 1/4" stitch along the top of the pocket.

Turn pocket over and sew onto apron, 1/8" or 1/4" down one side, along the bottom, and up the other side. You can sew a line down the center of the pocket to creat 2 pockets.

If you are doing applique, now is the time. The first apron I did had a really cute apple and pear print, so I just cut out some of those.

I did a zig-zag stitch on these, but you can also use your button-hole stitch if you have a cheap sewing machine like mine, and you can't get a tight zig-zag stitch.

Next, straps. These are 2-sided straps, and that is why you needed 4 pieces instead of just 2. Put the straps right sides together.

Sew 1/4" seam down both sides, creating a tube, leaving the ends open so you can pull it right-side-out again.

Once you've pulled the right sides out (I always use a safety pin), iron the straps flat, and finish one end of each waist strap by tucking it into itself 1/2" and stitching it however you like.

I also made an apron that had 3 materials instead of two....

The straps on this one are just one material instead of two, so if you wanted to make straps like that instead, here is how. The strap is still the same length, but it needs to be 4" wide. First finish one end of each waist strap by folding it down 1/2" and stitching. Then fold the strap in half lengthwise and iron to make a crease, and then fold the edges into that middle crease and iron, like this

Then fold together

And sew about 1/8" seam down both sides of the strap

Okay, now you are ready to put it all together. Lay down one side of your apron

And put the other side on top, right side's facing together.

Remember, you've got to put your straps in. Line up the unfinished edges of the straps with the edges of the apron, a little more than 1/2" from the corners, to allow for a 1/2" seam allowance.

If you have straps with 2 fabrics, make sure that the fabrics on the straps are facing the opposite fabrics on the apron.

Now sew 1/2" along the whole outer edge of the apron, except for a pocket you will leave along the bottom, so you can pull the apron right-side-out.

Before you pull it right-side-out, snip the corners to remove bulk.

After you turn it right-side-out, iron all the seams. Here's your opening at the bottom.

Turn it under 1/2"

and iron flat

Now you are going to top stitch the whole apron 1/8"-1/4". This will close up the opening you left at the bottom....

And reinforce your straps

Here's another one I made with 2 pockets instead of 1.

And here's one I made for my daughter

I had 2 long pieces of fabric that I couldn't quite fit the whole apron piece on, so I cut the bottom and top parts of the apron out separately, and then stitched them together on opposite sides. I also had to piece together the straps, but I really like the way that it turned out, and there was NOT material wasted:) My other daughter wants one too, and I think I might try a ruffle along the bottom or something. The basic pattern for this is very easy, but you can tweek it in all kinds of ways - just use your imagination. Happy sewing everyone, and I hope you will add your own pictures of the aprons you make.

Friday, May 27, 2011

At Last...

Sigh!  It is more than a little embarrassing that it took me this long to get my post for the Skirt challenge done.  I seem to be losing steam.  sigh again.

Here is the Skirt!  (I feel as if there should be some momentous music cue....or perhaps an ominous one!)

I just made a simple tailored skirt.  I originally intended to put some welt pockets on the front but chickened out as I did not have enough fabric to match the print on the welts.  (When looking for an excuse, you will always find one.  It may not be a very good one, but it will be an excuse nonetheless. heh)  I was also worried that they would gap as I am not as experienced with that style pocket as I ought to be  Of course, how one is supposed to get better if there is always a convenient excuse.....

As you can see, rather than a traditional kick pleat in the back I set in in the side.  I wanted it closed so nothing would show.  When I set the fabric in to the seam I was pleased with the proportions, forgetting that I was going to put a big hem in it.  So now every time I look at the pleat it, stumpy.  I am very pleased with the funky jewelry finding I added for art's sake though. :)

In a funny side note, I carefully remembered to add the little bits in the side seams where my sloper said I need a bit more room, only to find that it was COMPLETELY wrong.  Sigh!  You see, since Ruth still had my sloper pattern I just used the "fashion" version of the pattern and it had the ease already added.  sigh again.  So Now I need to go through and trace off the seam line that I actually used on the skirt and draw it on the pattern so I can remember the adjustment.

I also put into practice the "lapped zipper" I learned how to do from our zipper month.  Be proud of me, it is PERFECT. 

Now on to bigger and better things?  perhaps. heh k.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Pleated Skirt

When Kimberly issued the skirt challenge, and showed us her beautiful gathered skirt, I was excited to make my own. For some reason, I thought I could do it without a pattern. I mean, skirts are easy, right? I really don't know what I was thinking. Despite a few little nitpicks here and there, I'm quite pleased with my final product.

I went to my fabric stash and pulled out these coordinating fabrics from Riley Blake's collection. I had a purchased four yards of each at the Happy Quilt warehouse but didn't have anything planned for them. I thought the sunburst fabric would make a fun and colorful skirt. I started out by cutting two rectangles (from selvage to selvage) the length that I wanted for my skirt. I sewed the two pieces together and then sewed a hem. (I did it in black thread, but I wish I'd done it in white. I also should have done a blind hem.) At first, I tried to make a gathered skirt but I didn't like the way it looked. Kimberly suggested I try pleats instead. Never having worked with pleats, did a little internet research and played around with pleating on different scraps of fabric until I found the type of pleats I wanted (there are several types of pleats, who knew?). I then spent a bit of time playing around with my skirt, pinning and tucking until I found a pleat width I liked. I initially make my pleats much wider but I decided to space them about 3 inches apart, which I liked better. I ironed all my pleats in and then topstitched down the front of pleat about 8 inches to keep my pleats in place and to create shape to my skirt. I can't find the tutorial I used as my model, but this tutorial shows how I basically created my skirt.

After sewing my pleats in place, I sewed the two sides together and put in the zipper. I attempted to put in a lapped zipper, but when that failed, I went with the old center-seam standby. Not as refined, but it gets the job done. Next up was the waistband. I wanted to do a black piping to set the waistband off from the rest of the skirt. I love the effect it gives but I should have cut the black fabric on the bias so it would have moved and shaped itself better. Ruth also recommended using linen fabric as it was easy to work with and shape. Don't look too closely on my piping (especially around the curves). It's a mess. But from far away, the effect is quite nice.

The other thing I didn't know about wide waistbands is that they should be cut on the curve so that they will be narrower at the top. That way, they conform to the waist better and offer a snugger fit. My skirt and waistband created a bit of a gap, so I sewed in three makeshift darts in my skirt to lessen the problem.

As you can see, there's still a lot of space in my waistband, but it's much better than it was before. I like my skirts to sit on my hip and not fit too tight. It's not quite as snug as I would have liked, but at least I don't think it's going to fall off me. The final touch was sewing buttonholes and buttons on the waistband tab. Again, here I learned that I should have sewed my buttons closer to the end of the tab. Now, there's a bit of waistband that sticks up.

After making my skirt, I had to make something for Zara as well. I used the coordinating fabric to make this quick onesie dress. It seriously only took me twenty minutes and I think it looks great.

I may have to make some more.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Mad Men Sew-Along

I don't follow this particular blog much anymore, but was looking through their archives and noticed they are doing a "Mad Men Sew-Along" of a dress pattern similar to the sloper we are using. I'm only posting the beginning post, but there are others where she discusses making the darts and adjusting the pattern, such as this one where she talks about adjusting the skirt (which I'm in the process of doing right now).

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Skirts on the Internet

Hi, everyone. I made a skirt and wore it to church last Sunday, but we left that day for our vacation and I never took a picture. I promise to put it on tomorrow and have someone take a photo for me to share with you.

I know we've moved on to another dare, but one of my favorite bloggers, Dana, posted this cute skirt tutorial that is so simple and adorable. After I gave birth to Claire last May I made myself a bunch of skirts in basically the same way Dana shows--except mine were cut in a slight A-line. It was great for my post-pregnant belly that wouldn't fit into any of my old summer shorts or skirts. Actually, I still like elastic waistbands best because I feel like my shape is always changing. I'm also planning to make her circle skirt, which a different version of a skirt I made last summer as well.

This would be an easy skirt to add pockets to, so it could fit into our next challenge too, right?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Skir-Ta Da!

I ended up making 2 skirts for this dare. I think I made the first one (which was very simple) just to see if I could make a skirt that I would actually wear. The only other skirt I've ever made for myself was in college, and I never wore it, ever. I used this pattern

And I had some left-over material from skirts that my daughter Cora made last year for herself and her little sister.

And I ended up with this.

I made it slightly too big, and I made one mistake on the ribbon.

But overall I think it's fine for a skirt this summer.

With the next skirt I wanted to challenge myself a bit more, and I had some fabric that had actually inspired me (I'm pretty sure that made a big difference!). I used this pattern.

And here was my finished product.

I am very, very happy with this skirt, but I did make a few mistakes. This was the first time I'd done piping, and it's a little uneven (thicker in some places, thinner in others).

I also accidently made a tuck here, and was too lazy to fix it.

I'd like the skirt to be a little longer, so I'm going to try and replicate the yoke along the bottom of the skirt. I think that will add the perfect amount of length, and hopefully it won't ruin the overall effect. I learned how I can change the side seams just slightly to make the yoke fit better in front, and then this will be the perfect fitted skirt pattern for my body:) I wanted to make a fitted skirt out of this material because I wasn't sure if it would hang right as a fuller skirt. However, Liz made her skirt out of the same material (hers was a purple color scheme instead of yellow), and she made a fuller skirt with pleats - I LOVED it! I hope she posts a picture of it (hint, hint, wink, wink). So that was good for me to see how the same fabric can be used in different ways. We also learned from Kimberly about backing, and I think that would have made a big difference with this skirt as well. Next time:)

It sure was fun to see all the skirts that everyone made on Sunday, and this really was a motivating challenge. I even plan on making another skirt out of this lovely material that I found.

It will have pockets in it!:)