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Wednesday
Mar202013

DIY Dolman Sleeve Top Tutorial

Materials:
  • fitted shirt
  • Craft paper or tracing paper 
  • pencil
  • pen or marker
  • knit fabric (I prefer jersey knit for this project, but any knit with two way stretch should work)
  • sewing machine and/or serger
  • ballpoint needle (for sewing machine)
  • polyester thread (for sewing machine)
Directions:
1) First, we are going to make a pattern for our new dolman sleeved shirt. To do this, take your fitted shirt and fold it in half lengthwise. Then place it on top of craft paper. Weigh down the paper using pattern weights, or found objects. (I used a roll of IKEA drawing paper and votive candles as pattern weights!)
Decide how long you want the sleeve to be on your dolman sleeved shirt, and fold your fitted sleeve up or leave it down accordingly.
Then trace around fitted shirt with a pencil, adding 1/4" - 5/8" seam allowance all around.
Now consider how long you wish your dolman sleeved shirt to be, and add length accordingly.
I added about 2 1/2" in length for my long-torsoed daughter.  
I would suggest adding at least 4" or more to a regular fitted T if you want your dolman to be a tunic length.  
Now it's time to add the dolman sleeve. Do this by creating a semi circle (like a wing) under the armpit of your fitted shirt. 
Then take a pen and go over your pencil markings to put it all together. My pattern looked like this:
2) Cut out your pattern and determine how much knit fabric you need. Fold knit fabric half lengthwise, right sides together. Pin or trace pattern on knit, and cut. Do this twice, cutting identical front and back pieces. 
3) Pin front and back right sides together.  Serge seams from the neck down to the sleeve on both sides, and then from the sleeve, under arm, and down to the waist on both sides.
If you you do not have a serger (and you certainly do not need one for this project!) simply sew using a zigzag stitch with a ballpoint needle and ployester thread. No need to finish your seams when sewing with knits. :)
Turn the shirt right side out.
If you like the raw rolled neck, sleeve, and bottom edges, then you are done! Easiest t-shirt in the world right?
After trying this shirt on for size in the morning my daughter wore it right to school with raw edges and loved it. I only decided it needed the sleeve and waistbands for added detail.
Up to you: quit now and smile, or continue on for sleeve and waistband instructions. 
4) To add the sleeve and waist bands, measure the waist and sleeves of your shirt.
Write down your measurements and get ready for some basic math.
Ready?
To determine the length of your bands, double your waist and sleeve measurements and add 1" for seam allowance. These numbers are now the length of your sleeve and waist bands. 
To determine the width of your bands, first decide about how wide you wish the finished band to be. Then double that number (because you are going to folding your bands in half lengthwise) and add 1" for seam allowance.
For example, for this shirt I decided on bands with a finished width of about 2.5". So I doubled 2.5" to get 5", and added 1", leaving me with a band width of 6".
Cut strips of knit material for bands measuring your length x width. Cut one for your waist band, and two for your sleeve bands.
Fold your cut bands lengthwise and hold them up to your shirt to make sure that you will like the width when attached. 
Then unfold bands lengthwise, and refold widthwise, right sides together.
Serge (or sew with a zigzag) along the width of the bands. 
Turn right sides out, and fold lengthwise again. Your seams should be tucked inside now.
Pin bands (still folded lengthwise), right sides together, on to the waist and sleeves of the shirt. 
Serge or sew seams with zig zag.
Turn seams right side out and press. Then, for a really finished look, press the neck under 1/2" and topstitch with sewing machine. Use either a straight stitch set to a long stitch length, or a zig zag to allow for some stretch at the neck.
You are done! Pat yourself on the back.
Wednesday
Nov142012

Handmade Glasses Case Tutorial

 

Notes:

  • This tutorial is for two different sized glasses cases: Large (finished size: 3 1/4" x 7", for sunglasses and larger eyeglass frames), and Small (finished size: 2 1/4" x 6 1/2", for bifocals and smaller glasses frames). Please choose your size and cut accordingly in step #1.
  • Use a 3/8" seam allowance throughout, unless otherwise specified.
  • All photos in this tutorial are of a glasses case in the larger size.
  • There are a lot of photos and steps in this tutorial but it's easy- I promise! A beginning sewer can easily whip up a handful of these on a rainy Sunday afternoon. 

Gather

  • Cotton, linen or other lighter weight fabric scraps for outside.
  • Coordinating lighter weight fabric for lining.
  • Low or medium loft cotton batting for stuffing.
  • Cotton or all purpose thread.
  • Quilting needle for your sewing machine. You don't have to have one, but I think it makes sewing all of the layers together a bit easier on you and on your machine! 

Make:

1) Gather fabric and patch up some squares or irregular rectangles for the outside of the glasses case. Then choose coordinating fabric for lining, and batting. Cut all down to size.  

  • For large size glasses case cut the patched piece, lining fabric, and batting to 7 1/2" squares.
  • For small size case cut the patched piece, lining fabric, and batting to 5 1/2" x 7" rectangles. 

2) Place patched outside piece right side up on top of batting. Quilt or embroider if you desire to add texture or personalization to finished product. Otherwise, no basting is required.

3) Fold in half lengthwise, with the right sides of the patched outside piece together. Decide what will be the top of the case, and what will be the bottom, and sew along the long side and bottom. Leave it inside out for now, and clip bottom corners.

4) Fold lining fabric in half lengthwise, with right sides togther. Sew only the long side. Leave inside out.

5) Turn patchwork outside/batting right side out. Place it inside lining, with seams on the same side, so that right sides face each other. 

6) Sew lining, batting, and patched outside piece together along the top edge.

7) Pull lining right side out. Tuck the bottom edges of the lining inside and topstitch to close.

8) Push lining inside of patched outside and you are DONE!

9) Admire your work.

 

Monday
Mar052012

Simple Crochet Hair Tie How-To

 

Materials

  • crochet hook and yarn to crochet flowers (you may use any trimmings or pre-made felt shapes instead)
  • scraps of felt or other sturdy material
  • hot glue gun
  • hair tie (plain Goodie brand Ouchless work well)
  • embroidery thread
  • embroidery needle

 How-To

1) Crochet or knit flowers. There are tons of free patterns, and books and classes for knit and crochet flowers available on the internet. Just do a google search and you will have more info than you thought possible on this topic.  Pre-made trimmings or felt shapes purchased from craft shops will work if you can't, or don't want to make your own flowers.

2) Select your flowers/shapes and pile them up however you like. Then sew them with embroidery thread or leftover yarn to a scrap of felt or other sturdy fabric. Take care to secure all of the flowers. I use a few large stitches around the center of the flowers to do the trick.

3) Plug in your glue gun, select a hair tie, and cut another piece of felt the same size and shape as your first.

4) Put a nice blob (that's a technical term) of hot glue in the middle of your felt and place the center of the hair tie on top.

5) Add more hot glue on top of the hair tie, and on the sides of the hair tie.

6) Press the second piece of felt on top of the first, pressing to secure to the hot glue. Be careful not to burn yourself. 

7) Trim the excess felt, and viola, you have a trendy new crocheted accessory.

Now go show it off!

Monday
Jan302012

Felt Applique Tutorial

So if you read my post today, then you know I use a lot of felt applique in my handmade baby items, and I want to show you my super simple method. It's so simple in fact, that I feel weird calling this a tutorial. It's really more of an example of one way to add wool felt applique to fabric, mixed in with some tips and resources.
 
Some pointers:
  • Do NOT use craft felt for applique. 
  • Do use 100% wool felt or wool blends for blankets and other baby items.
  • Do use eco felt for applique on clothing, especially for children's clothing. It machine washes and dries very well in my experience.
  • When selling or gifting an item with wool or wool blend applique always advise the user to machine wash cold only, and line dry.
  • Wool and wool blend felt will shrink a bit and fuzz up with frequent washing and wear, but chances are, if you like handmade, then you will like the effect. 
How To:
1) Determine what you wish to applique and make a template.
I am using simple initials for this example, but go crazy! Consider scale and color when choosing your design, sketch on some graph or other paper, and cut out your images. You may want to trace your images on to cardboard or template plastic if you are going to use them again and again. I often use old cereal boxes for cardboard templates, and find they hold up really well.
2) Choose your felt. 
Here are a few recommendations for where to buy different kinds of felt:
For 100% wool felt I like Purl Soho, or A Child's Dream Come True online. 
For eco felt, try Hart's Fabric.
For wool blend felt, I like Benzie Bazaar.
3) Trace your cut out images on to your felt.
4)Cut out your images in felt.
5) Sew your felt images together as you wish. 
6) Determine where you wish to place your applique, and sew them on to your fabric directly. I do not use any stabilizers or adhesives, but you may if you wish.
7)Finish your item as desired. 
Super simple right? I told you!
Do you use felt applique differently? Have any pointers to add? 
Sunday
Dec182011

Tutorial - Reversible Cotton Laminate Coasters

This is a fast and simple project that yields a set of 4 oversized coasters. I've been whipping them up by the dozen and giving them to party hosts and coffee buddies.  I think they would make a sweet new home or teacher gift as well. Especially paired with a handmade mug and favorite tea or half pound of coffee.

Materials: Small amounts of cotton laminate prints, bamboo or other quilt batting, thread.

1) First, pick your laminated cotton fabrics. For this set I used one fabric for all four of one side, and random cuts from four other laminate prints I had leftover from my box bags

2) Cut eight 5 1/2 squares of cotton laminate, and four 5 1/2 squares of bamboo or other batting from quilt scraps.

3) Lay a cotton laminate square that you want to be the bottom of your coaster face up on your work surface.

 4) Lay a cotton laminate square that you would like to be a coaster top face down on top of the other laminate square, with right sides touching.

5) Layer batting square on top of cotton laminates. Do not pin. Pinning leaves permanent punctures in cotton laminates and oil cloth.

6) Sew all around your square using a 1/2" seam allowance, leaving a 3" opening on one side. If you use a smaller seam allowance, the coaster will be more difficult to topstitch later. 

7) Snip the corners and trim excess batting.

8) Pull the coaster right side out through your 3" opening.

9) Finger press around. You can iron cotton laminates, but I found that on a project this small it wasn't necessary.

10) Topstitch around entire coaster using 1/4" allowance. Repeat 3 times more to complete your set.

11) Admire.