Archive | January, 2013

Sewing Tutorial: Wall Storage Pocket

25 Jan

This project was born of a need to have an area where my husband’s and daughter’s hats could be stashed. My husband seems to have trouble keeping up with his own hats and I always find an overabundance of wee hats and mittens in my purse or on the dining table.

This is the first pocket I made and it’s hanging on a wall in our kitchen so that things can be tossed in or fished out just as we are leaving the house. It’s nice to finally have all of my critter’s accessories in one place. It apparently isn’t large enough because things keep spilling out. I guess I should mention that my daughter has a knitted hat for every day of the week.

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I decided to make a larger pocket for my daughter’s toys which I’m featuring in this tutorial. I used old sheets for both since sheet fabrics tend to have a tighter weave and therefore more durability (oh yeah, and you can get them pretty cheap at thrift stores).

Materials:
Approx 1 yard of fabric or upcycled bedsheets
Interfacing
Eyelets or grommets and a tool to install them
Obvious things like needle, thread, scissors, etc.

This is the basic shape of the pocket that I came up with. All of the measurements you see include a 1/4″ seam. Cut 2 of this shape from your fabric and cut 1 of this shape from the interfacing.

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Fuse or baste interfacing to the wrong side of one of your fabric pieces. (I suppose the interfacing could be skipped, but it will really help make the pocket sturdy. I even added a layer of batting to the first pocket I made, but chose not to for this particular one.) After applying interfacing, put both fabric pieces right sides together and stitch 1/4″ seam all the way around, leaving about a 5-8″ opening for turning (my opening was at the top). Clip your corners, turn the project right side out through the opening and press the entire thing flat while also carefully pressing in the seam allowance at the opening. You can either blind stitch across the opening or just top stitch it closed about 1/8″ from the edge. Be sure that you backstitch at both ends.

Finger press the ‘tab’ and pin it to what would be considered the ‘back’ of the pocket.

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I pinned the tab to the outside for this tutorial but you can pin it to the inside as well. (This photo shows the whole project flipped over so you’re looking at the back.)

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You will want to stitch these tabs on and it may take some maneuvering to get it through your machine (I actually had to use my quilting foot for the first pocket I made because I had to feed the pocket in diagonally as it was too awkward to go in straight.) Make sure you backstitch both ends! You don’t want pressure from a full pocket undoing this seam.

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Insert a couple of eyelets at the top. Alternately, you could use your machine to make small reinforced button holes.

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Hang your pocket on the wall.

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Fill with goodies!

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Thanks for checking out this tutorial! It was shared with the following link parties:

five days five ways | feature friday free for all

I’m a Slacker

18 Jan

So I know that I promised a tutorial or pattern or something every Friday but I have had a very frustrating week in sewing. Or maybe it’s that I thought I need to become reacquainted with my seam ripper. I’ll probably expand more on this later but if I put this project down now I will more than likely be too pissed off at it to want to finish it later. So, ciao until next week.

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Tutorial: Add Knitted Patches to Children’s Pants

11 Jan

I wasn’t sure what sort of tutorial I would post this Friday and as I was thinking about it through the week, Friday just kept getting closer and closer and I still hadn’t organized anything to post. And then I was folding my daughter’s clothes last night and something about a pair of her pants reminded me of a project I’ve had in mind for a while.

We love love love these pants. The tag reads Baby Gap but we got them second-hand at a children’s clothing swap. They are such a perfect fit: I don’t have to roll the bottoms and they accommodate her cloth diaper butt. There is only one problem. And it’s such a tiny tiny problem. Can you see it?

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There is this microscopic hole in the knee (it was there when we inherited them) and now that my daughter is walking, running, climbing, and sometimes falling, I thought it might be time to try and make a patch that would serve two purposes: cover the hole and cushion her knees during future falls.

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So, here’s my fix. I knitted two swatch-size squares from some organic cotton yarn in my stash. The yarn is worsted weight and I used size 8 needles. CO 15 sts and knit stockinette stitch for 15 rows. BO purlwise. I also slip the first stitch of every row to make the edges look smooth. Make two of these.

When the patches have been knitted up, you don’t have to worry about weaving in ends because they can just get tucked underneath. Flip the patch over and try to fold the corners so that they look rounded on the right side.

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Pin the patches over the knees and be sure they are straight.

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Thread the smallest possible darning needle you can manage with the same yarn and sew the patches on. If you use the same yarn, you don’t have to be careful about making the sewing look invisible on the patch. If you’re using thread or a smaller weight of yarn, be sure that you make the stitches look hidden under the face of the patch.

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Here’s what the inside should look like.

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You could simply tie a knot with both ends of your ‘thread’ on the inside, but you don’t want your child to feel that knot every time they land on their knees. I pulled both ends through to the front and very very carefully wove these ends into the face of the patch (without sewing back through the pants).

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Done! Aren’t they cute?

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And if you’re a good knitter (and by this, I mean behaviorally and not skillfully), you probably have a lot of gauge swatches laying around that you could put to good use as patches. (Just a note on this: I really hate taking the time to knit gauge swatches. And sometimes I end up with little girl sweaters or little girl socks that are just too small. Or way too big. I call myself a bad knitter.) Hope you enjoyed!

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I shared this tutorial with the following link parties:
five days five ways | because every day is different

Sewing Tutorial: Faux-Ruched Headband

4 Jan

What is a ruche, really? A seamstress once told me that ruching is always done with elastic, either sewing with elastic thread or by sewing in elastic to create a gather. Is this correct? I really don’t know. I own no elastic thread to speak of and am really not fond of sewing with elastic, but I wanted to create the illusion of a fancy, ruched headband. This piece is made, quite simply, with two long gathers. But ‘faux-ruched’ sounds way cooler than ‘gathered’, (you know, being French and all), doesn’t it?

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For this tutorial I’ve tried to combine images so that this doesn’t seem like such a lengthy process because it’s really not. You should be able to whip a couple of these out in just 30 minutes. If you need to see any of the images larger you can click on them and it will pull it up in flickr where you can zoom in.

Materials:
fabric scrap, at least 24″x1 1/2″
bias tape, about 1 1/2 yds of 1/2″ single fold would be best
thread, scissors, iron, etc.

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Cut a strip of fabric about 1.5″ wide by a suitable length of your choosing. The best way to determine how long this should be is by measuring your own head in the area the headband would sit. I’m making this for my daughter whose head measures a little over 19″. I added some inches to account for the gathers and cut my strip 24″ long. It’s fine to cut it as short as 18″ (even for an adult head), it just means you will have to cut more length for the ties in the back. After cutting this strip, press it in half lengthwise, but this is only really necessary for the tips, about 6″ or so.

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Now you’re going to cut a diagonal so that the ends of your headband come to a point, but it’s best if it’s not too pointy. I held my ruler so that it was about 1/8″ from the fold near the ends and at a diagonal to about 5″ from the ends. (Excuse the green glow, but I wanted to be sure you could see the text in the photo.) Be sure that you are not cutting off the fold and that it remains intact. You’re cutting the other side. When you’ve cut both ends it should look like the image on the right. At this point you can press the ends flat again or just start sewing.

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When making gathers, you should turn the tension knob or dial on your machine all the way to one end or the other. I generally set mine at zero. This isn’t necessary, but it will make pulling the gathers a lot easier.

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Starting and finishing 5″ from the end, sew a gather on each side. I made mine at 1/8″ because of the width of my bias tape and if you are using 1/2″ single-fold you should sew yours at 1/8″ too. If you want the fabric gathered the entire length of the strip, you can do that too.

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When you’ve sewn a gather on each side, BE SURE YOU RESET THE TENSION DIAL ON YOUR MACHINE! Or you’ll be ripping stitches and cursing.

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Start gathering the fabric. It might be hard to see, but I put a pin halfway lengthwise so I could fold it in half and check that it was gathered the same on both sides. The bottom image is what yours should look like. Did you reset your tension dial? Better double check.

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Now you’re going to start sewing bias tape onto one side of the headband. I’ve gotten out of the habit of pinning things as you will see in my photos, but that’s really just because I needed to break the habit of putting pins in my mouth. I read somewhere that a lady inhaled a pin and it punctured her lung. I don’t know if it’s true, but it scared me a little and I’ve decided I should try not to put pins in my mouth. Apparently, it didn’t scare me enough to stop doing it because I still catch myself cramming three or four in just before I need to use them. So if I don’t pin, they don’t end up there. Simple. Your tape should overhang the end just a little (it will get snipped off later, but you don’t want to accidentally sew it just short of the end). My seam here was 1/4″.

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Flip the headband over and now you’re going to sew the reverse side of the bias tape. All of these photos are just to show you my fold, hold and feed method but you could alternately pin the tape in place and sew with either side face up.

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Now you’re going to sew bias tape to the other side of the headband but you will need to add some tape to make a tie. For this particular headband, I started 10″ from the end of my bias tape and started sewing to the tip of the headband. If you’re looking at the photo on the left, imagine 10″ of bias tape hanging from the top. You will sew this on like the first time, except you should hold/pin it at a slight angle so that a little triangle of the raw ends of bias and headband are to your right. You’ll see why later. You also need to do this at the end of the headband as the middle photo shows. Then cut your tape 10″ from the end of the headband.

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This next photo shows you why I hold the tape at an angle. When you flip everything over and flatten the bias tape you can see that those raw ends will be neatly encased in the new piece of bias tape you are adding.

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Those little ends should be trimmed before you start sewing the back side of the bias tape. Just cut so there is no overhang or you’ll end up with some bulk under the bias tape.

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Before you start sewing, you need to fold the tips of the tie so that no raw edges will be seen when you’re finished. I do this but folding and finger-pressing down about 1/4″, then folding the sides in toward the middle, then folding in half. See how nice and neat it turns out? Repeat with the other end of the tie and sew this length of bias tape in place starting at the tip of one tie and ending at the other. Be sure you backstitch at both ends and that all of the raw edges are tucked in.

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I’m still using my fold, hold and sew method.

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Trim all of the excess thread and you’re done!

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The wrong side of the fabric is visible on what would be the ‘inside’ of the headband, but this doesn’t matter. You could make the whole thing with another strip of fabric facing out so that the headband is reversible.

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Tie it onto your sweetie (or yourself) and snap a few photos! This next photo shows the first headband I made and you can tell my daughter wasn’t too keen on being a model this day.

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There are so many ways you can customize this headband. Make it reversible? Add a rosette? I would love to see what you’ve made, so please upload photos of your projects to the flickr photo group for this tutorial.

If you’re not a sewer (sewist?) or you don’t have the time to make your own, you can buy some in my shop! Visit Bebe Bijou Boutique on etsy.com. I encourage you to make your own to sell in your home-based business (but please notify me if you do). If you would like to share the tutorial please refer (or link) directly to this post. Thanks for looking!

Also, I’m new to the idea of link parties, but I’m trying to increase my fan-base. So I’ve linked up with this group:
five days five ways | because every day is different

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