Archives: November 2018
Christmas is such an exciting season! I love all the decorating, the baking, the songs, and of course, the sewing projects! Today, I get to share with you the Christmas project that was at the top of my list for this season - outfits for myself and all of my daughters.
Since I have 3 daughters to sew for, I needed a project that was simple and yet beautiful to wear over this upcoming season. I chose the Laurel Dress by Greenstyle Creations for myself. For two of my daughters, I chose the kid’s version of this same pattern – the Laurelette, and for my oldest daughter, I made a quick pair of Bonny Leggings by Made for Mermaids.
I wanted a classic red plaid and chose this Jersey Fabric in the red colorway for all of my projects. I love the shade of red in this print. It is not too bright but is still very festive for Christmas. I think it looks great paired with black and gold.
The Laurelette pattern can be made in a dress or tunic length, has an optional cowl or a neckband, and can be made in three different sleeve lengths. It works for any knit fabric with at least 25% stretch. It fits sizes 12 months to 14. I made the 12-18 month size for my 11 month old daughter to wear and the 9-10 for my 8 year old based on their measurements. I made my youngest daughter the tunic length so that it did not get in the way of her busy crawling, and I made my 8 year old the dress length. I used the straight hem included in the pattern, but the pattern also has an optional high-low hem.
The only alteration that I made to the Laurelette was that I gathered the skirt before attaching it to the bodice rather than sewing pleats as the pattern instructs. To gather it, I sewed a basting stitch at the top of the front and at the top of the back of the skirt and pulled my bobbin thread until the top of the skirt was the same width as the bottom of the bodice, making sure to match my side seams and gather evenly. I love how pretty the dress is with gathers.
My 8 year old daughter’s favorite part of the dress is the deep pockets that it has. She showed me during the photo session that she had some candy hidden in her pocket already!
For my dress, I also gathered the skirt instead of sewing the pleats. For the Laurel, you select your size based on your bust measurement. The rest of the dress is not form fitting so there is no reason to grade or adjust for larger or smaller waist or hips. My bust measurement was in between sizes, so I chose the smaller size (XXS) since this fabric has lots of stretch. If I had used a fabric that was not as stretchy, I would have made an XS. In the women’s version of the pattern, there are three bodice lengths for short, regular, and long torsos. I made the regular torso bodice and cut my skirt at the above knee length.
The neckline has a lower cut so it is very easy to breastfeed in this dress. It also is forgiving enough that it would be perfect for maternity or for the extra indulgences of the holidays. I took these photos right after Thanksgiving celebrations and was very happy with how forgiving the silhouette is.
My oldest daughter wanted a pair of leggings that she could mix and match with her favorite tops. I was glad that she wanted to mix it up a little and that she picked the quickest sewing project of us all. I used the Bonny Leggings pattern by Made for Mermaids for her tights. It is a free pattern that has always fit her very well.
I love how the scale of this plaid looks on leggings and how versatile this fabric is for knit sewing projects. I think I need a pair of leggings like hers for myself now too! This fabric has great stretch for leggings and nice recovery as well.
I am so happy that I got my first project marked off of my list for Christmas sewing this year and that all of my girls have a special outfit to wear over the upcoming holidays. I am also really glad I finally tried the Laurel and Laurelette patterns. It is definitely going in my bin for my favorite patterns.
I hope I have inspired you and that you have a Merry Christmas!
Sharon @ Sweet Mama Life
Posted in Projects on Friday the 30th November 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
This particular bear is 35cm high and the fibres are 100% acrylic. The pack indicates that the product is not suitable for children under 3 years as there are small parts for assembling the eyes. To be fair if that’s the only reason that making a bear from scratch can’t be done by a 3-year old I‘d be pretty impressed.
Let’s unpack this hairy beast.
The bear comprises of 16 fuzzy pieces, 4 pieces of felt whose purpose is yet to be revealed and 7 facial components.
As you can see from this picture it does look like something pretty sinister kicked off down at teddy bear’s picnic and CSI: 100 Acre Woods is about to rock up and conduct an investigation.
The great thing about this is that you can sew it on the machine or easily stitch it with needle and thread, by your own ‘bear’ hands. I made this on the sewing machine but to be honest there were times where hand-stitching would have given better control, especially with so much fuzz flying around and the kit’s tiny 5mm seam allowance. I tacked where it said to – they were pretty serious about that.
The ears came together really quickly, and after that, the head started to take shape after a bit of read and re-read of the instructions. I think with a bear and all these weird pieces there’s no frame of reference so it's tricky to see if you’re on the right lines and not sewing a leg to a head bit etc. With a dress at least, you can see if its ‘about right’. I was flying blind here people. The instructions and diagram of the pieces are however very clear and give good guidance. I would also give these instructions 10/10 for hilarity factor as it references such classics as ‘the furry head gusset’ which for some reason I could only read in the voice of Joe Lycett. (Side note: Yay to the sewing bee coming back!)
Tip for sewing the head together – keep the fur tucked inside, right sides together, otherwise when you turn it out and the fur catches in the seam allowance, your bear looks like he’s got a bit of a toupée centre part going on.
At this point, I did wonder if I’d made a possum or other such small rodent until it was time to attach the eyes. The instructions say to sew around the eye hole to reinforce it. I did not. I could barely see the eyehole due to all the fur let along jet that under the machine so just gave that a miss. The eyes take some force to pop into place securely so don’t be afraid to go for it.
This is the only time I ever want to see what the insides of a bear's head look like.
The arms and legs were relatively straightforward if a little fiddly. All was going fairly smoothly UNTIL I turned the arm out, it got stuck on a thread and this happened. Not sure Minicraft has made this themselves… I think they need to revise that age limit. Absolute panda-monium.
Now lets paws for a second…. The rest of the body construction is great, it whips up like a little pimp jacket!
Looking good so far but we’re not out of the woods yet…. (and we all know what happens there). The legs are attached to the body and the whole thing gets turned inside out so you can attach the bear’s bum. Weird but true.
The head goes on quite easily as at this point its just a straight seam to attach the head to body, as the back remains open for stuffing.
Now fill that bear up! I used some multi-purpose washable Polyester Filling which is certified safe for toy stuffing.
Meet Terri. Here he is channelling his inner Yogi.
I thoroughly enjoyed making Terri, it was a lot of fun, especially as it's not something I usually sew. This kit would make a wonderful gift – a toy presented ready-made for a kid or even the kit itself for those a little older, so they can enjoy the process of making and keeping their own woodland friend.
Just watch where you put those pic-a-nic baskets….
This year I decided to make a Christmas Tree Skirt, I’ve been admiring them for a while so when Minerva Crafts asked me to make something Christmassy it was the first idea I had. I found a pattern by Deonn Stott called Star Medallion Tree Skirt which looked perfect and not too difficult either.
I chose some gorgeous Christmas Fabric with gold swirls on, this was ideal as I wanted three different colours and this fabric comes in red, green and cream. A few days later a lovely parcel arrived from Minerva.
The skirt is made like a quilt, the slit and the centre circle are not cut until almost the end. My first job was to cut out 18 large squares and stitch them together to make pairs of half square triangles. It was lovely arranging them on my design wall and seeing the colours come together. It was then a fairly quick job to stitch them all together.
Once it was well pressed I could sandwich it with a red fabric backing and some cotton batting in between. I laid it out on the dining room table so I could get it nice and smooth and used 505 adhesive spray to hold it in place.
It took me a while to decide how to quilt it, the pattern picture has feather quilting down each diamond, which looked stunning but I don’t think my quilting is quite up to it yet! In the end I decided on a flower pattern which I’d seen in a tutorial on facebook just a few days before. I liked the idea that it was just curves and points, I find patterns with curves and points easier to do neatly with free motion quilting as the point gives me somewhere to stop and ‘regroup’ rather than wiggling on a straight line. I quilted in red, green and cream Gutermann thread with red in the bobbin for most of it. The fabric was lovely to quilt as it has a smooth sheen to it which seem to let it move really easily under the foot.
Once the basic ‘quilt’ was complete I had to make it into a tree skirt. I cut a straight line from the outer edge to the centre with a rotary cutter and then cut a 4” circle in the centre. I trimmed all the outer edges and reinforced the inner corners with a row of stitching. All that was left was binding and buttons.
I cut some lengths of ribbon to make button loops and pinned them in place down one side so they would be stitched under the binding.
Binding a star shape was a bit of a learning curve for me, I’ve only ever bound nice 90’ outside corners. The star had narrow angles and inside corners too. Luckily the designer Deonn had a couple of tutorials on her website so I watched those and went for it! I stitched the inner circle first with a length of bias binding in the red swirl fabric. I hand stitched the back which is how I prefer to attach binding.
The star shape proved easier to bind than I thought with my points coming out better than I thought. I didn’t fancy hand-stitching the whole of the binding down so I found my clover clips and turned the binding to the back. I then stitched in the ditch from the front, catching down the back as I went.
I covered some buttons with the red fabric, trying to cut the circles so I had a swirl on each button. I stitched them on and my Christmas Tree skirt is all ready for the festive season.
Thank you for reading,
Margaret @ thecraftycreek
This past month I have had the opportunity to try out a lovely polycotton fleece back Sweatshirting Fabric from Minerva. I have to say I was very surprised how thick it is when it arrived with a lovely soft finish on the reverse side.
My intention was to make the Burda 7148 track suit hoodie dress but I almost changed my mind and made a jacket as it is such a good weight. I did however stick to my plan and I am glad I did as this will make such a good addition to my winter wardrobe. Trying it on for the photographs it felt really warm and I could imagine on a cold day with a long sleeve t-shirt underneath there would be no need for a jacket.
I found this dress an easy make so great for a beginner and as this fabric behaves so well this would also be a good choice for the inexperienced. There is not a problem with fraying edges and while it is thick it runs through the machine well without bunching.
On this dress I did choose to omit the drawstring purely because I forgot to buy one! So I made the decision to just have elastic to bring up the skirt where it bags over, I was going to add some eyelets and ribbon but after trying it on I like it just the way it was so thought it best to leave it alone.
Another adjustment I made was to the length, I am only 5’ 4 so this is not uncommon and the pocket is perhaps a little closer to the bottom because of that. If I had thought about it before I top stitched my pocket in place then there would have been no difference at all, so consider that when you are making adjustments.
The sleeves are wrist length with a hem but I have chosen to roll them up as they are in the pattern photo. Actually I have styled my photographs just as the dress is worn on the pattern as on inspection I noticed that the lady is wearing boots very similar to mine so why not!
One more thing I ran the sleeves in a little bit so they were not quite so baggy, this is just my preference and I did feel that if I need to wear a coat with this I would rather the sleeves were not too baggy underarm. This is easy to do just put the dress on inside out and pin up the seam (get a friend to help you) do not take too much off though as you still want this to be a comfy, slouchy garment.
As I mentioned above the fabric does not really have much fray so no need for overlocking which is great if you don’t have one. I chose to turn the fabric under at the neck, sleeves and hem and use a fine zig zag stitch I think it gives a neat finish inside and out and again great for a beginner. This is also my preferred method for waist elastic; I think sewing should always be about how you like things so don’t be afraid to add your own favourite bits.
This is a smart and comfy dress and will keep me toasty in those winter months, thank you Minerva for another super fabric.
Thanks for reading,
Dianne @ sewinggreenlady
Posted in Product Reviews on Thursday the 29th November 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Hello everyone. For today’s blog I will be telling you all about this amazing little Create-a-Pincushion Kit by Clover.
The idea of this is you can very easily make a customisable pincushion using whatever print fabric you want. As you can see here, I used a cross stitch embroidery as my choice of fabric, however I do like the idea of changing the fabric to coordinate with your project, or with the changing seasons. Sometimes you just can’t find sewing accessories in your favourite colours.
The kit is available in either brown or white and comes in at around £10. The package contains the plastic inner container and cover for the main structure of your pincushion, and the silicone ring that will eventually hold your choice of fabric in place. It also comes with instructions in four different languages – English, French, Spanish and German – with step by step photo instructions. You will need to supply the fabric, stuffing and scissors.
So the first step is to select your fabric. This needs to be 5 1/2 inches square. If there is a particular part of the fabric you like, make sure this is in the centre, as you will only see the centre 3 inches of fabric when it is complete. For my pincushion I selected a cross stitch design that would produce a 3 x 3 inch embroidery. Once you have your fabric you need to grab 5g of stuffing, or a big handful like I did, and ‘loft’ it by pulling it apart to reduce the chances of getting a lumpy pincushion.
Next you need to grab the inner container, the silicone ring and your fabric. Shape the stuffing into a ball in your hands then squash it into the container. This is the tricky part. Whilst holding the stuffing in with one hand, you need to place your fabric centrally over the inner container and whip your hand out from underneath, using the fabric to hold the stuffing down. Put the silicone ring on top and push it down so it stretches over the sides. You should have a little squashy fabric dome. At this stage you can readjust the position of the fabric if you need to, to centralise a design for example. It recommends evening out the creases in the fabric below the ring so there are no really bulky bits.
Next you need to cut the excess fabric off. I cut it to the level of the bottom of the container so the fabric won’t stick out the bottom when finished. Next, simply push the cover over the top, the silicone ring will hold this on, and TA-DA your gorgeous, customised pincushion!
This took me minutes to put together, and was pretty easy. I was worried the cover would be lose, as it is when the kit arrives, but it is tightly secured on there with the addition of the fabric. Saying that, it is easily removed by holding the sides and pushing down the cushion in the middle, for when your pincushion needs a revamp. I can see me keeping this pincushion forever as I can keep changing its look, and the casing is really good quality. Do not hesitate to give this product a try.
Until next time, you can catch me on Instagram and YouTube as Stitching_Joanne
Posted in Projects on Wednesday the 28th November 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Posted in Projects on Wednesday the 28th November 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Posted in Projects on Wednesday the 28th November 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Hello everyone! I’m super excited about today’s project. I was very inspired by the gorgeous Color Master Boxes that Minerva started carrying from Art Gallery Fabrics. I picked No. 9 Fresh Water palette and I will be sharing about my makes with this set today. This kit includes 10 fat quarter pieces, 18 x 22 inches or 45 x 55cm (which is 2.3 meters or 2.5 yards of total fabric).
As you open the box, the fabrics are beautifully displayed, begging to be sewn into gorgeous projects.
I have to share about something that might easily be missed with this project, the beauty of the box itself. The details printed on the outside of the box are so intricate.
There is a small cardboard insert (to raise the fabric) that I removed. I plan to enjoy using this box for future storage in my craft room.
There are little stitch lines along the box that look like sewn stitches.
The first project that I was inspired to make is a project with the selvedges. This might sound funny as I think more commonly people save the selvedges from fabrics, over time, to make something with after they’ve gathered them and the fabric is long gone. Cutting off the selvedges is a fun way to see the fabrics together and save the fabric names for future reference.
9" / 23cm Zipper
0.5 m Grey Linen Fabric
AGF Fat Quarter Color Master Kit (Freshwater Edition)
Hemline Swivel Clip (13mm)
I first cut the selvedges off of each fabric at a 1.5” (3.8 cm) width. The pieces are cut to 18” (45.7 cm) x 1.5” (3.8 cm).
Arranging selvedges and picking projects for them is a fun and creative process. There are no rules but I will share my approach and thought process with sewing selvedge projects.
I first like to lay out the selvedges to decide what order I would like them in. I’ve found that I enjoy “framing” the selvedges to keep in mind that the fabric on the very bottom and the very top can get lost a bit in the seams (so I like to keep my favorite selvedge pieces in the center).
I overlap each selvedge edge by 3/8” (1 cm) and sew along the selvedge on top of the seam (at around 1/4” seam allowance, 0.6cm). Selvedge edges are finished so overlapping them in this way offers a nice finished look and the edges won’t unravel.
After sewing the selvedges together, I trim off the edges to even out the fabric.
You have lots of options with what projects to make with selvedge fabric. It is now essentially a new “fabric” that you can treat as such and cut out any pattern from (that is smaller than the new selvedge fabric dimensions). You could keep the selvedges horizontal, cut the fabric in half and add a solid linen to the bottom of the fabric to make a colorblocked pouch.
I decided to get the most usage of this selvedge fabric by turning the fabric so that the selvedges run vertically. I made the pouch based on the dimensions of the selvedge fabric, as is. I had a 17” x 11” (43cm x 28cm) piece of selvedge fabric. I also decided not to cut the fabric in half (so the folded section on the bottom of the pouch will be one less seam to sew).
If you would like a general tutorial for sewing a zippered pouch (with zipper tabs) you can reference the following tutorial. Just an FYI that the dimensions of my pouch are slightly different.
I cut a small rectangle for a swivel clip tab from grey linen. I love adding a clip or key ring to pouches that I make (to clip them onto another bag). The tab dimensions are 3.5” x 1.5” (9cm x 3.8cm).
I folded this fabric in half, long ways. I then folded the edges of the tab to the center and folded this length in half again. The final length of the tab is 3/8” x 3.5” (0.9cm x 9 cm). I top stitched along both edges of the zipper tab.
I also sewed zipper tabs for this pouch. Utilizing zipper tabs, it gives a nice finish to the pouch so that the zipper is flat and doesn’t get bulky in the side seams.
I will share that I didn’t not add interfacing to the fabrics. When I make pouches like this, I will sometimes use a medium weight interfacing or a fusible fleece to stabilize the pouch. With utilizing linen for the interior, this pouch is soft and will fall over with the weight of the swivel clip.
A benefit to choosing not to interface the pouch is that the flexibility of the fabric makes it easy to place it inside other bags. A remedy to the pouch falling over is to place something inside the pouch. You can see this skein of yarn in the next photo that I enjoyed tucking inside the pouch (which may hold a new sock knitting project in the near future).
The next project that I made is a fun patchwork tray/pouch that I found via this Snappy Coinpurse Tutorial from i heart linen. You will notice a theme with my projects that I share for Minerva. I tend to enjoy changing patterns to customize them, for fun. Although this pattern is beautiful as is, I thought it would be fun to try a few changes to the pattern with this project.
AGF Fat Quarter Color Master Kit (Freshwater Edition)
Hemline Heavy Duty Snaps (Antique Brass)
I started out by printing off the template that is included in the tutorial. My first finding is that you need to select “fit to page” when you print the template (to match the 1” scale block on the page). Typically with garment patterns, you select “100% scale” before printing out the pattern not “fit to page.” As you can see from the photo, the 100% scale size template is too small, the “fit to page” template matches the intended pattern dimensions.
This finding offered a fun twist to this project (that I’ll share more about in a bit).
I followed the tutorial for the Snappy Coinpurse, with a few changes.
I first pieced four fabrics together (as mentioned in the tutorial). One aspect that I really liked about the Freshwater kit is that a solid fabric is included with the nine other prints. I love the contrast of solid fabrics paired with prints. With the patchwork block that I pieced together, I really liked that the bird is facing the tree.
I chose this next fun fabric for the interior of the pouch.
The following pic shows a view of what both fabrics will look like together in the pouch. The two blocks are 8” x 8” (20.3cm x 20.3cm).
I chose to interface the fabrics. With this tutorial utilizing metal snaps, it’s always a good idea to reinforce the fabric with interfacing (to prevent the snaps from ripping out of the fabric with usage). I decided to modify the template to cut out the center with a craft knife (to view the center area for the pouch for fussy cutting).
I normally enjoy using a rotary cutter to cut out patterns but I decided to trace around the template in this project with the fabric pen (to view the area for the pouch, prior to cutting). I then used fabric shears to cut the fabric. If you decide to center a motif on the pouch, you can move around the cutting area with this technique, prior to cutting the fabric.
The pattern calls for a 1/4” (0.6cm) seam allowance. I decided to mark the corners and curves to reverence the seam allowance on the pattern piece.
Although I do have a point turner, I’ve found that a paintbrush has been my favorite tool to push out the corners in a sewing project (after turning the pouch right side out). The paintbrush end is small yet rounded (to help gently push out the corners without poking through the fabric).
The tutorial suggests to hand sew the opening closed but I decided to top stitch (at 1/8” or 0.3 cm) around the perimeter of the pouch. This gives a nice finish and eliminates the need to hand sew the opening.
One mishap that occurred during clipping the corners (before the pouch was turned right side out) is that I cut through one of the stitched seams and into the fabric. This mishap was fixed with the added top stitching step. You can see in the next photo the area at the inside corner that was reinforced during top stitching. I did backstitch a couple of times at this location to reinforce this area.
This tutorial calls for adding metal snaps. I decided to make a little “swatch” to practice adding metal snaps with scrap fabrics prior to adding them to the actual pouch. In knitting, swatching is recommended to practice before starting a pattern. I enjoy utilizing this concept with sewing as well (practicing on a swatch of fabric first before applying a new technique to the finished item). I mimicked the project with fabric and interfacing scraps by ironing interfacing on two pieces of fabric and sewing them together in a rectangle. I cut this rectangle in half for two scrap pieces (to test adding the male and female snaps).
The snap kit includes all the tools you need (except a hammer). The kit suggests using the included punch to first pierce a hole into the fabric for the snaps. I marked a plus sign with the fabric pen to practice intentionally marking the snap in a set location. I first tried using a rubber mallet (instead of a hammer) at this step and found I needed a traditional metal hammer (the mallet didn’t punch well through the fabric).
I found that a mini hole punch (that I had on hand) helped give me more control to center the hole at the marked location. This isn’t shown in the photo but I found that punching three small holes around the center location worked well.
Through some trial and error I found that the best surface to hammer the snaps in place is a rigid surface. After failed attempts of hammering the snaps on my sewing desk, I found that the best surface for me was outside on concrete floor. I also tried hammering in the snaps on a hardwood floor (but concrete worked the best for me).
After adding the snaps to the pouch (in the suggested locations given in the tutorial), I made another change to the tutorial. I wanted to try to avoid hand sewing with this project so I machine sewed each of the four sides together by placing the edges together and top stitching at 1/8” (0.3cm). The result was quick and I didn’t feel the shortcut had a negative effect to the end project. There was no hand sewing needed with the changes that I made with this project.
After finishing this pouch, I thought a fun twist to this project would be to make a second, smaller pouch following the “100% scaled,” smaller template. I first started a patchwork square for this second project but I found that the square ended up being too big for the template. The second smaller template needs a 6.5” x 6.5” square (16.5cm x 16.5cm). I loved the framing with this patchwork block as is so much that I decided to set this one aside for a future project.
I decided to veer from the tutorial to sew a traditional, smaller, log cabin style patchwork piece. The tiny two squares in the center are 1 1/4” x 1 1/4” (3.1cm x 3.1cm).
I thought I’d twist the process a little more with this second pouch to cut out the corners and curves on the template (to quickly mark the seam allowances to reference when sewing). I used the craft knife to cut out these areas in the template. I skipped cutting out the corners on the left side (as shown in the photo) to flip the template around when marking the corners on the left side. I also cut out the center area of the template with the craft knife to reference for fussy cutting.
I enjoy finding ways to streamline steps in a sewing project, especially when making multiple versions for gifts (or for myself). Utilizing the template to mark the corner seam allowances saved me time (instead of hand measuring these locations).
I did find that with the scale being off from the suggested size, the seam allowance as shown on the template was not exactly at 1/4” (0.6cm). This wasn’t a big deal, just an FYI. I top stitched the second pouch as well.
The end result is a cute and functional, smaller pouch. As a knitter, I think this pouch would be a fun way to hold stitch markers when working on a knitting project. I will say that when items are left inside the pouch and the front is snapped closed, I’m not sure if small items (like knitting stitch markers) might fall out of this pouch. To me, the function of the pouch is more for standing up as a tiny bowl and storing the bowl flat when not in use (but I’ll experiment with this question).
Both pouches are really cute, side by side (one holding knitting stitch markers and the other holding fabric clips for sewing).
Although piecing patchwork fabrics together does take more time, the end result is so satisfying and quite enjoyable. I’m really happy with each of these three pieces and I look forward to using them together.
I decided in the end to utilize the AGF box to store the leftover fabrics and fabric scraps for future projects. I have a surprising amount of fabric left over and I look forward to making more patchwork projects with these lovely leftovers in the very near future.
I wish you all a very happy sewing day with your own sewing adventures! Let me know what you make with these beautiful fat quarter collections.