Wednesday, October 27, 2010

More Faux Covered Button Flowers (Made into Kid's Clippies)

Getting all lonesome holed up in your sewing room?  This little beauty (the clippie, that is :o) was made with the same technique as the Flower Pin.  Not only is it easy, you don't need a sewing machine!  Hurray, you can socialize with your husband while you make it!  Just gather up the following supplies and park yourself down next to your nearest and dearest:

Supplies needed:
  • fabric scraps
  • matching thread
  • Ric Rac (optional)
  • small button (a rounded top button works best)
  • coin size tuft of fiberfill
  • needle
  • scissors
  • ribbon spool or something a similar size to use for a circle template
  • pencil

First off, you'll need to cut out two fabric circles, a big one and a little one.  The big circle will become the top of the flower.  The little circle will become the bottom of the flower.  You can choose any size circles you want as long as the bigger circle has a diameter at least 1.25 inches larger than the small circle.

I made the big circle first by tracing around a ribbon spool.  Bonus for using a ribbon spool template - you can see the pattern through the hole in the middle!  Make sure the pattern you like is smack dab in the middle of your circle because it will be the "button cover."

Then, I cut another smaller circle about an 1.5 inches in diameter.  (Sorry, I forgot to take a pic.)

I took the larger fabric circle and hand sewed a small circular gathering stitch near the center.  I left the thread ends loose (no knots and at least a couple of inches long).  Pulling on them will create the covered button.  Here's a pic with the button on it, so that you can see how big to make your gathering circle.

Like in the above picture, I put my tuft of fiberfill in the middle of the gathering stitches and then plopped that button (upside down) on top of it.  FYI, I used a ratty old covered button, which is why it looks kinda funny.  You can use any kind of button you want.  If it is a very flat button, you might want to add a tuft more fiberfill.

Now, holding the button in place with one hand, I pulled the threads with my other hand in order to gather the fabric around the button. 

Tied the thread off like so.

Are you with me?  You can do this!  I sewed another gathering stitch around the outside of the big circle.

BTW, the plan here is to gather the big fabric circle and attach it to the small circle.  Once I gathered up the large circle, I pinned it (right sides together) to the small circle.  This is what it looked like from the top.


And here is a picture of what it looks like from the bottom.

I hand stitched the two circles together.  If you are following along, don't sew the full circle!  Leave an opening about 3/4 inch long so that you can turn the fabric right side out - like so:

Once turned right side out, I sewed the hole shut (above).  So much work for such a little flower!

For good measure, I attached the top and bottom circle together with a few stitches hidden under the button.  This will keep the flower flat in the middle and a little bit poofy on the sides.

At this point, if I wanted to add another layer of 'petals' like the flower pin, I'd repeat the process with another set of even larger circles (skipping all of the button related steps).  Wouldn't it be super cure to do another color and pattern for the second layer?  But, really, we've already done enough work!  That being said, I couldn't resist adding more awesomeness with - the queen of all awesomeness - Ric Rac. 

Mine came out of the bin.  I tacked it down at the tip of each 'v' and hid the stitches under the button.  Then I attached it to a hair clippie and put it on my youngest' head.  Where it stayed...for a very short period of time.  Have you ever seen anything so darn cute?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Snipper Sewing Basics - Cutting Sheers

Wicked sheer fabrics are notoriously difficult to cut because they slip around.  You think you're cutting a straight line and the next thing you know, you've wandered four inches in the wrong direction.  Brace yourself for some wisdom from the ages!

I was reminded more than once how much I hate sheers while making a long silk dress for a family wedding.  Thankfully, I learned a trick which allowed me to make perfect straight-of-grain (straight line) cuts.  Sorry, this doesn't work for curvy cuts, but it's perfect for anything that requires long straight cuts from one end of the fabric to the other (or from selvage edge to selvage edge) - like a shawl, or curtains. 

Here's what you do.  You make a little snip in the fabric where you want the cut.  Then, you take a thread from the weave and you pull it until it is completely pulled out of the fabric - kinda like a run in your hose or something.  What happens is that missing thread makes a line.  Use it as a cutting line and you'll have a perfect straight-of-grain cut in a jiffy!

The fabric with gather a bit until the thread is completely pulled out.

If for some reason the thread breaks while you are trying to pull it out, just cut to the place the thread broke and pull another thread.  Works like a charm.  Perfect cuts make for less fraying...and less hair pulling all around.  Good luck!

Flower Pin - This could work?

I'm thinking it would be cute front and center.

Plans to make more of these puppies underway.  There will definitely be children's hair clippies involved. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

More on the Shabby Apple Dress

You may have noticed that my dress entry post was a little bit brief.  No matter! I am back to fill you in on all of the juicy details of how I chose the fabric and style.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Dress design for Shabby Apple dresses.

Update:  This dress design was entered in the fall 2010 Shabby Apple dress design contest.  The top fifteen dress entries were put up for a public vote and the winner's dress was created for their spring line.  My dress made it into the final fifteen.

Dress design for Shabby Apple dresses.

This dress is inspired by the feeling of the first spring day.  The feeling of finally pulling off the layers and feeling your own skin again.

Simple, natural, romantic.

100% Polyester Microfiber

photos by Luke Kuschel

I Lied

Look at the calendar and realize that Wednesday is not the 15th -------- check

Sew like a crazy lunatic ---------- check

Impose on your mother to babysit yet again --------- check

Rope in a friend to take dress photos at a moment's notice --------- check

Prance around in 50 degree weather barefoot -------- check

Enter design contest -------- check, check, check

Did I say The Dress Ain't Happening?  Apparently I lied!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Dress Ain't Happening.

You might recall, I was going to attempt to enter the Shabby Apple contest Dare to Design, which I mentioned here.  Yeeeeaaaaaah.  Probably not happening.  I suppose I do have a fighting chance to finish it by tomorrow's deadline.  All I have left is to attach a sleeve, insert a zipper, design and finish a neckline, and sew a hem.  No problemo!  My one-year-old can sketch out the neckline while I do the zipper and my three-year-old pins the hem.  We just have to finish it in the next five hours, because I have plans for tonight.  No naps for anyone, there's work to do!  Tomorrow I'll wear it on our trip to the zoo and take some fashion shots next to an exotic animal or two.  If I'm lucky, the warthogs will be sunning themselves and I can pose with them.  Then I can mention in the explanation of my design, "I loved the juxtaposition of the softly flowing fabric against the hairy pig."  Besides, nothing says spring fashions like a nice moist set of nostrils.

Procrastination, oh how I love you.  Maybe we'll aim for next year's deadline.  Sad, though, because it really is a stellar dress.  I can't wait to finish it so that I can wear it!  (And blog about it, of course!)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Silly Little Bookmark

Sometimes ya just need a small birthday gift to let someone know you thought of them on their big day.  This bookmark is ideal for the bookworm in your life!

It's so easy, you don't really need instructions.  But just in case...

You'll need to assemble the following:
  • printable fabric
  • wool felt
  • a scrap of Heat'n Bond(double-sided adhesive stuff that you iron on - it's usually in the notions aisles)
  • thread (they don't have to match the wool or fabric)
  • twine
  • a fabric scrap
Step I:  Cruise the internet for a quote, or use the one I found "Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend.  Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. ~ Groucho Marx" and print it on your printable fabric.  I used the computer printer fabric left over from the softie flip doll.

If you print that quote on the end, you can reuse the rest of the sheet.  Kick your printer if it smudges up your paper like mine did.  (I have a rule "When the need arises, go ahead and yell at your toys.")

Step II:  Cut off the extra paper around your quote and peel the paper backing off of the printable fabric.  Mine unravelled, so I embraced the look and frayed it some more.

Step III:  Cut a piece wool.  Make it two inches longer than your quote (the picture hasn't been trimmed on the ends yet).  Cut a piece of Heat'n Bond the same size as your wool (not pictured).  Cut an additional piece of fabric the same width, but 1.5" longer than the wool piece (also not pictured - sorry :o).

Okay, so at this point I should tell you that I made this bookmark wrong.  Ideally, you should decorate the wool and then attach the fabric to cover up the messy stitching on the back.  I kinda like the look of the stitching on the back of the bookmark, so I'll give you directions to do it the way I did it.  If you want a clean finish on the back, skip this step and come back to it later.

Step IV:  Attach the wool to the fabric using the Heat'n Bond.  A.k.a.  Iron the Heat'n Bond to the wool.  Peel off the paper backing.  Iron the fabric to the Heat'n Bond.

Step V:  Sew the quote onto the wool, and then go crazy with whatever types of stitching you want.  I sewed on some twine to add a bit of dimension.  Mine looked like this:

Step VI:  Finish off the ends by double folding them and sewing them down.

Step VII:  Trim off any stray strings and admire your work!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

How I Learned to Sew

Was going to upload more birthday extravaganza projects, but the photo uploader is not working on Blogger tonight.  So I'm thinking of other topics - that and listening to my husband talk about how great he feels since he took cold medicine.  Looks like now is the opportunity to do that post I've been thinking of doing about how I learned to sew.  I always wonder how other people learned.  Here's my story...

My mom sewed.  Not sure how she learned, exactly, because I've only ever seen my grandmother do needlework and such.  My first memory of sewing involves sewing on paper without any thread.  Using a mechanized needle to punch swirls in sheets of paper was awfully cool, or so I thought.  Back then, my mom used a black Viking and I remember the backstitch was a button that you had to push down really hard.  At least it was hard for a five-year-old.  From swirls, I moved on to binding "books."  Basically, we stacked a few sheets of paper and I sewed a straight line down the middle, folded the paper in half at the stitch line, and voila!  A book.  This was a brilliant move by my mother because I loved illustrating my own little story books.  Maybe part of my affinity for writing comes from those good childhood memories.

Moving on.  We started homeschooling in 1989, third grade, and the year I turned 9.  I think that was the year I started 4-H sewing.  My mom's friend Bonnie, God rest her soul, taught a group of us girls.  Each year we made a garment or outfit of our choosing which was then judged at a big event.  I distinctly remember getting rave reviews on my first hem (it was on a calico skirt with an elastic waistband) because of my exceptional hand stitching.  Sadly, that hand stitching has gone the way of my penmanship.  Most of my basic sewing skills were learned through three or four years of 4-H sewing.  That and spending hours upon hours making Barbie doll clothes out of left over scraps from my older sisters' prom dresses.   Do you remember Daisy Kingdom?  I ask only because I just remembered a period of time when we made Daisy Kingdom rabbits with little dresses.  Crafty stuff was big in the early nineties.

Sewing gifts, crafts, clothes, and the occasional vacuum filter kept me busy through my early teen years.  After fifteen or so, I embraced mall shopping and saved my sewing for the fun stuff - fancy dresses, to be exact.  Now if only I had a photo uploader, I would share a pic or two!  My great love for making stuff, and a decent ability to draw and watercolor, eventually lead me to fashion design school where I learned how to do some of the technical stuff like draping and pattern manipulation.  (The best part of going to design school - since I didn't retain all of it - was getting the textbooks!  I still use them.)  Meanwhile, I picked up a job at a community college costume department and sharpened up my sewing skills on costumes for plays like The Three Musketeers and Mikado.  That's when I really fell in love with fabric.  Especially silk.  I have such a soft spot for silk.

In fashion school, other than learning I was truly not cool, I learned that I don't have 'it' when it comes to fashion.  In short order, it became clear that I couldn't dress myself much less other people.  I was really good at fashion school, though, so my profs thought I should get a masters/PhD and teach at the college level.  I guess if you can't do...teach, right?  Alas, it was not to be.  I decided that investing in a career seemed kinda foolish for a girl who wanted to invest in a family.  So, I did what any bright young girl does in a situation like that.  I invested myself in finding a husband instead.  While embarking on the all important job of seeking a mate (and half-heartedly looking for a 'real' job in a state that doesn't have a single fashion design job to it's name), I worked at a bridal shop.  There, from an amazing Persian woman named Zohreh, I learned how to alter bridal attire.  Golden information, if ever I learned any!`

And the rest is history.  (And the baby is screaming...gotta go!)