Saturday, 16 August 2014

Reclaimed fabric - Bringing back the bees!

Just a quick post to show you how I altered the pleated skirt used for my previous post and tutorial on how to make a pleated skirt.
 
I was saving the fabric for something special as I loved the bees, and really should have gone with my gut feeling. It's nice sewing new styles and trying new patterns out - but as far as wearable items go, you need to make what you are going to actually wear! I bet there are many of you out there with a pile of homemade clothes that just don't get worn as they are not really our style.

Bees!
 
I'm really not a pleated skirt person it turns out - way too girly - it just felt wrong. So out came the seam ripper and and hour later I had reclaimed a meter and a half of bee fabric and a full waist band and zip! Like magic... It took some serious steam ironing to get the creases out but once done I was left with a pre-hemmed large rectangle of fabric.
 
I love pencil skirts, easy to wear, comfy and don't blow around in a breeze. I used my regular self drafted skirt pattern and cut out pieces from the reclaimed fabric. The length was obviously restricted from the already sewn hem and width of fabric but it seemed fine. Then it was just a case of reattaching the waist band and zip!
 
Moral of the story, sew for your style if it's one you definitely want to keep!
 
Before the seam ripping!
After!



 
 

Monday, 11 August 2014

How to make an ice pack / heat pack

You may find yourself with loads of scrap fabric. I thought I'd try and find a few ways of putting these to use as its such a shame to waste nice prints!

This tutorial is for a really simple ice pack / heat pack. Great for super hot weather - stick it in the freezer for an hour and you have a refreshing cold pack. Perfect for cold weather - microwave it for 45 seconds and you have a cosy heat pack!

Make these in any size, shape and colour - its really just rice in a bag!

You will need:
  • Rice
  • Fabric
  • Thread
Step 1 - Cutting

Cut out your desired shape. I've gone for a simple square to show you. You could make all kinds of things; flowers, bears, circles, whatever! Just so long as you can cut 2 identical pieces


Step 2 - Pin and sew

Place the fabric pieces together, right sides facing and pin around the edge. You need to leave room for the rice to go in, so leave a couple of inches open along one side. Sew around the edges!



Step 3 - Fill it up

Turn inside out and fill with rice! You want it about 1/2 or 3/4 full of rice so that its bendy and the grains can move around.





Step 4 - Close it up

Fold the opening inwards and stitch down to seal the pack shut. Voila! Finished packs!! Heat or freeze as you like :-)






Happy heating and cooling.... :-)

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Thursday, 7 August 2014

How to make a Kimono Top - Tutorial


There is an abundance of floaty kimono tops available at the moment in all kinds of colours and pretty patterns, but for some reason some seem to be fairly expensive given what they consist of! With a bit of fabric and about 1 hour you can create your own top. Here's how to make them:

You will need:
  • Fabric (anything drapey) 1-2 yards depending on how big you want it
  • Fringe or embellishment
  • Thread
Step 1 - Create a pattern

All you need to do is create a big L-Shape. Measure from the back of your neck out to where you want your sleeve to lie (mine was 25") and decide on your sleeve depth (I went for 12"). The measure down from the back of your neck to the length you want your Kimono (I think this was about 50"). The body width is then a measurement from the back of your neck to shoulder plus 2" (this one worked out at 12" again).



Step 2 - Fold your fabric

Fold your fabric, right sides facing, downwards on to itself. Then fold again creating a quarter of what you started with. It is essential to have the folds in the top left corner!


Step 3 - Cut out

I weighted the fabric down with cans of food! Its super slippery chiffon so needed taming. Pin on your pattern piece so it touches the top left corner then cut it out to create a 2 layered T shape.
Step 4 - Create the front opening

Cutting through a SINGLE layer of the fabric, cut a straight line up the from of the Kimono (you know, they work better when you can get in it). Be careful and don't cut both layers!!
Now you need a neck opening. Measure the width of your neck plus an inch or so and create a slit at the top folded edge.
To shape the front just create a line from the neck edge down to the front opening and cut on both sides.


Step 5 - Sew together

Pin up the open side seams and sew them together. You could be fancy and use french seams so there are no raw edges showing. I just trimmed with pinking sheers as its not that visible anyway. Choose your needle wisely! I used a 60/8 machine needle for delicate thin fabrics so it didn't rip into the chiffon too much.
 

Step 6 - Hem all around

Hem all the way around the neckline and bottom edge of your Kimono. You could use a rolled hem to keep it lovely and neat. Again I was being a bit lazy and just trimmed and turned up the edges.

Step 7 - Add embellishments

At this point you might decide you are done..in which case enjoy! If you fancy adding anything now is the time. I went for some swingy purple fringe. Just pin this in place to the front of the Kimono and sew it right on there.


Step 8 - Wear that bad boy out and about

Throw it on and go!




Please do share on comments below, Facebook or Twitter if you have a go at this! x  :-)






Sunday, 3 August 2014

Pleated Skirt Tutorial

A couple of weeks ago I was playing about with a bit of fabric and ended up making this:
 
 
Its a simple pleated skirt make from a very long rectangle of fabric ('Inked Girls' - Alexander Henry - tattooed half naked ladies all over it - if anyone wants some I have tons left!) with an exposed zipper at the back:
 
Want to make one?! Here we go:
 
You will need:
  • Fabric  - I'm using a fantastic fabric called 'Bright and Buzzy Bees on Sky by Robert Kaufman, bought from the fantastic PlushAddict
  • Zip
  • Thread

Reptile optional - he was trying to help out
Step 1 - Measure out your fabric

The width of the fabric =  approx. 3 x your waist measurement plus seam allowance for the zip. The length = length you want your skirt plus allowance for hem and waistband (mine was 55cm). My fabric had a print that was one directional, so I actually had to stitch 3 pieces together for it to be about 250cm. To ensure the finished skirt was going to fit I actually did more than 3 x waist measurement and just kept pleating! Feel free to do the same!
 
Massive rectangle
Step 2 - Hem!
 
Do the hemming now. Its far easier to hem a giant straight line than a crazy folder skirt at the end. Neaten the bottom edge, turn it up and hem in place.
Hem the bottom edge
Step 3 - Pleat and keep pleating
 
There are many ways to pleat - there's a whole list here. I'm just doing regular, straight forward side pleats about 5cm in length. Not forgetting to leave 1.5cm at the left edge of the fabric for seam allowance, pick up the fabric about 10cm in, and fold it back on itself 5cm, creating your pleat. Pin the pleat in place both at the top and bottom so it hold shape. Where the pleat ends, pick up again a further 10cm away, fold back on itself 5cm and pi the pleat - they should be sitting neatly side by side, neither overlapping nor having gaps between them.
A side pleat - start at the left edge of fabric
Pin in place

Trying to help - not helping.
Keep pleating until you reach your waist measurement plus seam allowance
Step 4 - Iron it big time
 
You want those fold to stay put and be nice and sharp - use a steam iron to really flatten in the creases
 
Step 5 - secure the pleats
 
Sew the top edge of the skirt all the way along the pleats securing them together
 
Stitching the pleats in place
Step 6 - Optional extra
 
I don't like my skirts too 'poofy' or sticking out that much, I'm not a very 'girlie' sort of person so I decided to sew about 7cm down each place to keep the skirt sitting a little straighter. It kept the pleats in place and held them flat to my middle before sticking out a bit.
 
 
Step 7 - create a waistband
 
You will need a strip of fabric 10cm in length x your waist measurement plus seam allowance in width.
 
You may also want to strengthen the waistband by ironing fusible interfacing to the wrong side - his will toughen the material up a bit to be more durable.

 
Create the waistband by folding it in half across the length and pressing with an iron. Then fold 1.5cm of the length inwards on either side.

 
Step 7 - Add the waistband to the skirt
 
Right side to right side, pin the waist band across the top edge of the skirt. Then sew it in place.
If you flip the waistband up now its sewn on, you can see it taking shape!
 
Step 8 - Insert the zip
 
Now join your rectangle of pleats together, right side to right side pin up the centre back seam. Leaving enough room for your zip, sew up the skirt from the bottom hem up to where your zip will start. I'm doing an exposed zip as I found a nice blue one that matched my fabric. You might also want to try a concealed zip - tutorial here!

Neaten the raw edges, pin and sew seam together leaving gap the length of zip
Pin your zip in place along the zip tape and make sure its all secure before sewing in place. The top of the zip should sit at the halfway fold on the waistband. Sew it in place!

Top of zip sits at halfway fold on waistband


Sew zip in place
Step 9 - Finish the waistband

Fold the waistband over onto the wrong side of the fabric, trapping all the raw edges in there. Sew the waistband down keeping the stitched straight and neat :-)

Not the best example of neat stitching ever - finished waistband none the less!
Step 10 - wear it!

Enjoy your new skirt. I chose the windiest day ever to try and take these pics, was blowing around all over the show!



As always please do feel free to get in contact by comments below, Facebook or Twitter :-)
Happy sewing! x