Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Tag! You're It!

Have you noticed how babies make a bee-line for any shiny, soft bits of fabric hanging off things? That’s probably why taggie blankets are so popular. Well, Baby Kate needed a taggie blanket, but not just ANY fabric would do for my little princess, ha! Luckily I had a stash of silk velvet, truly fit for royalty!

 
As you may know, I dye silk velvet for my own class kits and sometimes I end up with more fabric than I actually need. The extra fabric gets fat-quartered and sold in the shop. While packing up a new dye batch lately I thought, “oh man, wouldn’t this be the loveliest blankie ever?” and YES, it is! 

Kate thought so too. J 

 
It was super easy to make once I unearthed my Baby Lock Walking Foot. I don’t know why I forget about this amazing foot – it is a MUST for sewing together layers of slippery, napped, or very different fabrics. Since I had satin ribbon ends, knit fabric on one side, and silk velvet on the other, I really NEEDED that walking foot! 

 
This blanket took one silk velvet fat quarter, which is about 18” x 22” in size. I squared up the velvet to an 18” x 18” block and then cut another block of a super soft cotton fleece the same size. I then chose a bunch of pretty satin ribbons in prints and solids to coordinate with my pink velvet and cut them into 3” strips. 

 
First, I added a pretty monogram to the velvet fabric with a teeny tiny rose from my Petites collection. (Click HERE to go see that whole set.) A layer of silk organza used as a topper kept my embroidery thread from disappearing into the soft pile of the velvet. I also applied a layer of water-soluble clear topper beneath the silk organza so that I wouldn’t cut into the velvet when trimming away the organza.
 
After I trimmed the silk organza, the topper could be ripped away easily. I used a soft tear-away for the stabilizer underneath the velvet. As this project is double layered, the stabilizer side doesn’t show, so any bits left there are okay.
 
Wonder Clips made holding the whole thing together super easy. I did baste the tags on to the knit side first and then applied the velvet side, sandwiching the tags between the two layers.  

 
Kate knew exactly what those shiny ribbon tags were for – chewing on!   

 
This was a super easy and fun project, and even if you don’t have a little prince or princess of your own to sew one for, these make great baby shower gifts. Don’t be afraid to use silk velvet for projects like this or other wearable items; since it’s been washed and dried during the dye process, it’s machine washable and dryable again. Just wash and dry like you would any other fine fabric – on a delicate cycle, cool water, gentle detergent, and tumble dry on low heat, removing quickly. Click HERE to go see all the pretty silk velvets currently in the shop! Make something for you! Collars and cuffs on a pretty jacket, maybe? (Oh my, I’m giving myself ideas again!) 

 
Thanks for reading, I hope you get to make something pretty today! 

Evy

Monday, September 19, 2016

Put a heart on it! Classic Sewing Magazine's pretty sewing Tees!


I fell totally in love with this super sweet T-shirt. It says “just sew everything” on the front and since I totally believe in THAT, you know I needed this shirt! Classic Sewing Magazine has them in their online boutique, so go get yours! There are other sewing motifs too, all cute as buttons. I might be starting a collection, ha!

 
See the little pink heart? Well, you know I can’t leave well enough alone. I mean, the shirt itself DID give me permission to “just sew everything,” right? So I sewed something on it! Actually, embroidered something – a dainty little heart from my Petites collection. Click HERE to find and download this FREE little heart embroidery. (Limited time offer so scoot right over there and download it quick!)

This is one of those instant gratification projects. It’s so easy and fast to do and satisfies that “sew-something” urge without really sewing something. (I can't believe I said that but I'm pretty sure you totally understand!) Here’s what I did:

I lightly fused a piece of No-Show Mesh fusible cut-away stabilizer to the wrong side of the shirt in an area a bit bigger than the 4x4 hoop I was using. I love using this type of stabilizer for knits because it’s so lightweight and flexible and doesn’t add any bulk or extra stiffness. The trick is to LIGHTLY fuse because you are going to peel away the extra and trim it later. So I just fuse enough to make it hold and that’s it.
 
 
Then I drew perpendicular vertical and horizontal alignment lines with washable marker on a piece of soft tear-away stabilizer. I sprayed it lightly with temporary spray adhesive and then used the hoop placement guide (grid) to hoop it in my 4x4 hoop.

 
I marked the place where I wanted to put the heart embroidery on the T-shirt with a small dot; then I aligned that dot over the point where the two lines on my marked stabilizer intersected. That’s the center point of the hoop, and when the design is centered in the hoop it should stitch right there on that point. 


As the T-shirt is white you can see the intersecting point of the crossed alignment lines through it. That is helpful!

 
This is a tiny design, so it’s quite okay to use pins to further secure the shirt to the hooped stabilizer. (Normally I would baste the project to the stabilizer, because one thing you don’t ever want to do is embroider over a pin or catch one in the foot as it passes over.)



Temporary adhesive holds pretty good, but wrangling a large item in a small hoop can be tricky. Pins keep you from accidentally pulling it out of the hoop while you are getting it into the machine. Once I had the hoop in the machine, I made sure the shirt was not caught under the hoop or around the arm.


Even though I had centered my design within the stitching area, I always check to be absolutely sure that I am really in the center. So before I thread the needle, I hit the “center” button on my onboard design placement tool and then drop the needle into the fabric. If it lands right at the point I marked, then I’m good to go; if not, I can raise the needle and use the onboard edit/move tool to fix the placement before I begin.

 
With a cup of tea in hand I sat there and watched with an eagle eye while it stitched. Once finished I pulled off the soft tear-away and then gently peeled up the lightly fused on cut-away. My little Snips made short work of the trimming - and because they have very short, curved blades, I was able to cut right up next to the stitching on the wrong side. (Click HERE to find these snips!)

 
Pretty, pleasing, and the perfect way to put your own touch on a purchased T-shirt!


 
Click here to visit Classic Sewing Magazine's boutique and get a pretty T-shirt for you! You might decide to add a wee butterfly or a bitty flower instead of a heart, wouldn't that be sweet?

Go on, just sew everything! :-)

Evy

www.abitofstitch.com


 

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Scrap-busting Headbands!

I’ve got scraps, have you got scraps? Uh-huh, I bet you do and I bet you wonder why you’re saving them too, just like me! Turns out I was saving them for my granddaughter!


During a recent visit I whipped up a fabric headband for Baby Kate just for the fun of it. She looked SO DARN CUTE in it that I had to make a few more! With each band I polished up my technique a bit until I think I can make these in my sleep. Sure hope Baby Kate enjoys wearing headbands for a good long time, ’cause I’ve got lots more scraps!

Want to bust some of your scraps into headbands? You can make one to fit you too…maybe without the knot, ha!

First, measure your head or your baby’s head – as in, where around the skull you need the band to lie. Baby Kate’s head measurement was almost 18”, so I cut these three pieces of fabric:

16.5” x 4” (this is the main part of the band; the length – noted here in bold – should be at least 2” less - even less if you want the band tighter - than your head measurement)

8” x 3” (this is the cover for the elastic)

13” x 3” (this is the bow tie)


Plus you’ll need at least 4” of 3/4” wide elastic and matching sewing thread.

Press under about ¼” on each short end of the biggest fabric piece. Next, fold the fabric length-wise, right sides together, and sew with a ½” seam allowance. 


Press the seam allowance open by placing the tube flat on your ironing board with the seam opened flat opposite of the fold. Press one side, then flip the tube over, open the seam up that way and press again. Take care NOT to press the entire tube. You don’t want to put a crease in the center as you want the seam to end up being in the middle of the underneath when finished. Pressing first one way and then the other will allow the seam to open nice and flat when the tube is turned.


I use a pencil or wooden dowel to turn my tubular projects right side out. Just fold one end down, poke the dowel into the fold and either pull or push the fabric over the dowel to turn it. (There are fancier turning tools available but this works for me!)

(Check out Abitofstitch on Facebook to see a short video of me using a pencil to turn a tube of fabric, just FYI!)

When you press the turned tube, make sure you keep the seam in the center and the seam allowance open and flat inside.


Fold the 8” x 3” elastic cover fabric in half length-wise, right sides together, and sew with a ½” seam allowance. Press the seam allowance open and turn just as you did for the main part of the band. Press the turned tube so that the seam is in the center and the seam allowance selvages are open and flat.

Insert the elastic into the casing. I like to use a bodkin for this.

Sew across one end of the tube, securing the elastic at that end.



Gather up the fabric on the elastic until it measures about 3” long. Sew across the other end to secure the elastic at that end.



Place the main part of the head band seam side down on your work table. Insert one end of the covered elastic part (also seam side down) and pleat the headband fabric to fit the covered elastic.


Sew across the folded end of the headband to secure the covered elastic piece in place. Repeat for the other end. Take care not to accidentally twist the band while you do this! (Ask me how I know about that!)




Fold the tie fabric in half length-wise, right sides together, and sew with a ¼” seam allowance. Leave an opening in the center for turning:


 Curve your seam inwards at the ends to make the tie ends curved if you wish. (You can always just sew a straight angle or just straight across the ends too.)


Trim the curve and point.


Turn the tie right side out and hand sew the opening closed. I like to use a slip-stitch to sew these types of openings closed. Nice and neat! Watch this YouTube video if you’d like a demo of that.

Attach the tie to the headband by tying a square knot. Watch this YouTube video to see that in action. Notice that the ends are even before you begin but because one end wraps over and around the band it is the longer end. That’s the end you’ll be doing the most work with. 

The knot can slide up and down the band to wherever looks best.

Finished!


Go on, you know you want to make more than one :-)

And if necessary, it can always become a sleep mask! Happy Stitching!

Evy


Fabrics shown are from Art Gallery Fabrics and Riley Blake Designs Fabrics

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Ruffle Up Baby Bonnet, an Embellisher project!


Who can resist a fluffy, ruffly bonnet around a sweet baby face? Definitely not me! I made these bonnets a long time before Baby Kate arrived, but just recently rediscovered them while cleaning out a bunch of old trunk show treasures. So glad Baby Kate doesn’t mind modeling! The raw edged silk organza ruffles are created with Baby Lock's Embellisher. Coolest way ever to make ruffles!


I found my pattern, too. If you would like to download it, click here. There are no instructions, just the pattern pieces in PDF form for you to print. But follow along with this blog post and I’ll give you the basics for ruffling, embroidering, and constructing if you’d like to make ruffled bit of pretty for your own wee one.

You do not have to add embroidery, but it sure does make the bonnet extra special! I used the rose lineup from my Petite Baby Borders collection. Click here to see them. This little rose set is also found in my Petites collection, click here to see that set.

First of all, I traced my bonnet pattern onto my fabric. (I find it easier to do the embroidery on big pieces of fabric rather than cut-out, smaller shapes.) I marked lines for my needle felted ruffles on both pieces, straight on the bonnet side and curved around the shape of the bonnet back as shown below.



Next I stabilized the fabric and embroidered the rose designs, centering the back group in the middle of the bonnet back and centering lines of roses between the bottom two marked lines on the bonnet side as shown above. Once the embroidery was finished I removed the stabilizer and cut out the pieces and stay stitched both pieces 1/4" from the raw edge. Then I cut several nice long strips of bias cut silk organza 2” wide each for the ruffles. It takes about twice the length of fabric to create a ruffle for needle felting.

(Note: If you are using very fine fabric for your bonnet, you may need to stabilize the fabric before felting the ruffles and sewing them down with the motif stitching. Soft tear-away or Baby Lock's No Show Mesh will work fine. If you use this for your embroidery you can leave it in place as you apply the ruffles. The excess stabilizer should be removed before construction.)


If you happen to have a 7 needle Baby Lock Embellisher, just get right to it and needle felt the strips of silk organza along your marked lines. If you have a 12 needle Embellisher, you may wish to remove all but the first 3 needles right in the center at the front of the head. (This is easiest done by removing the head and then removing the needles. You can use all 12 needles, but you probably should cut your bias strips slightly wider.) Hold the ruffle gently and guide it over the marked lines, taking care not to stretch it length-ways. Encourage it toward the felting needles; don’t hold back on it. Nice thing about ruffling with the Embellisher is that if you mess up, whiffft! Pull it up and put in a new one, just like that!

After completing my ruffles, I stitched down the center of each one – on top of the needle felted path – with a nice wide, pretty heirloom motif stitch and matching embroidery thread. That made the ruffles permanent.  

I had already marked the center back of both the bonnet back and side fabric pieces for lining up my embroidery; if you haven’t, you might want to do that now.

I sewed the bonnet back lining and ruffled bonnet back piece together at the lower edge, carefully keeping the ruffles lying open and flat at the edge. Next I created a 3/8" casing and cut a 6” piece of elastic, sewed it at one side, and pulled up the elastic until there was 3” excess elastic hanging out. Then I stitched through the elastic and fabric to secure it at the side and clipped off the excess.


Next I stitched the those two bonnet back pieces together around the outside about ¼” from the edge. They are facing wrong sides together. 

I decided to create my own embroidered fabric for the front ruffle by stitching a scalloped satin stitch motif and a lacy rose motif (chosen from my Baby Lock Ellisimo's on-board motif stitch selections) along a straight piece of silk organza stabilized with wash-away stabilizer. When finished stitching, I trimmed away the excess past the scalloped satin stitched edge, soaked out the stabilizer, and – when dry – trimmed the ruffle to 2.5” wide. It was a snap to needle felt this ruffle onto the front edge of the bonnet, but one could also just gather it and sew it by machine as well. Narrow rolled hems finish the ruffle ends.


So, the back is complete; now I needed to sew the side lining and ruffled fabric together. Keeping the ruffles lying as flat as possible at the edges and OUT of the seam allowance areas at the front corners, I stitched the lining to the ruffled side fabric piece (right sides together) along the two short ends and across the front, enclosing the added front ruffle in the seam. This seam began ½” away from the back edge. After stitching I trimmed the seam allowance selvage to about ¼” everywhere except at those ½” bits at the back edges. Then I clipped the corners, turned right side out, and pressed along the seam. (Helpful hint - Check those ruffles inside before you trim! Make sure they are not caught where they shouldn't be.)


This piece is now open at the back. Next I pinned the back edge of the ruffled fabric side piece (only, not the lining too) to the lined bonnet back piece.


After sewing those two pieces together, I trimmed the seam allowance selvage to about ¼”. (Check those ruffles again before you trim!)

If you stand on your head a bit, you can flip the lining up over the ruffled fabric at the bottom back edges and sew right sides together for a short way and then turn under and pin the rest. This will help keep the bottom ends neat. If you don’t want to stand on your head, simply fold under the seam allowance selvage of the bonnet side lining, pin over the seam where the back bonnet joins the side bonnet, and hand sew to secure.



All that’s left is to sew on some ribbon ties. I made a little loop on one end of my ribbon and whipped it in place on both front bottom edges.


Tah-da! A really ruffly baby bonnet! Here's a pink version on my dear niece's baby girl, isn't she precious!


And here's a photo of the finished bonnet on a stand. You can see the detailing a bit better.


So, grab your Baby Lock Embellisher and get ruffling! You won't believe how fast it can do that!

Evy

Sunday, July 10, 2016

The Cottage Mama's Tulip Petal Sun Hat made reversible



I just fell in love with The Cottage Mama’s Tulip Petal Sun Hat pattern, and since Baby Kate was heading to the beach for the first time, of course she needed Gramma to make her one! I had trouble deciding which cute Riley Blake print to use for the outside, so I decided to make my Tulip Petal hat reversible. Two hats in one!

Want to make one too? Go to The Cottage Mama’s blog and look for her “Free Summer Sewing Patterns for Girls” post. Scroll down to find the “Tulip Petal Sun Hat” pattern (click on the words written under the hat photo on her blog). Then download the hat pattern, print it, and follow along Lindsay’s excellent instructions in her blog post to begin your hat.

Note: Baby Kate is 5 months and although she is a very healthy sized baby, I did have to resize this pattern smaller to fit her. I just printed the PDF at 80% instead of 100% and that did the trick. For smaller babies, you might want to print a few pattern pieces out at different percentages to see what will work best.

You know I would "need" to put embroidery on one side - No kidding, right? That was easy as I had the perfect beach themed baby designs! The little sandcastle is from my Baby’s Beach Fun collection. Click HERE to see that whole set. Psst! This set is ON SALE July 10 - 15 just for you, dear readers! 



After joining three pieces together I clipped my seam allowance selvages and pressed them open using my Clover mini iron. Oh my, that little iron works so much better for little curved areas than my regular iron! Just spritz the fabric with water - voila, steam!

It’s helpful to print paper templates of your embroidery designs when you need to be precise with placement. (Unless you have a Baby Lock Destiny of course, then you can just scan the fabric in the hoop and drag the design on the machine screen to where you need it to be - Oh. My. Goodness, that is so easy!) Paper templates usually have the horizontal and vertical centering marks to make placement easy. I wanted the sandcastle to sit right at the crown, so I lined up the bottom of the design so that it would be where the brim would break naturally. I found it easier to stick my hat portion to stabilizer that had been sprayed lightly with temporary spray adhesive than to hoop it.



Sans built-in camera, the best way to align a design is by using the on-board design placement tool – the little trial key that allows you to trace the outline of the design by traveling to certain points. Use that key to find the center, top/bottom and left/right points on the horizontal/vertical placement lines. Drop the needle (by pressing the needle down button) into each point, moving from point to point. You will easily be able to see if your design is correctly aligned and can make adjustments as necessary with the edit/move tool in the machine if the needle doesn't land on point. Note: If your machine does not have this trial key, use your hoop placement grid and paper template to correctly align the design. CLICK HERE to read more about aligning designs using templates and/or trial keys.


Sometimes when you stitch very light colored thread on printed background fabric, the print tends to color the stitched area in a not-so-nice way. I solve this issue by using "Easy Stitch" undercover material. (Click HERE to see more about that.) In this design, part of the sand stitches below the actual castle and I didn’t need undercover material there, so I allowed those stitches to sew first. When the machine began stitching the underlay stitches tracing the shape of the castle, I stopped the machine, cut the thread, and placed a piece of undercover material over that area. 


I closely watched the design stitch all of the underlay stitching, stopped the machine right as it began the fill of the castle, and carefully removed as much of the undercover material before I continued. (It’s always a good idea to test stitch designs so you know how they will proceed!)

This undercover material is soft and very light, so it won’t change the look or feel of the finished design. Best of all, any bits that stick out past the design can be melted away with the tip of your mini iron! (Psst…Baby Lock will soon be carrying this product, yay!)


I decided to leave the opening for turning in one of the hat’s side seams instead of the brim. (I was trying to find the straightest point, and that seemed easier to me, but you can put this opening anywhere you choose.) I like to stay stitch openings through which I am planning on man-handling fabric as I have the terrible tendency to be rough, so I did that first, sewing a line of stitches just on the outside of where the seam allowance was. When I sewed the seam, I began on each side a slight distance before the stay stitching line ended. I clipped my curves once again, even at the opening.



Once again, the mini-iron came in handy for pressing that seam allowance selvage, allowing me to very precisely press the slight curve of the opening. The stay stitching needs to be slightly to the inside so it won’t show on the outside when finished. This gave me a nice, sturdy spot to turn my hat right side out.



Once the hat was complete, pressed well and opening slip stitched closed, I sewed two tiny buttonholes using my Baby Lock buttonhole foot through all layers at the brim area of the hat, one on each side, positioned so they will sit right above the ears.


A long length of ¼” grosgrain ribbon threaded through the buttonholes and up around the brim at the back made a perfect, easily removable and replaceable tie. If you do not add embroidery, or if your embroidery is lower on the brim, you could allow the ribbon to lie across the front of the hat or even over the top. Either way, it keeps the hat on the baby in a breeze!


Thank you, Lindsay, for this great free pattern! I have a feeling I’m going to be making many more Tulip Petal hats as baby Kate sure seems to be enjoying her first one!


Thanks for reading! Stay tuned – more fun summer sewing projects coming up! Please feel free to leave me a note and tell me if you enjoyed this post and what you'd like to read MORE about :-)

Evy