Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Monogram Your Pots!

Monogrammed pots!

I’ve been saving these beautiful pots for just the right project and today, after knocking all the sewing stuff off my table for the fifth time, decided they had a much needed task to do – organize my cutting table! I don’t know about you, but when I’m working on something I tend to fling my toys…er, TOOLS around a lot. Then when I need what I just had in my hand I can’t find it because it’s under something or has already rolled off the edge. Voila! Now I have Sewing Pots of Pretty for my STUFF!

You can find these pots and lots of other fun stuff at Design Imports. They have really nice products and all sorts of cool things that you can actually get IN the hoop too, ha!

So, want to monogram a pot today? Here’s what you’ll need: 
  • Ceramic pots (any kind, ceramic, glass or terracotta)
  • Machine appliqué embroidery designs (appropriately sized for your pots, I used my Curly Appliqué Alphabet designs and re-sized them 20% smaller)
  • Appliqué fabric backed with fusible web (I used Riley Blake fabrics)
  • Silk organza (in a color that will fade into the pot, I used white)
  • Embroidery thread
  • Very small, very sharp cutting scissors with curved blades (I used my Snips)
  • Temporary spray adhesive (I like 505)
  • Permanent spray adhesive (Super 77 by 3M)
  • A wooden skewer
  • Sheets of paper
  • Good music and a cuppa something tasty (heh!)

Hoop two layers of silk organza. Make it nice and flat, smooth and wrinkle free. No flopping fabric. I used silk organza because it trims very cleanly, doesn’t whisker, is really sturdy, is super flexible and doesn't add bulk. Back your appliqué fabric with fusible web and fire up your mini-iron.

Fuse the applique fabric to the hooped organza before stitching the final satin stitch finishing edge. (Note, if you use polyester organza, skip this step! You might melt the organza in the hoop too.) If you need a brush up on applique see the my Applique Tutorial blog post here.

Complete the applique. I also added tiny designs from my Petites collection to the letters just for fun J

Clean up the back, trimming away all the excess bits of thread.

Un-hoop and cut out the letter, trimming as close as possible to the satin stitched edge.

Spray one side of a sheet of paper lightly with temporary spray adhesive. Press the letters, wrong side up, onto the sticky paper. This keeps them from lifting and flipping while you spray on the permanent adhesive.

Go outside and spray the wrong side of the letters with an even coat of permanent spray adhesive. I love Super 77 by 3M. Mostly because it doesn’t become permanent for a while so you have time to change your mind if you need to. Don’t forget to turn the can upside down and spray away from you until the bottle sprays just air. (That will keep the nozzle clean for next time and you'll be so glad you did that.)

Apply the letter to the pot. Use the point of a wooden skewer to poke in any whiskers of organza or over-sprayed glue along the edges. Use the flat end to tamp down any places too tiny to use your fingers for. Press the design firmly to the pot.

Let it dry!

The perfect catch-all! Sturdy enough not to tip over and big enough to hold lots of junk.

And if you really want to, you can actually put a plant in it!

Visit my website to see more “I can’t believe you put embroidery on that” photos. Nothing really is safe from me and my embroidery machine you know J

Designs shown above: Isabella Collection and Little Bird Scrolls

Thanks for reading - I hope you enjoy this project!


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Pretty Posy Headband

Make a fabric-covered flower headband and give it to a sweet little girl (or two) - who wouldn't want a fancy topper for their noggin? Even not-so-little girls can enjoy these pretties! J

I used my Pretty Posy design set to create the flowers for the headbands shown here; however, you don’t have to have an embroidery machine to make a fabric flower! If you don’t have an embroidery machine, click HERE to find a PDF pattern to make the fabric flower with your regular sewing machine and follow the instructions in this blog post. If you do have an embroidery machine, you can use the Pretty Posy designs with your embroidery machine instead. There are even more options - like leaves and a daisy shaped flower - included in the Pretty Posy design set!

Those of you who have the Pretty Posy designs go ahead and follow the included directions to sew up a couple of pretty petals in your hoop, then follow along to finish the band.

Those of you who want to use your sewing machine to make them, let’s get started! Download and print the pattern (helps to print it on card stock) and cut it out. Trace around the pattern onto the wrong side of one 4” block of fabric. I picked pretty prints from Lila Tueller’s Halle Rose line for Riley Blake Designs.

Have you ever used a Frixion erasable gel pen? These babies are pretty awesome! The ink disappears with heat, like an iron, who’d thunk it? I’ve tested them on lots of fabric and so far my marks have not returned. I love having a nice dark line to see. Plus it's super nice not having to work with a soggy project when I’m too impatient to let it dry after trying to remove water-soluble pen marks. (Does that sound familiar to you? Ha!) I’m pretty much spoiled now. Find them at office supply places and your local Baby Lock retailers.

Add another 4” block of fabric under the traced one – right sides together, and then add a block of thin quilt batting under the fabric on the bottom. (The batting is optional, you don’t have to use it, but it makes nice, puffy flowers.)

Pop in your clear Open Toe Foot and sew along the traced line through all layers. (Oh man I love this Baby Lock foot. You can see though it, around it and between it and the fabric, woo-hoo!)

Set the machine so that it will stop with the needle in the down position. Sew slowly, taking your time so you can stay right on the traced line. You’ll need to take a few stitches, stop, adjust the fabric under the foot and repeat. (It’s a small project; you’ve got time to be patient!) Having a knee-lift is very helpful for this kind of sew-stop-sew sewing too. Use a short stitch length and matching thread in the top and bobbin.

Trim away the batting first, cutting as close to the stitching line as possible.

Cut out the flower leaving a scant ¼” selvage past the stitching line. Clip the curves, notch the tips and cut a “Y” shaped opening in one layer of fabric.

Turn the flower right side out using a turning tool to smooth out the curves. I like to use my Dritz Point Turner to push out the curved parts and points of the petal.

Press to smooth the fabric and straighten the opening. Slip a small bit of fusible web into the opening and use the tip of your iron to fuse it closed.

Make another! Keep in mind that you don’t need to match – use a different print or a different coordinating color – whatever floats your boat.

Cover a size 45 Dritz half ball cover button with pretty fabric to make a sweet flower center. You can pluck out the button loop wire before you cover the button. That makes it easier to use hot glue to apply the covered button to the flower petals when you attach them to the headband. (The covered button flower center shown on my sweet model below is included with the Pretty Posy design set.) You can also use regular buttons, pompoms or any other bit of trim that would make a nice flower center.

You can find inexpensive plastic headbands-to-cover at most craft and sewing stores or here online.

Measure the width and length of the head band. You will need a strip of fabric that is twice the width plus the thickness of the band, plus a ¼” seam allowance. So, if your headband is ½” wide then you will need a piece of fabric that is 1-½” plus enough to cover the thickness of the band. Usually that’s about 1/8”.

Divide the length of the headband in two with one piece about 1” shorter than the other, but put together still enough to cover the whole band. For instance, if your headband is 14” from tip to tip then you can divide that into 8” and 6”. Add ¼” to both ends for the turn-down bit and seam allowance. Now you have two fabric strips - one 8 ½” piece and one 6 ½” piece cut 1-5/8” wide.

Why a shorter and longer piece? Well, you will probably want the flower to perch on the side of her head somewhat, and not dead center on top, right? J

Press under ¼” at one short end of both strips. Fold the strips in half length-ways, right sides together and sew up the side and across the end. Round out the ends matching the curve of your headband tips for the prettiest results.

Turn the strips right side out and press. I use a skinny wooden dowel. What do you use?

Slip the tubes on the headband keeping the seams at the back edge of the band. Apply a dab of Beacon’s Quick Grip adhesive where the two folded ends meet to secure the fabric to the band.

Use hot glue to assemble and apply the flower petals and flower center button to the covered band. Hot glue works great with fabric and is FAST.

Find a sweet little dear and gift her with a pretty posy headband!

Till next time! Thanks for reading!


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Children's photos by Amber Purcell

Monday, June 8, 2015

Carnation Skirt - a serger project!

Once upon a time there were two little girls...

Who loved to giggle and loved to twirl!

One of my best remembered pleasures of childhood was having a twirly skirt to twirl in, how about you? Thanks to the terrific talent of two of my Baby Lock educator friends, Sue Kostroski and Missy Billingsley, I discovered the wonderful ruffling foot for my Baby Lock serger. I knew a twirly skirt was in my future for sure! (Okay, be honest, am I too old for one now? Ha!)

This foot is awesome. Do you have one? I’m pretty sure that other sergers have ruffling feet too, but Baby Lock’s got me spoiled. Not only can I blow my threads through the threading mechanism (look ma, no tweezers and scary words outta my mouth), but the feet SNAP on and off. How cool is that? Spoiled, yep, I know it. Anyway, if you happen to have a serger that has a ruffling foot, you can make this project too – just keep in mind that the photos show Baby Lock’s Ovation serger and BLE8-RF Ruffling Foot. Check your machine manual for the settings you will need.

Choose your fabric! I picked several different prints from Riley Blake Fabrics.

You can use Jelly Rolls if you have some getting dusty in your sewing room, or you can cut your own as I did. I used the same fabric to complete an entire row in the skirts shown here, but the rows don’t need to be the same fabric - just mix and match as you please! You’ll need approximately 38 - 40 strips of fabric cut on the straight grain; each strip should be either 2.5" (Jelly Roll width) or 3" wide and as long as the width of the fabric. 

The skirt in the photo directly above was made with 2.5" wide strips, and the blue toned skirt shown further above was made with 3" wide strips.

Here’s the chart for a skirt that fits a tall three- to four-year-old:

Row 1 -  1 strip
Row 2 -  2 strips
Row 3 -  3 strips plus about 12”
Row 4 -  6 strips less about 10”
Row 5 -  10 strips less about 6”
Row 6 -  15 strips plus about 22”

Add more rows for a taller child and lessen the number of rows for a shorter child.

Keep in mind that your stitch length and how much tension you put on the fabric as it feeds into the foot may change how tight your ruffles are. Usually - for a 2 to 1 ratio ruffle - you would need to double the number of strips for each consecutive lower row, but I discovered that it took less than that. It may be the way I was holding the fabric, but I think it had something to do with the weight of all the fabric as the skirt grew. You may want to have extra strips prepared, just in case you need them.

Serge the strips in each row together (short end to short end) to make one long strip for that row. A four-thread overlock works nicely. 

Serge the first (single strip) row along one long edge. Narrow hem or narrow roll hem the last row along one long edge.

Got a narrow hem foot? This is the PERFECT time to use it! (See this foot in action on my Instagram pages!)

You definitely want to hem this last row before you begin. (Ask me how I know that! Ha!) Makes for a pretty hem, doesn’t it?

Arrange the fabric strip rows in order on your table.

Pop on your ruffling foot and follow the directions found in the package with the foot to set up the machine correctly for ruffling. (Watch Pam Damour's demo of this sweet foot HERE. She's got lots of good tips for machine settings, etc.!)

The ruffling foot works by serging two strips together while gathering the one underneath the foot. To begin, insert Row 2's strip RIGHT SIDE UP under the foot. (I found it helpful to raise the foot, gently tug up the toe of the foot and push the fabric under it.) Then put Row 1 into the slot on top of the ruffling foot WRONG SIDE UP with the finished serged edge on the left.

Crank the fly wheel a few times to take a few stitches to secure the two rows of strips together. Then go for it! As you ruffle, take care that you do not hold back on the fabric, especially the fabric under the foot. Also, don't go so fast that you wander over into the fabric strip. Try not to cut off more than a whisker as you serge. You want to let the feed dogs do the work so the ruffles form prettily. (I’ve posted a clip of this foot in action on my Facebook page, in case you want to watch!)

Add Row 3. Remember that this one will be RIGHT SIDE UP under the foot with Row 2’s ruffle WRONG SIDE UP in the slot on top of the ruffling foot.

You will need to straight stitch (on your regular sewing machine) along the top of each row of serging to secure the ruffles nice and firmly. You may choose to attach all the rows and then sew those lines of stitching, but I find it easier to do it as you go... that's why we have swivel chairs!

Repeat the process, row by row, until you are finished. The final row you add will be the narrow hemmed row. Make sure you have that piece under the foot with the narrow hemmed edge on the left.

If some of your rows don't end up flush with the one above or below, just whack it off evenly along that side. Don't worry - your skirt will still be plenty full!

Measure around your child's waist and subtract one inch. Then cut a piece of 1.5” or 2” wide elastic to match this length. (Why subtract an inch? You will want a snug fit since this skirt has a bit of weight to it. Just be sure it’s comfortable for your little dancer!)

You can find pretty colors of wide elastic now, which is cool. Riley Blake Fabrics has added some wide elastic to coordinate with their fabrics (woo-hoo!). Find it at many fine retailers. Farmhouse Fabrics also has a nice line of wide elastics perfect for waistbands.

Mark the top edge of the skirt to divide it into 8-10 equal parts. Then divide the elastic into the same amount of equal parts. Pin the elastic to the skirt, right sides together, so that the skirt is distributed evenly on the elastic according to the marked divisions.

Serge the elastic to the skirt, gently stretching the elastic as you serge from marked point to point to fit the two together neatly. You may want to turn the blade to the down position so you don't cut off any elastic.

Now you are ready to serge up the seam at the back of the skirt! A four-thread overlock works great. Align the ends of the elastic and each row of ruffles down to the hem. Pin right sides together and serge the skirt back seam. 

At your sewing machine, sew along the serging to further secure the seam. Fold the seam allowance of the elastic over to one side, neatly tucking the serge tail beneath it, and top stitch in place to secure. Do the same for the seam allowance at the hem.
Sweet little blossom! You can see why I call this the carnation skirt! :-)

This was so fun I had trouble stopping - just wanted to keep making them! Here’s hoping that you'll have as much fun as I did with this skirt project and that your little sweeties will have a blast swirly twirling. Click HERE to watch a fun video showing the steps in action to make this skirt by Lydia Maria of Telafante!

Till next time, thanks for reading!


Like the flower headbands? That’s the next Stitch Bits blog project, coming soon!

Photos by Amber Purcell

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