Saturday, January 28, 2012

Wonky Star Block and buttons

wonky star block

I whipped up this wonky star block for a block exchange.  I've never made one before -- it was easy and quick (gotta love wonky).  I may have to make some more for me!

Also I've updated the tutorials page.  It appears I was very behind on adding some buttons to some of my more recent tutorials.  So check them out if you missed them!

easy peasy skirts conversation heart braille art
QAYG chair recovering piping
grommets Pleated Headband doll mattress
bubble T dress

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Easy-Peasy Skirts

Easy-Peasy Skirts

I have a lot of mom friends who don't sew.  I'm always surprised at their fear of sewing.  So this tutorial is for all those mom's who need a little help with an easy project -- or for the seasoned sewer looking to use up some fabric from your stash!

Easy-Peasy Skirts 1

This simple skirt tutorial will work for any age (children through adults).  The skirt is made from one (or two for the adult) pieces of fabric sewn together with an elastic waistband. 

Easy-Peasy Skirts 3

I'll show a few examples of simple variations you can do, but there's so many things you could do to make it unique!  You could also try a patchwork skirt by simply sewing your leftover fabric together to make a larger piece. 

Start by measuring the waist and length for your skirt.  For my daughter, her waist measured 20" around and from her waistline to just below the knee it was 13".  You can make your skirt any length you like, but I like it a little longer.  To make it a nice full skirt we'll double your waistline measurement (if you want it less full, multiply it by 1.5).  To the desired length, add a total of 2.5" (1/2" for the bottom seam and 2" for the top elastic casing).

So here's the dimensions for your fabric piece.

Width = 2 x Waist measurement
Length = desired length + 2.5"

If your desired width is wider than your fabric (most fabrics are 44" wide), you can sew two pieces together.

I like to use 1" wide elastic for these skirts.  To determine the length of elastic you'll need, start with the waist measurement and subtract one inch.  This will hold your skirt in place nicely.

The Basic Easy-Peasy Skirt.

Easy-Peasy Skirts 7

To make a basic skirt, start by sewing your fabric together to create your side seam.  Start by putting your fabric right sides together and sew with a 1/2" seam allowance (black line in the photo).  Finish the edge with a serger or zig-zag stitch to prevent fraying (white stitches in the photo).

Easy-Peasy Skirts 21

Alternatively, you can use a French Seam which will hide your raw edges and look very professional.  This type of seam does not work well for thick fabrics.  So if you're using something thick, like corduroy or denim, you should use the method above.  Quilting weight fabric is about the thickness I would ever use a french seam for.

To make a french seam, start with your fabric wrong sides together and sew with a 1/4" (or less) seam allowance.

Easy-Peasy Skirts 15

Turn the fabric and press your seam flat so that the right sides of the fabric are now together.

Easy-Peasy Skirts 16

Sew along your seam with a 3/8" seam allowance.

Easy-Peasy Skirts 17

This catches the smaller seam and traps it inside - so your raw edges are completely encased.  Iron your seam down flat against the fabric. 

Easy-Peasy Skirts 18

Hemming the bottom.

Fold the raw edge at the bottom of the skirt up 1/4".  Press.  Fold up an additional 1/4" and press.

Easy-Peasy Skirts 19

Pin in place and sew in place with a seam close to the upper edge of the fold.

Easy-Peasy Skirts 20

Finish the top.

To make the casing for your elastic, fold down the top edge 1/2" and iron in place.  Fold down again 1.5" and iron.  Pin in place.  (If you're using elastic other than 1" wide, you'll need to adjust this size by adding 1/2" to the width of your elastic.  So if you're elastic is only 1/2" wide, add 1/2" and then your second fold would be 1", not 1.5".)

Easy-Peasy Skirts 22

Sew around 1/4" from the bottom of the folded edge leaving an opening of about 3 or 4 inches unstitched.

Easy-Peasy Skirts 23

Place a safety pin at one end of the elastic and start feeding it through the hole you left in the casing.

Easy-Peasy Skirts 24

When you've gotten the elastic all the way through the casing, pin the two ends of the elastic together with a 1" overlap.

Easy-Peasy Skirts 25

Sew in place.

Easy-Peasy Skirts 26

Tuck the elastic into the casing and pin.

Easy-Peasy Skirts 27

Sew seam closed and you're done with the basic skirt!

Easy-Peasy Skirts 28


Add a little bling!  

Easy-Peasy Skirts 8

One of the simplest ways to add a unique touch to your skirt is to add some trim (or bling) to the bottom of the skirt.  You could add lace or ribbon or little tiny pompoms like these!

Easy-Peasy Skirts 10

I added the pompoms before I did the side seam, when the fabric was flat so that the ends of the trim are hidden in the side seam.

Add a simple stripe.

Easy-Peasy Skirts 4

To add a stripe at the bottom, determine your stripe width (I added a 3" stripe at the bottom) and subtract that length from your top half piece and add 1/2" to the length of the top piece and add 1" to the length of your desired stripe.

Place your stripe fabric and top fabric right sides together and sew with a 1/2" seam allowance.

Easy-Peasy Skirts 11

Finish the edge of the seam by serging or using a zig-zag.

Easy-Peasy Skirts 12

 Iron the seam down (towards the stripe).  Photo shows the opposite way.

Easy-Peasy Skirts 13

and topstitch in place.

Easy-Peasy Skirts 14

 Continue sewing the skirt stitching the side seam next and then finishing the bottom and top.  

Adding some embroidery.

Easy-Peasy Skirts 5

Lastly you can add beauty to simple, plain fabric by adding a bit of embroidery.  Here I used Sashiko a type of Japanese embroidery which is simply a series of small, evenly spaced running stitches sewn in repeating simple geometric designs.

Easy-Peasy Skirts 6

The stitch I've used here is a variation of Seven Treasures where two rows of the stitches are made and
horizontal lines were stitched above and below to encase it.  To add the design, I made a small sketch of the design on paper and sandwiched it with carbon paper against the fabric.  I traced the design leaving the impression on the fabric.  I repeated this all the way around the fabric.  Then I started stitching.  It took a little while (after all the full width of the skirt is 40"), but I love it!


I added the embroidery before I added the elastic, but after the bottom hem was stitched.  Of course you could do something much simpler -- a simple running stitch around the skirt or a flower or two poking up from the bottom!

 Let me know if you have any questions and Happy Sewing!!

Easy-Peasy Skirts 3

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Featured and a Peek

I just found a great new site (well, they found me to be exact). Today my Table Setting Placemat is being featured on SewCanShe.

One new sewing tutorial every day.

It's a great site with lots of beautiful tutorials.  You can sign up for an emailed newsletter so you can read about the great tutorials featured at your lesure.  When I find a new tutorial I love, I like to pin my favorites to my Pintrest account! So simple.

Stop back tomorrow for a new tutorial!!  Here's a peek. . . . .

a peek

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Another Doll and a Dress for a Twin

If you read my post yesterday, you'll know I made a pair of "twin" dolls and dresses for my daughter and her cousin.  Here's another doll and dress for one of my goddaughters who actually IS a twin!

Tag-A-Long Doll

For her birthday, I made this cute Tag-a-Long doll (from the Wee Wonderfuls book) and a matching A-line knit dress (from Lil Blue Boo).

A-line in pink polka dots

Happy Birthday Katherine!!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Dolls, Dresses and Twins

Tag-A-Long Dolls

My daughter and niece were born a mere six weeks apart.  It's so much fun to treat them as twins sometimes with the matching pj's and clothes.  They love to play with each other and play house together and even play "mommy" together.  For Christmas, I couldn't help but to make these two little dolls for them.

Tag-A-Long Dolls

The doll pattern is the Tag-A-Long doll from the book Wee Wonderfuls.  It's a great book filled with cute dolls and things to make.  I know I'll be making a few more from there.

Tag-A-Long Doll

I changed a few things on the doll.  First I made the legs out of felt instead of cotton and for the dresses, I used knits instead of quilting fabric so that the doll's dresses would match . . .

A-line dress in polka dots

these dresses.  I used Lil Blue Boo's A-line dress pattern and made simple versions to match. 

The girls loved the dolls and loved their matching dresses! 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Poinsettia Wreath

Many years ago, I purchased a little kit for my mom which included everything you needed to make this cute Poinsettia wreath out of ribbon.

Poinsettia wreath

Well, my mom loves flowers and ribbon so I thought she'd have fun making it.  She loved it, but had no time to make it. It stayed on her craft shelf for years and I'm sure she had forgotten about it.

Poinsettia wreath

Just after Thanksgiving, I picked it up while she wasn't home because I thought it would be fun to surprise her and make it for her so she could finally enjoy it.

Connor was fascinated by how I took ribbon, cut it just so, and made it into flowers and then into a wreath. He thought it was very beautiful!!

Poinsettia wreath flowers

When I told him it was for Grandma, he started crying asking couldn't we please keep it. I explained to him that it was already really Grandma's, so no, that wouldn't be right. We compromised by letting it hang in the house for a couple of days before we'd deliver it to Grandma.

Poinsettia wreath

Well, my mom loved it, but when she heard about how much Connor wanted it, she immediately gave it to him. It made him so happy and of course that made her happy too which made me happy too!! . . . It's funny how happiness comes in unexpected ways.

Poinsettia wreath, back


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