Archive for the ‘Sewing’ Category

Quick Drawstring Bag Tutorial or How to Reuse Your SubEarthan Cottage Soap Wrapping

I wrap my soaps in fabric because it looks nice, it allows the soap to breathe (read here for why), and because it feels better than plastic. I often wonder what happens to the wrapping. I’m sure there are some that toss it. I know of one person who collects the fabric for quilts. For those of you who, like me, don’t want to throw away something that could be useful but don’t know what to do with it, I have a tutorial for a drawstring pouch, just for you.

This is done with the wrapping from one of my soaps, but you could make it in any size you like.

Materials
Cloth wrapper from soap (roughly 8×11 inches)
Jute string from soap (about 29 inches)
Thread

Tools
Needle or Sewing machine
Safety pin or Bodkin
Scissors
Iron

First, iron your fabric flat. Then, fold down a long edge about 3/4 of an inch to one inch and press. This is for the casing. It doesn’t have to be super precise.

Sew a straight seam along the bottom of the flap to form the casing. All the sewing can be done by hand or machine. I have no time or patience, so I choose machine. Fold your material in half with right sides together like a book.

The fold is at the bottom of this photo.

Next, starting just below the casing seam, sew down the side and across the bottom. I use anywhere from a 1/4 to 1/2 inch seam allowance for this. Again, it doesn’t have to be precise.

 With scissors, clip the bottom corners, being careful not to cut your stitching. You could probably skip this step, but it helps the corners look square and crisp. Turn your bag right side out.

Now it’s time to thread the string. Tie one end of the string to a safety pin, large paper clip, or attach a small bodkin. This makes it easier to work it through the casing. Thread it through the casing, safety pin first. 

Once you get the string to the other side, remove your safety pin or other tool and adjust the string so that the ends are even.

 Knot the ends together once or twice to keep it from coming out.

Ta-da! It’s done! Perfect for organizing your purse, storing jewelry or other small items, or as a small gift bag.

Or holding your favorite bar of soap.

Tutorials are always a little complicated to write because it’s easy to overlook small steps in things you do frequently. If something is unclear, please ask. 🙂

If you have any other creative uses for a SubEarthan Cottage soap wrapper, I would love to hear it!

My New Toy

So, I got a new toy for my birthday:

Yay! Now impatient me with no time and a fear of leaving needles around accidentally in the baby’s reach can do embroidery too! It’s also a regular sewing machine. I’ve never sewn on a computerized machine before. I’ve never sewn on a sewing machine newer than from the early 1990s for that matter. Most sewing machines I’ve used have been older than me. Not that I don’t like old machines. You’ll have to pry my trusty metal mechanical Kenmore and back up Signature(s) from my cold hands.

It’s been fun learning how to use it. I also may or may not be a bit obsessive about switching off the power strip and then going back and unplugging it from the power strip and then making sure I’ve unplugged it again later, lest some random lightening storm attack my precious.

It’s a brother se400. I haven’t done much regular sewing with it yet, so I can’t do a full review. I can say that I worried a little about getting annoyed with all the threading and re-threading involved with a single needle embroidery machine. Brother took care of that by giving it the most amazing needle threader I’ve ever seen. I usually skip “automatic” threaders as I find them harder to use than just sticking the thread through the eye by hand. This one is some sort of magic. Seriously, if you were to stop over, I’d probably briefly introduce you to my family and then insist you come see me thread my sewing machine. 

Aside from just playing, I’ve rescued a few shirts from (probably coffee) stains by embroidering things on them to hide the stains. Considering my clumsiness and love of coffee, that alone will probably help me get my money’s worth out of it.

I am looking for decent digitizing software so I can do things like embroider the SubEarthan Cottage logo and make traditional monograms a little easier. Embird seems to be the go-to, but it’s a little pricey. Stitch Era is more my price range, but I’m not sure it’s as user-friendly. I’ve also seen Sew What Pro mentioned, but haven’t looked into it enough to know what it’s like. Any advice on software would be appreciated.

Quick Ironing Board Cover

My ironing board cover has seen better days. It’s not worn, but it has a few scorch marks and B thought it was a good idea to stamp it a few times with my thank-you stamp. Since it is always visible in my craft room, I wanted something more pleasant to look at, so I decided to make it a shiny new cover.

 

Eww.

I went with supplies I had on hand and used the ironing board itself to measure, so I don’t have exact measurements. You should be able to adapt from what I did easily, though. Keep in mind that this is just a cover and not the padding. I put mine on right over the old one. If you want to replace everything, you’ll have to find a replacement for the pad, too. (Layers of quilt batting and topped with Insul-brite maybe?)

Supplies:

Enough fabric to go over the top of your ironing board with about a 3 inch overhang on all sides.

Extra-wide double fold bias tape or blanket binding (2-3 packages)

Thin elastic. The bias tape or binding serves as a casing for the elastic, so make sure to choose an elastic thin enough to be threaded through easily.  Mine is 1/4 inch elastic.

Thread.

How to:

Cut the fabric with a 3-ish inch overhang. The easiest way to do this is to put the fabric on the floor, then the ironing board upside down on top and cut around it, eyeballing the overhang.

For this tutorial the pointy curved end is the top, the short, straight end is the bottom and the long edges are the sides. There’s going to be a gap in the bias tape/binding at the bottom, so you will want to finish it some way. If you have a serger, just serge straight across the bottom. If not, you can either zig-zag stitch over that edge or fold over 1/4 inch twice and hem. It doesn’t have to be exact, just make sure when you cut initially that you account for the hem on that end if you go that route.

Find the middle point of the bottom edge. Measure about 1.5 inches on each side of the midpoint and mark. These are your starting and ending points for the casing.

Leaving the three inch space at the bottom open, sew the bias tape/ binding on being sure to enclose the edge of the fabric. Unless you have a really long strip of binding, you’ll probably need to piece the binding together. When you get a few inches from the end of one bias strip, stop sewing and join the new strip by opening the ends flat, overlapping and sewing across. Refold and continue sewing around the edge of the fabric. Stop when you reach the end point.

What happens when you don’t have enough blanket binding on hand? This. This is what happens.

Thread the elastic through the binding all the way around leaving several inches hanging loose at the beginning and end. This works best if you attach a safety pin securely to the leading end of the elastic to help guide it through.

Fit your new cover, pretty side up onto your board and pull the elastic snug.

Tie the elastic securely, trim the ends if necessary.

Admire your new cover. Smile

Questions? Ask in the comments and help me expand on my clear-as-mud tutorial. Winking smile

New this week at SubEarthan Cottage

In case you missed them, here are my latest shop creations:

Holly Berries Handmade Treat or Gift Drawstring Bags

Teacups and Pots Print Green Lacy Handmade Half Apron

Random Sewing Tip- Painless Prewash

You know how you need to prewash most fabric to keep your finished project from being a shrunken, lumpy mess? If you just toss it in the wash, though, it comes out a stringy, tangled mess.

If you have a serger, serge the cut edges before washing. I usually just leave the thread tails long and they don’t unravel enough to be annoying.

With a sewing machine, you can sew a quick zig-zag or similar stitch along the cut edges to prevent fraying. Even a straight stitch would probably work, although I haven’t tried it. You will probably need to back-tack or knot the ends to keep it secure through the wash.

This also lets me see at a glance which fabric was prewashed by looking at the edges.

And I know 90% of the people reading this are thinking “Duh!” because it’s such an obvious fix. The other 10% are wondering why they didn’t think of that, much like myself when I first learned the trick.

Taking in a Blouse the Lazy Way

I prefer my tops to be a little loose, because it makes chasing a toddler much easier. Breezy tops also make hot, humid weather a little more bearable. I tend to avoid actual blouses because they either fit too snuggly for my liking or look like a giant tent.

To fix that, I take a too big blouse and add a little elastic across the back to make it look trimmer without sacrificing comfort. I can’t take credit for this idea. I found it years ago online, but have since lost the link to that tutorial. If that was you, I would love to link to your original, much better tutorial. Smile

IMG_4540 Giant, but so comfy tent. *A note on the door. That is my craft room door. Yes, it’s supposed to look like that. We call it the “Ya-Ya Sisterhood” door. The door frame however… Let’s just say my house is one big diy project that is slooooooowly progressing.

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Cut a piece of elastic to the size you want your shirt to come in. I played around by stretching the elastic and pinning it to my shirt. I ended up with about 4 inches. Since this shirt has the two vertical seams on the back, I made the elastic attach at each seam.

For the most flattering location vertically, find where your natural waist is and attach the elastic along that line. I found that spot by putting the shirt on, eyeballing it and marking it with a pin. I also ended up with my elastic a tad too high, so you might want to go with a more accurate method, such as actually using a tape measure.

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Sew a straight line at each end to tack the elastic where you want it, then zig-zag along the elastic while keeping it evenly stretched. I like using a three step zig-zag on elastic, but a regular zig-zag will work, too.

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Finished result on Athena, my almost-twin dress form. Why yes, I do own an iron, why do you ask?

Clear as mud? If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments and I’ll try to clear things up for you. Smile

Nap Time T-shirt to Tunic Dress Thing Refashion

I should really start taking more pictures before I start a project. During would be good, too, but at least a before and after shot. I also need to find my tripod and/or maybe just wait until someone other than Beckett is home to take pictures.

Anyway, here’s the final product:

IMG_4518I’m not sure what my crazy child was doing at the time, but it must have been cute.

It’s pretty straightforward: Two similarly sized/shaped/weighted t-shirts cut across the middle and the bottom of one sewn into the middle of the other. The shirts were pretty big to begin with, so the end result looked like a sack. I serged the sides in about an inch per side with the end result being a slightly less big sack. Not something I see myself wearing out much, but for around the house or running Finn to and from school (hence the super-flattering sneakers) it will get some use. More than the original boxy, awkward t-shirts anyway.

Nap Time Yoga Pants Refashion

This morning I threw on a pair of black Danskin boot cut yoga pants for the walk to school. They were some of the first new pants I bought after Beckett was born. They fit a little big now, except for the length. They were now cropped in a less fashionable, more “look at my ankle” sort of way.

After seeing some pants to leggings tutorials, I decided that was the way to go. With fall arriving any day now (please!), leggings will get more use for under skirts and with tall boots.

I didn’t take any before pictures. This is the inspiration tutorial. Instead of only trimming from the inseam, it looked better if I took some from along the outside, too. To keep it even, I did one leg, tried them on to make sure it fit, then folded them in half and used the finished leg as a pattern for the other leg. I had planned to add a cuff using the fold over waistband. It was black on one side and grey with multicolored stripes on the other. I thought it would be cute and add length. I tried it on one side, and decided I didn’t like the way it looked. With the tighter fit, they actually stay down at my ankles anyway.

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The left leg is rolled up to show where the yoga pants were hitting me. Not a flattering look with a boot cut.

One thing that’s really nice about making the leggings this way is that the yoga pant’s fabric was heaver than most leggings, so they offer more coverage as long as they don’t get stretched too tight. Definitely cut a little bigger than you think. You can always take more off easier than fixing something that is too small.

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Side note about the shirt I’m wearing: I really want to do something to make it less boxy, but I can’t. I’m afraid I might make it un-wearable. Normally that wouldn’t matter too much with a free t-shirt. This one is special, though. Right after Beckett was born, Finn and my mom went to the grocery store to get a few things we needed at home. Someone offered Finn a free t-shirt. He politely turned it down, but then said that maybe his mom would want one, so they gave him one for me. For a while afterward, any time I wore this shirt, his face would light up and he’d say “You’re wearing the shirt I got you!” So, yeah, I will probably wear this shirt as-is until it starts falling apart. Then I’ll turn it into a pillow or something to keep forever.

Also, Beckett just woke up from his nap, hence the no-pants look.

I did learn just how sharp my fabric scissors are while working on this project. I was snipping some threads at the end and managed to catch my finger. I can totally vouch for their razor-sharpness.

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Thrift store dress refashion

I found this dress at Thrift Town for $1.99. The color and general shape of the dress are cute, but it needed some tweaking.

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Overall, it was a bit big. The sleeves were awkward, and I’m more likely to wear a dress when it’s warm, so the sleeves needed to go. I also think it feels a little frumpy at that length.

Here’s what I did:

The shoulder seams were low, so I was able to just remove the length and hem. I added two darts in the back at the waist to trim it down but keep the fullness of the skirt. I kept the top a little loose, but that makes nursing easier and will allow me to wear it over a long sleeve black tee in the winter if I want. I do need to find a new belt or trim down the one I used for the “after” photos. I really like the belt with the dress, but it is way too long. I like how the width of it breaks up the business of the print, though.

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I had planned to take about six inches off of the length, but Finn thought it looked nice the way it was. I still might, but honestly, for chasing after a toddler the longer length is probably more practical.

T-Shirt to TV Pants

I went on a little Pinterest binge a couple days ago looking for ideas to help clear my refashion stash. Saturday night I decided to make a pair of yoga pants out of a t-shirt using this tutorial. I wear a size eight on average, and used an XL adult t-shirt.

I did make a few changes to the design. First, instead of cutting the shirt down the middle, I cut it down the sides from the middle of the underarm to the hem. This also means you’ll have an inseam and no side seams. That keeps any design on the front or back intact and moves them to the hips. For the waistband, I cut the underarm seam from the sleeves and squared them up to be two equal rectangles, leaving the hem intact. I sewed the short sides together making a big, short tube from the sleeves. I then put the tube inside the waist of the pants with the pants right side out and the right side of the tube facing the inside of the pants. The raw edge of the tube lines up with the raw edge of the pants. I serged the top together like that. This made it so when the tube is folded down to the outside, the seam is covered.

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Sorry for the awkward pictures. No one was around to take the pictures and Doctor Who was about to start.

I sewed it all on my serger and it took less than ten minutes. I probably should have added two minutes and switched from white to black thread. Or not.

They are a little loose at the waist. If I were planning to actually do yoga or wear them in public I should probably add some elastic at the seam. Since they will probably be used mainly for watching Doctor Who while sitting on the sofa, I probably won’t bother.

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