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02 Sep 2013

Wine Jackets! A Free PDF Pattern & Tutorial

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The kids are back in school, the hectic summer schedule is winding down, and it’s time to celebrate the return to our sewing machines! What better way to commence the sewing season than combining creativity with libations?

Clever Charlotte has created a free downloadable pattern to enable you to dress the bottle of choice in a nifty little jacket and impress your hostess.


Aren’t they cute?  I’m taking one to a party tonight.

Wanna make your own? You will need:

- 2 pieces of fabric (for the outside and lining) each approximately 12 x 22″ (fat quarters, anyone?).  

- a standard 7″ zipper–go crazy here and pick a fun contrasting color! (Also, don’t hesitate to grab a longer zipper from your stash…you can always trim off the excess at the bottom and secure the new length by carefully sewing back and forth over the tape to create a new zipper stop.)  

Download the pattern.

To begin, first download the pattern here: Wine Bottle Sewing Pattern  You can print this pattern on standard 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper.  Be sure to print without scaling (in other words, print to full size and not “fit to page”). If in doubt, measure the  1″ scale provided to ensure proper proportions.

The pattern contains two pieces:  the Bottle Body and the Bottle Base.

Note, the pattern shows both the “Cut Line” and “Sew Line” representing the 1/2″ seam allowance around the pattern pieces. When you print the pattern, the Cut Line across the width of the pattern (the circumference of the bottle) will not show. The 11″ length of your paper is exactly the dimension of this pattern piece, so don’t trim this edge. Do trim the other sides of the paper and match the notch, joining the pattern to make the full height of the bottle (see where to cut below in the photo).


Embedded in the Bottle Body pattern piece you will find the circle representing the Bottle Base.  Trace off this pattern piece onto another piece of paper (or print page 2 twice) and cut out the outer circle.

Now, here’s how to start construction.  

1. Cut out one Bottle Body and Bottle Base pattern pieces from each the Main and Lining Fabric.

2. Mark the darts on the Bottle Body with the method of your choice (such as thread tracing or with a water-soluble pen). Sew the four darts as shown below (here is a nifty video tutorial from Threads Magazine.  Thanks, Threads!) Press the darts to the center of the fabric.  Repeat this step for both the Bottle Body of the Main Fabric and Lining Fabric.


3. Next, press the seam allowance along the long edges of the Bottle Body (both Main and Lining) 1/2″ towards the center. By pre-pressing the seam allowance, it should be easier for you to insert the zipper in the next step.


4. Position the zipper 5/8″ down from the raw, darted top edge of the Main Bottle Body.  With a zipper foot, sew the zipper to the Main Bottle Body on either side of the zipper. To sew the second side, open up the zipper. You’ll notice below that I separated the edges of the fabric a bit to expose more of the contrasting yellow of the zipper. 


5. To sew the seam below the zipper, snip into the 1/2″ seam allowance you pressed right at the point where you stopped sewing the zipper. Repeat with the other side of the pressed seam allowance so that you are better able to access the fabric below the zipper. In the photo below, you will see a pin where I plan to start sewing below the zipper.  Sew the seam below the zipper closed.



6. For the Lining Fabric, sew the seam below the {NOTCH} to secure the part of the seam that will match to the Main Bottle Body below the zipper.




7. For both the Lining and the Main Bottle Body, snip just barely shy of 1/2″ into the bottom of each piece all around it’s circumference.  This will allow you to insert the circular Bottle Base pattern piece and enclose the bottom of the wine bottle.



8. Taking your time, pin the Bottle Base into the cylinder of the Bottle Body for both the Lining and Main Fabrics. My trick is to star pinning until I make it nearly all the way around the circumference.  I usually find that I have excess Bottle Base fabric at this point, so I go around again, removing the pins one by one, stretching the edge of the Bottle Body, and repinning the pins until the excess Bottle Base is incorporated and it fits nicely into the Bottle Body.  Slowly sew around the bottom of the bottle to secure these pieces together.


9. You are now ready to attach the Lining Bottle to the Main Bottle. Start by positioning the darted edges of both the Lining and Main (right sides together) so that the Lining extends past the folded zipper edges of the Main. See below how my chevron lining fabric is extending past the finished zipper edge. Sew straight across the top, securing the darted edges together.


10. Insert your hand into the lining and push it into the Main Bottle, aligning the seam of the Lining with the seam in the Main.



11. Fold the raw edges of the lining under and position this folded edge along the wrong side of the zipper. Hand-sew the lining to the zipper on both sides with small discrete stitches.  If you are hand-sewing-phobic, you may pin from the right side of the Main Fabric and topstitch over the existing stitch line to catch the lining underneath, but I think hand-sewing is neater and only takes a few minutes.


 12. Insert the wine bottle of your choice and you are off to the party!

photo (1)

Happy crafting!


21 Aug 2013

Summer Birthdays

1 Comment In the Craft Room, Of Note


Summertime is birthday season in our house.  Both JR and Nora have warm weather birthdays, and this year, I foolishly boldly scheduled both kids’ backyard parties for the same Saturday.  Luckily it only rained for one of the parties, upping my success rate by a full 50%.


Anywho..for Nora’s party, I wanted to do something crafty and festive, girly and sophisticated.

Using Dana’s skirt pattern as my inspiration, I made each partygoer her own twirly circle skirt from the ultimate in summer fabrics–seersucker.  I made 6 skirts in all–about 2 hours of sewing with the help of my serger.


At the party, the girls strung mini-felt balls in an array of sherbet colors to make necklaces.


Meanwhile, I armed my trusty creative sidekick, Carla, with a hot glue gun and the fun (for us) really started.


We made these elaborate, garden themed headbands for each of the girls.


The party ended with a mini photo shoot in the kitchen…


…complete with silly faces.


Happy #5, Nora!



21 Feb 2013

Bon Jour!

2 Comments Charlotte's Story, In the Craft Room

Bon jour!

Yes, I finished a project!  Remember this cute Charlotte?  Well, here’s my version.

She was such a delight to put together–all by hand.  Felt has to be one of the most forgiving crafting mediums to work with and the results so rewarding. Which is not to say that I didn’t have a few oops moments, but I learned a lot on my first attempt and think the next one will go even smoother.  I made a small change to the dress by embellishing it with three delicate Mokuba ribbon rosettes I picked up from Nan’s shop, très magnifique!

I think Charlotte’s almost as cute from behind, and her tail acts as a convenient tripod, allowing her to self-stand.


Cynthia has added some very cute details to the dress, like the felt button that holds Charlotte’s dress together below her tail. And yes, those handmade buttons are working buttons!


In honor of Carla’s trip to Paris in a few weeks, Charlotte is posing in front of la tour eiffle, courtesy of the lovely ladies of Chartreuse.


Got any Paris recommendations for Carla–places to eat, shop, visit?

Au revoir!


03 Feb 2013

A quilt for e.

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Here’s an older project from my crafting archives.  This was only my second–ahem, completed–quilt and took only 9 months to plan, assemble and quilt!  I chose my favorite color combination–pink and coral with small sunny bursts of yellow.

I love interesting quilt backs as much as I love the letter “e”.

Here’s the recipient, the third child of good friends  (and, incidentally the sister of our first Charlotte model as seen on the Finch pattern cover).

Here’s the more of the frontside:

Happy quilting!

~ Erin

23 Jan 2013

Totally Smitten

3 Comments Community, In the Craft Room

Meet Charlotte Fox.  I’m smitten, aren’t you??

Since my sewing machine will be in the shop for a while, I’ve been on the lookout for some projects to do from the winter comfort of my couch.  You can imagine my excitement when I came across this clever Charlotte!

This Charlotte Fox is the creation of talented designer, Cynthia Treen, a delightful Rhode Island artisan who sews, crafts, quilts, you name it.  She has a whole line of felt animal patterns and kits under her brand, threadfollower. Here’s her adorable lineup of animals sold individually in kits:

These kits are a perfect afternoon-cuppa-tea-in-hand-project and would also make a great craft to make with an older child. Eeny, meeny, miny, moe, which would you sew up first?

So, back to Charlotte–she’s stands just 6.5″ tall. On this inside, she has pipe cleaners for arms so that you can pose her and, with the help of her tail, she stands all by herself.  The PDF pattern has very detailed instructions and illustrations. I can’t wait to gather all my materials to get started.

Check out Charlotte’s little hand-sewn cape!  It’s currently 14 degrees (Fahrenheit) in Houndstooth Falls, so she’ll need this to keep her warm!

Oh, and Charlotte has a “friend” too (or is it a beau??). Say hello to dashing Felix.

Be sure to check out all the fun at Cynthia’s blog, follow her on Facebook, and oh, did I mention she  has a new book out too of small gift-related sewing projects??

Happy crafting on the couch!


01 Nov 2012

Rain Out

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I’ve been on a roll this week and last completing projects started in days gone by. On Tuesday, both kids and husband were home due to flooding, power outages and the like courtesy of (Hurricane/Cyclone/Superstorm?) Sandy, so the kids and I had some time to spend finishing this Pinterest project we started last week.

I followed the technique described here.  We were able to wax about 75 leaves with only a 1/2 block of Gulf Wax (purchased in the canning section of the local grocery store).  The waxing process was super simple and the kids found it to be quite enjoyable.  [You just have to be prepared for flying wax when the children are involved.]  I used button thread and a large needle to string them together.

We collected many leaves from surrounding yards, taking great care to select specimens of different colors, shapes and sizes.  

Unfortunately, after a day or two hanging over the hot water radiator in the dining room, most of the leaves changed to a uniform shade of mud, save for a few maples that have retained a pinkish hue.  The heat has also caused them to crinkle up a bit.  (The leaves hanging on the fireplace mantle have fared a bit better, but have still lost much of their vibrancy.)

I have kept a few additional leaves to spread on the Thanksgiving table. I just hope that what little color that remains in those will hang on for a few more weeks.

I’d rate this project a B+ overall — it was fun fall craft and certainly easy, but for preserving fall’s glorious colors, it fell short of my expectations.

Happy crafting everyone!

~ Erin