Clever Charlotte

Inspiration

Selfishly Sewing in 2015

In the Workroom, Inspirationcarla macklinComment
couturesewingtechniques

Look what came in the mail today!  I am so excited about reading these books that I needed to share. While January was filled to the brim with a yet-to-be-disclosed Clever Charlotte project, I have managed to find a few minutes each night after the kids are asleep to work on some wardrobe upgrades.

For years I have been working on the perfect pants pattern for my petite and curvy bottom half.  I haven’t yet completed my quest, but I am getting closer with each muslin I make. I made 4 pants muslins in January so I must be really close, right?

pantsfitting

My hope is to get some good guidance from The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting by Sarah Veblen. My main issue is getting a straight hang with a large thigh and large calf protruding in opposite directions while retaining a slip fit. Any tips for me?

winterduchesstop1

In addition to the pants quest, I made a new top last week. I modified one of my favorite dress patterns and used some duchess silk and organza fabric scraps from a wedding dress project.  I love a project that has a lot of hand sewing that I can do in front of stupid reality TV in the evenings.

winterduchesstop2

This top will be perfect camouflage if I decide to play hide and seek outside this week.  Happy Sewing!

winterscene

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Collar Project: Snow Queen

Inspiration, Peridot Blouse & PantsErinComment
Clever Charlotte's The Collar Project
Clever Charlotte's The Collar Project

Hello! Here's yesterday's Collar Project post today! A camera malfunction caused most of my completed project photos to be null and void when I tried to download them last night, so I had to re-shoot today. Then, of course, my willing model yesterday (Miss N) wasn't so willing today, so desperate times ensued...come check it out.

For this, our final Collar Project collar, I've created a layered collar from felt. I played around with several color options before this particular combo struck me as completely perfect. Its crystalline combination rather reminds of the Snow Queen from the Nutcracker. I still have to devise a more suitable garment over which to wear it, but I think it would be divine over a fluffy cream angora sweater, don't you?

Felt Collar4
Felt Collar4

For the materials, I used a cream 100% wool felt from FeltontheFly and a heathered blue wool blend from GiantDwarf. I added silver machine embroidery using a metallic thread* from Coates & Clark.

* A note about working with a metallic thread: I hadn't sewn with metallic thread before and I would hardly consider myself an expert now--but here are a few pointers from my experience: 1. use a regular cotton/poly thread in the bobbin, 2. lighten your machine's tension, and 3. sew very slowly. If you go too fast, the thread begins to shred at the eye of the needle.

I modified the standard collar pattern from the Peridot pattern in a few ways--

First, I trimmed down the basic Peridot pattern piece for the collar (see photo #1). Since I was working with felt, I did not need to finish any edges. Hence, I could cut off the seam allowance on the outside portion of the collar. I took off more than 1/2" in some places because I wanted a slimmer overall look. Note that I kept the SA on the inside curve because I was going to sew both layers together along this curve.

Next I cut out the pattern in two pieces (rather than on the fold for a joined piece) in order to create a more classic silhouette--see further below for how I sewed the points together.

Finally, I created a new scalloped piece for the top layer (see photo #2-3). I had to play around a bit to get the right shape. To ensure that the top and bottom layers would have identical inside curves, I created a copy of the main layer, then sketched out the scallops on the copy, before cutting it out of the felt (#4).

Felt Collar1
Felt Collar1

I love to play around with the different embroidery stitches on my machine (though this would have been an ideal project for hand embroidered details too). I kept the outline stitches on the top layer simple, but chose a blanket stitch for the bottom layer. After outlining the bottom layer with the blanket stitch, I trimmed the edge closer to the finished stitched edge (not reflected in the photo below).

Felt Collar5
Felt Collar5

Sew the two layers together along the inside curve, with the right side of the top layer against the wrong side of the bottom layer. Trim the seam allowance to 1/8", then flip the top layer to the right side of the bottom layer and press. Repeat for the second half of the collar.

Felt Collar8
Felt Collar8

Next, sew the left and right pieces together by overlapping the two sides by about 1/2" with the top layer opened up. You may be able to see the stitched triangle (right, below) that secures the two halves together.

Felt Collar3
Felt Collar3

I used the final top stitching along the finished, inside edge to also secure the brown grosgrain ribbon in place in between the two layers.

Finally, select a fun embellishment for the center front of the finished collar. I really wanted something silvery for this collar, but could only find this button--it's fine but not as elegant as I had in mind. 

Felt Collar6
Felt Collar6

So, I swapped out the button for this cute mini bow. I can imagine many additional fun ways to embellish this look.

Felt Collar12
Felt Collar12

Did I mention I had trouble securing the assistance of my usual model?  So, I improvised with my own neck! Who says littles should have all the fun?  (I swear that I could not find a shirt or sweater with a good neckline, can you tell?)

Felt Collar2
Felt Collar2

Oh, and in case you were wondering if I have a complete head, I thought I would throw in the gratuitous self portrait--might as well show off my new glasses + haircut ;)

Felt Collar10
Felt Collar10

I'll be back this weekend with a wrap up post for our Collar Project. I hope you've enjoyed all the great ideas brought to you by our guest bloggers these past 2 weeks!

Happy Sewing!

~Erin

The Collar Project: a Beaded Glittery Flannel Number

Inspiration, Peridot Blouse & PantsErinComment
Clever Charlotte's The Collar Project
Clever Charlotte's The Collar Project

Today's Collar Project guest is a gift to fabric hoarders --er, fabric lovers. Laura's Charm Stitch shop features all sorts of fabric goodness, including a delightful collection of Japanese makes and models: Nani Iro, Echino, Yuwa and Kokka, to name just a few.

But more than just her love of fabrics, Laura features really unique, one-of-a-kind projects on her sewing and craft blog. One project in particular that I am coveting is her girl's Celestial Dress, by which she pays homage to one of my favorite designers, Alabama Chanin.  Here she borrows another one of Alabama Chanin's technique--beading!

*  *  *  *  *

Clever Charlotte patterns have long dominated my to-sew lists. When Erin asked me if I would like to participate in the Collar Project series I knew it was perfect timing to whip up a quick holiday accessory from the Peridot pattern. Because what kind of lady turns down the opportunity to make something for her daughter to wear that is delightfully festive and girly?

I knew I would use a delicate Nani Iro flannel with glitter dots from last Fall's collection. On the reverse side I chose a Velveteen print from Anna Maria Horner's LouLouThi collection. Because the project is very quick and simply constructed, I was able to embellish the glitter polka dots with glass chop and bugle beading from the Alabama Chanin shop. Using beads and button thread, the polka dots became a background for showing off some interesting stitch techniques. While hand-sewing is no easy task for the hasty sewer, it is a nice break from the frantic holiday chores that seem to fill my date book lately.

Materials:

  • large contrasting scraps of fabric
  • two 12" ribbons
  • chop and bugle beading
  • Coats and Clark button thread
  • beading needle
  • lightweight fusible interfacing (for any wide weave or flimsy fabric)
  • chalk marker
  • any of the Alabama Chanin books for beading application reference
  • Peridot Blouse and Ankle Pants with detachable collar

Directions:

Prepare cut front and back fabrics from collar pattern. Attach fusible interfacing to any lightweight fabric that will be embroidered/embellished. With the chalk marker draw the seam allowance (1/2") around the perimeter to keep beading away from the sewing machine's path.

Refer to an Alabama Chanin book for tips on embellishing the fabric and polka dots with bead work. Embroider away!

Follow Clever Charlotte's instructions for attaching the ties and finishing the collar. Easy as 1-2-3! 

For a similar look try a solid fabric and any of the glitter paints from Martha Stewart's new line of paints applied with a pouncer (see our recent dress for a tutorial). I would love to see it made it in Jersey with raw edges and top stitching. Who's up for that?

The Collar Project: Holiday Cheer

Inspiration, Peridot Blouse & Pantscarla macklinComment
Peridot Collar with Embroidery2
Peridot Collar with Embroidery2

Seeing all these variations on the Peridot Collar has me inspired! With the holiday season closing in, I decided this was a perfect opportunity to double up on my sewing efforts for my girls.  I'll be separately blogging about the dresses and coordinating Kestrel Coat later this month.   

For an elegant, Christmas look, I chose a green cotton velvet at our favorite local fabric shop and a variety of silver beads from my stash   To make sure my embroidery was centered on the front of the collars, I marked the stitch lines using a permanent pen 1/2" in from the cut lines on the wrong side of the velvet pieces (I would recommend using a disappearing ink or hand basting if using a thinner fabric). Using these stitch lines as a guide, I hand sewed the small beads in the form of snowflakes on the front of the collars.  This step took no time at all, but there was some mild frustration threading that painfully small beading needle.

Peridot Collar with Embroidery
Peridot Collar with Embroidery

I underlined the collar (no interfacing because of the weight of the velvet) in a plain white cotton and followed the basic assembly steps for the Peridot pattern, omitting the ribbon ties.  Once the collars were sewn, flipped and pressed, I sewed on large hooks and eyes to close the fronts.

Peridot Collar with Embroidery
Peridot Collar with Embroidery

The back view--

Peridot Collar with Embroidery
Peridot Collar with Embroidery

With the action that these collars will see, I think I need to add some snaps to secure them to the dresses!

Peridot Collar with Embroidery
Peridot Collar with Embroidery

Happy Sewing!

~Carla

The Collar Project: Around the Internets

Inspiration, Peridot Blouse & PantsErinComment
Clever Charlotte's The Collar Project
Clever Charlotte's The Collar Project

We have a break in The Collar Project schedule today so I thought I would share some additional collar looks that I have been collecting from here and there. May these be additional inspiration for you!

I've mentioned before that the detachable collar is a great way to use small amounts of treasured fabrics, like Liberty.  To use even less, use a different fabric for the underside of the collar (which isn't typically seen when worn).  Here is a ready to wear version from Claudine & Compagnie featuring Liberty Tana Lawn:

Cluadine Collar
Cluadine Collar

Or perhaps you have some small print vintage fabric on your stash that you would like use:

Vintage
Vintage

Crochet and knitting have long been applied to decorative collars. Here is a lovely one in classic cream and black crocheted by One Sheepish Girl using a free pattern created by Lulu Loves:

one-sheepish-girl-crochet-collar-7
one-sheepish-girl-crochet-collar-7

For a less traditional look, there is this one by Good Night, Day (found via Fringe Association). I think this would look nice over a coat too.

Markham Collar
Markham Collar

Until Monday, happy sewing!

~ Erin

The Collar Project: Peter Pan Collar Capelet w/ Pattern!

Inspiration, Peridot Blouse & PantsErinComment
Clever Charlotte's The Collar Project
Clever Charlotte's The Collar Project

Oh my, our next guest has been busy.  I am fairly certain Caila, of Caila Made, never sleeps, and LUCKY FOR US!  Her exuberance gushes forth from everything she does and her projects are always filled with energy.  (Maybe it's sunny California?)  She's developed a number of wonderful (and free!) children's patterns on her site--mainly shorts and pants--and I am thrilled to say she's sharing a new one with us today featuring the Peridot Collar!

Let's welcome Caila and her darling, pixie-like daughter--

*  *  *  *  *

Caila Cape1
Caila Cape1

I am absolutely thrilled to be here today as part of Clever Charlotte's Collar Project! I hope you don't mind me starting off with a pun: What a clever idea for a series! Okay, I got that out of my system, hehe.

Well, from the very first moment Erin asked me to participate, I knew I was going to make Abby a capelet. I mean, there is only one thing cuter than a cape on a little girl and that is a cape with a peter pan collar on a little girl.

My love of capes this season can be directly linked to my love of the show Once Upon a Time. Have you seen it? It's a bizarre and wonderful story linking real life with fairy tales. The best part? The show is filled with capes upon beautiful capes! The Mad Hatter's daughter, the evil queen, the evil queen’s mother, Red Riding Hood--they all have the most wonderful capes. We needed one in our household!

So here is my version for Abby: a Peter Pan Collared Capelet made from a pair of textured herringbone pants. She is wearing it paired with her Christmas dress (made by me), a pair of black tights, and a red Christmas bauble. Baubles make everything better!

Caila Cape2
Caila Cape2
Caila Cape 3
Caila Cape 3
Caila Cape4
Caila Cape4

Below is a terrible picture of the original pants. I just think it's so fun to see the starting point for repurposed projects, don't you? I bought these crazy pants in a thrift store last Christmas because I wanted Abby to have a herringbone cape. It only took me one year to get there.

Caila Cape 5
Caila Cape 5

Making your own little cape with Clever Charlotte's Peridot collar is so easy!  Would you like me to show you?

I'll even give you the 2T cape pattern for FREE.

Materials

- For the size 2T capelet you will need a 22" by 29" piece of fabric. Depending on the type of fabric you use, you may need less than a yard or up to 1 2/3 yards of fabric. (If the fabric is directional you may need more). Sorry I don't have more exact numbers--I used a pair of pants!

- Ribbon or other for the tie.

I suggest using a heavier fabric for the outside of this cape. Choose something you would choose for a coat or jacket. For the lining choose a pretty cotton, or something silky. Just make sure it has some pop! All seam allowances are 1/2" unless instructed otherwise.

Instructions

First, print out the FREE Cape pattern by clicking here. Make sure you print the pieces at 100%, no scaling! Tape the four pieces together by matching up the black border lines. Make sure all the cutting lines match up, then cut out your pattern using paper scissors.

Caila Cape 6
Caila Cape 6

CUTTING: When you lay your pattern out, don't forget to match the FOLD line with the fold in your fabric. If you cut the cape on the bias, you'll get some really nice drape. (I didn't have this option since I was working with limited fabric, but I'll try it next time).

1. Cut out your pieces for the Peridot Collar: one outer fabric on the fold and one lining on the fold. (Optional: cut your peter pan collar on a different angle than the cape. This will add some visual interest to your cape!).

2. Cut out your pieces for the Cape: one outer fabric on the fold and one lining on the fold.

TO MAKE THE COLLAR:I only changed one small step in constructing the Peridot collar for my cape. Follow the Clever Charlotte instructions, but do not sew the inside of the neckline.  You do not need to leave a gap for turning. Follow the steps below.

Caila Cape7
Caila Cape7

1. Cut out the pieces.

2. Place them right sides together and pin. Sandwich the ribbon inside the two pieces at the collar point. Make sure the ribbon is clear of your stitching line.

3. Stitch around the outside of the collar, including around the collar points.

4. Turn right side out and press. Tug on the ribbon gently to make bring the collar points out.  

Looking good so far!

TO MAKE THE CAPE:

Caila Cape 8
Caila Cape 8

5. Place your collar on top of the outer cape and pin the necklines together. They should match up.

6. Pin so that the points of the collar are pulled away from your stitching line. Your collar points should be pinned more than 1/2" away from the raw edge. Sew a basting stitch around the neckline, 1/4" from the raw edge. This will help keep the collar in place as you pin and sew.

7. Place the lining on top of your cape, right side down. The right sides of your cape pieces should be facing.

8. Stitch all the way around your cape, up the straight sides and around the neckline. All the edges of your cape should be sewn. Leave a 2" gap for turning along the outside edge.

Turn your cape right side out and press all edges. Close the gap with hand stitching, or topstitch 1/8" along the outer edges if desired. (I chose not to topstitch this cape because the material is bulky).

Caila Cape9
Caila Cape9

Now you have a beautiful, finished capelet. (Photobomb by blankie!)

Caila Cape10
Caila Cape10

Try it on your girl and admire her little self. Put her to work decorating the Christmas tree.

Caila Cape11
Caila Cape11
Caila Cape12
Caila Cape12

This capelet is a quick and easy Christmas project! I'm especially happy because I made a very special outerwear garment without having to wrangle with sleeves and intricate lining techniques.  

And who doesn't love a bright red lining?

Caila Cape2
Caila Cape2

An early Merry Christmas to each of you! May your holidays be filled with loved ones, good food, lots of sewing, and pretty things.

Lastly, I invite you to visit me at CailaMade, where I demonstrate how to draft a pattern for this cape in sizes 3T through 8. I'd love to see you there!

You can also find me at CailaMade's new Facebook page. Please don't hesitate to email me with questions. Happy sewing, and thanks for reading!

The Collar Project: A Feathered Friend

Inspiration, Peridot Blouse & PantsErinComment
Clever Charlotte's The Collar Project
Clever Charlotte's The Collar Project

It may be an understatement to call our next Collar Project guest one of our biggest fans, & we are certainly a fan of hers. Nicole of Five & Counting sews all (or nearly so) the clothes for her 5 children, in between running a demanding Australian sheep farm & blogging into the wee hours of the morning. (She was actually delivering a litter of kittens as she was finishing up this post!)

I am just a little jealous of Nicole's good-natured, spunky children, whose model-like looks frequently adorn the pages of our Flickr group, and I am more than a little jealous of Nicole's detailed and precise tailoring. I often guide people to her blog if they want a complete, step by step tutorial of any of our patterns. 

In this post, Nicole brings us a stunning collar variation in the most unexpected sewing medium--feathers! I may have to try this out for me ;)

*  *   *  *  *

I adore Clever Charlotte patterns and was delighted albeit nervous to accept the offer of a guest blog post.

The removable collar on the Peridot blouse was one of the first things I noticed and admired about this pattern. I have already made the blouse and two collars for my daughter, Lidia. One self fabric and another in a spotty white voile with contrasting ribbon ties--

Nicole - Five and Counting
Nicole - Five and Counting

So I was ready to try something different.

A FEATHERY PERIDOT COLLAR

Feather001
Feather001

I gathered the feathers from my own chooks but you may purchase them. {Ed. note, here's a great online resource for feathers of all kinds}

Feather2
Feather2

Either way, I recommend washing them in warm water and a little shampoo to remove any nasties.

Collect your notions. I used a thick woollen felt for my under collar as it won't fray and I really like the texture.

You may bind the neck but I used grosgrain ribbon and found it flexible enough.

Feather3 - Copy
Feather3 - Copy

Cut out the collar and start arranging the feathers evenly around the edge.

NB, in retrospect I wish I had used a narrower sticky tape to hold the feathers in place as it was a little fiddly to remove when the collar was completed.

Feather4 - Copy
Feather4 - Copy

Continue with the feathers until you are happy with the placement.

Feather5
Feather5

Baste the feathers in place taking care to catch the ends.

Feather6
Feather6

Trim the quills back to the collar edge.

Feather7
Feather7

Cut two narrow ribbons for the ties,I cut the end with a heated butter knife to stop fraying.

Measure the inside curve of the neck and cut a wider piece of ribbon for that. Press the ends in and then press the ribbon so that one side is slightly wider. This will make it easier to attach and catch both sides of the ribbon when sewing.

Feather8
Feather8

Tuck the inner collar edge into the neck binding. The wider side of the binding should be on the underside of the collar. Tuck one ribbon tie into the end of the neck binding.

Feather9
Feather9

Continue pinning the ribbon binding along the curve.

Feather10
Feather10

Tuck the second ribbon in at the other edge of the collar and pin in place as before.

Feather11
Feather11

Stitch the neck binding in place with a small stitch length to make sure the feathers are caught in place.

I stitched this twice.  The ends are sewn at this time too so the ribbon ties are held in place.

Feather12
Feather12

Flipping the collar over you can see the under binding is caught by the top stitching.

Feather13
Feather13

Carefully remove the sticky tape (this step will probably take the most time).  

Feather1
Feather1

The wool felt holds the collar nicely in place.

Feather14
Feather14

An elegant addition to a simple cardigan.

Feather15
Feather15

Have some fun with some feathers!

Feather16
Feather16

~ Nicole

The Collar Project: A Study in Pleather

Inspiration, Peridot Blouse & PantsErinComment
Clever Charlotte's The Collar Project
Clever Charlotte's The Collar Project

Our first guest to be featured in The Collar Project is, no doubt, a familiar name/face to many of you. Jess of Running With Scissors is always devising new ways for her toddler daughter to wear our Clever Charlotte looks.  Here's one of my favorites--a jumper from our Chickadee Skirt. Man, I wish we had thought of that one!  

Chickadee Jumper by Jess of Running With Scissors
Chickadee Jumper by Jess of Running With Scissors

Anyways, there's no project to big or too small for Jess to tackle with her immense talent.  Let's see what she's done with our Peridot Collar!

*  *  *  *  *

Jess collar1
Jess collar1

I am so excited to be visiting here today!

I'm a big fan of Clever Charlotte patterns and this was fun to rework the removable Peter Pan collar.

I chose to make a no-sew version from pleather (faux leather), which ended up being super easy.

I actually had a little sweater I had made and thought it would look cute with a pleather collar, but pleather isn't machine washable and so having it permanently attached to a sweater for a toddler wasn't a good idea.

So the fabulous idea for a removable collar solved my problem!

collar6
collar6

This variation of the Peridot collar has a different back closure. My sweater had buttons in the back, so rather than ties, the collar has buttonholes for attachment.

Jess collar4
Jess collar4

The details on the collar are simple punches along the edge to match a 

little skirt

I made a  few weeks ago.

So to make your own pleather collar!

You'll need a square of pleather (or real leather).

I took the

Clever Charlotte pattern

and just brought in the finished edge about 1.5" for Ellie being a smaller size and not needing seam allowances. The fold is also the front rather than the back.

Jess Collar2
Jess Collar2

Next I added the slits for buttonholes.  

You could sew real buttonholes on the pleather, but it won't fray so I just cut it and moved on.  No sew and super quick!

Next to mimic the decorative punches on the skirt, I used a buttonhole punch to create a row of circles along the finished edge.

collar3
collar3

That's it!

Then just button it on the back of the sweater! 

Jess collar5
Jess collar5

 The neckline fit just perfectly along the neck of the sweater.

Jess collar7
Jess collar7

I thought the removable collar was such a cute detail to the sweater, and makes laundry easy for me!

Jess collar9
Jess collar9

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The Collar Project: Our New Blog Series

Inspiration, Of Note, Peridot Blouse & PantsErinComment
Clever Charlotte's The Collar Project
Clever Charlotte's The Collar Project

We are pleased to introduce a new Clever Charlotte blog series that will begin within the 4 corners of your computer screen next week!  The inspiration for this special project was our Peridot Blouse, which features our version of a detachable Peter Pan collar.

Peridot Blouse with Detachable Collar
Peridot Blouse with Detachable Collar

When designing this piece, we were overflowing with creative and unique ideas to embellish the collar.  It seemed like a fun (and quick!) challenge to see what we could come up with.  Even more exciting, we wanted  to see what others could come up with, so we invited a few people to play along.  We are truly excited to be able to showcase the talents of these lovely fellow bloggers who were eager to join in on the fun: 

An fromStraight Grain

Caila from Caila Made

Jessica from Running With Scissors

Laura from Charm Stitch

Nicole from 5 and Counting

***

So be sure to stop by these next two weeks to see all the fun!

Happy Sewing!

~ Carla & Erin

Button Up Your Peridot Pants

Inspiration, Peridot Blouse & PantsErinComment

I think my favorite piece in our latest collection are the skinny, fitted Peridot Pants. There, I said it. Yes, I know I am not supposed to have favorites, but it's just that I am totally smitten with the ankle button placket.  It affords limitless possibilities for personalization.

Peridot Ankle Pants
Peridot Ankle Pants

The pattern calls for 5 buttons at each ankle. To simplify sewing the pants, we call for button loop tape commonly used in bridal and evening wear.  The tape works best with buttons no more than 1/2" wide.

 You can make coordinating buttons using covered buttons, as we did for the cover look of our Peridot Pants, above. Alternatively, do as Carla did here and dig through your personal stash to find buttonsleftover from past projects, or perhaps mix and match a variety of vintage buttons.

Peridot Buttons
Peridot Buttons

For another unique twist,  it is so easy to find coordinating sets of covered buttons on Etsy.  Here are  a few of my (current) favorites--

This Little Red Riding Hood series is from the HeyDayHandmade:

buttons1-heyday
buttons1-heyday

Wouldn't these black and white buttons pair nicely with any color pant?

buttons2-heyday
buttons2-heyday

Why not try a simple pattern repeatedin multiple colors?

buttons3-heyday
buttons3-heyday

These lovely mod floral buttons are from the Etsy shop The Swedish Ivy:

Buttons1-Swedish Ivy
Buttons1-Swedish Ivy

Below are some rather cute fox buttons from the same seller.  

[These are thumbtacks, but I bet a polite request to the seller could magicallyturn them into buttons, no?]

Buttons2-Swedish Ivy
Buttons2-Swedish Ivy

Finally, Pink Owl Fabrics in Oregon has Kawaiian kitsch covered:

Buttons1-PinkOwl
Buttons1-PinkOwl

Wouldn't your little girl just love to show off these cute pieces of flair to all her classmates?  

But wait, there's more--next week I'll show you how you can making your own button loop tape to expand your button options.

Until then, happy sewing!

~ Erin

The Go-Anywhere Case

In the Craft Room, Inspiration, TutorialsErinComment
case3
case3

Sorry, friends, for the long delay in posting this week. It is true that I've fallen a little behind and I have no excuse for it!  But don't you worry, I do have a few more wool-inspired posts to come for our Winter Wolle blog series, starting with today's project, the "Go-Anywhere Case."

This project started off simply enough:  a certain business partner and friend (who shall remain nameless for this post, lest she figure the suprise out) has taken an interest in embroidery.  I love embroidery--in part because it can make a nice portable project, unlike machine sewing.  So I thought I would make her an embroidery case out of felt to hold needles, scissors and a bit of embroidery floss.

Case2
Case2

First came the color inspiration.  I wanted something modern and fresh, not at all dowdy.  I kept coming back to this print, with its fun mix of grays, pinks, coral, and chartreuse-lemon, by Alyssa Nassner of SmallTalkStudio.

smalltalkstudio
smalltalkstudio

I sent off the picture to Janet of Felt on the Fly (remember her from last week?), who sprung into action building a color story to go with the print.  I was amazed by what she came up and she, in turn, was inspired to make her own embroidery kit from the same colorway! Her kit is up on her blog today, so be sure to visit her take on the same idea with the same colorboard!  Funny how things work out like that sometimes.

The colors decided upon, I turned to the internets for design inspiration.  For once, it yielded nothing.  Most embroidery cases I found were essentially a booklet of felt pages intended to hold a gazillion needles, which seemed less than ideal.  So, back to the drawing board.  Luckily, inspiration did strike when I was picking up around the house one day.  I came upon a tri-fold crayon roll, complete with a tiny pad of paper, which Nora had received from her dear aunt recently. A vision popped into my head and I knew this was the direction I should be heading.

****

The final case includes a small pocket to hold embroidery scissors, an envelope to hold floss and a single flap (attached only at the top) to hold needles--mind you, it won't hold a gazillion needles, but I estimate you could easily fit 20 on there.

case6
case6

The last piece of the puzzle was how to embellish the overall design of the case.  Yes, I suppose the obvious choice would have been to hand embroider a design (duh, right?), but frankly I was running out of time. So not without a little irony, I turned to my sewing machine, complete with 300 embroidery designs, only 1 of which I have used in the 3 years I've owned my machine.  I spent a lot of  time playing around with the stitches (what fun!), and while the finished project is still a little rough around the edges, I pulled off my overall design, so I am pretty excited about that.

case5
case5

Here are the construction basics--

Materials

I used Janet's 100% felt in 6 colors.  You will need at least 2 sheets of felt that can yield pieces that are 6.5"x12"".  Here are the dimensions for my finished case, identified by color so you can visualize each piece better:

- Grays for inside and outside covers: 6.25"x 11.75" (I shaved a 1/4" off the length and width of the lighter, inside gray so it would not show past the darker gray on the oustide)

- Chartreuse yellow for envelope body: 5.75" x 7.5"

- Darker green for the envelope flap: 5.75"x 4"

- Light pink for needle flap: 3"x 6.75"

- Light pink for scissors pocket: 3"x 6" (this will get folded in half, then trimmed to the triangle shape)

- Light pink, coral and chartreuse strips for the scallops on the front of the case: 6"x 2" (as explained below I left these pieces wider than 6" and trimmed them down once it was sewn to the dark gray)

You will also need about 24" of ribbon and matching (or contrasting) thread. 

case10
case10

The pieces on the inside of the case are sewn to the lighter gray, and the scallop pieces + ribbon are attached to the darker gray.  Once everything is sewn on the individual gray layers, you will sew them together around the perimeter with wrong sides facing.  This double layer nicely hides all of the behind-the-scenes stitching and provides extra sturdiness to the finished case.

Outside Layer

For the color strips on the outside of the case. I first overlapped the three colors with about an 1" of each color showing:

case11
case11

Sew each strip to the layer below it using a matching or contrasting thread, to suit your taste.  For the third layer (the coral in my example), stitch it to directly to the dark gray outer layer. You can use a simple straight stitch or get crazy with your machine's decorative stitching.  I found this blanket stitching in a scalloped shape that I really liked and decided to trim away the extra felt once the scallops were sewn using my embroidery scissors.  The scallops were kind of a pain to get lined up correctly on all three layers and you'll see that mine are far from perfect.  There's always next time!  PS I also used a slightly lighter tension on my machine and a walking foot to help manage the bulk of multiple layers of felt.

case7
case7

When you sew the third layer (the coral) to the dark gray, be sure to sandwich a 15" length of ribbon between the coral and gray, centered on the width of the gray fabric (I tucked in about 1" of the ribbon between the two layers).  When you sew the coral edge down, you will sew the ribbon in place at the same time.  [Note this picture was taken before I trimmed the excess pink and coral fabric around each scallop.)

case12
case12

Finally, with the fabric strips sewn to the gray fabric, now's a good time to trim away any excess colored fabric strips so that they are the same dimensions as your gray fabric.

Inside Layer

Turning to the inside layer, it is a good idea to first mock up the inside of the case, thusly:

case9
case9

Note the needle flap has about 1.5" folded under at the top. Sew the flap to the underlayer using 3 stitch lines in two different decorative patterns on top of this folded under part (this requires sewing through 3 layers of felt).  

For the envelop, first add the scallops to the darker green along one of the longer edges using the same method as described above for the front cover stripes.  Lap the chartreuse over the darker green by about 1".  Use a close zig zag to "marry" the point at which the chartreuse overlaps the green.  

case14
case14

Fold the chartreuse up not quite in half (so it is about .75" shy of the zigzagging). Place the envelope on the lighter gray fabric and sew up both open sides of the chartreuse piece in order to attach the envelope to the underlayer.  There should be about 1/4" of gray showing on either side of the envelope.  Fold the green flap down and stitch along the folded edge about 1/8" from the edge.  This will keep the flap down and hide the zig zag sitches underneath.  This also adheres the green flap to the underlayer.

For the scissors, I folded the pink strip in half and estimated the length based on my scissors (these are 3.25" Ginghers).  

case8
case8

I freehanded the cut you see in the final case and used another decorative stitch pattern in a contrasting thread to sew it to the underlayer.  Though not in my original plan, I decided it would be safer to make the pocket big enough to accommodate the leather case that was provided with the scissors:

case13
case13

Final Assembly

Once you have the outside and insider layers finished, place them together with wrong sides together.  Cut a second piece of ribbon about 9" in length and sandwich it between the first colored strip (the chartreuse) and the dark gray (again, I tucked in about 1" between the two layers).  Sew around the entire perimater of the case, about 1/4" fromt the edge.  Be sure to sew the shorter ribbon in place as you do so.  And that's it!

Case1
Case1

I call this the Go-Anywhere Case because I think the basic concept of it could be adapted for any use. I already mentioned the crayon roll, but I think it could just as readily be made into a jewelry case, a camera case, and who knows what else?

Happy Crafting!

~Erin

Pure Wool Felt on the Fly

In the Craft Room, InspirationErinComment
FeltontheFly8
FeltontheFly8
il_570xN.294648162
il_570xN.294648162

Last week we were smitten with Gail's felt Valentines.  Today, we are happy to have Janet from Felt on the Fly to tell us about the beauty of 100% wool felt. It may not be something you've given much thought to, but handle a pure wool felt next to a wool blend product and you'll understand the difference.   I think Janet will make converts of us all. Be sure to check out the incredible array of colors of felt in Janet's Etsy shop and be sure to bookmark it for your next project. She also sells kits and other handmade items.  For some additional inspiration, we've included below some photos of projects made by others with Janet's felt.

Greetings, Clever Charlotte Readers!

Way back in 2000, I had the pleasure and good fortune to meet some ladies from Europe who were stitching tiny little stuffed animals for their children from an amazing fabric the likes of which I’d never seen before. To this day I still recall, with great clarity, my ‘AHA!’ moment upon discovering the type and quality of the felt they were using. Pure merino wool felt – yes! 100% merino wool! Oh my goodness. It was simply….well…delicious! Eye candy for sure. The color. The texture. The weight and the hand.

FeltontheFly4
FeltontheFly4

The European ladies laughed as I exclaimed my enthusiasm and curiosity and peppered them with questions. I had to know where it came from. I wanted to know why I’d never seen such a fabulous felt. I wanted to know why it wasn’t being sold here in the USA. And I wanted that felt to be mine. Every last color of it!

That simple little discovery that day led to quite an interesting quest for me. I began researching wool felt. I researched the historical and cultural impact of wool felt. I collected and compared wool felt from all over the world. I made amazing connections with people in countries I’ll most likely never visit. It’s been an amazing journey with lots of humbling life lessons along the way.

FeltontheFly3
FeltontheFly3

Researching the history of wool felt led to a greater understanding of art and craft in other parts of the world. It led to an enlightening realization about just how young our USA really is in comparison to Europe and Asia and how our own culture is largely driven by manufacturing and ready-made. It is inspiring for me, personally, to make available this fabulous, pure wool felt that simply cries out to be touched and crafted into something wonderful. I often feel that selling this beautiful felt is similar to a performing a public service!

What is Felt?

“Felt” is one of the current buzzwords in the world of crafting, trending as one of the most popular mediums with crafters of all types. While it’s the oldest fabric known to man, here in the USA it’s certainly gained huge popularity in just the last few years. A quick search of the term ‘felt’ on popular crafting websites will reveal a staggering display of items crafted from felt.

FeltontheFly6
FeltontheFly6

Felt, by definition, is a non-woven fabric traditionally made from natural wool fiber. From a historical perspective, Asian people first discovered that the wooly coat of a sheep could be easily transformed into a fabric that was waterproof, insulating to both heat and cold and fire retardant. Throughout the centuries felt has had a major cultural impact and has been used for everything from basic survival from natural elements to manufacturing to fine art.

Read the Label!

Crafters today have many types of felt to choose from. Depending on your needs and preferences you’re sure to be able to find just the right felt to suit your project. Modern manufacturing techniques have produced inexpensive and easy-to-find synthetic, re-cycled and wool-blend felts. One of the more elusive types of felt is ‘wool felt’.

FeltontheFly2
FeltontheFly2

Here in the USA, the term ‘wool felt’ is often tossed about loosely. Reading the fine print on a label will often reveal that, while the name seems to imply that the felt is 100% wool, it’s actually just a blend – with the smaller percentage of blend being wool. Technically speaking, this type of felt should be called ‘wool-BLEND felt’. If it’s pure wool felt you’re looking for, be sure to read labels carefully or ask questions. Your crafting experience with wool-blend felt will be much different than with pure wool felt.

Not All Sheep Are Created Equal

Did you know there are hundreds of different breeds of sheep? While each breed produces a wool fiber (cuz that’s what sheep do!), the fiber can be thick, thin, long, short, wiry, curly, coarse, soft, etc. Depending on the type of fiber used, the way it’s processed into felt and the type of dye used, the end result can be very, very different.

FeltontheFly5
FeltontheFly5

The term ‘wool felt’ is a very generic term and does not imply ‘sameness’. For example, consider the term ‘ladies shoe’. Immediately, you ask yourself, what kind of shoe? Are we talking about sandal, sneaker, boot or pump? Open-toe? Wedge? Buckle, tie or slip-on? So many needs – so many choices. And the same applies to the subject of felt. Many uses, needs and choices.

While I could have offered many different types of felt in my shop, I chose my merino wool felt for several reasons. The quality is simply the best overall. It’s a luxury-class pure wool felt. Merino is a fine, soft, strong fiber; natural and renewable. From loose roving it felts easily requiring little energy and no toxic chemicals, making it an ethical environmental choice. From a crafting perspective, the fact that it cuts cleanly, holds stitches beautifully and comes in an amazing variety of colors makes it a fabulous choice for creative inspiration.

Project Sources: headband, brooch, baby shoes, Waldorf clothes, Easter Bunny

……….

Happy Crafting!

~ Erin

Our Winter Wool Series

In the Craft Room, In the Workroom, InspirationErinComment

We are very excited to announce a new series of blog posts, Winter Wolle, that we are hosting here at Clever Charlotte!

winterwolle
winterwolle

We have a variety of wool-inspired projects lined up to show you over the next few weeks. In doing so, we hope to demonstrate just why we love wool in all forms. While the function & beauty of wool isn’t limited to just wintertime, it is precisely in these cold, dark months of winter in Northeast Ohio that I seek out wool for its visual and physical warmth. What better time to feature this wonderfull, all-natural product?

So, why wool?

An obvious answer is warmth. But did you know that wool is naturally water repellant and moisture wicking? It is also extremely durable, more than making up for any extra up-front costs of a wool product over its lifetime.

It is sustainable, renewable and otherwise relatively eco-friendly. It can be produced without harmful pesticides. Wool is also low-maintenance, requiring only occasional laundering. Wool can be composted!

For apparel and crafting, wool is ideal because it naturally resists wrinkles and maintains its shape well. It is also extremely versatile. It is perfect for the coldest months of the year, and yet can comfortably span 3 seasons of style for the Mrs.--

Wool1
Wool1

Left, Right

the Miss--

wool7
wool7

LeftRight

and the home--

wool8
wool8

Left, Right

In addition to being a perfect sewing medium, it can be spun and knitted,

wool3
wool3

Left (Anthropologie archives), Right

felted,

wool2
wool2

Above

and needled (Ok, really just another form of felting)--

wool6
wool6

Above

Wool’s industrial applications are also worth considering. Did you know that wool can insulate your house?

With wool's unlimited potential, we hope Winter Wolle will inspire you to plan a project or two for yourself or home.

Happy Sewing!

~Erin

PS Wanna see more?

Once Upon a Thread, What Big Eyes You Have

In the Workroom, Inspiration, Finch Shorts & Top, Raven Hoodie & PantsErinComment
Little Red Raven Hoodie1
Little Red Raven Hoodie1

It is possible that my choice of Little Red Riding Raven Hoodie for Once Upon a Thread is a bit obvious, but with all of the recent renditions of Little Red Riding Hood popping up, I just could not help but give this little girl an update too, Clever Charlotte-style of course. 

So, here's my modern inspiration:

LRRH book4
LRRH book4

[left] [middle] [right]

And here's my finished look:

Little Red Raven Hoodie2
Little Red Raven Hoodie2

What sealed LRRH as my choice was a certain vintage curtain that I purchased 10+ years ago at the antiques fair in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The fabric is double faced with a red and white damask pattern. I've been looking for the perfect use for it since I found it, and I knew immediately that it would look great as our Raven Hoodie with faux fur trim. To complete the wintery look, I chose a heavy creamy velveteen to make a pair the Finch Shorts.

LRHH11
LRHH11

I made a few basic changes to the Raven and Finch patterns--nothing too tricky, honest.

First, I added the aforementioned fur trim to the hood of the Hoodie. To do this, I first sewed one long edge of the trim in between the main and lining layers. Once the Hoodie was turned to the right side, I turned the other long edge of the trim to the inside of the hood, tucked in the short ends and hand sewed everything to the lining layer to secure it in place.  This was the first time I have sewn with faux fur and, but for a short coughing fit caused by the small amounts of fur that floated into the air after cutting the material, it was remarkably easy to work with.

In lieu of the pattern's waist ties, I used a satiny ribbon at the top of the front center opening to tie the neck closed--again, the ties were sewn sandwiched between the Hoodie's two layers before flipping it to the right side.

Little Red Raven Hoodie6
Little Red Raven Hoodie6

For the Hoodie's lining, I used the backside of the curtain fabric which had been woven in the reverse.  I had to get creative with my cutting as the curtain was badly faded in certain areas, presumably from hanging in the sun for who knows how many decades.

For the Shorts, I skipped the side and front tabs and added a creamy grosgrain ribbon along the side seams for a tuxedo'd, tone on tone look (inspiration here).  (In case you were wondering, I sewed the sides of the shorts first, so that I could sew on the ribbon before sewing the crotch seams.)  I also used buttonhole elastic in the back waistband and lined the waistband in an off-white Duchess silk.

So here are some more shots:

Little Red Raven Hoodie5
Little Red Raven Hoodie5

Is that the big bad wolf lurking about? Nope, just Lola, our Soft Coated Wheaton Terrier:

Little Red Raven Hoodie3
Little Red Raven Hoodie3

See the versatility of this outfit? It is just right for work...

Little Red Raven Hoodie7
Little Red Raven Hoodie7

and play...

LRHH12
LRHH12
Little Red Raven Hoodie13
Little Red Raven Hoodie13

I am pleased as punch how this look came together, as was Nora.  I think this look has "visit with Santa" written all over it--which unbelievably, is in just a few weeks!Happy Sewing! ~ Erin

PS In case you'd like to know, Nora's shirt is from Target and her super-comfy and stylish boots are by Kenneth Cole Reaction available from Nordstrom's.

Once Upon a Thread, Take Too

Community, Inspiration, Chickadee Blouse & Skirtcarla macklinComment

Erin and I weren't quite ready to be done with Halloween so we have taken up the Once Upon a Thread challenge over at No Big Dill this week:

No Big Dill OUT
No Big Dill OUT

For those of you not already familiar with "OUT", the challenge is to make clothes inspired by children's literature.  We've added our own requirement to incorporate our own Clever Charlotte patterns in the chosen look (of course!).  Erin's look will be coming up later in the week.

One series on high rotation in our household is Mo Willems' Knuffel Bunny (one, too, and free).  Recreating Trixie's eclectic look was a no-brainer for my daughter, Evie.

Knuffle Intro
Knuffle Intro

To recreate Trixie I had to venture no further than my own fabric stash.  I pulled an off-white quilters cotton with a little paisely print to use for our Chickadee skirt.  After cutting it out, the skirt took me less than a half hour to sew (it is extremely easy!).

OUT: Knuffle Bunny 3
OUT: Knuffle Bunny 3

The long sleeves of the 'undershirt' is made from this bizzare mesh knit with embroidered plastic circles that came from the now defunct Haight Ashbury fabric store where I used to work.  Full disclosure:  I didn't make a shirt--I just made a tube to slide over each arm...Cheating?  Not when you have two young children, a small business, a household to run, and an endless list of holiday sewing to accomplish.

OUT: Knuffle Bunny4
OUT: Knuffle Bunny4

The green T-shirt is from Target. Since it's hard to find a short sleeve shirt in Cleveland in November, I had to hem the sleeves of a long sleeve shirt.   The star fabric on the shirt also came from the stash.  Due to a non-functioning zig-zag stitch on my machine, I used a straight stitch to adhere it to the shirt. The Knuffle Bunny sidekick and leggings came from Evie's own stash.

Evie makes a great Trixie, no?

OUT: Knuffle Bunny 2
OUT: Knuffle Bunny 2

Happy sewing!

~Carla

PS don't miss Design Mom's recent interview of Mo Willems!