Clever Charlotte

Tutorials

Expand Your Button Options for the Peridot Pants

Tutorials, Peridot Blouse & PantsErinComment

In last week's post, we showcased some fun button options for the ankle plackets of our new Peridot Pants.  We noted that standard button loop tape makes adding all those 1/2" buttons easy to do.  But what if you are fresh out of tape? Or what if you want to use bigger buttons, or more of them?  Make your own button tape, of course!I first devised this method when we were test sewing the pants.  We were playing around with the size and number of the buttons and the button spacing, all with an end-goal of making it as simple as possible.

tape15
tape15

Besides being simple, making your own button loop tape opens up custom options for changing the size, number and spacing of the buttons.  Here's one of the prototypes--see there are 7 - 1/2" buttons, rather than 5.

tape14
tape14

Here's a shot of just the DIY loops:

Pretty nifty, eh? I thought I'd share this technique with you since it isn't too difficult and probably uses items already in your sewing stash--a real time saver if you are anxious to get going on your project.  Below are the basic steps that can easily be adapted to suit your needs.

Materials Needed

The materials you'll need:

- piece of paper, pen/marker and a ruler

- elastic cording 1/16" in diameter (I use this frequently for collar button closures, too)

- clear packing tape (like 3M or Scotch)

- tape or ribbon (Ideally, in a color to match your pants in case a bit peaks out. For this tutorial, I used a scrap of commercial bias tape, but you could use any type of flat tape that is between 3/8"- 7/8" wide, such as twill tape or even grosgrain ribbon)

Make Your Template

Using your ruler, draw a 5" line on  your paper. 

tape2
tape2

Now draw two parallel lines, one 1/8" (or even a 1/4") below the first and the other 3/8" above.

tape3
tape3

Now tick off small markers 1" apart on the top and bottom lines.  Note that the marks on the top line should start 1/2" in from the side edge.  You should have 5 marks on the top line (numbered 1-5 below). 

tape4
tape4

The 1" marks on the bottom measure from the side edges (labeled A-F below).

tape5
tape5

Note that the 1" spacing mimics the spacing of the commercial button loop tape, and the 3/8" height of that top line creates a finished loop that is 3/8" high, also as in the commercial tape. 

If you would like to add more buttons, you could tighten up the spacing of the marks (but be careful to allow enough room for the buttons to fit next to each other--if you find it is too tight, you could widen your base line to 5.5" without altering the pattern).  You can also accommodate wider buttons by moving the top line up. For a 5/8" button, for example, I would make the top line 1/2" above the starting line.

Cover the Template with Packing Tape

Once you are satisfied with your template, cut a piece of packing tape about 8" long.  Fold under the short edges 1/2" or more so that the sticky sides of the edges are facing outward and the tape covers the length of the template.  Use these sticky ends to adhere the tape to either end of the template.  Note that the tape should only be secured at the very ends and the sticky side of the main part of the tape should face up.

tape6
tape6

Adhere the Elastic Cording

You'll need about 10-12" of cording for each loop tape, but I typically leave my cording whole and trim it flush when I am happy with the loop placement.

Form a skinny loop with your cording about 2" in from the end.

tape7
tape7

Place the top of that loop on the sticky tape at the first tick mark on the top line (mark 1). Guide the long end down to second point (mark B) on the lower line, pressing it to the tape.  Form a second loop and place the top of it to the second tick mark on the top line.

tape8
tape8

At this point, you are probably recalling some ancient school lecture from trigonometry or physics class about sine waves, amplitude, frequency or such similar other nonsense.  Dismiss those thoughts with gusto and continue winding the cording between the top and bottom tick marks to the end.

As you go, keep the top of the loops fairly skinny, such as you see in the commercial tape, so that the loop will secure around the button better. This means that the curve along the bottom line will be pretty flat.  (A wider opening at the top would better accommodate a wider button.)

When you have reached the end, go back and adjust the loops so they appear more uniform in shape and size.  The packing tape is very forgiving for moving the cording and resticking it.

tape9
tape9

Apply the Twill Tape

tape10
tape10

Place your tape, ribbon etc. on top of the cording so that one long edge is flush with your original line on the template.  Press it down in between the cording to ensure it is secure to the tape.  Once you have the cording loops and twill tape in place, trim off any excess cording/twill tape at either end.

Sew the Loops and Tape in Place

tape11
tape11

Carefully peel up the packing tape at both ends from the paper template so that the cording remains sandwiched between the two tapes.

At your sewing machine, sew back and forth across the long edge of the twill tape 3 times to secure the cording in place.  You will want to use a small stitch length (2.0 is fine) and have the non-sticky side of your packing tape on the bottom, nearest the feed dogs.

tape13
tape13

Here's a shot of the tape after sewing. As my dad would say: "Ugly, but effective".

Now all that remains to be done is to peel away the packing tape. It usually comes off fairly easily in 2 or 3 large pieces. Use your nails or tweezers to get at any small pieces that are left in between the stitch lines. Et voila!

Happy Sewing! ~Erin

Olivine Dress Tutorial, Chapter 3, the Zipper and Finishing Details

Olivine Dress, TutorialsErinComment

We're back with the final installment of our Olivine Dress tutorial! (Click here to find Chapter 1 and Chapter 2.)  I'll be bringing you pics of the final photo shoot soon. So let's get going...

Sew the Main Bodice and Skirt Together.  When we last left off, we had just finished sewing the sleeves to the Main Bodice.  Now we need to sew the Main Bodice to the Main Skirt (completed in Chapter 1).  This is where all the hard work precisely positioning the pleats on the Main Front Bodice and Main Skirt will hopefully payoff. Ideally, we want the pleat lines on the Bodice to match up with those on the Main Skirt exactly, or at least pretty close.

Olivine3.2
Olivine3.2

We highly recommend basting the two sets of three pleats together before sewing the entire waist seam in order to eliminate a lot of additional seam ripping  if the pleats need adjusting.  Having said that, it is important to use the side seams to align the Bodice and Skirt rather at the pleat lines themselves--this is because the pleat lines don't intersect at the raw edges.  Rather, they align 1/2" down, at the seam line.  If you align the pleats at the raw edge, you will be off, like this:

Olivine3-1.jpg
Olivine3-1.jpg

Once you are happy with the alignment of the 3 pleats, go back and sew across the entire waist seam.

Sew the Lining Bodice and Skirt Together. Next, sew the Lining Skirt together as you did the Main Skirt and sew it to the Lining Bodice (which is easier since you don't have to contend with any pleats).  This is what you'll have when you are done with this step, with the center back seams of both layers open:

Olivine3-4
Olivine3-4

Sew on the Zipper.  I am going to show you my version of putting in a zipper. There are lots of videos on this out there, and I am sure my explanation is far from being "politically correct", but it works for me.  [Also, I should add that I accidentally purchased a regular zipper, not an invisible one, so I am using a regular zipper foot.]

Turn up your Lining Dress along the neckline, away from the Main Dress.  Check the length of your zipper by pinning it in place at the top of the Main Dress (just below the neckline).  We recommend ending the zipper about 3" below the waist seam (where my right hand is pointing in the photo below). Mine is much longer, so I marked it with a straight pin.

Olivine3-5
Olivine3-5

At my machine, with the zipper closed, I sewed several stitches back and forth across the zipper coils at the straight pin--if you look closely below, you may be able to see the line of gray stitches.  Cut your zipper about 1/2" below the new stopping point. I use my heavy duty kitchen scissors for this.

olivine3-6
olivine3-6

For the zipper photos that follow, I marked the wrong side of the zipper tape with colored washi tape so you can differentiate which side of the zipper you are looking at.

Reposition the right zipper tape face down on the right side of the center back opening.  I align the tape about an 1/8" away from the Main Dress's raw center back edge (folding under any excess tape at the top). We recommend basting the zipper in place by hand. I just pinned mine in place, shame on me!  So, do as I say, not as I sew.

Olivine3-7
Olivine3-7

Now sew that side in place with your zipper foot.  [With a regular zipper, I usually have the zipper pulled 1/2 way open.  When I get to the zipper pull, I stop the machine, needle down, and lift the presser foot.  Tug at the pull to move it behind the presser foot, then continue sewing.]

Olivine3-8
Olivine3-8

Aligning the left side of the zipper is always the trickier part for me because it involves the zipper playing the part of a contortionist.  With the zipper fully open, you will need to twist the zipper around to the other side of the center back opening so that, again, the zipper tape is 1/8" away from the raw edge.  The bottom of the zipper will want to pull up and curl around, bringing the right side of the Dress with it.  I just go with it until I get the second side to lay flat enough to sew.

Olivine3-9
Olivine3-9

Once you have both sides of the zipper sewn on, press the zipper 1/2" under toward the wrong side so the coils come together.  Press the center back edges of the Lining Dress above the zipper under 1/2" as well.

Olivine3-16
Olivine3-16

Hand Sew the Lining Dress to the Zipper. Fold down the Lining Dress along the neckline so it forms a lining to the Main Dress again.  The freshly pressed center back edges of the Lining Dress should lay down across the zipper tape.

Olivine3-11
Olivine3-11

Hand sew this edge to the tape.

Olivine3-12
Olivine3-12

Sew the Remainder of Center Back Seams. Sew the remainder of the two center back seams below the zipper, starting each separate seam as closely as you can to the zipper.  You likely will have a small gap below the zipper, which you can sew closed by hand.

Hem the Main Skirt.  We recommend using hem tape for the bottom of the Main Dress. Sew it to the right side of the bottom hem.

Olivine3-17
Olivine3-17

Now press the bottom hem up, to the wrong side, 1.5".  Remember those funny, cut off corners on the bottom of the skirt pieces? These should make flipping up the bottom hem a snap.  Now, more hand sewing to secure the hem tape to the inside of the dress. I usually save all of this hand sewing to do in the evening in front of the TV. ;)

Finish the Lining Skirt & Hem the Sleeves. To hem the Lining Skirt, we recommend pinking the edge of the skirt about 1" shorter than the finished length of the Main Skirt.  Because the Lining Skirt shares a lot of pattern pieces with the Main Skirt and is, therefore, the same original length as the Main Skirt, you will probably be cutting off as much as 2-3" of the Lining layer.  (You also could choose to hem the Lining Skirt in a similar way that we recommend for the Main Skirt.)

Olivine3-14.jpg
Olivine3-14.jpg

Hem the Sleeves by turning them under 1/2" two times, then machine or hand sew the first fold to the sleeve.  Don't forget to add your Clever Charlotte clothing label!

Olivine3-15.jpg
Olivine3-15.jpg

That wraps up this tutorial. I hope you have great results and a happy camper in your midst when you finish yours!  I'll post pics of Miss N in her dress as soon as it warms up and we can get back outside this weekend. Until then--

Happy sewing!

Erin

Olivine Dress Tutorial, Chapter 2, the Bodice

Olivine Dress, TutorialsErinComment

The Front Bodice is probably the trickiest part of our new Olivine Dress sewing pattern. In today's tutorial, I'll walk you through it and give you some pointers that should make pleating the Main Bodice a lot easier. We'll also cover sewing the Main and Lining Bodices together and inserting the sleeves.If you have not already read Chapter 1 of our Olivine Dress tutorial, I highly recommend doing so before reading this installment because the basic instructions on pleating the Main Skirt are very relevant here.

Pleat the Main Front Bodice: In this video, I illustrate how to pleat the Main Front Bodice using the paper pattern piece:

Here's how to sew the pleats once you've pleated your fabric:

[For those of you not following along with the video segments, you will need to double check the shape of the Front Bodice and alignment of the pleats by comparing the pleated piece with the shape of the Lining Bodice. You are looking for any discrepancies in how the two pieces line up along their outer edges. If you see any areas out of alignment, go back and double check your pleats. For example, you can see the lining fabric below peaking out on the left around the shoulder and armhole edges and along the neckline edge (note that this photo shows the back of the Main Bodice).

olivine dress2.8
olivine dress2.8

Once you are happy with the overall shape of the Main Front Bodice, stabilize the pleats by (1) sewing along the top inside fold of each pleat line, about 1/8"-1/4" away from the fold and (2) stitching across the ends of each pleat, staying within the seam allowances. The second video above explains this all in great detail.]

Finally, sew the Main Front Bodice to the Main Back Bodice pieces together at the shoulders.

Prepare the Lining Bodice:  Sew the Lining Front Bodice and Lining Back Bodice pieces together at the shoulders (note the Lining Front Bodice piece is not pleated). The Lining Bodice will not have any sleeves, so we need to finish its armhole edge. There are several ways to do this, though we think the easiest is to simply zigzag around the armhole edges and trim away the excess seam allowances using pinking shears.

olivine dress2.7
olivine dress2.7

Sew the Main and Lining Bodice Pieces Together: Now that you have sewn the front and back pieces of both the Main and Lining Bodice pieces at the shoulders, it's time to sew the two layers together. Lay the Lining Bodice on top of the Main Bodice (right sides together). Sew around the neckline edge, then trim the seam allowances to 1/8".

olivine dress2.6
olivine dress2.6

Flip the Lining piece back over this trimmed edge so that the wrong sides of both Bodices are now together and give that neckline edge a good press. I like to roll the lining down slightly to the inside when I press so it won't be as likely to show on the front of the dress when worn. You can just see the gray taffeta peaking up above the lining fabric here.

olivine dress2.5
olivine dress2.5

Sew the Side Seams: Though your Lining and Main Bodices are now sewn together at the neckline, you will still sew the side seams of each layer separately. Here I have sewn the Main Bodice side seams and Lining side seams together on both sides (those portions below the armholes), then pressed the seam allowances open:

olivine dress2.4
olivine dress2.4

Here's what the Bodice looks like after you sew the side seams and flip the Lining Bodice back down.

olivine dress2.2
olivine dress2.2
olivine dress2.3
olivine dress2.3

Sew the Sleeves: Baste two lines on each Sleeve along the sleeve cap, between the notches, then sew the each Sleeve at the underarm seam. You can see I used a darker thread for my basting stitches so that you (and I) can see them more clearly.

olivine dress2.9
olivine dress2.9

Insert the Sleeves in the Main Bodice: Flip your Lining Bodice up and away from the Main Bodice. With the Sleeve turned right side out and Bodice turned inside out, insert the sleeve into the Main Bodice (so right sides are now together), and match the Sleeve's single and double notches to the notches in the Main Bodice armhole, as well as the Sleeve's underarm seam to the Bodice's side seam. Pin at these three points. Here's an attempt at a photograph of this step--hopefully, you can see the excess fabric of the sleeve cap at the top of the armhole:

Now pull on the bobbin threads of the basting stitch lines to adjust the length of your sleeve cap to match the length of the armhole edge and pin some additional points. Sew around the armhole edge, making sure the gathers from your basting stitches are evenly distributed around the top of the armhole. 

olivine dress2.1
olivine dress2.1

I am going to repeat these steps for the second Sleeve and call it a day. In our next tutorial, we'll cover attaching the skirt and inserting the zipper.

Happy Sewing!

~Erin

Olivine Dress Tutorial, Chapter 1, with Video!

Olivine Dress, TutorialsErinComment

Someone around here got a new iPhone a few weeks ago and is quite excited to start posting some sewing videos. What better time to start than the present, with the first installment of our Olivine Dress tutorial?Today I cover a few preliminary matters, then move on to assembling the Main Skirt, complete with pleating and pockets. Chapter 2 shows you how to pleat the Main Front Bodice and attach the Bodice Lining. Chapter 3 will cover the zipper and other finishing steps.

Please note that I am not planning a step-by-step breakdown of the entire pattern. Rather, I'll highlight many of the steps and zero in on some of the trickier parts in greater detail. I should also add that I will probably take some steps out of order from the written instructions.

Before jumping in to the tutorial, however, I think there is a critical, often overlooked first first step to sewing any pattern:

Olivine tut cuppa
Olivine tut cuppa

So grab yourself a hot cup of tea, some animal crackers (my favorite!) and settle in to give your pattern instructions a good read. Or, at least, a hearty skim-through. I'll wait...

...

...

...

Ok, with that out of the way, let's get started!

Fabric Selection:  Here are the fabrics I am working with:

Olivine Tut 1
Olivine Tut 1

The gray and chartreuse green taffetas are my main and contrasting fabrics, respectively. These have a lot of body, which will hold the creased folds on the skirt and bodice nicely and will add fullness to the skirt. The gray fabric has a tone on tone flocked floral/bow motif for a nice, subtle touch of "flair". For the lining, I chose the cotton polka dot fabric you see here, which is a standard quilting weight. A cotton lawn or voile or any other lining fabric that would feel nice against delicate skin would work here too.

Seam Finishing: Since the Olivine Dress is fully lined, you wouldn't ordinarily need to be so concerned with finishing all your raw edges. However, since the taffetas tend to unravel quite readily, this was a good opportunity to dust off my serger. You'll see  in these photos that I serged most of the edges on the taffeta pieces before I started sewing them together.

Olivine tut2
Olivine tut2

I used a continuous piecing method that made the process go fairly quickly since you just feed in pattern piece after pattern piece and cut apart the chain once you are done serging all the edges on one side. Cut the pieces apart and finish them the same way on the second side, and so on. Note that I turned off the knife on my machine so I was sure to not trim away any of the seam allowance.

Taking the 15-20 minutes to finish the edges at the start not only saves me a lot of time later, it has the added bonus for you at home to be able to see the edges more clearly in my photos. :)

The Main Skirt's Front Panel: Now, on to the main event. There are a lot of pieces to the Main Skirt--and yes, unfortunately, that mean a lot of cutting.  But totally worth it, I think!

The front of the Main Skirt has 7 pieces. Lay them out in order first, then start sewing them together along their long, straight edges (let's assume right sides together unless I say otherwise, OK?).

Olivine tut3
Olivine tut3

Now let's pleat the skirt.  Here's where the video comes into play!

[Ok, so what did you think of the video? Helpful? Confusing? Am I gigantic bore? Let me know!]  

In case you need to see it in static mode, those are my skillful hands below pinching and pleating the first and third pleats...

olivine tut6
olivine tut6

Here's the front panel now pleated and basted:

olivine tut9
olivine tut9

The Skirt's Back Panel: There are four Main Skirt Back pieces, which are sewn together in pairs like so:

Olivine tut5
Olivine tut5

Now you may be wondering, "Charlotte, what is up with those funny little trimmed corners at the bottom of some of the skirt pieces?"  Those are intended to help fold up the bottom hem when the dress is assembled.  See how the lower part of the seam joining these Skirt Back pieces sort of pops up a bit?  It makes pressing the seam allowances a little tricky, but you'll understand why they are there later.

Sew the Pockets:  Here is what the Skirt Back panel looks like with the Pockets sewn on either side seam at the waist:

Olivine tut4
Olivine tut4

Clip to the stopping point at the bottom of the seam (indicated by the dot on the printed pattern), then press the Pockets outward, away from the skirt.  Do the same with the Front Skirt panel of the Main Skirt:

olivine tut8
olivine tut8

Complete the Main Skirt: Line up the two Skirt Back panels with the Front, with the Pockets opened out to the side, and sew around the Pockets, then down the side seams of the Back + Front.  

olivine tut10
olivine tut10

This photo shows how I've basted the Pockets to the top waistband of the Front Skirt panel, and how I've pressed the seam allowances below the Pocket open.

olivine tut7
olivine tut7

Press all your seams well and set the Main Skirt aside, you are done for now!

It's probably about time for another cuppa tea, so go put the kettle on.  The Bodice tutorial will be coming up next.

Happy Sewing!

~Erin

April Showers

In the Craft Room, TutorialsErinComment

...bring May flowers.  I promised you a tutorial on the lace applique I used on Nora's Little Bunny Foo Foo shirt a few weeks ago.  Here's my second spring shirt using the same technique--this time, my rendition of a happy raincloud spreading drops of sunshine.  I added a cute face using a simple backstitching and embroidery thread.

April1
April1

Before I start the tutorial, allow I  me to add the usual craft-blogger disclaimer--that I am not a trained appliquer and I am only describing my own technique. ;)  I welcome your input on what's worked well for you!

Here's what you'll need, in addition to the item to be appliqued:

April2
April2

- lace (scraps are fine if they are big enough to match the design)

- contrasting underlying fabric in the same dimensions as your design and lace (as you can see above, I gathered a lot of options when I started to have a wide selection to choose from)--see below for some hints on choosing an underlying fabric

- thread for the applique (eg for finishing the edges of your design), as well as white thread or other color needed to match the lace--see below for some hints on thread choice

- optional ribbon (I used 1/2" wide grosgrain)

- fusible fabric adhesive (such as Wonder Under or Heat 'n Bond)

- lightweight interfacing

- your design, hand-drawn, printed or copied onto regular paper to the final dimensions (Google Images is great for finding simple images--the simpler the design the better or else you'll risk losing too much detail in the process). Here's the start of my cloud design, with a piece of lace on top to test the "effect" (note, you'll see that I was also testing out some different eyes in the process).

April4
April4

To begin, cut out your motif from the paper.  Cut a piece of lace and a piece of your contrasting fabric** in the general shape of your design, leaving at least a 1" border around the entirety of the design.   If your lace isn't wide enough (because it's a scrap or a lace ribbon for example), you may be able to overlap two pieces to make it sufficiently cover the design area.   I did this on the bunny shirt and even up close it is difficult to see it.

**For the fabric underlying the lace, I used quilters cotton for both of my designs.  A solid fabric is probably best, but a simple pattern is fine if it isn't too busy.  Otherwise, the pattern of the fabric will compete with the pattern of the lace.  Also, I recommend a bright contrasting color because it makes the appliqued item "pop" against the fabric of your shirt.  For the bunny shirt, I used a coral quilters cotton against a white shirt.  Here, I used a grassy green polka dot to contrast with the aqua blue shirt.

Now, make a sandwich from these 3 layers: contrasting fabric on the bottom, lace, and paper pattern piece, all face up. Pin the layers together in several spots, staying clear of the cut edge of your pattern.

With white thread in your sewing machine (assuming your lace is white) and your machine set to a short stitchlength (1.6-1.8), sew the fabric layers together following the perimeter of your design, not more than 1/8" away from the paper pattern. (Note that you do not sew into the paper, but outside of it.) To go smoothly around curves, you may have to stop periodically and pivot your fabric with your machine's needle in the down position.  When you have circumnavigated the entire perimeter of the design, you will have an outline of your design stitched through your lace and fabric layers.

April6
April6

[This is the point at which I hand embroidered the face onto the cloud.  Another change I made to this version was to add 2 small solid peach circles to the contrasting underlayer to give a hint of the cloud's rosy cheeks.]

Time to iron on the fusible fabric adhesive.  Cut a piece of the adhesive paper in the same shape as your fabric/lace and iron it to the wrong side of the contrasting underlayer, following the manufacturer's instructions.  Remove the paper backing on the adhesive so that you can see the sewn outline you made in the previous step.  Trim away all the excess fabric close to this sewn outline.

Here's what mine looked like underneath. (The gray thread you see is from the hand embroidery.)

April7
April7

Next, position your design face up on the right side of the shirt (or item to be appliqued) and iron the design onto your shirt, again following the instructions for your adhesive product. To ensure the best bond, I found it works better to iron from the inside of the shirt, rather than on the lace side.  If it appears your adhesive is not going to adhere strongly enough, don't despair--just pin the design in place in the center of the design (i.e., not at the edges) and remove after appliqueing. Lastly, for added stability during the applique process, you can iron on a piece of interfacing to the wrong side of the shirt to cover the area of your design.

April8
April8

OK, on to appliqueing the design to the shirt.  It's really important to test out your machine's zigzag stitches on a swatch piece of fabric to get the right settings on your zigzag -- you are looking for a fairly tight stitch of medium width to cover the raw edge of your design all the way around.  If the stitches are too far apart (i.e. stretched in length),  you'll see more of the raw edge in between the stitches. I also keep the width of the stitch fairly narrow because this helps you to turn corners and navigate around curves more smoothly and it looks less chunky and overwhelming than a wider stitch.

** Note: For thread, I typically use a regular polyester thread like Gutermann's all purpose.  However, I happened to have on hand the right color blue in a special machine embroidery thread by Coats and Clark, so I used that for experimentation purposes (with a coordinating all purpose thread in the bobbin).  I didn't notice much difference in the end product, to be perfectly honest, so I wouldn't bother differentiating for a small project like this.

April11
April11

Make sure to keep the backside of the shirt free from the needle!

If you'd like to add a bow to your finished design, I suggest making the bow using a longer length of ribbon than you think you'll need, then trim any excess last. My technique for getting a small bow that lays smoothly is to make two individual loops with the ribbon, and tie those loops together into a bow--just as you would if you were tying your shoe only you don't cross the ribbon ends first--does that make sense?  After sewing the bow in place, I trimmed the ends of the ribbons neatly by folding the ribbon in half hotdog-wise and cutting across the folded edge at a 45 degree angle.  Here's a step by step:

April10
April10

I hand sewed the center of the bow into place on the design, then created a few "ripples" in the ribbon ends by machine sewing a few stitches in the valleys created by these ripples (where my fingers are in the picture below).

April9
April9

Finally, I chose to sew on some raindrops without lace.  I positioned the drops on the shirt and adhered them using the fabric adhesive.  I then stitched the drops in place with white thread on the inside of the cut design--this is called "raw edge applique" because it leaves a raw edge on the design, a look that I particularly like.  You could use the same applique technique described above if you want a more finished looking edge.

April12
April12

Here's the final look!

April13
April13

I can think of lots of other motifs that would work well with a touch of lace--an ice cream cone,  a heart, stars on a dark navy shirt to name a few. What will you come up with? 

The Boy Raven: Sew on a Cargo Pocket

In the Workroom, Tutorials, Raven Hoodie & PantsErinComment

Today's post marks the last day of our Winter Wolle blog series!  It is also our 100th blog post!Never thought we'd get this far!I had wanted to complete this post yesterday--it seemed very fitting to end the wool series on the last day of February.  In my mind, March marks the transition to spring, and I've already started to shift my thinking in that direction.  But more on that later...

Raven1
Raven1

This final wool project is also the second installment of The Boy Raven Pants.  Today we've styled another boy look featuring our Raven Pants--this time with cargo pockets and using a heathered brown wool suiting.  I loved working with this wool--it is soft and drapey and yet you can steam a very crisp seam.  The pintuck on the front of these pants looks so polished, doesn't it? Ladies, your husbands will be asking for a pair of these to wear to work (without the elastic waist, of course!)...

Though sewing on a cargo pocket is not hard to do, I thought we'd  show you a quick trick for assembling the pants to make it all the easier.  You can also use the same trick for any type of side seam embellishment (like a satin tuxedo stripe).

raven8
raven8

Ordinarily, most pants patterns, including our Raven Pants, call for sewing up the inseam of the front/back panels together first (see left, below) and the side seams last.  The reason for this is to make sewing the crotch seam much easier.  However, in this case, sewing the side seams last means you can't sew on the cargo pocket since you'd sew the other side of your pant leg underneath.  

So, to begin, sew the outside seams first (see right, below).

Raven2
Raven2

Now sew on your cargo pocket*:

raven4
raven4

Sew the inseam of each pant leg next.  This results in two, stand alone pant legs.  To join the two pant legs at the crotch seam, turn one leg right side out:

raven6
raven6

Insert the right-side-out-leg into the wrong-side-out-leg (so that the rights sides of both are facing one another), matching the inseams and side seams. The crotch seams should line up perfectly.  

Sew the crotch seams from front to back.  For added reinforcement, you may want to sew a second stitch line a few inches along the bottom of the crotch by sewing a 1/4" away from the first stitch line inside the seam allowance.  

raven7
raven7

Clip the curves and finish the seam as you normally would (I pinked all my edges).  Pull the inside leg out and voila!  You're ready to finish the waistband and hemming, as instructed.  

Though this wool is pretty soft, I thought I'd be safe by using an even softer material for the inner waistband. Here's a shot of the plaid cotton flannel that I used for the inside waistband. So cozy!

raven10
raven10

* I haven't shown you the step by step for sewing the pocket itself--but briefly for those of you who care:  The main part of the pocket has a narrow (1" total) inverted pleat in the center front.  I turned under and pressed 1/2" around all sides of the pocket, then basted those seam allowances in place (hence all of the extra, wonky stitch lines you see in the photo below!).  For the pocket flap, I doubled the height of the finished flap, folded it in half lengthwise with wrong sides together, sewed the short ends, then turned it to the right side.  I turned the remaining raw edges to the inside of the flap and pressed everything flat.    

raven3
raven3

I aligned the center pleat with the pants' side seams then sewed both parts of the pocket in place using a 1/8" edgestitch. When sewing the flap to the pants, I placed the long, open edge toward the top and topstitched it in place, thus closing the opening at the same time.

We hope you have enjoyed all of the different wool projects we've featured these past few weeks.  Look for some bright spring colors from us in the next few weeks!

raven9
raven9

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

Warm Up Your Wellies!

In the Craft Room, TutorialsErinComment
bootliner17
bootliner17

I don't think we could have a true Winter Wolle blog series without a knitting project, right?  Fortunately, I have a local crafty friend who not only knits and designs her own knitting patterns, but she has her own line of hand dyed wool yarn, Destination Yarn.  Jeanne and I had a lot of fun collaborating on today's freedownloadable project, the Warm Wellies Boot Liner, which comes together as the perfect intersection of sewing and knitting.

{By the way, be sure to visit Jeanne's blog, Life in Cleveland, for a series of crafty giveaways throughout the month of February!}

With all the rain we've had in northern Ohio in the last year, my Wellington-style rain boots have been a real lifesaver.  I like to refer to them as my "muck-about boots" since there is no puddle too deep nor too muddy that my boots don't permit me to wade full force ahead with reckless abandon, with nary a splash on my pants to show for it.

With these Warm Wellies Boot Liners, the useful life of my rain boots now extends into the colder months of the year with style & function. 

bootliner18
bootliner18

Our Warm Wellies Boot Liner pattern includes instructions for sewing the boot liner and knitting the decorative cable-knit cuff.  The liner itself is sewn in fleece, a very forgiving material to work with for all you non-sewers out there.  The cuff is sewn to the top of the liner and then folds over the top of the boot to keep the liner in place.   Note that the cuff can be knitted in the round (on double pointed needles) or flat (on straight needles).  

The cuff you see featured here is knitted in Destination Yarn's Souvenir DK weight wool in the "Spring Break" colorway.  The pattern should work with most popular boot styles in women's shoe sizes 5-10 {updated 11/9/12}. 5-7, and we'll have the larger size pattern available soon!

bootliner12
bootliner12

To access the free pattern and complete instructions for sewing the fleece liner and knitting the cuff, please download a copy here.  Below is a picture tutorial and some pointers for sewing the main part of the liner.

Printing Out Your Pattern

The sewing pattern and instructions provide full scale print outs of the three pattern pieces you'll need for your liners.  Make sure to check the scale of the print out to guard against the pieces printing smaller than actual size. You'll also need to tape together the 2 pieces of the Shank using the match line provided.

{Note: To better ensure proper scale, make sure to select print to "actual size" and NOT "print to fit"}

Due to the extra bulk of most fleece fabrics, it is difficult to accurately cut out pattern pieces required to be placed on the fold.  As you can see in the picture below, the loft of the fleece can add as much 1/4" to the fold of the fleece, which would make your cut pieces wider than called for.

bootliner1
bootliner1

For this reason, you may want to consider using the printouts to cut out new paper pattern pieces on folded paper.  As shown below, newspaper is ideal for this purpose.

bootliner2
bootliner2

Cut Your Fabric

Once you've cut out the Upper and Shank pieces on folded paper, open them up and lay flat on the wrong side of your fabric, making sure the pieces run in the same direction with the fabric's nap. 

{Note: To determine the wrong side of your fleece fabric, pull gently on a raw edge of the fleece.  The edge will curl toward the wrong side of the fabric}

Cut out the Sole as well, again making sure to lay it in the same direction as the other pattern pieces.

Sew the Darts

The Shank piece has 2 darts on its bottom edge.  Traditional marking tools such as a tracing wheel/transfer paper and tailor's chalk will not work well on the fleece fabric's heavy nap.  Here's one approach to transferring the dart lines:

First, clip a 1/4" cut into the cut edge of the fabric at the points where the dart line intersects that raw bottom edge.  Take care to not clip too far or you may cut beyond the 1/2" seam allowance.

bootliner3
bootliner3

To transfer the intersection point of the dart's "V", insert a straight pin through the paper pattern piece and the fabric perpendicular to the fabric.  

bootliner4
bootliner4

Carefully lift up the paper pattern piece and mark the pin point with a second straight pin on the wrong side of the fabric.

bootliner5
bootliner5

To sew the dart, fold the fabric with right sides together so that the two clipped lines meet and the straight pin is on the folded edge.  Sew a straight line from the clipped lines to the straight pin, allowing your sewing machine needle to run off the fabric's folded edge at the pin.

{Note: When sewing fleece, use a longer stitch length, such as 3.0 - 3.5mm}

After sewing the two darts on the Shank piece, your piece should look like this from the right side:

bootliner6
bootliner6

Attach the Upper to the Shank

Now it's time to sew the Upper to the bottom edge of the Shank (the edge with the two darts just sewn). In all likelihood, your fleece will have a enough "give" and stretch for the pieces to be pinned together flatly and smoothly. If not, clip the edge of the Upper every 1" or so (being careful to not clip into the seam allowance), which will create additional stretch in that edge.

bootliner7
bootliner7
bootliner8
bootliner8

After sewing the two pieces together, we recommend sewing the seam allowances flat to reduce the seam's bulk and reduce friction. You can do this by opening up the seam allowances and sewing 1/4" on either side of the seam, being sure to catch the raw seam allowances underneath. Trim any excess allowances to 1/8" of these additional sew lines.

Sew the Back of Liner

With right sides together, sew the back of the Shank/Upper piece together in one continuous seam. You may choose to secure the seam allowances in the same manner described above, though it will be trickier to do since your Liner is now a tube.

bootliner9
bootliner9

Sew the Sole

With your boot liner inside out, pin the right side of the Sole to the right side of the outside edge of the Upper piece, making sure to line up the toe of the Sole to the front of the Upper piece and the heel of the Sole with the back of the Upper.  Sew around the edge of the Sole.  The main part of the boot liner is now done.

bootliner10
bootliner10

Attach Your Knit Cuff

It is surprisingly simple to sew the knitted cuff to your fleece liner using your sewing machine.  With your liner right side out, insert the finished cuff into the liner so that the right side of the cuff is against the wrong side of the liner. Pin the cuff so that the cast off edge is flush with the top raw edge of your liner.

{Note: If you knitted your cuff flat and sewed it together at the side seams, line up that seam with the center back seam of the liner.}

{Note: I found it best to sew with the knitted cuff facing up and the fleece on the underside, next to the feed dogs of your machine.  Again, be sure to use a longer stitch setting on your machine.}

bootliner13
bootliner13

Wearing your Liners

The easiest way to wear your new boot liner is to insert your foot into the liner first, then slide your foot/liner into the boot.  Turn down the cuff over the top of the boot and you are ready to go!

bootliner16
bootliner16

We hope you enjoy this free pattern.  Happy Sewing and Knitting!

~Erin

© 2012 Clever Charlotte LLC and Jeanne Stevenson, Destination Yarn  This pattern and items made from it are intended for personal use only.

Stamped with Love, A Valentine's Craft

In the Craft Room, TutorialsErinComment

Today's installment of our Winter Wolle blog series is an extra special one because we are thrilled to introduce our first guest contributor! You'll surely enjoy all of Gail's sewing creations, but I think her felt creations are simply perfect!  Be sure to check out the links below to her previous fun felt projects.  My favorite are those cute farfalle! 

Hello Clever Charlotte readers!

I'm Gail from probably actually, and I'm happy to be here to share a wool creation for the Winter Wolle series! I love to make things for my daughter, and a few of my favoritepastprojects have been made from wool or wool felt. There's something so satisfying about working with wool, and I especially love felt - it has such a nice texture, and cutting and sewing with it is always such a pleasure. For me, felt and Valentines go hand in hand (I cut out loads of felt hearts for a garland last year), so I made tiny felt Valentine envelopes to house some mini Valentines.

Probably Actually in-hand-3622
Probably Actually in-hand-3622
valentines1
valentines1

My mom, sisters and I have a tradition of exchanging valentines, so these are for them (and one for Lila, of course).

valentines2
valentines2

The envelopes were cut using a Paper Source "baby" envelope template - the finished size is 2 1/8 by 3 1/2 inches (the size of a business card). Before sewing them together I added a little felt heart in the stamp corner and an "address label" that I rubber stamped on twill tape. If you crease the envelope flaps with a hot iron, it leaves you with a nice rectangle on the front, making it easy to get these additions in the right place before the whole thing is assembled.

valentines4
valentines4

I secured everything with a running stitch using embroidery floss. Whenever I can get away with it I sew stuff by machine, but working with felt is the one time I actually prefer hand-stitching, and the embroidery floss can add a nice pop of color.

The envelopes close with two little buttons. After sewing the button to the top flap, I pulled the thread (I used embroidery floss here, too) to the inside and left it about six inches long - that remaining length of thread is used to secure the envelope shut with the bottom button, manila envelope style.

valentines5
valentines5

Tucked inside are little Valentines - just a felt heart stitched on by hand and a stamped message.

valentines6
valentines6
valentines8
valentines8

There you have it. Thanks so much for having me, and happy Valentine's Day everyone!

valentines9
valentines9

The Boy Raven: Mad for Plaid

Tutorials, Raven Hoodie & PantsErinComment
Boy Raven Pants: Mad for Plaid2
Boy Raven Pants: Mad for Plaid2

To mix it up a bit, we thought it would be fun to feature some variations of our Raven Pants specifically with boys in mind.  For our "Mad for Plaid" version, we'll introduce several new sewing topics: (1) removing the front pintuck called for by the original pattern, (2) sewing with plaid fabric without going mad,  (3) adding warmth to the pants by basting in a flannel lining, and (4) adding side seam pockets.  

That's a lot to pack in, so let's get going!

JR Plaid
JR Plaid

Removing the Front Pintuck

We can think of several instances when the front vertical pintuck featured on our original Raven Pants would be extraneous.  In this case, the pintuck would likely get lost in the bold plaid and may even confuse the design.  Thankfully, removing the pintuck is really simple:

Trace the pattern pieces directly from the original pattern, including the vertical pintuck line.  Crease the paper pattern piece along the vertical line and fold it over 1/8" to one side (this narrows each pant leg by 1/4" total). Tape the fold down along its length.  Now you'll need to remove the same amount from the front waistband piece in a similar manner. Try to make the fold at about the point where the front waistband piece matches up with the pintuck line on the front pattern piece to preserve the curve.  That's it!  Cut and sew the pants according to the written instructions, but skip the steps relating to sewing the pintucks.

Boy Raven Pants: Mad for Plaid
Boy Raven Pants: Mad for Plaid

Sewing with Plaid

Plaid is certainly a daunting design choice, especially for pants such as these.   By following a few simple pointers, you can do it, I promise.  

When cutting out plaid fabrics, subscribe to the woodworker's motto: measure twice, cut once.  In other words, take your time and think it through before you cut!

First, you should cut out the two front pieces separately, rather than trying to fold the fabric and cut out both pieces at the same time.   Ditto for the back pieces.  Lay out the first set of front/back pieces on your fabric so that the corresponding notch points of the outside seams on the front and back pieces align at the same point on the plaid pattern.  This will help to ensure that those points will align on the outside side seam of the finished pants.

plaid10
plaid10

Once you've cut the first set of front and back pieces, use those cut fabric pieces to cut out the second set of front and back pieces, rather than using the paper pattern pieces again. In so doing, you'll be able to directly align the plaids of both pieces before cutting out the second set.

Look carefully at the photo below--you almost can't see the original pattern pieces laid on top of the fabric!  This is because I carefully matched the horizontal and vertical plaids at key points.  

plaid11
plaid11

Here's where I should make a tiny confession--the plaid on my cut pieces did not align perfectly with the plaid underneath around the entire perimeter of the pattern pieces.  Was the fabric wonky when I first made my original cuts or now with the second set?  After a few frustrating moments trying to get it all to be perfectly aligned, I had an epiphany--certain areas of the sewn garments are more critical than others, so I should really prioritize getting the plaid to line up at those spots. For these pants, the center front and back seams and the two outside seams were the critical spots, so that's what I focused on. I also made a decision to not concern myself how the waistband lined up. I saved myself a lot of frustration and was not disappointed in the end. 

Finally, as shown further below, when sewing these critical seams together, be extra careful to match up the corresponding plaid points.  It helps to pin the fabrics together at each matched point and remove the pins just as you reach each of them with your sewing needle in order to prevent the pieces from shifting while sewing.

Adding a Flannel Lining

When I asked my son if I could make him a pair of plaid pants, he immediately thought of his most-favored flannel plaid pajama pants.  Not wanting to disappoint, I promised him I could make them as warm and soft to the skin as his PJs.  I decided to sew a flannel lining to the inside of the pants rather than have the lining hang loose.  Given that the outer plaid fabric was a heavy twill, the flannel lining made for rather bulky seams, but JR doesn't seem to notice.

The lining pieces were cut from the same pattern pieces as the main pant legs, then stitched to the wrong side of the main fabric pieces using a 3/8" seam allowance and a slightly longer stitch length (3.0).  The only change I would make in the future is to cut the lining pieces 1" shorter at the ankle and forgo stitching along that edge.  This removes some of the bulk at the bottom hem, which gets turned up twice.  Once you've sewn in the lining, proceed with the rest of the assembly as instructed, treating each layered piece as one piece.

plaid5
plaid5

*** Side note about the knee patches: The knee patches are largely intended to add some additional boy flair to the finished pants and are less about function.  I added the knee patches before adding the lining for a cleaner look/fewer stitches inside the pant leg.  Either way, you'll want to add them before assembling the pants because it is MUCH easier to sew around the perimeter at that point.    I used a medium weight corduroy for its greater durability and simply zigzagged around the edges.  I like the less refined look of raw edges, but you could certainly find a way to finish these edges.  You could also add in a layer of quilt batting or several layers of knit fabric to add a bit more cushion.

Adding Side Seam Pockets

My final alteration to the original Raven pattern was to add pockets to the both outside seams.  I find little boys love the thrill of stuffing their pockets with all sorts of urban detritus and watching what survives a run through the wash, so I offer these instructions with a fare bit of caution.  (I should also add that this same pocket shape and sewing method works well for skirts and dresses with side seams.)

First, I sketched the pocket so that there is a good 1/2" seam allowance on the edge that will be the opening in the outside seam.  I also ran the top edge of the pocket flush with the top edge of the front pant leg so that the pocket would be supported by the seam joining the front leg to the waistband and not just hanging down from the side seam.   

Next, cut 4 pocket pieces from a plain muslin or similar soft, pliable fabric (even an old Tshirt)--nothing too stiff or thick!

plaid3
plaid3

Baste the pocket to all four pant leg pieces (front and back) with wrong sides facing.

plaid12
plaid12

When sewing the front and back pant leg pieces together, match the pockets and pant pieces together with right sides facing. At this point, you should also carefully pin the outside edges of the front/back pieces so that the corresponding plaid points align.

plaid6
plaid6

Starting at point labeled 1 in the picture above, sew around the pocket to points 2 and 3 with a standard seam allowance.  At point 3 (on the 1/2" seam allowance), pivot your needle so that you can continue sewing down the outside edge of the front/back pieces.  Note that the top of the pocket remains open.

Once you are ready to sew the top waistband to the pants, make sure the top of each pocket is pinned flush with the top of the front pant leg. Treat the pocket and front as one piece when sewing on the waistband.  That's basically all there is to it!

plaid7
plaid7

We'll be featuring several more Boy Raven looks throughout February and hope you'll be inspired to try out your own version!

Boy Raven Pants: Mad for Plaid5
Boy Raven Pants: Mad for Plaid5

Happy Sewing!

Erin

Last minute holiday crafting

In the Craft Room, TutorialsErinComment
Holiday10
Holiday10

Yep, that's right--it's been a true crafting affair around these parts, some projects even involving NO SEWING MACHINE. Can you even imagine?

Holiday3
Holiday3
Holiday4
Holiday4
Holiday6
Holiday6

Carla has been busy whipping up a fun holiday skirt for her daughter... and some hand-sewn felt ornaments based on a few she found on Pinterest. Wouldn't these be fun to make with older kids? I cooked up two ornament wreaths shown above to hang on the windows in the dining room.  I took advantage of some last call sales on holiday decor to stock up on the bulbs, got out the hot glue gun and voila!  Only 2 hours later I was ready to snap the final photos. Here's the step by step breakdown on making the wreaths.

Holiday9
Holiday9

Select color-coordinated bulbs in varying sizes (1.5-2.5" in diameter).  In the case of the smaller wreaths I made, I found some larger beads (.5-1" in diameter) to use to fill in the gaps between the bulbs.  Since you'll be layering the ornaments, you could use some less than perfect (eg "ugly") bulbs on the base layer without much showing through. I estimate I used about 50 bulbs for each small wreath, plus another 20 or so beads to fill in gaps.

You will also need the aforementioned glue gun and a wreath base.  I used green styrofoam wreaths and covered them with 2" wide strips of fabric.  (I was using up fabric, so ended up with the multi-colored look you see below.)  Though you won't see much of the underlying wreath, enough will show through so that you'll want it to look presentable.  Tie a short piece of string around the wreath through which you can later feed the ribbon.  Note, it is much easier to do this at this stage rather than after you've started affixing the bulbs.

Holiday2
Holiday2
Holiday11
Holiday11

Glue on the largest bulbs first--be cognizant that you evenly distribute them around the wreath, taking care also to evenly distribute colors and textures.  I applied the hot glue to the bulb, then placed the bulb on the fabric.  Man, did that glue set up the second it made contact with the fabric, so be sure to know exactly where you want each bulb before applying the glue.

Once you have the base layer of larger bulbs, start working the smaller bulbs in and around the larger bulbs.  I tried to nestle the "necks" on the bulbs underneath (eg toward the fabric).  I thought it could be distracting if they all faced up, though I did leave a few facing upward for variety.

As you glue, it is important to step back and look at your wreath as it takes form to make sure you've kept symmetry among the quadrants and to fill any noticeable gaps.  I also found it helpful to hang the wreath in its intended spot in the window temporarily so I could see it in context. I modified some bulb placements based on the fact that the wreath sat lower than eye level and, if standing close to it, you look upon the wreath at a downward angle.  Based on this, I added more bulbs on the inside bottom of the center opening.

Holiday5
Holiday5

Not bad for a morning's work.  I think I may make a few of these next year for the kids' bedroom doors--what do you think?

Happy crafting!

~Erin & Carla

PS Just in case you were starting to think that Carla and I are impervious to failure, I present to you Exhibits A and B, When Holiday Crafts go Terribly, Terribly Wrong:

Holiday12
Holiday12

Holiday Wren, a Tutorial

Tutorials, Wren Dresscarla macklinComment

In honor of the holiday season upon us, we were inspired to refashion our Wren Dress into something a bit more elegant. It only takes  a few tweaks to the paper pattern and a few yards of silk to turn this sweet dress into a tailored, sophisticated gown.  What's more, the contrasting band lends itself to a number of fun color combinations.

So, here's how you do it.  First, trace off your basic pattern pieces in the required size.

Next, slash a 1 1/2" horizontal Band from the Front pattern piece perpendicular to the center front line.  In this case I positioned the top of this Band approximately 2" down from the underarm point.  Then extend the pleat lines vertically across the new Top Front piece. Repeat these steps with the Back pattern piece.

Holiday Dress 2

You'll see in the above picture that the Band is much shorter than the original width of the garment.  To get this, you must fold out the amount of the pleats. Once this is completed, add a 1/2" seam allowance along both long edges of the Bands to accommodate the seam allowances of the finished Bands. The easiest way to do this is to retrace the original pieces onto bigger pieces of paper, then draw in the seam allowances.

I didn't make any changes to the Sleeves, so once you've made these changes to the Front and Back pieces, you are ready to cut your fabric.  In addition to cutting out separate the Sleeves and the Top and Bottom Front and Back pieces in you main fabric, you will need to cut out the Bands in a contrasting fabric as well.

Using the newly extended pleat guidelines, pin the pleats on the Top Front and Top Back pieces in place.

Secure these pleats by basting across them at the edge of the Facing, at the fold line, and at the bottom of each pattern piece as shown below for the Top Back pieces. Press the pleats down.  Repeat for the Top Front piece.

As directed in the pattern instructions, sew the Sleeves to Top Front and Top Back pattern pieces at the raglan seam line.

Pleat the Sleeves in a similar manner as the Top Front and Top Back. Press.

Fold the facing down so that the fold line becomes the neckline, as explained in your pattern instructions.  Press.

Attach the Bands to the corresponding Top Front and Top Back piece.  (Sorry for all these overexposed photos!)

For the zipper, I felt it was easiest to sew it in at this stage so that it only opened across the Band and the Top Back pieces in order for the gathers on the Back Bottom pieces (see the next step) to look more even.  Importantly, I didn't have any trouble later fitting this opening over my daughter's head.  PS--make sure to leave a tad more than 1/2"  of the Band out of the zipper so that you can sew it to the Lower Back with 1/2" seam allowance.

One of the last steps of your revised Wren Dress is to gather the Front and Back Bottom pieces before sewing them to the Bands.

To start, sew a basting stitch across the top edge of the Front and Back Bottom pieces.  Pull on the bobbin thread of the basting stitches to gather these pieces until the top edges match the length of their corresponding Bands. With the gathers spaced evenly across the seam, sew the Bottom pieces to the  Bands. Press the seam allowances open.

Here's what the inside of the dress looks like right before I sewed the Sleeves and side seams closed.

All that's left now is to hem the Dress and hem and add the elastic in the Sleeves, all as detailed in the pattern's written instructions. You may also want to topstitch the facing down by "stitching in the ditch" of the raglan seams.  Since the pleats are done differently in this version of the Wren Dress than the original, I found that the facing has a tendency to "pop out."  Also, to get the extra fullness in the Sleeves, I like to push the elastic hem of each Sleeve up the arm slightly to cause the Sleeve to balloon out a bit.

Have fun with this version of the Wren or as you embark on your own reconstructions!  Just a friendly reminder to post your creations/variations in our Flickr group!

Happy sewing! ~ Carla

Sewing the Eider Tunic Yoke

Eider Tunic, In the Workroom, Tutorials, Uncategorizedcarla macklinComment
Eider5
Eider5

As promised earlier this week, we've put together a tutorial for attaching the yoke of the Eider Tunic to the body of the garment.  Hopefully these photos help you better understand the process.**

**Please ignore the fact that the Yoke is already sewn to the Body-- the pictures were taken a bit late.**

Eider Yoke Tutorial1
Eider Yoke Tutorial1

Here we have positioned the right side of the Yoke [here, the printed fabric] to the wrong side of the body of the Tunic [the mauve corduroy].   It may seem odd, but matching right side to wrong side is critical to the success of the Yoke attachment. Once the layers are aligned around the neckline, snip the seam allowance a full 1/2". Again, this may seem strange since you are nearly snipping into the viewed part of the garment... just take care that you do not snip beyond 1/2".

Eider Yoke Tutorial2
Eider Yoke Tutorial2

This photo shows in more detail how the garment will move at the snipped point. Snipping enables you to get the machine needle right in the crux of the Yoke opening.

Eider Yoke Tutorial3
Eider Yoke Tutorial3

Sew from the snipped point up the center front, around the neckline and back down the other side of the center front. Your start and finish points should be nearly the same point.

After trimming the seam allowance of the seam just sewn to 1/8", flip the Yoke over the body so that the wrong side of the Yoke is then positioned against the right side of the Tunic.

Eider Yoke Tutorial4
Eider Yoke Tutorial4

Use a point turner to get crisp points where the center front of the garment meets the neckline. Because you have already pressed the seam allowance along the lower edge of the Yoke under 1/2", you are nearly ready to top stitch the Yoke in place. Taking care that the Yoke lies flat along the body along its entirety, pin the lower edge of the Yoke to the body and topstitch.

Good luck and happy sewing!

~Carla

A Fall Starling - Version 1

In the Workroom, Tutorials, Starling Dress & ShirtErinComment
SeptShowers1
SeptShowers1
SeptShowers5
SeptShowers5

I know you are all anxiously awaiting our new fall/winter designs, but to fill in the gap until those are ready for public consumption, we have been thinking of all sorts of ways to work our Starling Dress into your back to school closets. The Starling is such a versatile dress, as you will hopefully see from all these new variations.First up is one I call the September Showers dress, taken from the pocket detail, which some of you may recognize as an embroidery pattern from the lovely Sarah Jane Studios (pattern for sale here)--more on that below.  This version of the Starling is, perhaps, a little more casual look overall and is also great one to keep in mind if you find yourself itching to sew but no have zippers on hand. The body of the dress is made up in a cotton poplin.  I left off the flat yoke piece at the neckline, which resulted in the perfect wide opening to add the elasticized neckband, which is a popular look these days in blogland.  (One thing I didn't factor in, but will next time around, is that the dress is slightly shorter without the yoke.)

To encase the 1/4" elastic at the neckline, I made up some single folded bias tape (from 1.5" wide strips) in a contrasting fabric to sew to the right side of the garment, leaving a gap at the back of the neck in which to insert the elastic. (I hand sewed the gap closed once I had adjusted the length of the elastic.)  After the bias strip was sewn on, it was easy to turn the seam allowances to the inside of the dress and press the strip flat.  Thus far, there haven't been any instances of the band flipping over to the front, perhaps due to the elastic, and the neckline stretches sufficiently to easily pull over even the biggest of noggins.

Because cooler days are just around the corner, I opted for longer sleeves, which required a simple pattern modification.  I extended the sides of the pattern sleeve to the length of my daughter's arm + 1/2 inch to accommodate sewing on the same bias strip at the wrist as used for the neckline.  Again, I used 1/4" elastic.

SeptShowers3
SeptShowers3

The crocheted lace edging at the bottom of the dress is old pillowcase trim that I picked up at an antique store in Ann Arbor, Michigan a few weeks ago. Can you believe I paid just $5 for the trim from both pillowcases? Seemed quite the bargain to me!

So, for the pocket--I have been itching to try some hand embroidery, which is everywhere right now. This is my first real attempt and I thought it was a nice portable project (I completed this panel at the beach).  I used to be a cross-stitcher years ago (like 20 years ago, how is that possible??), and luckily still have all my carefully organized embroidery thread.

My one real hesitation with hand embroidery is that I never quite know what to do with the end product, however lovely it may be.  I am not the type of person to have embroidered tea towels or fancy linens lying about and, if ever I had a small hankering to hang something like this framed on the wall, my husband would have none of it. So incorporating it into sewn garments seems to be the perfect solution.

SeptShowers2
SeptShowers2

I ironed on Heat-N-Bond to the reverse side of the embroidery hoping that may stabilize the stitches, but of course, hand washing will probably be required (starting with, it turns out, right after the photo shoot which morphed into playtime in the dirt...) Happy Sewing! Erin

Donning and Doffing Our Sandpiper Capris

Tutorials, Sandpiper Capri & Topcarla macklinComment
Wearing the Sandpiper Capri 7
Wearing the Sandpiper Capri 7

So you followed our tutorial on sewing our Sandpiper pants and now you are thinking, "How do I put them on my kiddo?"  Here’s a little step-by-step that will have your little one donning and doffing these pants with ease.

capri 1ab
capri 1ab

Step 1: Position the front of the pants (where the buttons are located) at the navel level of your child.  Tie the twill tapes in a bow around the back. Step 2: Pull the back of pants (where the button holes are located) through the child's legs to the back.  Straighten the waistband and position center back seam at the center of the child’s back.

Wearing the Sandpiper Capri 2
Wearing the Sandpiper Capri 2

Step 3: Pull the tabs with the button holes around towards the child's front along the waist, fastening them to the buttons on the front.

Wearing the Sandpiper Capri 3
Wearing the Sandpiper Capri 3

Step 4: Once the pants are secure at the waist, you can loosely tie the cuffs around the child’s leg.

Wearing the Sandpiper Capri 4
Wearing the Sandpiper Capri 4
Wearing the Sandpiper Capri 5
Wearing the Sandpiper Capri 5

Step 5: Your child is now ready to romp down the beach!

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1 doff (dôf, df)

tr.v.doffed, doff·ing, doffs

1. To take off; remove: doff one's clothes.

2. To tip or remove (one's hat) in salutation.

3. To put aside; discard.