DIY Flatware Wrap Review

Projects

I was looking to make a portable flatware wrap. I wanted something that would not take up much space and that could easily be thrown into a bag and taken places. I find, when taking flatware to the beach or on a picnic, the flatware never really has a good means of transport. During these Covid times, when ordering take-out to take to a park or beach to eat, it is nice to be able to bring flatware that can actually cut the food without bending. Bringing reusable flatware along is also a good thing to help the environment by not using all that plastic.

I found the pattern at: https://www.bhg.com/crafts/sewing/how-to-make-diy-utensil-wraps/ . I LOVE this pattern SO much! It was incredibly easy to make. I was able to make it from scrap fabric I had around the house. The only item I had to purchase was the twill tape. So this cost me next to nothing to make and went together in very little time. Perfect solution!

The flatware is protected in the wrap and rolls up to a very compact size. I love this wrap! I am planning on making more for family members. These will make wonderful gifts!

As always, Happy Sewing!

DIY Travel Sewing Kit

Projects

My son is going off to college next month. I wanted him to have a little sewing kit to take with him, nothing fancy, just the necessities. However, everything I was finding was too feminine, too large, too expensive, or low quality. What’s a mom to do? DIY!

As a college student being stuffed into a small dorm room with two complete strangers, my son will have zero space. Every item brought has to be thought through and essential. While he did not think a sewing kit was essential, I thought he should have one in case he pops a button, or needs to make a quick repair. Better prepared than not I should think.

I had a small hinged tin that came with tea bags I had bought once. Perfect! It is even smaller than the Altoids tins (which would also work). It measures about 3 inches x 2 1/2 inches x 3/4 inches. Since I did not think he wanted the image that was on the tin, I made an artistic collage on top. Inside this tin, I have stuffed 8 bobbins that I wound with thread in colors to match most of his clothes, various sizes and shapes of buttons, safety pins, needles, and pins. I used the tiny plastic bags that contain buttons on new clothing to contain the bobbins and safety pins to keep them together. I cut a small square of felt to stick the pins and needles through. It turned out incredibly awesome if I do say so myself. Also, by doing it myself, I got to chose exactly what went inside and not have random useless items enclosed. The family concensus was that the DIY sewing kit was a thumbs up.

Other uses for a sewing kit this size would be: tucked inside a handbag, popped inside the glovebox of a car, packed for a vacation, etc…

The contents: Bobbins, buttons, safety pins, needle and pins
It all fits!

As always, Happy Sewing!

Bodkins

Projects

What is a bodkin? A bodkin is something every seamstress should have in their sewing box. It’s a clever tool (that looks like a large needle without the point) used to pull elastic or drawstring through casings.

I had been attaching a safety pin to elastic and drawstring cording for years to help pull them through casings. While it worked, it was not the best way to go about it. The safety pin is short and hard to grap and pull through and can come undone (which has happened to me more than once) in the middle of the job.

I then came across bodkins and decided to order a set and see how they worked. The pair are different shapes. Pick the bodkin depending on the needs of the project. My set has a very flat, thin bodkin with two holes in different shapes and a thicker, rounded bodkin with one oblong hole.

For me, the magic lies in the amount of metal material there is to hold onto to be able to pull the elastic/drawstring through the casing. It is a much faster and smoother process than my safety pin technique and probably much safer as well. I suggest that the elastic/drawstring be knotted after threading through the bodkin, safety pinned, or stitched with a couple of hand stitches to secure it in place so that it does not come undone in the middle of the casing.

I am glad I came across the bodkin. It has sped-up my time threading materials through casings and made things a bit simplier for me.

As always, Happy Sewing!

Making Single Fold Bias Tape

Projects

I decided to make Simplicity’s pattern 4177, a simple Boho style blouse. The neckline called for 1/2″ single fold bias tape. Since I wanted to have my bias tape match my fabric, I set off to make my own bias tape. Good thing I had extra fabric.

To make bias tape, the fabric needs to be cut on the bias, a 45 degree angle from the selvage edge. This gives the fabric more stretch and can form to curves easier. By folding over the cut edge of the fabric to the selvage edge and then cutting along the fold line, the bias cut is made. From there, all cuts can be made parrallel to the bias cut in long strips. My bias was cut into one inch strips. Strips can be sewn together to reach the desired length.

fold side down to selvage edge- cut along angle

Once the strips are cut out, they are folded in half and pressed. For single fold bias tape, the sides are then brought in to meet the center fold and pressed. The tape is then pressed flat to erase the first center fold pressing.

A bit more work than picking up a package of the pre-made stuff but ever so worth it. For prints, such as I was using, a plain color would have looked “home made” and even though my top is home made I do not need to advertise the fact. If the pattern calls for bias tape that will show, be sure to purchase a bit more material to account for it if wishing to do it yourself.

As always, Happy Sewing!

Underlining a Garment

Projects

What is underlining and why bother with it? Underlining is refered to as pieces of lining fabric that are cut to the exact dimensions of the pattern pieces and sewn together as one piece. These underlining pieces are placed on the wrong side or back of the material pieces and are stitiched in place to form one piece. The pattern is then sewed as normal and the garment is fully lined.

I disovered underlining recently when wanting to line a dress I was working on. The fabric for the dress was on the thinner side and I would either need to line the dress or wear a slip. I decided to line the dress. However, lining involves making a seperate lining of the dress pattern and attaching it to the inside of the dress. This is like making two dresses. This seemed a lot of work and frankly, a bit intimidating to tell the truth. That is when I ran across the term underlining. Easy! This was for me!

So with underlining, as I stated earlier, one cuts out the pattern in the chosen material and then cuts out the pattern in a lining fabric. The lining fabric is sewn to the wrong side of the material pieces using long running stitches just outside the seam allowance so they will not be seen when the garment is sewn together. This can be done on the machine or by hand. I read that one gets a flatter, smoother outcome doing this process by hand, as bubbles can sometimes form when feeding two fabrics into the machine at the same time. Doing this by hand, one works flat on a table. This keeps the bubbles out. I have tried this both ways. I can say that it does work better by hand. “By hand!” one might whine. “That will take forever!” Oh contrar. The hand method actually does go by quite fast and does indeed give smoother results. If the piece is a garment, I would highly recommend doing this process by hand. I made bags, and sewed the underlining by machine and they were not as flat, but for these bags it did not matter.

So, if wanting a lined, professional looking garment, without the hassle of sewing and attaching a separate lining, why not give underlining a try. As always, Happy Sewing!

Using a Serger

Projects

My daughter wanted a serger for Christmas. Santa came through with a Juki model. She was very happy to get her first serger and wanted me to try it. So, like the good student I am, I sat down for my lesson on the Juki.

The serger was easy enough to use on a straight seam. Just put the material under the presser foot, step on the pedal and off you go. But what about on curves? I actually did not try curves until my daughter had gone off to college again. First, I decided to watch a you-tube video. A very helpful lady showed me how to maneuver the material under the presser foot. I gave it a go myself and thanks to my you-tube tutor, all went well. It is a bit like a sewing machine, the difference being if I messed up the little blade would slice my material off. That is why I watched the video first. Take it slow and easy on curves and it is not a problem.

I have been using the serger a lot since my daughter went back to college. I think that I will eventually have to ask Santa for my own, as she will some day take the Juki with her, and I will be left without. One might ask, “Do you really need a serger?” After using one for a few months, my answer is “yes”.

A serger has many benefits. It sews a beautiful finished edge to the piece so that the material looks finished. A serger allows a piece to be washed without the fear of unraveling seams. It brings the garment up a notch from “homemade” to “Where did you buy that?” status. I would recommend a serger to serious seamstresses and for people who sew a lot of clothing. Beginning sewers can use a zig-zag stitch on their sewing machine or cut the seams with pinking shears. This will do until they become more accomplished sewers and actually want to wear what they make. It is more important to have a good machine and then acquire a serger thereafter, as it is a monetary investment.

The only drawback I find to the serger is that it is a pain to thread. Tweezers and tools have to be used to reach the threads here and there. The threads have to be threaded in a particular order for the machine to work. There are four spools of thread on my daughter’s serger. One spool seems to run out a lot faster than the other spools. This one is the one that needs to be threaded first. Although, there is a way around this, by sneaking threads around others. So the hardest part about serging is threading the machine. Once threaded it is a piece of cake.

As always, Happy Sewing!

Pi Day and Finally, Actually Using Pi in Real Life

Projects

Recently I wanted to make a round bottom drawstring bag. Trying to make the bottom fit the sides is not easy, as I have tried this before without a pattern. So I started searching for methods to make this easier.

I came across a wonderful site that explains mathematically how to calculate the circle and the rectangle for the bag. Genious! Of all things, Pi is involved. I learned about Pi in school, way back when. I never really gave it any thought after the lessons and tests were over. When would I ever use that again? Well, I finally got to use Pi to figure out my bag calculations. The whole formula was amazing and my bag turned out perfect! Maybe teachers should show their students the practical uses for Pi…

For the worksheet to help make a cylinder bag go to:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1aROY8uu30JQdSMKsy_UPFt2qCTAd0Ixr/view

From: Michelle at: BirdCage and Thread (YouTube video: How to Calculate Pieces to Sew a Cylinder

DIY Needle Minder

Projects

Sick and tired of trying to keep track of my embroidery needles, I decided I needed a needle minder. However, the one I really wanted was out of stock on-line. I did not really care for any of the other designs. What was I to do?

I searched through my drawer and found a cute French button I had ordered but never used. The button was made of wood and painted with a sweet design. I decided to have this button made into my needle minder. I enlisted my husband to help. He purchased a very strong button magnet set and attached it to the button for me with epoxy. One magnet attaches to the button. This piece goes on top of the embroidery work fabric. The loose magnet is then put underneath the fabric and sticks to the other magnet holding the needle minder to the fabric. When taking a break from embroidering, the needle sticks magnetically to the button minder. No more lost needles! Thanks Honey!

As always, Happy Crafting!

The back of the minder. Just slip off the top magnet and place between the fabric.

Wonder Clips are Wonderful

Projects

I ordered a package of Wonder Clips by Clover. I have used these clips on a few occassions now and I must say they are wonderful. Are they a total replacement for pins? Not in my oppinion, but they are quite useful. Let me share what I have learned by using these clips.

First off, pins have a few problems, if you ask me. Pins can obviously stick a person if not careful. They can also bend if trying to push through too thick of fabric, multiple seams, or elastic. When trying on clothing, pins can be downright dangerous. Of course, some fabrics are very delicate and pins can even run the risk of a snag to the fabric.

Wonder Clips are very strong little clips that do not put holes in or harm the fabric. I found them extremely useful in holding elastic in place in the shoulder of a dress I made recently. I tried on the dress without fear of being stabbed by pins and they stayed put perfectly. They are very quick to put on and take off. The only drawback, I have found, is that when sewing by machine, they need to be taken off sooner then pins. This is because of the bulk of the clip. On the upside, one can not run over a clip with the presser foot as one can with a pin.

Wonder Clips come in a package of 10 for around $7. This is pricey compared to pins. I would suggest two packages as a good amount to have on hand. I do not use these as replacements for pins, but rather enhancements. In some cases, clips are just more convenient to use. In other cases, pins are the way to go. I am glad I made this purchase and have use for both in my sewing.

As always, Happy Sewing!

DIY: Making 3-D Face Masks

Projects

With no end in sight to the wearing of face masks, I recently made a few more 3-D style face masks for the family. I received a complement from the cashier at the grocery store today on my matching face mask. I had made a shirt last year and since I had a bit of extra fabric left over, I made a mask to match. When I want to feel put together, I wear my matching top and mask. Who knows, perhaps I will make a holiday mask to get me in the spirit when the time comes. Here are the instructions for my go-to mask…

Face Mask Instructions:

Cut a rectangle  ( 10” x 14” regular size) (10” x 14.5” slightly larger size) or (desired size rectangle). [ I have learned, in making masks for my family, that one size does not necessarily fit all. Making a mock-up of the pattern without all the layers may be a good way to see what changes need to be made to the pattern before committing fabric to the project. ]

Next, measure down 2 inches on each side and draw line across and cut to make pattern.  A hexagon shape is made. 

Use this pattern to cut 2 pieces of material and 1 of sew-on (non-iron) interfacing.

Place the 2 material pieces right sides together and then place the interfacing on top.  Pin.

Sew on the top 3 sides and the bottom 3 sides ¼” from edge.  Leave ends open to turn.  Turn and press with iron.  Top stitch sewn sides ¼”.

Iron down the top and the bottom where corners meet ends.

Top-stitch at edge of top and bottom ¼”.

Place one piece of elastic over one end and fold end over once and then once again to form a casing.  Pin in place.  Stitch close to the edge being careful not to catch elastic in machine.  (Sometimes, because of the bulk, it is easier to start in the middle and sew to the end and then turn the material and sew from middle to end. If machine will handle it, it can be sewn in one line.)

Now fold open the corners lining them up with the end casing and stitch in place.  This holds the shape of the mask.  Repeat for other side.  Tie the elastic in a not to the desired length.

As always, STAY SAFE and Happy Sewing!