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!

Cleaning-up the Pieces and Putting Them Back Together

Projects

This weekend I decided to clean out my fabric/sewing supply cabinet. I have gotten into the bad habit of throwing things back into the cabinet any which way. The result being a disorganized mess. So this weekend, I pulled out all the fabric, batting, interfacing, and other sewing supplies and got to work.

I ironed the fabrics that were a wrinkled mess and folded them neatly and organized everything. My stash is getting smaller, as I have made quite a few face masks for the Covid crisis. While cleaning out the cabinet, I found some projects that were either partially started and then abandoned or never started at all. Would I do such a thing!

I set these projects aside. The idea being that if they are staring me in the face every day I will do something about them. I am proud to say that today I have started on one of the forgotten projects. A paper piecing project (‘Teddy Bear Santa’ designed by Ruth Jensen) bought many moons ago. This was set aside because of its intimidating nature. Although, paper piecing is not actually something to be weary of at all. I have done some paper piecing in the past but needed to refresh myself with instructions before undergoing the project. I had to get myself in the right way of thinking of how the pieces go together and then all went smoothly. Well…after ripping out a seam or two.

Today I finished one section of the project, a tree. Not bad… I have one more tree to do. This should be a piece of cake since it is just like the one I just finished. Then there is Santa and a bear. This will be more difficult as there are three dimensional pieces involved here. I was supposed to do the three dimensional pieces first. Ha! If I did that, the project would still be in the bag. These are intimidating to me. I decided to start with the easy part first so that I can work up to the more difficult part. At least I will have some satisfaction with the piece in the start.

Here is what my tree looks like…..

Do not worry! The edges are left uneven on purpose. It will be trimmed and sewn to the other seams eventually. I will keep posting on my progress. I have two months till Christmas, so there is my motivation.

[Note: It does not appear that this pattern is still available. However, there is a very similar one available on the site. The Santa and bear are different and packages are added. Patterns are at: http://www.thimble-art.com]

As always, Happy Sewing!

Pattern Review: Sewing the Easy Shift

Projects

I follow the blog Maison Bentley Style and found one of Kate’s posts to be quite useful to me as of late. Kate posted a few versions of an easy shift to sew at home. I liked the easy wear style and thought the pattern at This Little Miggy would be right up my alley. So, after a bit of time, I finally got up the nerve to cut out my material and push the pedal to the metal as they say.

The pattern was simple enough. It consisted of four rectangles that one gets by taking one’s measurements according to the directions provided. It also gave a pattern for a pocket to trace and cut out. All very straight-forward. I cut the pieces. However, I chose to make the piece for the back one piece instead of two rectangles sewn together. Why have a seam up my backside afterall?

The most challenging part for me was deciding how deep the v-neck should be. The pattern has one decide this themself. So, being conservative, I cut the v-neck. Well, it did not fit over my head. Ha! I went into my closet and got out a v-neck and used that for my pattern. (For me that was 9.5″) My shoulder seems ended up being 9″ each. The pattern had one cut a dip for the neckline in the back and turn under and sew. I chose to add a neck facing to this for a clean seam. It worked well. The sewing was simple. Basically straight lines everywhere.

Here is my finished dress made of linen.

I would recommend this pattern. Very easy to make (especially since I just gave everyone a hint on the neckline). If interested in this pattern, check it out at:

A special thanks to Kate for her wonderful posts and connecting me to the site for this pattern. Love your blog!!! Also a big thanks to This Little Miggy for sharing this wonderful pattern! It gives me courage to try and design something on my own next time. Who knew rectangles could turn into a dress!

As always, Happy Sewing!

DIY Grab-It Potholder

Projects

Another day of making potholders. Today it is the grab-it potholder. It slips on and looks like a puppet. Handy for grabbing a cookie sheet or muffin tin from the oven. Let’s get started…

Supplies:

material

quilter’s batting

thread

sewing machine

scissors

needle

thimble

copy paper (for making the pattern piece)

pencil

ruler

self-healing craft matt

rotary blade tool

Step 1: Make the pattern. This piece is basically an oval that fits your fingers. Fold a piece of paper in half then in half again. Make one side of the fold the width and the other the length. When unfolded all sides will be the same. My dimensions are roughly: 2.5″ width x 4.5″ length with a curved side. See photos.

Width 2 1/2″
length 4 1/2″

Step 2: Unfold pattern piece. Pin to fabric and cut 2 pieces. Pin to batting and cut 1 piece.

Step 3: Make the pocket pieces by folding the pattern piece in half (widthwise) and then folding down 1/2″. Pin to fabric and cut 4 pieces. Pin to batting and cut 2 pieces.

Step 4: With right sides together, sew two pocket material pieces together. Iron seams open. Place one batting piece inside and fold over. Repeat making one more pocket piece.

Pin pocket pieces together
Press pocket pieces, add batting, fold over

Step 5: Sew 1/2″ seam around pocket piece and keep going to quilt a maze design on pocket pieces. This keeps batting in tact through use and washing.

quilted pocket piece

Step 6: Sandwhich the main piece of batting between the two pieces of oval fabric with the right sides out. Stitch 1/2″ seam allowance around the edge. Quilt a bit on this piece as well. Simple straight lines will do just fine.

Step 6

Step 7: Now take the pocket pieces and pin to the oval. Sew around curves leave the straight sides open.

Step 7

Step 8: Cut a long strip of fabric 2 1/2 ” wide. The length should be longer than the oval…don’t worry about making it exact. It is better to have this too long so that it can be fitted and cut when almost finished sewing. After cutting the strip, fold one end 1/4″ under on width side. Now fold it in half lengthwise and press. Then pin just the start of the binding to the edge of the potholder with raw edges together. Do not pin the whole thing as the binding will have to be stretched and shaped to fit as it is being sewn. Sew in place with a 1/2″ seam. When almost to the end, cut the binding with an overlap and fold under 1/4″ and finish sewing.

Cut binding 2 1/2″ wide with self healing matt and rotary cutter or by hand is fine too
Fold and press
Pin just the beginning of binding to potholder
Cut binding when almost finished leaving an overlap. Oh and don’t forget to turn the end under (not shown in photo) for a finished look.

Step 9: Almost done! The machine part of the sewing is finished. Get out a needle, thread, thimble, and scissors to complete the potholder. Turn the binding to the back. It should just cover the seam stitch. Hold in place and with a threaded needle grab a tiny amount of fabric from the potholder and from the binding and whip stitch all aroung the potholder. Press the potholder to flatten it out and bit. Voila! Now you are ready to take those cookies out of the oven. Happy crafting!