Tag Archives: fabric

Hemming Foot

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Hemming Foot

When you buy a new sewing machine, you most likely are presented with a variety of feet that do God knows what.  They look weird and difficult and all you want to do is to sit down at your new machine and make something!  So you put in the all-purpose foot and sew away, forgetting that you have all of these possibilities sitting next to you in your sewing box.  Now that you’ve gotten a few projects under your belt it’s time to look back at these weird feet and figure out what they do.  That is exactly where I was awhile ago.  I knew that my sewing machine had come with a hemming foot, but I had never used it and had no idea how.  But, at the same time I was presented with curtains.  Thin gossamer-like curtains that were too long and dragging the ground.  I began doing the project by hand, ie folding the material up once, then again.  Lets just say that that idea came with frustratingly slow results so I decided to bite the bullet and learn how to use this twisted piece of metal that came with my machine.

Here’s what it looks like.Foot 1 foot 2  See what I mean, it looks intimidating and difficult.

So here’s how this works…stay with me here.

This is what I started with. Beginning piece sm  Just a scrap of fabric that had a selvage hem on one side and a raw edge on the other.

Step 1:

Either backstitch or, if you have a knotting feature on your machine use that, to create a knot at the beginning of the fabric.

Settings sm On my machine the knotting feature is the “bullseye”.

After you have created a knot, lift the presser foot and remove the material from the machine, letting about 4″ or so of thread come out before you cut.  This “tail” is very important because it allows you to pull the material through the machine because it’s going to be difficult.

Pulling the thread sm

Remember…fabric can really be a jerk sometimes, and so can your machine.  Remember this, it is very important!

Step 2:

Here’s where it can get difficult.  You need to use the thread to pull the material through the rolling portion of the foot.  The material should wrap around the twist in the foot.  Once the material is at the point where the needle should begin at the start of the fabric, put down the presser foot and take a breath.

beginning rolled hem sm beginning the stitch sm

Step 3:

Use your left hand grasp the thread and pull the material while you use your right hand to guide the material through.  Go slowly, this can get away from you a lot faster than you may think. As the material moves through the foot, the rolling portion folds the material under so that you get a perfect shirttail hem.  Continue this until you have gone the full length of the fabric.

pulling the material through sm  correct sm Here’s what it should look like when you’re done.

Tips and Tricks

+ If your fabric looks like this…you have folded over the fabric too far  Too much smtoo much (2) sm

+ If it looks like this, there is to little folded over. too little smtoo little (2) sm  You can see that the material has not been folded over.

In the end, although this can take some getting used to, it really does create a very professional looking product, and is well worth the amount of time it takes to learn how to use.  Do you have a foot on your machine that you’re struggling with?  If so let me know (because I probably am too) and we can learn it together!  Keep Crafting!

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Don’t Cut Corners!

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Don’t Cut Corners!

Finishing a project can be daunting.  If you’re like me, you look at something that is close to being finished and you worry that NOW is the moment you’re going to destroy it.  One wrong stitch here, or seam there and BAM! your beautiful project now gets to live in the back of the bin where frustrating projects end up, because when you’ve gotten over the devastation, you’ll get back to it…yeah…that never happens.  It just sits there as a physical reminder of your shame and annoyance.

I created this post because this has happened to me all too often and I would like to save some of you from this fate, and the finishing corners on a blanket could be one such frustrating point.  Because of that, I’ll show you two different ways that I do corners.

What you’ll need:

  • The fabrics that you are using, both for the blanket and the binding
  • Pins
  • Manual dexterity

Step One:

Corner 1 (1) sized Get your fabric prepared.  Here I am using the back fabric to wrap around to the front as the binding.

Step Two:

Corner 1 (2) sized Bend up the corner.

Step Three:

Corner 1 (3) sized Fold that up until the point of the top fabric is encased.

Step Four:

Corner 1 (4) sized Fold up the edge so that you will have a finished edge along the fabric. (ignore the selvage edge, I had to retake all the photos because I didn’t have the SD card in the camera the first time…)

Step Five:

Corner 1 (5) Corner 1 (6) sized Fold this up to meet the edge of the fabric that you created previously, and pin.

Step Six:

Corner 1 (7) sized Fold up the other edge and do the same thing, pinning when you’re done.

Step Seven:

Corner 1 (8) sized Here you are a beautiful corner that you can be proud of, and not put into the back of the bin. Just sew it down and you’re done!

The Other Way to Make Corner (I like to think of it as a “blanket corner”)

Step One:

Corner 2 (1) sized So this is one that I might have just made up…it works though and I like the effect of it!  Fold in the edge to have a finished edge.

Step Two:

Corner 2 (2) sized Fold up the finished edge

Step Three:

Corner 2 (3) sized Take the corner of that edge and then fold it to line up with the fabric you are binding (shown here as the white fleece)

Step Four:

Corner 2 (5) sizedThen fold up the other side (making a finished edge first) and you’re done!

Between these two different corner finishing methods I hope that you are able to complete a project without screaming, walking away or starting a fight with your significant other because you’re frustrated.  See it’s not just crafting help, it’s also relationship counseling. 🙂

wine glass 1.5 This is another 1.5 glass tutorial.  Really the project itself is not really difficult l but I think you deserve a glass of wine because you just finished something!  So sit back, and enjoy how accomplished you feel!

Do you have a different method for finishing corners?  If so I’d love to see!  Comment below or shoot me an email at brushesandthread@gmail.com.  I always like learning new methods because they create such different effects!  Keep Crafting!

The Simpliest Ruffle

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The Simpliest Ruffle

First of all, PSA, you really should not be working on a craft project that makes a bit of a mess while watching Hoarders.  It can make you incredibly uncomfortable and lead you to question your decisions…including your multiple bins of fabric in the corner…maybe that’s just me.

Okay, beyond that, a great way to make any project more special or just too darn cute is to add ruffles.

Dog Outfits 005

As you can see here, they can really make a difference.

Despite this, the process of creating a ruffle detail is deceptively simple.

What you’ll need:

  • Needle and thread or sewing machine
  • Material that you would like to make into a ruffle

HAND SEWN METHOD

If you decide to create the ruffle by hand and not use a sewing machine the process is just as simple, but it may take a bit longer and be less even.

With your needle and knotted thread begin to sew a straight stitch along the length of the fabric that will have the tightest portion of the ruffle.DSC_0299

In the picture of the dog above that would be the portion sewn to the fabric.  This generally doesn’t matter unless you have a finished edge on the opposite side or the fabric has a pattern that would need to face a specific direction.

Continue the straight stitch until you reach the other end of the fabric.  Remove the needle from the thread and hold the thread while beginning to pull the fabric towards the knot. DSC_0302

DSC_0306

The fabric will begin to gather as you move the fabric.  Continue until the ruffle is the length that you want.  Knot the now long thread that you have remaining and use the ruffle in your projects, it truly is that simple.

SEWING MACHINE TUTORIAL

The tutorial for making a ruffle with a sewing machine is very similar to how you would do it by hand.  Begin at one end of the fabric, near the edge.  Back-stitch or knot the thread before beginning a long straight stitch along the length of the fabric.  When you reach the other end do not knot or back-stitch the thread.

DSC_0311

Instead, lift the presser foot and remove the fabric from the machine.  Here’s where it can be a bit more difficult than doing it by hand.  Because you are using a machine that uses two thread sources (the bobbin and the main thread) it can be more difficult to figure out which thread to pull.  The easiest way to get around this though is to simply grab one and pull.  If the fabric won’t move, pull the other thread instead.  If you’re like me you WILL pull the wrong thread EVERY SINGLE TIME you do this, oh well…  Just like the hand sewn method you will continue to pull until you have achieved the ruffle that you want, then simply tie off the thread and use.

DSC_0313DSC_0315

As you can see, no matter what method you use, the ruffle will begin to curve up.  This is easily corrected when you sew the ruffle to whatever it is that you are working on. DSC_0305

If you are working with a material such as cotton that will fray you may want to add a shirt tail hem.  To do this, you can either do it with a hemming foot on your sewing machine (an upcoming tutorial) or fold the fabric by hand.  For more information on how to do that, look back at the shirt tail portion of this tutorial on making a pillowcase.

On my new scale of how many glasses of wine I would need to complete this and still be sane, this rates a..drumroll please! ZERO.  This is very simple and not very frustrating at all.  If, you would like to see what a FIVE looks like (I hope to not meet up with a project worse than that) please zip on over to this previous tutorial that had me pulling my hair out!

KEEP CRAFTING!

But they’re so cute!

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But they’re so cute!

It all started out as a joke, “you should make dog COSTUMES!”  haha ok….well actually maybe I will do that.  The problem with making something like this though is that there are so many adorable ideas  that you start to get sucked in and just have to make more.  Before I knew it I had 9 costumes and it was quickly becoming less and less of a joke.  The end products were just so cute that it was hard to stop.  When people ask me what I’ve been doing lately I do feel a bit silly saying…”making dog costumes”, and they generally have one of two reactions; looking at me like I have 6 heads, or smile and ask to see them.  I must say I much prefer the latter, it makes me feel slightly less silly about the whole endeavor.

I’m not just making dog costumes though, I have revised the idea to have my own twist on it.  What I’m making, I call “Collar Capes”.  This is because the dog’s collar slips through the costume’s loop on the back and is secured around the belly with an elastic strap that closes with velcro, making it simple to put on and comfortable to wear.  Below are some pictures of the costumes, modeled by the adorable and patient Vera and Puddles.  All of the below can be found on my Etsy shop.

Native American Princess

Fiesta dress

 

Mummy

Poodle Skirt

Prissy Princess

Pumpkin

 

Black Widow Spider

St. Bernard First Aid Barrel

Victorian Vest

So that’s what I have so far, and I’d love to hear what you think, and remember Keep Crafting!

Puppy Loves Her Collar

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Puppy Loves Her Collar

Babies are not the only cute thing in the world, I know a lot of people who think that their dog is pretty much the cutest thing that has ever lived.  Lately, I’ve been working to make the furry little guys and girls just a little bit more stylish by way of handmade dog collars with their names embroidered on them.  I had two of my customers/friends send me pictures of their wonderful dogs Vera and Kahlua wearing their new customized collars!  Both are shown in my most popular seller, the zebra print collar, which now also comes with a red back and top-stitching   I think they look like they love their new collars, what do you think?

VERA

KAHLUA

      Looks like someone’s photo shoot got them all tuckered out.

Each collar has a nylon webbing back with reinforced stitching.  The hardware on each includes; sturdy plastic side release buckle, thick metal d-ring to attach to a leash, and a plastic slide to make the collar adjustable.

The above new styles have been added my Etsy shop.  I would love to hear what you think and remember, keep crafting!

It’s been awhile

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It’s been awhile

Yes I know, it’s been far too long since I’ve posted anything here, many apologies.  I have been slightly busy though these last few months.  Lets see, since the beginning of April : I COMPLETED AND DEFENDED MY THESIS!!!!!!!! okay so obviously that was the big one and needed to be in all caps.  In addition to that though, boyfriend and I have moved, started new jobs, and gone through a ton of other things that weren’t nearly as fun!  Note to self-drink glass or two of wine before you go completely crazy.

{Sigh} okay so beyond what I’ve already listed, I’ve been working on expanding my product line on Etsy to include some new items.  I figured I would use the next few posts to introduce the new items to YOU the reader.

One such theme is baby stuff.  I had done some little baby pillowcases in the past but I’m expanding the line.  Before you ask, no I’m not preggers, it’s just that a lot of my friends/family have been popping them out lately, and baby stuff is so cute!  Right now I’m focusing on making the ultimate burp cloths.     Although I don’t have children myself I’ve taken care of a lot of them over the years so I thought to myself, what would I want in the ideal burp cloth (an item which is essential in and of itself!)

I’ll admit, caterpillars and apples are rarely this cute in reality…

Elephants and flowers on the other hand are always awesome

I would want it to be absorbent, that’s a big one.  Many I saw on etsy were made of polyester, which is not going to absorb anywhere near what you would need it to.  Secondly, I would want it to be both strong and soft.  Combining all of these, I came up with what I believe to be the ideal burp cloth.  It is cutesy cotton flannel on one side, and cotton terry (ie washcloth material) on the other.  To secure the two sides together, I quilted a border and an “X” through the center.  To add a special touch to the burp cloths, on Etsy I’m offering personalization on the cloths with the embroidery function on my new sewing machine.  I’d love to hear what you think about it and I’m glad to be back!

How to make a T-shirt bag

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How to make a T-shirt bag

A few days ago I asked you, the reader, what you wanted the next DIY post to be about.  The winner, Leah, who earned herself a 20% off coupon for my Etsy store, suggested a how to on making the t-shirt bags that seem to be popping up everywhere. So, I’ve been working the last few days on it and I’ve come up with three different ways to recycle old t-shirts into shopping bags, a sewing option, a no-sewing option and one that is similar to the plarn tutorial.  BTW this project is great because it’s quick, and if you put on a few pounds during the winter now you can dispose of those shirts you don’t wear anymore in a way that you don’t have to feel guilty about!  The shirts that I used were boyfriend’s old ones that we found in the back of his closet.

Sewing Option

What you will need:

Scissors           Sewing machine or needle and thread

Old t-shirt

The first t-shirt to bag creation that I’m going to explain is the one that I think best combines simplicity with the best outcome!  The first few steps for both this and the no-sew tutorial are the same.  First get a pair of nice sharp scissors.  If they’re dull then you’re going to need to add a glass or so of wine to the list of what you will need for this project because cutting through the shirts is going to drive you crazy.  Start by cutting into the sleeve of the shirt heading towards the armpit/shoulder seam.   Don’t cut into the seam, instead when you reach it, turn your scissors and cut just outside the seam.  The easiest way that I’ve found to do this was by sliding your scissors sideways to the seam so you know you’re not cutting into it.  By leaving the seam you avoid the handles unraveling over time.  Do this to to both of the sleeves.  Once both of your sleeves are off avoid any man in the house because they may reclaim their shirt at this point and begin posing in the mirror.  Mine didn’t do it but I can definitely see it as a possible outcome.  🙂

Reclaim your project and decide what shape you want the top of the bag to be.  I personally like a squared shape, but you can use circular instead if you want.  Simply lay the shirt flat and cut out whatever size you choose from around the collar.   

Here’s where the sewing comes in.  Turn the shirt inside out and line up the bottom seams.  Sew along the bottom just inside of the seam, remembering to back tack or knot at both the beginning and end.   At this point technically you have a bag and you could stop here.   I wanted mine to have a squared bottom so I pulled out the sides and held them down to the bottom seam and sewed over them so I would have a triangle.   (Yes I know I should have fixed by nail polish.  What can I say, crafting is hard on manicures)  After doing this on both sides, when you turn it right side out you will have a rectangular bottom.  This part might be kinda confusing so if you get lost just e-mail me at brushesandthread@gmail.com or comment below.

No-Sew Option

You’ll need:

Scissors            old t-shirt

Safety or bobby pin

To start this project simply do the sleeve and collar steps from above.  Once that is done, take scissors and make a slit in the bottom seam of the shirt/bag up to the seam line, don’t cut through the seam!   You will then need a drawstring.  You can use like a shoelace if you wanted but I didn’t have any lying around so I cut a strip from the removed collar section.  I did this by cutting in a circle so that i would have a long, though kinda bendy, piece.  Now’s the fun part *sarcasm*.  Use either the safety pin (put the pin through the end of the strip) or the bobby pin (loop it through the end of the bobby pin) and begin to feed the strip through the pocket that is made by the bottom seam of the shirt.  Use the pin to help you push the strip through by pushing it through so that the fabric gathers on the pin then extending the fabric back.  When you have gone all the way through the pin should stick out the other side and you hopefully will have a strip going around the whole shirt bottom.  Now simply pull the drawstring until the bottom of the bag is closed.  Then tie off the strip and cut away the excess.

T-shirt Yarn Option

You’ll need:

Scissors        old t-shirts (multiple)

crochet hook

I did not personally do this method but it should be fairly straight forward.  Following the same method as my Lets Make Some Plarn post, you should be able to make t-shirt yarn.  Using this you will be able to crochet it into a bag.  Sorry I just didn’t have enough time to make one of these but I thought that I would include it here as an option.

 

Either option that you do I would love to see the results or hear what you think of the post!  Also if you have a good idea for a post send it in.  If I use it I’ll send you a coupon code for my Etsy Shop.  Have fun and keep crafting!