Tag Archives: sewing instruction

Make your own fitted crib sheets…

19 Oct

A friend who is a grandma used to make these for all her grandbabies and she showed me how..

So I’m happy to share…

You will need:

tape measure

fabric

1/4 or 3/8 inch elastic

scissors

thread

sewing machine

First you measure your crib mattress, length, width and thickness or depth.

Add the length to the thickness times 2.  This will be how long you cut your fabric.

Add the width to the thickness times 2. This will be how wide you cut your fabric.

Our mattresses (we have two) are 50″ long and 27″ wide.  One is 5″ deep and one is 4″ deep.  All crib mattresses are not the same 🙂

So You cut the fabric to the needed length and width.

Then at each corner you cut out a square to equal the thickness or depth of your mattress.

I split the difference between both the mattresses.  More is probably better.

Now you are ready to sew.

First you make mitres at the corners by sewing these two ends together along the box angles.

 

Then you hem the sheet, I serge for a hem.  I should mention if you don’t have a serger, you will need to give yourself 1 more inch all around your rectangle when you first cut it out to make allowance for a hem.  You would need to turn 1/4 inch under and then another and stitch for your hem.

Now you are ready to add elastic

I just cut the elastic 27 ” and then I start on the long side of the sheet about 12 inches from the corner turning to the short side.  You apply the elastic at the hemline..

 Secure the elastic with a back stitch or elastic zig zag stitch.  Then I pull and stretch elastic and sew it on with a straight stitch.  I hold the starting end with my guide hand, which is my left hand and I pull with my right hand.

 A piece of elastic at both ends and you have a fitted crib sheet!   These sheets I made yesterday were flannel, very nice for the upcoming cold months!

Scrappy Tiered skirt tutorial…

26 Jul

 We make two kinds of tiered skirts.  The simple tiered skirt and the “scrappy” tiered skirt.  So named because you can gather any of your fabric scraps, put them together in color families and then make a skirt.  Your length may vary, but you can usually get them close to your desired length.

Please note, we got some scraps from our son’s quilting, piano teacher.  I mean a lot of scraps, they were of many colors and widths.  The example pictures are taken on different skirts in different stages.  We had a skirt making spree last Friday and Saturday.

We begin by selecting scraps that are in the same color family.  We measure our hips, because with an elastic waistband the skirt has to go over our hips!

Then we cut strips of even height, not always the same.  The top tier in the above picture is about 5″ tall, the second on this one is approximately 7″ tall, the third is 4″ tall, the  5th is 3″ and the bottom is about 5″.  We just used what we had.  Then we go from the top and just make each “layer” of strips approximately 3 to 5″ wider than the layer above it.  This just gives a little gather to each tier and the skirt lays nice. It can take a lot of fabric to do a tiered skirt.   Sometimes there isn’t enough to make a whole tier layer of one color so you can put two or three together to get the length across that you need.  It is kind of an adventure to see how it will turn out.  Gathering really helps to bring the colors together!

Now, we are ready to sew!

You start by making each layer of strips into tubes by sewing the sides of them together.  I do this on the serger.   Sewing the fabric right sides together.  If you do not have a serger you can sew a straight stitch and do an over cast or, do French seams if you know how.

Next, I serge to finish the very bottom layer, where I am going to hem, and the very top layer where I am going to put my elastic waistband.   Note:  If your print on your fabric has an “up”  check for that before serging.

Next I hem the bottom, and make the elastic casing on the top.  This is great to do at the beginning.   Normally, because it is a scrappy skirt there is not a lot of hem allowance so I just do a 1/4″ hem.

Then I turn the fabric on the top tier down and make my elastic casing.  I let my elastic supply determine what size of casing I make.  Also, if the skirt is light weight or heavy weight like denim, I would use 3/4 to 1″ elastic, but these light weight calico’s we used 1/2″ elastic.  So, my casing was made at approximately 3/4″.  You can use your seam gauge and press this amount in which makes for easier sewing.  And pin if needed.  Start stitching after the side seam and stop stitching  about 3/4″ to 1″  from the starting stitch.  DO back stitch!

Then I run “gathering” stitches.  You just set your machine to 4 or 4.5 stitch length, on straight stitch setting and sew 1/4″ from the top of each of your tier “tubes”.   Start just after a side seam and sew completely around the tube, then as you come completely around, by pass on the under side of your stitch, instead of stitching up to it.  By pass about 3″ worth of stitching then  cut your thread.  DO NOT  back stitch.  The stitches need to be free to gather.

Pick either the needle stitch or the bobbin stitch and begin to pull the thread, you will see the fabric start to bunch.  With your other hand you can run the bunches along the taught thread.  You continue this process until the top of your tier tube is the length of the bottom of the tube you want to attach it to.

Now you are ready to put the tiers together.  I start at the top and work down.  With right sides together, line the bottom of the top tier up to the top of the second tier.  Sliding the top tube, which will be turned inside out, over the second tube.

Now, you may pin.  I line up side seams or pick where I want the sides to be if I have more than two fabrics.  Then I always put the gathered piece up on my machine and the flat bottom of the next tier to the bobbin  section of my machine.

As shown here…  I don’t pin, so that I can adjust the gathers as I go, if they got too  bunched up or not bunched up enough.  You can also do this with pinning, you just sew slowly and remove pins as you come up to them and stop if you need to make adjustments.

After you do the top two tiers you can lay out your skirt again and better adjust your subsequent gather stitches and fine tune, where you want your different fabric tubes to come around to the front.  Then just work your way down.  You are close to done!

This skirt is done except  finishing the seams.  It is very important to finish seams on a tiered skirt, because in the gathering of each tier, the fabric begins raveling with the motion of running the fabric along the  taught thread.

Again, I use the serger, and carefully finish each seam.  Careful not to stitch too far over and flattening the seam as I go so I don’t grab some of the next tier that I don’t want to grab.  This can also be done with your sewing machine’s over cast stitch.

Now, it is time to run your elastic through.   Find the opening you made when sewing your top tier elastic casing in.

You can take the elastic around your  waist and cut it about 1″ shorter than your waist.  Then  take a safety pin and pin to one end of the elastic.  Take the other end of the elastic and pin it to the seam next to your casing opening.

This will ensure that you don’t pull it into the casing.  Then fish your pin through the casing tube.  Use your right hand, or left if you are left handed and push the pin attached to the elastic.  Then with your other hand hold the pin and push the casing fabric down the elastic toward the other end.   When you get to the opening again.  Run your hand along and be sure there are no twists in the elastic.

You are ready to close your elastic.  Lay it flat on top of itself, so you don’t have a big bulge and overlap about 1/2 to 3/4″.

Then stitch up and down with an elastic zig zag stitch 2 times for strength.  I stitch where the raw edges are to cut down on the bunching too!  Then you pull the skirt top and the elastic pops in and you are ready to close up your little opening that you used to put the elastic in.  Clip all your hanging threads and you’re all done!

Hope this has been helpful!

Shortening a curtain…

31 May

Just a quick tip…

A friend asked me to shorten shower curtains for her.  She thought she needed a serger to hem it and she doesn’t have one.    The good news is when there is enough room and you have a straight curtain, it is one of the easiest things to do with your sewing machine and a few tips 🙂

1. When you know the length you want, mark it with a pin.

2.  Using a seam gauge or ruler you measure from the place you want the hem to be to the existing hem.   If it is over 6″  just cut some off.  If not you lay your curtain on your ironing board wrong side facing you .

Below is a picture of a 6″ seam gauge if you haven’t seen one, they can be purchased on the notions wall at your fabric store….

3. Start at the end and take the measurement you got in step 2.  set your gauge to  that measurement.  For example..2.5 inches.

4. Lay your gauge on the curtain with the old hem facing toward you and the pinned hem facing away.  The curtain will be wrong side up to you but the hem turned up will be the right side of the fabric facing up to you.  Let the bulk of the curtain hang off the ironing board between you and the board.

5.  Go along from right to left, if you are right handed… press a crease at the designated length you need.  This crease will be your new hem line.

6. Go to your cutting surface or just stay at your ironing board and cut off the unneeded fabric.  To determine how much to cut off I use the length of the former hem.  What the manufacturer of the curtain used.  In my friends case it was about 5/8″ .    Double that, so you have fabric to turn under. So, 1 1/4″ .   Now you can eye it or use your gauge and go along and cut off the unneeded fabric containing the old hem.  You are measuring from your newly ironed in crease line.

7.  This is how her curtain looked after I cut the old hem off.

The stripe in the fabric makes it a little difficult to see, but down by my thumb you see the crease ironed in and my cut edge.  I eyed this one.

8. Now for a beginner you can turn 5/8″ from your cut edge and press wrong sides of fabric together.  Pin if desired all along the hem.     If you are more comfortable you can just go to your machine and turn under and sew as you go.

9.  You already have your other crease line so, actually you will fold your new crease line over once and then over again in toward the first hem marking crease line.

10. Now you have an enclosed edge.  And are ready to stitch…

There are two schools of thought on how to stitch,

1. some say- stitch with the hem up facing you so you can see what you are doing.  This is a great way if your machine has good bobbin tension and your bobbin seam looks as good as your top seam.   I haven’t always  had that so I adopted this second way.

2. I have always top stitched.  I trust my measurements and the seam allowance I choose.  for 5/8″ I would choose 1/2″ or so for a seam allowance.  The top stitching always seems to look better to me.

Do what makes you most at ease at your work and what will give you the best result.

I hope this helps!  This simple tip takes quite a bit of explaining but once you get the idea and practice a few times you’ll be so glad you know the iron in the new hem trick!!

Off to life…Chrissi

Machine Applique’ 101 A tutorial ….

26 May

Applique’ is a good way to add a theme to your clothing and household items.   It is very simple to accomplish.  Especially if you are not a perfectionist!

This is our little lady bug applique with hand embroidered antennae and button embellishment.

For this tutorial, a customer wanted a butterfly on the front of her top.  I gave Victoria some different views I would like to see and she drew some up for me.  They were nicely detailed, but since this is machine applique’ I had to simplify her designs.  These are what she came up with.  Well, actually these are my modifications.  Hers were much more real looking!

When the customer decides what she wants, I’ll show you the stitching.

Supplies for machine applique’;

tracing paper ( or any other paper to draw your pattern ), pencil, eraser!, scissors to cut paper,  scissors to cut fabric, fabric, heat and bond ( a two sided fusing medium), stabilizer, thread, sewing machine, blue wash away marker for detailing, fray check,  hand sewing needle, possibly small crochet hook….

O.k. She picked the paisley butterfly…but larger than our sample. So, I cut out a larger one and added the little blue marker wing lines for detail..

Now it is time to trace and cut out heat and bond for the positioning of the applique on the base garment, or project.  Be sure to flip your design over to wrong side to trace heat and bond.  You want the glue side to be against the back of your design.  Since you trace on the paper side you have to flip it.

Next we trim so none of the sticky stuff gets on our iron or ironing board, and we fuse the glue side to the back of the applique’ .

Next we peel the paper off the fused piece and it leaves the glue film on the applique and we are ready to position and fuse the applique’ to our base garment, after fusing there is no pinning, no worries, just carefully sewing around your applique…

Now we have another preparatory step:  Stabilizer for the back of the design so your satin, or zig zag stitches and your design lay nice and flat.

I have graduated to iron on, wash away, tear away stabilizer by Floriani, in the past I have also used extra tissue paper from my patterns, (kind of slippery), Also paper towels, not bad, just hard to clean up and get out of stitches.  The point is to have nice flat, even stitches.  When pulling and tugging to get your home made, cheap stabilizer out you damage your stitches, it just becomes frustrating.  So, I invest in the stabilizer.  That said, there was a day that stabilizer just wasn’t in the budget.  It’s o.k. to be creative, just know you must take your time when removing it  and might possibly need to  carefully use scissors.

…Back to our applique, the above picture shows the stabilizer ironed on the back of the garment behind the design.  Always make your stabilizer larger than your design, you want stabilizer under your stitches which are bigger than your design.

You can see slightly how much taller than my design the stabilizer is, because I need  to make my antennae.

In this next picture observe the top right corner….

It is not nice and flat….

When I turn it over to see why…  I see I ran off of my stabilizer,  I am going to press and let this go because it is a small section and pressing is helpful.  But, You can see why I am stressing the importance of stabilizer 🙂

Now, if you look close you can see the threads at the end of the stitches.  Don’t cut them.  It is good to leave yourself a little more than I did when you take your work off the machine, but, what we want to do is pull the threads through to the back side of the applique’ and tie them off with their bobbin thread.

This can be accomplished two ways: 1. In the above picture I found the top thread and gently pried it with a pin from the back side, checking in the front that the tail was getting shorter to make sure I had the right thread…. Or 2.  Leaving a longer top thread, you can actually thread a needle with the thread tail, because it is long enough, and put the needle through the last stitch.  This is much easier, but sometimes, if you’re like me, I am hurrying and forget. 🙂  Better to be slower at this!

Now ..below I show using a small crochet hook ( like a 2.5 mm)  to help me tie my knot, because I didn’t leave my threads long enough.  Confession:  I used my machine thread cutter and it just leaves me about a 3/4″ tail which is wonderful in most cases, just not this one.   Note:  try to tie 2 or 3 knots for durability.

All right moving on.. Just about finished!

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Here is the butterfly attennae and all.  See my longer threads?  It is good to learn from our mistakes!!  All I need to do now is put all these threads to the back and tie my knots. On these ones I was able to use the needle method.  It was a dream!  Then I carefully tear away my stabilizer and moisten my design to erase the blue marker and dissolve the rest of the stabilizer and voila!!  A butterfly embellished top!

This customer had some ideas and asked me to make this outfit up for her.  She sent me some pictures, measurements and this is what we came up with.  I hope she likes it.  It is definitely summery!

Happy applique’ing!

Chrissi

Bias binding tutorial….

4 May

For those of you who would like to have a bias binding that matches your project perfectly, Good news!  You can make your own!  Basically, you cut strips of fabric cross grain or on the bias.  Which means you cut it at a 45 degree angle to the selvedge edge of the fabric.  

We use a ruler, roto-cutter, and a cutting mat.  You can use any ruler, draw lines and cut with scissors, or cut out paper templates in the size of binding you need.  For our project we cut out 1″ strips on the bias.  This will make 1/2″ flat fold bias or 1/4″ double fold bias binding.  After you cut some strips of fabric on the bias:

Then you are ready to sew them together to make a long strip!  You take two pieces and check for right sides and put them together, crossing over  and making a 90 degree angle with the points sticking out the amount of your seam allowance.  We use a 1/4″ seam allowance:

After sewing the required amount of strips together, i.e. the length you need for your project.  You take your sewn strips to the ironing board and press open your seams. they should still have the little triangles from your seam allowance.

Now you are  ready to press your folds into your bias strips, for flat fold you press a little under 1/4″ toward the center on each side.  This is tedious and you may say to yourself  “why didn’t I just buy some at the store?”  Or another great option is to buy yourself a tool!   These handy bias binder maker tips can be purchased at your local fabric store in some sizes and if you have a special size you need, more are available through specialty catalogs, we were able to purchase a 3/4″ flat fold at Nancy’s Notions at www.nancysnotions.com    They look like this:

The all silver one is the 1/2″ flat fold we are using today.  For our aprons, we use the 1″ flat fold and double fold it for a nice edge.

To get your bias strip started you put a corner in and  just take a pin and gently pull it through from wide end to small end.

Then pull out a little with your fingers…

Now you are ready to press

Putting your iron close to the tip gently pull away from the iron while you are following with the iron, while there are still chances to get burnt fingers, after a little practice there are still a great deal fewer ouches  than doing the binding without the tool!

Although this is a different fabric it is the 1/2″ bias double folded, bias just really finishes an edge nicely!  This width is also what some seamstresses use for “spaghetti bias” trims, you can sew it on top of fabric and curl it around and make stems for flowers and leaves on stems, the possibilities are endless!

Hope this has been helpful!

Chrissi

Embroidery trial run…

21 Apr

O.K. before I get upstairs to do school, I tested some fonts and stabilizers.

This is “Floriani” stitch n wash, fusible water soluble, tearaway stabilizer. So, to embroider you need to stabilize your fabric in order that your stitches look nice and don’t pull on your fabric.

I did this monogram without ironing on and it pulled a little for me.  I ironed it when finished but I learned a lesson. Namely, iron on with a lighter weight cotton.

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Now, this one I ironed the stabilizer on and stitched and you are looking at an unironed finish. Quite the difference!  When I iron it…it wil turn out with a much flatter finish. 

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Over all I think they turned out sweet!

They are done with their morning chores so…Off to school!