Category Archives: Sewing

It’s Christmas Card Season!

Last year I did a lot for Christmas. We threw a party and there were place cards and everything. This year I anticipate being fairly busy, and I doubt I’ll have time to do nearly as much, but I did have the evening free and I figured, first of December, I’m definitely meant to get my Christmas Cards for the year put together. And look, I even had the inspiration already.

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They’re fairly simple this year. All I needed was the blank cards themselves, thread in three colors (green, lighter green, and red) and a needle which could handle three threads through the eye.

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I grabbed my handy triangle and drew dots where I wanted there to be stitches, so that my stitches would be even.

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Then I anchored my thread with a knot, stitched back and anchored, stitched forth and anchored, stitched back and anchored, ect.

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Once I had a fully formed tree, the card was finished. Super cute!

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November Revamp: Trivets

This post is revamped from all the way in 2011. I made trivets having just moved into a school dorm apartment which had a kitchen, so it appears history is repeating itself since I’ve made some trivets to go with my new kitchen in my first real-person apartment. I did the curtains first, and built/painted furniture to bring down some of the colors from the curtains. When all was said and done I still had some curtain fabric left over, and some fabric from the cushions on the chairs, so I did now what I did then and made a set of trivets for my new kitchen.

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This project was originally inspired by a trivet we had at home as a child. My mom had gotten it from a friend a long time ago, and I reverse engineered the process to figure out how to do it. Since then I’ve done it many times, and so I’m revisiting my tutorial to share the technique, because it’s fun and easy, and really cute.

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Because bottle caps are so easy to gather and recycle, the effective cost of this project comes down to the fabric- which I already had because of the curtains. Basically what you need are a sewing kit, so a needle, thread, and something to cut the thread with, and the bottle caps and fabric.

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You’ll be essentially covering the bottle caps in fabric, creating little fabric “yo-yo’s” which you’ll then sew together. For a simple circle trivet you’ll need 19 bottle caps. More if you want to make it longer, or a larger size.

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Cut out a nice circle of fabric, with maybe a 1″ larger diameter than a bottle cap.

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Your circle does not have to be perfect. Almost none of mine were. It doesn’t matter anyway, because (in a technique similar to these Fabric Yo-yos from About.com) you’ll start by stitching loosely around the edge in a circle.

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Flip your fabric over, and put your bottle cap on it, top down. Start to pull on the thread, cinching in the stitches.

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Pull the thread tight, and if you feel the need to, stitch a second round in the bottle cap, to secure the “yo-yo”. Here’s a finished one.

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The front of your bottle cap should be covered in one smooth, nice looking layer of fabric.

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Wash rinse repeat however many times you need to until you have enough fabric covered bottle caps for the trivet you want. You may decide to lay them out before you start stitching to make sure you like the final result. I usually do.

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Start sewing together your bottle caps. I use a simple running stitch, adjusting tension wherever I need to to make the fabric lay properly. Sorry I didn’t stitch this in black so you could see it better- I didn’t want to have to unpick my stitches and re-do the whole project later.

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The stitching process can be a little bit tedious but it is really rewarding to watch the pieces build together into something recognizable.

My one piece of real advice is to make sure you don’t miss any seams- think of each piece as if it were a hexagon, and make sure that even the corner pieces have at least three seams connecting them to each other. This will give you a really solid trivet. The back should look like this.

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The finished trivet from the top will look like this.

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Of course I am nothing if not thorough, so I made a set of three with different patterns. I think the striped one is my favorite!

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October Revamp: Sweater Pillows

While I made these truly adorable pillows a few years ago, I didn’t exactly have a sewing machine. Or a color scheme. Or any plan at all.

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Three years later I’ve moved into my own place and I finally have all three of those things available, so I decided now was finally the time to re-visit this idea and talk about it a little more in depth.

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The first thing I grabbed was these sweaters from goodwill ($5 total, you guys.) I also had pillow forms already, so my total cost for project was $5 ($1.66/pillow if you will)

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Honestly, this project is so simple if you have a sewing machine, you guys. All you have to do is remove the seams so that you end up with a vaguely square shape.

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Knits stretch, so it doesn’t matter if your fabric is a little narrower than your pillow form as long as they will stretch to fit.

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Mine certainly did. I had 0 problems fitting the pillow forms into my pillow cases once I’d sewn the two sides together (leaving a hole for stuffing, which I totally didn’t forget to do at all on the first pillow nope no way)

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They’re so fun! They match my decor perfectly, and they’re actually really comfy. I feel very cozy in my bed now.

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As you can see, I’ve got some variety. I switched it up by making the two large pillows each have the same back and front, so I have two pillows with turquoise in them instead of just one. I sleep on the little one so I made sure there was a “real pillowcase” side to him for comfort.

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In order to vary it up a bit  (and not totally because I sewed it wrong the first time) I used the “wrong side” of the teal sweater for one of the pillows, and the “right side” for the other so they match but they don’t match.

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The little guy is also special because of the pattern of the knit. I’m a lot in love with these new pillows and they go really well in my new room.

August Revamp: Sewing Kit

I know I’m just squeezing this one in under the wire but it is still technically August so HA. I’ve moved again, I’m now based in NYC (!!!) and that’s most of why there hasn’t been much going on me-making-things-wise. Since I’ve moved, however, and am planning to make this city a permanent home for a while, I’m able to revisit a project I did while I was still mobile.

In 2012 I made a To-Do List. I make these all the time and rarely stick to them, but in this case I completed a whopping half the list, and one of those projects was this mason jar sewing kit.

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What I ended up making was this more versatile cloth kit which I can carry in my bag and not worry about breaking.

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Now that I’m more permanent I’ve created this awesome large version of the mason jar kit. I’m so excited for this to find a permanent home on my desk!

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Smocked Pouch Tutorial

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I’ve been looking at smocking tutorials for a while and when I saw this pin (in Russian, of course, and without a source, naturally) and felt the need to recreate it with this lovely fabric.

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I am going to put words to images so that you can see how exactly I created this lovely stitched pattern, creating flowers out of the dots, since the original tutorial was missing that.

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You want to pick a dot and anchor your thread just next to it, at about 1 o’ clock (if the dot were a clock). Make sure that the dot is on the far left of a group of four; you’ll be engaging all four of the dots in order to make your flower.

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Then, working clockwise, enter the cloth just adjacent to the next dot at about 7 o’ clock, exiting on the other side of the dot at about 5 0′ clock.

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Continue this pattern, entering the next dot in your square at about 11 0′ clock and exiting at about 7 0′ clock.

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Do the same for the last dot in your square, entering at 1 o’ clock and exiting at 11 o’ clock.

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Finally, you want to end up exiting your thread in the first dot, which you anchored your thread to, at (you guessed it) about 6 o’ clock.

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Pull your thread tight and tie it off. Move to the next set of four in your row.

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Work across the fabric until you have filled the space you intended to smock! You can use your fingers or a pencil to straighten out the folds between flowers once you’ve finished them. I chose to keep my stitches linked together, and lined my pouch in order to protect them, but it’s totally your call whether you do that or not.

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As you can see above, the fabric “expands” below the smocking, which basically acts the same way that pleats do to gather and pooch fabric so keep that in mind when creating something functional using this technique.

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I’m pretty happy with this pouch, though I’m not really sure what I’ll use it for yet I know it’ll come in handy!

Saturday Finds: Earrings to Spiral Bangles

This Saturday I found these earrings, which were silver and sorta OKish as they were.

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However, I remembered this pin, and was reminded that as long as you can perforate it you can stitch it, as seen below.

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Then, I noticed that the earrings were really easy to bend, and that when they were twisted, they turned into a great pair of bangles!

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A little bit of embroidery floss later and viola!

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The trickiest part of this transformation was making sure I stitched through each of the holes. Leaving a hole unused would remove the illusion which brings the stitches to the forefront.

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This one was super fun, and I really like the result!

Darn(ing) Ipod Case!

A long long time ago I was given an Ipod as a Christmas gift. I promptly made a case for it from denim and beads. And when that wore out, I made another one. And another. Lately, my case has been deteriorating again (check out those fraying corners!) but I don’t have time or a sewing machine with which to make a new one.

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So I decided to try darning, which I’ve wanted to have an excuse to try for a while.

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This is the result!

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Pretty snazzy huh? It’s a good way to keep the case together when I need it to survive until either the Ipod itself dies or I have the ability to make a new one.

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