Wednesday, April 21, 2010

New way to gather fabric

I just found this great tutorial over at Gracie Lou's Quilt Shoppe blog showing another way to gather fabric. I've never seen this method before, but will definitely be giving it a try. I love learning new techniques!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The reluctant model

So, I got my birthday present a little early... a serger! I have wanted one for a long time. This little green shirt is the first thing I made with it. I haven't even changed the thread from the test thread it came with. This top used to be a tank top of mine, but I wanted a shirt for baby in just this shade of green, so the tank was sacrificed. I had to have it to match the adorable skirt made by my neighbor friend at Bugaboo Kids. Isn't it beautiful? I love the Amy Butler fabrics, and all of her stuff is so perfectly finished.

I made up the pattern for the shirt... a variation on the traditional peasant top with sleeves that don't wrap all around the arm, which seems to bother baby. This was the rough draft, and I've figured out the right dimensions etc. so the next one will be easier and fit her even better.

Much more challenging was getting a few photos of my little model who refused to hold still and seemed determined to avoid mom and her camera at all costs.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Tutorial: Easy Apron

Need an apron for summer barbecues... or an inexpensive gift?

Or to protect your clothes while you hurriedly cook splattering spaghetti sauce as your hungry kids cling to your legs? C'mon, I know I can't be the only one whose pre-dinner scene looks something like this (smile added for photo): This apron is very simple to make, don't let those pockets fool you ... and avoids all of the most tedious parts of sewing. No hemming. No cutting out a pattern.

All you need is two dishtowels (*note added* these towels were 15" x 26") and a few strips of fabric:
2 strips 5" x 45" for waist ties
2 strips 4" x 22" for neck ties
I used coordinating, but not matching strips that I had left over from a quilt.
Optional: 8 inches of thin elastic

To begin, lay on of your dishtowels face down. Fold the bottom edge (if there is a specific pattern you want to keep at the top) up 5 inches.

Turn the towel face up, holding the folded edge in place. Fold bottom edge again, another 5 inches:

Take the second dish towel and, with the long edge perpendicular to the short, folded side of the first towel, tuck it under the fold... making sure it is centered:

Another view to show the second towel layered under the top fold of the first towel:

You now have something that looks like this:

Now, make the ties by folding each strip lengthwise, right sides together and stitching across the end and down the side. Leave one short end open to turn. Turn and press. Top stitch if you desire:
Now, tuck the unfinished edge of each tie, under the edges of the top fold, lining up the tie with the top edge of the bottom half of the apron. Pin in place and secure by stitching as the red lines show in the picture below. This joins the two towels, attaches the ties and creates two pockets:

For the apron top, there are two variations. One uses a small pleat (blue). The other uses a little elastic (lime green). Choose which option you like best then follow the corresponding instructions below.

If you like the pleated top, fold the top corners over 1.5" (point to fold) keeping short sides of the triangle perpendicular to the top and side edge. Pin and stitch around edge of triangle.

For the top with the gathered sides, fold the corners over 2.5 inches (from fold to point) keeping the short sides of the triangle (blue lines) perpendicular to the top and side edges of the apron top. Pin. Take your elastic and cut it in half, leaving 4 inches for each side. Tuck the elastic under the fold (red line), pinning in place at each end. Using a long, zigzag stitch, stitch over the edge with elastic sandwiched in the fold line (red line), stretching the elastic to fit the length of the folded edge. Using a straight stitch, sew the corner (blue lines) of the triangle in place.

For either apron, attach the neck ties by pinning the tie (unfinished edge) right next to the edge of the corner triangle. Sew a small rectangle to hold the tie in place.

If you are making the apron with the pleats, now is the time to fold a small pleat just inside of each neck strap. The size of the plead depends on the size of the person (probably unnecessary if the apron is for a man) but 1/2 inch worked for me. Stitch along top edge to secure pleat.

Enjoy your apron, or the compliments from your friends when you give them a handmade gift.
A special thanks to my sister Meredith for her help with the photos. She got these shots in just a few minutes, with three little ones underfoot. Love her!