Sunday, December 29, 2013

Personalized Color-Your-Own Pillowcases!

 Several weeks ago one of the lovely ladies behind Pattern Revolution wrote up a tutorial on how to make your own coloring book Christmas stockings (found here) using printable color pages and tracing paper. It is such an awesome idea, I was so bummed that everybody in my family already had handmade stockings that were only two years old.  We surely weren't in need of new stockings.

Then someone mentioned using the technique on pillows, and I knew I just absolutely had to do it.  It would be a beyond perfect Christmas Eve activity for my daughter and her cousins. I set off in search of a pillowcase pattern to use, because believe it or not in my years of sewing I had never made a pillowcase before these.  I ended up using this awesome tutorial by Teal & Lime to make some envelope-style slipcovers. 

Some details on my specific project-

I used Sew Classic Target Bottomweight from Joann's.  Worked beautifully, no issues with the marker seeping into the fabric and turning blotchy at all. I know the Pattern Revolution blog mentioned having to be careful with the twill fabric, I didn't have that issue with this fabric at all. 

I figured out the dimensions needed for my pillow size and cut it out, then marked where the front panel of the pillow would be.  I hemmed the ends, but traced the design onto the fabric before sewing the other seams. I google-searched for the images, and then just typed out the names and year on Microsoft Word in a large, bold font.

I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly these came together, I was really expecting them to be rather time consuming, but I was easily able to make two of them in one evening.

My daughter absolutely LOVED it, she sat and colored it all in one sitting.  There will definitely be more of these in her future.  I also really want to try making a coloring tote with this technique.  Another idea would be a small blanket.  "Color your own" for the front and then a nice minky or flannel on the back. The possibilities are truly endless.  What are you going to transform into "Color Your Own?

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Crayon Roll Tutorial

I know the internet is flooded with crayon roll tutorials, and the last thing it needs is another one.  But who cares!  Today I bring you my version of the crayon roll.  I drafted this pattern up several years ago when I was still relatively new to sewing.  I found the traditional crayon rolls and made several of those, but really disliked how long they were if you wanted to do more than 12 crayons, and also really didn't like the open top. I set off to correct both of those problems and  I ended up with a double-rowed crayon roll that fit a total of 24 crayons, and folds up on itself to enclose the crayons completely. 

This tutorial is being transferred from my old blog, The Chronicles of Mercy's Mom. The pictures and most of the instructions are copied straight from there.

Without further ado-

Please keep in mind that this tutorial is for a 24 count pack of crayons, but could easily be adjusted to suit any number of crayons.


  • Fabric- two different fabrics that will be visible, and one that will be hidden to add stability to the roll.  I used flannel.  You could also use fleece, an extra layer of regular cotton, interfacing, or you could not use anything at all.  I prefer interfacing because it adds stability without adding bulk like the flannel does.
  • Elastic 
  • Ruler 
  • Scissors or a rotary cutter.

You'll need to cut 3 rectangles out of the main fabric. (The crayon fabric in my case.) One measuring 9x13 inches, and two measuring 6x13 by inches.

  Fold the 6x13 rectangles in half "hot dog" style and iron.

  ^Here you can see the crease made from ironing it after folding it. You will keep your piece folded though, this is just to help demonstrate where the crease should be.
Then cut a 9x13 rectangle out of the secondary fabric (pink in my case), and also of the lining if you are using one. 

Here is what you should have so far-

 Lay your secondary fabric on top of your lining fabric.

 And then take your two skinny rectangles and lay one at the top of the fabric, and one at the other, with the open seams at the edges.

Take your ruler and draw a line 1.5 inches in from the edge on both of the pockets.

Now measure 1 inch from that line and draw another line.  Do the same thing all the way across until you are 1.5 inches from the other edge.

Now for the sewing!

You are going to sew down each of those lines to form the slots for the crayons. To save time on this, I start at one raw edge and sew to the end of that pocket and back-stitch to secure.

Remember to secure the stitches at this point!

Then lift up your needle and presser foot, and move the fabric to the folded edge on the other pocket. Here you will start sewing again, and make sure to back-stitch to secure the stitches at the new start point. Sew from there to the raw edge.  Cut the thread, and repeat for all the lines you marked.

Now trim those threads that trail from pocket-to-pocket.  You can also trim the ones on the back, but it isn't entirely  necessary.

Time for elastic!  Take your piece of elastic, mine was approximately 7 inches, and fold it in half to form a loop like this-

*When I originally wrote this tutorial I believe I was using 1/4" elastic, but have since switched to corded elastic for these.*

Pin your elastic to the side of your roll as shown-

If you can't tell from the picture, the elastic is still folded in half, with the open ends along the raw edge, and folded edge of the elastic on the inside.  Make sure your pin is far enough in that it won't interfere with your presser foot during the next step.

Now take your remaining 9x13 piece of the main fabric and pin it right-sides together with the piece with the pockets.

Stitch around the edges, leaving an opening to turn it though.  I find it easiest to leave the opening on the end opposite the elastic in the open space between the two pockets.

 Clip the corners (being careful not to cut the stitching) and turn right side out.

Now turn right sides out, iron, and top-stitch to close up the opening and give it a nice finished look. 

Fill with crayons, fold, roll up, and enjoy! 

These are great to pair up with a coloring book for a birthday gift, to throw in the diaper bag to entertain antsy kids at a restaurant, or for long car trips or plane rides. The possibilities are basically endless.  I even made one for myself that I carry all my pens and pencils in for my school.  It's always fun on the first day of a new class, the teachers always remark on it.

I hope you enjoyed the tutorial and are able to sew up lots of rolly goodness, and I'll see see you again soon!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

How To Make A Two-Tone Sash

Photo by Radiance Photographics
Today I bring you a quick tutorial on how to add a delightful pop of color to any top or dress with a two-tone sash.  It's a super quick and easy way to add some interest to an outfit.  I first saw this done over at That's Sew Kari, her blog is definitely worth a visit if you haven't already.

The dress pictured above and the one I'll be using for this tutorial is the fantastic Peppermint Swirl dress by Candy Castle Patterns.  Absolutely LOVE this pattern, it has such a unique skirt portion and neckline, and despite how it appears, it is surprisingly easy to make!  To see more pictures of this stunning dress visit the website and the Facebook group.

Anyways, on with the tutorial.

After you've chosen the two fabrics you're going to use, you need to figure out what your new measurements will be.

First you need to take the width of the sash piece you're instructed to cut (usually a wider piece that you fold in half to get a skinnier sash) and divide that in half, then add a 1/4-1/2 inch seam allowance.  For example, if you're given a width of 5 inches, I'd change that to 3 inches. Cut out your sash pieces with the length instructed, and your new width, in each color.

The Peppermint Swirl calls for a center piece and then two tie pieces.  As you can see in the picture above, I've got each piece in both colors, giving me a total of six pieces instead of three.

If your sash requires multiple pieces like this one instead of one long piece, assemble each side separately (sew the white pieces together first, then the red pieces).

Now take the two pieces and sew them right sides together, leaving an opening for turning and topstitching. Turn, iron, and topstitch.  You can add a decorative top-stitch for even more eye-catching goodness.   Attach to the bodice as instructed, or leave it unattached for an awesome reversible sash.

 Told you it was easy!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Urban Unisex Hoodie Costumes!

I mentioned in the Urban Unisex Hoodie tutorial that I've used this pattern to make several costumes. Four, to be exact-a cat, a dog, Dora, and her friend Boots the Monkey.  Today I blogged about them over at That's What She Crafted, check it out!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Some Halloween sewing

Sorry I've been so absent lately.  Busy testing TONS, plus working, and school just started up again.  I'm exhausted.  This is really just a quickie post to share some of the Halloween sewing I've been doing lately/share some testing I've been doing.

First up is the Tilly combo dress by Little Kiwi's Closet.

It's a knit/woven combo dress, knit top in both a tank and sleeve version, and a woven ruffled skirt.  I'm super into combo dresses lately, and ruffles. This one has both! I'd been eying (spellcheck insists that 'eyeing' is not how that word should be spelled.  Seriously?  It looks so weird without the second 'e') several Halloween prints and this was the perfect pattern to use them up. 

Next up on the block is the new Wonderland Dress by Heidi & Finn.

I was so excited to get chosen to test for this dress, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it. The simple bodice cries for embellishment, and I'd been wanting to try freezer paper stenciling for awhile so I gave it a go. I used a lime green fabric paint, and it's hard to see in the pictures but it is SUPER glittery, I mixed about half a tube of glitter into the paint before applying it to the fabric.

Unfortunately the hooligan wasn't feeling especially cooperative when I asked for pictures, so I don't have many good ones to share.

The last one I'm sharing today is the Candy Castle Princess by Candy Castle Patterns. 

This is the one I did for the testing, it is the Winter Wonderland version. This pattern comes with an unbelievable number of options (4 sleeve options, 2 fit options, 2 top skirt options, and 2 underskirt options.  Possibly more.  There might be so many options that I'm forgetting some.)

Now, I know it doesn't look like it should belong in this Halloween post, but if you head on over to the CCP group on Facebook (where there is currently a sew along for this dress) you'll see all the beautiful costumes those talented ladies are creating with this pattern.  I made a Belle costume for my girl out of it, but you'll have to wait til I get decent pictures to see it.

That's just a few of the tests I've been doing. I've got a few more I've done but can't share yet, hopefully soon!

Monday, September 16, 2013

How To: Make the Urban Unisex Hoodie Reversible

Got an awesome tutorial for you guys today!  I originally wrote this tutorial two years ago (almost to the day actually!) on my old blog, The Chronicles of Mercy's Mom.  Now I'm moving it over to this crafty blog.

This is a tutorial on how to take the already super wonderful Urban Unisex Hoodie by Heidi & Finn and make it even more versatile than it already is.  If you're dubious that a hoodie pattern can be incredibly versatile, let me assure you, it can be.  With this pattern I have made countless hoodies, 4 separate costumes (cat, dog, Dora, and Boots), and a rain coat. There are also many other adaptations to be found out there, such as converting it to have a zipper opening.

(Fun fact about this pattern- it was the first PDF pattern I ever purchased.)

Ready to get started? 

First step is to cut out and sew the pattern as directed all the way up to attaching the hood.  Lay it out and pin as instructed in the pattern.  Now sew along the sides and the top, NOT the bottom, right along the green line in the picture below.

Please forgive the truly horrendous photos, I was doing this at midnight.

Turn it right sides out and iron the seams. (If you want, I didn't on this particular one and it turned out fine.)

Now you're going to take the sides and fold them so the edges are overlapping, making sure both the top and bottom are even. Pin and sew this edge, stopping a few inches from the top. Make sure you are only sewing the two flaps together, don't catch the back or the hoodie.  That would be disastrous.

That text should say "Pin and sew..."
Now turn it inside out, and do the same thing to the other side.  Again, be careful you don't catch the back or the hoodie.

Time to place your snaps!  You can do as many or as few snaps as you like, in one row or several.  Spacing is also up to you. I usually just do one row of three snaps, but this time decided to do two and two.  Now, the original pattern calls for buttons, but for the reversible version it has to be snaps.  (I use Kam Snaps.)

Makin' progress!  Next step is to attach the band. Take your band and lay it flat out.  Fold over one long edge and iron it down.  Repeat for the other long edge.

Fold in half "hot dog style", wrong sides together.  Iron the edge. 

 Now unfold the middle seam, and also unfold the very ends of the edges.  Fold in half  right sides together, "hamburger style" this time, and sew the short ends together.

Fold the edges back down, and fold along the center crease again, so you've got a tube of fabric folded in half, with the raw edges folded inside.

Now for the tedious and frustrating fun part of attaching the band to the hoodie.  You are going to nestle the raw edge of the hoodie in between the two layers of the band.  It's a hoodie sandwich.  The raw hoodie edge is the meat, and each layer of the band is the bread. (I hope that makes sense, and doesn't just make you hungry.) 

In the picture below, on the very bottom is one layer of the band with the edge folded down, and on top of that is the bottom edge of the hoodie. Then the other side of the band is brought up and pinned down, encasing the raw bottom edge of the hoodie within the band.

Sorry, didn't realize the picture was so blurry til after I was finished.
 Do this all the way around, pinning lots. 

Time to sew.  Sew where you pinned, making sure you catch all the layers; the top layer of the band, both layers of the hoodie (all 4 layers at the point in the front where they overlap), and the bottom layer of the band.

Way to go! 

It's really not as bad as I made it sound, it's just my least favorite part of making these hoodies, even though it's the crucial part that makes them reversible.

 Now all that's left to do is finish the sleeves.  Most of the time I'm lazy and leave off the cuffs. I just do a rolled hem to get a cute lettuce edge for my girly.  Alternatively, you can attach the cuffs using the same method we just used to attach the band. 

Congratulations, you have now achieved a whole new level of completely reversible awesomeness. 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Pencil Applique Tutorial

Remember this?

The Bubblegum Swing Dress that I made as part of the sewalong, featuring an adorable alphabet print fabric and handmade pencil applique.   I promised a tutorial on that applique, and I'm keeping that promise!

I usually make my appliques using my Cricut machine, but I didn't have a cartridge that had a pencil on it.  I'm terrible at drawing, so that was out of the question.  I set off in search of an acceptable image on the world wide web.  This was the one I settled on.

I had originally planned on taping a piece of Wonder Under to the screen and tracing it that way, but then I remembered someone sharing a trick of printing out patterns directly onto freezer paper, and thought I'd see if I could do the same with the Wonder Under.

First cut a piece of the Wonder Under (I prefer Heat n' Bond brand, but others should work the same) to the same size as a piece of printer paper.

Getting ready to trace

The Wonder Under curled back up, but it didn't interfere with anything, just place it in the printer so the image will print on the paper backed side, not the adhesive side.  Scale your image to your desired size, and print.

I failed to take a picture of this part, but cut out an additional piece of wonder under a little bit bigger than your image to be the backing for the applique. 

Then cut the individual parts of the image out. 

 Apply the wonder under pieces to the wrong side of it's corresponding fabric, including a piece of fabric for the backing.

The large tan piece is the backing, then each of the individual pieces.  Trim the excess fabric around each piece (except the backing piece).

More failure to take pictures, although I could have sworn I did, but I can't locate any. 

After each piece is trimmed, apply them one at a time to the backing, recreating your desired image.  Once all pieces are applied, trim the excess fabric of the backing along the outline of your image.  Your applique is now ready to to put onto your item!  Just iron it down, and then stitch along each piece using either a satin stitch or a zig zag, then also along the outline.  

Admire your finished product!

Much less painful than trying to freehand a design,  and less labor intensive than trying to trace right from the computer screen.  I hope you try it, let me know how it works for you!