Archives for category: Tutorials

I love a beret. Casual, pretty and they keep your head toasty. And they’re super-easy and quick to make.

B complete

I made this one from an old sweatshirt, but you can use new fleece-jersey if you like. Ribbing can be a little tricky to find in shops, but you could thread elastic through some of your jersey instead – just cut the elastic an inch or so shorter than the band circumference.

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With more snow forecast for us this coming week, winter shows no signs of giving in just yet. Keep your hard working hands toasty in these super-simple fingerless gloves – find out how to make them below!

This is a simple one-piece pattern that you can draw up yourself with ease – I’ll show you how. These gloves are so quick to make, and they’re a great project for accessorizing a costume or repurposing old clothes.

You will need:

  • Paper (preferably gridded) and pen or pencil
  • Paper & fabric scissors
  • Sewing machine – or needle & thread!
  • Stretch fabric – preferably a fleece backed or heavyweight jersey knit (like hoodie material), or double layer an old t-shirt
  • Beads, stencil, or whatever you want to embellish with

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flower shaped felt needle bookI made a few of these as part of the gift boxes I gave to some young ladies last christmas, along with some beads, buttons, ribbons and copies of this awesome book. It put me in mind of my first sewing projects as a child (my first needle book was tiger-shaped, me and my best friend made matching ones).

So whether it’s for yourself or a mini seamstress-in-training, simply follow the instructions below to make your own!

Felt Flower Needle Keep

You will need:

  • 3 small squares of felt fabric in pink, yellow and green
  • A temporary fabric marker (water soluble fabric pen or tailor’s chalk)
  • Yellow embroidery thread
  • OPTIONAL fabric glue
  • A couple of pins and a needle with an eye big enough for your embroidery thread

A couple of helpful stitches:

needle book sewing pattern

How to make your needle book:

  1. Download the pattern image above (click on the image to view it full size, then right-click, save as) and print it out full size. It should fit nicely on a piece of A4 paper. Cut out the three pieces and draw around them onto the corresponding colour felt using your fabric marker. You can cut one or two green pieces depending on how many pages you want in your book.
  2. Place your flower centre (the yellow embellishment) in the centre of the right-hand half of your pink outer piece (see the greyed-out circle on the pattern). This will become the front cover. You can use fabric glue to stick it in place before your stitch it, or simply stitch it in place. I used three french knots. *TIP: Cut a length of thread the length from your fingers to your elbow to stitch with whenever you’re hand sewing. This is a good length to help prevent knotting without being so short you have to re-thread constantly!
  3. Flip the outer piece over and place your green inner piece(s) over the top. Make sure the vertical centres (the dashed line on the pattern) line up and pin the layers together. Stitch the centre line, making sure your knots are on top so they’re visible only from the inside. Fold in half on this line and you’re done!

grey cotton sundress "before" I was so in love with this dress when I first got it… although  the high waist never sat right, the knotted spaghetti straps were beyond annoying and the “tie up/let down” parachute-y skirt always untied itself unevenly to create a sort of banshee-castaway look. Plus it was pretty long. And the elastic thread in the smocking lost its elasticity after about five minutes.

Add to that the fact that it didn’t layer up very well (thus was useless in colder weather, which makes up about 60% of the year).

So it didn’t get as much wear as it might have.

Prime for re-loving, I thought. It was easy to decide what to do with it, thankfully. I couldn’t (maybe didn’t want to) really recreate it as a dress without needing new material, which would have spoiled it for me. I love the skirt tied up (as opposed to down as a straight almost-maxi dress), so I would sew it up – no more silly ribbons coming undone of their own accord. My next favourite feature was the part-jersey part-woven waist where the smocking ends. That would make a great waistband. I tried it on to determine the length, having decided already that the waistband should sit on my waist (why do most skirts seem to sit on the hips? Not a good look for me). The fastening was decided when I found an unused zipper in my sewing box and the rest is history…

Wonky. Voluminous. Awesome. To me, at least. :)

OK… here’s the steps I took:

  1. Measured desired final length (with ribbons tied up), waistline to hem
  2. Added a pin (horizontally) at this point, let the skirt down, took the measurement from the pin to the hem. Added pins using this measurement all around the new waistline
  3. Cut the skirt off using the pins as a guide. Gathered the waist about 1cm down using long stitches, leaving a space of about 10cm at the centre back
  4. Cut a slit in the centre-back gap and added the zip (I tried to make it invisible and failed. Normally a zip is added in an existing seam before it is finished but I had to create a seam for it instead. But it still looks kinda cool. Check out youtube for good zip-insertion tutorials)
  5. Cut the waistband (length = my waist measurement plus 2cm for seam allowance, height = width of finished band (5cm) x 2 plus 2cm seam allowance). Pressed 1cm in on all sides. Folded in half and pressed.
  6. Added the waistband – aligning the short edges with the zip, folding it over the gathered skirt to enclose the raw edge completely. Pinned in place & stitched by hand (I had a quick try on the machine, the jersey went crazy – very fine and very stretchy)
  7. Added a hook & eye on the inside, above the zipper to finish.

Whaddya think?

So, remember those £21 headbands? No way were they ever going to make it into my shop at that price, so here’s a free tutorial. If you have a few basics in your sewing box, they don’t have to cost you a penny, and there’s no adhesive necessary! Enjoy :)

  • measurements are for an adult size bando, you may need to trim a few cm off to adapt it for a child

You will need…

  • an old t-shirt/other plain scrap fabric
  • a length of felt
  • elastic
  • fabric scissors
  • pins
  • embroidery thread & needle
  • measuring tape
  • fabric chalk/marker

On your felt fabric, mark out a strip which is 39cm (15.5 in) by 2.5cm (1in) using your fabric marker or chalk. Cut out with your fabric scissors.

Pin the felt strip onto your jersey or scrap fabric, making sure the whole strip fits on. Cut around the felt so you now have 2 strips of fabric.

Cut 15cm (6in) of elastic and tuck it in between the two layers of fabric on one of the short ends. Make sure to tuck it in about 2cm. Begin a running stitch from the corner as shown (hiding your knot or anchor stitches between the two fabric layers). When you reach the elastic, make three cross stitches as shown (making sure to go through all 3 layers), making three diagonal stitches going up to where the elastic ends inside the band (use your fingers to feel where it is), and crossing them to get back to the edge. Continue a running stitch along this short edge and then the long edge.

When you reach the opposite short edge, tuck the other end of the elastic into the band and stitch in place as before. Running stitch the remaining edges.

Now to decorate the band; you can use any embroidery stitch you like (in fact this is a good excuse to try a new one!). I chose to work Ermine stitches in a line repeat over the band, which is worked as follows (see pictures): bring needle up at 1, down at 2, up at 3

Down at 4, up at 5

Down at 6, up at new position 1.

Continue to the end of the band and fasten off. And you’re done! If you’re so inclined, you can make the band broader, thinner, patchwork, quilted, beaded… anything you like really, just using these basic measurements. If you take your time they’ll be a lot neater than mine :D

P.S., A message from Dinah, who is purring and stomping across my keyboard: “n mmmmmmmmmmmmmnb mmmmmmmmm”

I think that says it all, really.

When altering that beautiful vintage Laura Ashley dress, I managed to nick a hole right above the hem. Clever. Luckily, I was cutting inches and inches off this dress so I had plenty of fabric to make repairs. Double-luckily, this was the only repair I had to make. I applied an appliqué patch, lining the floral pattern up carefully and using a complimentary-colour thread. The result when it’s worn is pretty much invisible (even I have to look hard to find it!):

Patches like this are pretty easy but a little fiddly – just take your time and it’ll turn out fine.

I carefully studied the pattern repeat around the hole and found the same section on the cut-off fabric. I cut the piece out in an oval, big enough to cover the hole plus about 1cm extra. I then pinned this in place, lining up the pattern carefully.

Finally I stitched it in place by tucking under a finger’s width of the edge by 5mm, bringing the needle up from the wrong side and making a tiny stitch on the fold. I repeated this all the way around.

If you’re worried about fraying, add an extra patch to the reverse but instead of stitching it in place, use Supermend or Bondaweb to stick it over the hole. Alternatively (or additionally) darn the hole — the darning stitch is simply made up of rows of running stitches across the hole, following the weave of the fabric, to cover the area.

Check out my latest post at Sew Green, Refresh your wardrobe on the cheap. This time around I’ve put together a couple of little tutorials to help you alter your clothes neatly & simply.

I’ll be posting a couple more tutorials here in the near future, so keep an eye out. (: Now I’m off to work on my veg bed!!

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