So Sew Easy http://so-sew-easy.com Sewing, free patterns, sewing clothes and accessories Wed, 20 Aug 2014 11:00:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Color block dress pattern – POTM http://so-sew-easy.com/color-block-dress-pattern/ http://so-sew-easy.com/color-block-dress-pattern/#comments Wed, 20 Aug 2014 11:00:30 +0000 http://so-sew-easy.com/?p=10276 I LOVE this dress!  I can assure you that I am not as slim as this dress makes me appear, but the design, shape, dark side panels and careful shaping to the center panel creates an illusion that makes the wearer look slimmer and smoother.  I’ve combined mine with a border print for the center panel but this dress also looks great in a solid too. This color block dress pattern is Pattern of the Month for August. Make this dress loose and figure skimming or really turn some heads with a figure hugging look and some vibrant colors. Looks best with a patterned or brighter central panel and darker side panels to emphasise your shape. Features: Scooped neckline with binding. Slightly A-Line skirt Center back seam for perfect fitting Princess seams front and back Use dark panels on the outside … Continue reading

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Written by Deby Coles

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OMG. I just have to make this dress! It's like everything I want in one pattern.I LOVE this dress!  I can assure you that I am not as slim as this dress makes me appear, but the design, shape, dark side panels and careful shaping to the center panel creates an illusion that makes the wearer look slimmer and smoother.  I’ve combined mine with a border print for the center panel but this dress also looks great in a solid too.

OMG. I just have to make this dress! It's like everything I want in one pattern.

This color block dress pattern is Pattern of the Month for August.

Make this dress loose and figure skimming or really turn some heads with a figure hugging look and some vibrant colors.

Looks best with a patterned or brighter central panel and darker side panels to emphasise your shape.

Features:

  • Scooped neckline with binding.
  • Slightly A-Line skirt
  • Center back seam for perfect fitting
  • Princess seams front and back
  • Use dark panels on the outside for a slimming effect
  • Shaped panels front and back
  • Wide shoulders
  • PDF download with full step by step photo instructions

This pattern is rated Intermediate because you may be joining knit fabrics that have different weights and stretch, or which stretch in different directions.  There are also tight curved seams. Experience in sewing knit fabrics would be useful.  Otherwise, its a very simple pattern and very quick to sew.

OMG. I just have to make this dress! It's like everything I want in one pattern.

 

Pattern tester feedback and results

JudyJudy at Stoney Lonesome Sew Works made a couple of versions and even entered one in a sewing contest.  Her first was an interesting mix of stripes placed both vertical and horizontal and then a slinky black number.    “Really like the design as it is so flattering to a curvy woman!! Very happy with the end result.I think you have a hit with this pattern Deby! Everyone is going to love it.”

DianeDiane  admits to being ‘vertically challenged’ and suggested I add in several lengthen and shorten lines because of the shaping and how it needs to fit the correct parts of the body, so at her suggestion there are lines approximately at the bust, waist and hips where you can add or remove length if you need to.  Great idea Diane. “I really loved how the dress looked on you in your photos. It is simple but elegant and very flattering. It looked like an easy to sew pattern which makes it a quick project.  My guy must really like it since he asked me about it again this morning. I’ll have to wear it for him when we go out! “

EmmaEmma gave me lots of help on the shaping of this dress and saved me from one glaring error in sizing – thanks Emma, you saved the day and showed the importance of the testing process.   She suggested using a rib knit for the neckline binding and also found the armholes a little too high for her.  “I liked they design on you and it printed and went together perfectly.”

RobinRobin at The Pattern Tester – Robin has a terrific eye for detail and can always be relied upon to point out my every spelling mistake :-) “I love this pattern, and how the design gives a slimming effect. It’s a great dress to wear for different occasions, and very comfortable.”

LindaLinda – proof that you don’t have to make this dress in dark colors – doesn’t she look fabulous!  She made me laugh when she told me her husband says she shouldn’t go out without him looking so hot!  “When I first saw the pattern I was very impressed by this beautiful dress, the fit of it and could not wait to try it. I just love princess seams even if they are a bit harder to assemble.  The fit is so nice. My husband’s jaw just dropped!! Had not seen this in a long time!! I feel very woman in this dress but the fact that it’s knit makes it so comfortable at the same time.”

Louise2

Louise“Very easy and fashionable dress. Simple to make. Excellent directions for neck band. The only issue was of my own doing. The center panels were a wonderful 2 way stretch jersey, but I choose a ponte knit for the sides, which did not stretch nearly as much as I would have liked.”

 

Get the Color Block Dress Pattern

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Buy the Color Block Dress Pattern here.  The pattern can be downloaded from my design account at Craftsy.  If you have any trouble downloading, opening or printing the pattern, please see this post - How to download PDF sewing patterns.

Pattern of the Month Club

If you like this pattern, you may like some of my other sewing patterns.  Like them all or several?  Then consider signing up to the 2014 Pattern of the Month Club and get 15 patterns for a very special price.

Save money and get to sew a lot! I'll be signing up at So Sew Easy to get a sewing pattern each month.

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Back to school sewing ideas http://so-sew-easy.com/back-to-school-sewing/ http://so-sew-easy.com/back-to-school-sewing/#comments Mon, 18 Aug 2014 11:00:35 +0000 http://so-sew-easy.com/?p=11160 Hasn’t the summer break been great this year.  For me, I had a great couple of weeks staycation here on Cayman and enjoyed some fabulous scuba diving.  At the time of writing, we’ve not had any hurricanes (fingers crossed) and we’ve still got plenty of summer weather to look forward to yet.  Here’s a look at what I like to do when I’m not sewing. But for some, summer is almost over, and the kids will be soon back to school.  Does that mean you get more sewing time?  Here are a few back to school sewing ideas to try.  As one sewist put it, it’s not just a home-sewn backpack, they’re carrying my love with them. Hover over any of the thumbnails below to see more details and click to go and visit the original page.   Back to … Continue reading

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Written by Deby Coles

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35+ ideas for Back to School sewing projects. Bags of course, plus lots more.

Hasn’t the summer break been great this year.  For me, I had a great couple of weeks staycation here on Cayman and enjoyed some fabulous scuba diving.  At the time of writing, we’ve not had any hurricanes (fingers crossed) and we’ve still got plenty of summer weather to look forward to yet.  Here’s a look at what I like to do when I’m not sewing.

But for some, summer is almost over, and the kids will be soon back to school.  Does that mean you get more sewing time?  Here are a few back to school sewing ideas to try.  As one sewist put it, it’s not just a home-sewn backpack, they’re carrying my love with them.

Hover over any of the thumbnails below to see more details and click to go and visit the original page.

 

Back to school sewing ideas

 

What sort of projects and patterns you are sewing up for the kids at this time of year?  Link up your projects below.

PIN ME for later –>

35+ ideas for Back to School sewing projects. Bags of course, plus lots more.

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Tips for buying fabric online and fabric GIVEAWAY http://so-sew-easy.com/tips-buying-fabric-online/ http://so-sew-easy.com/tips-buying-fabric-online/#comments Sat, 16 Aug 2014 11:00:54 +0000 http://so-sew-easy.com/?p=10856   It’s amazing the wonderful people you meet online, and I think sewing people are the best people.  Is it our creativity?  Our shared love for color and fabric? The way we share all the tips and tricks we learn with each other?  All of the above and more.  So when I started chatting online with Jackie at CV Quiltworks we talked a little about making fabric bundles and she invited me to make up a Blogger Bundle for her with 10 fabrics of my choice from CV Quiltworks. I was delighted!  Then doubt set in.  How was I going to do that?  There are SO many wonderful fabrics in her store from top designers and manufacturers, how could I narrow it down to 10, and how could I put together a bundle online without being able to see the … Continue reading

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Written by Deby Coles

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Great tip on how to use PicMonkey to mi and match fabrics before buying online

 

It’s amazing the wonderful people you meet online, and I think sewing people are the best people.  Is it our creativity?  Our shared love for color and fabric? The way we share all the tips and tricks we learn with each other?  All of the above and more.  So when I started chatting online with Jackie at CV Quiltworks we talked a little about making fabric bundles and she invited me to make up a Blogger Bundle for her with 10 fabrics of my choice from CV Quiltworks.

CV quiltworks

I was delighted!  Then doubt set in.  How was I going to do that?  There are SO many wonderful fabrics in her store from top designers and manufacturers, how could I narrow it down to 10, and how could I put together a bundle online without being able to see the fabric.  How could I compare to the great fabric bundles already on the site? I’ve made some bad fabric choices when buying online ( I didn’t notice it said glitter when I ordered it) so I was nervous of making a right mess with my Blogger Bundle and looking like I was crazy or entirely color blind.

Then I had a bright idea about how I could compare all the fabrics together, add and remove fabrics, see what worked together as a package and what was a glaring error.  I’d like to share that process with you and hopefully it will give you some tips on how you can successfully buy fabric online and put together fabrics that are a good match.

Tips for buying fabric online

 

 

Of course I couldn’t leave it there, so even after I finished the video I changed it up all over again, added more fabrics to my short list and kept mixing and matching.  It was addictive!

So this is my final bundle selection – I wanted something that represented where I live and what I love, so here is my Cayman Islands inspired fabric bundle showing my love of the sea and diving on the coral reefs that surround the island, with a little dash of Caribbean sunsets.

Great tip on how to use PicMonkey to mi and match fabrics before buying onlineAnd here is how they look together in real life.

Great tip on how to use PicMonkey to mi and match fabrics before buying online

Obviously everyone chooses fabric differently and with a different eye, or theme or palette, but I hope you like my choices because one lucky So Sew Easy reader is actually going to win the bundle I had so much fun putting together.

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Enter for a chance to win this bundle

Entry is easy, simply follow the instructions in the widget below for your entries.  Even if you don’t use the social media options, there are still other entries available for everyone.  Can’t see the entry form in your browser?  Then you can find it HERE too.

Sorry, but due to price of postage, the prize can only be sent to the USA. Closing date 31st August.

CV Quiltworks fabric bundle giveaway

You can also buy this bundle, there are just a few left at CV Quiltworks.

Do drop over and check out Jackie’s blog too.  If you are into quilting, you’ll love to read about her classes, enter some more of the regular giveaways and read all about life at CV Quiltworks.  She is one very accomplished lady - quilter for 21 years, longarm quilter for 14 years, in business for 14 years, fabric shop for 5+ years, designer for several quilt Magazines, a National Certified Judy Niemeyer Instructor and Certified Shop, and a quilting podcaster.

Thanks for giving me this chance to play around with fabric Jackie!

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Oliver the Owl Pillow – Fun with Fusible Applique http://so-sew-easy.com/oliver-owl-cushion-fun-fusible-applique/ http://so-sew-easy.com/oliver-owl-cushion-fun-fusible-applique/#comments Fri, 15 Aug 2014 11:00:04 +0000 http://so-sew-easy.com/?p=10719 Have you seen owls have been everywhere the last couple of years.  So I wasn’t surprised when one of the expectant moms-to-be in my circle asked me to make her an owl cushion for her nursery, but not one that was ‘too cutesy’. I’ve dabbled in applique before, and designed a couple of small mug-rug type projects for the Spring Mug Rug and the Nautical Mug Rug. They were really fun to make. But I really was making it up as I went along in terms of my technique, materials and especially my stitching.  For this project, I wanted it to be really special, something I could be proud of for a new baby’s nursery, and I wanted a really good owl applique pattern.  I’d had my eye on a course called Fun with Fusible Applique and remembered that it … Continue reading

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Written by Deby Coles

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Making an Owl applique cushion. Fun with Fusible Applique.

Have you seen owls have been everywhere the last couple of years.  So I wasn’t surprised when one of the expectant moms-to-be in my circle asked me to make her an owl cushion for her nursery, but not one that was ‘too cutesy’.

I’ve dabbled in applique before, and designed a couple of small mug-rug type projects for the Spring Mug Rug and the Nautical Mug Rug. They were really fun to make.

Bring summer to your table all year round with this fun nautical mug rug template and instructions. Template and directions to make this Spring Mug Rug or placemat.

But I really was making it up as I went along in terms of my technique, materials and especially my stitching.  For this project, I wanted it to be really special, something I could be proud of for a new baby’s nursery, and I wanted a really good owl applique pattern.  I’d had my eye on a course called Fun with Fusible Applique and remembered that it included Oliver the Owl as one of the class projects, so I signed up and I’m so glad I did.

Fun with Fusible Applique

You might not have seen this course before if you usually browse through the sewing classes, because they have this one hidden away under quilting classes, but its equally useful and interesting to anyone who wants to sew a little home decor, or even add an applique to clothing too.  Even better, its pretty reasonable at just $29.99 and EVEN BETTER, I’ve negotiated a special price just for So Sew Easy readers – an awesome 33% OFF!

Fusible applique

As well as the excellent teaching on all of the materials and techniques, there are 3 class projects to work on.  Oliver the Owl is the first one, then a fabulous winter snowmen scene which I’ll be getting to hopefully in time for December, and a beautiful butterfly project which the instructor uses in a quilt as you go tutorial.  If I get round to the snowmen project, I’ll share that one later, but for now, I made the Oliver the Owl applique pattern!

Making an Owl applique cushion. Fun with Fusible Applique.

Making Oliver the Owl

The pattern for Oliver is included so I just had to decide what fabrics to use.  Here, you can go for a girl owl, or a boy owl and make it cutesy or not.  It all depends on your fabric choices.  I recently bought the Fat Quarter Mystery Box from Craftsy so I had a big box of prints to chose from, as well as some solids from my stash. One of the reasons I love projects like this is because it only uses small bits of fabric, so I save almost all of my scraps knowing that one day they might be perfect for use as owl wings!

Making an Owl applique cushion.  Fun with Fusible Applique.

I traced all of the pattern pieces onto my Heat N Bond fusible web and then ironed it to the fabric pieces.  It only takes a few seconds.  Once cool I cut them all out and put them roughly in place.  Was I happy with the fabric choices ?  Still time to change them before anything became permanent.  Everything is curling at this point because the backing paper is still in place.

Making an Owl applique cushion. Fun with Fusible Applique.

Once I was happy, I fused them all in place, layering them up using the template.  The instructor gives a really good tip on laying out more complicated designs using a plastic overlay and I’ll certainly use that for the bigger snowmen applique.

Making an Owl applique cushion. Fun with Fusible Applique.

Now for the stitching.

Making a stitch reference chart

Have you ever tried out all of the stitches on your machine?  I think mine has 70 or so, and I usually only use about 4.  But what about the rest and what about variations in sizing?  No one wants to practice on their real project and then decide they don’t like it.  So we learned about making a stitch reference chart.  Here’s mine – sorry, its not very photogenic, just intended for me, but I thought you might find it interesting.  I really must make a neater one, one day.

Stitch chart

I sewed a lot of the stitches that looked like they might be right for applique, and tried them in various different widths and stitch lengths, writing down the settings next to the stitches each time.  Now, when I want to do a satin stitch or a blanket stitch, I can simply refer to my chart and pick the size I want.

Sewing Oliver in place

I used a combination of satin stitch and blanket stitch on this piece with varying stitch widths.  Following the tips in the class really made a difference to my stitching this time, and I’m very happy with how he came out.  As well as discussing stitching, there is a lot of information on threads to use as well as invisible thread, decorative threads such as metallics, and Deb does a beautiful job on the butterflies using a variegated thread.

Making an Owl applique cushion. Fun with Fusible Applique.

I didn’t have any of these available so just used regular thread in colors, as far as possible, that matched my fabric.  It was also my first time in using a proper stabiliser and I loved how much easier it was to stitch, how the fabric puckered less and how it was easier and smoother to turn curves with the stabiliser.  I used the tear-away version and it just pulled off the back once I was done stitching.  He turned out pretty neat.

Making an Owl applique cushion. Fun with Fusible Applique.

Making him into a cushion, or is it pillow?

My next job will be to make him into a cushion or a cushion cover.  I think if you are in the US, you probably use the term pillow, or throw pillow instead of cushion?  In the UK, a pillow is only used on the bed to put your head on when you sleep, all others such as those on your sofa are cushions.  Funny how we all speak the same language, but use different words.

In fact, this whole thing became quite a debate on Facebook!

Anyway, I’m going to look up a few simple ideas for how to make a cushion cover for the nursery and I’ll work on him over the next few days.

Take a preview of the Fun with Fusible Applique Class

Fusible applique

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The perfect Maxi Skirt pattern http://so-sew-easy.com/perfect-maxi-skirt-pattern/ http://so-sew-easy.com/perfect-maxi-skirt-pattern/#comments Thu, 14 Aug 2014 11:00:53 +0000 http://so-sew-easy.com/?p=10609 If you’ve been reading sewing blogs for a while now, no doubt you will have come across tutorials for easy maxi skirts.  Basically, sew a tube of fabric, add in some elastic and you’re good to go.  I’ve read some really funny reviews recently of ladies who did just that and then had to hobble around with tiny little steps because these skirts didn’t have enough room to actually walk properly! Most of us take a stride which is much greater than the width of our hips. Making a tight fitted ‘wiggle’ skirt might be OK for knee length, but make it longer and it will be like a permanent sack race. photo credit: Steve Bowbrick via photopin cc There are basically two types of maxi skirt I think – a low volume skirt that is not gathered and basically … Continue reading

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Written by Deby Coles

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How to make the perfect fitting maxi skirt without it being too flared or too tight.

If you’ve been reading sewing blogs for a while now, no doubt you will have come across tutorials for easy maxi skirts.  Basically, sew a tube of fabric, add in some elastic and you’re good to go.  I’ve read some really funny reviews recently of ladies who did just that and then had to hobble around with tiny little steps because these skirts didn’t have enough room to actually walk properly!

Most of us take a stride which is much greater than the width of our hips. Making a tight fitted ‘wiggle’ skirt might be OK for knee length, but make it longer and it will be like a permanent sack race. medium_152293078

photo credit: Steve Bowbrick via photopin cc

There are basically two types of maxi skirt I think – a low volume skirt that is not gathered and basically looks like a long nearly straight skirt when worn, and a gathered maxi skirt, which has a lot more volume to it and gathers either at the waist or hips.  For my body size and shape, the low volume skirt gives a much more flattering and sleeker look than one with gathers and lots of fabric.

I experimented with a few variations and came up with the perfect formula for a flattering low-volume maxi skirt that is fitted through the waist and hips but still allows you room to move, run after the kids and walk up stairs.  Here’s how to do it.

How to make the perfect fitting maxi skirt without it being too flared or too tight.

What makes a perfect maxi skirt?

The perfect skirt should:

  • fit at the waist without lots of gathered fabric.
  • skim over the hips without being skin tight, nor too loose.
  • allow you to take a normal full stride with ease.
  • have a fold over waist to adjust the length for wearing flats or heels.
  • be quick and easy to sew without a pattern.

Let’s draw the perfect maxi skirt pattern

Start by taking some simple measurements.

  • your waist at your narrowest part (or where you want the skirt to sit)
  • your hips at your widest part (about 8 or 9 inches down from your waist, depending on height)
  • total length of skirt from waist to top of foot.
  • your stride.  The length of your stride generally depends on how tall you are, and how fast you are walking.  Plant both feet on the ground, then step forward a generous step.  Measure all the way round your ankles with a tape measure.

pattern-1b

Get yourself a piece of fabric. Fold it with the right sides facing in and with the stretch going across, so that it will go around your body.  We can draw the design right onto the reverse of the fabric. But we need to check it first.

Sketch yourself this design on some paper and add in your own measurements.  The top line is your waist divided by 4.  The right hand line is the length from waist to foot, the bottom line is your stride length divided by 4 and the left line basically joins them all together.

When I sketched out my design roughly to scale and checked the measurements, I could see that the point where my hips would fall was too narrow and it would be too tight around my behind. (See the picture left where the red line for my hips falls outside the side seam.)

So I adjusted by making the waist a little bigger.  We are adding on a band later which will gather in any slight excess.  I also increased the width at the bottom of the skirt to make a steeper angle. This had the effect of making it wider at the point where my hips would fall.

So now I was confident it would be both wide enough at the hips and at the bottom, but without adding in too much volume.  It was only a small adjustment needed but avoided a ‘skin tight behind’ problem later on. pattern-2b

I folded my fabric in just enough to be able to mark the widest part at the bottom of the skirt, and sketched my design right onto the fabric. Remember that our measurements don’t include a seam allowance so remember to add it at this stage. We don’t want to make it completely square across the bottom or the seams will stick out like points, so make your side seam 1 inch shorter than the center length and draw a curved line from the center up to the side seam.

Double check ALL the measurements before you cut!

Then repeat to make another piece exactly the same.  That’s all the hard stuff done.  The rest is easy. Sew your side seams together, trim, neaten and press.

Making the fold-over waist

Having a waist that folds over means we can make the skirt longer or shorter so it can always be the right length if you are wearing heels or flats.  And it’s comfortable too.

The perfect maxi skirt tutorial.  No pattern required, but still get the fit you want.

My skirt is drawn right onto the fabric.

Decide how deep you want this fold over part to be, double it and add on an inch for the seam allowance.  Cut yourself a strip of fabric that deep, and as wide as your waist measurement. Now, how long this piece needs to be depends entirely on how stretchy your fabric is and how heavy it is.  If you fabric is pretty heavy, the weight of the skirt will pull it down when you wear it, so you’ll need to make the waist a bit tighter to stop the skirt slipping.  If your fabric is very loose and stretchy, then you’ll also need to make it a little tighter because it will give a little as you wear it.

The perfect maxi skirt tutorial.  No pattern required, but still get the fit you want.

Fold the waist piece in half and try it on.  Pull it in close until it feels ‘right’. Snug but you could still eat a big meal if you had to!  Mark with some pins and then cut it to length. Sew the two short ends together to make a tube.

The perfect maxi skirt tutorial.  No pattern required, but still get the fit you want.Fold the tube length-ways wrong sides together and match the raw edges to the raw edge of your skirt waist.  You’ll probably need to stretch the band as you sew it on, because it will be shorter than the skirt waist measurement.

The perfect maxi skirt tutorial.  No pattern required, but still get the fit you want.

Try your skirt on with various shoes and see where the hemline needs to be.  Turn it up once or twice and stitch.  Your perfect maxi skirt is done.

How to make the perfect fitting maxi skirt without it being too flared or too tight.

How did this work out for you?  Were you able to get a good fit?  Do you agree with my essentials above for a perfect maxi skirt or do you prefer something different?  Do you have any favorite maxi skirt tutorials to share?

As always, I love to see what you make.  Send me a picture on email and I’ll share it on the Facebook page so we can all take a look.

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How to make and use piping http://so-sew-easy.com/make-use-piping/ http://so-sew-easy.com/make-use-piping/#comments Tue, 12 Aug 2014 11:00:43 +0000 http://so-sew-easy.com/?p=10880 When I sewed my Woven Fabric Pillow, I wanted to make a nice edge to the woven front panel, where it joined to the plain back.  Adding in some piping also helped to give the cover a nice shape and definition.  But the focus of my project was really the woven fabric strips and I rushed the piping, not making a perfect job.  Well, I’m working on another cover this week and want to make some perfect piping.  Let’s see how I get on. Making basic piping How to make and use piping.  Piping can be made ahead of time and stored, just the same way you make bias tape from fabric left-overs and save it for the perfect project.  In fact, piping needs to be made with bias tape, because it needs the fabric to be cut on the … Continue reading

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Written by Deby Coles

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How to make your own basic piping and attach it to a pillow or cushion cover

When I sewed my Woven Fabric Pillow, I wanted to make a nice edge to the woven front panel, where it joined to the plain back.  Adding in some piping also helped to give the cover a nice shape and definition.  But the focus of my project was really the woven fabric strips and I rushed the piping, not making a perfect job.  Well, I’m working on another cover this week and want to make some perfect piping.  Let’s see how I get on.

Making basic piping

How to make and use piping.  Piping can be made ahead of time and stored, just the same way you make bias tape from fabric left-overs and save it for the perfect project.  In fact, piping needs to be made with bias tape, because it needs the fabric to be cut on the bias to that it will move, give and stretch around curves and corners.

So we start with that first.  If you need a reminder on bias tape, here are links to some previous tutorials you might find useful.

Measure around your pillow, or whatever you are making, to determine how much piping you need.  Use the bias tape calculator to cut just the right size, always remembering to add on a little extra for overlap. You’ll need to cut your strip of fabric wide enough to wrap all the way around your cord and leave a seam allowance.  Better too wide than too narrow, I cut my strips 1.5 inches wide.

How to make your own basic piping and attach it to a pillow or cushion cover

Now you’ll need to have an insert for the piping.  You can buy posh and expensive piping cord at your local sewing shop, and if you are making an extra special project or need an unusual width, this might be the way to go.  But for me, I had some washing line left over and it was the perfect width for my cushion piping.  It looks a bit bumpy but was just fine once I straightened it out.

Sewing the piping – the first step

We are going to sew over the piping 3 times, each time getting closer to the cord, pulling the fabric in tighter.  Our first step is just to make the basic piping.  Cut yourself a piece of cord just a few inches longer than the tape.  Place the cord in the center of the fabric, fold the raw edges together and add a couple of pins.

How to make your own basic piping and attach it to a pillow or cushion cover

I add one pin right through the cord to make sure it doesn’t pull out while I’m sewing, and then start off with just a few pins keeping the edges of the fabric together.  I don’t pin all the way, it’s easy to sew as you go.

How to make your own basic piping and attach it to a pillow or cushion cover

Using a zipper foot, sew the first line of stitching through just close enough to keep the fabric closed and flat, and keep the cord in place.  That’s all there is to it.  Basic piping now made and ready to use.

How to make your own basic piping and attach it to a pillow or cushion cover

How to make your own basic piping and attach it to a pillow or cushion cover

Sewing the piping – basting in place

Now time to sew our second line of stitching, used for basting the piping in place.  I’m working on a cushion cover, but the technique is the same for any project.  You need to determine where your stitching line needs to be, and apply your piping so that when sewn up close to the cord, the stitches will hit your intended stitching line, so creating the correct seam allowance.

Starting the piping is pretty easy.  We will start with it just off the edge, and bring it onto the project in a nice gentle curve.  I’m starting from the bottom center of the cushion and I baste the piping in place by sewing a little closer to the cord than the original line of stitching.  Again, I only pin a little at the start because it seems to grow a little as you sew.

How to make your own basic piping and attach it to a pillow or cushion cover

I keep mine smooth and even by lining up the edge of the piping fabric with the raw edge underneath.  Eventually, you’ll get to a curve or corner.  In this case of the cushion cover, it’s quite a sharp corner so you’ll need to clip the fabric of the piping to allow it to curve.  Don’t worry that the piping looks a bit puckered – that’s just because it’s pushed to the inside of the curve.  When turned back out to the outside of the curve, it will be quite smooth.  Pinning around the corners will help.

How to make your own basic piping and attach it to a pillow or cushion cover

When you get back to the start, do the same as you did when starting the piping.  Simply run it off the edge in a smooth curve, overlapping with the curve at the start to make a little V shape. Trim off the edges.

How to make your own basic piping and attach it to a pillow or cushion cover

Sewing the piping – getting up close and personal

Now we are ready to sew our final line of stitching and sew our piping in place between our layers of fabric.  I pinned the cushion cover backing in place around the seam allowance and stitched with my zipper foot.

Sewing the piping - basting in place

If you have an adjustable zipper foot or can adjust the position of your needle, you’ll be able to get really up close to that cord and make sure all the other lines of stitching are hidden, by just moving the needle slightly to the left so your stitches are really close to the cord.  Use your finger to press the fabric in place and press the cord over to the side as you sew for a close finish. See how my needle is falling just to the left of the foot.

When you get to where the cord is overlapping, take it easy and sew slowly through the layers in a straight line, right across where it overlaps.

Turn and press and admire your beautiful piping.

How to make your own basic piping and attach it to a pillow or cushion cover

This is a sneak peak at the nursery pillow I’ve been working on this week, using the Owl Applique panel I made.  I’ll come back soon and show you how he turned out.
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Insulated ‘Keep Warm’ Baby Bottle Cover http://so-sew-easy.com/insulated-baby-bottle-cover/ http://so-sew-easy.com/insulated-baby-bottle-cover/#comments Sun, 10 Aug 2014 11:00:15 +0000 http://so-sew-easy.com/?p=10641 I’ve made a few projects with the insulated thermal lining before, the Long Arm Oven Mitts, the Can Cozy and Easy Quilted Pot Holders.  So when Daniela from On the Cutting Floor wrote to me with some more ideas she had, we were inspired to create a couple more projects to share.  See her project at the bottom. With so many of my friends expecting new arrivals to their families, I wanted to make a insulated baby bottle cover that could help to keep a feeding bottle warm.  I thought this could be used while out and about, or for night time feeds.  I did a little online research and many looked difficult to open with round zippers and the like.  With a baby in one arm, who needs complicated so I decided on a simple drawstring version which could … Continue reading

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Written by Deby Coles

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I love these for baby shower gifts.  Practical but pretty 'keep warm' insulated feeding bottle bags.

I’ve made a few projects with the insulated thermal lining before, the Long Arm Oven Mitts, the Can Cozy and Easy Quilted Pot Holders.  So when Daniela from On the Cutting Floor wrote to me with some more ideas she had, we were inspired to create a couple more projects to share.  See her project at the bottom.

With so many of my friends expecting new arrivals to their families, I wanted to make a insulated baby bottle cover that could help to keep a feeding bottle warm.  I thought this could be used while out and about, or for night time feeds.  I did a little online research and many looked difficult to open with round zippers and the like.  With a baby in one arm, who needs complicated so I decided on a simple drawstring version which could more easily be pulled open.

Obviously baby bottle sizes vary so this pattern fits a standard looking bottle, not a dumpy one.  You’ll have to adjust if your bottles are a different size or shape.

Sewing an Insulated Baby Bottle Bag

I love these for baby shower gifts. Practical but pretty 'keep warm' insulated feeding bottle bags.

[The full sizes and expanded instructions are in the download for you to keep.  Abbreviated ones here to keep things short and sweet.]

Dealing with the insulation.  My first concern was how to keep that insulated lining in place during the sewing and turning.  It’s not fusible like an interfacing and it’s a bit shiny and crinkly.  After a lot of experimenting with hand basting and the like, I took the easy way out and actually spray basted it in place right onto the fabric.  I recommend you do the same, but hand basting it into the seam allowances and around the top also works, just takes more patience!

This basting spray is commonly used by quilters, is non-toxic and only temporary – it washes right out afterwards.

Watch me make one

 

Materials needed:

  • Cute fabrics
  • Insul-Bright insulated liner, or similar thermal lining fabric
  • Cord or ribbon for drawstrings
  • Optional – basting spray

Cut out all of your fabric pieces and insulation pieces as described in the download. I thought it would be nice to piece this out of several fabrics, but you can make it out of a single fabric too.  Sew all the pieces together first.

I love these for baby shower gifts.  Practical but pretty 'keep warm' insulated feeding bottle bags.

Prepare and then sew on the little strips that will be the casing for the drawstrings.  We’ll only sew along the top and bottom, leaving the sides open for the ribbon or cords.

I love these for baby shower gifts.  Practical but pretty 'keep warm' insulated feeding bottle bags.

I love these for baby shower gifts.  Practical but pretty 'keep warm' insulated feeding bottle bags.

Baste the insulation on the fabric pieces, by hand or with spray baste.

I love these for baby shower gifts.  Practical but pretty 'keep warm' insulated feeding bottle bags.

Sew the top, bottom and sides together to make a long tube.  Leave a small gap in the lining piece for turning.

I love these for baby shower gifts.  Practical but pretty 'keep warm' insulated feeding bottle bags.

Box the corners at the bottom to give it a little shaping.  I cut a 1 inch square, measured from the stitching lines.

I love these for baby shower gifts. Practical but pretty 'keep warm' insulated feeding bottle bags.

Turn the tube the right way out, close the gap in the lining and push the lining down inside.

I love these for baby shower gifts.  Practical but pretty 'keep warm' insulated feeding bottle bags. Thread through your cords or ribbons, one from each direction and pull them to close.

I think you’ll realise this is so quick you’ll have time to go ahead and make some more!  Great baby shower gifts, but why stop there.  You could make one for keeping your water bottle cool too.  This basic design could be adapted for all sorts of hot and cold drinks containers.

I love these for baby shower gifts.  Practical but pretty 'keep warm' insulated feeding bottle bags.

Download the full details and instruction here

Opt In Image
Download the 'Keep Warm' baby bottle cover

You can download the pattern and instructions for the Keep Warm bottle cover from my design account at Craftsy.  It's a PDF file containing both instructions and pattern sizing all in the same file.  Enjoy!

Daniela also had some great ideas for how to use the insulating liner.  She made this ‘cool’  insulated car organiser, with room to hold a drink and snacks.  Perfect for long, or short, car journeys.

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Do drop over to her site to take a look – she does great patterns too!

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Readers Questions – 2 http://so-sew-easy.com/readers-questions-2/ http://so-sew-easy.com/readers-questions-2/#comments Fri, 08 Aug 2014 11:00:19 +0000 http://so-sew-easy.com/?p=11080   Thank you SO much to everyone who took part in the first ever Readers Questions.   I hope you all enjoyed reading through the questions and answers.  Well I have some more sewing teasers and dilemmas for you today. What can help out with experience and advice in these areas: JESSICA ASKS: SOS – What is so special about twin needles? (Except they break easily..) I have tried sewing with a twin needle twice now. It is so frustrating. I know that twin needle are perfect for knit seems, but I broke both needles very quick each time I give it a try. And as you know, they are quite expensive so my sewing heart broke each time. I kind of developed a great fear about sewing with them and I have the feeling that my sewing machine cannot … Continue reading

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Readers-Questions-Your-Answers

 

Thank you SO much to everyone who took part in the first ever Readers Questions.   I hope you all enjoyed reading through the questions and answers.  Well I have some more sewing teasers and dilemmas for you today.

What can help out with experience and advice in these areas:

JESSICA ASKS:

SOS – What is so special about twin needles? (Except they break easily..)

I have tried sewing with a twin needle twice now. It is so frustrating. I know that twin needle are perfect for knit seems, but I broke both needles very quick each time I give it a try. And as you know, they are quite expensive so my sewing heart broke each time. I kind of developed a great fear about sewing with them and I have the feeling that my sewing machine cannot deal with the standard size of 4mm. but it is so hard to get smaller ones nearby.

I only tried regular straight stitch and in a trial the needle fitted, as soon as I add fabric (very thin knit) it was over :-(
Do you know good alternatives to making Tee hems instead of using twin needles?

Thank you very much for your help.

 

CRISTI ASKS:

I am interested in buying a good quality multi-adjustable dress form. Does anyone know of a good comparison of what is available or have any suggestions? Thanks!

 

DEMAROGE ASKS:

I have a large bust and a small waist. (Well, it used to be ‘small.’ Now it is more ‘medium!’) I have a very hard time fitting so I have ‘given up’ sewing for myself. I often look frumpy and my bust looks saggy (even with a good and well fitting bra.)

Any suggestions from the braver and more seasoned bust-ier sewers … would be greatly appreciated!

 

TERESA ASKS:

I would like to known what the best seam would be to make reversible jersey knit clothing.  Specifically yoga pants. I am using 2 layers of light weight fabric. I was thinking a flat felled seam would be perfect but I was told that the weight of the fabric would cause rippling in the drape. Any thoughts? Thank you! 

 

Thank you everyone for the really interesting questions and answers.  Please leave your advice in the comments below.  It’s Ok to leave links to helpful and relevant articles on your own site or someone elses.

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HUGE Craftsy Summer Sale – ALL courses on sale http://so-sew-easy.com/huge-craftsy-summer-sale-courses-sale/ http://so-sew-easy.com/huge-craftsy-summer-sale-courses-sale/#comments Thu, 07 Aug 2014 12:56:24 +0000 http://so-sew-easy.com/?p=11451   It’s that time of year – the BIG Craftsy Summer Sale.  ALL of their classes are included so whether it’s sewing, quilting, gardening, cooking, art, photography, knitting or more, there is sure to be a class on a subject you would be interested in learning more about. I’ve just bought myself another three: One Pattern, Many Looks – Blouses The Perfect Wrap Dress Sew Sturdy Travel Organisers I don’t know when I’ll get time to watch them, my sewing and my ideas are already WAY backed up more than the time I have available, but at these prices, and the lifetime access, I know they’ll be there waiting for me when I get the chance.   Did you read the earlier article from last week, about How This Site is Funded? I would appreciate your support.  If you are … Continue reading

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Written by Deby Coles

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!cid_ii_147abf23edfd1ca8

 

It’s that time of year – the BIG Craftsy Summer Sale.  ALL of their classes are included so whether it’s sewing, quilting, gardening, cooking, art, photography, knitting or more, there is sure to be a class on a subject you would be interested in learning more about.

!cid_ii_147abf23bc8392ef

I’ve just bought myself another three:

  • One Pattern, Many Looks – Blouses
  • The Perfect Wrap Dress
  • Sew Sturdy Travel Organisers

I don’t know when I’ll get time to watch them, my sewing and my ideas are already WAY backed up more than the time I have available, but at these prices, and the lifetime access, I know they’ll be there waiting for me when I get the chance.

courseRotator_912x295

 

Did you read the earlier article from last week, about How This Site is Funded?

I would appreciate your support.  If you are planning on buying a class or some nice fabric or a sewing kit, please click through directly from one of these images or the link in the welcome message and help support the site with a small commission.  Thank you.

Thank_you-Thank_you_fridge_magnets

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How to print and assemble a PDF Pattern http://so-sew-easy.com/print-assemble-pdf-pattern/ http://so-sew-easy.com/print-assemble-pdf-pattern/#comments Thu, 07 Aug 2014 11:00:41 +0000 http://so-sew-easy.com/?p=10977 One of the comments/questions from the recent survey was about PDF patterns.  I forget of course that there are a lot of people out there who haven’t used many PDF’s – since I only started sewing recently PDF patterns were already common and I’ve used far more home-print patterns than tissue paper ones.  I very much prefer them, but understand they can be confusing. There are a lot of things you have to get right, and in the right order, for your pattern to be correct.  Let’s have a look at all the steps and I’ll try to answer all of your questions I’ve had. What’s so good about PDF print-at-home patterns? Usually all the sizes come in the same file to make grading easier If you tear it, cut the wrong size, the dog eats it, or you spill … Continue reading

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Written by Deby Coles

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Tips on how to print and assemble PDF sewing patterns. Good info here.

One of the comments/questions from the recent survey was about PDF patterns.  I forget of course that there are a lot of people out there who haven’t used many PDF’s – since I only started sewing recently PDF patterns were already common and I’ve used far more home-print patterns than tissue paper ones.  I very much prefer them, but understand they can be confusing.

There are a lot of things you have to get right, and in the right order, for your pattern to be correct.  Let’s have a look at all the steps and I’ll try to answer all of your questions I’ve had.

What’s so good about PDF print-at-home patterns?

  • Usually all the sizes come in the same file to make grading easier
  • If you tear it, cut the wrong size, the dog eats it, or you spill your tea on it – you can just print a new one
  • They can be cheaper to buy than printed patterns because you aren’t paying for professional printing, packaging, storage and postage
  • You can get the pattern instantly when you feel the urge to sew
  • You can easily buy from International sellers – like me
  • You support smaller independent pattern makers who couldn’t afford to produce patterns otherwise

Here are some of my patterns that you can get your hands on right away, for example:

How to Download PDF Patterns

Downloading is tricky before you even think about printing.  A regular PDF file will probably work for most people and computers, but introduce a ZIP file or a mobile device, and frustration will probably start to drive you crazy.  I wrote an earlier article on downloading here and if you have questions or problems – go back and start there.

Tips and a video on how to download, open and print PDF sewing patterns.

How to Download and Print PDF Sewing Patterns.

This article has just recently been updated because now it should be possible to download a ZIP file to your mobile device if you have the right ‘app’ or software.  If downloading isn’t working for you, try the tips in this article and video first.

Once the file is downloaded, you are ready to go if it’s already a PDF.   If it’s a ZIP file, unzip first to get to the PDF files inside.  See this earlier article if you need to learn about unzipping.

Printing issues – all of them!

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Photo credit: amonfog via photopin cc

Before we start, a few general guidelines, to do and not to do.

  • Using Windows 8?  Don’t use the Adobe Reader that comes with Windows 8 – there are printing issues with it.  Download the latest version of Adobe Reader here. 
  • In fact, that applies to everyone – always make sure you are using the latest most up to date version of the software.  If the pattern was created in the latest version and you are using an old version to try to print, there may be problems.
  • Printing a file from Google Drive?  Don’t!  That doesn’t work well either.  Always download the file to your own computer first, then open it and print it locally.
  • Using Mac Preview?  Again – don’t!  Printing can be random.  Use Adobe Reader for best results.
  • DO – read the printing instructions that come with your pattern.  Each pattern can be different and certainly each pattern company or designer will be different.  Open the instructions and read how to print before proceeding.

Typical print settings

512px-Comparison_paper_sizes.svgDid you know that different countries use different sizes of paper?  In the UK, Europe and most of the world, standard paper is called A4 and measures 210 by 297 millimeters, but in the US/Canada/Mexico they use a paper called Letter which is 8.5” x 11”.  According to Wikipedia “Today the standard has been adopted by all countries in the world except the United States. In Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia,Venezuela, Chile and the Philippines the US letter format is still in common use, despite their official adoption of the ISO standard.”

Make sure you have the correct paper size selected for your printer. Most patterns should be designed to fit correctly on either size paper, or be able to be ‘poster printed’ on either size.

You will typically be required to print your PDF pattern without any fancy settings, so unless the instructions tell you otherwise, DO NOT SELECT:

  • fit to paper
  • scaling at any percentage other than 100%
  • centering options
  • shrink oversized pages

DO SELECT – actual size.

Tips on how to print and assemble PDF sewing patterns.  Good info here.

Printing just selected pages

So you just want to print one page, or the pattern pages only if they are included in the same document as the instructions.  We need to know the page number or numbers of the pages we want to print.  That’s where this preview box on the right will come in useful.

When your document is open, select the little print icon on the top menu to bring up the printing options box you see above.  The preview box on the right has arrows underneath and using the arrows, you can scroll through the pages.  Perhaps you want just the page with the test square, or you want to skip the instructions and just print the pattern pages.

If you want to print just a single page – enter just that page number in the ‘Pages to Print’ box, like this:

Tips on how to print and assemble PDF sewing patterns. Good info here.

If you want a range of pages, then you can include the first and last page number with a dash or hyphen in between to show the range to be printed, like this:

Tips on how to print and assemble PDF sewing patterns. Good info here.

Before you print – the test square

Before you waste all of your ink and paper on a pattern that comes out the wrong size, you should always start by looking for the test square.  Often this will be on page 1 of the pattern, but it can be elsewhere if there wasn’t space.  Preview through the pattern sheets until you find the test square.  Print ONLY that sheet first.

Check the measurement on the test square before printing the other pages.  If it’s ‘out’, then recheck your print settings before trying again.  Only when your test square is correct should you print out all the sheets.

Tips on how to print and assemble PDF sewing patterns. Good info here.

Important – your pattern pages will print out in the order in which they should be taped together so don’t mix them up.  Let the whole lot print, then remove from the printer as a batch.

How to assemble a PDF pattern

Some patterns will have page numbers, some will have marks in the margin and some may have guides where the pages should be lined up. You will find a lot of variety, but basically the process is the same.  It’s simply like putting together a jigsaw – except at least you already have your pieces in the right order.

Most patterns will give you a picture of what your finished jigsaw will look like.

Tips on how to print and assemble PDF sewing patterns. Good info here.In this example, you can see there are 20 pages in total, 5 per row.  So start by getting together sheets 1 to 5 for your top row.

Most patterns will overlap one sheet with the other to help with lining up, and usually have an unprinted margin around the outside.  You’ll need to get rid of this margin on either the left or right and the top or bottom.  I like to cut off the left hand side of my sheets and the top.  So start with this.

Tips on how to print and assemble PDF sewing patterns. Good info here.

Lie out sheet 1.  Take sheet 2 and cut off the left hand margin.  There may be a line to follow, or guides. In my most recently patterns, I’ve been including a grey ‘piece of pie’ which indicates the corners of each sheet.  When all 4 pieces of pie are assembled at the corners, you get a circle where they all meet. If you aren’t sure where to cut, draw a line (real or imaginary) between the pieces of pie!

Tips on how to print and assemble PDF sewing patterns. Good info here.

Match up the edges and lines on sheet 2 with the lines on the right hand side of sheet 1.  How you join is up to you.  Some people like to use tape, some use a glue stick.  Anything that you can easily re-position a little later is best.  I’ll use a glue stick in this example and just lightly press my sheets in place, so that I can pick back up and re-position just a little if I need to.

Remember that our home printers are not necessarily designed for precision printing, and its quite common for the sheet to ‘wiggle’ a little bit as it feeds in and goes through the rollers so finding some of the lines don’t always meet up perfectly is quite common.  They are usually close enough.

Tips on how to print and assemble PDF sewing patterns. Good info here.

When you have sheet 2 in place, cut off the left margin on sheet 3, stick that in place and repeat for 4 and 5 and the top row is ready.

Tips on how to print and assemble PDF sewing patterns. Good info here.

Now start with sheet 6, cut off the top and match it to sheet 1.  Cut the left and top margins from sheet 7 and attach it to sheets 2 and 6.  Now you get the idea.  Keep adding the sheets one at a time, re-positioning a little where you need to.

Tips on how to print and assemble PDF sewing patterns. Good info here.

Tips on how to print and assemble PDF sewing patterns. Good info here.

Once all the sheets are stuck, you can go over with some tape for a more permanent finish.

Tips on how to print and assemble PDF sewing patterns. Good info here.

Time savings tips

 

If you have one of these, or similar, you can stack your sheets together and cut off all the margins much quicker, cutting several at a time.

Or, save the old blades from your rotary cutter and use that with a ruler to quickly strip off all those margins.

Tracing or cutting your pattern

From now on, things should be familiar and work the same as a regular tissue paper pattern.  Either trace your pattern over the lines for your size, or cut it out to use.

I hope this has been useful and if you’ve been mystified or worried about using PDF patterns, that now you’ll be willing to give them a try.

Do you have any tips and tricks you want to add that might make it easier for other tackling this for the first time?

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Written by Deby Coles

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