Wednesday, June 29, 2011

DIY Fabric Tangram with Drawstring Bag

I have to credit my friend Emily with this idea; she has made tangrams out of cardstock, but suggested that since I love fabric, I should make a fabric one for Charlotte.  So that's what I did!

If you would like to make one too, here's the tutorial!

Print out this free tangram pattern in large onto cardstock
fabric scraps
batting scraps
sewing machine/thread

Step 1:  Print out the pattern and gather fabric scraps
Cut each piece out of the cardstock.  
Then select a fabric for each piece and trace around the cardstock onto the fabric.
Cut two out of the fabric, then cut one out of batting.

Step 2:  Layer the pieces in this order: fabric, cardstock, batting, fabric

Step 3:  Stitch around the shape 1/8" from the edge.

Repeat this process with all of the shapes.

Step 4: Cut out a folded piece of fabric about 10" x 14".

Turn it right sides together and stitch up the sides using a zigzag stitch.

Fold the top down 1/4", then another 1". 

Stitch in place, but leave about 1" open

Fasten a safety pin to a piece of ribbon and feed it through the casing.

Step 5:  Rip a few of the zigzag stitches out and feed the ribbon through to the front of the bag, then stitch up the opening.

That's it!  
Make some cute animals!

You can find more fun things to make here.
Enjoy your day!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Classic Americana - a dress tutorial

It's that lovely time of year - fireworks, berry cobblers, cookouts, and family gatherings.
Hooray for the red, white, and blue!

Charlotte needed a new dress for the 4th of July.
We had snagged a Tommy Hilfiger dress shirt at our local thrift store,
and I decided it would make the perfect patriotic outfit!

Lots of cute tutorials have been done using dress shirts to make dresses - I couldn't find exactly what I was looking for, so I made a basic pillowcase dress out of the shirt!

I made it with the thought that the buttons would go down the back,

but it could really go either way depending on our mood.

It's a pretty simple process.
You'll need a man's dress shirt and about 6"x 45" of coordinating fabric.

Step 1:  Cut the arms and collar off the shirt.

Straighten up the edges so that you have a rectangle - mine for a size 3T was 19" wide x 20 1/2" long.

Step 2:  Right sides together, sew up the side seams, stopping about 5" from the top.
I used a zig-zag stitch so I wouldn't have raw edges on the inside. 
Then open the underarm wide and pin the raw edge toward the wrong side of the dress.

Stitch in place with a zig-zag stitch.

Step 3:  Turn down the top edges about 1 1/2" toward the wrong side - making a casing for the straps.
Stitch in place.

Step 4:  Cut the coordinating fabric into two strips:  one 2 1/2" wide and one 3" wide.
Using a basting stitch, gather the 3" strip.  Pin it right sides together with the bottom of the dress and sew on.

Press it well.
Step 5:  Fold the 2 1/2" strip in half, right sides together, and sew along the length - creating a tube.  Try not to say bad words while you turn it inside out.  Attach a safety pin to one edge and guide it through the casing at the top of the dress.

Sew the two edges together.

Adjust the straps so that those edges are hidden in the casing.
And that's it.  Instant cuteness.

Happy sewing, friends!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Beginner Maxi Dress

Happy Friday friends!  
Today I have the world's easiest dress for you - and it is so comfortable 
(and I had a coupon for the fabric so it only cost $13)!

and let me just say - modeling is hard.  
That's probably why those Anthro models always look so grumpy and tired.

So, I started out by making a top by Natalie at the Hungry Hippie.
It is super easy and I love it.  
I was wearing that top one day, and talking with a friend, 
and she said - why not just extend it and make it into a dress?  So that's what I did!  
Check out Natalie's tutorial for making the top, then come back here to see how I changed it into a dress.
(you will have to go see her's because I don't explain everything in my tute)

3-4 yards of jersey knit (depending on your height - I used about 3 1/2 yards)
sewing machine
elastic thread
yard stick

Step 1:  Fold the fabric so that it is longer than it is wide. (mine was 1 1/4 yards long (folded) and 60" wide).
Lay out a knit shirt that fits you - maybe one that is slightly baggy.

Draw one arm and one side - flaring out once you get to the waist.
Find the center top along the fold and then fold your cut half onto the uncut half.  Make sure it is straight.  Trim out the other side.

While it is still folded cut a neckhole - start small you can always make it bigger - enough to get your head through.

Step 2:  Sew it up like Natalie suggests.  Turn it right sides out and try it on.
 Put a pin at the lowest point you would like the neckline to come, and put some pins in where you would like the bottom of the dress to fall.  

Step 3:  Take it off and fold it in half length-wise again.  Trim off the bottom along the line where you pinned it, and trim your neckline to the pin.

Step 4:  Wind some elastic thread onto your bobbin (either by hand or with your machine).  
Turn the dress wrong side out and measure from under the arm down about 15".
IN THE SEAM, sew down those 15" with the elastic thread.  Be certain to backstitch at the beginning and end of your stitch otherwise the elastic will come out and you will be sad.  Repeat this process on the other side.  This slight ruching will give you just a little bit of shape...and hide any unslightly lumps or bumps which I'm sure you don't have... ;)
And that's it!  Be sure to trim your threads - pair it with a belt and some funky jewelry and you're ready to hit the town!  

Hope you have a great weekend, and as always if you have any questions about a tutorial leave a comment or email me at jessica(at)makeitlovely(dot)com.

Friday, June 10, 2011

{DIY} 6 Piece Beach Ball Pillow

Well it finally feels like summer!  I don't know how it's been where you live, but we've had a pretty cool spring, and I am ready for warm days and balmy nights. Today I want to share my Beach Ball Pillow Tutorial with you. 

Where might you put a  beach ball pillow you ask?  Well, depending on the color palate you choose it could easily find a home right on your living room couch! 

One that I made ended up on my daughter's bed, and is just the thing to make her room feel a bit more summery. 

So let's start with fabric selection shall we?
My tutorial today is for the traditional beach ball - made with the nautical colors of white, red, white, blue, white, yellow.

I choose some lovely Kona cotton solids.

I had never sewn with Kona cotton before, and let me tell you - it makes a difference.  The practice pillows I made don't look nearly as nice as the Kona ones - I've been converted.  I love them.  So - if you want a little more pizazz than the traditional nautical color palate - you can choose either of these rainbow palates:

But really, beach balls can be made in any combination of colors - I even made one in different shades of pink!
So now that you've chosen your fabrics, you'll need 1/3 yard of each color.
Here are the other supplies you will need:
Sewing Machine/Thread
1 bag of polyfil
In this tutorial, all seams are 1/4".

Step 1:  Print out the free pattern.  I suggest printing it onto a sturdy piece of cardstock.  Line the straight edge up with the fold on your fabric.  Pin the pattern to the fabric securely, and cut around the pattern.

Cut out 6 pieces.  Three white, one red, one blue, and one yellow.

Step 2:  Pin one white piece and one red piece right sides together.

Using 1/4" seam, sew along the pinned edge, removing the pins as you go.

Step 3:  Press the seam towards the red piece.  
This will prevent the red from showing through the white once you turn it. 

Step 4:  Pin another white piece to the other edge of the red.

Sew along the pinned edge.  

Again, press the seam towards the red piece.

Step 5:  Set what you've sewn aside and sew the remaining blue, white, and yellow pieces together.  Remember to press the seams towards the blue and yellow pieces.
You should now have two halves for your beach ball.

Step 6:  Pin the two halves right sides together - making certain you line up the top and bottom.  

Leave about 5" of the bottom unpinned.  This is the opening you will use to stuff the pillow.

Step 7:  Sew around the pinned edges, remembering to leave the opening for stuffing.  Clip fabric in each seam allowance right up to the seam (but not through it).  This will help your pillow curve gracefully.
Turn your pillow right side out, now you are ready to stuff!

Step 8:  Stuff your pillow so that it is nice and full.  It will take quite a bit of stuffing since it is a sphere.

Step 9:  Close the pillow using a simple blind stitch.  Begin by bringing the needle up through the blue fabric. 

Then down into the white, behind your first entry, and then back up through the very edge of the blue.

Continue doing this until you have closed the entire opening.

Step 10:  Cut out 4 white circles with a 2 1/2" diameter.  That is exactly the size of a 12 oz Mason Jar, so that's what I traced.

Stitch two circles together, all the way around.

Clip the seam allowance.  Then cut a slit in ONE layer of the circle.

Turn the circle right side out and press.  Repeat with the other circles.  
Pin them onto the top and bottom of your pillow.

 Using a blind stitch again sew the circles onto the pillow.

That's it!  
Now, no matter the weather, you have your own little piece of the beach right in your home.
(Ryan made that chair for Charlotte using this plan.  I made the fabric part.)

    Happy Sewing everyone!