Archive for the ‘ How to do it ’ Category

How to… upcycle and save yourself some hemming

Save a step when upcycling shirts into a new shirt!

Line up the hems if you can before cutting.

Like on this raglan t-shirt with a straight hem. Its sleeves also have straight edges at the cuffs.

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I lined the body up against the hem of a white t-shirt, and the sleeves on a black one.

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One less step now at the end. It’s all hemmed!

Also love/hate: finishing

The idea of finishing projects so they’re ready to wear or use: love.

The act of the picky work it takes to actually finish them: ugh, despise.

Hemming, clipping threads, binding edges. Takes FORever. SO easy to screw the whole thing up at this point.

I’ll try anything to make finishing go faster and better. So I used machine basting to mark foldlines on the hems of these little pants. Marked a spot on my machine for 1″ or 1.5″ and then basted and basted.

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pants tan hem

The hemline folded really evenly over the stitching. And the rest of the hem was an easy tuck under.

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Love/hate with PDF patterns – how to simplify assembly for baby clothes



DSCF5121PDF patterns. So great to get them instantly. So many are free online or very inexpensive.

But I hate wasting limited crafty time cutting and taping together, especially now with teeny clothes that Mr. Baby outgrows every few months and that are made from teeny pieces.

Like these shorts, which come as a free download in 6 sizes, and are functional and simple. The first round I printed out and assembled. But then an idea came to me:

Print the whole thing out again, I told myself. Tape the damn paper pieces together. Then separate the components – the front, the back, the waistband.

PDF shorts pattern

Look! Each is still tiny enough each to fit on the copier. SO COPY EACH ONE using legal paper or 11 x 17 paper if necessary. Keep those master components with the tape on them so the next size up can just be copied again and cut out in a bigger size.

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Should work for this little raglan shirt pattern, too, which goes up to size 6.

So those old beaded appliques

I was looking at this little cardigan, wondering how these beaded appliques happened. Since, you know, I haven’t seen them anywhere.

Like this one:

pearl cardigan

Ah! It’s a backing, like a Bedazzler backing,

pearl cardigan

hooking in the stone PLUS a bead on a wire on the bottom prong, the kind of wire not unlike an earring or a charm.

pearl cardigan

Now I know why I haven’t seen these anywhere. You have to make them yourself…

Sweater fix: the neck (a how to?)

purple pearl sweaterI loved this silk cotton purple sweater with the pearls all over the front and the sleeves.

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But the original crew neck was such an ugh. It was so ugly, I never photographed it at all.

Picked at this sucker over months, trying to figure out the best way to fix it and then getting up the nerve to cut into this baby, too.

Finally I unraveled the knitted crew neckband. Pinned the fabric back into a bateau neckline.

IMG_6566Picked off the couple pearl beads in the way.

IMG_6561Then I cut bias strips from the back side of some old irridescent purple taffeta because it was a pretty close match to this lilac color. The taffeta’s light enough that it doesn’t add bulk, and the bias means the neckline will give a little.

IMG_6569Pinned them in place, wrong sides together, sewed. Pressed them back out, pinned pressed and sewed.

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purple pearl neckAnd neckline. Now the question remains: Should I leave the sleeves long or cut them to cap? Which will I want to wear more? (Am leaning toward CHOP.)

How to cut a top from a sweater

I cut a cute knit top out of a boxy cashmere sweater using a pattern for the bodice, and pinning the sleeves.

To cut the pattern (here from McCall’s 6164) I marked the center of the sweater front with chalk, and traced each side, instead of folding the sweater and doing both at the same time. Got more precision that way.

sweater purple cashmere pattern

Did the same for the back. Marked the line with chalk.

sweater purple cashmere traced

The sleeves were trickier. The important part was the armhole part. I used the 6164 sleeve pattern piece to trim the top of the existing sweater sleeves into the right shape, first one side, and then the other.

Pinned the sleeves into place. Stitched. They were still baggy – the wrong shape for such a fitted bodice, so I pinned them tighter and stiched along the pins. Finished the seams, then trimmed the excess carefully.

This proved important because it gave me fabric to use for the neck’s binding.

sweater purple cashmere binding

sweater purple cashmere neck detail

I admit, this wasn’t a perfect science. The binding strips kept rolling up so it was hard to keep them even. And the back of the sweater started with a raglan detail in the knit, which carried over to the final cut.

Hope it looks like a detail rather than a flaw…

sweater purple cashmere back

How to…widen sleeveless shoulders into cap sleeves

You know, for when you don’t want to be that naked. Which for me is almost always. I turned this bodice into cap sleeves with a few little lines. I’ve done this a few times now (once for this dress), and it’s really not hard. So you trace the front and back bodice pieces as you would, skipping the armhole curve. You mark the underarm, you know, where you’d cut it for sleeveless. Can you see the purple marker dots at the top and under the arm? McCall's 6164 making sleeve Then you basically draw a line out from the shoulder, extending it straight. And you draw another line up from the outermost point of the underarm, where you’d start the side seam. (This picture shows the other side.) McCall's 6164 making sleeve Sew the shoulder seam as directed in the pattern instructions. Sew the side seam also as directed, leaving the sleeve hole open. Hem that however you like to hem sleeves. Since this is knit, I basted 5/8″ along the raw edge, folded over on the basting, and stitched. Left the seam allowance as is. Knits won’t unravel. McCall's 6164 T Voila— cap sleeves.