Posts Tagged ‘ how to ’

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…

How to add easy elastic ruching

I often lean on elastic ruching to get things to fit better, because my sewing sometimes takes shortcuts.

Like adding dimension to long t-shirts and tops. And taking up mermaid skirts without hemming. And sucking in the backs of dresses that don’t have much shaping.

It’s really easy to do. You need thin elastic or elastic cord, pins and a zigzag stitch on your sewing machine.

First, figure out where you want the ruching to go and how long you want it to be. You can do this by stretching the elastic out, or by measuring with a tape. Measure out elastic in that length, plus one inch so you’ll have half an inch on each end.

ruching measure

Pin the elastic at the top point, sticking pins in perpendicular to the elastic you’ll sew. Pin the elastic at the bottom end. Now match the middle of the elastic to the midpoint of the fabric and pin.

ruching pin middle

Keep stretching, matching the middles…

ruching stretch then pin more

…and pinning a few times until you’ve secured the elastic in place.

ruching keep pinning middles

ruching all pinned

Set your machine to a middle-wide zig zag. My machine uses a 1-5 scale; I use the #3 setting.

Drop in a few stitches, stretch the fabric and elastic and sew slowly until you’ve secured the whole piece.

ruching drop needle

ruching pull taut while stitching


ruching stitched

ruching finished right side

(I tell you this, though, knowing I ended up putting darts in the back of my dress remake. Didn’t want to lose my waist.)

How to… add simple belt loops

My new dress-from-dress came with its own belt. I didn’t want to lose the belt, so I added some belt loops which are super easy to make.

All you need is crochet thread or embroidery thread in a color that matches your dress, a sewing needle with an eye big enough for the thread and a crochet hook. (Though you can also do the crochet on your fingers if you have no hook.)

belt loops thread

Start the crochet with a long thread tail several inches long. That’ll anchor the loop to the garment.

belt - start with loop and tail

Crochet, counting the stitches, until you have a length that’s double the width of the belt, plus two stitches. Mine needed 32.

belt - keep crocheting until long enough

belt - crochet until twice the belt

(If you’re using your fingers, make a slip stitch, leaving a long tail of thread. Stick your index finger in the loop at the first knuckle joint.

belt - finger - loops

Loop the thread over your finger and wrap the loop over the thread.

belt - finger - wrap pull

Tug on the loop until the stitch tightens.

belt - finger - keep pulling until tight

Repeat until the crochet’s long enough.)

Leaving another long thread tail, cut the thread. Pull the tail through the last loop to secure the stitches.

belt - leave long tail before cutting

If you want loops on both sides, make another one the same way.

belt - loops - make two

Now thread the big needle with one of the tails.

belt - loops - thread tail on big needle

Then you sew the loop in. Some people anchor the top and then the bottom. I like the kind where the loop hangs down. So I poke the needle through from the right side and pull one tail through, and then do the same with the other end.

belt loop push needle through

Even better if you can catch the seam allowance.

belt loop back side

I knot them tightly on the back and voila!

belt loop knotted

That’s it.

belt loop finished

Then, should the belt get lost or something, the crocheted loop will cut out easily without harming the dress.

Conquering silky fears

Clearly I’m scared to cut the purple silk dress because I keep inventing other things to do instead of it.

Like posting this fitzfab tracing technique on Burdastyle. Drafted some more posts about all the red and white dresses I thrifted for spring, how to fix a brown print dress so it looks like me. Totally getting stuff done. Just not the one thing I should be doing.

Now I tell myself Mister’s taking up the kitchen — the only spot in the house where I have enough space to cut —making chili.

How do you conquer your fear of ruining fabric and just dive in?

How to… trace a pattern without cutting it

I didn’t want to cut this Cynthia Rowley tunic pattern because I wanted the other size options, perhaps for other ladies in my life. With only five pieces, two of them bias strips, I thought I could do it.

The straight lines were easy enough to mark and connect with a yardstick. But the underarm curves on the dolman sleeves, the neck? I don’t really trace with chalk, and drawing through the pattern lines with marker threatened to weaken them.

Time to start engineering. I weighted the pattern on my kitchen floor, using cans and jars. Started tracing the lines.

pattern weighed down

When I got to the curves, I started gently peeling the pattern back, slowly, a bit at a time, and then making a marker dot on the fabric at the pattern line.

pattern how to: start folding, dotting

Fold back a touch more, make another dot.

pattern how to: keep folding pattern back, dotting

As the underarm curved more, I dotted more frequently.

pattern how to: make dots closer on the curves

pattern how to: see the curve

When all the pattern was folded back, and the curve was visible on the pattern, the work was done.

pattern how to: finished dots

Voila, a curve good enough to cut confidently.